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condition of all true criticism, canon Stokes uses the following language: “This much any fair mind will allow: the Society of Jesus, since the days of Pascal and the Provincial Letters, has been regarded as a synonym of dishonesty and fraud. such charge the student of the Acta Sanctorum must regard the Bollandists as free. In them we often behold a credulity which would not have found place among men who knew by experience more of the world of life and action, but, on the other hand, we find in them thorough loyalty to historical truth; they deal in no suppression of evidence: they give every side of the question. They write like men who feel, as Bollandus their founder did, that under no circumstances is it right to lie. They never hesitate to avow their own convictions and predilections; they draw their own conclusions and put their own gloss upon fact and document; but yet they give the documents as they found them." On the same plane as the great Jesuit work Wattenbach places the Acta Sanctorum Ordinis S. Benedicti, in 9 vols., folio, by the French Benedictines of the Congregation of St. Maur, Dom d'Achéry, Mabillon, Germain, and Ruinart, as well as Dom Bouquet's voluminous Recueil des Historiens des Gaules et de la France. Wattenbach, moreover, speaks in the highest terms of the works of Ughelli on the ecclesiastical history of Italy (Italia Sacra), and of the 21 vols., folio, of Muratori's Scriptores Rerum Italicarum. If we come down to later times, every student of English history respects the discriminating judgment and keen critical insight of Dr. Lingard, which have been praised, perhaps, even more warmly by non-Catholics than by Catholics.
That Catholic historians should thus be eulogized by the learned for their critical honesty and critically correct judgment and sound critical principles, will surprise no one well acquainted with the principles taught young men in Catholic institutions of learning. The canons of historical criticism laid down in almost every elementary work on philosophy used in Catholic colleges and seminaries are essentially the same as those followed by the most approved historians. In treating of the value of human testimony, and therefore of historical documents, Catholic philosophers unanimously teach that to carry conviction, the witnesses to any fact should be ocular,—therefore, in the case of past events, contemporary-disinterested, truthful, intelligent, self-consistent in their testimony, and, if possible, many. Apply these rules to historic documents, deduce their logical consequences, and we have the very canons of modern historical criticism. On one point only do they differ from the canons of some modern historians. When the fact in question is miraculous, rationalist historians reject it as impossible; the Catholic writer examines his witnesses, as if he were dealing with an ordinary event. If the fact falls under the senses, if it has been witnessed by many, intelligent, truthful, disinterested witnesses, competent to distinguish reality from illusion, he sees no reason why he should reject such testimony. He has no a priori prejudices for or against it. Of course, orthodox Protestant historians who believe in Biblical miracles, must take the same view.
1 Stokes, 1. c., p. 8.
The multiplication and publication of ancient documents is not an invention of the eighteenth or nineteenth century; it began even before the “Reformation.” “Several of our best historical authorities,” says Wattenbach, “just as many of the classics, are preserved in copies made in the fifteenth century, and these manuscript copies were soon followed by printed reproductions. As early as this period, before the year 1474, and probably at Augsburg, was printed the Historia Frederici I., which is only a part of the Ursperg Chronicle."
Above all, the Emperor Maximilian I. not only encouraged in every way the investigation of German history, but took an active part in the work himself. Everywhere documents and chronicles were searched for at his bidding, and every discovery found its reward." "Commissioned by him, Ladislaus Suntheim, of Ravensburg, travelled in southwestern Germany, from 1498 to 1505, to gather the materials for a genealogical history of the House of Hapsburg and other German princely families.” “In 1501 Conrad Celtis performed a real service for the medieval history of Germany, by publishing the works of the nun Roswitha, found by him in the convent of St. Emmerand; at the same time he discovered the famous Tabula Peutingeriana, the remarkable Roman road-map of the third century, preserved with later additions in a copy of the thirteenth century, now in the court library at Vienna.” Conrad Peutinger, the learned patrician of Augsburg, to whom Celtis willed this curious document and after whom it is named, "in 1496 discovered the Ursperg Chronicle, which he had printed for the first time in 1515; at the same time appeared editions prepared by him of Jordanis de Rebus Çeticis, and the History of the Lombards by Paulus Diaconus; these works were well edited, whilst the edition of Paulus published at Paris in 1514 by Gulielmus Parvus and that of Luidprand were very defective.” “In the year 1515 Maximilian's learned physician and archivary, Spiesshammer, who called himself Cuspinian, together with the imperial historiographer Stabius, published at Strassburg, an excellent edition of Otto of Freising, with his continuator Ragewin. As
