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The Quest of the Historical Jesus

* XIII *


Ernest Renan. La Vie de Jesus. 1863. Paris, Michel Levy Freres. 462 pp.
E. de Pressense. Jesus-Christ, son temps, sa vie, son ceuvre. Paris, 1865. 684 pp.

ERNEST RENAN WAS BORN IN 1823 AT TREGUIER IN BRITTANY. INTENDED for the priesthood, he entered the seminary of St. Sulpice in Paris, but there, in consequence of reading the German critical theology, he began to doubt the truth of Christianity and of its history. In October 1845, shortly before the time arrived for him to be ordained a sub-deacon, he left the seminary and began to work for his living as a private teacher. In 1849 he received a government grant to enable him to make a journey to Italy for the prosecution of his studies, the fruits of which appeared in his Averroes et I'Averroisme (Paris, 1852) ; in 1856 he was made a member of the Academic des Inscriptions; in 1860 he received from Napoleon III. the means to make a journey to Phoenicia and Syria. After his return in 1862 he obtained the professorship of Semitic Languages at the College de France. But the widespread indignation aroused by his Life of Jesus, which appeared in the following year, forced the Government to remove him from his office. He refused a post as Librarian of the Imperial Library, and lived in retirement until the Republic of 1871 restored him to his professorship. In politics, as in religion, his position was somewhat indefinite. In religion he was no longer a Catholic; avowed free-thought was too plebeian for his taste, and in Protestantism the multiplicity of sects repelled him. Similarly in politics, in the period immediately following the fall of the Empire, he was in turn Royalist, Republican, and Bonapartist. At bottom he was a sceptic. He died in 1892, already half-forgotten by the public; until his imposing funeral and interment in the Pantheon recalled him to its memory.

Like Strauss, Renan designed his Life of Jesus to form part of a complete account of the history and dogma of the early Church. His purpose, however, was purely historical; it was no part of his project to set up, on the basis of the history, a new system of dogma, as Strauss had desired to do. This plan was not only conceived, but carried out.


Les Apotres appeared in 1866; St. Paul in 1869; L'Ante-Christ in 1873; Les Evangiles in 1877; L'Eglise chretienne in 1879; Marc-Aurele et la fin du monde antique in 1881. Several of these works were more valuable than the one which opened the series, but for the world Renan continued to be the author of the Vie de Jesus, and of that alone.

He planned the work at Gaza, and he dedicated it to his sister Henriette, who died soon after, in Syria, and lies buried at Byblus.

This was the first Life of Jesus for the Catholic world, which had scarcely been touched—the Latin peoples least of all—by the two and a half generations of critical study which had been devoted to the subject. It is true, Strauss's work had been translated into French, [1] but it had made only a passing stir, and that only among a little circle of intellectuals. Now came a writer with the characteristic French mental accent, who gave to the Latin world in a single book the result of the whole process of German criticism.

But Renan's work marked an epoch, not for the Catholic world only, but for general literature. He laid the problem which had hitherto occupied only theologians before the whole cultured world. And not as a problem, but as a question of which he, by means of his historical science and aesthetic power of reviving the past, could provide a solution. He offered his readers a Jesus who was alive, whom he, with his artistic imagination, had met under the blue heaven of Galilee, and whose lineaments his inspired pencil had seized. Men's attention was arrested, and they thought to see Jesus, because Renan had the skill to make them see blue skies, seas of waving corn, distant mountains, gleaming lilies, in a landscape with the Lake of Gennesareth for its centre, and to hear with him in the whispering of the reeds the eternal melody of the Sermon on the Mount.

Yet the aesthetic feeling for nature which gave birth to this Life of Jesus was, it must be confessed, neither pure nor profound. It is a standing enigma why French art, which in painting grasps nature with a directness and vigour, with an objectivity in the best sense of the word, such as is scarcely to be found in the art of any other nation, has in poetry treated it in a fashion which scarcely ever goes beyond the lyrical and sentimental, the artificial, the subjective, in the worst sense of the word. Renan is no exception to this rule, any more than Lamartine or Pierre Loti. He looks at the landscape with the eye of a decorative painter seeking a motif for a lyrical composition upon which he is engaged. But that was not noticed by the many, because they, after all, were accustomed to have nature dressed up for them, and had had their taste so corrupted by a certain kind of lyricism that they had lost the

[1] La Vie de Jesus de D. Fr. Strauss. Traduite par M. Littre, 1840.


power of distinguishing between truth and artificiality. Even those who might have noticed it were so astonished and delighted at being shown Jesus in the Galilaean landscape that they were content to yield to the enchantment.

