Daily Life in a Medieval Monastery by Sherri Olson

By Sherri Olson

A examine of lifestyles within medieval monasteries that explores monastic spirituality, day-by-day exercises, touch with the skin international, and the old impression of those foundational associations at the Western world.

• Surveys the background of the monastery, describing its origins, objective, geographic unfold, and impression at the greater society

• offers a glimpse of the wealthy and sometimes idiosyncratic proof that survives for medieval monasteries

• Emphasizes the pervasiveness of monasticism in medieval Europe, the flexibility of the monastic culture, and its amazing survival

• Brings to lifestyles the inner adventure of a customary monk or nun, permitting readers to appreciate what attracts a few members to the monastic life

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Brooke, The Age of the Cloister, p. 45. 30. Brian Patrick McGuire, Friendship and Community: The Monastic Experience, 350–1250 (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2010), p. lxxi. 1 BENEDICTINE BEGINNINGS Monasteries were one of the great “success stories” of the late ancient world. They were flexible, adaptable, and hardy, and the times favored independent and self-sufficient institutions. One key to that success was that monasteries took a variety of forms and attracted all sorts of people who embraced monastic culture in all sorts of ways.

Material goods, prestigious jobs, even exciting vacations did not satisfy us. ”6 The monastery and its tradition of seclusion from the world were old long before communities of Christians who together renounced the world appeared in medieval Europe. Monasterium is the Latinized version of a Greek word (monos, alone; monachos, one who dwells alone, whence the word “monk”) that was coined by pre-Christian Stoic philosophers to denote a place set apart where the lover of wisdom could retreat from worldly distractions to study and meditate.

In 1944 the medieval historian Marc Bloch, a middle-aged academic and member of the French Resistance, was captured and tortured by the Nazis, and executed by a firing squad in a field outside the city of Lyon. He left behind an unfinished manuscript, The Historian’s Craft. In this remarkable book, Bloch argues that a spirit of toleration is essential in the study of history. He claims that the historian’s principal task is to “plumb the consciousness” of the people of the past, in order to explain and understand them.

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