1 Wattenbach, Deutschland's Geschichtsquellen, p. 2.
early as 1508 Gervasius Soupher of the Breisgau had published at the same place the Gesta Henrici IV." "In 1521 there appeared at Cologne the works of Einhard (the biographer of Charlemagne) edited by Count Hermann of Nuenar, and at Mainz the Chronicle of Regino edited by Sebastian von Rotenhau.”l
But in the work of advancing the cause of history the Pope was not behind the Catholic Emperor. "Historical documents," says Prof. Pastor, “ were copied by order of Nicholas V. The Vatican Library still contains many of them. For instance, I found in Cod. Vati., 4167, the acts of the Council held at Rome under Martin V., copied by order of the Pope by Piero de Godi, in 1453." The same great humanist Pope, and some of the contemporary Italian princes, were equally if not more active in furthering other branches of historical science. “The knowledge of Greek history, until then derived only from Compendia, was promoted at the same time as the knowledge of the Greek historians. Thucydides, Herodotus, Diodorus, Polybius, Xenophon, Plutarch, Arrian, Appian, Strabo, and others, were translated either entire or in part about the middle of the (fifteenth) century."
These works were the works of men born and bred in the Catholic Church; for they appeared, some before Luther's birth, all before he burnt the Papal bull at Wittenberg. But a few years had passed since the invention of printing, and already Catholics brought up in Catholic traditions, the product of the Catholic Middle Ages that were just passing away, devoted their means and their talents to hunt up and publish the historic records of their ancestors and antiquity. The aim and motive of the editors were wholly unconnected with religious controversy. They were inspired by patriotism, the love of literature, the desire to make known the past glories of the German empire, and the wish to promote historical knowledge. Immediately after the birth of Protestantism, “its champions," says Wattenbach,“ took up these endeavors with especial zeal,” but “they found among these writings arms against the papal claims," in other words, they regarded them as means of theological controversy. When Ulrich von Hutten in 1520 published the attack of Waltram of Naumburg on Gregory VII., he intended not so much to further the cause of historical science as to assail the Church and the Papacy. This was the beginning of a period when historical studies were no longer cultivated for their own sake but as means of religious controversy. In the second half of the sixteenth century, the Magde
1 Wattenbach, 1. c., pp. 3 and 4. 2 Pastor, Gesch, der Paepste, I., p. 413. 3 Pastor, 1. c., I., p. 410.
Wattenbach, I. c., p. 4.
