The Gospel According to Renan: Reading, Writing, and Religion in Nineteenth-Century France

Hardcover | March 12, 2015

byRobert D. Priest

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The Gospel According to Renan provides a new and holistic interpretation of one of the non-fiction sensations of the nineteenth century: Ernest Renan's Life of Jesus (Vie de Jesus). Published in 1863, Renan's book aroused enormous controversy through its claim to be a historically accuratebiography of Jesus. While Life of Jesus provoked the ire of the Catholic Church in hundreds of sermons and pamphlets, it also sold hundreds of thousands of copies, making a fortune for its author and his publisher. Based on research into a huge range of print and manuscript sources, The Gospel According to Renan demonstrates how Renan's work intervened in a remarkable range of debates in nineteenth-century French cultural life. These went far beyond questions of religion, from the role of individuals inhistory to the meaning and significance of "race". Through an engaging reconstruction of Renan's intellectual formation, Priest shows how Renan's ideas grew out of the context of Parisian intellectual life after his loss of faith in the 1840s. Going beyond a traditional intellectual history, Priestuses a wide range of new manuscript sources, many of which have never been examined by modern historians, in order to reconstruct the ways that ordinary French men and women engaged with one of the great religious debates of their age. By tracing the legacy of Life of Jesus into the early years ofthe twentieth century, Priest finally shows how Renan's work found new political meaning in the heated debates over secularisation that divided French society in the young Third Republic.

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The Gospel According to Renan provides a new and holistic interpretation of one of the non-fiction sensations of the nineteenth century: Ernest Renan's Life of Jesus (Vie de Jesus). Published in 1863, Renan's book aroused enormous controversy through its claim to be a historically accuratebiography of Jesus. While Life of Jesus provoke...

Robert D. Priest studied at University College London, wrote a doctorate at Oxford, and was then a Research Fellow at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge. He is the author of numerous articles on culture and ideas in nineteenth-century France. This is his first book.

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:288 pages, 8.5 × 5.43 × 0.87 inPublished:March 12, 2015Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0198728751

ISBN - 13:9780198728757

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Table of Contents

1. Introduction2. The Author3. The Book4. The Debate5. The Audience6. The LegacyEpilogue: Saint RenanBibliography