Item description for The Rule of Saint Benedict by Anthony C. Meisel...
Overview Since the 6th century, this has been one of the most influential documents of Western thought and civilization. Full of plain wisdom, the words of St. Benedict are a guide for work, prayer, study, and community life.
From the time it was first promulgated in the sixth century, "The Rule of St. Benedict "has been one of the most influential, enduring documents of Western civilization. Composed for the guidance of his own monks at Monte Cassino, St. Benedict's "Rule" has become the basis for the rules of practically every Christian monastic community in the West. In it are the guidelines for living the spiritual life -- through work, prayer, study, obedience, community, and moderate asceticism. This acclaimed edition of "The Rule of St. Benedict" is a highly accessible modern translation that conveys the spirit and logic of the original text. It contains an invaluable in-depth Introduction that explores the development and spread of Christian monasticism; a biographical sketch of St. Benedict; a discussion of the structure and implementation of his "Rule"; its value and impact on religious orders from the Middle Ages down through history; its tremendous influence on Western culture and civilization; and, finally, various texts of the "Rule."
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Reviews - What do customers think about The Rule of Saint Benedict?
Listen! Jun 11, 2004
The Rule of St. Benedict is in and of itself a fairly short book, fewer than 100 pages. It is a good example of the statement, 'good things come in small packages'. This volume, translated and with an introduction by Anthony Meisel and M.L. del Mastro, presents an historical context as well as their own translation of the Latin text of the Rule. The thirty-page introduction discusses the biography of St. Benedict, the formation of the rule, and the way it has been passed down through the ages in monastic community.
Benedict was fully aware of human frailty, as true 1500 years ago as it is today. This frailty requires much to be done to give the person strength, and so Benedict's Rule is designed for an ever-increasing self-discipline which is supported by community worship and practice.
Benedict's Rule for life includes worship, work, study, prayer, and relaxation. Benedict's Rule requires community -- even for those who become hermits or solitaries, there is a link to the community through worship and through the Rule. No one is alone. This is an important part of the relationship of God to the world, so it is an integral part of the Rule.
Benedict's Rule was set out first in a world that was torn with warfare, economic and political upheaval, and a generally harsh physical environment. This Rule was set out to bring order to a general chaos in which people lived. This is still true today, and men and women all over the world use Benedict's 'little rule for beginners' as a basic structure for their lives.
The first word of the rule is Listen. This is perhaps the best advice for anyone looking for any guidance or rule of life. While Benedict's Rule is decidedly Christocentric and hierarchical (though not as hierarchical as much popular ideas about monastic practice would have one think), it nonetheless can give value to any reader who is looking to construct a practice for oneself.
Benedict's establishment of a monastery was in fact the establishment of a school for spirituality. In his prologue to the Rule, Benedict even states this as his intention. 'In drawing up its regulations, we hope to set down nothing harsh, nothing burdensome.' He sets forth in this brief rule a guide to individual life within community that will bring one ever closer to the divine.
Benedict explores the issues of charity, personality, integrity, and spirituality in all of his rules. From the clothing to the prayer cycle to the reception of guests, all have a purpose that fits into a larger whole, and all have positive charges and negative warnings. Benedict is especially mindful of the sin of pride, be it pride of possession, pride of person, pride of place -- he strives for equality in the community (as a recognition that all are equal before God).
Hundreds of thousands of pages have been written over the last millenium and a half on the Rule of St. Benedict, but it all comes down to this brief collection, which can be read easily in an hour, yet takes a lifetime (or perhaps more!) to master.
Open it for yourself to see what riches it may hold for you.
This particular text ends with a good list of selected readings, a bit lacking for the latest of publications, but with 1500 years worth of texts from which to choose, there are plenty of selections worthwhile. There is also a composite plan of a medieval monastery -- this is not a master plan; indeed, all monasteries vary from each other in certain aspects, so this is a general idea.
Interesting as an historical document Jul 18, 2001
While the historical context that is so lucidly described in the introduction to this translation is fascinating in itself, the rule resonates with a disciplined approach to spiritual development in a communal setting. Placed in an appropriate historical context the "rule" is remarkable for its attention to physical and spiritual detail in the structured life of a monastery. Anyone interested in monasticsm or church history will be well rewarded by reading this.
An interesting look into the rules of monkhood! Feb 11, 1999
Benedict, having dropped out of university because he viewed the life there as degenerated, goes into the bush and makes his abode in a crack in the side of a mountain. Upon coming out he writes the moral code for the next 1,400 years! This is that code or set of rules.
Some of the book is dry - namely the end of it which goes over seating arangements for meals and other architectural details but the historical end of it is interesting and so are his guidelines for clean living in a monastic setting (which one can employ almost anywhere with the right focus).