See also: Renan
Of alive sound, Renan was especially known like the author of popular the Vie of Jesus . This book contains a discussed thesis according to which the biography of Jesus was to be written like that of any other man and the Bible was to be subjected to a critical examination like any other historical document. This started passionate debates and the anger of the Catholic church.
Did Renan remain famous for the definition of the Nation which it gave in its speech of 1882 “What a nation? ”. Whereas German philosophers such as Fichte had defined the nation according to objective criteria like the “race” or the ethnicity (People), sharing common characters (the language for example), Renan simply defines it by the will to live together. In the context of the quarrel on the membership of the area of Alsace-Lorraine, he declared that the existence of a nation rested on “a plebiscite of the every day”.
Some dates of its lifeReceipt first with the aggregation of Philosophy in September 1848, he becomes arts doctor following a thesis on the Moslem philosopher Averroès finished in 1852. Of 1849 and 1850, he was operations manager in Italy.
In 1860, it carries out at the time of the French forwarding an archaeological mission with the Lebanon and in Syria. Hebrew professor of to the Collège de France in 1862, it is quickly suspended for judged remarks sacrilege on Jesus Christ. In its opening price of the Hebraic language class, chaldaïque and syriaque with the Collège de France, Ernest Renan an apocalyptic description of the Semitic dull-wittedness makes which is opposed to the Aryan genius and its heiress the European culture enriched with the Greek sources.
In 1863, the publication of its Life of Jesus , delivers writes at the time of its stay in Lebanon, is a great success and made scandal. The pope Black and white IX, very affected, treated it European blasphemer , and in 1864, the Minister for the State education Victor Duruy removes his course.
It was high with the rank of Large-officer of the Légion of honor.
Complete biographyErnest Renan was born in a family from fishing the USSR; his/her grandfather, having acquired a certain ease, had bought a house where it had been established; his/her father, captain of a small ship and convinced republican, had married the girl of royalist tradesmen of the city close to Lannion. All its life, Renan felt torn between the political beliefs of his/her father and those of his mother. It was five years old when his/her father died, his Henriette sister, twelve years its elder, became the moral chief of the family. Having in vain tried to open a school for girls with Tréguier, it left for Paris as professor in a school young girls. Ernest, while waiting, was informed with the seminar of its birthplace, today Ernest-Renan college. The appreciations of its Masters describe it like “flexible, patient, applied, careful”. The priests gave him a solid education in Mathématiques and in Latin, his/her mother supplemented it. It was only with Breton half , its paternal ancestors had come from Bordeaux and Renan confessed that in his own nature the Gascon and the Breton one did not cease running up.
In 1838, Renan had gained all the prices with the seminar of Tréguier. His/her sister spoke about him during the summer with the Parisian principal where she taught and he spoke itself about it with the abbot Felix Dupanloup, who had created the seminar of Saint Nicolas's Day of the Hanging-post, a school where the young catholic aristocrats and the pupils most endowed with the seminars were to be educated together, in order to reinforce the bond between the aristocracy and the clergy. Dupanloup thus made come Renan, which was only fifteen years old and Brittany had never left. “I learned with astonishment that there were the laic serious ones and scientists the words talents, glare, reputation had for me a direction. ” However the religion appeared completely different to him in Tréguier and Paris. Surface Catholicism, shining, pseudo-scientist of the capital, did not manage to satisfy this boy who had received an austere faith of his Breton Masters.
In 1840, Renan left Saint Nicolas's Day of the Hanging-post to continue its studies of philosophy to the seminar of Issy-les-Moulineaux. It entered filled of passion for the catholic scholastic because it was tired of the Rhétorique of Saint Nicolas's Day and it hoped to satisfy its serious intelligence with the vast material which the catholic Théologie offered to him. Among the philosophers Reid and Malebranche attracted it immediately and, after them, it turned to Hegel, Kant and Herder. At this point in time it started to see an essential contradiction between the Métaphysique that it studied and the Foi which it professed, but a taste for the verifiable truths retained its skepticism. He wrote in Henriette that philosophy satisfies only half the hunger of truth; he felt attracted by mathematics. His/her sister had accepted in the family of the count Zamoyski a station more lucrative than her old employment. It is it which exerted the strongest influence on his/her brother, and the letters of them which one published indicate a spirit almost equal to that of his brother, at the same time as it is morally higher to him.
