Joseph Ernest Renan

[Joseph Ernest Renan] Philosopher, critic, and Orientalist. Born on 28 February 1823 Treguier, France; died on 12 October 1892 in Paris, France. His early training was received from his mother and sister, and in the seminary of his village. He decided to enter the priesthood, and to that end! attended seminaries in Paris and Issy. His interest in Oriental philology and early Christianity led him to adopt the scepticism and rationalism of the Kantian philosophers, and in 1845 he left the seminary. The French government sent him on a scientific mission to Palestine where he wrote a life of Christ which was abhorrent to all Christians, regardless of sect. This was followed by an equally objectionable life of Saint Paul. These, together with monographs on Oriental studies, earned him renown as stylist rather than historian, and betrayed the Modernistic errors in his thought.

New Catholic Dictionary

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