Venerable Bede

673-735 AD

Venerable Bede, a historian and theologian, was a Benedictine monk at a monastery in the Kingdom of Northumbria in 7th and early 8th century England. He was and still is a popular author and scholar. He wrote a history, his most famous book, on the Ecclesiastical history of the English People.

In his book, Bede described a stuttering cure performed by the 7th century Bishop John of Hexham (also known as Bishop John of Beverly) as follows:

In a village not far distant lived a dumb youth know to the bishop; for he had often visited him to receive alms and had never been able to utter a single word. In addition he had so many scabs and scales on his head that no hair ever grew on the crown but only a few wisps stood up in a ragged circle round it. So the bishop ordered this youth to be fetched, and a little hut to be made for him in the enclosure round the house where he could live and receive his daily allowance. When one week of Lent was past, on the following Sunday John told the poor lad to come to him, and when he had entered he ordered him to put out his tongue and show it to him; then he took him by the chin, and making the sign of the holy cross on his tongue, told him to retract it and speak. "Pronounce some word," he said: "say yea." The lad's tongue was loosed and at once he did what he was told. The bishop then proceeded to the names of letters: "Say A." and he said "A." "Now say B," he said, which the youth did. And when he had repeated the names of each of the letters after the bishop, the latter added syllables and words for him to repeat after him. When he had uttered every word accordingly, the bishop set him to repeat longer sentences, and he did so. All those who were present say that all that day and the next night, as long as he could keep awake, the youth never stopped saying something and expressing his own inner thoughts and wishes to others, which he had never been able to do previously (Bede, 1995, p. 268).

Writings by Venerable Bede

Bede, V. (1995). Ecclesiastical history of the English people. London: Penguin Books. Retrieved March 5, 2010.

Writings about Venerable Bede

Brown, George Hardin (1987). Bede the Venerable. Twayne.

Browne, G. F. (1887) The Venerable Bede. London: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge.

DeGregorio, Scott. (2006) Innovation and tradition in the writings of the Venerable Bede. West Virginia University Press.

Higham, N. J. (2006). (Re-)reading Bede: The ecclesiastical history in Context. Routledge.

McCready, William David (1994). Miracles and the Venerable Bede. Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies.

Thompson, A. Hamilton (1935) Bede: His life, times and writing. Oxford, England: Clarendon Press.

Thompson, A Hamilton (editor) (1966) Bede: His life, times, and writings: Essays in commemoration of the Twelfth Centenary of his death. New York: Russell & Russell.

Ward, Benedicta (1998). The Venerable Bede. Cistercian Publications.