He was a man of erudition, but he owed his fame chiefly to his personality.
Resolute in recognizing erudition as the chief concern of man, he sighed over the folly of popes and princes, who spent their time in wars and ecclesiastical disputes when they might have been more profitably employed in reviving the lost learning of antiquity.
His incisive style, his fearless and often ruthless criticism, and his wide and penetrating erudition, make him a redoubtable adversary in the field of polemic. The Bulletin critique, founded by him, for which he wrote numerous articles, has contributed powerfully to spread the principles of the historical method among the French clergy.
The noticeable barrenness of Italian literature at this period is referable to the fact that men of genius and talent devoted themselves to erudition and struggled to express their thoughts and feelings in a speech which was not natural.
Classical erudition had been adapted to the needs of modern thought.