Quote. John D. Niles. Bede’s Cædmon, ‘The Man Who Had No Story’. 2006.

When one examines Bede’s tale of Caedmon with Irish tale-type 2412B in mind, the resemblance of its plot to that structural pattern is quite evident. Equally obvious is that Bede’s tale departs from that type in regard to some important details. These points of divergence will be worth attention in due time, but first the tale as Bede tells it should be summarised. Since an exact and neutral précis of this account is required, rather than trying to provide one myself I will draw on Daniel Paul O’Donnell’s summary of Bede’s chapter.(FN[9]) His entire summary will be cited (with one incidental omission in paragraph 4) even though, as is important to keep in mind, the parallel I am adducing pertains only to the first two of his four paragraphs. Likewise, the text of Caedmon’s Hymn is included here, as in O’Donnell’s summary, even though it is only peripherally relevant to my claims:
1. According to Bede, Caedmon was an old lay herdsman in the religious community of Streanxshalch (Whitby Abbey). Although the singing of vernacular songs was a customary entertainment at the abbey, Caedmon himself never learned to sing, and, as a result, used to leave feasts before he could be called upon to do so. Having left such a gathering one night and returned to his stables, Caedmon fell asleep, whereupon he was addressed in his dream by “someone” (Bede uses the Latin indefinite pronoun quidam), who asks him to sing for him. Explaining that he cannot, and, indeed, that he has just left the feast for that reason, Caedmon at first refuses. When the visitor insists, however, he gives in. Asking for a subject, he is told, Canta […I principium creaturarum, “Sing […] about the beginning of created things.” Almost immediately he begins his famous Hymn, which Bede paraphrases in Latin for the benefit of his readers:

Nunc laudare debemus auctorem regni caelestis,
potentiam Creatoris et consilium illius,
facta Patris gloriae: quomodo ille,
cum sit aeternus Deus, omnium miraculorum auctor extitit,
qui primo filiis hominum caelum pro culmine tecti,
dehinc terram Custos humani generis oninipotens creauit.

[Now we must praise the Maker of the heavenly kingdom, the power of the Creator and his counsel, the deeds of the Father of glory and how He, since he is the eternal God, was the Author of all marvels and first created the heavens as a roof for the children of men and then, the almighty Guardian of the human race, created the earth.]

2. When Caedmon awakes, he remembers everything that happened to him. He adds additional verses to his song and reports his vision and his new skill to his steward. Brought to the abbess, Caedmon describes his dream and sings his Hymn. He is then assigned a sacred text to translate into verse overnight by way of a test. When he proves himself able to do so, he is ordered to join the religious community.
3. In the course of his training, it is discovered that Caedmon’s gift extends to all holy subjects: upon hearing a passage of church history or doctrine, Bede tells us, Caedmon is able after a brief period to turn his lessons into carmen dulcissimum, “most melodious verse.” In addition to the Hymn, his works are said to include poems on a wide range of subjects: the creation of the world, the beginnings of mankind, the biblical Genesis, the flight from Egypt and entry into the promised land, the incarnation, passion, resurrection, and ascension of the Lord, the coming of the Holy Spirit, the teachings of the apostles, the terrors of hell, joys of heaven, and an account of God’s gifts to mankind.
4. The last part of Bede’s account concerns Caedmon’s exemplary life in the abbey. […] Bede reports that Caedmon was humble and obedient to the monastic rule and extremely zealous in his work against those who were not. After an illness of fourteen days, he is said to die like a saint: able to predict the hour of his own death, Caedmon asks to be moved to the hospice in which the terminally ill are lodged even though his own condition seems anything but serious. He gathers his friends and servants around him and asks if they have any outstanding quarrels with him. Told that they do not, he prays briefly, asks for the Blessed Sacrament, and finally expires just before nocturn.
Readers following my present argument may disregard paragraphs 3 and 4 of the preceding summary, which tell of Caedmon’s later career and death. This part of Bede’s history is steeped in the topoi of hagiography, as others have pointed out (Shepherd 1954; Wieland 1984; Stanley 1998). Paragraphs 1 and 2, however, mirror the structure of Irish tale-type 2412B. In the Irish tale, a man withdraws from company because he cannot sing or tell a tale; he has a remarkable experience of some kind; he returns to that same company to perform a song or story based on his strange experience; and he is recognised as a person who will always be known by that song or story (my italics). In Bede’s account, Caedmon withdraws from company because of embarrassment about his lack of poetic talent; that night he has a remarkable dream-vision and spontaneously produces a fully formed song; the next day he performs his song before the company of monks, to their amazement and delight; and thereafter he is recognised as the author of his Hymn, a work that preserves his fame even today.

John D. Niles. Bede’s Cædmon, ‘The Man Who Had No Story’ (Irish Tale-Type 2412B), Folklore, August 1, 2006, Vol. 117, Issue 2, pp. 143-144.

Quote. Alan Thacker. Bede and the Ordering of Understanding. 2006.

