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The Rule of Saint Benedict

4.03  ·  Rating Details  ·  3,732 Ratings  ·  157 Reviews
Composed nearly fifteen hundred years ago by the father of Western monasticism, The Rule of St. Benedict has for centuries been the guide of religious communities. St. Benedict's rules of obedience, humility, and contemplation are not only prerequisites for formal religious societies, they also provide an invaluable model for anyone desiring to live more simply. While they ...more
Paperback, 112 pages
Published March 24th 1998 by Vintage (first published 530)
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Stephen
Aug 11, 2009 Stephen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you read this for entertainment you will be sorely disappointed. If you read this as a guide to life, and you are not a monk, you will be sorely disappointed. If you read this with an eye toward how one might live a more calm and disciplined life, adjusting what was written in to Sixth century, to the present day, you might just find what you are looking for.
Bryce Wilson
May 07, 2008 Bryce Wilson rated it really liked it
Shelves: theology
I've often thought that the monastic order is the high-point of my religion. No power, no ambition, just simple and just service to God and man.

Therefore I thought I'd read the beginning of that order. My sympathies are much more in align with the Franciscans then the Benedictions which is to put it gently, a little harsh. A surprisingly large amount of the book deals with Benedict's disdain for laughter and or grumbling.

Alot of this slight volume is simply not very useful to the layman, unless
...more
Carsten Thomsen
Oct 15, 2011 Carsten Thomsen rated it it was amazing
My planned reading of spiritual classics have been quite slow. But here's one that I can recommend. These Rules have greatly influenced monasteries around the world until this day.

They begin with some general reflections on piety that all Christians can benefit from - then he goes on with more specific rules for the monks. There's a spirit here of love and humility and grace - but a lot of the Rules do seem very strict (specially on not talking and not laughing).

OK, there are also some funny Ru
...more
Sheila
I purchased this kindle version of the Rule of St. Benedict after reading about this religious text in The Cloister Walk, and wanting to see for myself what was contained in this book that the Benedictines base their lifestyle on.

I find the monastic lifestyle facinating, and can highly respect their ascetic beliefs, and their reasonable, moderate, balanced approach to faith and life. The book is a guide written by St. Benedict, which covers basically everything relating to the monastic lifestyle
...more
♥ Ibrahim ♥
Mar 02, 2015 ♥ Ibrahim ♥ rated it it was amazing
Shelves: spirituality
It encourages me to grow in the life of faith. The more we have progress in our active faith, the greater we expand in our hearts. The Rule of Saint Benedict says, "When faith makes that progress, the heart is expanded, and is borne along with the indescribable sweetness of love." Lord, grant me such happiness that may expand, stretch and launch out into the deep in You as you asked Peter to. Bring Your own life to my faith and make it such living, vibrant faith, so that I may conquer and gain Y ...more
Hannah Notess
Jan 01, 2016 Hannah Notess rated it really liked it
Shelves: translated
I mean, there's not a lot of books this old that people are using for guidance to live their daily lives. Everyone gets kitchen duty. Minus one star for the suggestion that if children are out of line, you should beat them, because they won't understand getting excommunicated. I guess times do change.
Andres Mosquera Salazar
Jun 12, 2013 Andres Mosquera Salazar rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: spiritual
Decidí leer La Santa Regla después de leer Tres Monjes Rebeldes; necesitaba entender mejor en qué consistía esta forma de vivir de los monjes. Definitivamente esta lectura ha llenado mis expectativas, pues permite entender con mucho más detalle la vida monástica.

Al leer este libro, tan sólo la regla, pude imaginarme la vida de estos monjes: desde su manera de vestir, hasta su forma de rezar. Hay que decir que San Benito proponía un estilo de vida radical y difícil, pero que, sin duda alguna, le
...more
David
Jan 20, 2014 David rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
How do you review a book like this? I mean, there are many nuggets of wisdom throughout that can be beneficial for any reader. But the whole purpose of writing it was to create a rule for monks. Thus, many of the rules on excommunication and daily order of life for monks are more difficult to apply to contemporary non-monastic life. It would be tempting to give it fewer stars since I did not enjoy it nearly as much as a book like Foster's Celebration of Discipline. But that is more my problem th ...more
Larissa
Read for the Great Conversation second semester of freshman year.
Katie
One of my favorite things about the Rule of St. Benedict is how kind it is. I think that the popular perception of medieval monks is still filled with hair shirts and flagellation, or, at best, an authoritarian abbot lording over servile monks. Those things aren't made up and they certainly had their place in a medieval monastery. But Benedict's writing gives a much better idea of what it was actually like most of the time - a rather difficult life, and a daunting lack of privacy, but overall a ...more
Bob
Nov 09, 2013 Bob rated it really liked it
For most of us to read this work is to enter another world. Not only is this written in the 6th century AD but it is written about a kind of experience, the truly monastic life, that few of us will experience, much less understand. So what is the worth of this work?

