Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Bede (673-735)

Bede is remembered chiefly for his "Ecclesiastical History of the English People." This five volume work records events in Britain from the raids by Juilus Ceaser in 55-54 BC to the arrival of the first missionary from Rome, Saint Augustine in 597. Bede's writings are considered the best summary of this period of history ever prepared. Some have called it "the finest historical work of the early Middle Ages."
Bede's writings cover a broad spectrum including natural history, poetry, Biblical translation and exposition of the scriptures. His earliest Biblical commentary was probably that on the book of the Revelation. He is credited with writing three known Latin hymns.

Bede's motive for recording history reminds us of his deepest desires. He clearly states his purpose in his writings when he says, "For if history records good things of good men, the thoughtful hearer is encouraged to imitate what is good; or if it records evil of wicked men, the good, religious reader or listener is encouraged to avoid all that is sinful and perverse, and to follow what he knows to be good and pleasing to God."
Bede preserved for us the lives of many early Celtic saints, some of whom were dear friends known to him personally. Bede's work is in some cases the only surviving account of their lives. All though he disagreed with them theologically, (Bede lined up on the side of the roman church at the council of Whitby), he respected there godly character and exploits.


John said...

I have always had mixed emotions about Bede's concessions to the Papists but maybe I don't have enough information. I wonder if things could have turned out differently?

Brad Culver said...

I have mixed feelings about Bede's postion with Rome as well, and I strongly believe things could have turned out quite differently.
Bede did make some very important contributions not only to the church but historically as well.
Thanx to him we have info on the celtic church, we wouldn't have had. I think one of the keys in looking at the past is we have hind sight , they were in the moment. Thanx for your thoughts John.