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 former, while his erudition in respect to the history of philosophical opinion has rarely been equalled, was not a clear thinker.
Classical erudition had been adapted to the needs of modern thought.