Taking up mathematics when not only his mind was already formed but his thoughts were crystallizing into a philosophical system, Hobbes had, in fact, never put himself to school and sought to work up gradually to the best knowledge of the time, but had been more anxious from the first to become himself an innovator with whatever insufficient means.
In the first place, his pre-eminence is obviously pre-Homeric; for Homer was no preacher or innovator in religion, but gives us some at least of the primary facts of the contemporary religious beliefs prevailing about woo B.C.: and he attests for us the supremacy of Zeus as a belief which was unquestioned by the average Hellene of the time; and appreciating how slow was the process of religious change in the earlier period, we shall believe that the god had won this position long before the Homeric age.
But we are not to suppose that even he, latitudinarian and innovator as he was, could have conceived the possibility of abolishing an institution so deeply rooted in the social conditions, as well as in the ideas, of his time.
Luria was an inspirer of saintly conduct rather than an innovator in theories.
In later years he attributed his want of success to the immature style of his early exposition, to the rashness of a young innovator in an old and well-established province of literature.
Louis XIV.s aspirations towards glory chimed in very well with the extremely positive views of his minister; but here too Colbert was an innovator and an unsuccessful one.
On several occasions St Bernard was begged to fight the innovator on the scene of his exploits, and in 1145, at the instance of the legate Alberic, cardinal bishop of Ostia, he set out, passing through the diocese of Angouleme and Limoges, sojourning for some time at Bordeaux, and finally reaching the heretical towns of Bergerac, Perigueux, Sarlat, Cahors and Toulouse.
In this he was an innovator against the excessively analytic tendency of Cambridge mathematicians.
The great administrator and the bold innovator were united in him in an exceptional degree, and he allowed neither character to preponderate unduly.