Along with this artificial feeling for nature a good many other things were accepted without question. There is scarcely any other work on the subject which so abounds in lapses of taste—and those of the most distressing kind—as Renan's Vie de Jesus. It is Christian art in the worst sense of the term—the art of the wax image. The gentle Jesus, the beautiful Mary, the fair Galilaeans who formed the retinue of the "amiable carpenter," might have been taken over in a body from the shop-window of an ecclesiastical art emporium in the Place St. Sulpice. Nevertheless, there is something magical about the work. It offends and yet it attracts. It will never be quite forgotten, nor is it ever likely to be surpassed in its own line, for nature is not prodigal of masters of style, and rarely is a book so directly born of enthusiasm as that which Renan planned among the Galilaean hills.

The essay on the sources of the Life of Jesus with which it opens is itself a literary masterpiece. With a kind of effortless ease he makes his readers acquainted with the criticism of Strauss, of Baur, of Reuss, of Colani. He does not argue, but simply sets the result vividly before the reader, who finds himself at once at home in the new world of ideas. He avoids any hard or glaring effects; by means of that skilful transition from point to point which Wagner in one of his letters praises as the highest art, everything is surrounded with atmosphere. But how much trickery and illusion there is in this art! In a few strokes he indicates the relation of John to the Synoptists; the dilemma is made clear, it seems as if one horn or the other must be chosen. Then he begins by artful touches to soften down the contrast. The discourses of John are not authentic; the historical Jesus cannot have spoken thus. But what about the statements of fact? Here Renan declares himself convinced by the graphic presentment of the passion story. Touches like "it was night," "they had lighted a fire of coals," "the coat was without seam," cannot have been invented. Therefore the Gospel must in some way go back to the disciple whom Jesus loved. It is possible, nay certain, that when as an old man he read the other Gospels, he was displeased by certain inaccuracies, and perhaps vexed that he was given so small a place in the history. He began to dictate a number of things which he had better means of knowing than the others; partly, too, with the purpose of showing that in many cases where Peter only had been mentioned he also had played a part, and indeed the principal part. Sometimes his recollection was quite fresh, sometimes it had been modified by time. When he wrote down the discourses, he had forgotten the Lake


of Gennesareth and the winsome words which he had listened to upon its shores. He was now living in quite a different world. The events of the year 70 destroyed his hopes of the return of his Master. His Jewish prejudices fell away, and as he was still young, he adapted himself to the syncretistic, philosophic, gnostic environment amid which he found himself in Ephesus. Thus even Jesus' world of thought took on a new shape for him; although the discourses are perhaps rather to be referred to his school than to himself. But, when all is said, John remains the best biographer. Or, to put it more accurately, while all the Gospels are biographies, they are legendary biographies, even though they come down from the first century. Their texts need interpretation, and the cine to the interpretation can be supplied by aesthetic feeling. They must be subjected to a gentle pressure to bring them together, and make them coalesce into a unity in which all the data are happily combined.

How this is to be done Renan shows later in his description of the death of Jesus. "Suddenly," he says, "Jesus gave a terrible cry in which gome thought they heard 'Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit,' but which others, whose thoughts were running on the fulfilment of prophecy, reported as 'It is finished.'"

The authentic sayings of Jesus are more or less self-evidencing. Coming in contact with one of them amid the welter of heterogeneous traditions, you feel a thrill of recognition. They leap forth and take their proper place, where their vivid power becomes apparent. For one who writes the life of Jesus on His native soil, the Gospels are not so much sources of information as incentives to revelation. "I had," Renan avows, "a fifth Gospel before my eyes, mutilated in parts, but still legible, and taking it for my guide I saw behind the narratives of Matthew and Mark, instead of an ideal Being of whom it might be maintained that He had never existed, a glorious human countenance full of life and movement." It is this Jesus of the fifth Gospel that he desires to portray.

In looking at the picture, the reader must not allow the vexed question of miracle to distract him and disturb the proper frame of mind. The author refuses to assert either the possibility or the impossibility of miracle, but speaks only as an historian. "We do not say miracle is impossible, we say only that there has never been a satisfactorily authenticated miracle."

