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[Ms P, fol. 142rPaulus Diaconus
Ps.-Basil: Ms K1, fol. 153v; Ms E1, fol. 161r; Ms E2, fol. 243r]

Ch. 57

Translated by: Alexander O'Hara

Sciendum est enim, quia nunc novo ordine adgreditur S. Benedictus, cum dixit de mensa abbatis [Regula Benedicti, c. 56] et post subjunxit de artificibus monasterii. Sed hoc sciendum est, quia quamquam novo ordine dixerit de artificibus monasterii, tamen rectum ordinem tenuit, cum subjunxit de disciplina suscipiendorum fratrum. [Regula Benedicti, c. 58] Quasi quis interrogasset S. Benedictum dicens: 'Quomodo possunt esse docti artifices, sicut tu jubes, et qualiter docendi sunt, ut sint tales, sicut tu jubes?' Ille vero quasi respondens subjunxit de ordine suscipiendorum fratrum, quasi diceret: ut tales possint esse, ita debent ordinate suscipi, sicuti inferius dicemus.

Let it be understood indeed because S. Benedict now approaches a new order as he said concerning the table of the abbot [cf. Regula Benedicti, c. 56] and after added concerning the craftsmen of the monastery. But this is to be understood because although he said new order concerning the craftsmen of the monastery, nevertheless he held correct order as he added concerning the discipline of receiving brothers. [cf Regula Benedicti, c. 58] Just as if whoever asked S. Benedict saying: ‘How can craftsmen be trained, as you command, and how should they be trained, as they ought to be, like you command? He though as if responding added concerning the order of receiving brothers, would reply as it were: as such they can be, so they must be undertaken in order, as we have said below.

Nunc vero prius, sicut coepimus, de ipsis artificibus disponamus. Ait enim: 1Artifices, si sunt in monasterio, cum omni humilitate faciant ipsas artes, si permiserit abbas. 2Quod si aliquis ex eis extollitur pro scientia artis suae, eo quod videatur aliquid conferre monasterio, 3hic talis evellatur1 ab ipsa arte et denuo per eam non transeat, nisi forte humiliato ei iterum abbas jubeat.v

But before now, as we began let us prescribe concerning these craftsmen. For Benedict said: 1If there are craftsmen in the monastery, they are to practice their crafts in all humility if the abbot permits it. 2But if any one of them becomes conceited because of his knowledge of his craft, determining that he thus confers something on the monastery, 3he is to be taken from that craft and not permitted to exercise it again, unless having humbled himself, the abbot orders him back to it.

Attendendum est, quia non dixit solummodo cum humilitate, sed cum omni humilitate, h. e. tam mentis quam corporis. Et non dixit solummodo omni humilitate, sed subjunxit si permiserit abbas, ac si diceret: tunc faciat illas artes cum omni humilitate, si abbas jusserit.

Remark how Benedict does not just say with humility, but with all humility, that is with both mind and body. And he does not just say with all humility, but adds if the abbot should permit, as if he would say: then let him practice these crafts with all humility, if the abbot decrees.

Erigatur, i. e. evellatur.

He is to be taken, i.e. removed.

Et hoc notandum est, quia iste, qui pro scientia sua extollitur, non alteri subjacere debet poenitentiae, nisi ut evellatur ab ipsa arte, i. e. ut non exerceat illam. Hoc vero quod dicit nisi forte humiliato ei iterum abbas jubeat.

And this should be noted, because this (command), who becomes conceited because of his knowledge of his craft, he should not be subject to another punishment, except that he be removed from that craft, i.e. so that he may not practice it.

Attendendum est, quia dicit, ut non debeat pro extollentia artis suae iterum exercere, hoc est, quod [page 530] jubet: per illam non transeat, nisi ille humiliatus fuerit, ut abbas jusserit.

