Well, perhaps not exactly trivia (at least not the first) but a couple of points that I’ve picked up about Father de Vogüé’s approach to the Rule elsewhere:

There has been a vigorous controversy between the Benedictine scholars Jean Griboment and Adalbert de Vogüé on Benedict’s attitude to the solitary life, and, indeed on the whole question of Basil’s influence on Benedict. De Vogüé lists the traditional witnesses to this movement from the cenobitic to the eremitic life and implies that Basil was out of step with Tradition. Gribomont, on the other hand, says that the Rule of Saint Benedict has a very strong bias to the cenobitic life, and that de Vogüé’s emphasis on Cassian in interpreting Benedict effectively eliminates Pachomius, Basil, Augustine and Eugippius from Benedict’s ‘Great Tradition’. The two also come to blows over the weight to be given to Benedict’s words ‘our holy father Basil’ in the final chapter of his Rule, with de Vogüé tending to minimise their importance. (145)

  • While glancing through an old copy of the bulletin of the Alliance for International Monasticism (it’s amazing what one comes across when moving house), I found a book list for monastic formators compiled by an abbot of the Congregation of St. Ottilien. While Father de Vogüé’s books were described as useful for providing additional background for formators, they were “not recommended for general reading by novices, especially since the author’s concept of Benedictine monasticism is quite different from the tradition of the Congregation of St. Ottilien.” (A.I.M. bulletin, 2005, No. 83, p. 72) Given that the St. Ottilien Benedictines are missionary monks, I can just imagine that they wouldn’t want their novices getting eremitical aspirations! However, the author does mention another much simpler book by de Vogüé that I wasn’t aware of: Reading Saint Benedict: Reflection on the Rule (Cistercian Publications, 1994). Does anyone know it?