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Romance of M. Renan, and the Christ of the Gospels. Three Essays by Rev. Dr. Schaff and M. Napoleon Roussel.

by Philip Schaff

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French theologian Ernest Renan examined the life of Christ purely historically, following the trends of 19th century German higher criticism of the Bible. Renan was wary of accepting the history of any supernatural elements in the New Testament, and his skeptical reading of the Gospels led him to deny the divinity of Christ. For Philip Schaff, Renan's account of the Gospels was little more than a skeptic's flight of fancy, a romance constructed to cater to the author's presuppositions. The Romance of M. Renan and the Christ of the Gospels is Schaff's reply; he explains how Christ, as miraculous and supernatural, would perform miracles in accordance with his nature. A desperate willingness to explain away anything that defies modern, empirical sensibilities leads to nothing but nihilism and despair, Schaff argues. He hopes that his words reinvigorate thinking Christians, allowing them to have faith again after hearing Renan's assailment against Christian orthodoxy.

Kathleen O'Bannon
CCEL Staff
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