One of the more important dates Bede tried to compute was Easter, an effort that was mired in controversy.
39 Facts About Bede
Bede's monastery had access to an impressive library which included works by Eusebius, Orosius, and many others.
Almost everything that is known of Bede's life is contained in the last chapter of his Ecclesiastical History of the English People, a history of the church in England.
At the age of seven, Bede was sent as a puer oblatus to the monastery of Monkwearmouth by his family to be educated by Benedict Biscop and later by Ceolfrith.
Monkwearmouth's sister monastery at Jarrow was founded by Ceolfrith in 682, and Bede probably transferred to Jarrow with Ceolfrith that year.
The dedication stone for the church has survived as of 1969; it is dated 23 April 685, and as Bede would have been required to assist with menial tasks in his day-to-day life it is possible that he helped in building the original church.
When Bede was about 17 years old, Adomnan, the abbot of Iona Abbey, visited Monkwearmouth and Jarrow.
Bede's last surviving work is a letter to Ecgbert of York, a former student, written in 734.
Translations of this phrase differ, and it is uncertain whether Bede intended to say that he was cured of a speech problem, or merely that he was inspired by the saint's works.
In 708, some monks at Hexham accused Bede of having committed heresy in his work De Temporibus.
The standard theological view of world history at the time was known as the Six Ages of the World; in his book, Bede calculated the age of the world for himself, rather than accepting the authority of Isidore of Seville, and came to the conclusion that Christ had been born 3,952 years after the creation of the world, rather than the figure of over 5,000 years that was commonly accepted by theologians.
Wilfrid did not respond to the accusation, but a monk present relayed the episode to Bede, who replied within a few days to the monk, writing a letter setting forth his defence and asking that the letter be read to Wilfrid.
Wilfrid had been present at the exhumation of her body in 695, and Bede questioned the bishop about the exact circumstances of the body and asked for more details of her life, as Wilfrid had been her advisor.
In 733, Bede travelled to York to visit Ecgbert, who was then bishop of York.
Nothhelm, a correspondent of Bede's who assisted him by finding documents for him in Rome, is known to have visited Bede, though the date cannot be determined beyond the fact that it was after Nothhelm's visit to Rome.
Cuthbert, a disciple of Bede's, wrote a letter to a Cuthwin, describing Bede's last days and his death.
The account of Cuthbert does not make entirely clear whether Bede died before midnight or after.
Cuthbert's letter relates a five-line poem in the vernacular that Bede composed on his deathbed, known as "Bede's Death Song".
The preface makes it clear that Ceolwulf had requested the earlier copy, and Bede had asked for Ceolwulf's approval; this correspondence with the king indicates that Bede's monastery had connections among the Northumbrian nobility.
Some of Bede's material came from oral traditions, including a description of the physical appearance of Paulinus of York, who had died nearly 90 years before Bede's Historia Ecclesiastica was written.
The historian Walter Goffart argues that Bede based the structure of the Historia on three works, using them as the framework around which the three main sections of the work were structured.
Bede's introduction imitates the work of Orosius, and his title is an echo of Eusebius's Historia Ecclesiastica.
Bede's Latin has been praised for its clarity, but his style in the Historia Ecclesiastica is not simple.
Bede, like Gregory the Great whom Bede quotes on the subject in the Historia, felt that faith brought about by miracles was a stepping stone to a higher, truer faith, and that as a result miracles had their place in a work designed to instruct.
At the time Bede wrote the Historia Ecclesiastica, there were two common ways of referring to dates.
For many years, early Anglo-Saxon history was essentially a retelling of the Historia, but recent scholarship has focused as much on what Bede did not write as what he did.
The belief that the Historia was the culmination of Bede's works, the aim of all his scholarship, was a belief common among historians in the past but is no longer accepted by most scholars.
Bede's focus on the history of the organisation of the English church, and on heresies and the efforts made to root them out, led him to exclude the secular history of kings and kingdoms except where a moral lesson could be drawn or where they illuminated events in the church.
Some of Bede's homilies were collected by Paul the Deacon, and they were used in that form in the Monastic Office.
Bede's works included Commentary on Revelation, Commentary on the Catholic Epistles, Commentary on Acts, Reconsideration on the Books of Acts, On the Gospel of Mark, On the Gospel of Luke, and Homilies on the Gospels.
Since the focus of his book was the computus, Bede gave instructions for computing the date of Easter from the date of the Paschal full moon, for calculating the motion of the Sun and Moon through the zodiac, and for many other calculations related to the calendar.
For calendric purposes, Bede made a new calculation of the age of the world since the creation, which he dated as 3952 BC.
Once informed of the accusations of these "lewd rustics," Bede refuted them in his Letter to Plegwin.
Bede's works were so influential that late in the ninth century Notker the Stammerer, a monk of the Monastery of St Gall in Switzerland, wrote that "God, the orderer of natures, who raised the Sun from the East on the fourth day of Creation, in the sixth day of the world has made Bede rise from the West as a new Sun to illuminate the whole Earth".
The fact that Cuthbert's description places the performance of the Old English poem in the context of a series of quoted passages from Sacred Scripture might be taken as evidence simply that Bede cited analogous vernacular texts.
Bede's cult became prominent in England during the 10th-century revival of monasticism and by the 14th century had spread to many of the cathedrals of England.
Wulfstan, Bishop of Worcester was a particular devotee of Bede's, dedicating a church to him in 1062, which was Wulfstan's first undertaking after his consecration as bishop.
Bede's body was 'translated' from Jarrow to Durham Cathedral around 1020, where it was placed in the same tomb with St Cuthbert.
Later Bede's remains were moved to a shrine in the Galilee Chapel at Durham Cathedral in 1370.