Bede the Venerable
Bede the Venerable was a very important figure in history. He made many significant contributions to the English language.
Bede was born in Northumbria England in 673. When he was a young boy at age 7 his relatives sent him to the new monastery at Wearmouth-Jarrow. Bede was a very bright student. The canon law had forbid men under the age of 25 being ordained as beacons, but Bede showed outstanding learning and holiness and was ordained at age 19 (Thompson, 11). Later in 1703 he was ordained a priest. He dedicated his life to teaching and writing and had no less than 600 monks as students. Bede rarely left the monastery and in his own words he states, "I have devoted my energies to the study of the scriptures, observing monastic discipline, and singing the daily services in church; study, teaching, and writing have always been my delight" (Attwater, 57). In his lifetime, Bede wrote over 45 volumes which included textbooks, commentaries, and translations. His works included hymns, chronicles, and grammatical works, however he is best known as a historian. His works were on almost every major subject then known, and made him one of the most learned and prolific authors that England has ever had(Brown, 1). Much of Bede's work was done in Latin, but he is the first known writer of English prose. All of his work in the English vernacular has since been lost, but he is still considered the "Father of English Writing" and also "The Father of English History."
Bede's ultimate piece of work was his Ecclesiastical History of the English People. This book described in detail the first authoritative history of Christian origins in Britain. He also included details of how five monks lived their lives in the monastery or Wearmouth and Jarrow. At the end he included his bibliography of all his writings. This work provides evidence that he was English and he thought of himself as English and not just a part of the kingdom or Northumbria. Bede was also a major provider of Roman Christian literature to the illiterate Anglo Saxon people, and that transformed and melded the Italic and Germanic cultures together forever.(Brown, 2). Bede showed that it was allowable to use English and it began being used in documents and charters. In addition to this, his Ecclesiastical History of the English People served as an example for future historians. When the Saxon Chronicles were compiled their authors mirrored the writing style of the Ecclesiastical History of the English People. Alfred the Great's translation, and also others relied on Bede. Bede started the system of the regnal numbering(numbers after the kings name) others soon copied, and now the practice is used worldwide. Bede is also the only Englishman that Dante names in his work Paradiso. On his deathbed Bede was rushing to complete his last work and as he died he said the final sentence. That is a true example of dedication to ones work.
Bede was a great example of self dedication and duty and is now the Patron Saint of Scholars in the Roman Catholic Church.