It is not philosophy but the Philologie which was to wake up the doubt at Renan. Its finished studies with Issy, it entered to the seminar Saint-Sulpice to study the biblical texts before taking the orders and started to learn the Hebrew . It noted whereas the second part of Isaïe differs from first not only as for the style, but as for the date, that the grammar and the history of the Pentateuque are posterior at the time of Moïse and that the Livre of Daniel is obviously apocryphal book. Intellectually Renan felt detached the catholic belief, even if its sensitivity always maintained there. The fight between vocation and conviction was gained by the conviction. October 6th 1845, Renan left Saint-Sulpice to become supervisor with the Stanislas college, directed by the Oratoriens. But this solution implying “an acknowledged profession external of cléricature”, it preferred to break the last bond which retained it with the religious life and it entered to the private pension of Mr. Crouzet “ like repeater to the par, i.e., according to the language of the Latin Quarter of then, without salary. had a small room, the table with the pupils, hardly two hours per day occupied, much of time consequently to work. That satisfied fully. ”
Renan, in spite of its education by priests, was to accept the scientific ideal fully. The splendor of cosmos was for him a rapture. At the end of its life, he wrote about Amiel, “the man who has time to hold a diary included/understood forever the vastness of the universe.” The certainty of physics and the natural science were revealed in Renan in 1846 by the future chemist Marcellin Berthelot, then eighteen years old, its pupil with the pension of Mr. Crouzet. Until the death of Renan, their friendship was to be continued. In this favorable atmosphere Renan continues its research in Semitic philology and, in 1847, it obtained the price of Volney, one of the principal rewards decreed by the Academy of the Inscriptions and Belles-Lettres, for the manuscript of its “General History of the Semitic languages”. In 1847, it was accepted first with aggregation of Philosophy and was named professor with the college of Vendôme.
From 1860 to 1861, it carries out at the time of French forwarding an archaeological mission in Lebanon and in Syria. It remained with his Cornélie wife and her Henriette sister in the residence of Zakhia Chalhoub El-Kallab, commercial rich person Maronite of Amchit (area of Byblos) resulting from a anoblie family by the Othomans and founder of the first hospital in Lebanon (Hospital Saint Michel of Amchit). On a plate fixed on the wall of the residence, one reads that it is also in Amchit that Renan found serenity and the inspiration necessary to write one of its major works: Life of Jesus. It is here also, which Henriette, deceased in 1861, rests in the family vault Zakhia, " very close to the church of this village which it has so much aimée".
Renan was not only one scholar. While studying Saint Paul or Apostle S, it shows how much he is concerned of more developed social life, which is its direction of fraternity, and how much lives again in him the democratic feeling which had inspired the Future of science . In 1869, it was presented to Meaux as a candidate of the liberal opposition to the legislative elections. While its temperament had become less aristocratic, its liberalism had evolved to the tolerance. The day before its dissolution, Renan was almost ready to accept the empire, and, if he had been elected with the legislative Body, he would have joined the liberal group of the Bonapartists. One year after burst the Franco-German war, the empire fell and Napoleon III left for the exile. The Franco-German war was one moment hinge in the intellectual history of Renan. For him, Germany had always been the asylum of the thought and not involved science. Now, he saw the country which represented its ideal to destroy and ruin the ground where he had been born; he did not see any more the German like a priest, but like an invader.
In the intellectual and moral Reform (1871), Renan sought to safeguard the future of France. However it remained under the influence of Germany. The ideal and the discipline which he proposed with his overcome country were those of the winner: a feudal company, a monarchical government, an elite and the remainder of the nation existing only to make it live and nourish it; an ideal of honor and duty imposed by a small number on a recalcitrant or subjected multitude. The errors of the Commune confirmed Renan in this reaction. At the same time, the irony remains always perceptible in its work but becomes bitterer. Its philosophical Dialogs , written in 1871, its Ecclésiaste (1882) and its Antichrist (1876) (the fourth volume of the Origins of Christianity , treating reign of Néron) raise of an incomparable literary genius, but reveal a disillusioned character and skeptic. After having in vain tried to make follow to its country its precepts, he resigned himself to observe his drift towards perdition. The continuation of the events showed him on the contrary France which, each day, became again a little stronger and it awoke of its incredulity, of its attitude disillusioned to observe with interest the fight for the justice and the freedom of an democratic society. Its spirit was broadest of its time. The fifth and the sixth volumes of the Origines of Christianity ( the Christian Church and Marc-Aurèle ) show it reconciled with the democracy, trustful in the gradual rise of the Man, conscious that the largest catastrophes do not stop really the progress of the unperceivable but sure world. It had been reconciled all in all if not with the dogmas, at least with the beauties morals of the Catholicisme and the memories of its pious childhood.
