The Rule of Saint Benedict has shaped monastic life for centuries. Perspectives on the Rule of Saint Benedict provides a unique guide to the richness of this Rule. Focusing on vv. 1-4, 45-50 of the Prologue and chapters 72, 73, 58, and 53, Sister Aquinata Böckmann presents an interpretive key for understanding the entire Rule and appreciating its spiritual and practical values. Presenting a wealth of material, she never loses sight of the christological center of the Rule or the questions involved in living it in our time, both in monasteries and the world.
Combining the tools of a scholar with the love of a Benedictine, Sister Aquinata focuses on the parts of the Rule where Benedict’s own teaching is most clearly expressed. She has a special gift of presenting complex ideas and challenging insights in a manner accessible to non-specialists without compromising the depth of her research. This book will be engaging for scholars, monastics (whether professed or in formation) oblates, and non-monastics.
Chapters are Prolog 1–4: Listen, Excursus: Militia, Prolog 45–50: School of the Lord’s Service, Excursus: Scola, Chapter 72: Of the Good Zeal which Monks Ought to Have, Excursus: Brotherhood, Chapter 73: That This Rule Does Not Contain the Full Observance of Justice, Excursus: Dynamism, Chapter 58: The Procedure for Receiving Brothers, Excursus: RB within Monastic Tradition, Excursus: Seeking God, Excursus: Stability, and Chapter 53: About the Reception of Guests, Excursus: Hospitality in Sacred Scripture, before RB.
Aquinata Böckmann, OSB, PhD, is a member of the Benedictine Missionary Sisters of Tutzing, Germany. She has taught in Rome since 1973 at the Pontifical Institute for Spirituality and Moral Theology Regina Mundi and as the first woman professor at Sant’ Anselmo. She was the formation director of her congregation’s novitiate in Rome and a board member of the Alliance for International Monasticism.
For those who have heard Aquinata Böckmann's lectures on the Rule of Benedict, her long awaited translation of Perspectives on the Rule of Benedict is most welcome. While this work is a brief commentary on a few chapters of the Rule of Benedict, nevertheless it touches on every other aspect of the rule. Böckmann's volume represents the best of Benedictine scholarship-careful study of sources, years of reflection and teaching of her subject, and the experience of the living tradition of monastic life in her own congregation. I look forward to introducing students in monastic studies not only to her fine exegesis, but also to the inspiration that underlies her Perspectives, that is, the invitation to live with expanded heart the Christian life.
Mary Forman, OSB, College of Saint Benedict, Saint Joseph, Minnesota
This is a model of scholarly exegesis, steeped in patristic and Biblical studies aimed at those who work closely with the Rule. I would use this book in its entirety with graduate students, and in excerpts with undergraduates . . . they have here an excellent model for doing close textual analysis.
Catholic Studies An Online Journal
Aquinata Böckmann is one of the leading commentators on the Rule of St. Benedict today.
Cistercian Studies Quarterly
Böckmann emerges not only as a first-rate scholar of the Rule, but as a wise teacher whose lived experience of the Rule brings to her commentary a freshness that will appeal not only to those who work intimately with the Rule, but to those who are just beginning to become acquainted with its treasures.
American Benedictine Review
This Rule of Benedict is a book of ethical teaching, moral teaching, and a work about God and getting to know and live with him, a means of expanding our hearts in Christ. It says stay with God.
Perspectives on the Rule of Saint Benedict is methodical in its dissection of intent word by word as it is passionate about the needs of the spirit. A deeply theological and worshipful treatise.
The Midwest Book Review
This approach to the Rule of Saint Benedict should encourage the women and men of monastic communities to cherish good zeal and grow in compassion for society.
Recommended for theological collections.
Catholic Library World
Aquinata Böckmann is one of the principal scholars of the Rule of Benedict writing today. Her experience of the monastic life in many countries gives her a broad perspective, and her meticulous scholarship gives her commentary a richness and depth not often encountered. Therefore it is very good to see some of her most important research on RB translated into English and gathered into one volume. Sisters Marianne Burkhard and Mathilda Handl are to be complimented on their graceful and accurate translation of the original German.
Terrence G. Kardong, OSB, Author of Benedict's Rule and Day by Day with Saint Benedict, Assumption Abbey, Richardton, South Dakota
Many Benedictines have enjoyed Sister Aquinata Böckmann's clarity of thought in the oral presentations she has given on the Rule of Benedict around the world. . . . For Sr. Aquitinata, the key to understanding Benedict lies in RB 72:11-12: `To prefer absolutely nothing to Christ who will lead us all together to eternal life.' With these `perspectives,' followers of Benedict soon realize that they are in the presence of a monastic classic.
At last, the English-speaking world of Benedictine women and men are being gifted with the fruit of critical and meticulous scholarship on the Rule of Saint Benedict by a woman. Sister Aquinata Böckmann has garnered the relevant findings of historical-critical research, and has aligned those insights with the living dynamic of this sixth-century Rule. Her consistent and abiding attention to Benedict's use of sacred Scripture is noteworthy. Sr. Aquinata's analysis of selected chapters of the Rule has `heart,' as well as scholarly credibility.
Ephrem Hollermann, OSB, Saint Benedict's Monastery, St. Joseph, Minnesota
Scholarly, articulate and inspiring.
Catholic Library World
. . . an attractive, well-edited book.
Cistercian Studies Quarterly
. provides a thoroughly scholarly look at life and love as focused on Christ by the Benedictine Rule.
Review for Religious