Monastic History

Audio loading...

Welcome! You can log in or create an account to save favorites, edit keywords, transcripts, and more.



AI Suggested Keywords:


Monastic History Class, Penitentials

AI Summary: 





Let's begin our treatment of Benedict and we'll finish next Wednesday.
Next week we're on Wednesday, our regular schedule, Wednesday and Thursday.
Which means for Monday or for Wednesday, by Wednesday, you want to have read
The Life of Saint Benedict. You probably already did it for today.
You didn't have to, but it has to be done by Wednesday.
And also the next one, the little selections from the Rule of the Master.
After that you only have three more reading assignments for the entire rest of the course.
They just come bunched together, pretty much.
So you want to read again The Life of Benedict and the selections from the Rule of the Master.
Those of you who were in my Rule of Benedict class last year,
when I was discussing the various rules, well you read portions of the Rule of the Master.
No you didn't. I read a couple of things.
So I want you to read those, just to get a good taste of the Rule of the Master.
I went to get a book, one of the new books we got, a book of penitentials.
This has a nice historical criticism and introduction and then the actual texts of Celtic penitential books.
You know, like if you look lustfully at a cow, you will recite the Psalter 85,000 times
with up to your neck in frigid waters, that type of thing.
And it also has Welsh penitentials, Anglo-Saxon, Celtic penitentials that come to us from the continent,
so Switzerland, Gaul, Italy.
So the whole Celtic thing, this really comes through the Celtic line.
Well anyway, while I was there, three books right next to it are on Celtic monasticism.
So I thought I'd just pass them around, you can familiarize with them.
You may want to look at some of the facsimiles here of actual penitential books,
that type of thing, how they were set up, a manuscript.
You know, all of our stuff on Celtic monasticism is not in one place, just like anything else in our library.
It's not all in one place, nor are all the penitentials.
I have four volumes now that I've collected penitentials.
Two volumes are in the original.
Ellen of something, or the youth, maybe?
Biber Penitentialis, and it's in the original.
It's a critical text, and I got it because we're a monastic library, and I can get a paperback.
And then two relatively recent books in English on these penitentials.
Nothing had ever been done before, really, where you had the text, and it was great fun to read this stuff.
So, just look at these things as we're going through the rest of Celtic monasticism.
Somebody mentioned to Arthur afterwards about the readings.
I want to talk today about asceticisms in Celtic monasticism.
Heavy, heavy asceticisms.
If you know anything at all about church history, and you know Jansenism, French Jansenism,
and what it did to the Catholic Church in the early part of this century,
it ain't nothing compared to what Celtic monasticism was doing.
They were very, very strong in those penitential realities in their lives.
The first thing to mention is the penitential itself.
That is, collections of pages after pages after pages for every sin you can think of,
and tremendous things you have to go through to make compensation for those sins.
They celebrated not one Lent, but three of them.
First of all, there was a Lent in winter, and that was called the Lent of Elias.
And then there was the Lent in the spring, and that was called the Lent of Jesus.
And then summer itself had to have a Lent, and that was called the Lent of Moses.
And they were all equally austere and penitential.
We're talking bread and water during these times. Bread and water.
Total abstinence was another big thing when you really wanted to do something extra special for a day or a week.
You just totally abstained from everything.
Speaking more specifically about abstinence from meat, very common.
Long periods of vigils.
Monastic vigils is staying awake throughout the night in prayer in various ways.
And Archimaldolese saints in the lives that I'm reading, they're all very fond of that.
Rinaldo, the one we celebrated today, I'll talk about him at the liturgy, was very big into all-night vigils.
Standing with an orantes, or an auron's position, so like this, or like this, all night.
And sometimes on your knees doing that.
And then reciting the whole Psalter while you're doing it.
Or until you collapse. That's Rinaldo, just completely collapse on the floor and then he'd sleep a little bit.
That was his practice.
Hair shirts, which were until not too long ago, we wore here.
This particular house.
Hair shirts.
Hair shirts.
Go hair.
Or horse hair that were just, it's just like crazy.
I have one myself. Sometimes you're there and you want to see a hair shirt, I'll show it to you.
