• Header 1
  • Header 2
  • Header 3
The
Hildemar
Project

Cap. I
INCIPIT REGULA S. BENEDICTI
DE QUATUOR GENERIBUS VEL VITA MONACHORUM

[Ms P, fol. 19rPaulus Diaconus
Ps.-Basil: Ms K2, fol. 52r; Ms E1, fol. 25r; Ms E2, fol. 32r]


Ch. 1
HERE BEGINS THE RULE OF SAINT BENEDICT
THE FOUR KINDS OF MONKS AND THEIR LIVES


Translated by: Albrecht Diem

1Monachorum quatuor esse genera manifestum est. 2Primum est1 coenobitarum, hoc est monasteriale, militans sub regula vel abbate. 3Deinde secundum genus est anachoretarum, id est eremitarum, horum, qui non conversionis fervore novitio sed monasterii probatione diuturna 4didicerunt2 contra diabolum multorum solatio jam docti pugnare.

1It is clear that there are four kinds of monks. 2First are the cenobites, those in a monastery serving (like soldiers) under a rule and/or an abbot. 3The second kind are anchorites, that is, hermits, those no longer fresh in the fervor of monastic life but long tested in a monastery 4who have learned, by now schooled with the help of many, to fight against the devil.

Apte enim et congrue fuit, ut descripturus vitam et normam monachorum prius diceret de generibus vel ordinibus eorum, quatenus per genus cognosceretur auctor uniuscujusque vitae, quia eo verius et securius unaquaeque ars vel disciplina tenetur, quo auctor ejus ad probabilem fidem venisse comprobatur, veluti quis cum aliquod aedificium aedificare voluerit, primitus fundamentum ponit. Ita B. Benedictus in hoc loco facere cognoscitur, cum prius de generibus monachorum dixit.

It was appropriate and suitable that Benedict first spoke about the kinds and ranks of monks in order to describe their life and their standard, and to what extent one can recognize the founder of each way of life, because one performs a skill or a discipline more truthfully and steadfastly if its founder is known to have come to a credible faith, just as when someone wanted to build some kind of building he first places the foundation. We can see that Benedict did this here, when he first spoke about the kinds of monks.

Coenobitae enim intelliguntur communiter viventes. Coenobitae enim sumpserunt initium a primitiva ecclesia Jerosolymis constituta. Narrat enim historia actuum apostolorum, quia uno die credebant tria millia et alio die quinque millia, et quotquot erant possessores agrorum, vendebant praedia sua et pretia eorum ponebant ante pedes apostolorum, et apostoli tribuebant unicuique, ut opus erat. [cf. Act 4:1-35] Et sic vivebat tunc omnis illa ecclesia, sicut perpauci nunc inveniuntur vivere in monasteriis. Sed post excessum, id est obitum apostolorum coepit illa ecclesia tepescere, et non solum praelati, verum etiam subjecti, eo quod apostoli concesserant gentibus, retinendo substantiam suam ad fidem venire. Nam quod apostoli concesserant gentibus pro infirmitate, illa ecclesia putabat etiam sibi licitum esse. Et unde hoc probatur, quia apostoli concesserant gentibus, habere substantiam suam et sic venire ad fidem.

We understand as cenobites those who live in communities. Cenobites have their origins in the primitive Church founded in Jerusalem. The story of the Acts of the Apostles tells that on one day three thousand people came to faith and on another day five thousand. Those who owned fields sold their estates and placed the money at the feet of the Apostles, who gave everyone what was needed. [cf. Act 4:1-35] And the entire Church lived at that time in the same way as today only a few live in monasteries. But after the passing, that is, the death of the Apostles this Church began to grow lukewarm, not only the leaders but also the followers, because the Apostles had allowed the gentiles to come to faith while keeping their possessions. Because what the Apostles had allowed to the gentiles due to their weakness, this Church now considered legitimate for itself as well. It became thus commendable, because the Apostles had given the gentiles permission to keep their possessions and to come to faith in such a way.

Legitur in Actibus apostolorum: Cum praedicarent apostoli Antiochiae, surrexerunt falsi apostoli adversum veraces apostolos dicentes: 'Quare non circumciduntur gentes, cum ad fidem [page 74] veniunt?' [cf. Act 15-16] Illi vero miserunt Paulum et Barnabam Jerosolymam ad apostolos super hac quaestione. Similiter illi falsi apostoli miserunt suos missos ad apostolos, qui Jerosolymis erant. Qui Apostoli convenerunt in unum, et ait Petrus ad falsos apostolos: 'Cur imponitis hoc jugum super nos, quod non potuerunt portare patres nostri neque nos? Sed per gratiam Domini Jesu Christi credimus salvari, quemadmodum et illi'. [cf. Act 15:10-11] Ait autem gentibus: 'Nos enim non imponimus super vos nisi tantum, ut abstineatis vos a fornicatione, a sanguine et suffocato'. [cf. Act 15:20].

We can read in the Acts of the Apostles that when the Apostles preached in Antioch, false apostles stood up against the true Apostles and said: 'Why do the gentiles not get circumcised when they come to faith?' [cf. Act 15-16] [page 74] In fact they sent Paul and Barnabas with this question to the Apostles in Jerusalem. Likewise those false apostles sent their envoys to the Apostles who were in Jerusalem. When they came together, Peter spoke to the false apostles: 'Why do you impose this yoke upon us, which neither our fathers nor we could bear? But we believe ourselves saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, just as they do.' [cf. Act 15:10-11] And he spoke to the gentiles: 'We do not impose anything upon you except that you abstain from fornication, from bloodshed and from murder.' [cf. Act 15:20]

In hoc enim loco claret, quia cum substantia sua venerunt gentes ad fidem. Et quamquam tepuerat ecclesia, sicut diximus, tamen erant in illa ecclesia, in quibus erat fervor apostolicus, meminentes ordinis et vitae, qualiter apostoli vixerant. Qui videntes hunc teporem, exibant a consortio illorum et ibant in suburbana et secretiora loca, et prout recordbantur, ea, quae apostoli docuerant, exercebant, et ita ortum est genus coenobitarum, et permansit hoc genus solum multis annis, et adeo permansit multis annis, ut solum usque ad tempus Pauli et Antonii duraret. [cf. Cassian, Collationes XVIII, c. 5, SC 64, pp. 14-16]

This passage makes clear that the gentiles came to faith with their possessions. And, as we have said, although the Church had grown lukewarm, there were still in this Church people who retained the zeal of the Apostles and remembered the rules and the lives that the Apostles had lived.1 When they saw this tepidity, they left their company and went to the outskirts and secret places, and they performed from memory what the Apostles had taught. And this is the origin of the cenobites. For many years they were the only kind of monks – for a period that lasted until the time of Paul and Antony. [cf. Cassian, Collationes XVIII, c. 5, SC 64, pp. 14-16]

