Joseph-Ernest Renan (1823-1892) was a French scholar of early Christianity, orientalist, philosopher. Professor of Hebrew at College de France from 1862. Wrote many works on the history of ancient Judaism. Hugely popular and influential in his own time. His assertions that the life of Jesus should be written like the life of any other man, and that the Bible could be subject to the same critical scrutiny as other historical documents sparked a flurry of debate, and enraged the Roman Catholic Church.