There are also a lot of the ones we had were like big scapulars that you wore on both sides,
or these big patches with prickly hair, just to keep you awake.
Flogging, big into flogging.
There are going to be a lot of periods in the church history where whipping is real popular.
Yeah, self-flagellation.
Camaldolese are known for that too.
Peter Damian is the champion of self-flagellation.
And his disciple, St. Domenico Dominic Loricato,
whose life I also plan to next year be printed, just for our library,
literally whipped himself to death, more or less.
But also he was an exceptionally holy man, a charitable man.
He was just very big into his own, feeling his own sinfulness and beating himself for it.
Would that be done a lot bigger, or was it just a symbolic event?
I think it depended on your personality.
So, some people would be...
Dominic drank lots of blood.
But I think most people like here, in the early years here, early 60s,
everybody did the, when you prayed the Our Father or whatever, Miserere,
but I think most people, they were just stinging a little bit.
I have one of those too.
If I had it here, I'd show you how it's used.
The Discipline is called.
Take the Discipline.
And don't think of that.
There are still people and orders who still have the Discipline in various fashions.
Don't completely write it off.
Don't completely write off traditions like this, penitential practices.
I know it's the thing to do since Vatican II,
but there are ways to look into these things and to use them moderately,
and yet still within the spirit of Vatican II and renewal,
without getting sick about it.
I mean, sick up here.
I'll be happy to talk with any of you privately about that
if you're really interested in pursuing that at all.
Not the whipping, but I'm going to talk a bit,
how I can see it as possibly being healthy in circumstances.
Standing in ice water that was real big.
Natural springs, but ones deep enough that you could go up to your neck.
And we're talking your skin turning blue.
We're talking Ireland in wintertime.
This is not Esalen, the Esalen baths.
They still do that over there.
Do they?
They probably went, but they wouldn't do it.
Peter Damien, St. Peter Damien, before he became a monk, did this practice.
Evidently, in these medieval centuries, it was a common practice that if you,
if you, how do I put this politely?
If you got turned on, if you were having sexual fantasies or that type of thing,
the obvious thing to do, you have two choices.
You either roll yourself in thorns, or brambles,
or whatever's going to take your mind off the pleasure you're thinking about.
Or you're standing, you know, it's like today.
You say, take a cold shower?
Well, back there, you stood in a cold stream.
And that was the common, those were the common ways to deal with it
and get your mind off of what you wanted to.
Is there no concern that some of these practices, like, you know, guys derived?
Oh, I'm sure.
That's why I said it depends on your personality, you know?
There must have been people who were quite sick also.
There are always sick monks, you know?
And certain personalities would be maybe not even realizing
and could be drawn into something like this and really get sick about it
and really hurt themselves up here as well as their body.
Yeah, I think the confusion is that we are finally in power of discipline
in the last ten years because a couple of the guys were arriving to ask pleasure.
Well, you really get off on just beating yourself bloody.
They kept the hair shirts, but they had to hurt you.
Well, the hair shirt isn't so bad.
It's just uncomfortable.
It's just itchy.
But it's not like a real whip.
The whip I can show you, the flagellum I can show you,
was made by Camaldoli's nuns for the monks.
That's keeping it in the family.
Private confession.
Here we have the beginning of private confession.
For those of you who haven't studied the history of sacraments or liturgy,
we didn't have confessionals and private confessions on a regular basis
for the first, we're talking first five, six centuries.
Penance had a long progress of development,
and it was centuries before you got to the point where you're talking
private confession to an individual.
Penances of that type.
And on a regular basis, the relationship of confessor, confessee.
It really comes through the Celtic monks.
This is where it begins.
And it's going to take a long while before the church as a whole,
until you actually get a sacrament of penance as such,
which is considered a sacrament.
Or until you get the seven sacraments, whatever those are,
at this time, defined.
It's going to take a couple centuries.
Which council was it?
So it's 15-something.
15-something that finally defined seven sacraments, not eight.
Thomas Aquinas wanted an eighth much earlier.
He wanted religious profession to be the eighth sacrament.
Other people had other ideas about sacraments.
