The Revue d'Histoire Ecclésiastique and its bibliography are over one hundred years old. During that century, the selection criteria, the arrangement and the presentation of the bibliography remained practically unchanged.  For some years, the editors have been convinced of the need to make certain modifications in the classification of notices and offer its users new possibilities. Evolutions in Church historiography, the introduction of new themes, increasing interest in the contemporary period, the ever increasing number of more and more diverse publications, should be reflected in this bibliography, which considers itself the first in its domain. Computer technology offers us new possibilities for elaborating and presenting the bibliography, but also imposes constraints of its own.

Since 2002, the bibliography of the Revue d'Histoire Ecclésiastique has been a computerized instrument[1]. In the printed issue n°2, we continue to present the last few months' harvest, and we offer readers new points of access and, since 2009, in collaboration with the Editor Brepols (Turnhout), we offer to subscribers an online bibliography that allows to consult all references published from 1973 to 2013. Since 2014, this bibliography of the RHE online is combined with the Elenchus bibliographicus of the Ephemerides Theologicae Lovanienses under the name Index Religiosus. You will find more information on this page.

A peer-reviewed bibliography

The bibliography of the Revue d'Histoire Ecclésiastique is subject to regular supervision of a commission of experts who can make comments and remarks on all content. Currently, this commission of experts is composed of the following members: Ralph Dekoninck (UCLouvain), Jan De Maeyer (KU Leuven), Robert Godding (Bollandists), Brigitte Meijns (KU Leuven), Violet Soen (KU Leuven), Gilbert Van Belle (KU Leuven), Dries Vanysacker (KU Leuven). It is planned to integrate into this commission of experts 5 additional members representing universities from America, Asia and Africa.

Goals and limits

The bibliography of the RHE covers literature dealing with Church history strictly speaking. Scientific disciplines related to Church history, such as theology and disciplines related to history or theology not are not aimed at as such. The increasing volume of this literature and the existence of specialized bibliographical instruments preclude our including it in our bibliography.

Our bibliography places its accent on publications involving Christian Churchs, particularly the Latin occidental Church and – as of Modern Times – the Catholic Church. Naturally, publications oriented towards the mutual relations of Christian Churchs and the relations of Christian Churchs with other religions or ideological movements enter in. The history stricto sensu of non Christian religions, of ideological movements and even – from Modern Times on – of Churchs of the Anglican communion, protestant or of other denominations, do not figure in our bibliography.

In principle, the bibliography is limited to literature published in the following languages: German, English, Spanish and Catalan, French, Italian, Latin, Dutch and Portuguese. Yet, we also take into account books and articles written in Greek and Polish, while providing the French translation after the original title. We do not study publications written in Scandinavian, Slavic, Hungarian, Romanian or the Frisian languages, nor even in Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Arabic, etc., unless they are accompanied by a résumé in one of the nine languages we limit ourselves to in theory. As regards the non European languages mentioned supra, we only mention the title as translated.


In the past, the bibliography in principle appeared in each issue of the RHE. Each issue supplied a list of books, review articles and collections studied and arranged according to a new classification (see annex 1). Since 2011, the bibliography appear only in issue No. 2 of this journal, an issue devoted solely to that purpose. Moreover, each bibliography issue contains an alphabetical index of authors as well as an alphabetical index of historical figures and subjects, this last representing a non negligible innovation.

Previously, references to book reviews of a work cited in the RHE bibliography appeared after the bibliography in the last issue of the year. Beginning in 2004, once a year on our Internet site, we published a list of those book reviews that is freely downloadable in PDF format (see this page). Now, book reviews of works announced are directly entered into our online bibliography consultable on the Brepolis site (

The bibliography inserted into each issue also contains a listing of the exact issues of the reviews examined, even if no article is listed by us. For the acronyms of the reviews studied, we follow the work of S. SCHWERTNER, IATG : Internationales Abkürzungsverzeichnis für Theologie und Grenzgebiete / International glossary of abbreviations for theology and related subjects / Index international of abréviations For la théologie et domaines apparentés (2nd edition, enlarged and revised), Berlin-New York, W. de Gruyter, 1992 (xli-488 p.) (ISBN 3-11-011117-9).