In his old age, the philosopher threw a glance over his youths. He was almost sixty years old when, in 1883, he published his Souvenirs of childhood and youth , the work by which he is most known. One finds there this note lyric, these personal confidences to which the public attaches a great value at an already famous man. The blasé reader of its time discovered that there exists a world not less poetic, not less primitive than that of the Origines of Christianity and than there still existed in the memory of the men on the Western coast of France. These memories are penetrated of the Celtic magic of the old ancient novels while having simplicity, the naturalness and the veracity that the XIXe century so strongly appreciated. But its Ecclésiaste , published a few months earlier, its philosophical Dramas , gathered in 1888, always gives an image righter of its spirit, even if it appears meticulous, critical and disillusioned. They show the attitude which towards an instinctive socialism a liberal philosopher by conviction adopted, at the same time as he was aristocrat by temperament. We learn there that Caliban (the Démocratie), is rough stupid, but once one learns how to him to be caught in hand, it makes after a whole suitable leader; that Prospero (the aristocratic principle , or, if it is wanted, the Esprit) agrees to be seen deposited to gain there a larger freedom in the intellectual world, since Caliban appears an effective police officer who leaves with his superiors any freedom in their research; that Ariel (the principle religious) acquires a more exact feeling of the life and does not give up spirituality under the lame excuse of the change. Indeed, Ariel flowers with the service of Prospero under the apparent government of the innumerable louts. The Religion and the Connaissance are as imperishable as the world as they honor. Thus, coming from deepest from itself, it is the essential idealism which overcame at Renan.
Renan was a large worker. At the sixty years age, having finished the Origins of Christianity , it began its Histoire of Israel , based on a study which was to occupy all its life, that of the Old Testament and Corpus Inscriptionum Semiticarum , published under its direction by the Académie of the inscriptions and the humanities of 1881 until its death. The first volume of the Histoire of Israel appeared in 1887, the third in 1891, the two last on a purely posthumous basis. Like history of the facts and theories, the work is not without errors; like test on the evolution of the religious idea, it remains (in spite of some less serious, ironic or incoherent passages) of extraordinary importance; to make known to us the thought of Ernest Renan, it is where it is most alive.
In a volume which gathers tests, detached Feuilles , published him also in 1891, we find the same mental attitude, an assertion which piety is necessary, while being independent of the dogmas. He died after a disease of a few days. In its last years, it accepted many honors and was made administrator of the Collège de France and Large-Officer of the Légion of honor. In the eight last years of the XIXe century appeared two volumes of the Histoire of Israel , its correspondence with his/her Henriette sister, her Lettres with Mr. Berthelot and the Histoire of the Religious Policy of Philippe Beautiful the , which he had written in the years preceding his marriage immediately.
Ernest Renan died in 1892 and was buried with the Cimetière of Montmartre.
A maconnic cabin is named in its honor.
How Renan made its courses
Quotation: “ I followed to the Collège de France, rather regularly during three years, the course of Renan. Everyone knows how Renan made its Hebrew course. He prepared it only little or not. In this time, he explained the text of the Psalms. He took a verse, read it, translated it, read the Greek version of the Seventy for the comparison, quoted the conjectures of the oratorien Houbigant or some modern criticism for the correction of the text, weighing each word so to speak, and prohibiting neither the digressions nor the repetitions. Its opinion was that a professor of the Collège de France must work in front of his listeners, and he worked, indeed, in front of us, a little more slowly, I suppose, that in his cabinet. Altogether, its course was a very good initiation with the textual criticism of the Old Testament. It often spoke other thing there; but it is that especially that one could there learn ”.