I don't think marriage was even a strategy.
Well, you had, I think, like a popular notion of it,
but you don't actually have it doctrinally defined until that council.
It's a long time.
And this is the point where we are now, with the Celtic monks,
of where private confession, as a devotional practice,
in tune with this penitentialism, which is very strong in them,
comes to the fore in the whole penance area.
And it's really thanks to the Celtic monks more than anybody
that we have private confession and not public confession,
as it was in the early church.
A more public sacramental thing going on.
And this was spread through the missionaries, the Celtic missionaries,
the Celtic monk slant missionaries, and there are lots of them.
I'm going to talk about that in just a minute.
But it spread throughout the then Christian world
through these Celtic monks who said, try this as a practice.
This is where spiritual direction starts coming in, too.
Once you get private devotional confession started,
an ongoing spiritual director-directee relationship makes sense for everyone.
For everyone.
You've had it in the past.
You've had Abba, Master, or Master, Disciple,
and all kinds of things in religious groups among them.
But it's through the Celtic monks,
and their later disciples, or those who derive practices from them,
that you really get that taking firm root.
You may want to read sometime.
You want to know about the history of spiritual direction.
Is it Leach's book?
Spiritual Friend.
No, that's Tilden Adderley.
That's Tilden.
A soul something.
Anyway, Kenneth Leach.
He wrote a wonderful history of spiritual direction.
Very good.
Well, we find this all the time with any kind of monk.
But silence is a strong asceticism also.
Praying the psalms, and we're talking whole psalters at a time.
Remember the statics that you found so funny?
Here we are in Ireland, and we have the Aquatici.
And these were people who lived their entire lives on water.
That's an asceticism.
That's an asceticism.
Probably not too long.
On water or in water?
As I understand it, on water.
As in taking it into your body.
Like living in inner tubes.
They didn't live in inner tubes.
Now, I may be wrong on this.
I didn't really look it up.
Whether they would do this for like a year at a time, and they were called Aquatici at that time.
Or whether they just did it until they died.
Or whether the legends have it that way.
I'm not quite...
Somebody could look that up.
Next time we get together, let us know exactly what it means.
Green martyrdom.
We've had red martyrdom.
Wouldn't you know it's green, huh? Celtic.
We've had red martyrdom, and when red martyrdom petered out,
you had the white martyrdom.
Do you remember what white martyrdom is?
It's those Abbas in the desert, and that movement into the desert,
which are the roots of monasticism.
Now we have green martyrdom.
It's not because of the shamrock.
The green is the sign of hope.
It's the color of hope.
It still is, liturgically, the color of hope.
And it's a penitential practice, the green martyrdom.
And the green martyrdom is a word for exile.
And it was a penance imposed on one.
It was the hardest penance imposed on Celtic monks.
And yet, because of that, many of them wanted it.
They wanted the roughest, the hardest.
It was called peregrinatio, so exile, or traveling, traveling.
Some of the more famous names, in fact, at some point or later in their life,
went through peregrinatio, were banished.
That is, they got caught up in some clan war,
in which people were killed or whatever,
or they sinned somehow or got in bad politics with their abbot or whatever.
And the sentence was peregrinatio.
And they were called peregrini, the travelers, the voyagers.
They would put themselves in rounded wattle boats, matted boats,
and into the ocean they went.
And they would go wherever it took them.
And so we had Celtic missionaries, exiled missionaries, going everywhere.
I mean, we had them landing everywhere.
And wherever they landed, they would build a church and start a foundation.
And by the way, oh yeah, we should have turned it off in the beginning.
And by the way, spreading all the Celtic stuff,
and getting that also mainly into Gaul and other present-day countries in Switzerland.
Why was this peregrinatio, which was a penance for the absolute love of God,
why was it the most difficult for the Celts?
They agreed with the clans.
If you remember what we said about clans, it's the clan tie-in.
So this is the worst thing that could happen.
Because they can't come back.
They can't come back.
Was there any sort of reference to the legend of the wandering Jew in relation to this?
I don't know.
It doesn't make any sense.
It's before that.
Before that became popular.
We're still in the theory.
