Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 04.djvu/106

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
Bede
Bede
102

'Of Anatolius on the Equinox.' 26. On the Histories of the Saints, on the Life and Passion of St. Felix. 27. A more correct translation from the Greek of the 'Life and Passion of St. Anastasius.' 28. The life of St. Cuthberht in verse, the same in prose. 29. The History of the Abbots, Benedict, Ceolfrith, and Huætberht. 30. The 'Ecclesiastical History of our island and people,' five books. 31. A Martyrology. 32. A book of Hymns. 33. A book of Epigrams. 34. Two books on the 'Nature of Things' and on 'Chronology.' 35. A larger book on Chronology. 36. On Orthography. 37. On the Art of Metre, and appended to it a little book on the Figures and modes of speech in Holy Scripture.

To this list must be added as undoubtedly genuine the letters to Albinus and Ecgberht and the 'Retractationes' which were written later than 731, the book on the Holy Places written before that year, but left out by Bæda probably through forgetfulness, and a 'Pœnitentiale.'

Of the works enumerated by Baeda no genuine copies exist of 8, 13, 14, 15, 16, 20, 27, 33. The extracts from Isidore, and the translation of the Gospel of St. John which employed his dying hours, have also not been preserved. And it is exceedingly doubtful whether the Hymns (32) attributed to him should, for the most part at least, be held authentic. Some scientific and other treatises, such as the 'De Septem Miraculis Mundi' and the 'De Computo seu Indigitatione,' have been wrongly considered to be his work, and a little poem entitled 'Cuculus' (Goldast, Ovidii Erotica, Frankf. 1610), is perhaps also spurious.

It is probable that the educational works, e.g. 'De Sanctis Locis' and 'De Natura Rerum,' were the earliest of Bæda's writings. The 'De Temporibus' (liber minor) ends at 702. It was written five years before the 'Epistola ad Plegwinum sive de sex ætatibus,' and if, as seems almost certain, the bishop mentioned in that letter was the second Wilfrith, the dates of both of these works must be considerably later than has been supposed. As the 'Commentary on Samuel' (3) is dedicated to Ceolfrith, it must have been written before his death in 716, while the 'Historia Abbatum' (29) was written after that event. The 'De Temporibus' (liber major) (35) ends with the ninth year of Leo the Isaurian, viz. 724, or, according to the author's chronology, 729, and may be considered to have been finished at that date. From a letter of Acca prefixed to the 'Commentary on Luke' (18) it is evident that that work was written after the 'Commentary on the Acts' (21). The 'Historia Ecclesiastica' (30), as before mentioned, was finished in 731. In the same or in the next year was written the 'Epistola ad Albinum.' The 'Liber Retractationum' also came after the 'Historia.' As the 'Epistola ad Ecgberhtum' was written on his accession to the see of York in 734, it may be considered the latest extant work of Bæda.

Collective editions of the writings of Bæda have been published at Paris in 6 vols. fol. 1544-5, reprinted in 1554; (these editions are extremely rare, and of the earlier one, only a portion is in the British Museum); at Basle in 8 vols. fol. by F. Hervagius, 1563; at Cologne in 1612, a reprint of the Basle edition, but not so fine a work, reprinted at Cologne in 1688; at London in 12 vols. 8vo, by F. A. Giles, LL.D., 1843-4; and in the 'Patrologiæ Cursus Completus' (xc.-xcv.) of J. P. Migne, Paris, 1844. Of the various editions of the several works those only will be mentioned which appear noteworthy. A list, which is probably complete, up to 1842, will be found in Wright's 'Biog. Brit Lit.' i. 283-288.

The commentaries on the Old Testament are for the most part in the folio editions, and in the more complete collection of Dr. Giles. They were also published in Paris by Gering and Rembolt, 1499 — 'a very rare book' (Wright). Many of them are dedicated to Acca. They are filled with allegorical interpretations. Even the book of Tobit is made to contain teachings about Christ and the sacraments. For the most part these works appear to be compiled from the Fathers. Bæda says in his book on Genesis (1) that, as the works of Basil, Ambrose, and Augustine are too expensive and too deep for most people, he 'has culled, as from the pleasant meadows of far flowering Paradise, what may supply the need of the weak. This work was appended to Usher's 'Historia Dogmatum,' 1689, and was edited, with some other writings of Bæda, by Wharton (4to, London), in 1693. The 'Thirty Questions on Kings' (5) were propounded by Nothelm, and the treatise was written for him. Short comments of a more practical character than those in most of Bæda's works are appended to the 'Proverbs ' (6), though even here allegorical interpretation is not deserted. It wholly prevails in the last part of the commentary. This part is printed separately in the folio editions, under the title of 'Mulier Fortis;' but is really the exposition of c. xxxi. 10-31. The first book of the 'Exposition of the Canticles' (7) was written against the errors of Julian, Bishop of Celano. The 'Commentary on Habakkuk' (10) is not in