The Life of Jesus

by Ernest Renan

The Life of Jesus > Dedicace

To the pure Soul of
my sister Henriette

Who died at Byblus,
on September 24th, 1861.

Henriette Renan

Dost thou recall, from the bosom of God where thou reposest long days at Ghazir, in which, alone with thee, I wrote these pages, inspired by the places we had visited together? Silent at my side, thou didst read an copy each sheet as soon as I had written it while the sea, the villages, the ravines, and the mountains were spread at our feet.

When the overwhelming light had given place to the innumerable army of stars, thy shrewd and subtle questions, thy discreet doubts, led me back to the sublime object of our common thoughts.

One day thou didst tell me that thou wouldst love this book — first, because it had been composed with thee, and also because it pleased thee. Though at times thou didst fear for it the narrow judgements of the frivolous, yet wert thou ever persuaded that all truly religious souls would ultimately take pleasure in it.

In the midst of these sweet meditations, the Angel of Death struck us both with his wing: the sleep of fever seized us at the same time — I awoke alone!…

Thou sleepest now in the land of Adonis, near the holy Byblus and the sacred stream where the women of the ancient mysteries came to mingle their tears.

Reveal to me, O good genius, to me whom thou lovedst, those truths which conquer death, deprive it of terror, and make it almost beloved.

manuscript dedicace Life of Jesus by Renan


tomb of Henriette Renan in Amchit

tomb of Henriette Renan in Amchit عمشيت (Lebanon)


original version (in French)

The Life of Jesus: contents

My sister Henrietta by Ernest Renan (1895 edition with photographies)

Henriette Renan, souvenir pour ceux qui l'ont connue (French edition)

Brother and sister, a memoir and the letters of Ernest and Henriette Renan (1896)

Lettres intimes, 1842-1845 (1922)

Henriette, la sœur accompagnatrice : le mémorial d'Amschit, by Tobie Zakhia, in Renan en Orient (2022)

Henriette, la sœur inspiratrice : le moment de Ghazir, by Charbel Matta, in Renan en Orient (2022)

Une visite au Liban : sur la tombe d'Henriette Renan, by Daniel Langlois-Berthelot, in Études renaniennes (1998)

Henriette Renan by Laudyce Rétat, in Études renaniennes (1986)

Le « Voyage en Orient » d'Henriette Renan (2007)

Xavier Nègre   © Lexilogos 2002-2024