Sir Peter Le Page Renouf - Encyclopedia

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SIR PETER LE PAGE RENOUF (1822-1897), Egyptologist, was born in Guernsey, on the 23rd of August 1822. He was educated at Elizabeth College there, and proceeded to Oxford., which, upon his becoming a Roman Catholic, under the influence of Dr Newman, he quitted without taking a degree. Like many other Anglican converts, he proved a thorn in the side of the Ultramontane party in the Roman Church, though he did not, like some of them, return to the communion of the Church of England. He opposed the promulgation of the dogma of Papal Infallibility, and his treatise (1868) upon the condemnation of Pope Honorius for heresy by the council of Constantinople in A.D. 680 was placed upon the index of prohibited books. He had been from 1855 to 1864 professor of ancient history and Oriental languages in the Roman Catholic university which Newman vainly strove to establish in Dublin, and during part of this period edited the Atlantis and the Home and Foreign Review, which latter had to be discontinued on account of the hostility of the Roman Catholic hierarchy. In 1864 he was appointed a government inspector of schools, which position he held until 1886, when his growing celebrity as an Egyptologist procured him the appointment of Keeper of Oriental Antiquities in the British Museum, in succession to Dr Samuel Birch. He was also elected in 1887 president of the Society of Biblical Archaeology, to whose Proceedings he was a constant contributor. The most important of his contributions to Egyptology are his Hibbert Lectures on "The Religion of the Egyptians," delivered in 1879; and the translation of The Book of the Dead, with an ample commentary, published in the Transactions of the society over which he presided. He retired from the Museum under the superannuation rule in 1891, and died in London on the 14th of October 1897. He had been knighted the year before his death. He married in 1857 Ludovica von Brentano, member of a well-known German literary family.

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