Ecclesiastical History of England
The is is the infamous work of Venerable Bede.
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For historian, this is indeed is a valuable resource in pursuit of our extensive Christian Heritage. It is believed that Bede wrote this book while he was in his early 60’s, which have been around 730’ A.D. Divided into six books amount to just over 300 pages, this work covers the history of England, ecclesiastical and political, from the time of Julius Caesar to the date of its completion 731. The first twenty-one chapters, covering the period before the mission of Augustine, Prosper of Aquitaine, the letters of Pope Gregory I, and others, with the insertion of legends and traditions. This compilation is similar to other historical writing from this period and maintains a lower degree of objectivity than modern historical writings. It is a mixture of fact, legend, and literature. The History of the English Church and People has a clear polemical and didactic purpose. Bede sets out, not just to tell the story of the English, but also to advance his views on politics and religion. In political terms, he is a partisan of his native Northumbria, amplifying its role in English history over and above that of Mercia, its great southern rival. He takes greater pains in describing events of the seventh century, when Northumbria was the dominant Anglo-Saxon power, than the eighth, when it was not. The only criticism he ventures regarding his native Northumbria comes in writing about the death of King Ecgfrith in fighting the Picts at Nechtansmere in 685. Bede attributes this defeat to God's vengeance for the Northumbrian attack on the Irish in the previous year. Although Bede is loyal to Northumbria, he shows an even greater attachment to the Irish and the Irish Celtic missionaries, whom he considers to be far more effective and dedicated than their complacent English counterparts. His final preoccupation is over the precise date of Easter, which he writes about at length. It is here, and only here, that he ventures some criticism of St Cuthbert and the Irish missionaries, who celebrated the event, according to Bede, at the wrong time. In the end, he is pleased to note that the Irish Church was saved from error by accepting the correct date for Easter. This work is an asset to any library, avid historian, and serious lecturer on the topic.