A Critical Study of the Rule of Benedict - Volume 1


A Critical Study of the Rule of Benedict - Volume 1

Volume 1: Overview
    About the book

    The work of Dom Adalbert de Vogüé, O.S.B. (1924-2011) serves as the basis of all serious study of the Rule of Benedict. In the first volume of this edition, Vogüé uses literary criticism to show how the Rule of Benedict developed. He establishes the dependence of the Rule of Benedict on the Rule of the Master.

    de Vogüé uses literary criticism to show how the Rule of Benedict developed. He discusses the sources of the Rule, including Cassian, Basil, and Augustine. de Vogüé establishes Benedict’s dependence on the Rule of the Master, an earlier monastic rule of unknown authorship. Benedict based many portions of his Rule on the Rule of the Master, but he also modified and deleted many others. A comparison of the two rules illustrates Benedict’s moderation, discretion, and compassion. de Vogüé sees Benedict as a man of prayer and deep faith, concerned for the individual, and engaged in the care of the weak. de Vogüé’s work is not another commentary on the Rule to be read for personal insight and guidance; rather, it is for those interested in the literary sources and manuscript traditions of the Rule.

    Sr. Sarah Schwartzberg, OSB
    Spirit & Life, July 2014

    This translation is certainly a welcome addition to Benedictine scholarship on the Rule of Benedict and the Rule of the Master, by one of its foremost scholars. It represents a careful and meticulous, yet easy to read representation of the original. It is a work that needs to be in every academic library that takes up theological and monastic works and would serve monastic houses where the study of RB and its sources is undertaken beyond a cursory reading of introductions to the Rule.

    Mary Forman, OSB
    School of Theology-Seminary
    St. John's University, Collegeville, MN

    Indeed, a formative and empowering Benedictine Tradition courses its way through the veins of western civilization. And if it is for that reason alone that this prolegomenon to Benedict’s Rule has been written, or, perhaps more exactly, finally has been translated into English, then that is more than sufficient. In this work by the consummate scholar-monk and, later, hermit, Adalbert de Vogüé (1924 – 2011), the Rule of Benedict is placed within a context of its proximate monastic rules, which demonstrates its reliance upon its precursors, and here, specifically, its appropriation of the Rule of the Master. Doing so has enabled de Vogüé to demonstrate the inaccuracies, for example, in the oft-cited exaltation of the Rule of Benedict by Dom Christopher Butler, as ‘a revolution in monasticism’. In fact, the Rule of Benedict emerges as more modest in its uniqueness and innovative content. Through a detailed comparison between this Rule and that of the Master, de Vogüé turns to the issues of date, location, and authorship, of manuscript dependency, and of the literary sources that are shared... Undoubtedly, this book is an essential addition to the library of any teaching program in theology, and a fortiori in the burgeoning research in monastic studies and Christian spirituality within the academy. 

    Frank England
    College of the Transfiguration, University of Cape Town, South Africa

    Colleen Maura McGrane, OSB has skillfully translated the first volume of Adalbert de Vogüé’s classic work La Règle de Saint Benoît. Vogüé writes a clear French sentence when not lost in some intricate argument, and McGrane’s lucid translation makes his scholarly achievement easily accessible. Though parts of this work are mainly for scholars, the first chapter particularly offers much to the general reader, and I recommend the chapter especially to novices who might then be led deeper into this wonderful world of scholarship.

    Harry Hagan, OSB
    Saint Meinrad Archabbey, Saint Meinrad, IN

    It is one of the anomalies of modern monastic studies that the great commentary of Adalbert de Vogüé has never been translated into English (or any other language). Of course, the reason is that this is a monumental task. But it is one that Sr. Colleen McGrane has accomplished with real distinction.

    Fr. Terrence G. Kardong, O.S.B.

    About the author

    Adalbert de Vogüé was born in 1924 and became a monk of Pierre-qui-Vire in 1944. He taught patristics and early monasticism at Sant'Anselmo in Rome. From 1974-2011 he lived as a hermit near his monastery. His six-volume work on the Rule of St. Benedict is considered to be the definitive work on the Rule. He was regarded as the authority on the Rule of Benedict and the Rules of western monasticism. In recent years he published twelve volumes on the history of western monasticism.