This indeed is to be noted what Benedict says unless having humbled himself, the abbot orders him back to it because he says so that he should not on account of conceit for his craft practice it again, that is, what [page 530] he commands: he may not exercise it again, unless he having humbled himself as the abbot decreed.

Et hoc intuendum est, quia duo dicit, unum : si non humiliaverit, abbas non habet potestatem dandi exercendi illas artes; alterum: etiamsi humiliatus fuerit, non debeat exercere, nisi abbas jubeat.

And this is to be understood because he says two things, the first: if he should not humble himself, the abbot does not have the power to give the exercise of these crafts; second: even if he humbled himself, he ought not to practices (his craft) unless the abbot commands (it) .

Sequitur: 4Si quid vero ex operibus artificum venumdandum est, videant ipsi, per quorum manus transienda sunt, ne aliquam fraudem praesumant inferre. 5Memorentur semper Ananiae et Saphirae, ne forte mortem, quam illi in corpore pertulerunt, 6hanc isti vel omnes, qui aliquam fraudem de rebus monasterii fecerint, in anima patiantur. 7In ipsis autem pretiis non surripiat avaritiae malum, 8sed semper aliquantulum vilius detur, quam ab aliis saecularibus, ut in omnibus glorificetur Deus. Transienda sunt, i. e. transierunt.

It follows: 4If any products of the craftsmen are to be sold, care should be taken that those by whose hands the transaction takes place do not presume to practice any fraud. 5They are always to remember Ananias and Sapphira [cf. Act 5:1-11], lest the death which those two incurred in the body be suffered in their souls 6and those of all who practice any fraud in business of the monastery. 7In establishing their prices the evil of avarice must not creep in: 8instead, the goods should always be sold for a little less than those living in the world are able to charge, so that in everything God may be glorified. [cf. 1 Pt 4:11] Transaction takes place, i.e. transacted.

Sciendum enim est, quia in eo quod dicit S. Benedictus si quid venumdandum est, ostendit, non esse periculum, si monachi suas res vendunt, ita tamen; ut vilius vendant, sicut ipse dicit S. Benedictus, et non ut lucrum faciant, sicut solent facere homines, qui minus comparant et plus vendunt causa amplificandi. Nam et emere possunt, sicut apostoli leguntur emisse cibos, sed non ut augeatur pecunia, sed ut suppleatur necessitas.

Let it be understood because in that which S. Benedict says if anything is to be sold he shows that it need not be a danger if monks sell their merchandise, yet nevertheless; they should sell cheaper, as S. Benedict says, so that they may not become avaricious, as is usually the case with people, who buy low and sell at a much greater profit. For they can buy, as the apostles bought food, so as not to make more money, but so that the necessities of life might be supplied.

Quod autem dicit aliquantulum vilius, ita agendum est, i. e. si alii volunt dare pro illa re viginti denarios, tu debes dare uno minus, i. e. pro decem et novem. Et quamvis non specialiter dicat regula, tamen subintelligitur, ut sic, cum emis aliquam rem, pro qua alii volunt dare XX denarios, tu debes dare XXI.

Because he said for a little less so it is to be dealt with in such a way, i.e. if others want to offer 20 denarii for this thing, you should offer it for one less, i.e. for 19. And although the rule is not more specific (about this), nevertheless it should be understood that when you buy something for which other wish to give 20 denarii you should give 21.

Artifex est: grammaticus, cantor. Tamen in hoc loco non dicit de grammatico, sed de illo artifice, cujus artem vendere potes, veluti sunt fabri, caligarii, et liganarii etc. Artifex, sicut Isidorus dicit, generaliter vocatur, quod artem faciat, sicuti aurifex, qui aurum. 'Faxo' enim antiqui pro facio dicebant. [Isidore of Seville, Etymologiae XIX, c. 1.2]

A craftsman is: a grammarian, a cantor. Yet in this place he does not say of grammar, but of the craftsman whose craft you can sell, as are workmen, bootmakers, and carpenters etc. A craftsman, as Isidore says, is one who is generally called that makes a craft, as a goldsmith who works gold. 'Faxo' was what the ancients used to say for facio [Isidore of Seville, Etymologiae XIX, c.1.2].