First of all, the choice of a monastic life is the choice to pursue a greater love of God and holiness of life through poverty, simplicity, submission, and stability in a community. For those who don't choose monastic communities, it
...more
booklady
Although I’ve read and listened to The Rule of St. Benedict several times since first being introduced to it twelve or so years ago, a monastic retreat given by Abbot Lawrence Stasyszen O.S.B. from St. Gregory's University at the abbey breathed life into the words of this 1500 year old document. The Rule of St. Benedict, or simply ‘the Rule’ (or RB) was written by St. Benedict of Nursia, considered by some the Father of Western Monasticism and his Rule—which are guidelines for living in communi ...more
Alex Stroshine
St. Benedict has had an enormous impact on monasticism, both during the time of Late Antiquity/Middle Ages to the present with the New Monasticism. The famous monk outlined his vision in "The Rule of Saint Benedict," a short book in which Benedict instructs and guides monks in how they should conduct themselves, whether through the approved order of worship, interpersonal relations and discipline. There is a lot of wisdom in these precepts that can be gleaned, though the one who makes fullest us ...more
Zelda
Sep 29, 2014 Zelda rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014
This slim volume is just what it says, a book of rules. Rules for Benedictine monks of the Middle Ages. Which must make it seem an odd choice of reading for a middle-aged housewife of no religious orientation. But, I enjoyed it for it was.
Jordan Magnuson
First reading: 2005 (RB 1982)
Second reading: 2016 (Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove's contemporary paraphrase)

Almost certainly the most significant work ever written on intentional community living. In a world where Utopian visions and good intentions are plentiful, here we have a rule that has withstood the test of 1500 years of day in, day out practice by communities all over the world.

I enjoyed Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove's contemporary paraphrase more than I expected to: it manages to stick quite cl
...more
Mike
Dec 30, 2015 Mike rated it really liked it
I shifted my focus to this spiritual classic after a visit to Abbaye Notre-Dame d'Orval on a "pilgrimage" for Belgian beer. While the beer was exquisite, I was also fascinated by the simple beauty and serenity of the abbey and the monks that inhabit it. As part of a larger delve into the monastic traditions, this book is essential reading. It stands on its own as a thought provoking and contemplative text as well. While many of the rules are antiquated and even obtuse to a modern reader, there a ...more
Steve Hemmeke
Benedict (d. 547) was a monk who codified life as a community of monks in a monastery. This rule has had broad appeal in monasteries for 1500 years.

Abbot - the supreme leader in charge of all things.
Authority - the main rule is submission to the authority of the abbot and senior ranking monks. A detailed pecking order based on length of time there and virtue was determined by the abbot.
Discipline - removal of meal privileges, corporal punishment and excommunication
Rations - a pound of bread and
...more
Jeremy
Read this as part of a Great Texts course at Baylor that I'm unofficially auditing.

About the Vintage Spiritual Classics
xi: turn from the therapeutic
xii-xiii: lector divina as an act of prayer

Preface
xv: Benedict was fed up with Roman paganism [cf. Martin Luther in 1510-11]
xvii: rules can be abused (sadists and masochists); it's interesting how much the Moore stresses an allegorical interpretation of Benedict's rule, as if he knows the stringency will turn many people off
xviii: modern = individual
...more
Sharon
Jun 22, 2016 Sharon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was an interesting and delightful book to read. It provides a glimpse into the mode of life of a monk under the Benedictine rule. I've written here a brief history and some aspects of the life that made an impression on me.

Saint Benedict lived during a time of serious upheaval in the Roman Empire. Divisions within and the force of repeated attacks from Barbarians were causing the empire to crumble. The Pax Romana was to be no more. Benedict left Rome.
It was the peace of Christ that wou
...more
Trever
Jul 11, 2013 Trever rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is at least the fourth time I have read the Holy Rule, still a phenomenal little guide. I love how much emphasis St. Benedict places on time spent reading, and how reading should be a part of everyone's day.

