REMPHAN, rem'fan: The name of a deity mentioned only in Acts vii. 43. The readings of the name in the manuscripts are numerous, including the forms Rompha, Romphan, Rempha, Rephart, Raiphan, and Raphan. The passage is a free quotation from .Amos v. 26, in which the New-Testament (A. V.) "Remphan" (R. V., "Rephan"; Westcott and Hort, Rompha) displaces the Old-Testament "Chiun" (Babylonian Kaawanu, "Saturn"), here following the Septuagint manuscripts BAQ, which read Raiphan or Rephan. No deity named Remphan or Rephan is known, nor is the form known to occur as a title or name for Saturn. On the ground that the change from the form Chiun to Remphan, etc., occurs in the Septuagint, which was made in Egypt, explanations have been attempted, but have proved unsatisfactory, which take into account supposed Egyptian names or combinations, e.g., a Coptic form meaning "king of heaven" (it seems far to go to seek a Coptic form, and the Egyptian equivalent of this Coptic would bear no resemblance to "Remphan"), or an alleged title of Seb (=Saturn) meaning "youngest of the gods" (which is far-fetched, unusual, and unlikely). The best and generally accepted explanation is that the Septuagint form, which Acts borrows, is a mistake in the reading of the Hebrew for "Chiun," a mistake easily explicable when the form of the letters is taken into account.
BIBLIOGRAPHY: The commentaries on Amos and Acts; Schrader, KAT, p 409, note 1, 410 note 6; idem, in TSK, 1874, pp. 324 sqq.
RENAN, re-nun', JOSEPH ERNEST: French orientalist; b. at Tréguier (60 m. n.e. of Brest and 5 m. from English Channel), Brittany, Feb. 27, 1823; d. at Paris Oct. 2, 1892. Having lost his father at the age of five, his early training was received from his mother and his sister Henriette, eleven years older than himself, in the pious atmosphere of his Breton home. In 1838 he went to Paris and studied four years in the petit séminaire of St. Nicholas de Chardonnet, after which he studied philosophy at the grand séminaire of Issy (1842-44) and theology at St. Sulpice (1844-45). Even at Issy the skepticism had been aroused which was later to lead him
Meanwhile Renan had gone to Palestine with his sister Henriette (d. at Byblus, now Jebeil, 20 m. s.w. of Tripoli, in 1860), and there he wrote in the hut of a Maronite on Mt. Lebanon his Vie de Jésus (the first volume of his Origines du chriaianisme), which made a sensation both within and without religious circles throughout Europe. A flood of replies from Roman Catholics and Protestants alike gave the book a distinction which it did not merit. Yet as contrasted with D. F. Strauss' work of the same title Renan's book marks an advance. The unhistorical method of presenting the origin of Christianity upon the scheme of the Hegelian philosophy is given up. The myth theory of Jesus was changed to a legend theory, and the personality of Christ was sought from the geographical, social, cultural, and religious conditions under which he lived and worked. Amid the locally colored picture of the land and the people of Galilee the figure of Jesus is given a setting; not in accordance with the laws of historic truth, but with the esthetic motives and philosophical preconceptions of the author. With the most unbridled license in the treatment of his sources, of which the Fourth Gospel was the most expedient for his esthetic object, he produced a romance which would have been an admirable tribute to his poetic power had his hero been a character less ethical than Jesus. To him Jesus was a gentle Galilean, the darling of women, and an exquisite preacher of morality, dreaming of no other than the paradise of fraternal fellowship of the children of God upon earth; yet filled with ambition, vanity, sensual love, and undisguised deceit. The first sojourn of Jesus in Galilee was a delightful idyll; for a year, perhaps, God was on earth; a constant charm as of magic proceeded from Jesus. But the Baptist transformed him into a religious revolutionary, a sinister prophet, who assumed the role of the Messiah, accommodating the desire for the miraculous of his simple disciples, and perishing in the battle with orthodox Judaism. The great mistake of Jesus with Renan was to forget that the ideal is fundamentally ever a utopia and in conflict with the material for realization loses its purity. Then he who lives for the true, the beautiful, and the good is nearer to God than the man of deeds. The forgetting of this was the tragical in the life of Jesus. The moment Jesus entered the battle with evil and sought to reclaim souls for the kingdom of God, Renan s understanding and sympathy ceased. Was Jesus doubtless possessed of "captivating beauty," Paul, on the other hand, was a Jew of hideous appearance, barbarous in speech, and clumsy in thought. He was the first Protestant, the father of a horrible theology which taught predestined damnation. On the day when Paul wrote his first letter, the decadence of Christianity began. The scientific value of the later volumes of the Origines du christianisme was higher, since the pen of Renan was less swayed by personal sympathy or antipathy. The Vie de Jésus was a decisive factor in its author's career. After delivering his inaugural address at the Collège de France on Feb. 21, 1862, he was suspended; though the agitation did not rest until, on June 11, 1864, Napoleon authorized his recall. An honorable position in the national library was declined that he might devote himself to his studies, but in 1871 he was restored to his professorship, and in 1879 became a member of the Academy. From 1884 to his death he was administrator of the Collège de France.
