Thursday, November 05, 2009


I recently read the Rule of Benedict for my class on Church History. Benedict's Rule is essentially an all-encompassing list of rules for how a monastery should function (i.e. Benedictine monks). There were many "rules" written; one for each faction or group - but the Rule of Benedict is seen as a standard, and is even considered canonical by some branches of the the church.

Anyways, as I was reading it, I found some things interesting and/or funny:

XXII. How the monks are to sleep.- Let them sleep in separate beds, and let the beds be suitable to their manner of life. Let them sleep clothed, girded with belts or cords - but without knives at their sides, lest they injure themselves in sleep.
Yea, so no pajamas, and no knives in bed either! If they hadn't pointed that out, who knows what could have happened?!

XXX. Concerning boys under age, how they shall be corrected.- often as such persons offend, they shall either be punished with extra fasts or, coerced with severe blows, that they may be healed.
Severe blows? In every monastery they had monks who functioned as doctors. I wonder if the referenced to healing them means that they beat the young ones so they could practice healing them???

XLII. On silence after compline.- Monks should practice silence at all times, but especially in the hours of night. Therefore on all days, whether fasting days or otherwise, let them sit together as soon as they have risen from supper (if it be not a fast day) and let one of them read the 'Collations' or 'Lives of the Fathers', or something else which may edify the hearers. But not the Heptateuch (the first 6 books of the Old Testament) or 'Kings'; for it will not profit weak intellects to listen to that part of the Scripture at that hour.
So, after dinner no one is allowed to read or listen to Genesis-Judges or Kings. I had no idea that was a problem!

And my favorite:
LVIII. Concerning the manner of receiving brothers.- When any new comer applies for admission, an easy entrance shall not be granted him...Therefore, if he who comes perseveres in knocking, and is seen after four or five days to endure with patience the insults inflicted upon him, and the difficulty of entrance, and to persist in his demand, entrance shall be allowed him...
4 or 5 days?! Insults inflicted upon him?! I wonder what that was like - Hey, you're an idiot, and you're momma's ugly! Go away or else I will insult you a second time!
Interesting. I wonder if it was anything like this:

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