The Rule of Saint Benedict
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The Rule of Saint Benedict

4.01 of 5 stars 4.01  ·  rating details  ·  2,360 ratings  ·  111 reviews
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...more
Paperback, 128 pages
Published September 1st 1975 by Image (first published 530)
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Bryce Wilson
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
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.
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
Carsten Thomsen
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
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
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
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
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.
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.
Rivka D.
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.
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
Some good insights, but monkishness was a bad idea in the first place.
Larry Farlow
This summer I’ve been taking a class through iTunes U called “The Early Middle Ages” taught by Professor Paul Freedman of the Open Yale University. It’s been a fascinating and interesting course. Part of the required reading is The Rule of Saint Benedict. From the perspective of the course, the objective is to familiarize you with monastic life, something that’s a huge part of any study of the Middle Ages.

Though it sheds light on how monasteries functioned, it sheds even more light on the theol...more
This little book was written in the sixth century by a monk who wanted to develop a standard by which his community could live by. I was expecting a rather dry list of rules about mundane subjects of everyday life. And to a degree, this book fits the bill. However, about a third of the way through, in midst of a bunch of rules about how to structure daily and nightly prayers and readings, the sheer commitment to a disciplined life in pursuit of their ideal became readily apparent to me. I was mo...more
Not necessarily the most enjoyable nor immediately applicable read, but there is much of interest and encouragement, as well as entertainment, to be found here.

Was inspired to take it back up after a personal retreat to a semi-local Benedictine Monastery, and it was very informative for getting a better understanding of the many inspiring and foreign things I encountered in my brief time there.

The preface by Thomas Moore in this edition is excellent, and (though I unfortunately read it after Th...more
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
I began The Rule of St. Benedict thinking only that it would make good Lenten reading, but it ended up addressing many of the other themes that have dominated my reading of late. What is the virtue of the abbot, and is it any different from that of the statesman? Both must needs rule those under their care with prudence, firmly and yet justly...

ADDENDUM (one year later):
The themes of humility, obedience and communion were all the more poignant to me, given the timing of my reading: it was Lent,...more
Evan Hays
The only reason I am not giving this five stars is that it advocates corporal punishment. But hey, it was written in the 6th century. And there were many parts of it, such as the importance it places in minor details and the sanctity of seemingly mundane parts of life, that I am sure were quite progressive in their time.

Reading this to learn about how the monastic way of life can inform my life was excellent. The whole way of life is imbued with the peace of prayer and trust in God provision. Ch...more
Benjamin Vineyard
The Rule of Saint Benedict: A Contemporary Paraphrase
by St. Benedict of Nursia (Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove)

Initial Question:
What wisdom can I, a Lutheran teacher, glean from St. Benedict; and, can this wisdom find a home within my context?


Answer & Reaction: Yes.

There's something about Benedict that I keep returning to. It's the rhythm of his Rule, which at times makes no sense in my context, that I find an excellent guide.

The goal of the Christian life, as I see it, is to become increasi...more
D.M. Dutcher (Sword Cross Rocket)
Dec 05, 2013 D.M. Dutcher (Sword Cross Rocket) rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of Christian history
This classic book is a short work in which a saint gives practical instructions on how to live in and administer a monastery. However, it reinforces all the ideas that I have that the monastic life is not a good thing, because the amount of control the abbot and the community expect are total and beyond what most moderns would find comfortable.

For example, owning private property is considered against the rules and subject to excommunication. Monks shouldn't laugh for any reason, but conduct the...more
The first Chapter defines the four different kinds of monks, which are the Cenobites, Anchorites, Sarabeits, and the Landlopers. Benedict then discusses a number of issues like the qualifications of the abbot and the importance of the community. Benedict then gives a list of seventy-four tools for the good and spiritual craft. He deals with several other topics such as silence then pauses to discus humility in chapter seven.
This virtue of humility is separated into twelve steps of (Jacob’s) la...more
As a requirement for my theology course in college, I had to read this. It was an easy/quick read but it offered interesting lessons. I thoroughly enjoyed that Benedict was not concerned about material possessions. He definitely did not believe in private property.

RB 33:6 All things should be common possession of all, as it is written, so that no one presumes to call anything his own.

RB 55:20 Distribution was made to each one as he had need.

In addition, he constantly reminds the monks that they...more
Brian Schiebout
The Rule of Saint Benedict written by Benedict of Nursia and translated by Anthony Meisel and M. L. del Mastro is a set of rules for monastic living written in the six century Ano Dominus. This book helped me see further the strengths and weaknesses of traditional Roman Catholicism as it tried to point out how its members should live. The first main fault I have with the book is its indication that man's work means something for his salvation. This is contrary to what the Bible says in Ephesians...more
Matthew Hunter
My reviews on Goodreads act as a sort of journal or life documentation. In a sense, I'm telling my story. So, I've been remiss in not including one of the most important works in my life - "The Rule of St. Benedict (1980)". As an oblate of St. Brigid of Kildare Monastery in St. Joseph, Minnesota, the "Rule" is an important guide for my life of service in community.

I especially love St. Benedict's teaching on hospitality: "All guests who present themselves are to be welcomed as Christ, for he him...more
This is THE classic work on ordered religious life. It was fascinating to read through the rule that has guided the existence of countless Benedictine monks over the centuries. Modern Christians can learn many things from this now-ancient approach, not least the value of crafting a lifestyle which encourages a balance of work and worship, community and solitude, and a counter-cultural attitude towards autonomy and personal ownership.

That said, I couldn't fully get past the vast cultural disconn...more
Drew Darby
I was surprised at the pragmatism, compassion, and humanity of Benedict's rule, and reading this only heightened my interest in and admiration of a communal life centered on devotion to God.

Several provisions offered tantalizing glimpses into everyday life of the medieval cenobites, and it would be interesting to look into various facets. Such a one was that of younger members (under 15, I think), who are mentioned frequently, but mostly in passing. It's very hard to imagine growing up in a mona...more
Daniel Carr
I read this while on retreat at Saint Vincent Archabbey in Latrobe, PA. As a general rule for community life it remains an incredibly insightful look into not only monastic life but also our relationship with God.

The Rule talks about obedience, humility, appropriate punishment, and prayer with astounding clarity and simplicity. It makes frequent reference to Scripture as its basis but doesn't overbear with theology - it remains highly practical.

Certain sections must be considered within the 6th...more
Eric Marcy
Hard to rate this book, as theologically I disagree with much of it, and also, I am not a monk or a prospective monk, which is the intended historical audience. On the other hand, some good advice on certain spiritual issues here and there, the attitude for prayer and spiritual songs is particularly good. Really to be approached as a historical document, and one can take from it what they will.
This is the foundational text for monasteries and convents in the Benedictine tradition, a tradition that emphasizes hospitality and loving kindness in its monastic approach to a relationship with God. While some details of the rule are dated, like that monks shouldn't sleep with knives on so they don't cut themselves, but the core of the Rule is strong and enduring.
Coleen Dailey
This book is hard to rate as it is not a novel or book of history but a book of rules written by St. Benedict around the 5th or 6th century as to how a monastery should operate and how monks should behave. I come across him often in the European history that I read and was working on something for church for Lent so I decided to read the Rule. Interesting.
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“The first degree of humility is prompt obedience.” 15 likes
“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.” 12 likes
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