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Ecclesiastical History of the English People (Penguin Classics) [Paperback]

By Bede (Author), Leo Sherley-Price (Translator) & D. H. Farmer (Introduction by)
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Item description for Ecclesiastical History of the English People (Penguin Classics) by Bede, Leo Sherley-Price & D. H. Farmer...

With God's help, I, Bede ... have assembled these facts about the history of the Church in Britain ... from the traditions of our forebears, and from my own personal knowledge' Written in AD 731, Bede's Ecclesiastical History of the English People is the first account of Anglo-Saxon England ever written, and remains our single most valuable source for this period. It begins with Julius Caesar's invasion in the first century BC and goes on to tell of the kings and bishops, monks and nuns who helped to develop government and convert the people to Christianity during these crucial formative years. Relating the deeds of great men and women but also describing landscape, customs and ordinary lives, this is a rich, vivid portrait of an emerging church and nation by the 'Father of English History'. Leo Sherley-Price's translation from the Latin brings us an accurate and readable version of Bede's History. This edition includes Bede's Letter to Egbert, denouncing 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.

Publishers Description
Written in AD 731, Bede's work opens with a background sketch of Roman Britain's geography and history. It goes on to tell of the kings and bishops, monks and nuns who helped to develop Anglo-Saxon government and religion during the crucial formative years of the English people. This title offers an English translation of a historical document.

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Penguin Classics
Pages   400
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 0.75" Width: 5" Height: 7.75"
Weight:   0.6 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Aug 1, 2000
Publisher   Penguin Classics
Age  18
Edition  Revised  
Series  Penguin Classics  
ISBN  014044565X  
ISBN13  9780140445657  

Availability  131 units.
Availability accurate as of Oct 23, 2016 12:15.
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More About Bede, Leo Sherley-Price & D. H. Farmer

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Bede (c. 672 or 673 May 25, 735), was a Benedictine monk at the Northumbrian monastery of Saint Peter at Monkwearmouth, today part of Sunderland, and of its companion monastery, Saint Paul's, in modern Jarrow (see Wearmouth-Jarrow), both in the English county of Durham (now Tyne and Wear). He is well known as an author and scholar, and his most famous work, Historia ecclesiastica gentis Anglorum (The Ecclesiastical History of the English People) gained him the title "The father of English history."
J.F. Webb is a priest of the Roman diocese of Wrexham, North Wales.
D.H. Farmer was Reader in History at Reading University until 1988. He is author and editor of several books on ecclesiastical and monastic history such as The Oxford Dictionary of Saints."

Bede has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Classics S
  2. Oxford World's Classics (Paperback)
  3. Penguin Classics

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > History > Europe > England > General
2Books > Subjects > History > Europe > England
3Books > Subjects > History > World > General
4Books > Subjects > History > World
5Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Church History > General

Christian Product Categories
Books > Education (K-12) > Social Science > History

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Reviews - What do customers think about Ecclesiastical History of the English People (Penguin Classics)?

An extraordinary book  Feb 3, 2007
Bede's marvellous history of England from the invasion of Julius Caesar up until his own time (the early 8th century) is one of the most fascinating books I have ever read. The England of Bede's day was an amazing place, full of kings and saints and miracles. Remarkable things happen in every chapter. Scenes from history are brought vividly to life, the invasion of Britain, the martyrdom of St Alban, the Anglo-Saxon slave children with their 'angelic' faces. The women who appear in the book are all courageous and gifted, Christian Queens converting their Pagan husbands, female saints performing miracles, powerful Abbesses ruling communities of men and women. What a thrilling age it was, and how dull and colourless our own time seems by comparison.
Historians Legacy  Oct 21, 2004
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.
A great overview of early English History  May 13, 2004
I found this book wonderful as a broad overview of early England. The reader must keep in mind the social and religous beliefs of the author and of the times. I liked the broad brush the author uses to describe the people and climate of the time. A very enjoyable read....
Treasure of the English People  Oct 28, 2002
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's an image that stays with you forever.

All in all, the work is one of the treasures of our species....

A classic source of English history  Jun 25, 2002
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.


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