Daniel Papebroch

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An image of Daniel Papebroch, S.J. (1680)

Daniel Papebroch, S.J.,[1] (17 March 1628–28 June 1714) was a Flemish Jesuit hagiographer, one of the Bollandists. He was a leading revisionist figure, bringing historical criticism to bear on traditions of saints of the Catholic Church.


Papebroch was born in 1628 in Antwerp, then in the Duchy of Brabant, part of the Spanish Netherlands. He attended the Jesuit college in his hometown from 1644-1646, after which he entered the novitiate of the Society of Jesus. He was ordained a Catholic priest in 1658.

In 1660 Papebroch began his work with his fellow Jesuit, Jean Bolland, in the scholarly study of the hagiography of the Catholic saints. He continued this work until his death in 1714.


According to Friedrich Heer,[2] he:

... by dint of hard work established the laws of historical criticism, the methodology of the study of sources and of the historical auxiliary sciences.

Papebroch prefixed a Propylaeum antiquarium, an attempt to formulate rules for the discernment of spurious from genuine documents, to the second volume (1675) of the Acta Sanctorum. He instanced in it as spurious some charters of the Abbey of St-Denis. Dom Jean Mabillon was appointed to draw up a defense of these documents, and was provoked into another statement of the principles of documentary criticism, his De re diplomatica (1681).[3]

When Papebroch was 34 years old, Bolland sent him to Italy to collect documents, but by the time he returned Bolland had died. Paperbroch, together with Godfrey Henschen, then continued the work in the tradition of the Bollandists.

Another controversy Papebroch had was with the Dominican friar, Jean-Antoine d'Aubermont, over some major liturgical texts traditionally attributed to St. Thomas Aquinas.[4]


  • Ian Bradley, Celtic Christianity, Edinburgh University Press, 1999 ISBN 0-7486-1047-2 page 65
  • Christopher Walter, 2003, The Warrior Saints in Byzantine Art and Tradition Ashgate Publishing, ISBN 1-84014-694-X page 110


  1. ^ Daniel van Papenbroeck, Papebrock, Papebrochius.
  2. ^ The Intellectual History of Europe (1966 English translation), p. 271.
  3. ^ Wikisource-logo.svg "Jean Mabillon". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. 1913. 
  4. ^ Wikisource-logo.svg "Jean-Antoine d'Aubermont". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. 1913. 

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