In view of the method of treatment adopted by Renan there can, of course, be no question of an historical plan. He brings in each saying at the point where it seems most appropriate. None of them is passed over, but none of them appears in its historical setting. He shifts individual incidents hither and thither in the most arbitrary fashion. For example, the coming of Jesus' mother to seek Him (in the belief that


He is beside Himself) must belong to the later part of Jesus' life, since it is out of tone with the happy innocence of the earlier period. Certain scenes are transposed from the later period to the earlier, because they are not gloomy enough for the later time. Others again are made the basis of an unwarranted generalisation. It is not enough that Jesus once rode upon an ass while the disciples in the intoxication of joy cast their garments in the way: according to Renan, He constantly rode about even in Galilee, upon a mule, "that favourite riding-animal of the East which is so docile and sure-footed and whose great dark eyes, shaded by long lashes, are full of gentleness." Sometimes the disciples surrounded Him with rustic pomp, using their garments by way of carpeting. They laid them upon the mule which carried Him, or spread them before Him on the way.

Scenes of little significance are sometimes elaborately described by Renan while more important ones are barely touched on. "One day, indeed," he remarks in describing the first visit to Jerusalem, "anger seems to have, as the saying goes, overmastered Him; He struck some of the miserable chatterers with the scourge, and overthrew their tables." Such is the incidental fashion in which the cleansing of the temple was brought in. In this way it is possible to smuggle in a miracle without giving any further explanation of it. The miracle at Cana is brought, by means of the following unobtrusive turn of phrase, into the account of the period of success in Galilee. "One of His miracles was done by Jesus for the sole purpose of increasing the happiness of a wedding-party in a little country town."

This Life of Jesus is introduced by a kind of prelude. Jesus had been living in Galilee before He came to the Baptist; when He heard of the latter's success He went to him with His little company of followers. They were both young, and Jesus became the imitator of the Baptist. Fortunately the latter soon disappeared from the scene, for his influence on Jesus was in some respects injurious. The Galilaean teacher was on the verge of losing the sunny religion which He had learned from His only teacher, the glorious natural scenery which surrounded His home, and of becoming a gloomy Jewish fanatic. But this influence fell away from Him again; when He returned to Galilee He became Himself once more. The only thing which He had gained from John was some knowledge of the art of preaching. He had learned from him how to influence masses of men. From that time forward He preached with much more power and gained greater ascendancy over the people.

With the return to Galilee begins the first act of the piece. The story of the rise of Christianity is a pastoral play. Bauer, in his "Philo, Strauss, and Renan," writes with biting sarcasm: "Renan, who is at once author of the play, the stage-manager, and the director of the theatre,


gives the signal to begin, and at a sign from him the electric lights are put on full power, the Bengal fires flare up, the footlights are turned higher, and while the flutes and shawms of the orchestra strike up the overture, the people enter and take their places among the bushes and by the shore of the Lake." And how confiding they were, this gentle and peaceful company of Galilaean fisher folk! And He, the young carpenter, conjured the Kingdom of Heaven down to earth for a year, bv the spell of the infinite tenderness which radiated from Him. A company of men and women, all of the same youthful integrity and simple innocence, became His followers and constantly repeated "Thou art the Messiah." By the women He was more beloved than He Himself liked, but from His passion for the glory of His Father He was content to attract these "fair creatures" (belles creatures) and suffered them to serve Him, and God through Him. Three or four devoted Galilaean women constantly accompanied Him and strove with one another for the pleasure (le plaisir) of listening to His teaching and attending to His comfort. Some of them were wealthy and used their means to enable the "amiable" (charmant) prophet to live without needing to practise His handicraft. The most devoted of all was Mary Magdalene, whose disordered mind had been healed by the influence of the pure and gracious beauty (par la beaute pure et douce) of the young Rabbi.

Thus He rode, on His long-eyelashed gentle mule, from village to village, from town to town. The sweet theology of love (la delicieuse theologie de l'amour) won Him all hearts. His preaching was gentle and mild (suave et douce}, full of nature and the fragrance of the country. Wherever He went the people kept festival. At marriages He was a welcome guest; to the feasts which He gave He invited women who were sinners, and publicans like the good Zacchaeus.

"The Frenchman," remarks Noack, "takes the mummied figure of the Galilaean Rabbi, which criticism has exhumed, endows it with life and energy, and brings Him upon the stage, first amid the lustre of the earthly happiness which it was His pleasure to bestow, and then in the moving aspect of one doomed to suffer."

