Ernest Renan

Historian, philologist, Semitic scholar, and critic, Ernest Renan was considered one of France’s foremost thinkers during the later years of the Second Empire. Born in Brittany, he began studies for the priesthood and became an accomplished Hebraic scholar. Renan’s work on sacred texts, however, presented him with grave doubts concerning the divine inspiration of the Bible and revealed religion in general. In 1845 he gave up his ideas of becoming a priest and devoted himself to the new religion of science. His conviction that the future of the world rested in science is expressed in l’Avenir de la Science (English: The Future of Science), written around 1848 though not published until 1890. Renan never lost his idealism nor abandoned the … Continue reading