A Companion to Bede: A Reader's Commentary on the Ecclesiastical History of the English People

By J. Robert Wright | Go to book overview

Preface and Acknowledgments

Bede’s Ecclesiastical History of the English People is the earliest history of the Anglican tradition of Christianity, written in the early eighth century, and it has been my privilege to teach it for some forty years, both in its Latin original and in its various English translations. My high school Latin teacher back in New Albany, Indiana, Miss Etelka J. Rockenback, first instilled in me a love for the Latin language that enabled me to read it, and that fascination has ever continued with me. The idea of consolidating my notes for students of Bede into a Companion that could be published for the use of others was first suggested to me by my good friend, the publisher Kenneth S. Giniger, and I was assisted in the early stages of this process by my student Ben Thomas as well as by ideas and observations gleaned from the literally hundreds of papers that have been written by others who have studied Bede with me over the years. Dr. Milton McC. Gatch, formerly professor of church history and director of the Burke Library, emeritus, at the Union Theological Seminary, was extremely generous in his critical comments that enabled this Companion to be more precise on a number of Anglo-Saxon matters, and my gratitude for his expertise in this field I am happy to acknowledge.

My thanks must also be expressed, first to Oxford University Press, and second to Penguin Books Ltd, for their permissions to cite extensively from (and occasionally, to evaluate) the translations of Bede that they have published, as well as to Simon & Schuster for material reproduced at the back of this book. The editorial staff of my own publisher, William B. Eerdmans, have been patient as well as extremely helpful in assisting the transition of

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