What Was Sacred History? (Mostly Roman) Catholic Uses of the Christian Past after Trent*

Simon Ditchfield

in Sacred History

Published in print May 2012 | ISBN: 9780199594795
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191741494 | DOI:
What Was Sacred History? (Mostly Roman) Catholic Uses of the Christian Past after Trent*

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Writers in the service of the post-Tridentine Church responded not only to Protestant challenges but also to a range of internal needs — jurisdictional, liturgical, and theological — most of which predated the Reformation. Post-Tridentine Catholic scholars reprinted early medieval works on the history of the Church and its saints in great number. However, with the resurgence of the Counter-Reformation papacy and the energetic worldwide expansion of Roman Catholicism, new works of Catholic historia sacra, many of them collaborative projects, were written and published on an unprecedented scale. This Catholic historical enterprise included both Roman-centred projects, such as the magnificent libraries — ‘arsenals of faith’ — as well as the creation of the more famous Vatican archive. In addition, there were more provincial (if ultimately global) projects, such as the massive compendium of saints’ lives undertaken in the Low Countries by the Bollandists, the still incomplete Acta sanctorum.

Keywords: post-Tridentine Church; saints; Counter-Reformation papacy; Roman Catholicism; compendium of saints’ lives; Low Countries; Bollandists; Acta sanctorum

Chapter.  11863 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Christianity

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