Bede and the Cosmos examines Bede’s cosmology—his understanding of the universe and its laws. It explores his ideas regarding both the structure and mechanics of the created world and the relationship of that world to its Creator. Beginning with On the Nature of Things and moving on to survey his writings in other genres, it demonstrates the key role that natural philosophy played in shaping Bede’s worldview, and explores the ramifications that this had on his cultural, theological and historical thought. From questions about angelic bodies and the destruction of the world at judgement day, to subtle arguments about free will and the meaning of history, Bede’s fascinating and unique engagement with the natural world is explored in this comprehensive study.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1: Background and Context
Chapter 2: De natura rerum and the Topography of the Cosmos
Chapter 3: Bede’s Cosmogony: Creation, Perfection, Decline
Chapter 4: Soul and Body
Chapter 5: Aetherial Angels and Aerial Demons
Chapter 6: God and Creation
Chapter 7: Heaven, Hell and the Interim
Chapter 8: The End of the World and After
Chapter 9: Conclusion
Eoghan Ahern is based in the Institute of Irish Studies in the University of Liverpool. He researches late ancient and early medieval intellectual history, with a particular focus on the Insular world. He has published on subjects such as miracles, the idea of decline in late antique historiography and sexual sin in early Christian thought.