Each anniversary of the birth of Pascal, who abandoned science and converted to Christianity, necessarily coincides with the anniversary of Renan, two centuries younger, who followed the exact opposite course. What an irony or a challenge to honour them both! Very few people have been subjected to as much of a storm of attacks during their lifetime and after their deaths as Renan. He was considered no less than the Antichrist himself. But very few were also read and admired as much as he was, with his books circulating in tens of thousands of copies. Only Hugo and Dumas enjoyed such publishing success in the French 19th century. Jesus and the Christian Church, the Greek miracle, Europe and the nation are some of the fields in which this wizard of the French language exercised his talent. Renan was also connected in many ways with the intellectual affairs of modern Greece, and not only through his daughter-in-law Yannis Psicharis.

The Speakers:

Lampros Varelas, Professor of Modern Greek Philology, Department of Philology, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki

“Ernest Renan’s reception in 19th century Greece”

Efi Gazi, Professor of Modern History, University of the Peloponnese

“Ernest Renan and the nation”

Stavros Zoumboulakis, President of the Electoral Council of the National Library of Greece

“Life of Jesus: an explosive book that no longer challenges anyone. How can we read it today?”

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