So, anyone who has seen my social media feed since Friday will be aware that the North East has suffered the tragic loss of Bede's World Museum. On Saturday a group of us met next to the site to show our support in trying to save the museum. Now whilst there has been an outpouring of support for this, there has been one type of question that has raised it's head a number of times, and I want to try and address this.
"Why are a load of Pagans so bothered about a Christian attraction?"
Well, firstly, it's not a "Christian attraction", it's a museum that was dedicated to an incredible historical figure, who was christian, there is a difference there. As well as being a monk, Bede provides us with glimpses of medieval science. In De temporum ratione he shows us his study of astronomy and the passage of time. He was highly skilled in languages and translation, making important theological writings more accessible to those in Anglo-Saxon Britain.
He was also a historian. As a member of the pagan community this is the main reason he is so important to me. Bede's work, Historia ecclesiastica gentis Anglorum, not only documents the progress of Christianity in Britain, but also what came before. We owe a huge amount of what we know about pre-Christian paganism to Bede.
There is also the fact that the site was host to a huge range of community activities. There were educational and creative endeavors ongoing all the time within the museum itself, something very much in the spirit of the man it is dedicated to.
Given Bede's penchant for arguing with those in positions of power (his scientific research saw him accused of heresy in 708CE), I think we owe it to his legacy to make sure we stand our ground, not let this resource be taken from us, and do everything we can to resurrect Bede's World however we can.
You can keep track of what is going on via the "Save Bede's World" facebook page.