Revered by contemporaries and posterity for both his sanctity and his scholarship, Bede (672-735) is a pivotal figure in the history of the Church. Known primarily as an historian for his Ecclesiastical History of the English People, Bede was also an accomplished pedagogue, hagiographer, and biblical scholar. Bede the Theologian: History, Rhetoric, and Spirituality takes a fresh look at this classic Christian thinker, exploring the gamut of Bede’s literary corpus. The book investigates key themes, including Bede’s understanding of the theological significance of time, his conception of the relationship between the temporal and eternal orders within history, his theological use of rhetoric, his foray into narrative theology, and his spirituality.
The purpose of this volume is to introduce the reader to principal theological themes in Bede’s thought. Bequette’s thesis is that Bede was a theologian writing in continuity with the Christian tradition and yet making creative, original contributions to that tradition for the sake of his contemporaries, both in the monastery and in the culture at large. The method involves a close reading and analysis of key texts within Bede’s corpus of writings. These texts include the Ecclesiastical History of the English People, the Life of St Cuthbert, and several of Bede’s biblical commentaries (On the Tabernacle, On the Temple) his homilies, and didactic treatises (On the Reckoning of Time, Concerning Figures and Tropes in Sacred Scripture). Bede the Theologian: History, Rhetoric, and Spirituality constitutes a scholarly study of Bede’s thought as an integral whole, identifying key themes and ideas that pervade his writings. Thus, it can serve as an introduction to Bede’s thought for non-specialists in the areas of theology, religious studies, and other areas of the humanities.
"There is a true need for a general work like this, brief in compass, suggestive, appealing to a general educated audience, to introduce Bede better to such an audience, including students, graduate and undergraduate, who may want to study further as a result. The book is interdisciplinary enough to allow for students of different specializations to find an angle of interest."~John Cavadini, University of Notre Dame
"Bede is one of the greatest Christian voices rarely read. He occupies a gap between the periods defined by anthologies and survey courses — too late for the patristic, too early for the medieval. Yet his greatness and uniqueness are undeniable. Much more than a chronicler, he is a profound interpreter of Sacred Scripture. After more than a millennium, readers should still be astonished by his works on the tabernacle and temple as types of the Church. Reading this book, they will be. Many thanks to Dr. Bequette for producing an introduction that is not merely readable, but truly enjoyable."~Mike Aquilina, author of The Fathers of the Church
"Readers interested in Bede owe a great debt to John P. Bequette for this new and fascinating volume. Bequette’s excellent synthesis convincingly portrays Bede, through analysis of generous quotations from a variety of primary sources, as an exemplar of monastic humanism. In an environment shaped by study and immersion in liturgical prayer, Bede, through a creative fidelity to the patristic tradition, produced writings to suit the needs of his own time, including the power of Scripture to transform lives of its hearers into apostolic witnesses committed to love of God and neighbor and the building up of the Church. Bequette shows the many ways Bede made his learning and scriptural scholarship accessible to others. This book in turn serves as a thoughtful and accessible invitation to further study on this important and fascinating figure in theology, history, biography, eschatology, spirituality and exegesis. It is a volume that will be of great service and interest to students and scholars alike."~William P. Hyland, University of St Andrews
"With each chapter the picture of Bede’s thought and writings expands and sharpens. Bequette’s style is simple and clear. He quotes generously from Bede’s own writings. Even someone well acquainted with Bede will learn new things about this significant historical and monastic figure, but also about classical and early medieval rhetoric, various ways in which Bede and other Patristic writers thought about the relations of the Church and secular society, narrative theology, how Bede used Scriptural paradigms in writing about the saints of England, and how he combined monastic and apostolic elements in his spirituality."~American Benedictine Review
"Bequette’s fine book reveals a Bede the theologian writing in continuity with the Christian tradition, and yet making original contributions to that tradition – contributions aimed at both the monastery and the culture at large. Bede’s emphasis on the apostolic mission of the Church as the sole path to salvation, as well as his evangelization of a larger culture, may very well serve as a model for modern Christian theologians."~Catholic Books Review
"In every aspect of his work, Bequette’s first-rate and comprehensive scholarship lays out the complex life and theology of Bede in a way that is fascinatingly accessible to a broad audience. Bequette makes a clear case for the profound breadth and depth of Bede’s writings, their significant influence on his world, their critical place in our understanding of Anglo-Saxon England, and why Bede truly should be considered 'Venerable.'"~Studies in Medieval and Renaissance Teaching