How an Early Medieval Historian Worked: Methodology and Sources in Bede’s Narrative of the Gregorian Mission to Kent

Shaw’s attempt to reconstruct Bede’s sources is fascinating in its own right. This dissertation interrogates each statement in Bede’s account of the Gregorian mission to Kent, and extrapolates where the content originates. It’s valuable as an insight into how a medieval historian might have worked, but it’s even more interesting as a lense through which to view student research.
Bede is a little outside the remit of the primary classroom, but projects that leap to mind as I skim this work include:
how could we try to understand and reconstruct an event, without digital technology?
what does it mean to know the source of a piece of information? how does it change the way we think about it?
talk to members of your family about an event in your family history and make notes. Compare the similarities and differences. Use these stories to write a narrative. How could you include your sources to support your story?
here’s an account of an event in the school. where could this information have come from? how could we find out how accurate it is?

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