Bede the venerable

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A brief overview of St. Bede of Jarrow's life and work in the 7th century. This was in the introductory chapter to a survey course in British Literature taught at New Frontiers Christian Academy in Canton, Texas
(2011 -2012).

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Bede the venerable

  1. 1. Bede the Venerable <ul><li>British Literature (12 th ) </li></ul><ul><li>Unit I – The Old English Period </li></ul><ul><li>New Frontiers Lighthouse Christian Academy </li></ul><ul><li>(Canton , Texas) </li></ul><ul><li>Instructor: Joseph David Rhodes, M.A. </li></ul><ul><li>Semester I, 2011 -2012 </li></ul>
  2. 2. Bede the Venerable <ul><li>British Literature (12 th ) </li></ul><ul><li>Unit I – The Old English Period </li></ul><ul><li>673 Was born near Jarrow </li></ul><ul><li>680 Began his education at </li></ul><ul><li>Wearmouth </li></ul><ul><li>682 Still a lad, he was sent to </li></ul><ul><li>Jarrow, where he stayed until </li></ul><ul><li>his death </li></ul><ul><li>692 Was ordained a deacon 703 Was ordained a priest 731 Completed his main work, </li></ul><ul><li>The Ecclesiastical History 735 Died in faith at Jarrow </li></ul>Bede's tomb in Durham Cathedral
  3. 3. Bede the Venerable <ul><li>His Early Life </li></ul><ul><li>His Adult Life as a Deacon & Priest at the Jarrow Monastery </li></ul><ul><li>At age of 7, he was placed in the Wearmouth monastery located at the mouth of the river Wear, Northumbria </li></ul><ul><li>At that time a poor family was unable to take care for its children so might turn some over to the Church. </li></ul><ul><li>Or, a boy of humble birth might rise in the hierarchy of the society if raised in the church. </li></ul><ul><li>Thus we are unsure if Bede came from a poor family or if his family saw something special in the boy and realized that only the church represented an avenue for advancement. </li></ul><ul><li>Initially in the care of Abbot Benedict, Bede's teaching was taken over by Ceolfrith, with whom Bede moved to the monastery's new twin-house at Jarrow in 681. </li></ul><ul><li>(Abbot Benedict: later became responsible for the monastery and the library which the Venerable Bede produced) </li></ul><ul><li>Bede spent the rest of his life as a monk at Jarrow, first being taught and then teaching to the daily rhythms of monastic rule. For Bede, a mixture of prayer and study. </li></ul><ul><li>At the age of 19, he was ordained as a Deacon (at a time when Deacons were supposed to be 25 or over) </li></ul><ul><li>At the age of 30, he became a priest </li></ul><ul><li>Historians believe Bede left Jarrow only twice, to visit Lindisfarne and York. While his letters contain hints of other visits, there isn't any real evidence and he certainly never traveled far. </li></ul><ul><li>His love for the service--&quot;I know that the angels are present at the canonical Hours, and what if they do not find me among the brethren when they assem-ble? Will they not say, Where is Bede? Why does he not attend the appointed devotions with his brethren? ”--from a letter he wrote </li></ul>
  4. 4. Bede the Venerable <ul><li>British Literature (12 th ) </li></ul><ul><li>Unit I – The Old English Period </li></ul><ul><li>Introduction to Bede, Venerable Scholar and Christian: </li></ul><ul><li>Bede was not the first writer Christian English writer whose works have </li></ul><ul><li>survived; this honor actually belongs to Aldhelm, an Anglo-Saxon </li></ul><ul><li>clergyman who preceded him (639 – 709). </li></ul><ul><li>Yet, Bede is a logical starting point for a survey of British Literature. </li></ul><ul><li>His Ecclesiastical History remains the most important historical source of information about the Anglo-Saxons and their encounter with Roman Christianity. This same work also includes the earliest known English poem, “Caedmon’s Hymn.” </li></ul><ul><li>It is probable that among his many other writings, Bede translated from Latin to Anglo-Saxon the ancient Apostles’ Creed, the Lord’s Prayer, and the beginning chapters of the Gospel of John. </li></ul><ul><li>Bede himself wrote much sacred verse ( songs to Christ) in Old English. </li></ul>
  5. 5. Bede the Venerable <ul><li>British Literature (12 th ) </li></ul><ul><li>Unit I – The Old English Period </li></ul><ul><li>Bede’s Ecclesiastical History is the best introduction to the spiritual beliefs and the social and political worldview of the Old English Period (450 -1100), </li></ul><ul><li>It clearly displays the sad hopelessness of Paganism and the virtues of Christian truth. </li></ul><ul><li>Many of its passages have a similar pathos to the vivid descriptions of Beowulf . </li></ul>
