Best known in the Middle Ages as a scriptural exegete, Bede here provides a running gloss on the Letters of James, Peter, John, and Jude. Why he chose these `lesser letters' for his first attempt at written exegesis no one knows; perhaps he did so because so few other scriptural commentators had glossed them. They are unique in that he inclined more to the literal interpretation of the text than he did in his more allegorical later commentaries. Preachers will find them useful; readers will find them illuminating.
From the eighth to the fifteenth centuries, Bede's authority as a scriptural exegete was second only to that of the Doctors of the Latin Church. Yet modern readers associate this remarkable scholar-monk only with his History of the English Church and Nation and ignore the works he saw as his chief accomplishment.
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