Bede: Commentary on Revelation

Translated with commentary by Faith Wallis

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ISBN: 9781846318443

Publication: May 31, 2013

Series: Translated Texts for Historians 58

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The Commentary on Revelation is Bede's first venture into Biblical exegesis -- an ambitious choice for a young monastic scholar in a newly Christianized land. Its subject matter – the climax of the great story of creation and redemption, of history and of time itself – adds to the Commentary's intrinsic importance, for these themes lie at the heart of Bede's concerns and of his achievement as a historian, exegete, scholar, and preacher. But Bede was also a man of his age. When he penned the Commentary around 703, speculation and anxiety about the end of the world was in the air. According to conventional chronology, almost 6000 years had passed since creation. If for God 'one day… is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day' (2 Peter 3:8), the world was destined to last six millennia, corresponding to the six days of creation. The end, then, was close. Bede vigorously opposed the temptation to calculate the time of the end. The Commentary argues that Revelation is not a literal prophecy, but a symbolic reflection on the perennial struggle of the Church in this world. At the same time, the young Bede is starting to shape his own account of how the end-times would unfold. This translation, prefaced by a substantial Introduction, will be of interest to students of medieval religious and cultural history, of Anglo-Saxon England, and of the history of Biblical exegesis in the Middle Ages.

Faith Wallis is Associate Professor in the Department of History at McGill University, Montreal.

Acknowledgements Abbreviations Introduction 1. Bede and the Latin Tradition of Exegesis of Revelation 1.1 The Roots of Bede’s Major Exegetical Theme 1.2 Victorinus of Pettau 1.3 Apocalyptic Retreats and Revivals in the Fourth Century 1.4 Tyconius 1.5 The Tyconian Tradition from Augustine to the End of the Sixth Century 2. Bede’s Immediate Sources and How He Used Them 2.1 ‘Commaticum interpretandi genus’ 2.2 A Mosaic of Quotations 2.3 Reconstructing Bede’s Use of Tyconius 2.4 The Occlusion of Primasius 2.5 Did Bede Read Caesarius? 2.6 Bede’s Borrowings from Augustine 2.7 Bede Reads Jerome and Gregory 2.8 Was Bede’s Exegesis Influenced by Visual Sources? 2.9 Bede and the Text of the Bible 3. Date and Circumstances of Composition 3.1 The Significance of the Date of Composition 3.2 The Commentary on Revelation and the Preface to the Commentary on Acts 3.3 Obstrepentes causae? 3.4 An Apocalyptic Eighth Century? 4. Shape and Style of the Commentary on Revelation 4.1 The Poem of Bede the Priest 4.2 Bede’s Preface: The Structure of Revelation and the ‘periochae’ 4.3 Bede’s Preface: The Methodological Framework 4.4. The Unscheduled Future: How Bede Shapes the Meaning of Revelation 4.5 Judgement and Reform 5. Bede’s Commentary on Revelation: Transmission and Translation 5.1 Transmission in Manuscript 5.2 The Commentary in Print 5.3 Principles Governing the Present Translation Bede: Commentary on Revelation The Poem of Bede the Priest Preface Book 1 Book 2 Book 3 Appendix: The capitula lectionum on Revelation Ascribed to Bede Select Bibliography Index of Sources and Parallels General Index

This volume, with its brilliant introduction, will contribute greatly to an understanding of the theological debates and movements of thought in the Church in Europe at the turn of the eighth century.
  ABR 65:2

Now Faith Wallis, known for her Bedan scholarship, especially for Bede’s The Reckoning of Time, has produced a translation of the Commentary with introduction and very informative notes that superbly complements Gryson’s edition. Her accurate translation of Bede’s work along with an informative commentary condenses Gryson’s French and Latin notes and adds some additional references. Wallis’s translation, besides being accurate and occasionally adding in brackets Bede’s Latin wording, has the advantage of indicating by the use of italics and notes when Bede incorporates within his commentary (as he very frequently does in this early work) comments by patristic authorities such as Tyconius, Primasius, Gregory, and Augustine; her book also provides a Select Bibliography and an excellent Index of Sources and Parallel Passages. A scholar who has Gryson’s Latin edition and Wallis’s detailed introduction and annotated translation at hand will be eminently equipped to read, understand, and reflect on Bede’s Commentary on Revelation.
George Hardin Brown   Digressus 13 (2013)

[Faith Wallis's] translation is accurate and animated and she has done a splendid job of situating the work in the context of Bede's early writings on time and the millennium.
Michael Lapidge  
University of Cambridge

Format: Hardback

Size: 210 x 147 mm

343 Pages

ISBN: 9781846318443

Publication: May 31, 2013

Series: Translated Texts for Historians 58

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