Just read this again today (10 Nov 2012) and I am struck by how moderate this is, so perfectly balanced between the ideal and real life.
David
Mar 31, 2012 David rated it really liked it
Shelves: christianity
Simple. Pious. Quite enjoyable. An interesting treatise into one of the most influential rules of monastic life. I was drawn in to how holistic and comprehensive a sacrificial (selfless, charitable) life can be. Counter-intuitive to 21st century Western notions of the elevation of the individual. This book outlines a true communal lifestyle.
Nick Shelton
Jul 09, 2015 Nick Shelton rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I don't know, how one can really "rate" a book that is a rule for monks?
What does that mean? How well it worked? If so then it's been successful for 15 centuries and gave the world Cluny in it's hay day?
If it brings about sanctity? Not for everyone, because not everyone is called to be a monk, but certainly think of the great monastic saints of the Western Church, or even St. Benedict himself!
Yes it was a incredibly boring read, but it's equivalent to reading to constitution. I was displeased to
...more
Rachelle Sperling
This one is hard to rate. It is coming from a different time, place, perspective and theological viewpoint.

The positive I drew from it was its focus on submission, humility and service, along with the idea that discipline serves a good purpose in our lives.

The thing I struggled with was the idea that it was acceptable, right even, to withdraw from the world at large. This missed the key component of the gospel that we are to relate like the Trinity and in doing so represent the Savior to the wo
...more
Lillie
I found interesting so many references to discipline for misbehavior, to the point of banishing the offender from the monastery. I tend to think of monks as being righteous, and most of them were, but this was a reminder that sin exists everywhere.
Maya
Sep 11, 2015 Maya rated it liked it
This is a 6th century introduction to the monastery, and I think is intended to be used as a practical tool. There are clear "dos" and "don'ts", and at times rigid structure.

I found it interesting to note the points of liberal or soft concessions. For instance, allowing for imperfection in the Abbot, or adjusting requirements for the sick or elderly. This often stood out in the context of strict obedience.

The focus throughout the document, is on nurturing the relationship and the work of God.
...more
Rivka D.
Feb 27, 2013 Rivka D. rated it liked it
I'd make a terrible monk. I don't think any of this sounded like fun . And I'm a woman, so...
All this to say, this was very insightful and I don't regret reading it the second time through.
Kenneth
Mar 24, 2015 Kenneth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a translation from the Latin of what scholars consider the "authentic" text - Saint Benedict's original (as opposed to later revisions), which he wrote back in the 6th century as a practical guide to the monastic life for his monks at Monte Casino in central Italy. It covers a wide variety of topics: obedience to the abbot, how the abbot should run the monastery, directions for the proper observance of the seven daily offices (i.e., the prayer services), how to maintain discipline and or ...more
Marks54
Dec 27, 2013 Marks54 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This perhaps the oldest management handbook. This is the set of directions written by Saint Benedict of Nursia about how Benedictine monasteries were to be organized and administered. The book is divided into a set of daily readings that are repeated three times throughout the year and that designate how each day is to be organized (around daily services), how decisions are to be made within the monastery, how disputes are to be settled, how discipline is to be established and maintained, and ho ...more
Christopher
Some good insights, but monkishness was a bad idea in the first place.
Norah Jones
May 13, 2015 Norah Jones rated it it was amazing
Even though I am not a cloistered sister or a professional religious - "just" a working mom - using this path in the Benedictine manner makes all the difference in my daily life. Try an overall reading, and then use a website reference to divide up the chapters like the Benedictines do: moving through this simple guide incrementally, three times over a year, going deep on the short meditation, allowing the implications for life to sink in. Just the basic "balance of life and prayer" message is r ...more
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  • Seeking God: The Way of St. Benedict
  • The Sayings of the Desert Fathers: The Alphabetical Collection (Cistercian studies 59)
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  • The Spiritual Exercises
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  • Revelations of Divine Love
  • A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life
  • The Cloud of Unknowing
  • Introduction to the Devout Life
  • The Collected Works of St. John of the Cross
  • Music of Silence: A Sacred Journey Through the Hours of the Day
  • The Love of Learning and the Desire for God: A Study of Monastic Culture
  • Uniformity with God's Will
  • The Little Flowers of St. Francis of Assisi
  • Fire Within: Teresa of Avila, John of the Cross and the Gospel - On Prayer
  • Interior Castle
  • Abandonment to Divine Providence
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Benedict of Nursia (Italian: San Benedetto da Norcia) (c. 480 – 543 or 547) is a Christian saint, honoured by the Catholic Church and the Anglican Church as the patron saint of Europe and students.

Benedict founded twelve communities for monks at Subiaco, Italy (about 40 miles (64 km) to the east of Rome), before moving to Monte Cassino in the mountains of southern Italy. The Order of St Benedict i
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“Idleness is the enemy of the soul; and therefore the brethren ought to be employed in manual labor at certain times, at others, in devout reading.” 23 likes
“The first degree of humility is prompt obedience.” 22 likes
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