Bede’s Characterization of the Celts in Regards to the Spread of Christianity
Religion has served as an influential guide for society throughout its entire existence. Western culture, especially, has been sculpted by the Christian religion, and Christianity has remained a widely practiced religion. In the Ecclesiastical History of the English People, one of Bede’s main intentions is to illustrate the process of the spread of Christianity throughout England since its introduction in 156 (Bede 49). Though Bede doesn’t entirely agree with all of the Celtic people’s views and interpretations about Christianity, he does characterize the Celtic people as a rather accepting people who were an integral part to the spread of Christianity in England.
In regards to the Celtic people of Britain and their interpretation of the Christian religion, Bede showed less opposition than one might expect from a monk of his time. There is a lot of variation occurring politically during the time his work considers; and, with political variation came differing religious views. The largest conflict with Celtic Christianity expressed by Bede was their dating of Easter. However, any controversy regarding the dates of Easter’s occurrence was compromised and settled by the Synod of Whitby (Bede 186-192). The elimination of the confusion in respect to the dates of Easter helped to ease Bede’s skeptical nature of the Celtic Christians. Eventually, all of Britain came to accept Christianity as a valid and consistent religion.
One of the ways Bede expresses the accepting nature of the Celtic people is through his telling of the many miracles that occurred during the time. During the spread of Christianity in England, Bede explains a series of miracles involving saints that helped the Celtic people to welcome the word of Christianity. In Bede’s first book, he explains the miracle of St. Germanus healing a blind girl. He then discloses that after having witnessed this miracle, “all...
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