England ca. 8th Century

January 1, 670

Caedmon of England begins singing the stories of Scripture in English

Caedmon, a Saxon cowherd at the Whitby Abbey, England, feels the Lord challenge him saying, “Sing me a song!” Caedmon discovers God has given him an ability to put the Bible message into poetry and sing it. He develops a pattern of singing these stories to the people in the evenings. He sings songs about God creating the world and people; songs of the history of Israel; songs of the birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus, and of the teachings of the Apostles. (Caedmon’s English is what would now be known as “Old English.”)

January 1, 709

Anglo-Saxon translation of the Psalms

Aldhelm, Abbot of Malmesbury and Bishop of Sherborne, translates the Psalms into Anglo-Saxon.

January 1, 735

English translation of Gospel of John

The Venerable Bede, a monastery Abbot, near the end of his life, decides to translate the Gospel of John, as a continuing help for the monks in his monastery. Bede translates chapter by chapter through the Gospel of John, a scribe sitting next to him writing it down as he translates. Bede is old and dying, his strength failing as they continue to work. “There is one more chapter yet to do,” says the scribe. “Take the pen and write it for me quickly,” Bede replies. They work until the scribe says, “It is finished now!” “Glory to God!” exclaims Bede, and he reclines on his sleeping mat and dies.

Folio 30v from the 8th Century Vespasian Psalter portraying David and musicians. [Image: Wikimedia Commons]


Further Reading


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And of them was the whole earth overspread