RENAUDOT, Eusèbe. Paris 20.7.1646 — Paris 1.9.1720. Abbé. French Theologian and Oriental Scholar. Born as the eldest of the 14 children of a physician and scholar, developed early an interest in studies and therefore entered ecclesiastical career. In 1666 joined Oratorians, but never took more than minor orders. Studied theology and patristics, became interested in Oriental patristics and started study Arabic, Syriac and Coptic. Father’s court relations brought noble patrons (Colbert) and he moved much in court. From 1689 member of Académie française, from 1691 of A.I.B.L. (succeeding Quinault). Also worked as censor. In 1700 went to Rome with cardinal de Noailles, attended the conclave of Clemens XI and obtained a priory in Brétagne from the new pope.
Renaudot was one of the most learned Oriental scholars of his time and also interested in French literature. Most of his writings appeared in his late years. The most important was the history of Coptic patriarchs collected from Arabic (including Islamic) sources. He had a large collection of Oriental manuscripts, which ended up in the Bibliotheque nationale.
For Indology Renaudot is important for his translation of two early and important Arabic travel accounts. The translation is deemed very good, though his notes are often uncritical. To this is appended a study of the history of Christianity, Judaism and Islam in China. He was criticized of his critical attitude to Jesuit eulogies of China and some suggested that the whole translation was a fake. The Arabic original was found again only by de Guignes in 1787.
Publications: A great number of publications on Oriental patristics and like, e.g. Historia patriarcharum Alexandrinorum Jacobitarum a D. Marco usque ad finem saeculi XIII. P. 1713; Liturgiarum orientalium collectio. 1-2. P. 1716.
– Anciennes relations des Indes et de la Chine, de deux voyageurs mahométans, qui y allèrent dans le neuvième siècle. 39+397+17 p. P. 1718 (Aḫbar al-Ṣīn wa ’l-Hind).
Sources: S. Larzul & I. Landry-Deron, D.O.L.F. 813f. (with further references); S. M—n, B.U. 37, 1827, 334-338; *A. Villien, L’abbé E.R. Essay sur sa vie et sur son œuvre liturgique. 288 p. P. 1904; *N.B.G. 41; Wikipedia with portrait (French).