Richard Bentley

Richard Bentley FRS (; 27 January 1662 – 14 July 1742) was an English classical scholar, critic, and theologian. Considered the "founder of historical philology", Bentley is widely credited with establishing the English school of Hellenism. In 1892, A. E. Housman called Bentley "the greatest scholar that England or perhaps that Europe ever bred".

Bentley's ''Dissertation upon the Epistles of Phalaris'', published in 1699, proved that the letters in question, supposedly written in the 6th century BCE by the Sicilian tyrant Phalaris, were actually a forgery produced by a Greek sophist in the 2nd century CE. Bentley's investigation of the subject is still regarded as a landmark of textual criticism. He also showed that the sound represented in transcriptions of some Greek dialects by the letter digamma appeared also in Homeric poetry, even though it was not represented there in writing by any letter.

Bentley became Master of Trinity College, Cambridge in 1700. His autocratic manner and contemptuous treatment of the college fellows led to extensive controversy and litigation, but he remained in that post until his death, more than four decades later. In 1717 Bentley was appointed as the Regius Professor of Divinity at the University of Cambridge. As professor at Cambridge, Bentley introduced the first competitive written examinations in a Western university.

A fellow of the Royal Society, Bentley was interested in natural theology and the new physical sciences, subjects on which he corresponded with Isaac Newton. Bentley was in charge of the second edition of Newton's ''Principia Mathematica'', although he delegated most of the scientific work involved to his pupil Roger Cotes. Provided by Wikipedia
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    by Jesse, John Heneage, 1815-1874
    Published 1843
    Other Authors: ...Bentley, Richard, 1794-1871...
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