De eo quod alii sunt negotiatores illi, qui ipsam eandem rem comparando et emendo lucrum [page 531] faciant, et amplificant pecuniam discurrendo per diversas nundinas et diversas regiones; et alii iterum sunt, qui rem artificiose operatam manibus suis causa suae necessitatis vendunt2de quibus Joannes, aureum os, de verbis Domini, quibus dicitur: et ejiciebat vendentes et ementes in templo [Mt 21:12], docet hoc modo dicens; ait enim: Et ejiciebat vendentes et ementes [omitted in ed. Mittermüller, inserted from PG 56: significans quia homo Mercator vix aut numquam potest Deo placere. Et ideo nullus Christianus debet esse Mercator; aut si voluerit esse, projiciatur de Ecclesia Dei, dicente propheta: Quia non cognovi negotiationes, introibo in potentias Domini. [Ps 70:15]

And concerning those others who are merchants, who buy these same things and make a profit by acquiring them, [page 531] and increase money by dashing around through diverse market days and through diverse regions; and others again who sell handmade crafts to meet their needs – about whom John, the golden-mouthed, said concerning the words of the Lord: and He cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, [Mt 21:12] he teaches in this way saying; for he said: And he threw out the merchants and the buyers,' by which he indicated that a merchant can hardly or never be agreeable to God. Therefore no Christian ought to be a merchant; and if he wants to be one, he should be thrown out of the Church of God, as the prophet says: 'Since I do not know business, I will enter into the power of the Lord.' [Ps 70:10].

Quemadmodum entim qui ambulat inter duos inimicos, ambobus placere volens, et se commendare, sine maliloquio non potest esse: necesse est enim ut et isti male loquatur de illo, et illi male loquatur de isto: sic qui emit et vendit, sine mendacio et perjurio esse non potest; necesse est enim ut negotiatoribus hic juret, quia non tantum valet res, quantum comparat eam, et ille juret quia plus valet res, quam vendit.

For someone who is a middleman between two adversaries, and tries to please both and insinuate himself to both, cannot do this without vilification: he cannot help but vilify one of them in the presence of the other, and the other one in the presence of the first one. In the same way, a man who buys and sells cannot be free from lies and perjuries: for one man has to swear to the merchant that what he buys is worth less than its purchase price and another one has to swear to him that what he sells is worth more than its purchase price.

Sed est nec stabilis substantia eorum. Talium enim substantia aut ipsis viventibus peritura est, aut a malis heredibus dissipanda est, aut ad extraneos et inimicos hereditas ipsorum ventura est.

Also, their property is not permanent. For the property of a merchant either will perish while they are still alive or be dissipated by their worthless heirs, or their legacy will fall into the hands of strangers and enemies.

Non potest ad bonum proficere quod congregatur de malo. Quemadmodum si triticum, aut aliquam bladi specimen cernas in cribro, dum huc illucque jactas eum, grana omnia paulatim deorsum cadunt, et in fine in cribro nihil remanet, nisi stercus solum; sic et substantia negotiatorum, dum vadunt, et veniunt inter emptionem et venditionem, minuitur, et in novissimo nihil illis remanet, nisi solum peccatum. Ergo ostende nobis quis est negotiator? Omnes enim hominest videntur negotiatores. Ecce qui arat, comparat boves, ut spicas vendat; et qui operatur lignum, comparat lignum, ut untensilia vendat; et linteonarius comparat linteamina, ut vendat et ostendat; et foenerator mutuat pecuniam, ut tollat usuras.