Even in a general, generic sense, when they say the Middle Ages runs from there,
and you get ten centuries there, this is at the very front of it.
What are the principles regarding this peregrinatio?
What goes into forming this whole exile?
What do you have to do?
Now, this is a later development.
The later development of peregrinatio is that it's no longer a penance.
You can choose to do this.
You can choose to jump in the boat and away you go.
So when it gets to that point, what are the principles that get you to the point where
you can go with the blessing of the abbot or the blessing of the Celtic church
just to jump in your boat and away you go and they never see you again?
First of all, before you can do this voluntarily, you have to preach in your own country.
So you have to travel around the island preaching.
Take an example of Christ's public ministry as your model.
If nothing happens and the people laugh at you, or you don't get any comforts,
or just nothing happens, there's no results from that,
you don't have any intuition of making a foundation, starting a community,
nothing happens, then you get in your boat, your model boat, and away you go.
And you depart for a foreign land following the apostles' direction,
the apostles' lives after the Ascension and the experience of Pentecost
and the whole dispersion of the early Christians.
Do you get results where you land? Fine, good, if you do.
If you don't, move on.
If you do, stay there until there's no more results, and then move on.
And do the same thing over and over and over again until you stop getting results,
until it's clear that you're just not going to get any more results.
It's a real activist to tell you that.
What do you do if you get into a pattern where it's just nothing's happening anymore?
Well, there's a rule for that, too.
Then you become a hermit, a Celtic hermit, and you just shut your mouth.
And listen, read the word of God, and listen the rest of your life.
It's pretty straightforward.
And this grew out of a penance practice
and became one of the noblest things for Celtic monks to do, even voluntarily.
So, anything else about Celtic before we move on to Benedict?
We're actually up to Benedict of Nursing.
How much converting was there left to do by that point?
There's still quite a few pagan...
Oh, yeah, yeah.
Even with the strength of Christianity.
Oh, yeah, within the island of Ireland.
Oh, I don't know.
For a while, there's still pagan...
I mean, the Celtic Christian Church is half...
Half pagan, is it?
Not now, but I mean, at this time, even though it's...
The whole island is, they've still got a lot of their Druid stuff.
It's still got, you know, it's very colorful.
Colorful tradition.
And so...
And there were pockets that did not want to play the game anymore.
And, of course, just like anywhere else,
within a generation, you need Reformation.
You need to start all over again.
And it's that idea, too, is that you've got to awaken people's hearts, again, to move further.
I don't know if we're going to need this this time or not.
We may go to it.
Yeah, we probably will.
I need, at this point now, we're back in Italy.
And here we have the father of Western monasticism.
And the founder of the order that we belong to.
I need to give you a sitzenleben.
I need to situate you in Benedict's country in his time, just before Benedict, during, and a little bit after.
Throughout the empire at that time, we're talking Roman Empire, what's left of it.
What it used to be.
Various barbarian tribes have set up their own kingdoms.
All over.
And they're all fighting with one another.
They're all buying the property and making alliances and overpowering one another and starting over.
It's just a mess.
Political mess.
Germany itself is still pagan.
And barbaric.
In Britain, the Angles and the Saxons were fighting against Christianity.
At that time.
The time of Benedict.
Later, of course, Anglo-Saxon Christianity would be a marvelous thing in the church.
They did major research on Anglo-Saxon Christianity years ago.
Gaul was being plundered by tribes.
In the north, the Franks, primarily.
Who are really going to become the leading bloodline in France.
The Franks.
That's where you get France.
And in the south, you have the Burgundians.
The southern part of what is now France.
And, of course, Burgundy comes from the Burgundian tribe.
Spain was being chalked up by the Visigoths.
The Alans.
That's like Alman.
The Suedi and the Vandals.
And they're having a great time.
And most of them were Aryans.
Which brought a whole other problem to the Spanish church at this time.
Which existed.
We'll talk about Spanish monasticism, I think, next.
After this.
I mean, look.
Just quickly.
After Benedictinursia?
And then after Cassiodorus, 6th to 8th century Spanish monasticism.
We just bought a new book, didn't we?
On Spanish monasticism.
Aramidicism in what century?
Maybe 11th century?
