Bede, De Natura Rerum

Eoghan Ahern (University of Cambridge)
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De natura rerum (DNR) is a treatise by Bede on the structure and mechanics of the universe, encompassing all of creation from the heavens downwards. He wrote it in 703, at the age of 30, around the time he was ordained a priest. It was conceived as one half of a twin work, along with De temporibus (On Times); internal evidence in the latter text provides us with the date of composition. Though it is an early work that does not approach the complexity and innovation of Bede’s later thought, DNR provides us with an insight into the cosmological assumptions that undergird his understanding of theology and history.

Like all medieval cosmologists, Bede accepted without question the axioms inherited from Classical philosophy and this is reflected in DNR. He believed that the basic building

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Citation: Ahern, Eoghan. "De Natura Rerum". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 12 April 2016 [https://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=9640, accessed 09 December 2023.]

9640 De Natura Rerum 3 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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