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Feminine Versions of the Rule of St. Benedict

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The Winteney Latin version of the Rule of St. Benedict contains the entire Rule. This feminine version was prepared sometime in the eleventh or twelfth century; the MS is dated from the early part of the thirteenth century. It is associated with the Cistercian women's monastery of Winteney in England.

Feminine grammatical forms are used consistently with respect to persons. Chapter 62 (on the priests of the monastery) has been replaced by an entirely new text. It deals with priest-chaplains: their duties, behavior, and relationships with the nuns. The first and last verses of Chapter 60 (the admission of priests to the monastery) has been rewritten to deal with canonnesses who wish to enter the Benedictine community. Some adaptations have been made in Chapter 55, on clothing.

This feminine Latin version accompanies the similarly feminized Winteney Middle English version of the Rule. With one exception, each chapter of the Latin version is followed immediately by the corresponding chapter of the Middle English text. Chapter 7, however, is divided into thirteen parts, and each Latin section is followed by the corresponding Middle English text.

In addition to Chapter 7's thirteen sections, , the Prologue and Chapters 2 and 48 are divided into three sections each. These are treated rather as independent chapters; however, the Middle English text is at the end of the entire chapter. Presumably this reflects the way in which the Rule was divided for daily reading in the monastic chapter.

Because of this interweaving of Latin and Middle English material, folio numbers are given here at the beginning of each chapter as well as at the actual beginning of each new folio. In chapter 7, folio numbers are provided at the beginning of each of the thirteen sections.

Latin and Middle English versions of each chapter are written right after one another. The first letter of each chapter (or major section) is large and decorated; this is represented here by bold-face, upper-case letters. Chapter titles, in red, were added later and are written in relatively small and variably-sized spaces between chapters.

The edition presented here was transcribed from a microfilm of the original text. It has been compared with the printed edition of Arnold Schröer, Die Winteney-Version der Regula S. Benedicti (Halle: Max Neimeyer 1888). Schröer used modern capitalization and punctuation and completed contractions and abbreviations silently. He also emended the text in places by comparison with four other MSS of the Rule of similar date and provenance. His additions to the text are indicated here by square brackets; his omissions are indicated in the notes.

To assess Schröer's additions and omissions, a standard early twentieth-century edition has been consulted, namely Paul Delatte, The Rule of St. Benedict: A Commentary (London: Burns, Oates and Washbourne 1921). Though dated, it was used because it represents the same textus receptus family of Rule MSS as the Winteney Latin version.

To provide a closer view of the original MS, and to make a sharper contrast with Schröer's edition, the present edition uses the original capitalization and punctuation. Contractions and abbreviations are completed using italics; letters added above the line are also indicated using italics. The ampersand is used to represent the use of a sign for et. Schröer's corrections of spelling errors have been followed here. Notes also indicate text written above the line or in margins, and errors or peculiarities of the MS not noted by Schröer.

See the home page for further information regarding principles of transcription and presentation used here.

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

Notes are numbered consecutively throughout and are placed at the end of the relevant chapter.

Individual chapters of the Winteney Latin 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. The Tools and Goods of the Monastery

Chapter 33. Monks and Private Ownership

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. 08.iii.2000 /