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Cataloguing Greek hagiographic literature

Cataloguing Greek hagiographic literature    

The aim of the Bibliotheca Hagiographica Graeca (BHG), published for the first time in 1895 and successively augmented, is to provide a complete catalogue of the hagiographic literature in Greek in Christian Antiquity and the Middle Ages.  Since 1984, when the Novum Auctarium (a supplement to BHG) was published, numerous critical editions of Greek hagiographic texts have appeared.  Recent catalogues of manuscripts have also revealed the existence of some hitherto unknown texts.  The new BHG in preparation will focus on the texts themselves rather than on the multiple variant versions which have resulted from their transmission.  As a consequence a better understanding of the hagiographic dossiers will be achieved, thus opening the way to a full computerization.

Bibliography: X. Lequeux, Suggestions pour une mise à jour de la BHG, in Analecta Bollandiana, 126 (2008), 241-251.

Xavier Lequeux


Towards a new repertory of Latin hagiographic texts

For more than a century the Bibliotheca Hagiographica Latina (BHL), complemented in 1986 by a Novum Supplementum, has been helping generations of scholars.  The publication of a large number of new text editions as well as the discovery of texts hitherto unknown make the need for an updated version all the more urgent.  Thanks to the progress of electronic databases the new BHL will be integrated into the broader context of Christian Latin literature and will include references to translations into modern languages.

Robert Godding

Towards a new repertory of Latin hagiographic texts


Collecting the letters of the early Bollandists

Collecting the letters of the early Bollandists

The history of scholarship is a discipline on the rise.   Early correspondence between scholars is one of its essential sources.  In the 17th and 18th centuries the Bollandists sent thousands of letters to scholars all over Europe in order to obtain texts and information about local saints.  The letters they received in response are often mentioned in the volumes of the Acta Sanctorum and a certain number of them have even been preserved in their archives kept in the Bollandist library and in the Royal Library in Brussels.  As for the letters sent by the Bollandists, systematic research in the archives of many European countries is required to locate those which have survived.  A better knowledge of the network of the Bollandists’ correspondents would constitute an important contribution to the history of critical hagiography and more broadly of l’Europe des Lettres.

Bernard Joassart


Illustrations in the Acta Sanctorum

More than 700 engravings are to be found in the Acta Sanctorum, spread mainly between vol. I of April (1675) and vol. VI of October (1794).  Their purpose was mainly didactic.  In many cases they constitute essential iconographic sources, a fact which has largely been ignored up to now.  They include portraits of saints, objects which belonged to them, reliquaries, miniatures, churches and monasteries, seals, maps, tombstones, clothes… Sometimes these illustrations document something which no longer exists because the monuments or artifacts were modified or have disappeared.  The Acta Sanctorum thus contain the only known representations of certain buildings or reliquaries destroyed or lost in the 17th or the 18th century.  The illustrations cover a dozen European countries with a prevalence of Italy, Germany, the Low Countries and Spain.  They bear witness to the important network of correspondents both religious and lay which the Bollandists had developed over the years.  A systematic classification of these illustrations was undertaken a few years ago with the purpose of analyzing each one of them in detail, as well as enabling a broader study of their presence in the Acta Sanctorum.

Bibliography: Fr. De Vriendt, Memorare iuvat effigies.  Les gravures des Acta Sanctorum: un trésor icono­gra­phique à exploiter, in De Rosweyde aux Acta Sanctorum. La recherche hagiographique des Bollan­distes à travers quatre siècles.  Actes du Colloque international (Bruxelles, 5 oct. 2007), éd. R. Godding, B. Joassart, X. Lequeux et Fr. De Vriendt (= Subsidia hagiographica, 88).  Bruxelles, 2009, p. 89-104.

François De Vriendt

Illustrations in the Acta Sanctorum

         
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