Richard Bentley

Bentley, Richard, 1662–1742, English critic and philologist. Generally considered the greatest of English classical scholars, he was also an Anglican clergyman who became (1717) Regius Professor of Divinity at Cambridge. An editor and critic of Greek and Latin texts, he was largely responsible for raising standards of textual criticism in the work of his many followers. His Dissertation upon The Epistles of Phalaris (1699), an exposure of a 14th cent. forgery of a purported 6th-cent. B.C. text, was his most celebrated work. His editions of the poems of Horace (1712) and of Marcus Manilius's Astronomica (1739) were other outstanding works. Bentley was pilloried by Swift in the Battle of the Books and Pope in the Dunciad.

See biographies by J. H. Monk (1830), A. Fox (1954), and K. L. Haugen (2011); studies by R. J. White (1968) and R. F. Jones (1961).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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