To consult in pdf the list of the harvested journals (updated : Dec. 13 2013).

Technical details

The new RHE bibliography is based on a thematic and chronological classification, completed by numerous indices.

1) Thematic and chronological classification

As a reference for the presentation of the new bibliography we have adopted – with some subsequent adjustments – the plan introduced as of volume 97, n# 2 (April-June 2002) of the RHE, on pages *5-*26). The thematic and chronological classification of the bibliography (see annex 1) is composed of six principal headings. They are:

                  1.     Working instruments of Church history

                  2.     General and specialized history covering various periods

                  3.     Antiquity (until c. 500)

                  4.     Middle Ages (c. 500-c. 1500)

                  5.     Modern Times (c. 1500-c. 1800)

                  6.     19th and 20th centuries (c. 1800-).

Category 2 is not restricted to books or articles whose subjects cover numerous periods or whose subjects prove to be really rather general. Researchers particularly interested in a well defined period are hence invited to consult category 2 as well.

Each category includes various sub-heading classified according to a decimal system, headings that are systematically taken up for categories 2 to 6. Generally, we have chosen not to over complicate the new classification by inserting too many sub-levels. Combined with the classification, the indices of historic persons and subjects (keywords) allow us to situate the subject of the article or book with precision. When the number of references proves sizeable, we create a supplementary subdivision in certain headings.

For most headings, the creation of subdivisions is unnecessary. Thus, for the councils and synods, we do not establish subdivisions by council but the names of the councils mentioned in the entries are included in the keywords. This is the case, for example, regarding the names of sovereign pontiffs. On the other hand, for the headings ‘Bishops and Dioceses’, we have refined the classification by continents and countries.

Within each level of classification, the order followed is that of the alphabetical name of author (or the first determinant word of the title if there's no author) in the form of name, then whole first name of the author.

Unlike in the past, in the bibliographical descriptions themselves we no longer use abbreviations particular to the RHE. Each title is repeated entirely as we receive it. We no longer supply the price of books but rather their ISBN number.

2) Index

Two indices, meaning an alphabetical index of authors and an alphabetical index of historic persons and subjects complete each bibliography issued. These indices are designed as tools complementing the bibliography's classification (see supra). French is the reference language of the RHE and is generally employed for the various explanatory notes. The presentation of names follows alphabetical order strictly, apart from names preceded by a particle associated with a title of nobility or lineage (« da », « de », « dei », « di », « von ») attached to the principal name. The principal name is first, followed by the first name and the particle. (Example: Gebsattel, Johann Philipp von). It's possible to consult the list of the acronyms used in the indices (see annex 2).

Regarding proper names in the index of historic persons and subjects, we observe the following rules of composition:

1. Historic Personages

    ◊ Before the year 1000

Latin retains an absolute priority in the form: first name + cognomen.

    ◊ From 1000 to 1500

For authors having written in Latin, we give preference to Latin in the form of first name + cognomen. For the Middle Ages, we take as reference the volume of Cl. FABIAN (red.), Personennamen des Mittelalters. Nomina Scriptorum Medii Aevi. PMA. Namensformen für 13000 Personen gemäss den Regeln für die Alphabetische Katalogisierung (RAK). 2nd enlarged edition. Munich, K.G. Saur, 2000. ISBN 3-598-11400-1.

For all others, unmentioned in the Personennamen des Mittelalters, and known foremost in a vernacular language, we use the frenchified name in the form of the first name + cognomen according to the Petit Robert des noms propres (new edition revised and enlarged, 2001). If there is no correspondence in French, we maintain the language of origin in the form of first name + cognomen or family name + first name, according to usage.

    ◊ The modern and contemporary period

All names are frenchified in the form of name + first name (according to the Petit Robert des noms propres, edition 2001). If there is no equivalent in French, we maintain the language of origin in the form of name + first name.