  6. 6. Bede the Venerable
  7. 7. Bede the Venerable <ul><li>British Literature (12 th ) </li></ul><ul><li>Unit I – The Old English Period </li></ul><ul><li>PRAYER OF THE VENERABLE BEDE. </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><li>I Pray you, good Jesus, </li></ul><ul><li>that as you have given me the grace </li></ul><ul><li>to drink in with joy the Word that gives knowledge of you, </li></ul><ul><li>so in your goodness </li></ul><ul><li>you will grant me to come at length to yourself, </li></ul><ul><li>the source of all wisdom, </li></ul><ul><li>to stand before your face forever. </li></ul><ul><li>Amen. </li></ul>
  8. 8. Bede the Venerable <ul><li>British Literature (12 th ) </li></ul><ul><li>Unit I – The Old English Period </li></ul><ul><li>Bede’s Lifetime Career as a Christian Monk and Scholar : </li></ul><ul><li>He produced over sixty works in: </li></ul><ul><li>(1) Theology </li></ul><ul><li>(2) History </li></ul><ul><li>(3) Chronology </li></ul><ul><li>(4) Poetry </li></ul><ul><li>(5) Biography </li></ul>
  9. 9. Bede the Venerable <ul><li>British Literature (12 th ) </li></ul><ul><li>Unit I – The Old English Period </li></ul><ul><li>Bede As A Theologian : </li></ul><ul><li>Bede's wrote several commentaries on the Bible. Frequently, like other early medieval thinkers he interpreted the Bible allegorically rather than literally. He also applied criticism and tried to solve discrepancies. His solutions were extremely popular in the early medieval period, being copied and spread – along with Bede's reputation – widely across the monasteries of Europe. This dispersion was helped by the school of Archbishop Egbert of York, one of Bede's pupils, and later by a student of this school, Alcuin, who became head of Charlemagne's palace school. </li></ul>
  10. 10. Bede the Venerable <ul><li>British Literature (12 th ) </li></ul><ul><li>Unit I – The Old English Period </li></ul><ul><li>Bede As A Chronologist: </li></ul><ul><li>Bede's two chronological works - De temporibus (On Times) and De temporum ratione (On the Reckoning of Time) were concerned with establishing the dates of Easter. Along with his histories, these still affect the modern style of dating: when equating the number of the year with the year of Jesus Christ's life, Bede invented the use of A.D., 'The Year Of Our Lord'. In stark contrast to 'dark age' cliches, Bede also knew the world was round, the moon affected tides and appreciated observational science. </li></ul>
  11. 11. Bede the Venerable <ul><li>British Literature (12 th ) </li></ul><ul><li>Unit I – The Old English Period </li></ul><ul><li>Bede As A Christian Historian: </li></ul><ul><li>Shortly before his death in 731 B.C. , Bede completed the Historia ecclesiastica gentis Anglorum , the Ecclesiastical History of the English People . This account of British history looks at all the main events between the landings of Julius Caesar in 55/54 BC and St. Augustine in 597 AD. In time it became the key source on the Christianity of Britain, a mixture of sophisticated historiography and religious matters containing details simply not found elsewhere (such as the lives of the British saints –hagiography). As such, it now overshadows his other historical, indeed all his other works. His fame indeed rests primarily on it. </li></ul>
  12. 12. Bede the Venerable <ul><li>British Literature (12 th ) </li></ul><ul><li>Unit I – The Old English Period </li></ul><ul><li>Medieval York </li></ul><ul><li>Modern York, (U.K.) </li></ul>
  13. 13. Bede the Venerable <ul><li>British Literature (12 th ) </li></ul><ul><li>Unit I – The Old English Period </li></ul><ul><li>Medieval Lindisfarne </li></ul><ul><li>Modern Newcastle </li></ul>
  14. 14. Bede the Venerable <ul><li>British Literature (12 th ) </li></ul><ul><li>Unit I – The Old English Period </li></ul><ul><li>The Death of Bede </li></ul><ul><li>(Anglo-Saxon Christian Scholar) </li></ul>Bede died in 735 and was buried at Jarrow before being re-buried inside Durham Cathedral. He was already renowned among his peers, being described by a Bishop Boniface as having &quot;shone forth as a lantern in the world by his scriptural commentary“. Today is now regarded as the greatest and most multi-talented scholar of the early medieval era, perhaps of the entire medieval era. Bede was sainted in 1899. We don't know how, or exactly when, he acquired the accolade 'venerable’ but assume that he did after his death.
