Talk:Ernest Renan

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Quote by Ernest Renan?[edit]

I recently found the following quote: [a nation is] "a group of people united by a mistaken view about the past and a hatred of their neighbors." (Source: here for example)

I'm only wondering why this quote isn't listet here. Is it not by Ernest Renan? Actually, that's a paraphrased quote from William Ralph Inge's book "The End of an Age and Other Essays" (1948, p.127)" A nation is a society united by a delusion about its ancestry and by a common hatred of its neighbours. But there is a similiar quote attributed to Renan: "Getting its history wrong is part of being a nation." I don't know if it's really by him, though.--Frglz (talk) 13:39, 19 October 2013 (UTC)

Answer Ernest Renan never defined a nation as :   " a group of people united by a mistaken view about the past and a hatred of their neighbors."

this is from Karl Deutsch in "Nationalism and its alternatives"

(Renan wrote "the essential element of a nation is that all its individuals must have many things in common", they "must also have forgotten many things." in  "Qu’est-ce qu’une nation ?" - Conference 1882


  • All the great things of humanity have been accomplished in the name of absolute principles.
  • As a rule, all heroism is due to a lack of reflection, and thus it is necessary to maintain a mass of imbeciles. If they once understand themselves the ruling men will be lost.
  • Communism is in conflict with human nature.
  • Let us pardon him his hope of a vain apocalypse, and of a second coming in great triumph upon the clouds of heaven. Perhaps these were the errors of others rather than his own; and if it be true that he himself shared the general illusion, what matters it, since his dream rendered him strong against death, and sustained him in a struggle to which he might otherwise have been unequal?
  • Man makes holy what he believes.
  • Religion is not a popular error; it is a great instinctive truth, sensed by the people, expressed by the people.
  • The greatest men of a nation are those it puts to death.
  • The liberty of the individual is a necessary postulate of human progress.
  • The simplest schoolboy is now familiar with truths for which Archimedes would have sacrificed his life.
  • When people complain of life, it is almost always because they have asked impossible things of it.
  • Getting its history wrong is part of being a nation.
  • Never trust a German when he tells you he's an atheist.