Sed sicut solet ex radice bona fructus bonus procedere, ita ex hac sancta radice bonus fructus processit, id est aliud genus monachorum, id est eremitarum, quorum auctores fuerunt in veteri testamento Elias et Elisaeus, in novo testamento Joannes Baptista, Paulus et Antonius.[cf. Cassian, Collationes VIII, c. 6, SC 64, pp. 16-17]

A good root bears good fruit and the good fruit from this holy root was another kind of monks, the hermits whose founders were Elias and Elisha in the Old Testament, John the Baptist in the New Testament and Paul [of Thebes] and Anthony. [cf. Cassian, Collationes VIII, c. 6, SC 64, pp. 16-17]

Deinde cum religio christiana gauderet his duobus generibus monachorum, ortum est tertium genus Sarabaitarum, quod lingua syriaca dicitur, latine interpretatur renuitarum, eo quod aliorum imperia vel voluntates implere renuunt et suas volunt facere. Quorum auctores fuerunt Ananias et Saphira, qui tempore apostolorum, cum vendidissent possessiones suas, causa diffidentiae fraudaverunt de pretio agri et partem posuerunt ante pedes apostolorum. Quos Petrus, quia radicitus voluit amputare hoc vitium, non carcere, non aliqua sententia, sed solummodo celeri morte plexit. id est condemnavit. [cf. Act 5:1-10]

Then, while the Christian faith rejoiced at these two kinds of monks, a third one emerged, the sarabaites, as they were called in the Syrian language. In Latin we call them 'refusers', because they refuse to fulfill the orders or the will of others and fulfill only their own will. Their founders were Ananias and Sapphira, who in the time of the Apostles out of distrust cheated over the price of a field when they sold their possessions and placed only part of the money at the feet of the Apostles. Because he wanted to cut off this vice at its root, Peter did not punish, that is, pronounce imprisonment or any other sentence, but punished them with no more than sudden death.

Ubi animadvertere debemus: si illi, qui sua detinuerunt, tali poena mulctati sunt, quali poena mulctandi sunt illi, qui [page 75] aliena vel oblata Deo rapiunt? Nam si talis fuisset tempore apostolorum, quali poena plexus esset?[cf. Cassian, Collationes XVIII, c. 7, SC 64, pp. 18-19]

Therefore we have to consider that if those who kept their possessions are treated with such a punishment, what punishment will they face who [page 75] rob belongings from another or those given to God? For, if a person who steals from God had existed in the time of the Apostles, what kind of punishment would he have faced? [cf. Cassian, Collationes XVIII, c. 7, SC 64, pp. 18-19]

Gyrovagi dicuntur, eo quod in giro vadunt, id est per diversas provincias. Horum auctores non facile reperiuntur. Nam est etiam aliud genus monachorum, sicut Cassianus dicit; ait enim: 'Est etiam quintum genus monachorum, quod nuper surrexit, qui paucis diebus habitant in monasteriis, sed quia nolunt vitia sua resecare, cellas secretiores ad similitudinem anachoretarum expetunt'. [cf. Cassian, Collationes XVIII, c. 8, SC 94, pp. 21-22 and Isidore, De ecclesiasticis officiis II, c. 16(15).5, CCSL 113, pp. 75-76]

Gyrovagues have their name because they walk in circles (in giro). That means they wander through different provinces. Their founders cannot be easily traced because there is also another kind of monks that Cassian says is a fifth kind of monks that emerged recently. They live only a few days in monasteries but since they do not want to cut off their vices, they ask for separate cells in the way the anchorites do. [cf. Cassian, Collationes XVIII, c. 8, SC 64, pp. 21-22 and Isidore, De ecclesiasticis officiis II, c. 16(15).5, CCSL 113, pp. 75-76]

Hi tales, quia videntur formam sanctitatis habere, idcirco non redarguuntur, et quia non redarguuntur, ideo remanent eorum vitia incurata; nam virtutes non ex occultatione vitiorum, sed ex impuguatione oriuntur.

Because they appear to be holy, no one criticizes them, and because they are not criticized their vices remain untreated because virtues do not come of hiding vices but attacking them.

Sequitur: 2Primum genus3 est coenobitarum, hoc est monasteriale.

Next: 2First are the cenobites, those in a monastery.

Inter coenobium et monasterium hoc interest: coenobium attinet ad professionem et disciplinam atque locum, monasterium vero attinet solummodo ad locum. Tamen abusive pro coenobio ponitur monasterium, et coenobium pro monasterio similiter ponitur. Et cum dixit coenobitarum, subjunxit monasteriale. Per illud monasteriale manifestavit locum, in quo coenobium est.

The difference between a coenobium and a monasterium is as follows: coenobium refers to the profession, to the discipline and to the place, while monasterium only refers to the place. Even though it is incorrect, people use monasterium for coenobium and, likewise, coenobium for monasterium. And when he talked about 'cenobitical', he implied 'monastic' because 'monastic' refers to the place where the coenobium is located.

Sequitur: militans sub regula vel abbate.

Next: serving under the rule and/or (vel) the abbot.

Per istud militans ostendit B. Benedictus, laborem esse in monasterio, eo quod istud nomen, quod est militans, ad laborem et certamen attinet.

By using militans (serving) the Blessed Benedict makes clear that there is exertion in the monastery, because this word - militans - refers to exertion and struggle.

Nunc videndum est, quare B. Benedictus, cum dixit: sub regula et abbate, interposuit istud vel, quia istud separationem facit, et abbas non potest esse sine regula; nam si alteram vitam duxerit, illius ordinis non est abbas, sed ejus, cujus vitam duxit. Regula autem potest esse sine abbate, sicuti sunt multa monasteria, quae, quamvis abbatem regularem non habeant, tamen praepositos, decanos et caeteros ordines regulares habent, eo quod multi abbates canonici non minus sunt solliciti de regulae observatione, quam si regulares abbates fuissent.

Now we have to see why Benedict inserted the word 'vel' (rather: 'or') instead of saying 'under the rule and (et) the abbot'. He does this because he makes the following distinction: The abbot cannot be without a rule since if he leads a life different from the rule he is not an abbot of this order but of that order in which he led his life. A rule, however, can exist without an abbot, as we see in many monasteries that, despite not having a regular abbot, still have priors, deacons and other ranks according to the rule, because many canonical abbots [= lay abbots] are just as zealous in the observation of the rule as if they were regular abbots.

Istud enim vel duobus modis intelligi potest; uno enim modo, forte quia B. Benedictus fuit plenus spiritu prophetiae et vidit spiritu prophetiae istud tempus, in quo sunt multa monasteria [page 76] sine abbatibus regularibus, sicuti superius diximus, ideoque posuit: militans sub regula vel abbate.4 Aut certe posuit simpliciter vel pro et.

This vel can be understood in two ways: either Benedict happened to be full of the spirit of prophecy and foresaw in this spirit of prophecy that there would be a time in which there would be many monasteries [page 76] without regular abbots, as we just said, which was for him the reason to say serving under the rule or (vel) the abbot. Or he just meant et and said vel.

Deinde: Secundum genus est anachoretarum, id est eremitarum, qui5 non conversionis fervore novitio, sed monasterii probatione diuturna [qui] didicerunt contra diabolum multorum solatio jam docti pugnare.

