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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.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



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.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
(1) Hippolyte Delehaye, who first defined hagiography in those terms in 1905, was one of the most prominent scholars of the Societe des Bollandistes, a Jesuit foundation devoted to the study of such documents.
Catherine of Genoa and on mysticism more broadly provided overlapping interests with Bollandist concerns.
The Bollandist Hippolyte Delehaye postulated that the hagiographer wrote history "not only in order to interest but before all else to edify" (21).
Fellow Bollandist Bernard Joassart has dedicated himself to rectifying the neglect into which Delehaye has fallen.
The Bollandist systematic collection resulted in the diffusion of a new critical spirit that replaced the methods of the Golden Legend.
The Bollandist Hippolyte Delehaye is familiar to scholars of hagiography and ancient Christianity, but few studies have been done of his career and entanglement in Modernist controversies.
Criticizing recent treatments of saints' vitae by both historians and theorists, he advocates a return to structuralist textual interpretation along the lines of the scholarship of the Bollandist Hippolyte Delehaye earlier this century.
This was documented by Bollandists, a group named after Jean Bolland, a Jesuit scholar who began publishing the massive 68-folio volumes of 'Acta Sanctorum,' or 'Lives of the Saints,' beginning in 1643.
But in 1891 he joined the Bollandists, a small group of Jesuits in Antwerp, Belgium, a society founded by Jesuit priest Jean Bolland in the seventeenth century for the critical study and publication of the lives of the saints, with the precise aim of purging the lives of the saints of any apocryphal and legendary details.
It was, moreover, the Catholic Reformation that produced the Bollandists, the Jesuit group charged with the Herculean task of gathering and assembling the scattered literary remains of medieval sanctity and deploying them in their most recognizable form, the Acta Sanctorum.
I cannot help but liken his work to that of the Bollandists who examined the lives of the saints critically.