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Top 100 Personalities Of The World

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Rank Name Religious Affiliation Influence

1 Muhammad Islam Prophet of Islam; conqueror of Arabia; Hart recognized that ranking Muhammad first might be controversial, but felt that, from a secular historian's perspective, this was the correct choice because Muhammad is the only man to have been both a founder of a major world religion and a major military/political leader. More

2 Isaac Newton Anglican (rejected Trinitarianism, i.e.,

Athanasianism; believed in the Arianism

of the Primitive Church)

physicist; theory of universal gravitation; laws of motion

3 Jesus Christ *

Judaism; Christianity founder of Christianity

4 Buddha Hinduism; Buddhism founder of Buddhism

5 Confucius Confucianism founder of Confucianism

6 St. Paul Judaism; Christianity proselytizer of Christianity

7 Ts'ai **** Chinese traditional religion inventor of paper

8 Johann Gutenberg Catholic developed movable type; printed Bibles

9 Christopher Columbus Catholic explorer; led Europe to Americas

10 Albert Einstein Jewish

physicist; relativity; Einsteinian physics

11 Louis Pasteur Catholic scientist; pasteurization

12 Galileo Galilei Catholic

astronomer; accurately described heliocentric solar system

13 Aristotle Platonism / Greek philosophy

influential Greek philosopher

14 Euclid Platonism / Greek philosophy mathematician; Euclidian geometry

15 Moses Judaism major prophet of Judaism

16 Charles Darwin Anglican (nominal); Unitarian

biologist; described Darwinian evolution, which had theological impact on many religions

17 Shih Huang Ti Chinese traditional religion Chinese emperor

18 Augustus Caesar Roman state paganism ruler

19 Nicolaus Copernicus Catholic (priest)

astronomer; taught heliocentricity

20 Antoine Laurent Lavoisier Catholic

father of modern chemistry; philosopher; economist

21 Constantine the Great Roman state paganism; Christianity Roman emperor who completely legalized Christianity, leading to its status as state religion. Convened the First Council of Nicaea that produced the Nicene Creed, which rejected Arianism (one of two major strains of Christian thought) and established Athanasianism (Trinitarianism, the other strain) as "official doctrine."

22 James Watt Presbyterian (lapsed)

developed steam engine

23 Michael Faraday Sandemanian

physicist; chemist; discovery of magneto-electricity

24 James Clerk Maxwell Presbyterian; Anglican; Baptist

physicist; electromagnetic spectrum

25 Martin Luther Catholic; Lutheran founder of Protestantism and Lutheranism

26 George Washington Episcopalian

first president of United States

27 Karl Marx Jewish; Lutheran;

Atheist; Marxism/Communism

founder of Marxism, Marxist Communism

28 Orville and Wilbur Wright United Brethren

inventors of airplane

29 Genghis Khan Mongolian shamanism Mongol conqueror

30 Adam Smith Liberal Protestant economist; philosopher; expositor of capitalism; author: The Theory of Moral Sentiments

31 Edward de Vere

a.k.a. William Shakespeare Catholic; Anglican

literature; also wrote 6 volumes about philosophy and religion

32 John Dalton Quaker

chemist; physicist; atomic theory; law of partial pressures (Dalton's law)

33 Alexander the Great Greek state paganism conqueror

34 Napoleon Bonaparte Catholic (nominal)

French conqueror

35 Thomas Edison Congregationalist; agnostic

inventor of light bulb, phonograph, etc.

36 Antony van Leeuwenhoek Dutch Reformed

microscopes; studied microscopic life

37 William T.G. Morton ?? pioneer in anesthesiology

38 Guglielmo Marconi Catholic and Anglican

inventor of radio

39 Adolf Hitler Nazism; born/raised in, but rejected Catholicism

conqueror; led Axis Powers in WWII

40 Plato Platonism / Greek philosophy

founder of Platonism

41 Oliver Cromwell Puritan (Protestant) British political and military leader

42 Alexander Graham Bell Unitarian/Universalist inventor of telephone *

43 Alexander Fleming Catholic penicillin; advances in bacteriology, immunology and chemotherapy

44 John Locke raised Puritan (Anglican);

Liberal Christian

philosopher and liberal theologian

45 Ludwig van Beethoven Catholic


46 Werner Heisenberg Lutheran

a founder of quantum mechanics; discovered principle of uncertainty; head of Nazi Germany's nuclear program