10th century Spanish.
In the year 476.
You don't have to write all this down.
I'm just going to give you a picture.
In the year 476, Romulus Augustulus, who was then the leader,
had been deposed.
Had been the Roman emperor.
Had been deposed by, is it a goth?
A goth named Odoacer.
I don't have it up there.
That's easy enough.
Oh, forget it.
Who ruled for some 20 years until Theodoric.
Now this is a more famous one.
Theodoric the Ostrogoth took over.
And he ruled for 30-some years.
And the nice thing about Theodoric taking over
was that under him, the church did all right.
I mean, he wasn't persecuting the church.
There was enough freedom given again
that people could live their lives without fearing constantly
what was going to happen next.
However, even though it was a period of relative calm,
they had been through so much that the empire's morals,
or morals and morale, were at a low ebb.
So you had a lot of depressed people going around,
a lot of, what word do I want?
Disheartened, but disillusioned, where your goals are gone.
And their whole empire, as they knew it for centuries, is gone.
And you just have these hairy tribes coming in and killing.
It's rather upsetting, generation after generation.
We're talking generations of this.
So that it's a daily diet.
In Italy, there remained a Catholic, sort of like a subculture.
And there was a substratum, a subculture of Roman Catholic families,
usually wealthy, who had been Catholic,
who had been in the church then for a long time,
for generations and generations.
And they were being smothered by these Teutonic tribes,
most of them Aryans, who would hunt them out
and imprison them and besiege them.
As I said, under Theodoric, we didn't have much of that going on,
but under the others, yes.
It was not a happy scene.
And it wasn't just like Aryanism against this subculture of rich Catholics,
or wealthy, old family Catholics.
You have all kinds of paganisms, pagan religions also going on.
That's all there.
Some of them from before they came,
and others that the barbarians brought themselves.
So you have all kinds of stuff.
We always did in the Roman Empire.
But it's still that way in Italy at this time.
Down in southern Italy, you still have some remnants of Byzantine influence.
Early, early, early Byzantine influence.
For nearly 20 years, during the mid-500s,
Justinian kept on attempting to conquer southern Italy
and to restore the whole empire and have Constantinople as the head,
if you know world history.
So that's going on just during this time, too.
So during Benedict's lifetime, you have things going on in southern Italy
with Christians attacking from Constantinople, from the Eastern Empire.
Rome, which is the capital of the popes,
and at this time the capital only of the popes,
was really bad off.
And there was a period of particularly bad corruption,
which was the year 498, so Benedict was 18 years old,
until well into the first decade of the 500s,
where morals, and morals, are at a very low ebb.
And the clergy that is there, that is left, is very, very corrupted
and split into factions, and some of them going over to the Arians
because it's convenient,
and others involved in various anarchists at this time.
It's not just the clergy, of course, but it didn't help to have clergy involved in that as well.
This was at the time that Benedict was about 20 years old,
and he was in Rome, and he had been in Rome as a student,
and he said, this is for the birds, and he fled Rome,
but that's the kind of Rome he fled, just an absolute mess,
and a scandal in the church.
In the year 520, Justinian closed all the Arian churches within his realm,
and forbade all Arians to be employed by the state, by the government,
or to be in the army, military.
And Theodoric, who was back in Italy and in charge, kind of gets done with all this,
because even though he was not actively suppressing the church or whatever,
he's Arian, and he is the counterpart to the other emperor.
This is Emperor Theodoric, the barbarian,
but still, he's the replacement for the Roman emperor, and he's in a huff.
And so both Theodoric and Justinian, back in Constantinople,
are trying to dominate the popes in order to, well, it's all politics, it's all politics.
And so you have these popes being juggled.
And literally juggled back and forth.
Pope Vigilius is actually physically dragged off into exile,
off to Constantinople by Justinian's people,
during one of the moments when they were on top.
And he died in Constantinople after ten years of virtual imprisonment in Constantinople.
And in exile, and ill during that time.
And ill-treated as well.
Pope Vigilius was not going to be Justinian's man, and was punished for that.
He didn't play the game the way of Constantinople.
