The Venerable Bede on the Doctrine of Tongues

The goal of this multi-article study is to find out and articulate Bede’s understanding of the Church rite of tongues.

The secondary purpose is to collate, digitize the Latin texts, and translate into English any works completed by the Venerable Bede relating to this doctrine.

There have been two discoveries so far. Bede’s initial commentary on the Book of Acts chapter 2:1-18, and Bede’s reflections on his commentary on the Book of Acts 2:1:18. The latter book done later on in his life.

Although it is only two books that have been discovered that has any substance to the topic, the results are rich. If more texts are found by Bede relating to the topic, it will be added to this multi-series.

The Venerable Bede was an 8th century monk, priest, astronomer, mathematician, historian, theologian, poet, and song writer. He lived in Northumbria, which is now Northern England/South-Eastern Scotland.

Bede’s works are a standard above most Christian authors, and this is why he is credited with being a ‘Doctor of the Church’ — a title rarely given.

The manuscript used for digitizing text, and the translations are from Migne Patrologia Latina. The text appears fairly straightforward. The presence of a few emendations of a later copyist/editor are noticeable. Word usage tends to be inconsistent, but then Bede is playing with an older language Latin text and is attempting to explain it in terms relevant to his audience. A closer look would be required to explain how much changes later copyists and editors have done to this work. However, it is safe to say the intent still belongs to Bede, and this work reflects a medieval mindset. Therefore textual criticism isn’t of serious consequence in this situation.

An initial translation and analysis of Bede’s initial commentary on the Book of Acts was originally published under The Neo-Tongues Movement: Part 3 which has been removed from circulation. It no longer fits in with the changes in the structure of the Gift of Tongues Project. This supersedes any account found in Google cache, any file repository, print-out, or download relating to the Venerable Bede on the topic of tongues done previously by me.

The commentary does not always follow verse-by-verse. Bede, or the copyist/editors, simply ignore some verses because of its irrelevance. This English translation is an exact reproduction of 2:1-18.

Here are the links to all his works related to the doctrine of tongues so far:

Take advantage of the footnotes. There are important notes and information in them.

Charles Sullivan is a researcher and writer on topics of textual criticism, linguistics, theology, Christian mysticism and philosophy. He also frequently likes to delve into contemporary social and ethical issues from a faith perspective.

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