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Ecclesiastical History of the English People (Everyman's Library) Hardcover – Jun 1973

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Hardcover, Jun 1973
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 404 pages
  • Publisher: Everyman Ltd; Revised edition edition (Jun 1973)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0460004794
  • ISBN-13: 978-0460004794
  • Product Dimensions: 50.8 x 50.8 x 50.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 4,426,838 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By S. A. Jacques on 29 May 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Having been born in the north east I have always been interested in the local history of the place. I can recommend a visit
to Bede's World in Jarrow. I am pleased that I finally have a copy of the "Ecclesiastical History of the English People.
I am currently reading my copy and enjoying the read.
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Amazon.com: 29 reviews
62 of 65 people found the following review helpful
A classic source of English history 25 Jun 2002
By Fred Camfield - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This book is a "must read" for anyone studying English history. It was completed by the monk Bede in 731 AD and contains a wealth of material he gathered from sources available at that time. He provided an overview of Roman emperors, and gives accounts of conflicts within the Roman empire and particularly within Briton. He provided a good account of Saxons and other invaders and their conflicts with the Romano-Britons. He also provided various sidelights including accounts of miracle cures using holy relics. Unfortuneately, the material is often all too brief, and the original sources seem to have vanished in the dust. For example, the uprising (led by the warrior queen Boadicea) against the Romans in 61 A.D. is described by Bede in a single sentence in the Greater Chronicle (4021) when, writing of Nero, he states "this emperor attempted nothing of a military kind, and even nearly lost Britain, where two of the finest towns were captured and sacked" (he is somewhat in error as three towns were burned to the ground, and the entire Roman Ninth Legion was massacred).
Chapters are very short, e.g., less than a page. I originally became interested while looking for material on King Arthur. Bede noted in Chapter 11 that after Gratian died, in 407, in his place "Constantine, a worthless soldier of the lowest rank, was elected in Britain solely on account of the promise of his name and with no other virtue to recommend him." This Constantine challenged the Romans in Gaul and was defeated and killed by the Roman officer Constantius. It is probable that this Constantine is the one alleged to be the grandfather of Arthur, but no solid connection is found (the name Constantine seems to have been fairly common). In Chapter 16, Bede again refers to the Britons after invaders (Saxons, etc.) had ravaged the land. Bede notes, in reference to the Britons, "Their leader at that time was a certain Ambrosius Aurelianus, a discreet man, who was, as it happened, the sole member of the Roman race who had survived this storm in which his parents, who bore a royal and famous name, had perished. Under his leadership the Britons regained their strength..." Bede then briefly mentions Mount Badon and goes on to discuss other things (this account appears to have been taken from the monk Gildas, "On the Ruin of Britain," written circa 520/540 A.D. - the decisive battle at Mount Badon was circa 516 A.D.). In the Greater Chronicle (4444), Bede again briefly mentions Ambrosius Aurelianus and "his parents, who had worn the purple..."
The book is sometimes a little hard to follow chronologically because sometimes he gives an actual year AD, and sometimes he gives a particular year in some emperor's reign, e.g., the ninth year in the reign of Emperor so-and-so. It is somewhat heavy on religious detail, e.g., providing the complete statements by Pope Gregory on allowable marriages between related men and women and on relations between husbands and wives.
62 of 66 people found the following review helpful
Treasure of the English People 28 Oct 2002
By Richard R. Carlton - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
There is a definite thrill to reading the actual words set down by the infamously unassuming monk himself. This is why there are so many fields where "Bede" is mandatory foundational literature, but if you are a student of English history, literature, theology, philosophy, or sociology you already know that. One of the most lasting of the many images the book creates is the biography of Bede himself; surviving a plague that left only the abbot and the young boy Bede to sing the Divine Offices, then settling in at Jarrow where he was sheltered with the precious books for the remainder of his life.
Dated as 731, Bede's history was written in his old age (when he was 60 or so) and his gentle manner of reflection on the relationship of kings, gentry, the Church, it's priests and leaders, and common folk with one another informs one quite clearly of the many years spent teaching other monks, repeatedly re-reading texts, and living the religious life that bestowed the title "Venerable Bede" upon him. A professional academic in every modern sense of the word, knowledgeable, inquiring, conscious of his place in history, inventor of the chronological annotation (A.D.), meticulous researcher of events, places, and times; from any perspective you choose, this book demands to be part of your life experience.
This edition (which is probably the best-known - it's Sherley-Price's 1955 translation) includes both Bede's Letter to Egbert and the great eyewitness account of Bede's death by Cuthbert, upon which a significant part of Bede's reputation rests. There is no way to read Cuthbert's letter without understanding the ideal of humility for a medieval monk.....the image of him giving away his earthly treasures of pepper, handkerchiefs and incense in the hours before he dies....it's an image that stays with you forever.
All in all, the work is one of the treasures of our species....
32 of 33 people found the following review helpful
Historians Legacy 21 Oct 2004
By J. Angus Macdonald - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
A few years ago, I had the chance to go to Durham Cathedral. As an American medievalist with a love of the Anglo-Saxon era I jumped at the chance. I had a chance there to see not only the resting place of Saint Cuthbert, but also The Vernerable Bede.

