Old English BÆDA
Born c. 673 on the land that later became the property of
the monasteries of Wearmouth and Jarrow, Bede spent most
of his life around that spot. When he was seven, his parents
gave him to the care of St.
Benedict Biscop to be raised in the monastery, where Bede
learned Latin, Greek, and a little Hebrew. He also became
versed in astronomy and the natural sciences.
St. John of Beverley ordained him a deacon c. 692 and a priest
about twelve years later. Bede was known for his teaching abilities,
and many of his works, such as De orthographia, served as textbooks
for the monks. Familiar with the Scriptures as well as the writings of
Sts. Augustine, Ambrose, and Gregory the Great, Bede wrote exegesis and
hymns. He also composed a life of St. Cuthbert, research for which
took him to Lindisfarne. Bede wrote the lives of the abbots of Jarrow
from its founding (when he first entered Jarrow) c. 681 until 716. His
most famous work is the Ecclesiastical History of the English
completed in 731. Many consider Bede the first modern historian
because he was careful to separate fact from legend and because he cited
his sources. Bede died of asthma in 735, shortly after he had finished
translating the gospel according to St. John into Anglo-Saxon.
Karen Rae Keck
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