That which is accumulated from evil cannot bring a profit of good. Imagine wheat or some sort of grain in a sieve: if you shake it, gradually all the grains will fall through it, and in the end there will be nothing left in the sieve but the chaff. In the same way the substance of merchants diminishes while they go and buy and sell, and in the end there is nothing left for them but sin. So show us: who is a merchant? For it seems that all humans are merchants. He who tills the soil buys oxen in order to sell grain; he who works with wood buys wood in order to sell tools, the linen-merchant buys linen cloth in order to sell it and show it off, and the usurer lends money in order to earn the interest.

Et quomodo antiqui Judaei et apostolici artificia laudaverunt? Quia magis sunt sine peccato. Sicut et Paulus fuit sutor tabernaculorum, et ipse mandat, dicens: Curent et nostri bonis operibus praeesse. [Tit 3:14] Et apostolici quidam, sicut legimus, piscatores fuerunt.

Why did the ancient Jews praise the crafts? Because they are less sinful. Paul, too, was a tentmaker; and he instructs us: 'Let our people also learn to maintain good works' [Tit 3:14]. And some of the apostles, we read, were fishermen.

Ego ostendam qui non est negotiator, ut qui secundum regulam istam non fuerint intelligas omnes negotiatores esse: id est, quicumque rem comparat, non ut ipsam rem integram et immutatam vendat, sed ut opus faciat ex ea, ille non est negotiator: quia qui materiam operandi sibi comparat, unde faciat opus, ille non rem ipsam vendit, sed magis artificium suum, id est, qui rem vendit, cujus aestimatio non est in ea ipsa re, sed in artificio operis, illa non est mercatio: ut puta, faber comparat ferrum, et facit ferramentum; sed ferramentum illud non tantum habet ferri quantum valet, sed secundum opus ferramenti appretiatur. Qui autem comparat rem, ut illam ipsam integram et immutatam dando lucretur, ille est mercator, qui de templo Dei ejicitur.

I’ll tell you who is not a merchant, so that you may understand that all those who do not live according to this rule are merchants. Whoever buys something not in order to sell it whole and unchanged, but in order to make something out of it is not a merchant; for if someone buys the raw material for his craft in order to produce some good, he does not sell the good itself but his craft. So if someone sells a good whose value lies not in the object but in the workmanship, this is not trade. Say a blacksmith buys iron and produces an iron tool: the tool does not contain its value in weight of iron, but rather, the object is appraised according to its workmanship. But if someone buys something in order to sell it off whole and unchanged, and make a profit out of it, then he is a merchant who is thrown out of the temple of God.

Unde super omnes mercatores plus maledictus est usurarius. Si enim qui rem comparatam vendit, mercator est et maledictus: quanto magis maledictus erit, qui non comparatam pecuniam, sed a Deo donatam sibi dat ad usuram? Secundo, quia mercator dat rem, ut jam illam non repetat: iste autem postquam foeneraverit, et sua iterum repetit, et aliena tollit cum suis.

This is why the most vilified among all the merchants is the usurer. For if someone sells a good he himself has purchased, he is a merchant, and is damned: how much more will someone be damned who lends money for interest that he has not bought but been given by God? Also, a merchant gives something away and will never request it back; but the moneylender, having given a loan, not only requests his own money back, but also takes other people’s money along with his own.

Adhoc dicit aliquis: qui agrum locat, ut grariam recipiat, aut domum, ut pensiones recipiat, num est similis ei qui pecuniam dat ad usuram. Absit. Primum quidem, quoniam pecunia non ad aliquem usum disposita est, sicut ager, vel domus, sed ad pretium emendi vel vendendi. Secundo, quoniam qui agrum habet, arat eum, et fructum accipit ex eo: similiter et qui domum habet, usum mansionis capit ex ea. Ideo qui lucat agrum, vel domum, usum dare videtur, et pecuniam accipere, et quodammodo quasi commutare videtur lucrum cum lucro: pecuniam autem si repositam in sacculo teneas aupd te, nullum usum capis ex ea. Tertio, ager vel domus utendo veterascit; pecunia autem cum fuerit mutuata] nec minuitur, nec veterascit. [Ps-John Chrysostom, Opus imperfectum: Homiliae in Mattheum, no. 38, PG 56, col. 839-840]

