The end of the world is a significant theme in Bede’s work, recurring particularly often in his Old Testament exegesis. Bede’s commentary on 1 Samuel was written circa 716 A.D. and dedicated to Acca, bishop of Hexham. The opening lines of the fourth book explain that the completion of the commentary had been delayed because of a period of great personal distress, caused by the unexpected departure of Abbot Ceolfrid for Rome. This paper will consider passages from the Samuel commentary, and assess whether the circumstances surrounding the work’s composition can be related to its eschatological content.
In the Ecclesiastical History (II,19), Bede quotes from the letter of pope-elect John IV (640) addressed to the Irish clergy, which suggests that there were two serious problems (Quartodecimanism and Pelagianism) in Ireland. The Irish Easter was sometimes criticised as being Quartodecimanism, because it included the fourteenth day of the moon (thus ‘Quartodecimans’ (Fourteeners)), and the papal accusation might come from such a situation. But concerning Pelagianism, which is said to be a ‘revival’ in the letter, it is difficult to take the information at face value, since there is no clear evidence about the former existance of Pelagianism in Ireland. This paper will investigate the nature of the ‘Pelagianism’ accused in the letter, by examining sources including those written in later period.
This paper will examine Bede’s treatment of Cuthbert’s miracles with special attention to the way in which the author refers to and describes his informants. These reports will be compared with those provided in the earlier Anonymous Life of Cuthbert, i.e. Bede’s main source for his own Lives of Cuthbert, to try to identify the reasons which in several cases led the later hagiographer to divert from the earlier text and mention different witnesses to the same miracles.