Further: The second kind are anchorites, that is, hermits, those no longer fresh in the fervor of monastic life but long tested in a monastery, who have learned, by now schooled with the help of many, to fight against the devil.

Fervore novitio intelligitur: in primo fervore conversionis, hoc est dicere: non statim vadunt in eremum, quando incipit illis cogitatio eundi in eremum. Quare? quia nesciunt, utrum sint perseveraturi in hoc fervore, eo quod solet diabolus aliquando per speciem bonitatis decipere hominem.

The expression fresh in the fervor has to be understood as 'in the first fervor of conversion'. Thus he says: they do not immediately go into solitude when they come up with the idea of going into solitude. Why? Because they do not know whether they will persevere in this fervor, since the devil is used to deceiving man under the guise of goodness.

Verbi gratia, videt diabolus hominem in malitia positum, dat illi compunctionem, suggerit illi, ut vadat in eremum. Ideo hoc facere studet, ut, ille, quantum6 majorem professionem Deo devoverit et neglexerit, tanto illum diabolus arctius et strictius valeat tenere.

To give an example: the devil sees a man doing evil [literally: placed in ill will]. He makes him remorseful and prompts him to go into solitude. The devil is eager to do that, so that the greater the promise was that the sinner had made to God and then broke, the closer and tighter the devil could hold him.

Ea intentione B. Benedictus dixit in hoc loco: non vadunt in eremum, qua intentione praecipit Paulus apostolus de episcopis; ait enim: non neophytum, [1 Tm 3:6] id est novellum, eo quod nescitur, utrum perseveraturus sit in fide annon.

Here the Blessed Benedict discourages going into solitude for the same reason as the Apostle Paul prescribed that no neophytes [1 Tim 3:6] should become bishops. 'Neophyte' means newcomer. He says that because one does not know whether a newcomer will persevere in his faith or not.

Nam quid sit neophytus, B. Gregorius in quadam epistola sua, quam direxit ad Syagrium episcopum et ceteros alios episcopos Galliarum, exponit hoc modo dicens: Sicut autem tunc neophytus dicebatur, qui initio in sanctae fidei erat conversatione plantatus, sic modo neophytus habendus est, qui in religionis habitu plantatus ad ambiendos honores sacros irrepserit. [Gregory the Great, Registrum IX, no. 219]

The Blessed Gregory gives a definition of 'neophyte' in a latter he sent to Bishop Syagrius and other bishops of provinces of Gaul. Here he explains: But just as one was then called a neophyte, who had been placed at the beginning of a life of holy faith, even so the one should be treated as neophyte who is placed in a religious habit and has insinuated himself to strive for holy honors. [Gregory I, Registrum IX, no. 219]

Necnon idem B. Benedictus in alio loco praecipit, propterea non debere monachum cito suscipere, sed illum uno anno probare, quia nescitur, utrum perseveraturus sit in hac professione annon. [cf. Regula Benedicti, c. 58] Ac si interrogaret B. Benedictum quis: 'et quid faciunt in principio conversionis eundi7 ad eremum?' respondit ille dicens: ... sed in monasterio8 probatione diuturna [qui] didicerunt contra diabolum multorum solatio jam docti pugnare. Diuturna, id est [page 77] spatium longi temporis, veluti quis, cum vult ire contra hostem exercitatum, prius se exercitat et discit omnia genera bellorum et ingenia, ut valeat resistere et superare hostem suum, quia si inexercitatus contra exercitatum ierit, periturum se cognoscit.

The Blessed Benedict prescribed the same at another place, saying that one should not accept a monk immediately but test him for a year because it is not known whether he will persevere in his profession or not. [cf. Regula Benedicti, c. 58]. And if someone would ask the Blessed Benedict what those should do at the beginning of their conversion if they want to go into solitude, he responds ... but long tested in a monastery, who have learned, by now schooled with the help of many, to fight against the devil. Long (diuturna) means [page 77] for a great span of time. If someone wants to attack a well-trained enemy, he first trains himself and learns all the techniques and arts of war, in order to be able to resist and overcome his enemy, since someone untrained who attacks someone experienced will find himself perishing.

Ita et monachus prius discit in monasterio ingenia diaboli et pugnas illius et postmodum vadit in eremum ad singularem pugnam. Et bene dixit: multorum solatio, quia sicut ille, qui inter suos vel cum aliis pugnat contra hostem suum, si forte vulneratur aut percutitur, adjuvatur vel eripitur ab illis, ita et monachus, cum in monasterio pugnat contra diabolum, cum vulneratur aut percutitur a diabolo, adjuvatur a fratribus, id est, oratione, consolatione atque exhortatione.

Therefore a monk first learns in the monastery the arts of the devil and his battle tricks, and afterwards he goes into solitude for single combat. And rightly he said: with the help of many, because if someone who fights against his enemy together with his people or in a group perhaps gets injured or wounded, he is helped and rescued by his people. Likewise, if a monk within the monastery gets wounded or injured while fighting against the devil, he gets help from his brothers through prayer, comfort and exhortation.

Sequitur: 5Et bene instructi fraterna ex acie ad singularem pugnam eremi securi sine9 consolatione alterius sola manu vel brachio contra vitia carnis vel cogitationum Deo auxiliante sufficiunt pugnare;10 ac si diceret: postquam docti fuerint, tunc vadunt in eremum.

Next: 5...well trained in the brotherly line of battle for single combat in the desert, by now confident even without another's encouragement, they are ready, with God's help, to fight the vices of the body and of thoughts with hand and arm alone. It is if he was saying: 'after they have been instructed they go into solitude'.

Acies enim tribus modis dicitur; dicitur enim acies ferri, hoc est acumen, dicitur oculorum, hoc est illa vis, qua oculus videt, dicitur etiam acies multitudo exercitus, id est militum ordinata. In hoc quippe loco pro multitudine fratrum ponitur.

The term acies (literally: 'sharpness') can be used in three ways. Used as acies ferri it means the point of a sword; as acies oculorum it means the power with which the eye sees. But acies also means the multitude of the army, that is, the ordered mass of soldiers. In this context, however, it refers to the group of brothers.

Est enim acies, quae est constipata, id est constricta, et est acies, quae non est stipata, et est acies, quae habet fortes bellatores, et est acies, quae non habet fortes bellatores, et est acies, quae est magna, et est acies, quae non est magna; sed illa acies timetur ab hoste, quae est stipata et habet fortes bellatores. Ita etiam acies illa timetur a diabolo, quae est stipata fraterna caritate et habet fortes bellatores, sicuti est ecclesia, ad quam in Canticis canticorum dicitur: Pulchra es, amica mea, et suavis et decora sicut Jerusalem, terribilis ut castrorum acies ordinata. [Ct 6:4]11 Ista enim acies, de qua hic dicitur, ponitur pro congregatione fratrum.

