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Emily Quigley

History, University of Nottingham

Thesis title:

The tax collector and the priest: Matthew the Evangelist in the writings of Bede (c. 673-735)

My research explores the portrayal of Matthew the evangelist in the writings of the Venerable Bede. As the author of the first synoptic gospel in the Vulgate, Matthew is one of the most important individuals in the Christian tradition. Bede firmly identified the evangelist with the apostle of the same name. Bede was the most prolific Latin writer and foremost intellectual of his period, acting as a crucial bridge between Late Antiquity and the Carolingian era.

I aim to determine what Matthew meant to Bede, writing around seven centuries after his gospel was written. This topic has not been explored by scholars, so will allow me to reconsider Bede’s relationship with patristic tradition and scrutinise his theological authority. Bede interprets Matthew’s transition from tax-collector to apostle as an exemplary model for contemporary sinners to emulate, so my thesis will give new insight into Bede’s interest in sin and salvation among other themes.

Owing to the religious reputations of both Matthew and Bede, this project will also have relevance to the wider intellectual history of the Medieval Church. I am predominately focusing on Bede’s exegetical and homiletic writings, while drawing upon the full Bedan corpus and patristic texts that influenced his interpretation.

Research Area

  • History



  • "First Publican, then Apostle": The Evolution of the Identity of Matthew the Evangelist from the Bible to Bede (c. 673 - 735), 5 September 2020, Created Identities Conference.
  • Matthew the Evangelist in the World of the Venerable Bede (c. 673 - 735): Poster Presentation, 13-14 July 2020, Midlands4Cities Digital Research Festival.

Public Engagement & Impact

  • Coordinator of PGR History Peer Mentoring Scheme, University of Nottingham (August 2020 onwards)

Other Research Interests

  • Medieval penance (the subject of my BA and MA dissertations, focusing on penance in the writings of Gregory of Tours and Bede respectively)
  • Insular manuscripts and iconography
  • Sin and conversion in early medieval Europe
  • The early Latin Church Fathers and their impact on medieval religious discourse