Bede conceived of and executed what one scholar called ‘the most ambitious and carefully planned program of Biblical commentary since Late Antiquity’.
Bede composed commentaries on a large number of Bible books, both Old and New Testament. While most of these combine Bede’s original writing with numerous quotations from the works of the Church Fathers, two of them consist entirely of excerpts from the works of Gregory the Great (on the Song of Songs) and Augustine (on the Pauline Epistles). The latter, known as the Collectio, consists of no less than 455 fragments from about 40 different Augustinian works.
Bede’s Pauline commentary of Augustinian quotations was a valuable resource for several Carolingian scholars, who used it as a kind of index of Augustine’s works. The reason it could function as such is that Bede identified each work, not only by title, but in most cases also by book and even chapter division, making it unusually easy to use. This diligence and efficiency are not completely unheard of in the medieval period, but Bede certainly seems to have been a cut apart.
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