Now someone may say: 'if someone leases a plot of land or lets a house in order to collect rent, is this person similar to a moneylender?' By no means! First, the money is not intended for some other purpose, like a land or a house, but solely for buying and selling. Second, someone who has a plot of land farms it and harvests a crop from it; similarly, someone who has a house derives the use of living space from it. So it seems that someone who leases a plot of land or a house bestows the use of something and receives money: in a way, he exchanges profit for profit. But if you keep the money in your own purse, you do not derive any use from it. Third, a plot of land or a house is worn out by the use; but if you lend money, it is neither diminished nor worn out. [Ps-John Chrysostom, Opus imperfectum: Homiliae in Mattheum, no. 38, translated by Hildegund Müller]

Quod vero dicit: ne forte mortem, quam Ananias et Saphira in corpore pertulerunt, hanc isti vel omnes, qui aliquam fraudem de rebus monasterii fecerint, in anima patiantur et reliq., verum est, quod Ananias et Saphira in corpore pertulerunt mortem, tamen utrum in anima pertulissent, annon, certus non sum. Et hoc notandum est, quia hoc, quod dicit, S. Benedictus: ut mortem, quam Ananias et Saphira pertulerunt - non fuit intentio S. Benedicti, ut cum dicit mortem corporis, definiret, mortem illius Ananiae, utrum in anima fuisset mortuus, annon; sed quia intentio illius fuit, ut, diceret, quam poenam debuissent illi habere, qui fraudem in monasterio fecerint, ideo mortem illorum in corpore dixit, quatenus visa poena, quam illi in anima, perferre deberent, constringatur illorum mens, qui aliquam fraudem de rebus monasterii facere conantur. Nam de morte animae Ananiae et Saphirae nihil dicit, utrum fuissent ita in anima mortui, sicut in corpore.

Thus he says: They are always to remember Ananias and Sapphira, lest the death which those two incurred in the body be suffered in their souls and the rest, which is true, that Annias and Sapphira endured death in the body, as well as they suffered in soul, of that can we not be sure? And note this, because this is what S. Benedict says: that the death which Ananias and Sapphira suffered – was not the intention of S. Benedict, as when he says bodily death he defines the death of that Ananias, whether he had died in soul or not (anon); but because his intention as he said that punishment which they should have who committed fraud in the monastery, that is he said the death of them in body, since the punishment inflicted than those in soul they should bear constrained their mind who try to carry out any fraud in the monastery. For Benedict does not say anything about the death of the souls of Ananias and Sapphira whether they had died in soul as in body.

Quod vero dicit ne forte mortem et reliq. non dicit istud forte dubitando, ut de morte Ananiae et Saphirae dubitaret, sed ne contingat illis facientibus fraudem in monasterio illa mors in anima, quam Ananias et Saphira in corpore pertulerunt.

When he says that perhaps death and the rest, he does not says this perhaps doubting, as though he doubts about the death of Ananias and Sapphira, lest it happen to those who practice fraud in the monastery that death in soul which inflicted Ananias and Sapphira in body.

Mors est dicta, sicut dicit Isidorus, quod sit amara, [Isidore of Seville, Etymologiae XI, c. 2.31] vel a morsu primi hominis appellata; nam cum primus homo, humani generis parens, lignum vetitum per inobedientiam contigit, per morsum mortem incurrit, unde et a morsu ‘mors’ ipsa utique appellatur.

Death is called, according to Isidore, that which is bitter [Isidore of Seville, Etymologiae XI, c. 2.31] or was call a morsu by the first man; for when the first man, the parent of the human race, touched the forbidden tree through disobedience, he ran towards death a little, from which ‘death’ is called from a morsu.

1. erigatur. (Mittermüller).
2. Anacoluthon. (Mittermüller).

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