Bede: 'On the Nature of Things' and 'On Times'
Distributed for Liverpool University Press
The Venerable Bede composed On the Nature of Things and On Times at the outset of his career in AD 703, shaping a mass of difficult and sometimes dangerous material on the mathematical and physical basis of time into a lucid and well-organized account that laid the framework for much of Carolingian and Scholastic scientific thought.
Available here for the first time in English-language translation for the first time, these two short works represent an attempt to show Christianity connecting coherently with natural history and vice versa. Building on insights found in Isidore of Seville’s earlier work of the same name, On the Nature of Things addresses creation and recapitulates the idea of the four elements. In On Times, Bede breaks from Seville’s structure, separating out and considering the chapters on time. This work also introduces Bede’s computus—the practical yet intensely polemical science for determining the dates of Easter. Bede’s views are bound up with the integrity of nature as God’s creation and the theological significance of Christ’s death and resurrection, and these extensively annotated translations mark an essential contribution to the ecclesiastical history that is crucial to an understanding of early medieval science.
“Accurate, elegant, utterly clear and easily accessible, even for readers who lack expertise in the relevant disciplines. The commentaries and appendices shed floods of light on Bede’s mental processes and expertise, and will represent a very significant landmark in Bedan studies.”