  15. 15. Bede the Venerable <ul><li>British Literature (12 th ) </li></ul><ul><li>Unit I – The Old English Period </li></ul><ul><li>The Lindisfarne Gospels </li></ul><ul><li>(Medieval Copies of the Gospels -7 th Century) </li></ul>
  16. 16. Bede the Venerable <ul><li>British Literature (12 th ) </li></ul><ul><li>Unit I – The Old English Period </li></ul><ul><li>Typical Quotes </li></ul><ul><li>from Bede : </li></ul><ul><li>“ It has always been my delight to learn or to teach or to write” </li></ul><ul><li>&quot;I have made it my business, for my own benefit and that of my brothers, to make brief extracts from the works of the venerable fathers on the holy scriptures, or to add notes of my own to clarify their sense and interpretation&quot;. </li></ul>
  17. 17. Bede the Venerable <ul><li>British Literature (12 th ) </li></ul><ul><li>Unit I – The Old English Period </li></ul><ul><li>Brief Introduction to : </li></ul><ul><li>The Ecclesiastical History of the English Nation </li></ul><ul><li>Latin Title : Historia Ecclesiatica Gentis Anglorum </li></ul><ul><li>Bede’s most famous work </li></ul><ul><li>Mainly concerned with the growth of Christianity in England </li></ul><ul><li>Considered the most valuable source for early English history </li></ul><ul><li>Completed in ~731, Bede age 60 </li></ul><ul><li>Written in Latin </li></ul><ul><li>Translated into OE by King Alfred in the 9 th century as part of a greater educational reform in England </li></ul>
  18. 18. Bede the Venerable <ul><li>British Literature (12 th ) </li></ul><ul><li>Unit I – The Old English Period </li></ul><ul><li>Folio 3v from the  St. Petersburg Manuscript of Bede’s Historia ecclesiastica gentis Anglorum. </li></ul><ul><li>(This is also known as Manuscript “L” which was copied from Bede’s original by four scribes at Wearmouth or Jarrow abbies ca. 747 A.D. </li></ul>
  19. 19. Bede the Venerable <ul><li>British Literature (12 th ) </li></ul><ul><li>Unit I – The Old English Period </li></ul><ul><li>“ Bede's best-known work is the  Historia ecclesiastica gentis Anglorum , or  An Ecclesiastical History of the English People . Completed in about 731, the first of the five books begins with some geographical background, and then sketches the history of England, beginning with  invasion in 55 B.C. A brief account of Christianity in Roman Britain, including the martyrdom of  St Alban , is followed by the story of  Augustine 's mission to England in 597, which brought Christianity to the Anglo-Saxons. [  The second book begins with the death of Gregory the Great  in 604, and follows the further progress of Christianity in Kent and the first attempts to evangelize Northumbria. These ended in disaster when  Penda , the pagan king of Mercia, killed the newly Christian  Edwin of Northumbria  at the  Battle of Hatfield Chase  in about 632. The setback was temporary, and the third book recounts the growth of Christianity in Northumbria under kings  Oswald of Northumbria  and  Oswy . The climax of the third book is the account of the  Council of Whitby , traditionally seen as a major turning point in English history. The fourth book begins with the consecration of  Theodore  as  Archbishop of Canterbury , and recounts  Wilfrid 's efforts to bring Christianity to the  kingdom of Sussex . The fifth book brings the story up to Bede's day, and includes an account of missionary work in Frisia, and of the conflict with the  British church  over the correct dating of Easter.  Bede wrote a preface for the work, in which he dedicates it to  Ceolwulf , king of Northumbria. The preface mentions that Ceolwulf received an earlier draft of the book; presumably Ceolwulf knew enough Latin to understand it, and he may even have been able to read it.  The preface makes it clear that Ceolwulf had requested the earlier copy, and Bede had asked for Ceolwulf's approval; this correspondence with the king indicates that Bede's monastery had excellent connections among the Northumbrian nobility. ” </li></ul><ul><li> from Introduction to an article on Bede’s writings in Wikipedia. </li></ul>
