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(bŏl`əndĭsts), group of Jesuits in Belgium, named for their early leader, Jean Bolland, a Flemish Jesuit of the 17th cent. They were charged by the Holy See with compiling an authoritative edition of the lives of the saints, the monumental Acta sanctorum, which is still in progress.



a learned society of Jesuits engaged in publishing the lives of the saints.

The Bollandist society was founded in Antwerp by J. Bol-Iand (1596-I665). ln 1643, Bolland began to publish the collection The Lives of the Saints (Acta Sanctorum) according to the plan of H. Rosweyde. This work is of great importance as a historical source. Setting as their goal the strengthening of the positions of the Catholic Church, the Bollandists played an objectively important role in the development of the study of ancient manuscripts and diplomatics (especially from the 17th century to the beginning of the 18th century; for example, D. Papenbroeck, 1628–1714).

The Bollandists published an enormous number of manuscripts, which have been preserved in the libraries of many European countries. These manuscripts contain valuable material on the history, geography, everyday life, and spiritual culture of the Middle Ages. In addition to publishing the lives of the saints, the Bollandists publish catalogs of manuscript and hagiographic literature. The center of the society (reorganized in 1837) is located in Brussels.


Delehaye, H. L’Oeuvre des bollandistes à travers trois siécles, 2nd ed. Brussels, 1959.
References in periodicals archive ?
Roman Jesuits supported the myth, while, outside Rome, Jesuit Bollandists repudiated it.
But in this book, he is able to move back and forth, with mastery, from the writings of Paul to those of John Paul II and Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict XVI), from the sermons of Chrysostom to the angry late-nineteenth-century pronouncements of Pius IX, and from the Bollandists of the early modern era to their twentieth-century successors.
Stow demonstrates that the early Bollandists (the Jesuits who produced the Acta Sanctorum) did much to keep the medieval myth of ritual murder alive.
Together they inaugurate a new series devoted to hagiographic research, whose aim is "to exploit the archives not only of the Bollandists and some of their correspondents but also of scholars who in modern and contemporary times have been interested in hagiography" (publisher's insert).
The first of the volumes presents correspondence between the church historian Louis Duchesne (1843-1922) and a number of Bollandists.
Thus the interest of this initial volume is not limited to hagiographical concerns, or to the history of the Bollandists, but engages the personal reactions of men caught up in the renewal and unrest of those times, and who were seen as contributing to that renewal and unrest.
McConica describes the movement of editors from the monastery to universities, carrying the tradition of the Bollandists, the Maurists, and the Benedictines from devoted clergy to more secular disciples.
After providing a brief history of the Bollandists, Joassart delves into Delehaye's methodological writings, especially his influential Les legendes hagiographiques.
Since the early 17th century, a small group of Jesuits called Bollandists have been editing the Acta Sanctorum, the "Acts of the Saints.
He responds that Delehaye not only applied the historical method to the Christian tradition (which Bollandists had done for over two centuries), but he also reflected theoretically on this task.
Part of the answer is that Delehaye (and the Bollandists in general) often called into question cherished traditions about particular saints and quite naturally aroused the ire of people faithful to those traditions.
Thanks to the work of the 18th-century Bollandists, some of this historical material has been discovered, with more such discoveries possible.