William Bruce

1757-1841; b. Dublin; ed. TCD, and Warrington; Presbyterian minister, Lisburn, Co. Antrim, 1779, Dublin, 1782, Belfast 1789-?1831; principal of Belfast Acad., 1790-1822; DD Glasgow, 1786; a founder of the Unitarian society, 1831; settled in Dublin, 1836; issued exegetical works. ODNB


W. B. Stanford
, Ireland and the Classical Tradition (IAP 1976; this edn. 1984), gives an account of The State of Society in the Age of Homer (1827), by William Bruce, a Dublin-born Presbyterian minister and a leading member of the Belfast Literary Society who had previously published an essay on the advantages of a classical education. Further, 'Bruce considers that previous historians have dealt with “civil and military affairs ... without ... tracing the progress of manners and civilisation from one period to another”, and undertakes to introduce the reader “to the interior of a family that existed three thousand years before we were born.” [Bruce] ends with a plea for tolerance based on the understanding that each country and each age find the “usages” of another shocking or revolting. Stanford considers that the book helped turn scholars’ minds to the sociological aspects of ancient history. (pp.151-52.)

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