was a Belgian
Belgium , officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a federal state in Western Europe. It is a founding member of the European Union and hosts the EU's headquarters, and those of several other major international organisations such as NATO.Belgium is also a member of, or affiliated to, many...
Jesuit who was a hagiographic scholar
Hagiography is the study of saints.From the Greek and , it refers literally to writings on the subject of such holy people, and specifically to the biographies of saints and ecclesiastical leaders. The term hagiology, the study of hagiography, is also current in English, though less common...
and an outstanding member of the Bollandist
The Bollandists are an association of scholars, philologists, and historians who since the early seventeenth century have studied hagiography and the cult of the saints in Christianity. Their most important publication has been the Acta Sanctorum...
s, who established critical editions of texts relating to the Christian saint
A saint is a holy person. In various religions, saints are people who are believed to have exceptional holiness.In Christian usage, "saint" refers to any believer who is "in Christ", and in whom Christ dwells, whether in heaven or in earth...
s and martyr
A martyr is somebody who suffers persecution and death for refusing to renounce, or accept, a belief or cause, usually religious.-Meaning:...
s that were based on applying the critical method of sound archaeological and documentary scholarship to the texts. This critical approach encountered difficulties, within the Jesuit Order, within the Holy Office and among "integralist" opponents of critical approaches.
He joined the Jesuit Order in 1876 and became a fellow of the Société des Bollandistes
named for the 17th century hagiographic scholar Jean Bolland
Jean Bolland was a Jesuit priest and prominent Southern Netherlandish hagiographer....
in Brussels, 1892. He was an editor of the Bibliotheca Hagiographica Graeca
The Bibliotheca Hagiographica Graeca is a catalogue of Greek hagiographic materials, including ancient literary works on the saint's lives, the translations of their relics, and their miracles, arranged alphabetically by saint. It is usually abbreviated as BHG in scholarly literature. The...
(1895) a repertory of Greek hagiographies, and of the Analecta Bollandiana
, which was subjected to Roman censorship 1901-27, and in 1912 became the President of the Bollandists.
His major publications, works of method and synthesis that are of general use to historians, are:
- Les Légendes hagiographiques, Brüssels 1905, 1906 (translated by V. M. Crawford, 1907, reprinted 1998), 1927. A 1955 French edition was translated by Donald Attwater, The Legends of the Saints (Fordham University Press, 1962).
- Les Origines du culte des martyrs, 1912
- Les Passions des martyrs et les genres littéraires, 1921
- Sanctus. Essai sur le culte des saints dans l'antiquité, 1927
Other important works, with more restricted focus, are:
- Les versions grecques des Actes des martyrs persans sous Sapor II, 1905
- Les Légendes grecques des saints militaires, 1909
- A travers trois siècles: L'Oeuvre des Bollandistes 1615 à 1915, 1920 (translated in 1922)
- Les saints Stylites, 1923
- Martyrologium Romanum ... (Propylaeum ad Acta SS. Decembris), 194 A commentary on the Roman martyrology, of which Delehaye was the chief editor.
- Cinq leçons sur la méthode hagiographique, 1934.
Posthumous collections of fugitive pieces were published in 1966 as Mélanges d'hagiographie grecque et latine
and in 1991 as L'ancienne hagiographie byzantine: les sources, les premiers modèles, la formation des genres
, the previously unpublished texts of lectures delivered in 1935..
A biography by Brigitte Waché was published in 1992.