burg Centuriators, Flacius Illyricus, Wigand, and others, impelled by this spirit, published their Church History in thirteen folio volumes, a gigantic controversial pamphlet in behalf of Protestantism. Still it contained considerable historic manuscript material "which is valuable even to-day.” To this work Cardinal Cæsar Baronius opposed his Annales Ecclesiastici," which derive great value from the documents drawn from the Vatican archives and other sources,"l But whilst this controversial use of history to some extent advanced historical research, it did but little service to historical truthfulness, impartiality, honesty, not to speak of intelligent criticism. Historians who write to support a doctrinal thesis, too often cannot see the truth, even if it stares them in the face. Luckily, Catholicity, being essentially a positive doctrine, and not built up in a spirit of negation, resorts to controversy only as a matter of necessity and a means of defence. Hence even whilst the religious battle was raging with the greatest fury, Catholic learning and piety turned again to the positive side of historical research. Among the earliest printed works had been legends and lives of the saints; and now in the midst of the sixteenth century the Carthusian Surius (died 1579), taking up the work which had in reality never been given up, published a collection, Vita Probatorum Sanctorum,” which first brought to light much useful historical matter; and though the Latin style is somewhat too elaborate, this hardly touches the subject matter." Still all “monkish” legends were in those days denounced as fables, and in truth criticism had not at that time in many cases separated fact from fiction. So the Jesuit, Heribert Rosweyde, determined—not to uphold fiction and fact alike, not to furnish food for piety at the expense of truth, but—to sift critically all the enormous mass of material bearing on the lives of the saints, mercilessly to sacrifice the false, and thus to save the truth. He, having edited the Martyrologium Romanum, his brother Jesuit, John Bolland, was induced to undertake the Acta Sanctorum, the lives of all the saints, ancient and modern, arranged according to the Catholic calendar. The first volume appeared in 1653, and Bolland himself published five further volumes; then Daniel Papebroch and Godfrey Henschen took up the undertaking, and their work was especially successful. They were followed by other Flemish Jesuits, who formed a company called the Bollandists, that continued the work until the suppression of the order. During the present century, after its re-establishment, the Belgian Jesuits considered it a matter of honor to continue and complete the vast task begun by their brethren of old, and the whole work published to the present time numbers sixty-four folio volumes. Such was
1 Wattenbach, 1. c., p. 6.
2 Wattenbach, 1. c., p. 7.
the first great work of historic research published by Catholic scholars. But the lives of the saints, it may be said, comprise but a small and a very one-sided part of human history. So it would seem, at first sight. The Bollandist work shows that, treated in a large spirit, the lives of the saints include a great part of the history of the world since the establishment of Christianity, and especially during the middle ages. “I regard the Acta Sanctorum," says Prof. G. T. Stokes,'“as specially valuable for mediæval history, secular as well as ecclesiastical, simply because the authors, having had unrivalled opportunities of obtaining and copying documents, printed their authorities as they found them, and thus preserved for us a mine of historical material which otherwise would have perished in the French Revolution and its subsequent wars. Yet it is strange how little the mine has been worked. We must suppose, indeed, that it was due to the want of the helps enumerated above [alphabetic tables of contents, registers of names, etc.), that neither of our own great historians who have dealt with the middle ages, Gibbon and Hallam, has, as far as we have been able to discover, ever consulted them."
To prove how valuable a mine of secular and ecclesiastical history are these same Acta Sanctorum, Canon Stokes cites the titles of some of the critical treatises contained in the part of the work published before 1750. There we find dissertations on “the Byzantine historian Theophanes," on "Ancient Catalogues of the Roman Pontiffs," on certain inediæval " Itineraries in Palestine," on the “Patriarchates of Alexandria and Jerusalem," on the “Bishops of Milan to the year 1261," on the “ Mediæval Kings of Majorca," and no less than three treatises on the “ Chronology of the Early Merovingian and other French Kings." In his essay on “ The Introduction of the Arabic Numerals in Europe," Papebroch maintains, on the authority of a Greek manuscript in the Vatican Library written by an Eastern monk, Maximus Planudes, about 1270, that while the Arabs took their notation from the Brahmins of India about 200 A. D., they only introduced it into Eastern Europe so late as the thirteenth century." He thus anticipated some of the results of the most modern research on this interesting theme. In the essay on the “ Antiquity of the Carmelite Order," Papebroch rejected the claims of the Carmelites, "who traced back their origin to Elijah, the Tishbite. This piece of skepticism brought down a storm upon his devoted head, which raged for years and involved Popes, nay, even princes and courts in the quarrel."
1 " The Bollandists." G. F. Stokes, in Contemporary Review for 1883, I., p. 69, ff. 2 Stokes, I. c., p. 78. Stokes, 1. c., p. 80.
* Stokes, l. c., p. 83.