There is a battle line that is tight, that is, bound together. But there is also a battle line that is loose. There are battle lines with or without strong warriors and there are large and small battle lines. The enemy fears a tight battle line with strong warriors, thus the battle line that is tied together by brotherly love and strong warriors, just like the Church as it is referred to in the Song of Songs: You are as beautiful, my friend, and sweet and adorned as Jerusalem and terrifying as an ordered battle line of forts. [Ct 6:4] The battle line of which we speak here stands for the community of brothers.

Ex enim ponitur pro 'ab', quasi diceret: ab acie fraterna. Duobus modis potest jungi, id est: instructi ab acie fraterna, sive: ab acie fraterna pergunt in eremum ad singularem pugnam.

The word ex (in fraterna ex acie = out of the line of battle of the brothers) is used instead of ab. He could also have said ab acie fraterna (= from the brotherly line of battle). We can read this part in two ways: either as instructi ab acie fraterna, which means 'instructed by the brotherly line of battle' or as ab acie fraterna pergunt in eremum ad singularem pugnam, which means 'from the brotherly line of battle they move into solitude into single combat'.

Nunc videndum est, quomodo instruitur? Instruitur enim [page 78] ita: verbi gratia, interrogat quis priorem suum vel quemlibet, quem videt studiosum, quomodo illi nascitur compunctio, aut quomodo vincit iram, aut quali modo est tam devotus in lectione aut in oratione, in obedientia et ceteris his similibus; aut si impugnatur cogitatione, qualiter debeat illi resistere, aut si forte bonam cogitationem habet, qualiter debeat cognoscere illam, utrum finem habeat bonum an non? Ille alter dicet illi, si videt eam deceptricem: Noli consentire illi, quia mala est, et reliqua. Necnon videt ibi vulneratum fratrem a diabolo, et iterum videt illum vincentem diabolum et cetera hujusmodi. Nam sic contingit illi, qui indoctus exit de acie castrorum; vadit contra invisibilem inimicum pugnare et perit.

Now we have to look how they are trained. [page 78] For example: someone asks his superior or another person he regards as skilled how to become remorseful or how to overcome anger or how to be dedicated to reading and prayer, devout in obedience, etc., or, if he is attacked by evil thoughts, how to resist them or, if he happens to have a good thought, how one ought to recognize if it is for good or not. If the other sees that that thought is deceiving, he tells him: 'Don't give in to it because it is evil,’ etc. In fact, sometimes he sees a brother being wounded by the devil, sometimes he sees him overcoming the devil, etc. This happens to him who leaves the fortified line of battle without instruction: He fights against an invisible enemy and perishes.

Sicut legitur in libris gentilium: Venerunt hostes contra quandam civitatem et non poterant per fortitudinem illam civitatem capere, et cum vidissent, non posse praevalere adversus illam, dixerunt: 'Quid opus est, ut tanta multitudo pugnet? Exeat unus e nostris adversus singulare certamen contra unum de vestris, et post, qui vicerit, illius pars sit victrix'. Et cum hoc statuissent, exiit unus minus cautus de civitate, et erat pons inter civitatem et hostem. Deinde veniens in medium pontem obviavit illi, contra quem singulare certamen debuerat inire, dixitque ille, qui contra urbem veniebat: 'Contra quem vadis?' Respondit alter dicens: 'Contra te, ut tecum ineam certamen, sicut dixistis'. Respondit alter dicens: 'Vestrum placitum fuit, ut unus solus exiret de civitate contra me; tu cur cum multis venisti? Vide, quanti te sequuntur!' Ille vero incautus cum respexisset retro, ille alter percussit eum et occidit.

In the books of the heathens we read that enemies attacked a certain city and could not conquer it by force. When they realized that they could not prevail, they said: 'What is the use if such a great multitude fights? Let one of us fight in single combat against one of yours. The side of the one who wins will be the winner.' After they agreed on that, one reckless soldier came out from the city. There was a bridge between the city and the enemies. In the middle of the bridge he met the one he had to fight in single combat. The one fighting against the city said: 'Whom are you approaching?' He responded: 'I meet you to fight you, just as you all said.’ The other said: 'You made the pledge that only one would come out of the city against me. Why have you come with many? Look how many are following you!' When the incautious man turned his head, the other one struck him and killed him.2

Vide modo, quia iste incautus nescivit ingenia bellandi, ideo periit.12 Ita et monachus; monachus enim quasi cum multis pugnat contra diabolum, cum in monasterio contra diabolum pugnat; cum vero in eremum vadit, quasi ad singulare certamen pergit contra diabolum; deinde si minus cautus fuerit et fortis et non cognoverit insidias diaboli sedens in monasterio, cum in eremum fugerit, superabitur a diabolo, quia multa ingenia et insidias habet. Nam sicut legitur in collationibus patrum, magna erat [page 79] nimis tentatio diaboli contra monachos, et adeo magna, ut non omnes auderent dormire, sed quidam dormiebant, et quidam pro dormientibus orabant. [cf. Cassian, Collationes VII, c. 23]

Now see that this reckless man did not know the arts of war. Therefore he died. It is the same with a monk. He fights, as it were, along with many against the devil if he fights within the monastery, but when he goes into solitude he fights the devil as if in single combat. If someone who lives the monastery is less cautious and strong and does not know sufficiently the snares of the devil, and he flees into solitude, he will be overcome by the devil, because the devil has many arts and traps. We read in the Conferences of the Fathers that the [page 79] devil's temptations of the monks were so great that they did not even dare to sleep all at the same time, but some slept and others prayed for the ones who slept. [cf. Cassian, Collationes VII, c. 23]

Et bene dixit: ad singularem pugnam eremi securi jam sine consolatione alterius sola manu et brachio.

And rightly Benedict says: for single combat in the solitude, by now confidant even without another's encouragement, (...) with hand and arm alone.

Prius enim dixerat, cum in monasterio erat: multorum solatio discere insidias diaboli; nunc dicit: sola manu vel brachio sine constitutione alterius, ac si diceret: constitutus in monasterio habet adjutores, in eremo vero nullum adjutorem habebit, sed sola, manu vel brachio.

Earlier he had said that those in the monastery learned with the help of many the snares of the devil. Now he says without another's encouragement (...) with hand and arm alone. He means that in a monastery a monk has helpers, but in solitude he will not, and has to fight with his hand and arm alone.

Per manum operationem simplicem, per brachium vero fortitudinem operationis designat, quasi diceret: aut pugnabit simpliciter aut fortiter, quia non omnes aequaliter aggreditur, id est tentat diabolus.

The hand refers simply to the act; the arm to the vigor of the act. It is as if he was saying that he either fights simply or vigorously, since the devil does not attack, that is, tempt everyone in the same way.

Si fuerit fortis et solicitus et studiosus nimis, nimiam sustinebit diaboli tentationem; si autem simplex fuerit, non maguam sustinebit tentationem, eo quod juxta fortitudinem hominis permittit Deus diabolum illum tentare. Unde psalmista dicit: Proba me Domine et tenta me, [Ps 25:2] hoc est: cognosce vires meas et tunc da licentiam diabolo me tentandi.

