IMC 2007: Sessions

Session 1001: Bede's Writings

Wednesday 11 July 2007, 09.00-10.30

Moderator/Chair:Catherine E. Karkov, School of Fine Art, History of Art & Cultural Studies, University of Leeds
Respondent:William T. Flynn, Institute for Medieval Studies, University of Leeds
Paper 1001-aDid Bede Write Ceolfrith's Letter to King Nechtan of the Picts?
(Language: English)
Masako Ohashi, Nanzan University, Nagoya
Index terms: Ecclesiastical History, Historiography - Medieval, Science, Theology
Paper 1001-bNation Building: Bede's Historia Ecclesiastica and the Use of Old Testament Tradition
(Language: English)
Gregory Laing, Medieval Institute, Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo
Index terms: Language and Literature - Old English, Military History

Paper a: Some historians suggest that the letter of Abbot Ceolfrith to King Nechtan of the Picts on the Easter reckoning (706/716) quoted in Bede’s Ecclesiastical History, Book V, Chapter 21, was actually written by Bede. Bede was at the time one of the most learned people on the computus, then it can be easily imagined that he was the very person who wrote the letter for his abbot. But when we study other materials such as Bede’s De temporum ratione and the Letter to Wihtred (Wichtede) more carefully, we may find some problems on Bede’s authorship of the letter.
Paper b: The paper addresses how Bede’s history regarding the use of Roman walls is influenced by his work as a biblical exegete. The major contention is that Bede uses the Old Testament religious tradition of Nehemiah and Ezra, regarding the rebuilding of Jerusalem’s fortifications, as a template for his comments regarding British and Anglo-Saxon defences in the Historia Ecclesiastica. Through an examination of Bede’s exegetical work In Esdram et Nehemiam the military passages of the Historia Ecclesiastica are given even greater religious significance. This understanding of the history links Bede’s comments regarding the decline of British military strength more closely to the collapse of moral and religious value of the citizens and leaders.