When Jesus goes up to the Passover at the end of this first year, He comes into conflict with the Rabbis of the capital. The "winsome teacher, Who offered forgiveness to all on the sole condition of loving Him," found in the capital people upon whom His charm had no effect. When He returned to Galilee He had entirely abandoned His Jewish beliefs, and a revolutionary ardour glowed in His heart. The second act begins. "The action becomes more serious and gloomy, and the pupil of Strauss turns down the footlights of his stage." [1] The erstwhile "winsome moral-

[1] Bruno Bauer in Philo, Strauss, und Renan.


ist" has become a transcendental revolutionary. Up to this point He had thought to bring about the triumph of the Kingdom of God by natural means, by teaching and influencing men. The Jewish eschatology stood vaguely in the background. Now it becomes prominent. The tension set up between His purely ethical ideas and these eschatological expectations gives His words from this time forward a special force. The period of joyous simplicity is past.

Even the character of the hero loses its simplicity. In the furtherance of His cause He becomes a wonder-worker. It is true that even before He had sometimes practised innocent arts such as Joan of Arc made use of later. [1] He had, for instance, pretended to know the unspoken thoughts of one whom He desired to win, had reminded him, perhaps of some experience of which he cherished the memory. He allowed the people to believe that He received knowledge of certain matters through a kind of revelation. Finally, it came to be whispered that He had spoken with Moses and Elias upon the mountains. But He now finds Himself compelled to adopt in earnest the role which He had formerly taken, as it were, in play. Against His will He is compelled to found His work upon miracle. He must face the alternative of either renouncing His mission or becoming a thaumaturge. He consented, therefore, to play an active part in many miracles. In this astute friends gave Him their aid. At Bethany something happened which could be regarded as a raising of the dead. Perhaps this miracle was arranged by Lazarus himself. When very ill he had allowed himself to be wrapped in the cerements of the dead and laid in the grave. His sisters sent for Jesus and brought Him to the tomb. He desired to look once more upon His friend, and when, overcome with grief, He cried his name aloud, Lazarus came forth from the grave. Why should the brother and sisters have hesitated to provide a miracle for the Master, in whose miracle-working power they, indeed, believed? Where, then, was Renan's allegiance to his "honoured master" Strauss, when he thus enrolled himself among the rationalists?

On these lines Jesus played His part for eighteen months, from the Easter of 31 to the Feast of Tabernacles of 32. How great is the change from the gentle teacher of the Sermon on the Mount! His discourse takes on a certain hardness of tone. In the synagogue at Capernaum He drives many from Him, offended by the saying about eating and drinking His flesh and blood. The "extreme materialism of the expression," which in Him had always been the natural counterpoise to the "extreme idealism of the thought," becomes more and more pronounced. His "Kingdom of God" was indeed still essentially the kingdom of the poor, the kingdom of the soul, the great spiritual kingdom; but He now

[1] Renan does not hesitate to apply this tasteless parallel.


preached it as the kingdom of the apocalyptic writings. And yet in the very moment when He seems to be staking everything upon a supernatural fulfilment of His hopes, He provides with remarkable prescience the basis of a permanent Church. He appoints the Twelve Apostles and institutes the fellowship-meal. It is certain, Renan thinks, that the "Supper" was not first instituted on that last evening; even in the second Galilaean period He must have practised with His followers the mystic rite of the Breaking of Bread, which in some way symbolised His death.

By the end of this period He had cast off all earthly ambitions. Nothing of earth existed for Him any more. A strange longing for persecution and martyrdom had taken possession of Him. It was not, however, the resolve to offer an atonement for the sins of His people which familiarised Him with the thought of death; it was forced upon Him by the knowledge that He had entered upon a path in which it was impossible for Him to sustain His role for more than a few months, or perhaps even weeks. So He sets out for Jerusalem, outwardly a hero, inwardly half in despair because He has turned aside from His true path. The gentle, faithful, long-eyelashed mule bears Him, amid the acclamations of the multitude, through the gate of the capital.

