Ecclesiastical History of the English People

Ecclesiastical History of the English People
   by The Venerable Bede
   The Historia ecclesiastica gentis Anglorum (Ecclesiastical History of the English People) is the most important work by the Anglo-Saxon scholar, the Venerable BEDE, a learned eighth-century Northumbrian monk.Writing the five books of his history in Latin, the universal language of Europe at the time for scholarly texts, Bede traces the history of Britain from the time of the Roman invasion through the invasion of the tribes of Angles, Saxons, and Jutes, which Bede dates to 449 C.E., up until Bede’s own time.
   Bede is most interested in the fortunes of Christianity in Britain, and therefore focuses the early part of his text on the conversion of the Britons, dealing at some length with the Pelagian heresy that was the focus of much of St. AUGUSTINE’s polemical writing, and whose founder, Pelagius, was a Briton. Bede then describes the invasion of the pagan Anglo-Saxons (basing this section largely on the work of the sixth-century monk GILDAS), and then begins to relate the fortunes of the seven petty kingdoms of Anglo-Saxon England (Wessex, Sussex, Essex, East Anglia, Mercia, Kent, and Northumbria). This is the low point of the history of the church on the island, until the arrival of a later Saint Augustine, an emissary of Pope GREGORY THE GREAT, who is charged with establishing a church in England.Augustine succeeds in converting King Ethelbert of Kent, and the success of the English church grows steadily from that point. Perhaps the best-known section of Bede’s history is his description of the cowherd CAEDMON, who,divinely inspired to compose a hymn of praise for God’s Creation, is the first recorded poet in the English language. A number of manuscripts of Bede’s history include the Old English text of Caedmon’s hymn alongside Bede’s Latin rendition of it. While Bede was in many ways the first “modern” historian—he questioned the authenticity of his sources and strove to use eyewitness accounts when possible—he also had a clearly didactic purpose, focusing on morality and including a number of SAINTS’ LIVES as a part of his text, whose miracles served as evidence of the divinely ordained mission of the English church. Bede is the first historian to date events from the birth of Christ, thereby creating the “B.C.” and “A.D.” dating system.
   In all, more than 150 manuscripts of Bede’s history survive, a testament to its widespread popularity and early recognition as a masterpiece. It was translated into OLD ENGLISH at the behest of King ALFRED THE GREAT in the ninth century, and it continues to be the most important historical source for the early Anglo-Saxon period in England.
   ■ Blair, Peter Hunter. The World of Bede. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990.
   ■ Colgrave, Beretram, and R. A. B. Mynors, eds. Bede’s Ecclesiastical History of the English People. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1969.
   ■ McClure, Judith, and Roger Collins, ed. The Ecclesiastical History of the English People; The Greater Chronicle; Bede’s Letter to Egbert. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1994.
   ■ Ward, Benedicta. The Venerable Bede. Kalamazoo, Mich.: Cistercian Publications, 1998.

Encyclopedia of medieval literature. 2013.

Игры ⚽ Поможем решить контрольную работу

Look at other dictionaries:

  • History of the English penny (1154–1485) — This is the history of the English penny from the years 1154 to 1485. The Plantagenets (1154 ndash;1485) King Henry II ascended the throne in 1154 as the first of the Plantagenet dynasty. For the first few years of his reign the coins of King… …   Wikipedia

  • History of the English penny (c. 600-1066) — After Rome: prelude to the Anglo Saxon coinageAt the end of the fourth century, the Roman provinces of Britain were still part of a vibrant and quite efficient economic and monetary system that stretched over the whole Roman world. Precious metal …   Wikipedia

  • History of the English penny (1485–1603) — The Tudors (1485 ndash;1603) Henry VIIHenry Tudor, who reigned as King Henry VII between 1485 and 1509, had a rather tenuous claim on the throne, being the Lancastrian claimant via an illegitimate descendant of Edward III when all the more senior …   Wikipedia

  • Ecclesiastical history (Catholicism) — Ecclesiastical history, for the Roman Catholic Church, is the history of the Roman Catholic Church as an institution, written from a particular perspective. There is a traditional approach to such historiography. The generally identified starting …   Wikipedia

  • History of the Jews in France — The Jewish community in France presently numbers around 600,000, according to the World Jewish Congress and 500,000 according to the Appel Unifié Juif de France, and is found mainly in the metropolitan areas of Paris, Marseille, Strasbourg, Lyon …   Wikipedia

  • The English College, in Rome —     The English College, in Rome     † Catholic Encyclopedia ► The English College, in Rome     I. FOUNDATION     Some historians (e.g., Dodd, II, 168, following Polydere Vergil, Harpsfield, Spelman, etc.) have traced the origin of the English… …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • History of the Philippines (1521–1898) — Spanish East Indies The story of the Philippines from 1521 to 1898 is an exciting epic of how a handful of Christian missionaries, Spanish conquistadores, indigenous nobles, early European settlers and Malay population built a nation that became… …   Wikipedia

  • History of the Puritans — The history of the Puritans can be traced back to the Vestments Controversy in the reign of Edward VI ending in a decline in the mid 1700s. Background, to 1559 The English Reformation, begun his reign in the reign of Henry VIII of England, was… …   Wikipedia

  • History of the Eastern Orthodox Church — The Eastern Orthodox Churches trace their roots back to the Apostles and Jesus Christ. Eastern Orthodoxy reached its golden age during the high point of the Byzantine Empire, and then continued to flourish in Russia after the Fall of… …   Wikipedia

  • English nationalism — is the name given to a nationalist political movement in England that desires national independence for England. In recent years this has been advocated via a devolved English Parliament. Some English nationalists go further, and seek the re… …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”