… all patristic thought is situated at the intersection of human experience and reflection upon the Bible…

Nothing is more enlightening than this search for the word of God underlying monastic maxims and observances. More than once it reveals the continuous chain that binds our Rule, through the writings of the Fathers, to the teaching of the New and Old Testament. In other cases the influence of Scripture is not exercised through a literary tradition but directly, with Benedict drawing on the treasure of the sacred books quite independently. But no matter how he approaches scripture, Benedict’s interpretation is rarely enclosed within the exact limits of the inspired text. His fidelity is not without liberty, and his dependence goes beyond the limits of the text. While monasticism bases itself upon Scripture, it makes its own building rise to another level. …

Sometimes a vestige of secular wisdom is perceived amid these traces of the Bible, but most often the author’s mind seems possessed only with thoughts coming from Revelation. In order to understand his language, we must search for its references, first of all, if not exclusively, in the concepts and institutions of the Christian faith: Church and sacraments, Scripture and tradition, teaching authority and hierarchy, divine word and grace, virginal consecration and martyrdom. The analogies of this monasticism with those of the pagan Orient, in which there is so much interest these days, should not let the author’s unconditional adherence to the Church of Christ be forgotten.

Adalbert de Vogüé. The Rule of Saint Benedict. A Doctrinal and Spiritual Commentary.Kalamazoo, Michigan; Cistercian Publications, 1983. 2-3.

I’m finally getting down to reading Adelbert de Vogüé, something that I should have done long ago. Aaron Taylor of Logismoi conisders him infallible. I can’t say yet whether he’s infallible, but he is certainly challenging.

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