If someone is very vigorous and engaged and zealous, he will endure enormous temptation from the devil. But if he is simple, he will not endure great temptation because God allows the devil to tempt man according to his strength. Therefore says the Psalmist: Test me, God, and tempt me [Ps 25:2]. That is: Know my strengths and then give the devil permission to tempt me'.

Sequitur: Contra vitia carnis et cogitationum Deo auxiliante sufficiunt pugnare.

Next: They are ready with God's help, to fight the vices of the body and of thoughts.

Alia enim sunt vitia corporis, alia animae; vitia corporis sunt, veluti sunt: loquacitas, immunditia, fornicatio, gula et caetera vitia, quae per corpus fiunt; vitia animae sunt, veluti ira, superbia, invidia et caetera his similia, quae per animum perpetrantur.

There are different vices of the body and of the soul. Bodily vices are loquacity, uncleanliness, fornication, gluttony and others that happen through the body. Vices of the soul are anger, pride, envy and others that are performed through the mind.

Et bene dixit Deo auxiliante, quia si homo nil boni potest agere sine Dei adjutorio, quanto minus cum contra se pugnat vel contra diabolum?

And rightly he says: with God's help, because if man cannot do anything good without God's help, how much less so if he fights against himself or against the devil?

Sequitur: 6Tertium vero13 teterrimum genus est Sarabaitarum, qui nulla regula adprobati experientia magistra sicut aurum fornacis, sed in plumbi natura molliti 7adhuc operibus servantes saeculo fidem mentiri Deo per tonsuram noscuntur

Next: 6The third, a very vile kind, are the sarabaites, tested by no rule nor instructed by experience, like gold in the furnace; but softened like lead, 7still keeping faith with worldly ways, they are known to lie to God by having tonsures.

Teterrimum, id est pavendum, timendum seu horrendum; probati, id est ad probationem ducti; regula attinet ad doctrinam, experientia vero ad exercitationem operis, magistra autem et ad regulam et ad experientiam potest referri, id est regula, magistra et experientia magistra [page 80] sit. Utrumque convenit Dei servo, id est opus et doctrina.

The expression very vile means horrific, fearsome, or dreadful. Read tested as approved, rule as teaching, and experience as the execution of work. The term instructed (magistra) can refer to both rule and experience, thus it means instructed by the rule or instructed by experience. [page 80] Both work and teaching are fitting to a servant of God

Sequitur: aurum fornacis.

Next: like gold in a furnace.

  Auri enim natura est tam durabilis, ut per ignem nunquam deficiat; nam si adulterinum fuerit, id est mixtum cum argento et reliquo metallo et missum fuerit in ignem, id quod ei junctum fuerit alterius metalli, ardebit, ipsum vero aurum indeficiens permanebit. Per aurum autem vult B. Benedictus bonos monachos intelligi.

 Gold is by nature so durable that it never perishes through fire. If it is alloyed, that is, mixed with silver or other metals and it is put into the fire, the other metals that are mixed with it burn away and all the gold will remain. The Blessed Benedict wants us to identify good monks with gold.

Et quod justi intelligantur per aurum, testatur Solomon, cum dicit: Tunquam aurum in fornace probavit illos et quasi holocausti hostiam accepit illos. [Sap 3:6]

Solomon testifies that gold has to be understood as the just when he says: He tested them as gold in a furnace, and he accepted them as the gift of burnt offering. [Sap 3:6]

Vide modo, per aurum significavit bonos, per fornacem vero tribulationem praesentis temporis. Et est sensus, cum dicit: tanquam aurum in fornace, id est quia sicut aurum purgatur in fornace, ita et justi probantur in praesentis temporis tribulatione.

Now see: he signified through the gold the good people and the furnace referred to the tribulations of the present time. This is the meaning when he says like gold in a furnace: just as gold is purified in the furnace, just so just are the just tested through the tribulations of the present.

Sequitur: sed in plumbi natura molliti.

Next: ...but softened like lead.

 Plumbi enim natura gravis est et mollis, et est adeo mollis, ut, si in ignem fuerit missum, statim liquescit et deficit. Per plumbum enim intelligi vult malos monachos, id est peccatores. Per plumbum mali intelliguntur, quia peccatores graves sunt malitia, molles sunt impatientia.

 Lead is by nature heavy and soft. It is so soft that, when thrown into fire, it liquefies immediately and vanishes. He wants us to understand lead as the bad monks, that is, the sinners. This is because sinners are heavy with evil and soft with impatience. Scripture witnesses that they are soft through impatience when saying: They do not stand firm in their miseries. [Ps 139:12].

Et quod molles sunt impatientia, testatur scriptura, cum dicit: In miseriis non subsistent. [Ps 139:12]

Heaviness is ambiguous. It appears with a positive and a negative meaning. It is a good term in I will praise you among the weighty people [Ps 34:18].

Gravitas enim aequivocum est, id est in bono et in malo ponitur; in bono, ut est illud: In populo gravi laudabo te [Ps 34:18]: in populo gravi, in est in populo perfecto; in malo, ut est illud: Vae genti peccatrici, populo gravi iniquitate, semini nequam, filiis sceleratis! [Is 1:4]

Weighty people means perfect people. It appears as a negative term in Woe, sinful tribes, people weighty with injustice, of useless stock and with defiled children! [Is 1:4]

Et in bono dicitur etiam gravitas, sicuti dicimus: homo gravis consilio, id est per consilium.

And heaviness has a good meaning when we say 'a man weighty in prudence', that is, 'through prudence'.

Et quod per plumbum peccatores intelligantur, docet B. Gregorius in Ezechiele dicens hoc modo: Venit ergo Ezechiel juxta fluvium Chobar; nam Chobar interpretatur gravitudo. Quid per Chobar fluvium nisi humanum genus congrue designatur, quod ab ortu defluit ad mortem, et grave sibi ex peccatis, quae perpetrat et [page 81] portat, quia scriptum est: Iniquitas in talento plumbi sedit? [cf. Zec 5:7, not Vulgate] [Gregory the Great, Homilae in Hiezechihelem Prophetam I, 2, c. 6, CCSL 142, p. 20]

And the Blessed Gregory teaches in his commentary on Ezekiel how lead has to be understood as sinners when he says: Ezekiel arrived at the river Chobar. Chobar has to be read as heaviness. How can the river Chobar be understood other than standing for human nature, which flows from its beginnings to its death and is heavy for itself from sins, which it performs and carries [page 81], since it is written: 'Unjustness settles in a heavy weight (talentum) of lead?' [cf. Za 5:7, not Vulgate] [Gregory, In Ezechielem Homilia II, c. 6].

