Bede

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Bede : biography

– 26 May 0735

His body was ‘translated’ (the ecclesiastical term for relocation of relics) from Jarrow to Durham Cathedral around 1020, where it was placed in the same tomb with Saint Cuthbert of Lindisfarne. Later Bede’s remains were moved to a shrine in the Galilee Chapel at Durham Cathedral in 1370. The shrine was destroyed during the English Reformation, but the bones were reburied in the chapel. In 1831 the bones were dug up and then reburied in a new tomb, which is still there.Wright Companion to Bede p. 4 caption of the picture. Other relics were claimed by York, Glastonbury and Fulda.

His scholarship and importance to Catholicism were recognised in 1899 when he was declared a Doctor of the Church, and was declared a sanctus in 1935. He is the only Englishman named a Doctor of the Church. He is also the only Englishman in Dante’s Paradise (Paradiso X.130), mentioned among theologians and doctors of the church in the same canto as Isidore of Seville and the Scot Richard of St. Victor.

His feast day was included in the General Roman Calendar in 1899, for celebration on 27 May rather than on his date of death, 26 May which was then the feast day of Pope Saint Gregory VII. He is venerated in both the Anglican and Roman Catholic Church, with a feast day of 25 May.

Bede became known as Venerable Bede (Lat.: Beda Venerabilis) by the 9th century,Wright Companion to Bede p. 3 but this was not linked to consideration for sainthood by the Roman Catholic Church. According to a legend the epithet was miraculously supplied by angels, thus completing his unfinished epitaph. It is first utilised in connection with Bede in the 9th century, where Bede was grouped with others who were called "venerable" at two ecclesiastical councils held at Aix in 816 and 836. Paul the Deacon then referred to him as venerable consistently. By the 11th and 12th century, it had become commonplace. However, there are no descriptions of Bede by that term right after his death.

Educational works

Bede wrote some works designed to help teach grammar in the abbey school. One of these was his De arte metrica, a discussion of the composition of Latin verse, drawing on previous grammarians work. It was based on Donatus’ De pedibus and Servius’ De finalibus, and used examples from Christian poets as well as Virgil. It became a standard text for the teaching of Latin verse during the next few centuries. Bede dedicated this work to Cuthbert, apparently a student, for he is named "beloved son" in the dedication, and Bede says "I have laboured to educate you in divine letters and ecclesiastical statutes" Another textbook of Bede’s is the De orthographia, a work on orthography, designed to help a medieval reader of Latin with unfamiliar abbreviations and words from classical Latin works. Although it could serve as a textbook, it appears to have been mainly intended as a reference work. The exact date of composition for both of these works is unknown.

Another educational work is De schematibus et tropis sacrae scripturae, which discusses the Bible’s use of rhetoric. Bede was familiar with pagan authors such as Virgil, but it was not considered appropriate to teach biblical grammar from such texts, and in De schematibus … Bede argues for the superiority of Christian texts in understanding Christian literature.Colgrave gives the example of Desiderius of Vienne, who was reprimanded by Gregory the Great for using "heathen" authors in his teaching. Similarly, his text on poetic metre uses only Christian poetry for examples.