The Venerable Bede's Manuductive Hermeneutics: Lame Readers, Apostolic Teachers, and Temple Exegesis in His Commentary on Acts

By Train, Daniel M. | Christianity and Literature, Winter 2014 | Go to article overview

The Venerable Bede's Manuductive Hermeneutics: Lame Readers, Apostolic Teachers, and Temple Exegesis in His Commentary on Acts


Train, Daniel M., Christianity and Literature


Abstract: This essay examines Bede's portrayal of an Apostle as one who imitates Christ's example of a "good teacher" by leading others by the hand, physically and spiritually, toward a better interpretation of their texts and their world. Central to the development of this exegesis is his recurring focus on the ascent with Christ in both knowledge and virtue, the journey to and from the heavenly Jerusalem, and the Temple as a richly layered image of Christ's body. In so far that Bede's commentary itself "builds up" the life of faith and leads its own readers into a deeper understanding of Christ's body and the heavenly kingdom, Bede is himself modeling the pattern of a good teacher.

**********

For the past thirty years, much of the scholarship concerning the Venerable Bede has rightly sought to expand his reputation beyond that of important historian of the West to a formative, if not central, figure of biblical exegesis in the Christian tradition. (1) A number of critical editions and recent translations of Bede's exegetical works have greatly aided this task of valuing Bedes contribution more holistically and, in some cases, the analysis has even reversed the tables and sought to understand Bede's historiographical contributions as secondary to his role as a faithful reader of Scripture. (2) That this project has largely been successful is perhaps best evidenced by the fact that we no longer sense the need to include the seemingly requisite apologia as an introduction for engaging Bede in this manner--a practice that almost infallibly justifies itself by citing the very few autobiographical words from the Historia Ecclesiastica in which Bede describes himself foremost as a monk who spent his entire life applying himself to the study of Scripture. What is evidently still lacking, however, is a greater appreciation for (even acknowledgment of) the rest of the sentence: "and, amid the observance of the discipline of the Rule and the daily task of singing in the church, it has always been my delight to learn or to teach or to write" (Bede's Ecclesiastical v. 24, 567).

It seems, then, that the present task is to continue mining his exegetical texts themselves not only for the many ways in which they refute those who misread Bede's "unoriginality" as a lack of skill or deficient intellect, but more importantly, for the ways in which they help us appreciate better the readers of Scripture in the Christian tradition--both those who preceded Bede and who are thus to some extent indebted to his clear, faithful elucidation offered in utmost humility, and those who by merely imitating his example have already inherited a great deal. To that end, this essay focuses on Bede's Commentary on the Acts of the Apostles as a text which, perhaps better than any other of his commentaries, bridges the gap between Bede the historian and Bede the exegete. (3) Here, as with all his major works, Bede's thematic emphases and driving images clearly serve an overarching ecclesial purpose: to promote the kind of faithful teaching and reading which will preserve the unity of the body of Christ and thus continually prompt its members toward a greater knowledge and love of God.

Rather than draw attention to the rhetorical artistry or the classical literary terms that Bede employs, I have focused this study on Bede's portrayal of apostolic manuduction ("leading by the hand") (4) and his use of "temple" imagery (5) as a way to draw out some of the implications and pedagogical purposes of Bede's own hermeneutical approach. Of particular relevance is the way Bede locates Christ's teaching and the faithful imitation of that teaching by his followers as the key for properly reading not only words on a page but the Word as it is written, as Augustine says, on the vellum of history and creation (Confessions XIII.15.2). As a reader and teacher of the Sacred Scriptures in the line of Luke, Peter, Paul, and especially Jesus, Bede is clearly concerned with situating his own Northumbrian community in the body of Christ and of rightly reading itself in relation to the Holy Scriptures. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

The Venerable Bede's Manuductive Hermeneutics: Lame Readers, Apostolic Teachers, and Temple Exegesis in His Commentary on Acts
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.