If hagiology be considered merely in the sense in which the term has come to be understood in the later stages of its development, i.e.
But the bases of hagiology may fairly be said to have been laid at the time when hagiographic documents, hitherto dispersed, were first brought together into collections.
Hagiology entered on a new development with the publication of the Sanctorum priscorum patrum vitae (Venice and Rome, 1551-1560) of Aloysius Lipomanus (Lippomano), bishop of Verona.
The original idea was conceived by a Jesuit father, Heribert Rosweyde (see Hagiology), and was explained by him in a sort of prospectus, which he issued in 1607 under the title of Fasti sanctorum quorum vitae in Belgicis Bibliothecis manuscriptae.
To realize the present state of hagiology, the Bibliotheca hagiographica, both Latin and Greek, published by the Bollandists, and the Bulletin hagiographique, which appears in each number of the Analecta Bollandiana (see Bollandists), must be consulted.