47 Louis Daguerre ?? an inventor/pioneer of photography

48 Simon Bolivar Catholic (nominal); Atheist

National hero of Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia

49 Rene Descartes Catholic

Rationalist philosopher and mathematician

50 Michelangelo Catholic

painter; sculptor; architect

51 Pope Urban II Catholic called for First Crusade

52 'Umar ibn al-Khattab Islam Second Caliph; expanded Muslim empire

53 Asoka Buddhism king of India who converted to and spread Buddhism

54 St. Augustine Greek state paganism; Manicheanism; Catholic

Early Christian theologian

55 William Harvey Anglican (nominal)

described the circulation of blood; wrote Essays on the Generation of Animals, the basis for modern embryology

56 Ernest Rutherford ?? physicist; pioneer of subatomic physics

57 John Calvin Protestant; Calvinism Protestant reformer; founder of Calvinism

58 Gregor Mendel Catholic (Augustinian monk)

Mendelian genetics

59 Max Planck Protestant

physicist; thermodynamics

60 Joseph Lister Quaker principal discoverer of antiseptics which greatly reduced surgical mortality

61 Nikolaus August Otto ?? built first four-stroke internal combustion engine

62 Francisco Pizarro Catholic Spanish conqueror in South America; defeated Incas

63 Hernando Cortes Catholic conquered Mexico for Spain; through war and introduction of new diseases he largely destroyed Aztec civilization

64 Thomas Jefferson Episcopalian; Deist

3rd president of United States

65 Queen Isabella I Catholic Spanish ruler

66 Joseph Stalin Russian Orthodox; Atheist; Marxism

revolutionary and ruler of USSR

67 Julius Caesar Roman state paganism Roman emperor

68 William the Conqueror Catholic laid foundation of modern England

69 Sigmund Freud Jewish; atheist; Freudian psychology/psychoanalysis

founded Freudian school of psychology/psychoanalysis (i.e., the "religion of Freudianism")

70 Edward Jenner Anglican

discoverer of the vaccination for smallpox

71 Wilhelm Conrad Roentgen ?? discovered X-rays

72 Johann Sebastian Bach Lutheran; Catholic composer

73 Lao Tzu Taoism founder of Taoism

74 Voltaire raised in Jansenism;

later Deist

writer and philosopher; wrote Candide

75 Johannes Kepler Lutheran

astronomer; planetary motions

76 Enrico Fermi Catholic

initiated the atomic age; father of atom bomb

77 Leonhard Euler Calvinist

physicist; mathematician; differential and integral calculus and algebra

78 Jean-Jacques Rousseau born Protestant;

converted as a teen to Catholic;

later Deist French deistic philosopher and author

79 Nicoli Machiavelli Catholic wrote The Prince (influential political treatise)

80 Thomas Malthus Anglican (cleric) economist; wrote Essay on the Principle of Population

81 John F. Kennedy Catholic

U.S. President who led first successful effort by humans to travel to another "planet"

82 Gregory Pincus Jewish

endocrinologist; developed birth-control pill

83 Mani Manicheanism founder of Manicheanism, once a world religion which rivaled Christianity in strength

84 Lenin Russian Orthodox;

Atheist; Marxism/Communism

Russian ruler

85 Sui Wen Ti Chinese traditional religion unified China

86 Vasco da Gama Catholic navigator; discovered route from Europe to India around Cape Hood

87 Cyrus the Great Zoroastrianism founder of Persian empire

88 Peter the Great Russian Orthodox forged Russia into a great European nation

89 Mao Zedong Atheist; Communism; Maoism founder of Maoism, Chinese form of Communism

90 Francis Bacon Anglican

philosopher; delineated inductive scientific method

91 Henry Ford Protestant developed automobile; achievement in manufacturing and assembly

92 Mencius Confucianism philosopher; founder of a school of Confucianism

93 Zoroaster Zoroastrianism founder of Zoroastrianism

94 Queen Elizabeth I Anglican British monarch; restored Church of England to power after Queen Mary

95 Mikhail Gorbachev Russian Orthodox

Russian premier who helped end Communism in USSR

96 Menes Egyptian paganism unified Upper and Lower Egypt

97 Charlemagne Catholic Holy Roman Empire created with his baptism in 800 AD

98 Homer Greek paganism epic poet

99 Justinian I Catholic Roman emperor; reconquered Mediterranean empire; accelerated Catholic-Monophysite schism

100 Mahavira Hinduism; Jainism founder of Jainism

Source of list of names: Hart, Michael H. The 100: A Ranking of the Most Influential Persons in History, Revised and Updated for the Nineties. New York: Carol Publishing Group/Citadel Press; first published in 1978, reprinted with minor revisions (reflected above) in 1992.

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