The third act begins: the stage is dark and becomes constantly darker, until at last, through the darkness of the scene, there is faintly visible only the figure of a woman-of her who in her deep grief beside the grave was by her vision to call to life again Him whom she loved. There was darkness, too, in the souls of the disciples, and in that of the Master. The bitter jealousy between Judas and John made one of them a traitor. As for Jesus, He had His hour of gloom to fight through in Gethsemane. For a moment His human nature awakened in Him; all that He thought He had slain and put behind Him for ever rose up and confronted Him as He knelt there upon the ground. "Did He remember the clear brooks of Galilee at which He might have slaked His thirst-the vine and the fig-tree beneath which He might have rested-the maidens who would perhaps have been willing to love Him? Did He regret His too exalted nature? Did He, a martyr to His own greatness, weep that He had not remained the simple carpenter of Nazareth? We do not know!"

He is dead. Renan, as though he stood in Pere Lachaise, commissioned to pronounce the final allocution over a member of the Academy, apostrophises Him thus: "Rest now, amid Thy glory, noble pioneer. Thou conqueror of death, take the sceptre of Thy Kingdom, into which so many centuries of Thy worshippers shall follow Thee, by the highway which thou hast opened up."

The bell rings; the curtain begins to fall; the swing-seats tilt. The epilogue is scarcely heard: "Jesus will never have a rival. His religion will again and again renew itself; His story will call forth endless tears;


His sufferings will soften the hearts of the best; every successive century will proclaim that among the sons of men there hath not arisen a greater than Jesus."

The book passed through eight editions in three months. The writings of those who opposed it had an equal vogue. That of Freppel had reached its twelfth edition in 1864. [1] Their name was legion. Whatever wore a soutane and could wield a pen charged against Renan, the bishops leading the van. The tone of these attacks was not always very elevated, nor their logic very profound. In most cases the writers were only concerned to defend the Deity of Christ, [2] and the miracles, and are satisfied that they have done so when they have pointed out some of the glaring inconsistencies in Renan's work. Here and there, however among these refutations we catch the tone of a loftier ethical spirit which has recognised the fundamental weakness of the work, the lack of any definite ethical principles in the writer's outlook upon life. [3] There were some indeed who were not content with a refutation; they would gladly have seen active measures taken against Renan. One of his most embittered adversaries, Amadee Nicolas, [4] reckons up in an appendix to his work the maximum penalties authorised by the existing enactments against free-thought, and would welcome the application of the law of the 25th of March 1822, according to which five years' imprisonment could be imposed for the crime of "insulting or making ridiculous a religion recognised by the state."

Renan was defended by the Siecle, the Debats, at that time the leading French newspaper, and the Temps, in which Scherer published five articles upon the book. Even the Revue des deux mondes, which had formerly raised a warning voice against Strauss, allowed itself to go with the stream, and published in its August number of 1863 a critical analysis by Havet [5] who hailed Renan's work as a great achievement,

[1] Charles Emile Freppel (Abbe), Professeur d'eloquence sacree a la Sorbonne. Examen critique de la vie de Jesus de M. Renan. Paris, 1864. 148 pp.

Henri Lasserre's pamphlet, L'Evangile selon Renan (The Gospel according to Renan), reached its four-and-twentieth edition in the course of the same year.

[2] Lettre pastorale de Monseigneur I'Archeveque de Paris (Georges Darboy) sur w divinite de Jesus-Christ, et mandement pour le careme de 1864.

[3] See, for example, Felix Antoine Philibert Dupanloup, Bishop of Orleans, Avertissement a la jeunesse et aux peres de famille sur les attaques dirigees centre religion par quelques ecrivains de nos jours. (Warning to the Young, and to Fathers of Families, concerning some Attacks directed against Religion by some Writers of our Time.) Paris, 1864. 141 pp.

[4] Amadee Nicolas, Renan et sa vie de Jesus sous les rapports moral, legal, et litteraire. Appel a la raison et la conscience du monde civilise. Paris-Marseille, 1864.

[5] Ernest Havet, Professeur au College de France, Jesus dans l'historie. Examen de la vie de Jesus par M. Renan. Extrait de la Revue des deux mondes. Pans, 1863. 71 pp.


and criticised only the inconsistencies by which he had endeavoured to soften down the radical character of his undertaking. Later on the Revue changed its attitude and sided with Renan's opponents. In the Protestant camp there was an even keener sense of distaste than in the Catholic for the sentimental gloss which Renan had spread over his work to make it attractive to the multitude by its iridescent colours. In four remarkable letters Athanase Coquerel the younger took the author to task for this. [1] From the standpoint of orthodox scholarship E. de Pressense condemned him; [2] and proceeded without loss of time to refute him in a large-scale Life of Jesus. [3] He was answered by Albert Reville, [4] who claims recognition for Renan's services to criticism.

