“In 1935, I was 15 years old, a student in a Christian College. At that time very important discoveries of necessarily human paintings in caverns in the south of Spain were made. The specialist, who discovered them Father Peyrony, had announced that ‘very likelythese paintings date back to about 15,000 years from now’. My book of religious teachings stated that the first appearance of man on earth dated back to about 40 centuries before Jesus. I turned to my teacher (seeking an explanation) saying: ‘Father… what is credible of the two estimates?’ The Father replied: No … No... Please, don’t confuse two things; you have the Science, and you have Religion, if there’s something which is not in accordance, it is the Religion that says the truth’. I responded: ‘But this is impossible, it is a well established fact; the first appearance of man on earth cannot be evaluated to these times in the Bible... It is impossible’.
We were educated religion said something, and science said another thing, I said to myself, something is going wrong!”
At the outset of WWII, Bucaille was heading to Paris to enroll as a medical student in ‘l’Ecole de Medicine’ (School of Medicine) at the University of Paris. As the war ended in 1945 Maurice had completed his academic studies to join the University clinic as a junior gastroenterologist. Intermittently he would take teaching courses at the School apparently in recognition of his early devotion to the medical profession.
While Bucaille could always fall back on his intensive knowledge of the Christian Holy Scriptures, he also exhibited a genuine passion for Egyptology when he joined, at an early stage in his life, the famed French Society of Egyptology (la Société française d'égyptologie (SFE – founded in Paris in 1923) where he studied hieroglyphics. Those two factors, marking his formative years, will eventually affect his bulk of research work later on. One third factor has proven to be of paramount importance in his quest for scientific compatibility with the Holy Scriptures. In the early 50s Bucaille came across the Gaston Blachere’s French translation of the Muslim’s Holy Book; The Qur’an.
Now a famous Parisian gastroenterologist, Dr. Maurice Bucaille’s highly reputed clinic was kept busy during the 60s receiving patients domestic and international. His encounters with Muslim patients were marked by him later on as a ‘cultural confrontation’. Bucaille’s views of the Qur’an and what he labeled, in conformity with his Western education, ‘Mahometisme’ (Muhammadan faith) were completely marred by misconceptions to the chagrin of those Muslims. One patient posed a question: ‘In which language did you read the Qur’an?’ Bucaille retorted: ‘In French of course!’ The patient advised: ‘Only when you can read the Book in its original language, you may be able to get acquainted with an entire religion’
By the fall of 1969 Bucaille had enrolled to study Arabic at the University of Sorbonne’s Ecole des Langues Orientales (School of Oriental Languages). At the end of 1972 his Arabic had surprisingly become impeccable.
Bucaille’s study of the Qur’an in Arabic had proven to be a landmark in his career. He made his first visit to Egypt in summer of 1974 to propose a research project prompted by a verse in the Qur’an. His acquaintance with the Sadats had proven to be quite useful in his scientific endeavor. It was President Sadat who introduced him to King Faisal of Saudi Arabia to intermittently visit the monarch for treatment till the king’s assassination on the 25th of March 1975. Bucaille’s knowledge of Arabic had added up to his earlier studies thus assisting in the completion of his groundbreaking comparative study ‘The Bible, the Qur’an and Science’ in 1976.
By the early 80s Dr. Bucaille felt the urge to allocate all of his time to research and writing. His clinic had to close doors in 1982.
Bucaille’s contributions to studies in the fields of Egyptology and comparative religion were both controversial and enlightening.
Dr. Maurice Bucaille had died in Paris on February 18, 1998.