Richard Bentley (27 January 1662 – 14 July 1742) was an English classical scholar, critic, and theologian. He was Master of Trinity College, Cambridge.
Bentley was the first Englishman to be ranked with the great heroes of classical learning and was known for his literary and textual criticism. Called the "founder of historical philology", Bentley is credited with the creation of the English school of Hellenism. He inspired generations of subsequent scholars.
Bentley was born at Oulton near Rothwell, Leeds, West Yorkshire, northern England. His grandfather had suffered for the Royalist cause following the English Civil War, leaving the family in reduced circumstances. Bentley's mother, the daughter of a stonemason, had some education, and was able to give her son his first lessons in Latin.
After attending grammar school in Wakefield, Bentley was an undergraduate at St John's College, Cambridge in 1676. He afterward obtained a scholarship and took the degree of B.A. in 1680 (M.A. 1683).