Alfred Loisy, last Things
It shows fascinated by science and satisfying, only systems allowing knowledge human to consolidate from generation to generation, whereas the individual errors and selfishnesses have a resultant which necessarily is cancelled under the effect of antagonistic forces, and are dedicated not to leave any trace (see also the article Noosphère).
- Its relationship with the religion is complex. He criticizes it like system of thought while affirming his importance like factor of unification of the human society as well as the danger to be diverted some too hastily. In the future of science, it summarizes the situation while saying: When I am at the city, I make fun of that which goes to the mass; but when I am in the countryside, I make fun contrary to that which does not go there .
- Renan adopts immediately the idea of Natural selection defended by Charles Darwin. He shares with Arthur de Gobineau ideas Raciste S. Voir the paragraph higher and lower Races.
- It is shown in general anxious for the future of humanity, fearing its death by exhaustion of the generosity of the hearts, like that of industry perhaps a day by exhaustion of the pit coal . Perhaps our descendants will only live only like lizards thinking of benefitting idly from the sun (see Paradoxe of Fermi).
Interrogations on the universe
“nature is not obliged to yield with our small suitabilities. With this declaration of the man: “I cannot be virtuous without such or such dream”, the Eternal is in right to answer us: “So much worse for you. Your dreams could not force me to change the order of fate””.
“Of this supreme resultant of the total universe, we can say only one thing, it is that it is good. Because if it were not good, the total universe, which exists since eternity, would have been destroyed. Let us suppose a house of bank existing since eternity. If this house had the least defect in its bases, it had thousand times gone bankrupt. If the assessment of the world were not balanced by a profit with the profit of the shareholders, a long time ago that the world would not exist any more. (...) Pourquoi to be if there were no profit to be? It is so easy not to be not! ”
“Here, the mystery is absolute; we feel well in us the voice of another world; but we are unaware of which is this world. What tells us this voice? Rather clear things. From which does this voice come? Nothing more obscure. (...) It bursts especially in these these sublimes nonsenses where one engages, while knowing well that a bad calculation is made, in these four great madnesses of the man, the love, the religion, poetry the virtue, uselessnesss providential that the egoistic man denies and who, in spite of him, carry out the world. ”
Renan and BrittanyRenan was recognized of alive sound, at the same time by the inhabitants of its area trégorroise as by all Brittany, including by its enemies, like a large Breton intellectual.
Some quotations extracted the work of the academic Jean Balcou, Renan and Brittany (Champion 1992):
- It is certainly obvious that Breton Renan is not very Renan . p. 9.
That Ernest Renan is one of the most important authors of the French culture, no one will not dispute it. That it has, with two other Breton, Chateaubriand and Lamennais, directed the romanticism, a historian of the literature as Thibaudet had already established it by showing that the 19th entire century rested on this granitic base . (p.10).
… there is in the work of Renan the permanence of a Breton and Celtic music .
… through the destiny of an exceptional man confronted with the modernity, and which makes this modernity, we touch, beyond the History, so that it is necessary well to call a new “matter of Brittany " .
… I was, I am patriotic and I will never ignore the Great French fatherland nor of the Small Breton fatherland . H. Mauger, Lanionnais, August 11th, 1888, “a conference with Lannion, Speech of Mr. Renan”. p. 27.
… us other Breton, we are tough… In that, I was really Breton . Newspaper of DEBATEs, August 4th, 1884, speech and conferences 1887. City in the work of Balcou.
In addition, according to several testimonys, Renan was addressed to his/her mother into Breton.
To deny in Renan the qualifier of Breton writer thus amounts being opposed to the declarations of the writer himself.
- "Like the science"
- " The joint life returns commun"
- " To organize humanity scientifically, such is thus the last word of modern science, such is its daring but legitimates prétention"
- " Essence in education it is not the taught doctrines, it is the éveil."
It is important before giving extracts of them to point out that Renan did not hide its admiration for the Jewish people, the only one to have known to do without a long time this dream of individual survival and with which he did not reproach - at the end of a founded analysis on datings of texts (Proverbes, the Ecclésiaste, Livre of Job, etc) - for being let in the final analysis contaminate by this concept, considered to be by him absurd. The Judaism consequently became a religion like the others , renonçant with what had made its honor vis-a-vis them a long time (Renan was philologist of profession).
