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Bede - Ecclesiastical History of the English People

Bede's Ecclesiastical History of the English People (Latin: Historia Ecclesiastica Gentis Anglorum), completed in around 731 AD, describes the conversion of the Anglo-Saxon people of Britain to Christianity over the preceding centuries. The complex relationship between the English and Celtic churches is a key undercurrent of the work. Bede attributes the sufferings of the Britons recounted by Gildas to their failure to evangelise the Anglo-Saxons. He gives more credit to the missionary work of the Irish, but he is ultimately a strong defender of the Roman orthodoxy which triumphed over the customs of the Celtic Church at the Synod of Whitby in 664 AD.

Bede's book is not only the first work of English history, but the first literary expression of the idea of English nationhood. It has always been highly esteemed, even while it is clear that it was shaped by particular theological concerns and by a Northumbrian standpoint, lacking sources notably for the rival kingdom of Mercia.

Bede's Ecclesiastical History at, .uk, .de, .fr, .ca.

Free online texts

Christian Classics Ethereal Library: Bede's Ecclesiastical History of England. Multiple formats.

Gutenberg: Bede's Ecclesiastical History of England, translated by A.M. Sellars. Multiple formats.

Internet Archive: The Historical Works of Venerable Bede; translated by J.A. Giles (1843). Multiple formats.

Internet History Sourcebook: Ecclesiastical History of the English Nation. HTML format.

Latin Library: Historia ecclesiastica gentis Anglorum. Latin text. HTML Format.

Loebulus: L246 - Bede -- Opera Historica I: Books 1-3. Latin and English pdf file.

Loebulus: L248 - Bede -- Opera Historica II: Books 4-5. Lives of the Abbots. Letter to Egbert. Latin and English pdf file.

Online Library of Liberty: The Eccesiastical History of the English Nation (and Lives of Saints and Bishops), translated by Vida Dutton Scudder (1916). Multiple formats.

University of Adelaide (Internet Archive): Bede’s Ecclesiastical History of England, translated by by A. M. Sellar. EPUB, HTML and MOBI formats.

Wikisource: Historia ecclesiatica gentis Anglorum (Latin text). Ecclesiastical History of the English People, translated by Lionel Cecil Jane (1903). Multiple formats.

Other resources

BBC In Our Time: The Venerable Bede, radio discussion with Melvyn Bragg.

Internet Archive: The Venerable Bede, his life and writings, by G.F. Browne (1919). Multiple formats.

Librivox: Bede's Ecclesiastical History of England - public domain audiobook.

Wikipedia: Bede - Ecclesiastical History of the English People

Bede's Ecclesiastical History at, .uk, .de, .fr, .ca.

Further Reading at Tom's Learning Notes.

Gildas: On the Ruin and Conquest of Britain - A key source for Bede's interpretation of the Anglo-Saxon conquest.

Eusebius - Ecclesiastical History - The ultimate model for Bede's genre of church history.


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