Well, of course, we have to remember,
Constantinople and Rome are not the greatest of friends during these centuries either,
let alone with the Aryans and Barbarians.
Benedict died during the time when the Pope was in exile in Constantinople.
Gregory the Great, whose dates are on the board there,
was a, he is a very important patristic writer.
He was a very serious author who tries to document, as well as he can,
the lives that he writes and the tracks that he writes,
especially when they're about historical events.
So whenever he's writing about events, he tries to, more than other writers it seems,
give the evidence and be more precise regarding information.
He is very cautious when it comes to his lives,
when it comes to writing about miracles and such.
You'll find the miracles in Benedict's writing.
He's already called many out of the legends and whatnot.
Evidently, Gregory the Great tried to do his homework regarding verification.
Research, that's the word, research.
But even so, at times, you know, the life of Benedict,
as you find it in book two of the work by Gregory called The Dialogues,
which you read for this time and will read for next time,
still is more hagiography than history, for the most part, for the most part.
The book two of these dialogues features a man who became a monk,
named Benedict, and he's from Nursia.
And he was noticed, and Gregory is born just about the same time Benedict dies.
Already there's this very strong popular cult in the church,
the local people who considered and continue to consider Benedict a saint,
one of the greatest saints.
And Gregory's purpose in writing about Benedict is not only to edify
through writing a life of a saint,
but also took the opportunity to frame within this life
a certain theology and a certain doctrinal content
for monasticism, as well as for certain moments, theological moments
that come his way as he's writing, like little parenthetical remarks.
So what do we know? We get a basic sketch of Benedict's life
from this book two of The Dialogues.
We know that he was studying in Rome, he got turned off by Rome,
what was going on, and he left Rome in disgust,
and he went to a place called Athila, and then Subiaco,
and he stayed there for three years.
And then we know that there was a group of monks who wanted him to be their abbot
at Nicovaro.
Did you read the live? These are the monks who tried to poison him.
So that's why you see iconographically Benedict with the snake coming out of the cup.
That's why. They tried to poison him because they didn't really want an abbot,
I mean, not like that. They didn't want an abbot who was really going to take charge
and live monasticism.
So anyway, they tried to poison him, and through a miracle,
he didn't take the wine, and he wasn't poisoned.
He said, enough of this, basta, this is not my place.
He went back to Subiaco.
And then he founded 12 other houses.
I mean, his disciples started coming to him.
It's just like the Egyptian desert stories, you know.
Disciples started coming because he already had a reputation,
and he founded 12 daughter houses.
But his houses, he realizes, he never let his houses get larger than one,
at the most, in each house.
He ended up with 12 of them.
We know there were a group of them.
We don't know if there really was 12.
I mean, there's a lot of 12 going on here,
and there might be reasons for that, like apostles.
Who knows?
But anyway, he did make a number of foundations.
And then there was the persecution.
We know that the persecution of Florentius was on there in the story, I think.
We know that this happened during the life,
and we have a couple miracles happening during there regarding bread and prostitutes.
You can read it if you haven't already read it.
Then he moves to Monte Cassino.
Which becomes the famous Benedictine house.
And that was about the year 529.
So Newman had about 13, 14 years left to him in his life.
Also, you know Scholastica, his twin sister, and her.
This is not the only place you'll find this happening,
where there's a twin sister, and she has the condiment nuns next door,
and some of the miracles are the same.
There's real questions whether there really was a Scholastica.
And if there was, whether it was his twin sister.
Anyway, there have been studies on that.
They really can't get to a conclusion one way or the other.
The general feeling is that there probably was.
But that all the details, as we have them, may not have been the same.
There was at least a foundation of women started up to it.
I don't know who's preaching tomorrow, but we have the Feast of Scholastica tomorrow,
so maybe you'll get some input on Halloween time.
So, in the end, after being, he started out as a hermit when he first left Rome.
He started out as a hermit, and then he ended up heading a laura.
And then he tried a form of strict synovatism,
and he ends up with
almost like a whole collection of that stuff.
And his monasticism, you sort of get the feeling that it's synovatic,
definitely synovatic, but that the hermit life is still set as an ideal.
It's something that comes later, after the synovatic,
which follows who?
