He became a monk in the Benedictine monastery of Christ Church, Canterbury, where he made the acquaintance of Anselm, at that time visiting England as abbot of the Abbey of Bec. The intimacy was renewed when Anselm became archbishop of Canterbury in 1093; afterward Eadmer was not only his disciple and follower, but his friend and director, being formally appointed to this position by Pope Urban II. In 1120 he was nominated to the bishopric of St. Andrews (Cell Rígmonaid), but as the Scots would not recognize the authority of the see of Canterbury he was never consecrated, and soon afterwards he resigned his claim to the bishopric. His death is generally assigned to the year 1124. Eadmer must also be credited as one of the first serious proponents of the Catholic doctrine of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary when he defended popular traditions in his De Conceptione sanctae Mariae.
Eadmer left a large number of writings, the most important of which is his Historia novorum, a work which deals mainly with the history of England between 1066 and 1122. Although concerned principally with ecclesiastical affairs scholars agree in regarding the Historiae as one of the ablest and most valuable writings of its kind. It was first edited by John Selden in 1623 and, with Eadmer's Vita Anselmi, has been edited by Martin Rule for the Rolls Series (London, 1884). R. W. Southern re-edited Vita Anselmi in 1963 with a facing page translation, and Geoffrey Bosanquet translated the Rolls text of Historia Novorum in 1964. The standard work on Eadmer is Southern's Saint Anselm and His Biographer.
The Vita Anselmi, first printed at Antwerp in 1551, is probably the best life of the saint. Less noteworthy are Eadmer's lives of St Dunstan, St Bregwine, archbishop of Canterbury, and St Oswald, archbishop of York; these are all printed in Henry Wharton's Anglia Sacra, part ii (1691), where a list of Eadmer's writings will be found. The manuscripts of most of Eadmer's works are preserved in the library of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge.
- Geoffrey Bosanquet, Eadmer's History of Recent Events in England (London, 1964)
- Martin Rule, On Eadmer's Elaboration of the first four Books of "Historiae novorum" (1886)
- Philibert Ragey, Eadmer (Paris, 1892).
- R. W. Southern, Saint Anselm and His Biographer (Cambridge, 1963)
- This article incorporates text from the Encyclopædia Britannica Eleventh Edition, a publication now in the public domain.
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