  20. 20. Bede the Venerable <ul><li>British Literature (12 th ) </li></ul><ul><li>Unit I – The Old English Period </li></ul><ul><li>There are basically five parts to Bede’s great work ( magnum opus ): </li></ul><ul><li>Part 1: Description of Britain. Invasion of Julius Caesar (603) </li></ul><ul><li>Part 2: Death of Gregory the Great, Death of Edwin and retirement of Paulinus </li></ul><ul><li>Part 3: Concerning Oswald, Aidan, Fursey, Cedd and Wilfred (664) </li></ul><ul><li>Part 4: Death of Deusdedit and the ascension of Theodore with abbot Hadrian </li></ul><ul><li>Part 5: Condition of Britain in 731 and Bede’s assorted works </li></ul>
  21. 21. Bede the Venerable <ul><li>British Literature (12 th ) </li></ul><ul><li>Unit I – The Old English Period </li></ul><ul><li>Contributions to History </li></ul><ul><li>Cited other works and made references to other earlier writers: a historical precedent </li></ul><ul><li>Orosius, Gildas,Prosper of Aquitane </li></ul><ul><li>The term anno Domini (AD, “in the year of our lord”) is coined by Dionesius in 525 </li></ul><ul><li>Frequent usage of “ anno ab incarnatione Domini ” (in the year of the incarnation of the Lord) contributed heavily to the adoption of the AD standard, although he never abbreviated . </li></ul><ul><li>Contributions to History </li></ul><ul><li>Was one of the first to reference time as BC “ante incarnationis dominicae tem-pus” (Before the incarnation of the Lord). </li></ul><ul><li>The notion of BC used only sporadically in the Middle Ages </li></ul><ul><li>Resurfaces in extensive usage in the 15 th century by a Cathusian monk named Werner Rolevinck in Fasciculus Temporum </li></ul>
  22. 22. Bede the Venerable <ul><li>British Literature (12 th ) </li></ul><ul><li>Unit I – The Old English Period </li></ul><ul><li>Note: Bede’s “ Death Song” : </li></ul><ul><li>( Epistola Cuthberti de obitu Bedae ) </li></ul><ul><li>Attributed to Bede and transcribed by his student Cuthbert </li></ul><ul><li>“ And in our own language,—for he was familiar with English poetry,—speaking of the soul’s dread departure from the body.” –Cuthbert on Bede’s poem </li></ul><ul><li>Facing that enforced journey, no man can be </li></ul><ul><li>More prudent than he has good call to be, </li></ul><ul><li>If he consider, before his going hence, </li></ul><ul><li>What for his spirit of good hap or of evil </li></ul><ul><li>After his day of death shall be determined. </li></ul>
  23. 23. Bede the Venerable <ul><li>British Literature (12 th ) </li></ul><ul><li>Unit I – The Old English Period </li></ul><ul><li>In Old English, it looked like this: </li></ul><ul><li>Fore ðæm nedfere nænig wiorðe </li></ul><ul><li>ðonc snottora ðon him ðearf siæ </li></ul><ul><li>to ymbhycgenne ær his hinionge </li></ul><ul><li>hwæt his gastæ godes oððe yfles </li></ul><ul><li>æfter deað dæge doemed wiorðe.: </li></ul><ul><li>Old English is highly inflectional and its grammar is a blend of Germanic syntax and Latin sentence patterns. It is also very difficult to pronounce if you try to read fast !!! (JR) </li></ul>
