Obituary: Dom Eligius Dekkers
Monday 18 January 1999
The collection, published by Brepols in Turnhout, Belgium, was a reworking of the first such edition, the Bibliotheque universelle du clerge edited by Father Jacques-Paul Migne in the 19th century, but adhering to modern, scholarly norms. As the work expanded and new series were created to cover not only the Latin but, in 1976, the Greek fathers and, in 1981, the New Testament Apocrypha, Dekkers brought in specialists from relevant institutions to edit the individual series.
Dekkers's aim was to publish in the Series Latina all the works listed in the Clavis Patrum Latinorum, from Tertullian to Bede, and to publish in the Continuatio Mediaevalis the complete works of all important medieval authors, including Paschasius Radbertus, Peter Abelard, Hildegard of Bingen, William of St Thierry, Hugh of St Victor and the "Hermes Latinus".
The series also expanded to include lexicographical works and individual studies of different authors.
Born Jan Dekkers into a Flemish-speaking family in Antwerp, he entered the abbey of St Peter in Steenbrugge, assuming the name Eligius when he took his monastic vows in October 1934 at the age of 19. He was to remain in the same community for the rest of his life. He was elected Abbot in April 1967, a post he held until 1981. He taught for many years in the fields of patristics, theology and liturgy at the University of Leuven.
Although he would become widely known in the academic world for his Corpus Christianorum, Dekkers never went to university and was largely self-taught. During his novitiate he had studied philosophy and theology, but most of his academic education came through wide reading.
Dekkers received numerous accolades for his work, including several honorary doctorates. He was a corresponding Fellow of the British Academy and sat on editorial boards of various scholarly publications.
His death will not bring to a halt the mammoth publishing project he launched. His abbey and the publishers have pledged their continued support and the project will be overseen by an academic board chaired by Professor Fernand Bossier.
Dekkers was a gentle and modest man whose life of quiet scholarship was devoted to the academic project he himself launched nearly 50 years ago.
Jan Dekkers, monk: born Antwerp, Belgium 20 June 1915; professed a monk 1934 taking the name Eligius; founder of Corpus Christianorum 1949; Abbot of St Peter's, Steenbrugge 1967-81; died Bruges, Belgium 15 December 1998.
Is the comedy album making a comeback?comedy
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Woman and two children killed by mob in riots over 'blasphemous' Facebook post in Pakistan
- 2 The secret report that helps Israelis to hide facts
- 3 Danish TV reporter is all business up top, all party down below
- 4 Ross Burden dead: MasterChef and Ready Steady Cook star, dies aged 45
- 5 Businessman charged £75 for three small bottles of water in London hotel
Secret Cinema: Why were Back to the Future screenings cancelled?
Top Gear Burma episode breached Ofcom rules over Jeremy Clarkson's racial slur
Game of Thrones season 4 blooper reel unveiled at Comic-Con 2014
Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 teaser trailer sees Katniss lead rebellion against the Capitol
The Simpsons Family Guy trailer: First look at crossover episode after Comic-Con debut
The secret report that helps Israelis to hide facts
A day in the life of Vladimir Putin: The dictator in his labyrinth
Were 'Poor Doors' added to mixed developments so wealthy residents don't have to go in alongside social housing tenants?
A new Russian revolution: The cracks are starting to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Arizona execution lasts two hours as killer Joseph Wood left 'snorting and gasping' for air
Opponents of Israel's military operation in Gaza are the real enemies of Middle Eastern peace