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Bede: The Ecclesiastical history of the…

Bede: The Ecclesiastical history of the English people and Other…

by Bede

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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 |
Written in the midst of the 'Dark ages' by a monk of Jarrow monastery, in the modern country of Northumberland, England, this book is more than a historical text, it is the story of a people, and their embryonic nation.
From the invasion of Julius Ceasar to his own time Bede tells the story of Britain in his own words.

Focusing upon the coming of the Saxons, and their conversion to the Catholic religion under Augustine, Bede's voice permeates this text. Sometimes praising the warrior Kings of Legend and history, passionately recording the conversion of his countrymen, or pouring scorn upon the 'Britons', it is an authentically human account.
Though his methodology and the didactic purpose of his writing would be frowned upon by modern Historians, Bede's belief in the importance of verifying accounts, and gleaning as much information as he could from eyewitnesses (or people who had known eyewitnesses) shows that Bede was no amateur and his epithet `the father of English history' is perhaps well deserved.

The nature of Bede's contacts and some of his sources of information shed a fascinating light on the cosmopolitan nature of Medieval monasteries - how else could a monk of in a remote corner of Northern England have known about an the Islamic invasions of North Africa and Spain happening thousands of miles away?

The one time mayor of London Ken Livingstone once rejected this work out of hand because Bede 'did not mention King Arthur' and others in recent years have condemned the history because of Bede's bias against the Britons and other. Whilst the latter is at least historically justifiable; the former is utterly ludicrous as a criticism of The Ecclesiastical History.
Yet for all its shortcomings, be they Bede's obvious bias, polemics and rants, and his unlikely miracle stories, and occasional errors of fact, the Ecclesiastical History still stands as the penultimate contemporary source for the Early Anglo Saxon period and essential reading for students or curious lay-people alike.

Love him or hate him, Bede is inescapable and without the Ecclesiastical History out knowledge of 6th-8th century England would be severely lacking. Indeed, its very existence bears testament to a complex, literate and multi-faceted society, far removed from traditional image of the Anglo Saxons as ignorant, backwards grunting barbarian savages. ( )
1 vote Medievalgirl | Oct 4, 2016 |
More readable than I thought it would be. What he doesn't tell you is frustrating, but almost as interesting as what he does. ( )
  Helenliz | May 30, 2016 |
While it would be a lie to say I found Bede's history to be a riveting experience, I still consider it a largely informative one. Bede's history is one of the most extensive primary sources we have on British history before and during the time of the Anglo-Saxons, with it chronicling the first contact of Rome with the British isles, up to the year 731 just prior to Bede's death.

What with it being an "ecclesiastical history", it is obviously mainly concerned with the early history of the English church, and as a source on this subject in particular it excels, although it is obviously at times coloured by Bede's own beliefs and as a result has certain events omitted, and the book does on occasion seem preoccupied with such things as the true date of Easter and the relating of many dubious and repetitive miracles supposedly enacted at the time. If one looks slightly beyond the obvious Christian message being enforced in this they will nevertheless find Bede's history an incredibly detailed source on general early British (and Irish) history, with the work including details on the lives of many kings and notable members of the clergy, as well as the various peoples and kingdoms inhabiting Britain in this time period.

I won't claim Bede's history is a particularly fun read, because it can be incredibly dense at times and frustrating at others, however these small qualms are heavily counterbalanced by the wealth of interesting knowledge contained within its pages, which make it a definite must read in my eyes. I feel as if, after reading this I know a great deal more about the origins of my country than I did before, and while my liking of this history may be slightly biased due to my own national ties, I would still recommend it wholeheartedly to anybody with an interest in early British history (P.S. having a rough geographical awareness of the kingdoms of Anglo-Saxon Britain before starting will be greatly beneficial, and finding a good heavily annotated version with an introduction like I did will greatly enhance your enjoyment of this text). ( )
  hickey92 | Jan 24, 2016 |
This is primarily an ecclesiastical record, but the best we have about a time period that has only the Anglo Saxon Chronicles as another written source. The writing is pedestrian, but it's a translation, so one could hope the original is spritely. But we have it at all, so.... ( )
  DinadansFriend | Jan 22, 2014 |
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» Add other authors (26 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Bedeprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Chiesa, PaoloTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Colgrave, BertramTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Giles, J. A.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gray, GerrishEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jane, Lionel C.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Knowles, Dom DavidIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lapidge, MichaelEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Latham, Ronald E.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
McClure, JudithEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mynors, R.A.B.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sherley-Price, LeoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stevens, JohnTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stevenson, J.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Beda, dessen vielleicht bekanntestes Werk hier mit deutscher Übersetzung vorgelegt wird, ist die Personifizierung der nordhumbrischen Kultur, in der sich das auf eine lange, eigenständige Entwicklung zurücblickende irische Christentum, die angelsächsische Tradition und schließlich auch das vom Kontinent kommende römische Christentum vereinen.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 014044565X, Paperback)

Written in AD 731, Bede's work opens with a background sketch of Roman Britain's geography and history. It goes on to tell of the kings and bishops, monks and nuns who helped to develop Anglo-Saxon government and religion during the crucial formative years of the English people. Leo Sherley-Price's translation brings us an accurate and readable version, in modern English, of a unique historical document. This edition now includes Bede's Letter to Egbert concerning pastoral care in early Anglo-Saxon England, at the heart of which lay Bede's denunciation of the false monasteries; and The Death of Bede, an admirable eye-witness account by Cuthbert, monk and later Abbot of Jarrow, both translated by D. H. Farmer.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:08:44 -0400)

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From the publisher. Starting with the invasion of Julius Caesar in the fifth century, Bede recorded the history of the English up to his own day in 731 A.D. A scholarly monk working in the north-east of England, Bede wrote the five books of his history in Latin. The Ecclesiastical History is his most famous work, and this edition provides the authoritative Colgrave translation, as well as a new translation of the Greater Chronicle, never before published in English. His Letter to Egbert gives his final reflections on the English Church just before his death. This is the only edition to include all three texts, and they are illuminated further by a detailed introduction and explanatory notes.… (more)

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