"The Life of Jesus" is a book based on the idea that the life of Jesus should be written like the life of any historic person, and that the Bible could and should be subject to the same critical scrutiny as other historical document. Renan attributed the idea of the book to his sister, Henriette, with whom he was traveling in Ottoman Syria and Palestine when, struck with a fever, she died suddenly. With only a New Testament and copy of Josephus as references, he began writing. The book was based largely on the Gospel of John, and was a scholarly work. It depicted Jesus as a man but not God, and rejected the miracles of the Gospel. Renan believed by humanizing Jesus he was restoring to him a greater dignity. "The Life of Jesus" promoted racial ideas and infused race into theology and the person of Jesus; the author depicted Jesus as a Galilean who was transformed from a Jew into a Christian, and that Christianity emerged purified of any Jewish influences.
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