The Venerable Bede -- this is not a name, only an office. What his actual name was we will probably never know, but that is less important than the historical narrative he has left us. Having in mind to write a history of the English peoples, he goes on to write a work filled with wonders, colourful characters, foul villains, and ever and ever again, miracles.

The Bede was an ecclesiast and saw all of history filtered through the glass of the Church. Yet somehow he does not come off as "preachy" as many other historians of the time. Maybe it is because of his deft characterizations, maybe his succinct view of the seemingly necessary course of history, but in any case I find myself caught up in a well-told tale, with morals attached.

By modern terms the Bede's work is one-sided and biased, and yet if you wish a true window into a world, it is best to have a guide. The Bede gives us such a window, however imperfect, yet carefully and thoughtfully written. To understand the northern English kingdoms of the early Middle Ages, one must consult the Bede; luckily, he is also a sympathetic fellow and draws us in, gently and knowingly, and offers us historical truths (especially close to his own time) as well as small sermons.
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
A Classic 17 Nov 2000
By David Zampino - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
The Venerable Bede, priest and monk at Jarrow, (and revered as a saint by both Catholics and Anglicans) has written one of the earliest, most important church histories of all time. Within these pages, several centuries of very early English Christianity is brought to life in a manner that is timeless. A must for the shelf of any serious historian, (whether sacred or secular) and certainly for any theologian.
Heavenly Father, who didst call thy servant Bede, while still a child, to devote his life to thy service in the disciplines of religion and scholarship: Grant that as he labored in the Spirit to bring the riches of thy truth to his generation, so we, in our various vocations, may strive to make thee known in all the world; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
--- the Collect for St. Bede the Venerable, priest, monk, and Doctor of the Church
19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
"The First English History" 28 Nov 2001
By Johannes Platonicus - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The Venerable Bede, priest and monk of Jarrow, well educated in Greek, Hebrew, and Latin, documented the first history of the English nation, and in doing so earned the noble appellation "Father of English history." It is interesting that the first English history is not a secular, but an ecclesiastical one, brimming with tales of saints, nuns, miracles, and portents. The work begins with a succint backround of Britain under Roman dominion, up to a more detailed account of Britain under the rule of Kentish and Anglo-Saxon kings; it ends nearly around Bede's own times(early 700's). Some important letters are preserved within from Gregory the Great, which show how the young church in England corrisponded with the Church of Rome, and how many ethical and doctrinal matters were solved during the young Church's growth. Unlike many of Bede's contemporaries, his narrative is never dull; and although he remains quite uncritical, the stories he tells are always charming and eloquent. This is a great source to understand the Christianization of Europe...it is a must have.
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