Et however, one also finds under his feather: the man can make very large things without accepting immortality; but it is necessary that one believes in it for him and around him .
" Renan is baited to repair with a hand what it destroys of the other " , about it George Sand had said.
God and science
“science will have described all that is recognizable in the universe, God then will be complete, if one makes word God the synonym of the total existence. In this direction, God will be rather than it is not: he is in fieri , he is in the process of be done. But to stop there would be an extremely incomplete theology. God is more than the total existence, it is at the same time the absolute. He is of the order where mathematics, metaphysics, logic is true, he is the place of the ideal, the principle living of the good, beautiful and truth. Considered kind, God is fully and without reserve; he is eternal and immutable, without progress nor to become”. (philosophical Dialog and fragments )
“ Our race did not begin with the taste from comfortable and the businesses. It was a race moral, brave, warlike, jealous of freedom and honor, liking nature, capable of devotion, preferring many things to the life. The trade, industry were exerted for the first time on large scales by Semitic people, or at least speaking a Semitic language, Phéniciens. With the Middle Ages, the Arabs and the Jews were also our Masters in fact of trade. All the European luxury, since Antiquity until the XVIIe century, came from the East. I say the luxury and not art: it there ad infinitum of the one with the other… ” (Which is what a nation?).
Renan could not however be unaware of the command " You will not make an image taillée" (and thus the possibility of taking it literally) as well as the exhortation not to seek to compete with the Creator by representing the human face which appears in the Coran (only it is true according to the sunnites) .
Like the majority of the orientalists of the time, Renan presents a negative vision of an Islam which would have been built only in opposition to the Occident:
“ This Moslem civilization, now if lowered, was formerly very brilliant. It had scientists, philosophers. It was, during centuries, the mistress of the Christian Occident. Why what was would not be it yet? Here is the precise point on which I would like to make carry the debate. There did it have really a Moslem science, or at least an allowed science by Islam, tolerated by Islam? There is in the facts that a very real share of truth is pled. Yes; year about 775, until worms the medium of XIIIe century, i.e. during five approximately hundred years, there was in the Moslem countries of the scientists, of the very distinguished thinkers. One can even say that, during this time, the Muslim world was higher, for the intellectual culture, in the Christian world (...) Islamism the time, direction general of " religion musulmane" can exist only like official religion; when one reduces it to the state of free and individual religion, he will perish. Islamism is not only one religion of State, like was to it Catholicism in France, under Louis XIV, as it is it still in Spain, it is the religion excluding the State… There is the eternal war, the war which will cease only when the last wire of Ismaël dies of misery or is relegated by terror to the bottom of the desert. Islam is the most complete negation of Europe; Islam is fanaticism, like Spain of the time of Philippe II and Italy of the time of Magpie V hardly knew it; Islam is the scorn of science, the removal of the civil society; it is the terrible simplicity of the Semitic spirit, narrowing the human brain, closing it with any delicate idea, any fine feeling, with any rational research, to put it opposite an eternal tautology: God is God… ” (Speech at the Collège de France On behalf of the Semitic people in the History of civilization , 1862 - Islam and Science, 1883).
Higher and lower racesthere
“ You made a book of most remarkable, full with strength and originality of spirit, only well little made to be included/understood in France or rather made to be badly included/understood there. The French spirit lends itself little to the ethnographic considerations: France believes very little in the race, the fact of the race is immense in the beginning; but it always goes loser of its importance, and sometimes as in France, it is able to be erased completely. Is this there absolutely to speak about decline? Yes, certainly from the point of view of the stability of the institutions, of the originality of the characters, a certain nobility of which I keep for my part the large account in the whole of the human things. But also that compensations! Undoubtedly if the noble elements interfered with blood people were able to be erased completely, then it would be one degrading equality, similar to that of certain States of the East and, in some connections of China. But it is that actually very a noble minor amount of blood put in the circulation of people is enough to ennoblir it, at least as for the historical effects; thus France, nation so completely fallen in commoner's condition, actually plays in the world the part of a gentleman. By putting aside the completely lower races whose interference with the great races would do nothing but poison the mankind, I design for the future a homogeneous humanity ”.
