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Book Review


 Ecclesiastical History of the English People

Image: portion of illuminated manuscript page from "The Book of Kells."  

Image: Painting of "The Venerable Bede." The Venerable Bede

672 or 673-735 A.D. _________________

Bede was born in 672 or 673 A.D.   He himself tells us that  he became a monk at an early age (7years old) and lived most of his life at Jarrow (his monastery).  

Scholar, teacher and writer, he wrote Biblical and other works.  He translated the first portions of the Bible translated into English, including The Gospel of John.  

He has been described as "The Father of English History."  His historical Works include Life of Cuthbert and Lives of the Abbots of Wearmouth and Jarrow, both in The Age of Bede (A Penguin Classic).  Bede died in 735 A.D. _________________

Translated by Leo Sherley-Price.

 Edited with a new Introduction and Notes by D. H. Farmer

Penguin Classics

Penguin Books

Translation of Ecclesiastical History of the English People copyright Leo Sherley-Price 1955, 1968  Translation of Bede's Letter to Egbert and Cuthbert's Letter On the Illness and Death of the Venerable Bede copyright D. H. Farmer, 1990.  All Right Reserved.

Printed in England by Clay's Ltd., St. Ives plc. _________________


(Written: 731 A.D.)

Ecclesiastical History of the English People

By The Venerable Bede

This vivid account of an emerging church and nation has rightly earned Bede the title of "Father of English History."

Bede: The First English Historian

Written in A.D. 731, Bede's work opens with a background sketch of Roman Britain's geography and history.  It goes on to tell of the king's 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  Leo Sherley-Price's translation brings us an accurate and readable version, in modern English, of a unique historical document.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. ______________________________

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Image: Front Cover of the Book: "Ecclesiastical History of the English People."  The cover shows a manuscript illumination of Bede writing from The Life of St. Cuthbert, reproduced courtesy of The Master and Fellows of University College, Oxford. 

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Our Comments:

This is an excellent and easily readable early history, an original document of a monk (The Venerable Bede, "The Father of English History.") written in 731 A. D.  Bede is amazing because he writes like a modern, leaving out the fanciful, the myth, and the legend, unlike most writers of his time.  Bede is where we learn of Columcille's (Columba's) evangelism of the Northern Picts (Scots), Aidan's mission to the Angles, and Cuthbert's missionary work in Northumbria (northern England).  If you love to read, and love history, this is a classic book that you will greatly enjoy.

-The Prayer Foundation ______________________________

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