The Rule of Augustine, very likely the oldest monastic rule with Western origins, provides daily inspiration for more than 150 Christian communities. In giving an account of Augustine's distinctive contributions to the monastic spirituality of the late Roman world, and in particular of his achievement as a monastic legislator, "Augustine of Hippo and his Monastic Rule" fills a long-standing gap in Augustinian studies. Father Lawless traces Augustine's progress from a philosophical to a biblical spirituality and his development of a monastic ideal largely shaped by Graeco-Roman philosophical and rhetorical influences; discusses Augustine's renunciation of sexuality, property, and worldly ambition at his conversion as an adumbration of the future vows of chastity, poverty, and obedience; and argues for the existence of a bona fide monastery at Thagaste during the years 388-91. A fresh English translation of the "Regulations for a Monastery", the "Rule", and Letter 211 is printed with facing Latin text, and a comprehensive historical study is provided of these documents, their authorship, their dates of composition, and their original public.
`a balanced, well-documented and solid work on a most complicated subject' Religious Life Review
`excellent ... Lawless sketches the unmistakably monastic orientation of Augustine's life ... The other continuous thread he follows in Augustine's biography is the streak of asceticism ... Lawless thus presents Augustine's monasticism as deeply coherent with his personal development.' Times Literary Supplement
`Now that scholars are less hesitant about admitting close links between these texts and the historical Augustine, Fr Lawless seeks in the psyche of Hippo's future bishop a background to these texts... the luminous monastic spirituality of Africa's greatest saint is shown here to be very far indeed from that confining pessimism over man's ingratitude to his Lord that is so often the dark and only Augustine we are told about... Lawless displays a
wide-ranging acquaintance with the world in which Augustine lived... The outstanding contribution of this volume will be the attractive and good-prose translations of the texts. They read very well aloud, an
important test in this kind of material.'
`This important book fills a gap in Augustine studies.' New Blackfriars
`a comprehensive reference book on Augustine's monastic Rule and its evolution both in Augustine's lifetime and afterwards; and on its claims to be truly Augustinian' New Blackfriars
`One can only be grateful to Dr Lawless for his simple and balanced exposition of the status quaestionis ... This is an easy and enjoyable book to read, and its author's enviable familiarity with his subject ensures that it will make a useful contribution to, and indeed that it will provide a needed introduction to, an important and vexed field of Augustinian studies.'
Journal of Theological Studies
'his version provides a fine modern counterweight to Matthews's famous edition'
Paul Goodman, Literary Review