Renan writes in 1864 in the Revue de théologie
|November 17, 2011||Posted by webmaster under All text of Schweitzer Quest Jesus, chapter thirteen||
Renan was defended by the Siècle, the Débats, 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 who hailed Renan’s work as a great achievement, 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. From the standpoint of orthodox scholarship E. de Pressense condemned him; and proceeded without loss of time to refute him in a large-scale Life of Jesus. He was answered by Albert Reville, 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 théologie, “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.”
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, Réville, and Scherer. Others of the school were Michel Nicolas of Montauban and Gustave d’Eichthal. Nefftzer, the editor of the Temps, who was at the same time a prophet of coming 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.
 Ernest Havet, Professeur au Collège de France, Jésus dans l’historie. Examen de la vie de Jésus par M. Renan. Extrait de la Revue des deux mondes. Paris, 1863. 71 pp.
 Zwei französische Stimmen über Renans Leben-Jesu, von Edmond Scherer und Athanase Coquerel, d.J. Ein Beitrag zur Kenntnis des französischen 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.)
 E. de Pressensé, L’Êcole critique et Jesus-Christ, à propos de la vie de Jésus de M Renan.
 E. de Pressense, Jésus-Christ, son temps, sa vie, son œuvre. 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.
 La Vie de Jésus de Renan devant les orthodoxes et devant la critique. 1864.
 T. Colani, Pasteur, “Examen de la vie de Jésus de M. Renan,” Revue de théologie. Issued separately, Strasbourg-Paris, 1864. 74 pp.
Albert Schweitzer's The Quest of the Historical Jesus
|Also in print from Barnes and Noble
As an E-book at: