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Rule of Saint Benedict in English [Paperback]

By Timothy Fry (Translator)
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Item description for Rule of Saint Benedict in English by Timothy Fry...

For fifteen centuries Benedictine monasticism has been governed by a Rule that is at once strong enough to instill order and yet flexible enough to have relevance fifteen hundred years later. English-only Edition

Publishers Description

For fifteen centuries Benedictine monasticism has been governed by a Rule that is at once strong enough to instill order and yet flexible enough to have relevance fifteen hundred years later. English-only Edition.

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Liturgical Press
Pages   96
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 0.5" Width: 4.25" Height: 7.25"
Weight:   0.2 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Feb 1, 2000
Publisher   LITURGICAL PRESS #1200
Edition  New  
ISBN  0814612725  
ISBN13  9780814612729  

Availability  733 units.
Availability accurate as of Oct 27, 2016 03:24.
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1Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Bible & Other Sacred Texts
2Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Catholicism > General
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Reviews - What do customers think about Rule of Saint Benedict in English?

The Heart of any monastic library, with the Gospels and Cassian of course  Aug 10, 2007
Truly this is the centerpiece, with the Gospels and Cassian and Origen, etc., for any Catholic monastic library, and yet other translations can be found, in particular Doyle's clear and faithful reading version of The Rule of Saint Benedict. I shall give a few reasons for this determination in a moment.

This review refers of course to the 627 page reference work published by Collegeville's Liturgical Press, with Imprimatur and Nihil Obstat, which still bear some small significance for some of us, upon the occassion of the 1500th anniversary of Saint Benedict's birth. Surprisingly the product detail page here on this site gives us few details of this irreplaceable and comprehensive and monumental and historic work. Permit me this disclaimer that my poor summary here in no way can replace a careful personal examination of this necessary book, and space prevents neither such a presentation nor a careful theological examination.

Briefly therefore this work opens with a contextual and historical forward by Martin Burne, OSB, of Saint Mary's in Morristown. What follows is a Preface by the head stylist, Rev. Timothy Fry, OSB, of Atchison, who explains the process of translation by committee as well as explaining the lay-out and the production and producers of this monumental Benedictine work, and assorted acknowledgements. As Father Timothy explains, Part I is the Introduction with a history of monasticism in order to set the Rule of Saint Benedict in its historical and cultural context, including an understanding of the references to other authors made by Saint Benedict. Part II presents the amazing core of this work: a side by side publication of the original Latin text of Saint Benedict alongside (on the facing page) the new English translation, including for the first time in English the Anselmo Lentini 1947 versification. Extensive explanatory notes also grace these pages. Part III contains long expository essays in a way not available in the explanatory notes, with cross references. These essays include long examinations and definitions of terms such as Monk, Cenobite, Nun, Abbot, as well as the Liturgical Code of Saint Benedict. They also consider his Disciplinary Measures, and methods of formation and profession. They examine how Saint Benedict interprets Holy Scripture, and compares him to another early Monastic Rule.

Part Four is an excellent Thematic Index, with Patristic, Scriptural and a General Index. The Thematic Index features a useful explanation of Latin terminology, and especially vaulable is the Selected Latin COncordance which precedes it. This very extensive Concordance indicates Saint Benedict's usage of nearly every term in the Rule, using Lentini's versification, most often within a brief context, and is most useful to students not only of the Rule but of Latin. The Indexing is really very complete and varied in methodologies, and quickly lost among them all is the wonderful few pages indicating Benedicitne Houses in North America, including Regina Laudis, etc.

Now a small note about the translation by committee, which I find a bit academic in style and complex in syntax. Perhaps I have simply grown to love the Doyle translation of the The Rule of Saint Benedict, but comparing it to the original Latin as avaiable here, I find it even more faithful. For example let us look at a few lines before I use up my space alloted here upon the broad this site.

Latin as you may know arranges its sentences in order of importance, with the verb finally bringin up the rear and breaking that suspense. Thusly we ordinarily read the most important or stressed elements first and less emphasized items later, with the big bang of the verb closing the sentence.

Therefore let us look at Chapter 53 On the Reception of Guests, at line 6 (following Lentini) and seven and part of eight:

In ipsa autem salutatione omnis exhibeatur humilitas omnibus venientibus sive discedentibus hospitibus: inclinato capite vel prostrato omni corpore in terra, Christus in eis adoretur qui et suscipitur. Suscepti autem hospites ducantur ad orationem ( . . .)

This Fry committee translation reads: "All humility should be shown in addressing a guest on arrival or departure. By a bow of the head or by a complete prostration on the body, Christ is to be adored because he is indeed welcomed in them. After the guests have been received, they should be invited to pray ( . . .)"

The Doyle reads the same in the reading for April 4, August 4, December 4: "In the salutation of all guests, whether arriving or departing, let all humility be shown. Let the head be bowed or the whole body prostrated on the ground in the adoration of Christ, who indeed is received in their persons. After the guests have been received and taken to prayer ( . . .)"

I prefer therefore the more substantial reading by Doyle, who speaks of the earth mentioned by Benedict, and who stresses receiving Christ in the guests, as the phrase runs: Christ in them is adored, who is also received. Notice "in eis" immediately follows "Christus," stressing the unity and importance, unlike Fry who moves "in them" to the end of the sentence, leaving the adoration of Christ rather distant and vague. Benedict "autem" here stresses the Eucharistic dimension of receiving guests at a monastery as receiving Christ, in adoration, and elsewhere stresses the greater worshipful loving care with which the poor and homeless are received. Therefore, in this case, I find the Doyle not only more readable but also more closely reflective of the meaning of Saint Benedict. Of course, I would prefer by far to have performed long ago my own "invisibly" faithful translation!

Further reflection on this Chapter 53 reveals this further order in regard to the poor and the homeless, which bears comparative study of the translations. At line fifteen by the Lentini versification, Saint Benedict writes: "Pauperum et peregrinorum maxime susceptioni cura sollicite exhibeatur, quia in ipsis magis Christus suscipitur; nam divitum terror ipse sibi exigit honorem."

Fry et al. translate this intriguing order as: "Great care and concern are to be shown in receiving poor people and pilgrims, because in them more particularly Christ is received; our very awe of the rich guarantees them special respect."

Doyle presents this as: "In the reception of the poor and of pilgrims the greatest care and solicitude should be shown, because it is especially in them that Christ is received; for as far as the rich are concerned, the very fear which they inspire wins respect for them."

Yet clearly any first year Latin student can see how both have softballed this important and strong line. A closer parsing may be, for instance: "The poor and the homeless must be received showing the maximum care and sollicitude, because within them, themselves, is Christ most greatly received; as the very terror of the rich squeezes out for them honors."

Notice how clearly Saint Benedict here defines two important theological currents. From the beginnings of our Church, in Jesus's commands to feed the hungry and clothe the naked and release from debts, etc., in the community sharing of the Acts of the Apostles, through CELAM's definition at Medellin of our "preferential option for the poor" we see the need for practicing our Faith in serving the poor, in whom we meet and receive Christ, eucharistically. This is the second constant current, from the beginning, through Benedict, through the ages, through Father Schillebeeckx's The Eucharist, through Father Tissa's The Eucharist and Human Liberation, through Sacramento de La Caridad: Sacramentum Caritatis, we meet and we receive Christ in one another and especially in the poor, in a Eucharistic sacrament and celebration. Saint Benedict repeats this truth of our Faith on numerous occassions and in numerous places as displayed in this tome's thematic index.

Another interesting line of course is found at Chapter 55, verse 18 by Lentini: "Et ut hoc vitium peculiaris radicitus amputetur, dentur ab abbate omnia quae sunt necessaria ( . . .)" which Fry reports as "In order that this vice of private ownership may be completely uprooted, the abbot is to provide all things necessary ( . . .)." This line of course is soon followed by reference to the Acts of the Apostles: "Distribution was made to each according as anyone had need." And Doyle reads it as: "And in order that this vice of private ownership may be cut out by the roots, the Abbot should provide all the necessary articles ( . . .)" which are basically clothing, shoes, a handkerchief and writing instruments. The Latin reads strongly on this point And so that this vice of private ownership can be amputated (or ripped out) by the roots, it falls to the abbot to provide all that is necessary.

Not much variation here, but read the line preceding this one: Quae tamen lecta frequentur ab abbate scrutinanda sunt propter opus peculiare, ne inveniatur; et si cui inventum fuerit quod ab abbate non accepit, gravissima disciplinae subiaceat.

What does this say to our individualist consumer society, and to those books available here which appallingly claim to apply Benedictine principles to business practices? Do they as Benedict commands give last year's goods and belongings to the poor?

We need to study this good book closely today, and put her into practice in our lives, build our communities, and, as Saint Benedict so kindly and gently and correctly writes, pray we all come together unto eternal life.
FATHER TIMOTHY FRY 1915-2007  Jan 26, 2007
Father Timothy Fry OSB, a monk of St. Benedict's Abbey in Atchison, Kansas, and editor of RB 1980, died at the Abbey on Saturday, January 20. He was 91 years old. Born in Paxico, Kansas, Fr. Timothy professed first monastic vows in 1936 and became a priest in 1941. The monks will celebrate the Mass of Christian Burial on Thursday morning, January 25 2007, at the Abbey.
The Rule Through the Eyes of a Protestant  Oct 6, 2005
THE RULE OF ST. BENEDICT is the classic text for monastic life. Reading it will be interesting to most modern Protestants, much the way that trivia written on a Pringles potato chip is interesting.

HOWEVER, if the modern Protestant reader makes a couple of simple substitutions (i.e. monastery = church life, abbot = pastor, etc.) the rule takes on a new life and makes an excellent devotional booklet.

This short book is all about life within community, which is often an Achilles heel of Protestant churches. Within the covers of this book are hard hitting comments about holding the tongue, silence, humility, submission, hospitality, living a life of prayer, decision making, etc. With a few minor alterations these comments are as applicable to modern Protestants as to sixth century monastics. Do not get hung up on the particulars, focus on the principles. I don't know of many monks today that sleep in common bunk houses, but they still focus on the communal truths contained in the text.

If you are a Protestant, do not shy away from this book. It has the potential to deepen your understanding of the church.
Historically and Practically useful  Apr 22, 2005
In regards to the english/latin version: This book was standard reading in my novitiate, but I fell in love with the historical information as well as the commentary that goes with the rule. I would recommend this book to anybody considering any type of religious vocation as well as to those who are interested in the history of christian monasticism.
Two editions  Apr 8, 2005
There seems to be some confusion over which edition these reviews are about. If the product details for the page you are looking at show less than 100 pages, this is a basic copy of the Rule of St. Benedict. If you are looking for the Rule (RB 1980), in Latin and English (with excellent notes from Timothy Fry), it should be a little less then 700 pages.

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