Then Cassian had strong influence on Benedict.
And it doesn't have much to do with laura.
Romeo will take care of that down the line.
He'll bring that back up.
As will other reformers who have a laura.
A laura is a monastic lifestyle like we have here,
where Ishiman gets in a little building and you come together for various functions.
Or like in the mountainside, if we had cabins on the mountains,
that would be a typical laura.
You have them in Greece, a lot of them in Greece,
in the Garden of Oxford.
At the end of his life, when he died, so in the year 543,
there were only three foundations left.
So already during his lifetime, there have been some rough times.
And the three foundations he had left were
Monte Cassino, Subiaco, and Terracine.
Those three.
So these three I have here.
As functioning monasteries, when he died.
These were big places, right?
These weren't twelve months to...
I don't know.
This was probably bigger.
These could very well have been twelve.
This one could well have been twelve.
I don't know.
That was a different phase, so I don't know if that carried through.
Could be that these were all nicely settled in bigger communities.
What else he left behind was called the Rule for Monasteries.
Which we know, we don't have a date for,
but we know that it was written, because of internal evidence,
we know that it was written after the year 534.
So it's within the last nine years of his life that it actually gets compiled
and into a written form.
Basically, what did Benedict's monasticism offer the area, the local area?
And down through the centuries, typically, what did Benedictine monasticism
offer to the local church and the local people?
Well, for one thing, it provided refuge.
It provided refuge where people of any class,
from barbarian slave to Roman nobleman,
could live together.
Like well.
We look like well.
Common goods.
Very good.
So it's common pot.
It's communism.
It's economic communism.
The common pot.
Our poverty, monastic poverty, has never been a poverty of destitution.
Never has been.
Never was meant to be.
You had many, many monks living incredibly austere, destitute lives.
But the ideal of monastic poverty has just been what there is,
everybody equally shares.
Nobody gets bigger parts than others.
It's this equality idea.
So the common real and the common wealth is the common money pot.
And it belongs to the whole community.
And offers a refuge which allows this to happen,
where everybody can be equal and be able to have the support of one another
to seek God in an empire that's falling apart,
in a country where people are banding, bands, attacking one another,
and ravaging the countryside, and where an army may float through
and just cut down every little grain there is,
putting whatever local people are there to starvation and famine.
It's a horrible situation.
What else did he offer?
Well, he built a house of God that offered not just worship,
a place of worship, but also a house of God,
as you say, not just church, but monastery,
as a place which will foster and preserve and care for civilization,
as opposed to what's going on outside the walls in those days of building.
So this is conscious.
Down the centuries, it's going to happen whether it's conscious or unconscious.
Monastics just did that sort of thing.
Nobody attacked his groups, huh?
His groups.
Oh, no, there's... you haven't read the dialogues yet?
Well, I read a couple of them.
It seems to me there's one... of course, I've read other things
where people are hypothesizing one or two.
He has to deal with an attack.
In the dialogues, one attack, if I'm not mistaken.
One of his foundations does.
Not necessarily that he was there, but his disciples were there.
I wouldn't be surprised if the reason we're down to three is death,
and some of that's due to this sort of activity.
I'm not sure.
My memory is not serving me well.
Benedict's foundation certainly brought some stability to that local area.
And often, they farmed together with the local people,
and they shared, or they tenanted.
Tenant farmers type thing.
And so it offered a living for a lot of poor people.
In the area.
This here, I didn't mark down here where I got this from,
which monastic scholar I got this from.
It doesn't matter all that much.
It's not all that rich, maybe.
It makes perfect sense, actually.
These are the two strains whereby flow into the rule of Benedict what he means by abbot.
Because abbot means different things throughout our history.
As you know, throughout our history of monasticism.
And whoever this person was said that if you take on the one hand the communities,
and I'm not talking isolated statics and all that.
I'm talking about the communities, groups of monks and nuns.
In Persia, there's a few in Persia.
Syria, I think Palestine should be in here too.
Upper Egypt communities, so the bigger communities in Upper Egypt.
And that flows into what becomes Pacomian monasticism, if you remember.
And that flows into, that affects what Basil decides to do.