Omne enim peccatum grave est, quia non permittit animum ad sublimia levari, unde et per psalmistam dicitur: Filii hominum usquequo graves corde? [Ps 4:3] Et quod per plumbum peccatores intelligantur, testatur iterum Zacharias propheta, cum dicit inter caetera: Vidi duas mulieres elevantes amphoram inter terram et coelum, et erat illi os ingens; et una mulier jactavit massam plumbi in os amphorae. Et dixit mihi angelus: Quo defertur haec amphora? Et dixi: Nescio. Et dixit: Haec defertur amphora, ut aedificetur ei domus in terra Sennaar. [cf. Za 5:9-11, not Vulgate]14

All sin is weighty because it does not allow the mind to be lifted up to the highest, as it is said by the Psalmist: Sons of men, why is your heart so heavy? [Ps 4:3] And the Prophet Zacharias also shows that lead stands for sinners when among other things he says: I saw two women lifting an amphora up between earth and heaven. And this amphora had a huge mouth. One woman threw a piece of lead into the mouth of the amphora. An angel said to me: 'To where is this amphora being carried?' I responded: 'I do not know.' He said: 'This amphora is carried in order that a house for be built in the land of Sennaar (Babylon)'. [cf. Za 5:9-11, not Vulgate]

Per amphoram intelligitur cupiditas, per os ingens amphorae intelligitur impietas, quia cupiditas semper os habet patens ad concupiscendum.

The amphora refers to desire and its large mouth to impiety, because desire always has a mouth standing open for desire.

Et bene plumbum in os amphorae mittitur, quia impietas semper in cupiditate est.

And it is right to throw lead into the mouth of the amphora because in desire there is always impiety.

Per Sennaar intelligitur foetor.

Sennaar has to be understood as stench.

Pulchre in terra Sennaar domus amphorae aedificatur, quia malis domus in foetore construitur. Inter terram et coelum levatur, qui nec terram tangit nec coelum; significat superbum, qui per exaltationem fratri non compatitur, et coelum non tangit per meritum.

The house of the amphora is built aptly in the land of Sennaar, because the house for evil people is built in stench. He who touches neither earth nor heaven is lifted up between earth and heaven. This points to the proud person who in his arrogance does not feel compassion for his brother and who does not reach heaven through merits.

Sequitur: Adhuc operibus servantes saeculo fidem, mentiri Deo per tonsuram noscuntur.

Next: ...still keeping faith with worldly ways, they are known to lie to God by having tonsures.

Finis coenobitae est, nil de crastino cogitare, et quidquid agit, non ad suam voluntatem agere et proprium non habere; finis vero eremitae est, de crastino cogitare et mentem suam exutam a cunctis habere terrenis, eamque, quantum humana imbecillitas sinit, unire cum Christo. Sarabaitae vero habent aliquid commune per hanc formam cum eremita, id est cogitare aliquid de crastino, sed tamen in hoc discrepant ab illis, quia, si eremitae cogitant de crastino, ideo cogitant, ut possint Deo, quantum humana fragilitas permittit, mente sua adhaerere; sarabaitae vero si cogitant de crastino, ideo cogitant, ut mentem suam saeculo jungant et; non solum in crastinum, verum etiam per multorum spatia annorum mentem suam cogitando extendunt. Cum coenobita habent aliquid commune [page 82], id est opera manibus exercere, sed in hoc discrepant ab illis, quia coenobitae, quidquid agunt, nihil secundum voluntatem suam agunt, isti vero omnia secundum voluntatem suam laborant.

The goal of a cenobite is not to think about tomorrow and to do whatever he does not according to his own will and to have nothing of his own. The goal of a hermit is to think about tomorrow and to have his mind stripped from all earthly things, and to unite his mind with Christ, as far as human weakness allows. But in this pattern sarabaites have something in common with a hermit: they both think about tomorrow. However, they differ from each other because if hermits think about tomorrow, they do it in order that they can fasten their minds to God as far as human weakness permits. But if sarabaites think about tomorrow, they do it for that reason that they join their minds with the world – and this not only for tomorrow but they also extend their thinking through many years. They share with cenobites [page 82] performance of manual labor, though in a different way, since cenobites never do their work according to their own will, while sarabaites always work according to their own will.

Coenobitae non laborant, ut domini sint laborum suorum, sed omnem laborem in potestate prioris consistunt; isti vero idcirco laborant, ut domini sint laborum suorum et ditiores fiant.

Cenobites do not work in order to be the masters of their own efforts, but all effort remains under the power of the superior. The sarabaites, however, work for to be masters over their own efforts and to become richer.

Vide modo, quia, quamvis habitu videantur monachi, tamen actionibus saeculares existunt, et propterea dixit S. Benedictus: Adhuc operibus servantes saeculo fidem, mentiri Deo per tonsuram noscuntur.

Now see that they, though they look like monks in their habit, still remain worldly in their deeds. Therefore says the Blessed Benedict: still keeping faith with worldly ways, they are known to lie to God by having tonsures.

Sequitur: 8Qui bini aut terni aut certe singuli sine pastore, non dominicis, sed suis inclusi ovilibus, pro lege eis est desideriorum voluptas.

Next: 8They go around in pairs or threes or, of course, alone, with no shepherd, but in their own sheepfolds, not the Lord's, and the pleasure of their desires is their law.

Certe de istis enim, quamvis bini aut terni aut singuli inveniri possint, tamen potest intelligi per binos et trinos et singulos multitudinem sive paucitatem. Sine pastore idcirco dicit, quia aut sine pastore sunt, aut certe si pastorem videantur habere, tamen sine pastore sunt, quia similem sibi, id est consentientem vitiis suis habent.

We certainly find them in pairs or groups or three or alone but we can read two or three or one also as large or small groups. He says with no shepherd because they either do not have a shepherd at all or, if they seem to have one, they still do not because they have a person like themselves who consents to their vices.

Nunc videndum est, quare dicat S. Benedictus ovilibus pluraliter, cum Dominus dicat: Unus pastor et unum ovile est. [Io 10:16] Si enim pastor referatur ad Christum, unus pastor est et unum ovile est; si referatur ad unam fidem, ad unum baptismum et ad unam remunerationem aeternae felicitatis, unum ovile est, id est, una ecclesia est. Item si referatur unus pastor ad diversos episcopos et ceteros praepositos sanctae ecclesiae, multi pastores sunt. Similiter si referatur unum ovile, id est sancta ecclesia ad diversitatem linguarum sive ad dona Sancti Spiritus, multae ecclesiae sunt. Unde Joannes Evangelista propter septem dona, Sancti Spiritus Septem ecclesiis scripsit Apocalypsin. [cf. esp. Act 1 and 3]

Now we have to see why the Holy Benedict uses the plural of sheepfolds (ovilibus) even though the Lord says: There is one shepherd and one sheepfold. [Io 10:16] For, if shepherd refers to Christ, then there is one Shepherd and one sheepfold. If it refers to one faith, to one baptism and to one reward of eternal happiness, then there is one sheepfold, that is, one church. Likewise, if one shepherd refers to a number of bishops or other prelates of the Holy Church, then there are many shepherds. Accordingly, if one sheepfold, that is, the Holy Church, refers to a diversity of different languages or to the gifts of the Holy Spirit, then there are many churches. Therefore the Evangelist John wrote the Apocalypse to the seven churches of the Holy Spirit because of the Seven Gifts. [cf. esp. Act 1 and 3]

Sequitur: 8Pro lege eis est desideriorum voluptas, 9cum, quidquid putaverint vel elegerint, hoc dicunt sanctum, et quod noluerint, hoc putant non licere.

