Ernest Renan


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Renan, Ernest

(ĕrnĕst` rənäN`), 1823–92, French historian and critic. He began training for the priesthood but renounced it in 1845. His first trip to Italy (1849) influenced his interest in antiquity but did not change most of his basic ideas, formed by 1848 when he wrote L'Avenir de la science (1890, tr. 1891). Relativistic, concerned with fundamental problems of human nature, he studied religion from a historical rather than a theological point of view. He wrote Histoire des origines du christianisme (8 vol., 1863–83; tr. The History of the Origins of Christianity, 5 vol., 1888–90), of which the first volume, Vie de Jésus, became his most widely known book, and the Histoire du peuple d'Israël (5 vol., 1887–93; tr. History of the People of Israel, 1888–96). In 1878 he was elected to the French Academy, and in 1883 he was made director of the Collège de France. Renan turned to creative writing in later years and, with irony and poetic style, composed Dialogues et fragments philosophiques (1876) and the much-discussed Drames philosophiques (1888). His subtle irony and beautiful prose are blended, sometimes whimsically, in the Souvenirs d'enfance et de jeunesse (1883; tr. Recollections of My Youth, 1883). Renan's influence was widespread.

Bibliography

See biographies by H. W. Wardman (1964) and R. M. Chadbourne (1968); studies by R. M. Chadbourne (1957) and V. V. Gaigalas (1972).

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References in periodicals archive ?
French philosopher and historian Ernest Renan and James Darmsteter played a major role in formation of the personality of Agaoglu, who received law degrees from France's Higher School of Applied Research and the Sorbonne University.
French philosopher Ernest Renan described the spirit of contempt in his 1871 work The Ethics of Intellectual Reform.
In 1882, the French thinker, Ernest Renan, delivered a famous lecture entitled 'What is a Nation?'.
While making mistakes and forgetting its history might be an indicator that Welsh nationhood is alive and kicking - under French historian Ernest Renan's famous definition of what makes a nation - the castles of Wales remain saddled, it would seem, with a heritage which is both a blessing and a curse.
Driver and higher criticism: mapping the differences of race in Genesis, from Ernest Renan to Anders Behring Breivik: continuities in racial stereotypes of Muslims and Jews, anachronistic whiteness and the ethics of interpretation, the Bible in the bush: the first "literate" Batswana Bible readers, and re-examining the master's tools: considerations on biblical studies' race problem.
Europeans encountering Islam in the Middle East and North Africa laid two major charges against the religion: that it wielded too much power over the state (Ernest Renan: "Islam is a fanaticism much worse than what was known in Spain at the time of Philip II and Italy at the time of Pius V") and that it mistreated women (Lord Cromer, the British consul general in Egypt from 1883 to 1907: "The position of women in Egypt is a fatal obstacle to the attainment of thought and character which should accompany the introduction of European civilization").
(95.) Ernest Renan, Address at the Sorbonne: What is a Nation?,

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