« Bolivia Bolland, Jan, and the Bollandists Bolsec, Jérôme Hermès »

Bolland, Jan, and the Bollandists

BOLLAND, JAN, AND THE BOLLANDISTS: The founder of the monumental hagiographical work known as the Acta Sanctorum Bollondistarum (see Acta Martyrum, Acta Sanctorum), and his associates. Bolland was born at Julemont, near Liége, Aug. 13, 1596; d. at Antwerp Sept. 12, 1665. He entered the Jesuit order in 1612, was ordained priest before 1625, and in 1630 was sent to Antwerp, where he began what was to prove his lifework, making use of the mass of accumulated material left by Héribert Rosweyde, the originator of the idea, but largely extending the space contemplated by him. After working for thirteen years on the two volumes of January, he called to his aid two other Jesuits, Gottfried Henschen and Daniel Papebroch, who visited numerous libraries of Germany, Spain, and Italy in quest of material, and laid the foundation of the magnificent collection of 120,000 volumes which the Bollandists now possess. The first volume appeared at Antwerp in 1643, and the work went on without interruption until the suppression of the Jesuits in 1773. Their house at Antwerp was to be turned into a military school, and there seemed little prospect of continuing their task until in 1776 the empress Maria Theresa made arrangements to help them, and two years later assigned them the Caudenberg monastery in Brussels as a home. Here they labored on as a company of secular priests until Joseph II interfered arbitrarily with their plans and finally, in 1788, forbade them to continue the publication, as a mere collection of old documents which could have but little interest for educated men. In the following year the Premonstratensians of the abbey of Tangerlo in Brabant offered to buy their library and continue the work. The sixth volume of October appeared there in 1794; but in 1796 the French Republic took possession of Belgium and dissolved the abbey; the manuscripts, however, were preserved in the Royal Library at Brussels. Though both Napoleon and the French Academy desired the continuation of the work, it was not found possible until 1837, when, under the inspiration of De Ram, rector of the University of Louvain, the Belgian Jesuits once more took it up, with the promise of an annual subsidy of 6,000 francs from the government. The editors are now at work on the month of November, and at the present rate of progress, it is hoped that the end of the twentieth century may see the completion of the gigantic work. The present Bollandists are also publishing (since 1882) an annual volume of Analecta Bollandiana, containing additional Latin, Greek, and Syriac texts, new dissertations, and corrections to the earlier part of the work; and since 1890 they have also published a Bulletin de publications hagiographiques, a review of all new books bearing on the subject. They have published, in addition, two complete bibliographies (Greek, 1 vol., Latin, 2 vols.) of all the printed texts and other works on hagiography.

Bibliography: A memoir of Bollard is prefixed to vol. i for March of the ASB. Consult further J. M. Neale, Essays on Liturgiology, pp. 89–97, London, 1863; C. Dehaisnes, Les Origines des Acta Sanctorum, Douai, 1869; G. T. Stokes, The Bollandists in Contemporary Review, xliii (1883), 69–84; B. Aubé, Les Derniers Travaux des Bollandistes, in Revue du deux mondes, lxviii (1885), 189–199.

« Bolivia Bolland, Jan, and the Bollandists Bolsec, Jérôme Hermès »
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