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Page:Catholic Encyclopedia, volume 2.djvu/702

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BOLLAIfDISTS


632


BOLLANDISTS


to determine its author and its historical value, and to append to each notes of explanation for the pur- pose of clearing awav difficulties. The duties of the various offices filled by Bolland. added to the for- midable correspondence imposed on him by his re- search into documents and other sources of infor- mation concerning the life and cult of the saints to be treated in the work, together with the answers to the numerous letters of consultation addressed to him from aU parts, concerning matters of eccle- siastical learning, left him no leisure for the dis- charge of his duties as hagiographer. Thus, after five years at Antwerp, he was forced to admit that the work was almost where Rosweyde had left it. except that the mass of material which the latter had begun to classify was notably augmented: as a matter of fact it was more than quadrupled. Mean- while, eager desire for the appearance of the hagiographical montmient announced by Rosweyde almost thirty years previottsly grew apace in the learned and the religious world. There was noth- ing left for Bolland but to admit that the un- dertaking was beyond his indi^-idual strength and to ask for an assistant. The generous Abbot of Liessies. Antoine de Wynghe. effectually supported his demand by volunteering to defray the li^Tng ex- penses of the associate who should be assigned to Bolland. as the Professed House at Antwerp, which depended on the alms of the faithful for its support, ■could not pay a man to do work which was not strictly in the field of its ministrations.

The assistant chosen, doubtless at Bolland's sug- gestion, for he had been one of his most brilliant pupils in the humanities, was Godfrey Henschen (b. at Venray in Limburg. 1601; d. 16S1"). who had •entered the Society of Jesus in 1619. He was as- signed to his former master in 1635 and laboured at the publication of the Acta Sanctorum up to the time of his death in 16S1, forty-six years later. Twenty-four volumes had then appeared, of which the last was the seventh volume of May. He had, moreover, prepared a great amount of material and many commentaries for June. It may be safely said that the Bollandist work owes its final form to Hen- schen. VThen he arrived at Antwerp. Bolland had succeeded in putting into good order the documents relating to the saints of January, and had found a publisher in the person of John van Meurs. Doubt- less for the purpose of trying Henschen. he bade him study the acts of the February saints, leaving him «very latitude as to the choice of his first subjects and "the manner of treating them. Bolland then gave himself entirely to the printing of the volumes for January. It was well under way when Henschen brought to Bolland the first fruits of his acu^-ity in the field of hagiography. They were studies for the history of St. Vaast and that of St. Amand. printed later in the first volume of February tmder date of February sixth. Bolland was absolutely astonished, and possibly somewhat abashed, by the great scope and sohdity of the work which his disciple had to show him. He himself had not dared to dream of anything like it. His preliminary commentaries on the acts of the various saints of January were prac- tically confined to designating the manuscripts where the texts he was publishing had been found, to an- notations, and a list of the variants in the various ■copies and the pre-s-ious editions. The commentaries and annotations of Henschen solved or at least tried to solve, every problem to which the text of the Acts could give rise, in the matter of chronology, geography, history, or philological interpretation, and all these questions were treated with an erudition and a method which could be called absolutely un- known hitherto. Modest and judicious savant that he was. Bolland at once admitted the superiority of the new method and desired Henschen, despite the


reluctance occasioned by his humility and the pro- found respect in which he held his master, to re%"iew the copy already in press. He held it back for a considerable time to enable his colleague to make the additions and corrections he judged necessary or advantageous. The pages containing the mate- rial for the first six days of Januarj' had already come from the press; the pages which seemed most defective to Henschen were replaced by re\ases. His hand is more clearly apparent in the following pages, although he persisted in emplojTng a reserv-e and watchfulness which sometimes seems to have cfst liim an effort, in order to avoid too marked a difference between Bolland's commentaries and his own. Pape- broch. in liis notice on Henschen printed at the be- ginning of the seventh volume of May. points out as particularly his the toil expended on the acts of St. Wittikind. St. Canute, and St. RajTnond of Pennafort on the seventh of January; of St. Atticus of Con- stantinople and Blessed Laurence Justinian on the eighth; of Sts. Juhan and Basilissa on the ninth. "But from this day on, he adds. "Bolland left to Henschen the Greek and Oriental saints, as well as the majority of those of France and of Italj", reserv- ing for himself only those of Germany. Spain, Brit- ain, and Ireland". He still desired to associate the name of Henschen with his own on the title-page of the various volumes, but the humble rehgious would not allow it to appear except as his assistant and subordinate. Meanwhile Bolland, in his general preface to the first volume of Januan,-. did not fail to tell what he owed to his excellent collaborator. He then insisted that in the volumes of February and the following ones, Henschen's name should figure on the title-page as prominently as his own and, moreover, that in the course of these volumes all commentaries from the pen of Henschen should be signed with his initials, claiming, doubtless not without some foundation, that he received a great number of letters relating to articles written by his colleague, which caused him difficulty. The two volimies of January, containing respectively, if we take into account the various tables and preliminary articles, the first, 1,300 pages, the second, more than 1.250, appeared in the course of the same year, 1643. They aroused in the learned world positive enthu- siasm, which is easily understood when we consider how far the new pubhcation surpassed anTi*tliing of the kind known up to that time — the Golden Legend, Guido Bemardus, Vincent of Beauvais. St. Antoninus of Florence, Peter de Natah, Mombritius. Lippomano. and Surius. There was another marked difference when, fifteen years later, in 1658, the three volumes for February were published, showing a notable im- provement over those for January. Congratulations and warm encomiums came from even.- side to tes- tifj- to Bolland and his companion the admiration aroused by their work. The encouragement was not only from CathoUcs. Learned Protestants of the foremost rank did not hesitate to praise liig'nly the truly scientific spirit which marked the new collec- tion. Among others who had been heard from even before the pubhcation of the February volumes, was the celebrated Gerard ^'ossius. The editors had the satisfaction of seeing added to all these approbations that of Alexander \TI, who pubUcly testified that there had never been tmdertaken a work more use- ful and glorious to the Church. The same pontiff and, at his suggestion, the General of the Societj* of Jesus, Goswin Xickel. immediately in^-ited Bolland to Rome, promising him a rich har\-e?t of materials. The in^-itation was equivalent to a command, though for that matter this Uterary journey was of too great advantage to the work in hand for Bolland to do anything but gladly accept it. Finding, how- ever, that he was too much enfeebled by recent ill- ness to stand the fatigues of the journey, and tliat.