In general, however, the rising French school of critical theology was disappointed in Renan. Their spokesman was Colani. "This is not the Christ of history, the Christ of the Synoptics," he writes in 1864 in the Revue de theologie, "but the Christ of the Fourth Gospel, though without His metaphysical halo, and painted over with a brush which has been dipped in the melancholy blue of modern poetry, in the rose of the eighteenth-century idyll, and in the grey of a moral philosophy which seems to be derived from La Rochefoucauld." "In expressing this opinion," he adds, "I believe I am speaking in the name of those who belong to what is known as the new Protestant theology, or the Strassburg school. We opened M. Renan's book with sympathetic interest; we closed it with deep disappointment." [5]

The Strassburg school had good cause to complain of Renan, for he had trampled their growing crops. They had just begun to arouse some interest, and slowly and surely to exercise an influence upon the whole spiritual life of France. Sainte-Beuve had called attention to the work of Reuss, Colani, Reville, and Scherer. Others of the school were Michel Nicolas of Montauban and Gustave d'EichthaI. Nefftzer, the editor of the Temps, who was at the same time a prophet of coming

[1] Zwei framosische Stimmen liber Renans Leben-Jesu, von Edmond Scherer und Athanase Coquerel, d.J. Ein Beitrag zur Kenntnis des franzosischen Protestantismus. Regensburg, 1864. (Two French utterances in regard to Renan's Life of Jesus, by Edmond Scherer and Athanase Coquerel the younger. A contribution to the understanding of French Protestantism.)

[2] E. de Pressense, L'Ecole critique et Jesus-Christ, a propos de la vie de Jesus de M Renan.

[3] E. de Pressense, Jesus-Christ, son temps, sa vie, son aeuvre. Paris, 1865. 684 pp. In general the plan of this work follows Renan's. He divides the Life of Jesus into three periods: i. The Time of Public Favour; ii. The Period of Conflict; iii. The Great Week. Death and Victory. By way of introduction there is a long essay on the supernatural which sets forth the supernaturalistic views of the author.

[4] La Vie de Jesus de Renan devant les orthodoxes et devant la critique. 1864.

[5] T. Colani, Pasteur, "Examen de la vie de Jesus de M. Renan," Revue de theologie. Issued separately, Strasbourg-Paris, 1864. 74 pp.


political events, defended their cause in the Parisian literary world. The Revue germanique of that period, the influence of which upon French literature can hardly be over-estimated, was their sworn ally. Then came Renan and threw public opinion into a ferment of excitement. Everything in the nature of criticism, and of progress in religious thought, was associated with his name, and was thereby discredited. By his untimely and over-easy popularisation of the ideas of the critical school he ruined their quiet work. The excitement roused by his book swept away all that had been done by those noble and lofty spirits, who now found themselves involved in a struggle with the outraged orthodoxy of Paris, and were hard put to it to defend themselves. Even down to the present day Renan's work forms the greatest hindrance to any serious advance in French religious thought.

The excitement aroused upon the other side of the Rhine was scarcely less than in Paris. Within a year there appeared five different German translations, and many of the French criticisms of Renan were also translated. [1] The German Catholic press was wildly excited; [2] the Protestant press was more restrained, more inclined to give the author a fair hearing, and even ventured to express admiration of the historical merits of his performance. Beyschlag [3] saw in Renan an advance upon Strauss, inasmuch as for him the life of Jesus as narrated in the Gospels, while not, indeed, in any sense supernatural, is nevertheless historical. For a certain school of theology, therefore, Renan was a deliverer from Strauss; they were especially grateful to him for his defence, sophistical though it was, of the Fourth Gospel. Weizsacker expressed his admiration. Strauss, far from directing his "Life of Jesus for the German People," with which he was then occupied, against the superficial and

[1] Lasserre, Das Evangelium nach Renan. Munich, 1864.

Freppel, Kritische Beleuchtung der E. Renan'schen Schrift. Translated by Kallmus. Vienna, 1864.

See also Lamy, Professor of the Theological Faculty of the Catholic University of Louvain, Renans Leben-Jesu vor dem Richterstuhle der Kritik. (Renan's Life of Jesus before the Judgment Seat of Criticism.) Translated by August Rohling, Priest. Miinster, 1864.