    Some particular cases

        – Popes: the names of sovereign pontiffs remain in Latin in all periods in the form of first name + indication « Pp. » + number of order. Ex.: Benedict XVI, Benedictus Pp. XVI.
        – Emperors, kings, czars and other titles of nobility, with the exception of Roman emperors (until 476), are mentioned in French (according to the Petit Robert des noms propres, edition 2001). Otherwise, they figure in their language of origin. Roman emperors are mentioned in Latin in the form of first name + cognomen. Other emperors, kings and czars are found under their first name (with the mention « emp. » or indication of the country in case of a king or czar). Other titles of nobility are indicated in the form of the title followed by the first name.
        Examples: Constantius II (emp.) (and not Constance II) ; Henri IV (emp.); Henri IV (Angleterre) ; Wurttemberg, Charles de; Baviere, Guillaume de.
        for titles of nobility and other names composed of numerous elements, we refer to the element most generally known, without trying to provide the full title.  Hence: Fénelon, François, instead of: Salignac de la Mothe-Fénelon, François de;  Alsace, Thomas-Philippe card. d', instead of: Hénin-Liétard des comtes de Boussu, dit d'Alsace, Thomas-Philippe card. de.
        – humanists:  their name is found in Latin in the form of first name + cognomen (if it exists)unless they possess a family name. When the Latin form does not exist, we opt for the language of origin.
        Examples: Erasmus; Picus Mirandulanus, Johannes; Ficinus, Marsilius; Lipsius, Justus.
        – saints: for saints born before 1500, we give preference to Latin in the form of first name + cognomen, followed by the acronym « S. » in parentheses. Saints born after 1500 are mentioned in French (according to the Petit Robert des noms propres, edition 2001). Otherwise, they remain in their language of origin. Yet, they are always cited in the form of first name + cognomen or family name, always followed by « S. » in parentheses.

2. Keywords

Many titles may be found in numerous places in the classification. Only one is chosen. Supplementary entries are ensured by the attribution of keywords, representing either a classification alternative or else an overture for in-depth research.

Keywords referring to place names are frenchified whenever possible (based on the Petit Robert des noms propres, edition 2001). Otherwise, we employ the language of origin. In case of doubt or when precision is necessary, we include the two forms: either in the language of origin followed in parentheses by the frenchified form, or via a referral from the French form towards the occurrence in the language of origin.

Examples: Aix-La-Chapelle (Aachen); Drongen, Tronchiennes: see Drongen.

For ancient Northern Africa, we obviously conserve the Latin name and not the modern denomination in Arabic.

Historic personages ― when it proves possible and necessary ―are identified by their function and their dates of birth and death. For popes, emperors and kings, we mention the dates of their reign.

In dealing with the best known religious orders and congregations, we refer to the acronym as mentioned in the Lexikon für Theologie und Kirche. (W. KASPER et AL., dir.), vol. 11. Nachträge, Register, Abkürzungsverzeichnis. Fribourg-Basel-Rome-Vienna, Herder, 2001, p. 742*-746* (for example, jesuits: see SJ). For lesser known congregations, the full name is provided.

Dioceses, churchs, archives, libraries and universities are grouped under the name of the city or town they are located in. Each European city from the geographical point of view ― except capitals ― is followed by the acronym of the present-day country (see annex 2). For non-European cities (besides capitals), we provide the country's full name. Councils and synods are also placed under the name of the city, except those with a particular or combined name: the latter are then classified under their name followed by the denomination ‘concile’ or ‘synode’ in parentheses.

Examples: Bâle, CH, concile; Vatican II (concile) ; Ferrare-Florence (concile) ; Pistoia, I, synode.

Abbeys, monasteries and convents are classified under the geographical location followed by their country acronym and their denomination.

Examples: Aggsbach, A, Chartreuse ; Bosau, D, abbaye; Caldern, GB, abbaye ; Cantú, I, monastère.


F. Keygnaert, E. Louchez and D. Vanysacker

[1] The editors wish to express their thanks to Professor Frederik Truyen for having created a computerized bibliographical system adapted to the specific needs of the RHE.