The life of Renan was essentially twofold; he was, on the one hand, the serious and accurate scholar, on the other, a wit and a dillettante. Fortunately he always valued his scientific activity more highly than his philosophy, and laid far more stress on such contributions as his History of the People of Israel and his labors on the Corpus inscriptionum Semiticarum than on his loose and sprightly philosophical writings, the pyrotechnic of which enraptured all Europe. Nevertheless his less worthy activity is that by which he has become best known both to his contemporaries and to posterity. More and more, as his early ideals proved impracticable, Renan lost his intellectual bearings, ending in an abysmal skepticism which clothed itself in jest and frivolity. The universe was to him a bad joke and a merry life was its best commentary: such was the quintessence of his philosophy. Like Voltaire, Renan was willing to be "the god of
BIBLIOGRAPHY: The best list of books dealing with Renan or his works is in H. P. Thieme, Guide bibliographique de la littérature française 1800-1908, pp. 338-345, Paris, 1907 (indispensable for a complete study); a fairly good list of works is in Baldwin, Dictionary, iii. 1, pp. 438-439. His life has been written by: E. Ledrain, Paris, 1892, H. Desportes and F. Boumand, Paris, 1893; S. Pawlicki, Vienna, 1894; F. Espinasse, New York, 1895; Mrs. A. M. F. R. Darmesteter, New York, 1897; E. Platzhoff, Leipsic, 1900; and W. Barry, New York, 1905. Consult further: B. Bauer, Philo, Strauss and Ronan und das Urchrtstenthum, Berlin, 1874; P. Bourget, Ernest Renan, Paris, 1883; idem, Essai de psycholagie contemporaine, . . . M. Renan, ib. 1885; F. Tarroux, Jésus-Dieu et M. Renan philosophe, Paris, 1887; M. Millioud, La Religion de M. Ronan, Paris, 1891; Sir M. E. G. Duff, Ernest Renan: in Memoriam, New York, 1893; G. Monod, Les Maítres de l'histoire, Renan, Taine, Michelet, Paris, 1894 (crowned by the French Academy); G. Sésilles, Ernest Renan. Essai de biographie psychologique, Paris, 1894; R. Allier, La Philosophie d'Ernest Renan, Paris, 1895; G. Paris, Penseurs et po&egave;tes, Paris, 1896; J. Simon, Quatre portraits: Lamartine, Lavigerie, E. Renan, Guillaume II., Paris, 1896; E. Renan and M. Berthelot, Correspondance, 1847-1892, ib. 1898; C. Denis, La Critique irréligieuse de Renan, ib. 1898; H. G. A. Brauer, The Philosophy of Ernest Renan, University of Wisconsin, 1904; G. Sorel, Le Système historique de Renan, Paris, 1906; Vigouroux, Dictionnaire, fasc. xxxiv. 1041-43.
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