Founder of a monastery at Monte Cassino, between Rome and Naples, in the sixth century, St Benedict intended his "Rule" to be a practical guide to Christian monastic life. Based on the key precepts of humility, obedience and love, its aim is to create a harmonious and efficient religious community in which individuals can make progress in the Christian virtues and gain eternal life.
Here, Benedict sets out ideal monastery routines and regulations, from the qualities of a good abbot, the twelve steps to humility and the value of silence to such every day matters as kitchen duties, care of the sick and the suitable punishment for lateness at mealtimes. Benedict's legacy is still strong - his "Rule" remains a source of inspiration and a key work in the history of the Christian church.
Carolinne White's accessible translation is accompanied by an introduction discussing Benedict's teachings, what is known of his life, and the influence and spread of his "Rule".