“… nature made a race of workmen. It is the Chinese race of a dexterity of marvellous hand, without almost any feeling of honor; control it with justice by taking of it for the benefit of such a government full a douaire with the profit of the conquering race, it will be satisfied; a race of workers of the ground, it is the negro: be for him good and human, and all will be in the order; a race of Masters and soldiers, it is the European race. That each one does it for what it is done and all will be well ”.
“ colonization into large is a political need completely for first order… The conquest of a country of lower race by a higher race does not have anything of shocking …”.
But its search for honesty will have also made him draw aside any over-simplification:
“ the truth is that there is no pure race and that to make put back the policy on the ethnographic analysis, it is to make it relate to a dream. The noblest countries, England, France, Italy, are those where blood is mixed the most. Does Germany make in this respect an exception? Is a pure Germanic country? What a illusion! All the South was Gallic. All Is, starting from Elba, is Slavic. And are the parts which one claims really pure it indeed? We touch here with one of the problems about which it is the most important to have clear ideas and to prevent the misunderstandings ”.
What a nation? , 1882
In any event, it is here about " races européennes". For the others, its certainty remain inébranlables, until the end of its life:
“ the inequality of the races is noted ”.
It had all its life admittedly denounced “the horrible mania of the certainty. ”
Premonition of the wars to come
Contrary to Victor Hugo for whom the 20th century would see the advent of world peace, Renan, in front of the cultural monolithism of Prussia, provides that this attitude will be able “to lead only to wars of extermination, similar to those which the various species of rodents or carnivores deliver for the life. It would be the end of this fertile mixture, composed of elements many and all necessary, which is called humanity”. The two world wars will come to confirm this painful presentiment.
- Of the origin of the language (1848)
- the Breton heart (1854)
- general History and systems compared of the Semitic languages (1855)
- Studies of religious history (1857)
- Tests of morals and criticism (1859)
- Prayer on the Acropolis (1865)
- Stories of the origins of Christianity - 7 volumes - (1863 - 1881)
- Life of Jesus (1863)
- the apostles (1866)
- Saint Paul (1869)
- the Antichrist (1873)
- Gospels and the second Christian generation (1877)
- the Christian church (1879)
- Marc-Aurèle and ancient end of the world (1882)
- Index (1883)
- the intellectual and moral reform of France (1871)
- philosophical Dramas
- Memories of childhood and youth (1883)
- History of the people of Israel (1887 - 1893), 5 volumes
- future of science, thoughts of 1848 (1890)
- contemporary Questions (1868)
- Tests of morals and criticism (1859)
- Henriette Renan, memory for those which knew it (1862)
- Mélanges of history and voyages (1878)
- Discours and conferences (1887)
- detached Feuilles (1892)
- Patrice (1908)
- intimate and romantic Fragments (1914)
- Voyages: Italy, Norway (1928)
- On Crow, Root and Bossuet (1928)
- Averroës and the averroïsme (1852)
- Of philosophia peripatetica, apud Syros (1852)
- Dialogs and fragments philosophical (1876)
- philosophical Examination of conscience (1889)
- Study of religious history (1857)
- the book of Job (1858)
- the Song of Songs (1860)
- literary History of France in XIVe century (1865), with the collaboration of Victor the Clerk
- the intellectual and moral reform of France (1871)
- Conferences of England (1880)
- the ecclésiaste (1881)
- New studies of religious history (1884)
- Buddhism (1884), Editions Lume
- Studies on the religious policy of the reign of Philippe Beautiful the (1899)
- religious Mixtures and histories (1904)
- psychological Test on Jesus-Christ (1921)
- Of the origin of the language (1848 - 1858)
- general History of the Semitic languages (1855)
- Mission of Phénicie (1864 - 1874)
- intimate Letters (1896)
- New intimate letters (1923)
- Correspondace with Berthelot (1898)
- Letters of the seminar (1902)
- Emanuelle (1913)
- Letters with his/her brother Alain (1926)
- Correspondence (1927)
- Books of youth (1906)
- New books of youth (1907)
- Work of youth (1931)
- Mission of Phénicie (1865 - 1874)
- the poetry of the Celtic races .
- What a nation? (marked Conference the March 11th 1882 with the Sorbonne)
- future of science (1890)
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