BMCR 2007.08.12

Response: Holford-Strevens on Zetzel on Emanuele Narducci (ed.), Cicerone nella tradizione europea: dalla tarda antichità al Settecento

Response to 2007.08.02

Response by

In reviewing Giuseppe Cambiano’s contribution to this collection, James E. G. Zetzel writes:

moving from the theological and textual discussions of John Toland (Whig) to the Tory philology of that repellent genius Richard Bentley, and ending with a superb analysis of the (Whig) biography of Cicero by Conyers Middleton.

I do not know whether the labels ‘Whig’ and ‘Tory’ stem from Cambiano or from Zetzel, but, while I should not dispute that Toland and Middleton may be called Whigs, in what sense can that staunch supporter of the Glorious Revolution, Richard Bentley, be called a Tory? Certainly not in the political sense; and, even if there be such a thing as Tory philology, it can hardly have been practised by the scholar more ahead of his age than any other since the Revival of Learning with the possible exception of Politian. It is true that, despite his proposal to edit the New Testament on the same footing as any other text, he was, within the Church of England, more orthodox in his theology than the other two; but that in no way makes him a Tory.