The English edition of The Age of Reason appeared in 1794, while Thomas Paine was in prison. ‘Happily for mankind the Age of Reason became the antidote to the poison of the Rights of Man’, one critic observed. Critics of the first part of The Age of Reason objected that Paine was ignorant of scholarly exegesis. In order ‘to examine the authenticity of the Bible’, Paine went through every book of the Old and New Testaments, commenting on their authorship and historical plausibility. When he deals with the New Testament, Paine concedes that Jesus was a historical figure. Indeed in the first part of The Age of Reason he describes him as ‘a virtuous and an amiable man. Maximilien Robespierre clearly regarded Paine as a British subject in a memorandum he wrote to the effect that Paine’ should be prosecuted for acting against the interests of America as well as France.