Bede, The Reckoning of Time
Beda (Venerabilis.), Beda Venerabilis (helgon.), el Venerable Beda (Santo), Bede Venerabilis Staff, Bede, the Venerable, Saint, 673-735
Liverpool University Press, Jan 1, 1999 - History - 479 pages
From the patristic age until the Gregorian calendar reform of 1582, computus -- the science of time reckoning and art of calendar construction -- was a matter of intense concern. Bede's The Reckoning of Time (De temporum ratione) was the first comprehensive treatise on this subject and the model and reference for all subsequent teaching discussion and criticism of the Christian calendar. It is a systematic exposition of the Julian solar calendar and the Paschal table of Dionysius Exiguus, with their related formulae for calculating dates. But it is more than a technical handbook. Bede sets calendar lore within a broad scientific framework and a coherent Christian concept of time, and incorporates themes as diverse as the theory of tides and the doctrine of the millennium.
This translation of the full text of The Reckoning of Time includes an extensive historical introduction and a chapter-by-chapter commentary. It will interest historians of medieval science, theology, and education, Bede scholars and Anglo-Saxonists, liturgists, and Church historians. It will also serve as an accessible introduction to computus itself. Generations of medieval computists nourished their expertise in Bede's orderly presentation; modern scholars in quest of safe passage through this complex terrain can hope for no better guide.