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Ecclesiastical History of the English People

by Bede

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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3,486243,735 (3.8)47
Bede's best known work, An Ecclesiastical History of the English People, was written in Latin and is not immediately easy to understand and follow. And yet it is a key text for any student of English history. Rowan Williams shows in his introduction how Bede works to create a sense of national destiny for the new English kingdoms of the seventh century, a sense that has helped to shape English self-awareness through the centuries, by using the imagery both of imperial Rome and of biblical Israel. But Bede also wrestles with the difficult question of how the Church relates to and serves the pol… (more)
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English (22)  Swedish (1)  German (1)  All languages (24)
Showing 1-5 of 22 (next | show all)
One of those rare classic texts that proves to be enjoyable and informative reading. ( )
  sfj2 | Apr 28, 2024 |
text and notes
  SrMaryLea | Aug 22, 2023 |
I don’t normally rate or review books that I give up reading but decided to do so in this case because I got beyond the halfway mark.

The earlier chapters I consider quite interesting, but the further into it I got, the harder I found it to keep my concentration. It feels repetitive in some respects, yet the aspect that made me stop reading was yet another vision being recounted as a historic fact. Some such visions occur when people are awake, while at least one happened during sleep, so in other words it was a dream.

The number of miracles recorded as facts are as tedious as they are unbelievable. For instance, the dust were Oswald, King of Northumbria, was slain was able to cure deadly illnesses, simply because Oswald was sainted.

Bede also declares that certain kings should have their names erased from history and their reigns forgotten because of their disbelief in the Christian faith. So, ‘cancel culture’ sadly existed in Anglo-Saxon times. Such omissions don’t make for good history.

This is a didactic and biased text by an early historian. I accept, of course, that the mindset of someone living in the eight century is worlds away from that of the present day. Despite this, it didn’t make this book any more enjoyable for me to read. ( )
  PhilSyphe | Feb 16, 2023 |
My fourth reading of Bede's magnum opus and I struggled for several reasons: it was my first time not reading my beloved Sherley-Price translation and my first time reading the History during a worldwide pandemic and very serious family health crisis. Thank goodness for the good people at LibriVox.org who had recorded an audiobook of Sellar's translation. ( )
  bibliothecarivs | Nov 17, 2020 |
Bede's chronicle of the rise, expansion, and consolidation of Roman Catholicism among the Anglo-Saxon tribes in England from the fifth through the early part of the eighth centuries.

Bede is one of our primary sources for the period. His chronicle thinks highly of the bishops and monks from Augustine onward as well as those rulers who converted or proved zealous for the faith. A lot of miracle stories are recorded.

Bede is not quite as kind about British/Celtic Christianity. He recognizes their greater antiquity and speaks of the developments which led to their faith, but regarded them generally in contempt. The big concern throughout is when Easter should be observed: we today may find it trifling, but for Bede it proves almost all-important. One needs to have the virtues of an Aidan to be able to overcome that bias.

In Bede's account can be seen the imposition of the "order" of Roman Catholicism on Celtic Christianity via the conversion and continual correction of the English by Augustine, sent by Pope Gregory, and those who came after him.

This version is highly readable with helpful notes and also includes a letter of Bede to a bishop and Cuthbert's chronicle of Bede's death.

An indispensable resource to understanding the development of Christianity in Anglo-Saxon England. ( )
  deusvitae | Dec 14, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 22 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (1 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Bedeprimary authorall editionscalculated
Bragg, MelvynIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Chiesa, PaoloTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Colgrave, BertramTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Farmer, David HughIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Giles, J. A.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gray, GerrishEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jane, Lionel C.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Knowles, DavidTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lapidge, MichaelEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Latham, Ronald E.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Leo Sherley-PriceTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Luiselli, BrunoIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
McClure, JudithEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mynors, R.A.B.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Scudder, Vida DuttonIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sherley-Price, LeoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sherley-Price, Lionel DigbyTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Simonetti AbbolitoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Spitzbart, GünterTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stevens, JohnTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stevenson, J.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To the most glorious king Ceolwulf, Bede the priest and servant in Christ
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Bede (Baeda) was probably born in the year of the Council of Hertford (A.D. 673) on lands that were shortly afterwards granted by King Egfrid of Northumberland to S. Benedict Biscop's new monastery of Saint Peter at Wearmouth.

Introduction (Penguin Classics, rev. ed., 1968).
Some while ago, at Your Majesty's request, I gladly sent you the history of the English Church and People which I had recently completed, in order that you might read it and give it your approval.

Author's preface (Penguin Classics, rev. ed., 1968).
Britain, formerly known as Albion, is an island in the ocean, lying towards the north west at a considerable distance from the coasts of Germany, Gaul, and Spain, which together form the greater part of Europe.

Book One (Penguin Classics, rev. ed., 1968).
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Bede's best known work, An Ecclesiastical History of the English People, was written in Latin and is not immediately easy to understand and follow. And yet it is a key text for any student of English history. Rowan Williams shows in his introduction how Bede works to create a sense of national destiny for the new English kingdoms of the seventh century, a sense that has helped to shape English self-awareness through the centuries, by using the imagery both of imperial Rome and of biblical Israel. But Bede also wrestles with the difficult question of how the Church relates to and serves the pol

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