  24. 24. Bede the Venerable <ul><li>British Literature (12 th ) </li></ul><ul><li>Unit I – The Old English Period </li></ul><ul><li>Bibliography : Primary & Secondary Sources: </li></ul><ul><li>Bede. The Ecclesiastical History of the English People . Edited by Prof. Judith McClure and Roger Collins .Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1994. </li></ul><ul><li>Bede. Ecclesiastical History of the English Church and People. Translated by Leo Sherley-Price, revised R. E. Latham, ed. D. H. Farmer. London, U.K.: Penguin Books, 1968. </li></ul><ul><li>Bede. Bede, The Reckoning of Time. Faith Wallis, trans. Liverpool, U.K. Liverpool University Press, 2004. </li></ul><ul><li>Swanton, Michael J., trans. The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle . New York and London: </li></ul><ul><li>Routledge Press, 1998. </li></ul><ul><li>Blair, Peter Hunter. The World of Bede (Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 1990. Reprint of 1970 edition). </li></ul><ul><li>Brown, George Hardin. Bede, the Venerable . Boston, MA.: Twayne Publishing House, 1987. </li></ul>
  25. 25. Bede the Venerable <ul><li>British Literature (12 th ) </li></ul><ul><li>Unit I – The Old English Period </li></ul><ul><li>Bibliography : Primary & Secondary Sources: </li></ul><ul><li>Campbell, J. “ Bede (673/4 – 735). Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (revised May 2008 ed.). Oxford University Press, 2004. http:// www.oxford dnb.com/view/ article/1922 . </li></ul><ul><li>Farmer, David Hugh. The Oxford Dictionary of Saints. Oxford, U.K.: Oxford University Press, 1978. </li></ul><ul><li>Goffart, Walter A. The Narrators of Barbarian History (550-800 A.D.): Jordanes, Gregory of Tours, Bede, and Paul the Deacon. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1988. </li></ul><ul><li>Mayr-Harting, Henry. The Coming of Christianity to Anglo-Saxon England. University Park, PA.: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1991. </li></ul><ul><li>Thompson, A. Hamilton. Bede: His Life, Times and Writings: Essays in Com- memoration of the Twelfth Century of His Death. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1969. </li></ul><ul><li>Wright, J. Robert. A Companion to Bede: A Reader’s Commentary on The Ecclesiastical History of the English People. Grand Rapids, MI.: Eerdmans, 2008. </li></ul>
  26. 26. Bede the Venerable <ul><li>British Literature (12 th ) </li></ul><ul><li>Unit I – The Old English Period </li></ul><ul><li>Internet Sources: </li></ul><ul><li>http:// en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bede </li></ul><ul><li>http :// en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Historia_ecclesiastica_gentis_Anglorum </li></ul><ul><li>http :// orthodoxwiki.org/Bede </li></ul><ul><li>http :// www.fordham.edu/halsall/basis/bede-book1.html </li></ul><ul><li>http :// www.bedesworld.co.uk/academic-bede.php </li></ul><ul><li>http :// www.bartleby.com/211/0506.html </li></ul><ul><li>http :// web.archive.org/web/20020611051718/www.cohums.ohio- state.edu/ history/people/crisp.23/Hymns.html </li></ul><ul><li>Cambridge Encyclopedia of The English Language </li></ul><ul><li>http :// schools-wikipedia.org/wp/b/Bede.htm </li></ul><ul><li>http://www.fatheralexander.org/booklets/english/saints/bede_historian.htm </li></ul>
  27. 27. Bede the Venerable <ul><li>British Literature (12 th ) </li></ul><ul><li>Unit I – The Old English Period </li></ul>
  28. 28. Bede the Venerable <ul><li>British Literature (12 th ) </li></ul><ul><li>Unit I – The Old English Period </li></ul>

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