Next: 8...and the pleasure of their desires is their law, 9since they call holy whatever they have thought or chosen and they deem forbidden what they have not wished to do.

Voluntas per n. proprie semper in bono ponitur, quamvis abusive in malo ponatur; voluptas vero per p. proprie semper in malo ponitur, quamvis [page 83] forte et in bono ponatur.

The term voluntas (‘will’) – written with letter 'n' – usually appears in a positive context, even though it appears by improper use also in a negative context. The term voluptas (pleasure) – written with a ‘p’ – is always used correctly in a negative context, though [page 83] it accidentally can be used as something good.

Pro lege eis est desideriorum voluptas, id est, ac si diceret: voluptas eorum est eorum. Cum quidquid putaverint vel elegerint, hoc dicunt sanctum, et quod noluerint, hoc putant non licere.

And the pleasure of their desires is their law. He wants to say that their pleasure is their law. ...Since they call holy whatever they have thought or chosen and they deem forbidden what they have not wished to do.

In hoc loco animadvertendum est: si boni pro ignorantia aliquando eligunt mala pro bonis, errant; quanto magis errant isti, qui mali sunt voluntarie?

Here we have to consider the following: if those who are good choose out of ignorance something evil instead of something good, they are doing wrong. But how much more are those doing wrong who are evil out in their own will?

Quam sententiam B. Gregorius ita exponit: Certe cum Israeliticus populus ante Dei oculos pene inveniabilem contraxisset offensam, ita ut ejus rector audiret: Descende, peccavit populus tuus [Ex 32:7], ac si ei divina vox diceret: Qui in tali peccato lapsus est, jam meus non est, etc. etc. [Gregory the Great, Expositio veteri ac novi testamenti I, II, c. 53, PL 79, col. 746D-747A]

The Blessed Gregory explains this statement: Surely, when the people of Israel had bought on themselves an almost unforgivable offence in the eyes of God, to the point that that its leader heard: 'Go down, your people have sinned' [Ex 32:7], it is as if the divine voice was saying: 'He who has fallen in such sins, is not mine any more, etc. etc. [Gregory, Expositio veteri ac novi testamenti I, II, c. 53, PL 79, col. 746D-747A]

Sequitur: 10Quartum vero genus est monachorum, quod nominatur gyrovagum, qui totam vitam15 suam per diversas provincias ternis aut quaternis diebus per diversorum cellas hospitantur, 11semper vagi et nunquam stabiles, et propriis voluptatibus et gulae illecebris servientes et per omnia anteriores16 Sarabaitis. 12De quorum omnium horum miserrima conversatione melius est silere quam loqui. 13His ergo omissis ad coenobitarum dzsimum genus disponendum adjuvante Domino perveniamus.

Next: 10The fourth kind of monks are those called gyrovagues, who spend their whole lives lodging in different regions and different monasteries three or four days at a time, 11always wandering and never stable, serving their own pleasures and the lure of gluttony, worse than sarabaites in every way. 12It is better to keep silent than to discuss the utterly wretched monastic ways of all these people. 13Therefore, leaving them aside, with God's help let us proceed to specifications for the strongest kind of monk, the cenobites.

 Ternis ant quaternis diebus ideo hospitantur per diversorum cellas, quia consuetudo est et fuit monasteriorum, cum suscipiunt hospites, tribus vel quatuor diebus omnem humanitatem hospitibus exhibere, postmodum vero, si plus steterint, sicut familiaribus, ita, illis exhibere. [cf. Regula magistri, c. 78] Et ab hoc illi quatuor aut tribus diebus manent in diversorum cellis.

They lodge at different cells for three or four days, because it is and was common for monasteries when they receive guests to show them all human kindness for three or four days but, if they stayed longer, to treat them as family members [cf. Regula magistri, c. 78] Therefore, they stay in the cells of different people only for four or three days. 

Semper vagi et nunquam stabiles, subaudiendum est: sunt.

Always wandering and never stable, add 'they are'.

Voluptas pertinet ad delectationes carnales, veluti sunt somnus et cibus et caetera, illecebra vero attinet ad gulam, et ideo dicta est illecebra, eo quod illiciat in aliud peccatum, verbi gratia ex gula nascitur nimia saturitas, et ex nimia saturitate aliquando fornicatio et reliqua. [Cassian]

Pleasures refer to the carnal pleasures, such as sleep and eating and others, lure is related to gluttony, and is called lure because it seduces someone into another sin. For example, gluttony causes too much satiation and from it comes fornication etc. [Cassian]

Et per omnia deteriores Sarabaitis. Bene dixit: per omnia, quia in omnibus pejores gyrovagi quam sarabaitae sunt, id est sarabaitae quamvis mali sint, tamen pejores sunt gyrovagi sarabaitis.

...Worse than sarabaites in every way. He rightly says in every way, because gyrovagues are really in everything worse than the sarabaites. Sarabaites may be bad, but gyrovagues are still worse than sarabaites.

Verbi gratia, sarabaitae sibi cellas aedificant, gyrovagi vero non aedificant [page 84] cellas, sed discurrunt per diversa loca. Sarabaitae quamvis mali sint, tamen labore manuum suarum vivunt, gyrovagi labore aliorum. Illi non dant aliis malum exemplum, isti autem, quia currunt per diversa loca, ideo exempla mala, tribuunt. Illi quia in uno loco stant, non vident bona exempla, isti, quia vadunt, vident bona exempla et nolunt illa imitari. Sarabaitae multa nescientes agunt, isti autem scientes malum esse discurrere per loca propter gulam, [et] tamen non emendantur.

For example, sarabaites build cells for themselves; gyrovagues do not build [page 84] cells but wander around to different places. Sarabaites may be bad, but at least they live from they own hands' work; gyrovagues live at others' expense. Sarabaites do not offer others a bad example. Gyrovagues, however, spread bad examples because they wander around in different places. Sarabaites do not see good examples because they stay at one place; gyrovagues are exposed to good examples since they get around, but they refuse to follow them. Sarabaites do many things out of ignorance; gyrovagues, knowing that it is bad to wander around for the sake of gluttony, still do not improve.

Et forte dicit aliquis: 'Aliquid simile habent Sarabaitae cum gyrovagis, id est, quia renuunt voluntati aliorum obedire et suam voluntatem adimplere'; tamen quia ad pejorem finem tendunt gyrovagi quam sarabaitae, idcirco pejores sunt sarabaitis gyrovagi.

Perhaps someone says that there is something sarabaites and gyrovagues have in common: they refuse to obey to the will of others and fulfill their own will. Still, the gyrovagues are worse than sarabaites because they tend to an end worse than that of the sarabaites.

