St. Benedict's "Little Rule", written in the fourth century, is the primary source of Anglican spirituality, liturgy and ecclesiology. Since the mid-twentieth century it has had a profound influence on the "New Monasticism", Fresh Expressions, and the Emergence movement. The course will examine the historical roots of Benedictine spirituality in the desert tradition, the spread of the Benedictine radition across Europe and the British Isles, the clash between the Roman Benedictine tradition and Celtic spirituality, the profound influence of Benedictine liturgy during the English Reformation especially in the shaping of the Book of Common Prayer, and the influence of Benedict's Rule on the development of Anglican and ecumenical religious communities. As we follow the tradition into the 20th and 21st centuries we will examine the increasing interest in Benedictine monastic spirituality among lay people, and the evolution of monastic life into the "mixed economy" of traditional and emerging "new monastic" communities and fresh expressions of monasticism.
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