From the Scriptures, Bede moves on to hagiography, history and martyrology, hymns and epigrams, and natural science and computus, concluding with orthography, meter and grammar. Now there is nothing random or accidental in all this. For Bede, knowledge was highly interconnected. Its primary focus was the Christian Scriptures and the body of authoritative learned commentary on those Scriptures. It was natural therefore to begin with biblical exegesis, Hagiography and history follow since they demonstrated the teaching elucidated in abstract terms in the commentaries in action, in the theater or human affairs. The close connections in Bede’s mind between exegesis and history are particularly evident in the links between the late commentaries, such as De tabernaculo, De templo, and In Ezram et Neemiam, and the Historia ecclesiastica.
After history and historiography, the next significant section in Bede’s list of his writings focuses on his scientific treatises on chronology and the natural world. Computistical calculation of course had considerable practical implications for monks and liturgists, and Bede was, as we all know, an outstanding computist. At a deeper level, however, he was interested in chronology as revealing the structure of time, that structure which, as Faith Wallis has recently pointed out, represented the “continuity and patters” of divine providence. Both his chronological treatises therefore culminate in discussion of the ages of the world, of the progress of time from creation to the sixth and present age, the last of historical time that will usher in “the eternal stability and stable eternity” of the seventh and final age. That doctrine of the seven ages of the world, predicated on the seven days of creation, brings us of course back full circle to the creation myth of Genesis and biblical exegesis.
Such concerns are intimately connected with Bede’s analysis of the natural world. That world could only be understood through the lens of Genesis, and De natura rerum begins with a discussion derived from Augustine of the biblical creation story. What follows (in which the principal sources -Augustine, Pliny and Isidore- are carefully indicated) is designed to bring the ancients’ understanding of the world into a scriptural perspective.
Computus also naturally intersected with history. Both Bede’s treatises on time ended in world chronicles, dating events by annus mundi, the age of the world. In them, as Faith Wallis has pointed out, Bede was writing universal history with a universal dating system. In the Historia ecclesiastica, he is specific, focused upon the salvation history of a single nation -and here, in work solely devoted to the last age, he uses a different dating system, centered on the incarnation, thereby Cristianizing the structure of time.

Alan Thacker, “Bede and the Ordering of Understanding”, in ‘Innovation and Tradition in the Writings of The Venerable Bede’, ed. by Scott DeGregorio, pp. 47-49. West Virginia University Press, 2006.

Venerabilis Beda

This day, P. Stefan kindly has published in his blog “The Times of Bede: Studies in Early English Christian Society and Its Historian“, by Patrick Wormald.

Among this great work, in Internet Archive are some other volumes about the life and writings of Beda. Some of they:

The venerable Bede – Browne, G. F. (George Forrest), 1833-1930.

Natale Sancti Gregorii papae = Aelfric’s Anglo-Saxon homily on the birthday of St. Gregory and collateral extracts from King Alfred’s version of Bede’s ecclesiastical history and from the Saxon chronicle, with a full rendering into English, notes critical and explanatory and an index of stems and forms – Aelfric, Abbot of Eynsham.

Selections from the Old English Bede, with text and vocabulary on an early West Saxon basis, and a skeleton outline of Old English accidence – Bede, the Venerable, Saint, 673-735.

Be domes daege, De die judicii : an Old English version of the Latin poem ascribed to Bede – Bede, the Venerable, Saint, 673-735. Includes bibliographical references and index.

[The minor historical works of Venerable Bede] – Bede, the Venerable, Saint, 673-735
The life of Bede — The book of the life and miracles of St. Cuthbert, bishop of Lindisfarne — Lives of the holy abbots of Weremouth and Jarrow — Life of the holy confessor Saint Felix — Life of Saint Vedast, bishop of Arras — Letters of the Venerable Bede — Of the seven wonders of the world — The book of holy places — Appendix: A narrative of the translation of the body of St. Cuthbert from Lindisfarne to Durham — A chronicle of the six ages of the world.

Itinera hierosolymitana et descriptiones Terrae Sanctae bellis sacris anteriora & latina lingua exarata sumptibus Societatis illustrandis Orientis latini monumentis (1879)
Author: Tobler, Titus, 1806-1877; Molinier, Auguste Emile Louis Marie, 1851-1904; Kohler, Charles Alfred, 1854-1917; Jerome, Saint, d. 419 or 20; Paula, Saint, 347-404; Eustochium, Saint, 370?-419; Eucherius, Saint, bp. of Lyons; Theodosius, pilgrim, 6th century; Arculfus, bp., 7th century; Beda Venerabilis, 673-735; Willibald, Saint, bp. of Eichstatt, 700 (ca)-781; Bernard, the Wise, 9th century.

Lives of the first five abbots of Wearmouth & Jarrow : Benedict, Ceolfrid, Eosterwine, Sigfrid, and Huetbert – Bede, the Venerable, Saint, 673-735.

Nota: The Virtual Manuscript Library of Switzerland have other titles about Bede, mainly manuscripts, available with this link.

Regards.