De quorum, subaudiendum est: gyrovagorum, miserrima conversatione est melius silere quam loqui. Nunc videndum est, quare dixit: melius est silere, quam loqui? Quia eorum vitam pessimam esse cognovit, ideo tacere voluit, ne aliis in exemplum veniret. In hoc loco, ubi dicit his, subaudiendum est: tribus generibus, id est, eremitarum, sarabaitarum atque gyrovagorum; omissis, id est dimissis; fortissimum genus coenobitarum.

To It is better to keep silent add: about the gyrovagues than to discuss the utterly wretched monastic ways of all these people. Now we have to see why he says it is better to keep silent than to discuss. It is because Benedict regards this as the worst kind of life. Therefore he wants to remain silent lest he gives others bad examples. In the next sentence when he says 'these', we have to understand 'the three kinds', that is, hermits, sarabaites and gyrovagues. Leaving aside means 'leaving out'. Benedict proceeds to the strongest kind of monk, the cenobites.

Nunc videndum est, quod sit melius inter coenobitarum et anachoretarum genus, cum superius praetulit genus anachoretarum, eo quod dixit, monachos de coenobio exire ad eremum. Nam praedicatorum cousuetudo est, semper de minoribus ad majora praedicare17 auditores suos exire; nam si non cognoscunt meliora, ad quae debent progredi, nequaquam hortatus fuisset18 illos, illuc exire (maybe: exigere). Et nunc dicit: fortissimum genus monachorum coenobitarum; jam quando dicit fortissimum, nullum genus praecellit istud genus coenobitarum.

Now we have to see what are better, cenobites or anchorites, since he had earlier preferred anchorites, since he had said that monks leave the community to enter solitude. Preachers are accustomed in their sermons to work from the lesser to the greater so that their audience moves forward. For, if they do not know the better things to which they ought to proceed, he would never have encouraged them to move forward. But now he says: for the strongest kind of monk, the cenobites. Already when he says the strongest, he makes clear that no kind excels that of the cenobites.

Verbi gratia: dic mihi, quid melius est inter illud, quod dicitur fortissimum, et illud, quod alio nomine explicatur, sicuti est forte aut fortius et caetera, his similia? Melius est illud, quod per fortissimum genus narratur. Ecce melius genus coenobitarum, eo quod illud [page 85] explicavit S. Benedictus per fortissimum, et genus anachoretarum explicavit alio nomine. Iterum dic mihi, quis discipulus melior est e duobus inter illum, qui plus diligit Jesum, et illum, qui minus? Ille, qui plus, sicuti est Petrus; nam Petrus plus dilexit Jesum quam Johannes. Et ubi cognoscitur Petrus plus dilexisse Jesum quam alii apostoli? Manifestat Scriptura divina, ubi Dominus ait: Simon Johhannis! diligis me plus his? [Io 21:15] Vide modo, quia, nisi Dominum plus aliis discipulis dilexisset, nequaquam illum Dominus ita interrogasset. Ille autem, quia se cognovit hominem esse, nescivit aliorum intentiones, ideo dixit: 'Domine, tu scis, quia amo te', [Io 21: 15] ac si diceret: Tu, quia Deus es, cognoscis, quis te plus diligit. Et iterum dic mihi, quis melior discipulus ex istis duobus, id est Petro et Johanne, inter illum, quem plus dilexit Jesus, et illum, quem minus? Dicis mihi: ille, quem plus dilexit Dominus. Ecce Johannes videtur melior esse quam Petrus. Ita et de istis duobus generibus monachorum, id est coenobitarum et anachoretarum potest conjicere, quia Petrus tenet figuram vitae activae, Johannes vitae contemplativae. Ergo sicut isti discipuli non videntur invicem sibi praecellere, ita et de istis generibus potest conjicere, unum alterum non posse praecellere.

For example, tell me what is better, that which is called the strongest or that which is described in other terms, for example 'strong' or 'stronger' or something of that kind? What is described as the strongest kind is better. [page 85] Look, the best kind is that that of the cenobites because Saint Benedict explained it through the word the strongest and he describes the kind of anchorites with another name. Now, again, tell me which of two disciples is better: the one who loves Jesus more, or the one who loves him less? The one who loves him more, therefore Peter, because Peter loved Jesus more than John. And where do we realize that Peter loved Jesus more than the other Apostles? Divine Scripture shows it, when the Lord says: ‘Simon, son of John, do you love me more than they do?’ [Io 21:15] Now see, if he had not loved the Lord more than the other disciples had loved the Lord, he would never have asked him in that way. But Peter, since he knew that he was human and did not know the intentions of the others therefore said: 'Lord, you know that I love you', [Io 21:15] as if he wanted to say: 'Because you are God, you know who loves you more'. And now tell me: who is the better disciple of those two, Peter or John? The one who loves Jesus more or the one who loves him less? You reply: the one whom the Lord loves more. Thus seems John to be better than Peter. We can assume the same with regard to the two kinds of monks, the cenobites and the anchorites, because Peter stands for the active life while John stands for the contemplative life. Thus, just as these disciples do not seem to surpass each other, so can we assume about these kinds that one cannot surpass the other.

Sciendum autem est, quia sarabaitae in ba dixit19 esse accentum, hoc est, ut sarabáytae dicantur.

One should know that the accent in sarabaites is on 'ba'. It is pronounced sarabáites.


1. om. ed. Hanslik.
2. qui didicerunt ed. Hanslik
3. om. ed. Hanslik
4. cf cod. Diviones. ex Marten. (Mittermüller).
5. horum qui ed. Hanslik
6. quanto. Cod. Emmeram. (Mittermüller).
7. ituri (?). (Mittermüller).
8. in monasterio] monasterii ed. Hanslik
9. iam sine ed. Hanslik
10. sufficiun pugnare tr. ed. Hanslik
11. Vulgate: Pulchra es, amica mea, sicut Thersa, decora sicut Ierusalem, terribilis ut castrorum acies ordinata.
12. I couldn't identify the story - I would assume that it is from Valerius Maximus' Facta et dicta memorabilia. Can anyone help out?
13. vero monachorum ed. Hanslik
14. Vulgate: Zec 5:9-11: Et levavi oculos meos et vidi: et ecce duae mulieres egredientes, et ventus in alis earum, et habebant alas quasi alas milvi; et levaverunt epham inter terram et caelum. Et dixi ad angelum, qui loquebatur in me: "Quo istae deferunt epham?". Et dixit ad me: "Ut aedificetur ei domus in terra Sennaar; et, postquam constructa fuerit, ponetur ibi super basem suam".
15. tota vita ed. Hanslik
16. deteriores ed. Hanslik
17. praedicare = hortari. (Mittermüller).
18. hortatur. Cod. Emmeram. (Mittermüller).
19. Non Sarabaÿtae. (Mittermüller).

1. What follows here may be inspired by Isidore of Seville, De Ecclesiasticis Officiis II, ch. 16(15).
2. . I couldn’t identify the story. It sounds like it comes from Valerius Maximus’ Facta et dicta memorabilia. Can anyone help out?

Copyright © 2014 The Hildemar Project
Editor Login Page