Renowned Historian Was a UH Professor

By | July 23, 2012

(Source: Michael Tsai The Honolulu Star-Advertiser (MCT) — For more than 35 years, some of the most important new ideas on world history have been generated, explored and debated in the little corner of the Pacific that Jerry Bentley called home.

Bentley, a professor of history at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, died July 15 at the age of 62.

A widely published and oft-cited expert on the history of early modern Europe and cross-cultural interactions and exchanges in world history, Bentley was instrumental in the establishment of UH’s Center for World History and was the founding editor of the Journal of World History.

“You couldn’t ask for a better colleague,” said James Kraft, professor of history and graduate chairman of the UH-Manoa History Department. “He was an outstanding scholar, a true gentleman and a great role model for young faculty and the numerous graduate students he worked with.”

A native of Alabama, Bentley held a bachelor’s degree from the University of Tennessee and a master’s degree and Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota. He joined the UH faculty in 1976.

Bentley earned numerous awards both as a historian and a teacher, including the 2011 World History Association Pioneers in World History Award.

Bentley collaborated with Herbert Ziegler on the college-level textbook “Traditions and Encounters,” now in its fifth edition.

Bentley’s other books include “Humanists and Holy Writ: New Testament Scholarship in the Renaissance,” “Politics and Culture in Renaissance Naples” and “Old World Encounters: Cross-Cultural Contacts and Exchanges in Pre-Modern Times.”

Colleagues and students remembered Bentley as an accomplished academic with high standards, a good sense of humor and an easygoing personality.

Doctoral candidate Lance Nolde said Bentley was “one of the most influential historians in the world and was the creator and backbone of the world history program at UH-Manoa.”

“(Bentley) influenced countless students and scholars, many of whom are now professors themselves, undoubtedly passing on the Bentley perspective on world history,” Nolde said.

Bentley is survived by wife Carol Mon Lee, stepson Michael Lee Shinn, parents William Carey and Billie Bentley, and brothers Murry and Larry.

The family requests donations to the Jerry H. Bentley Endowed Scholarship at the University of Hawaii at Manoa through the UH Foundation.

To make a gift, please send checks made payable to “UH Foundation” to UH Foundation, P.O. Box 11270, Hono­­lulu HI 96828-0270 (Attn: Lori Admiral), and reference “Jerry H. Bentley endowed fund” in the memo section. To give online, go to JerryBentleyFund.


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Source: Michael Tsai The Honolulu Star-Advertiser (MCT)

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