in Old French

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Feminine Versions of the Rule of St. Benedict

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The Dijon Version of the Rule of St. Benedict was translated from the Latin into Old French in the early thirteenth century. The translator is identified as le pauvre Martin, about whom nothing else is known. The monastery for which this feminine version was produced is not known. It has not yet received much scholarly attention.

The Dijon Version presents almost all of the Latin text of the Rule. A few verses are omitted, e.g., 44:10, 46:6, 55:13-14, 58:13. There are also a small number of expansions, e.g., 57:5. The translator has provided a foreword of his own.

The text is generally feminine in grammatical form and vocabulary. Some gender-neutral language is also used, and some passages are balanced, speaking of monks and nuns together. Finally, a few sections retain masculine construction, e.g., chapter 1 speaks of monks instead of nuns. Chapters 60 and 62, on priests, are translated, using masculine language; the titles of these chapters include a statement saying that they pertain only to monks.

The Prologue and chapters 2, 7 and 48 are divided into sections that are treated rather as independent chapters. Presumably this reflects the way in which the Rule was divided for daily reading in the monastic chapter.

Chapters begin with the chapter title in Old French following by the Latin incipit. The first letter is large and decorated; this is represented here by bold-face, upper-case letters.

The version presented here was transcribed from the printed edition of Philibert Guignard, Les Monuments primitifs de la regle cistercienne, publies d'apres les manuscrits de l'abbaye de Citeaux. in Analecta divionensia, vol. 10. Dijon: J.-E. Rabutot, 1878. Appendice. "Ancienne Traducion Francaise des Ecclesiastica offica, Institua generalis Capituli, Usus conversorum et Regula sancti Benedicti," pp. 585-642. Guignard made a small number of emendations, indicated by square brackets.

Each verse is identified by number and begins on a new line.

Individual chapters of the Dijon Version of the Rule of St. Benedict are linked to the chapters of the following Table of Contents. (These chapter headings are taken from the translation, RB1980.)

Table of Contents



Chapter 1. The Kinds of Monks

Chapter 2. Qualities of the Abbot

Chapter 3. Summoning the Brothers for Counsel

Chapter 4. The Tools for Good Works

Chapter 5. Obedience

Chapter 6. Restraint of Speech

Chapter 7. Humility

Chapter 8. The Divine Office at Night

Chapter 9. The Number of Psalms at the Night Office

Chapter 10. The Arrangement of the Night Office in Summer

Chapter 11. The Celebration of Vigils on Sunday

Chapter 12. The Celebration of the Solemnity of Lauds

Chapter 13. The Celebration of Lauds on Ordinary Days

Chapter 14. The Celebration of Vigils on the Anniversaries of Saints

Chapter 15. The Times for Saying Alleluia

Chapter 16. The Celebration of the Divine Office during the Day

Chapter 17. The Number of Psalms to be Sung at These Hours

Chapter 18. The Order of the Psalmody

Chapter 19. The Discipline of Psalmody

Chapter 20. Reverence in Prayer

Chapter 21. The Deans of the Monastery

Chapter 22. The Sleeping Arrangements of the Monks

Chapter 23. Excommunication for Faults

Chapter 24. Degrees of Excommunication

Chapter 25. Serious Faults

Chapter 26. Unauthorized Association with the Excommunicated

Chapter 27. The Abbot's Concern for the Excommunicated

Chapter 28. Those Who Refuse to Amend after Frequent Reproofs

Chapter 29. Readmission of Brothers Who Leave the Monastery

Chapter 30. The Manner of Reproving Boys

Chapter 31. Qualifications of the Monastery Cellarer

Chapter 32. Monks and Private Ownership

Chapter 33. The Tools and Goods of the Monastery

Chapter 34. Distribution of Goods According to Need

Chapter 35. Kitchen Servers of the Week

Chapter 36. The Sick Brothers

Chapter 37. The Elderly and Children

Chapter 38. The Reader for the Week

Chapter 39. The Proper Amount of Food

Chapter 40. The Proper Amount of Drink

Chapter 41. The Times for the Brothers' Meals

Chapter 42. Silence after Compline

Chapter 43. Tardiness at the Work of God or at Table

Chapter 44. Satisfaction by the Excommunicated

Chapter 45. Mistakes in the Oratory

Chapter 46. Faults Committed in Other Matters

Chapter 47. Announcing the Hours for the Work of God

Chapter 48. The Daily Manual Labor

Chapter 49. The Observance of Lent

Chapter 50. Brothers Working at a Distance or Traveling

Chapter 51. Brothers on a Short Journey

Chapter 52. The Oratory of the Monastery

Chapter 53. The Reception of Guests

Chapter 54. Letters or Gifts for Monks

Chapter 55. The Clothing and Footwear of the Brothers

Chapter 56. The Abbot's Table

Chapter 57. The Artisans of the Monastery

Chapter 58. The Procedure of Receiving Brothers

Chapter 59. The Offering of Sons by Nobles or by the Poor

Chapter 60. The Admission of Priests to the Monastery

Chapter 61. The Reception of Visiting Monks

Chapter 62. The Priests of the Monastery

Chapter 63. Community Rank

Chapter 64. The Election of an Abbot

Chapter 65. The Prior of the Monastery

Chapter 66. The Porter of the Monastery

Chapter 67. Brothers Sent on a Journey

Chapter 68. Assignment of Impossible Tasks to a Brother

Chapter 69. The Presumption of Defending Another in the Monastery

Chapter 70. The Presumption of Striking Another Monk at Will

Chapter 71. Mutual Obedience

Chapter 72. The Good Zeal of Monks

Chapter 73. This Rule Only a Beginning of Perfection


Rev. 12.ii.2000 / www.osb.org/aba/rb/feminine/dijon/index.html