And Augustine is dependent on Basil.
You have all of this flowing through that line into the rule of Benedict.
On the other hand, and this is really strongly cenobitic if you look at the line, huh?
Here you have the Acheron.
And you've got all these lauras and semi-hermits or hermits of Lower Egypt.
And the whole desert tradition with the sayings of the Desert Fathers.
All that Abba Baphnotius said.
That type of stuff.
That whole Abba tradition.
Affecting strongly John Cashion.
Who visits there, lives there for years if you remember.
Lives there for years and then begins monasticism up in Gaul.
Carrying this tradition.
And strongly, strongly affects Benedict, Cashion.
Also coming through just before the rule of Benedict, we have this shady, not shady.
We have this vague rule called the Rule of the Master.
We don't have all the information on the Rule of the Master.
We know it was being used and that it's incredibly fierce and opinionated and rough.
But we have sections in the Rule of Benedict that are just copied of the Rule of the Master.
And this comes through this line because the Rule of the Master was dependent upon John Cashion.
Also what happens in Loran, and of course the Celtic missionaries and whatnot
who are going to Loran for their education.
Now, what are we talking about?
You have that line here.
You have, what we're talking about is what do they mean by Abbot?
So you have what these people mean by Abbot.
And then what these people mean by Abbot.
And you have them both flowing into the Rule of Benedict.
And you find he took some from this tradition and some from that tradition
to say what kind of man the Abbot should be.
What should the Abbot do?
Who should he have around him?
All that stuff is coming from both these two main traditions.
So Benedict is a real distillation and a compiler.
And there are also parts of the Rule of Benedict.
We'll talk about this in the course when we do a big stir probably.
How this all goes along, there's an incredible number of rules.
And I will list for you, not today, but on Wednesday when we get together again,
a number of these rules that they all are going on, monastic rules going on at the time of Benedict,
either before or during.
We're talking a couple dozen at least.
And these things are sent around.
These things are shared. They're known.
And a lot of them are directly coded and used by Benedict in his rule.
And as far as Abbot is concerned in the Rule of Benedict,
he is getting from both sides of the monastic tradition.
Now realize that these are not channels in concrete.
I mean they're constantly overlapping.
But if you look generally speaking, what are the characteristics of monasticism,
who influenced whom strongly, this is what you get.
We're leaving out people too.
And in talking about Abbot, this is what you get.
And it's a nice little schema to remember all of that.
And essentially there was a compiler in the distillate.
And some of these are anti-anchoritic, really, huh?
Who's Eeyore, you heard of?
Oh yeah.
Um, Poconius was totally semitic, but he wasn't anti-anchoritic at all.
Augustinian, although he doesn't come up all that much in Augustan.
He certainly comes up negative in Gaza.
What were you saying?
I think John Cashin borrowed from the Mozart Manifesto.
That doesn't mean a thing.
He modifies it.
He modifies it to appear in his own sort of opinion.
His own bias.
See, in his conferences, if you look at his conferences,
you've got his conferences with Senebites and conferences with Anchorites.
And he comes across with stuff regarding anchoritism that isn't from either of them.
It's his own thing.
That was the big breakthrough in scholarship, Cashin scholarship,
regarding that whole business.
They decided it's his own.
It's got to be his own.
Maybe that's what you meant.
I know it was a natural system, but that was a natural process,
which is eventually what Benedict picks up,
to move from Senebitic life to Aramaic.
Yeah, but you really hear it first with Cashin.
And they said, where is he getting this?
And the conclusion is that he made it up.
Because the two sides said, this is what's natural and this is what's natural.
No one ever said it was natural to move from one to the other.
Right, right.
I think that's probably what you mean.
Oh, you said, he quotes seven Senebitic Abbas
who say that Senebitic and Aramaic are very different lives,
not two stages, but then he doesn't say that himself.
Even though they say it.
And he gets sort of a middle ground, not a middle ground, a different,
he goes off on a tangent, falling from that.
They all say it's two different kinds of things.
Okay, so next week we'll meet Wednesday and Thursday,
and we'll start with number 10B,
if you're looking at the curses,
rules for monasteries.