BERNARD (Dr. Edward)

, a learned ast ronomer, critic and linguist, was born at Perry St. Paul, near Towcester, the 2d of May 1638, and educated at Merchant-Taylor's school, and at St. John's college Oxford. Having laid in a good fund of classical learning at school, in the Greek and Latin languages, he applied himself very diligently at the university to the study of history, the eastern languages, and mathematics under the celebrated Dr. Wallis. In 1668 he went to Leyden to consult some Oriental manuscripts left to that university by Joseph Scaliger and Levin Warner, and especially the 5th, 6th, and 7th books of Apollonius's Conics, the Greek text of which is lost, and this Arabic version having been brought from the east by the celebrated | Golius, a transcript of which was thence taken by Bernard, and brought with him to Oxford, with intent to publish it there with a Latin translation; but he was obliged to drop that design for want of encouragement. This however was afterwards carried into effect by Dr. Halley in 1710, with the addition of the 8th book, which he supplied by his own ingenuity and industry.

At his return to Oxford, Bernard examined and collated the most valuable manuscripts in the Bodleian library. In 1669, the celebrated Christopher Wren, Savilian professor of astronomy at Oxford, having been appointed surveyor-general of his majesty's works, and being much detained at London by this employment, obtained leave to name a deputy at Oxford, and pitched upon Mr. Bernard, which engaged the latter in a more particular application to the study of astronomy. But in 1673 he was appointed to the professorship himself, which Wren was obliged to resign, as, by the statutes of the founder, Sir Henry Saville, the professors are not allowed to hold any other office either ecclesiastical or civil.

About this time a scheme was set on foot at Oxford, of collecting and publishing the ancient mathematicians. Mr. Bernard, who had first formed the project, collected all the old books published on that subject since the invention of printing, and all the manuscripts he could discover in the Bodleian and Savilian libraries, which he arranged in order of time, and according to the matter they contained; of this he drew up a synopsis or view; and as a specimen he published a few sheets of Euclid, containing the Greek text, and a Latin version, with Proclus's commentary in Greek and Latin, and learned scholia and corollaries. The synopsis itself was published by Dr. Smith, at the end of his life of our author, under the title of Veterum Mathematicorum Græcorum, Latinorum, et Arabum, Synopsis. And at the end of it there is a catalogue of some Greek writers, whose works are supposed to be lost in their own language, but are preserved in the Syriac or Arabic translations of them.

Mr. Bernard undertook also an edition of the Parva Syntaxis Alexandrina; in which, besides Euclid, are contained the small treatises of Theodosius, Menelaus, A<*>istarchus, and Hipsicles; but it never was published.

In 1676 he was sent to France, as tutor to the dukes of Grafton and Northumberland, sons to king Charles the 2d by the dutchess of Cleveland, who then lived with their mother at Paris: but the simplicity of his manners not suiting the gaiety of the dutchess's family, he returned about a year after to Oxford, and pursued his studies; in which he made great proficiency, as appears by his many learned and critical works. In 1691, being presented to the rectory of Brightwell in Berkshire, he quitted his professorship at Oxford, in which he was succeeded by David Gregory, professor of mathematics at Edinburgh.

Toward the latter end of his life he was much afflicted with the stone; yet notwithstanding this, and other infirmities, he undertook a voyage to Holland, to attend the sale of Golius's manuscripts, as he had once before done at the sale of Heinsius's library. On his return to England, he fell into a languishing consumption, which put an end to his life the 12th of January 1696, in the 58th year of his age.

Beside the works of his before mentioned, he was author of many other compositions. He composed tables of the longitudes, latitudes, right-ascensions, &c, of the fixed stars: he wrote Observations on the Obliquity of the Ecliptic; and other pieces inserted in the Philosophical Transactious. He wrote also,

1. A Treatise of the Ancient Weights and Measures.

2. Chronologiæ Samaritanæ Synopsis, in two tables.

3. Testimonies of the Ancients concerning the Greek Version of the Old Testament by the Seventy.

And several other learned works. Besides a great number of valuable manuscripts left at his death.

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Entry taken from A Mathematical and Philosophical Dictionary, by Charles Hutton, 1796.

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* BERNARD (Dr. Edward)
BERNARD (Dr. James)