The Love of Learning and the Desire for God: A Study of Monastic Culture

The Love of Learning and the Desire for God: A Study of Monastic Culture

The Love of Learning and the Desire for God: A Study of Monastic Culture

The Love of Learning and the Desire for God: A Study of Monastic Culture

Synopsis

The Love of Learning and the Desire for God is composed of a series of lectures given to young monks at the Institute of Monastic Studies at Sant'Anselmo in Rome during the winter of 1955-56.

Excerpt

This book IS COMPOSED of a series of lectures given to young monks at the Institute of Monastic Studies at Sant'Anselmo in Rome during the winter of 1955–56. It is published at their request and dedicated to them. It is an introductory work and therefore not intended for specialists, for already well-informed scholars. They would, with justice, find fault with it for ,generalizations which can hardly be avoided in a comprehensive work. Hence, it is desirable at the very beginning that its scope be defined.

Its purpose is not to offer a synthesis that would be premature, nor to provide a bibliography which can be found elsewhere, but to draw attention to subjects for further investigation and to suggest partial and provisional solutions. The sources used will be, primarily, written documents, particularly those of doctrinal or spiritual character; treatises on geography, medicine, or law will not be under consideration. In fact, religious writings are the most numerous and most fully represented in the manuscripts. No complete listing will be given nor will all those which have been used be mentioned. Those which are, will be cited merely as examples. They will rarely be taken from authors later than the beginning of the thirteenth century.

Within these limits and with such reservations, the work will still necessarily involve simplifications and broad generalizations which would call for supporting arguments, shading, and further definition. This has occasionally been done in special studies where evidence is supplied which is not provided in this exposition. We shall not here attempt to shed any new light on the subject but in the main to summarize works whose results have not been brought together in focus. Scholars such as C. H. Haskins, J. de Ghellinck, Paul Lehmann, Bernhard Bischoff, and others have undertaken patient and fruithful research on medieval culture in general. In relation to their findings, perhaps the time has come to ask whether monastic culture has its own identifying characteristics and what they are. This is difficult to decide: there are certain aspects of monastic history to which non-monastic scholars may not have paid enough attention and to which a monk risks paying too much. A margin of error will therefore always exist in evaluations and even in the findings themselves . . .

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