Arthur-Marie Le Hir

Arthur-Marie Le Hir (b. at Morlaix, Finistère, in the Diocese of Quimper, France, 5 December 1811; d. at Paris, 13 January 1868) was a French Biblical scholar and Orientalist.[1]


Entering the seminary of Saint-Sulpice, Paris, in 1833, he joined the Sulpicians after ordination, and was appointed professor of theology. He was then made professor of Sacred Scripture and also of Hebrew, to which branches he had been thoroughly formed by Garnier, a scholar, says Ernest Renan, "who had a very solid knowledge of languages and the most complete knowledge of exegesis of any Catholic in France" (Souvenirs d'enfance et de jeunesse, 269). Le Hir continued in this teaching till his death, about thirty years later, and through his own work and that of his pupil, Renan, he influenced powerfully the revival of Biblical and Oriental studies in France.[1]

Renan regarded him as the best Hebrew and Syriac scholar of France in his generation, and one, moreover, who was thoroughly versed in Biblical science, including the current German works, whose theories he combatted.[1]

Some lay to his uncompromising attitude the defection of Renan, which was so harmful to religion in France. Most students of his books would hesitate about accepting Renan's judgment, that he "was certainly the most remarkable man in the French clergy of our day" (op. cit., 273).[1] Robert Irwin states that Renan said his own grasp of Arabic was so bad because his teacher's was so bad.[2]


Le Hir published only a few articles, which, along with others, were collected, after his death, in the two volumes entitled "Etudes Bibliques", Paris, 1869. This work shows him at his best, in the range and solidity of his acquirements, and in the breadth of his views. His other writings, all posthumous, and not left by him ready for the press, are studies in the translation and exegesis of certain Biblical works: "Le Livre de Job" (Paris, 1873); "Les Psaumes" (Paris, 1876); "Les trois Grands Prophètes Isaie Jérémie, Ezéchiel" (Paris, 1876); "Le Cantique des Cantiques" (Paris, 1888).[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e Fenlon 1913.
  2. ^ Irwin, Robert (2006). For Lust of Knowing. p. 166.
  •   This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainFenlon, John F. (1913). "Arthur-Marie Le Hir" . In Herbermann, Charles (ed.). Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton. This article cites:
    • BERTRAND, Bibliothèque Sulpicienne, II (Paris, 1900), with a lengthy description of Le Hir's writings and references to articles concerning him cf. IDEM in VIG., Dict. de la Bible s. v.
    • Ernest Renan, Souvenirs d'enfance et de jeunesse (Paris, 1883)221, 269, 274, 288
    • IDEM in Journal Asiatique, XIJ (Paris, 1568), 19
    • JULES SIMON Quatre Portraits (Paris, 1896), containing reminiscences of a supposed judgment of Renan upon Le Hir