Averroes et l'Averroïsme. Essai historique.

Paris, Durand, 1852. 8vo. Contemporary half calf with of wear. Spine worn, lacking parts of capitals, and back hinge very weak. Usual brownspotting due to the paper quality. (4), XII, 367 pp.

First edition of Renan's first book, -the seminal work that placed the study of Renaissance philosophy on the philosophical map and earned Renan a doctorate of letters. This work constitutes the first proper monograph on the great Islamic philosopher, Ibn Rush, also called Averroes, who is considered the greatest commentator on the works of Aristotle, and it is principally because of this work that the great philosopher and scientist is seriously appreciated in Europe today. Besides dealing with Averroes himself, Renan studies the development and different branches of Averroism, focusing on the Jewish, Scholastic and Paduan ones. His focus on the Paduan Averroism (16th century) in this work has meant that Renaissance philosophy was finally given a role of its own in the history of philosophy, -it is with this work that the philosophy of the Renaissance is taken seriously in the study of philosophy.

"Memoirs on semitic languages and on the study of Greek in the Middle Ages were crowned by the Académie in 1848 and 1849 but do not seem to have been published. Renan's first book, published in 1852, was, in fact, "Averroes et l'Averroïsme" which earned him a doctorate of letters." (PMM 352). Renan has always been admired for his sharp mind, his great abilities and courage, but for the same reasons he was feared by many. "Dés 1852 il signalait dans la préface de son Averroës comme le trait caractéristique du dix-neuvième siècle la substitution de la méthode historique dans toutes les études relatives à l'esprit humain. Cette substitution est légitime; mais elle serait dangereuse si elle allait jusqu'à proscrire la théologie et la métaphysique... " (N.B.G. (1862) 51:984).

Ernest Renan (1823-1892) was a French philologist, philosopher and historian. His father died when he was aged five, and his mother wanted him to become a priest. Until he was about 16 years old, he was trained by the Church, but due to his investigative and truth-seeking nature as well as his studies (e.g. Hebrew), he was in doubt as to the historical truth of the Scriptures, and with the help of his sister he chose his own path in life. "He studied intensively the languages of the Bible and filled a number of minor academic positions, frequently encountering difficulties because of the heterodoxy and outspokenness of his religious opinions." (Printing and the Mind of Man 352). In 1840 he began studying philosophy and later philology, in 1847 he took his degree as Agrégé de Philosophie and became master at the Lycée of Vendome. After having returned from a mission to Italy in the year 1850 where he gathered material for his historical-philosophical masterpiece, "Averroës et l'Averroisme", he was offered employment at the "Bibliothèque Nationale" (at the manuscript department). In 1861 he was chosen to become professor of Hebrew at the Collège de France, but because the emperor refused to ratify the appointment (inspired by the Clerical party), he was not established in the chair untill 1870. In 1878 he was elected for the Academy. Renan is considered a scolar of the greatest excellence and an impressive writer.

Order-nr.: 44909

DKK 1.800,00