[2] Dr. Michelis, Renans Roman vom Leben-Jesu. Erne deatsche Antwort auf eine franzosische Blasphemie. (Renan's Romance on the Life of Jesus. A German answer to a French blasphemy.) Miinster, 1864.

Dr. Sebastian Brunner, Der Atheist Renan und sein Evangelium. (The Atheist Renan and his Gospel.) Regensburg, 1864.

Albert Wiesinger, Aphorismen gegen Renans Leben-Jesu. Vienna, 1864.

Dr. Martin Deutlinger, Renan und das Wunder. (Renan and Miracle. A contribution to Christian Apologetic.) Munich, 1864. 159 pp.

Dr. Daniel Bonifacius Haneberg, Ernest Renans Leben-Jesu. Regensburg, 1864.

[3] Willibald Beyschlag, Doctor and Professor of Theology, Uber das Leben-Jesu von Renan. A Lecture delivered at Halle, January 13, 1864. Berlin.


frivolous French treatment of the subject-as has sometimes been alleged - hailed Renan in his preface as a kindred spirit and ally, and "shook hands with him across the Rhine." Luthardt, [1] however, remained inexorable. "What is there lacking in Renan's work?" he asks. And he replies, "It lacks conscience."

That is a just judgment. From this lack of conscience, Renan has not been scrupulous where he ought to have been so. There is a kind of insincerity in the book from beginning to end. Renan professes to depict the Christ of the Fourth Gospel, though he does not believe in the authenticity or the miracles of that Gospel. He professes to write a scientific work, and is always thinking of the great public and how to interest it. He has thus fused together two works of disparate character. The historian finds it hard to forgive him for not going more deeply into the problem of the development in the thought of Jesus, with which he was brought face to face by the emphasis which he laid on eschatology, and for offering in place of a solution the highly-coloured phrases of the novelist.

Nevertheless, this work will always retain a certain interest, both for Frenchmen and for Germans. The German is often so completely fascinated by it as to lose his power of criticism, because he finds in it German thought in a novel and piquant form. Conversely the Frenchman discovers in it, behind the familiar form, which is here handled in such a masterly fashion, ideas belonging to a world which is foreign to him, ideas which he can never completely assimilate, but which yet

[1] Chr. Ernst Luthardt, Doctor and Professor of Theology, Die modernen Darstellungen des Lebens Jesu. (Modern Presentations of the Life of Jesus.) A discussion of the writings of Strauss, Renan, and Schenkel, and of the essays of Coquerel the younger, Scherer, Colani, and Keim. A Lecture. Leipzig, 1864.

Of the remaining Protestant polemics we may name:-

Dr. Hermann Gerlach, Gegen Renans Leben-Jesu 1864. Berlin.

Br. Lehmann, Renan wider Renan. (Renan versus Renan.) A Lecture addressed to cultured Germans. Zwickau, 1864.

Friedrich Baumer, Schwarz, Strauss, Renan. A Lecture. Leipzig, 1864.

John Cairns, D.D. (of Berwick). Falsche Christi und der wahre Christus, oder rerteidigung der evangelischen Geschichte gegen Strauss und Renan. (False Christs and the True, a Defence of the Gospel History against Strauss and Renan.) A Lecture delivered before the Bible Society. Translated from the English. Hamburg, 1864.

Bernhard ter Haar, Doctor of Theology and Professor at Utrecht, Zehn Vorlesungen uber Renans Leben-Jesu. (Ten Lectures on Renan's Life of Jesus.) Translated by H. Doermer. Gotha, 1864.

Paulus Cassel, Professor and Licentiate in Theology, Bericht uber Renans Leben-Jesu. (A Report upon Renan's Life of Jesus.)

J. J. van Oosterzee, Doctor and Professor of Theology at Utrecht, Geschichte oder Roman? Das Leben-Jesu von Renan vorlaufig beleuchtet. (History or Fiction? A Preliminary Examination of Renan's Life of Jesus.) Hamburg, 1864.


continually attract him. In this double character of the work lies its imperishable charm.

And its weakness? That it is written by one to whom the New Testament was to the last something foreign, who had not read it from his youth up in the mother-tongue, who was not accustomed to breathe freely in its simple and pure world, but must perfume it with sentimentality in order to feel himself at home in it.

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Kirby, Peter. "Historical Jesus Theories." Early Christian Writings. <>.