Like the Rule of Benedict itself, and offered in collaboration with the Benedictine community of nuns at Jamberoo Abbey, NSW, this unit invites you to explore a way of life. Benedict of Nursia (c.480-543) developed his Rule from Scripture and early Christian writers as a dynamic set of guidelines (regula) for life in community. The Rule has endured since the sixth century as a flexible resource for decision-making and a model for leadership outside monasteries as well as within them. From the first word ‘listen’ through to the last chapter where Benedict explains his work is not complete and should be read in relation to other authorities, the Rule expects interpretation and adaptation. Alongside that adaptability, the strong traditions of ‘paying attention’ provide stability. We will locate the Rule of Benedict and the Australian Benedictine communities in the wider history of monastic life. We will consider key themes in the Rule (hospitality, community, silence and work), the pattern of monastic prayer with attention to the psalms, lectio divina, liturgical expression, and the significance of the Rule of Benedict for contemporary times. The unit is not a retreat but we will live in the guest accommodation at Jamberoo for eight days, participating in the community’s life of prayer as well as seminars, structured conversations and lectures.

Unit code: CH3405P

Unit status: Approved (New unit)

Points: 18.0

Unit level: Undergraduate Level 3

Unit discipline: Church History

Proposing College: Pilgrim Theological College

Show when this unit is running

Learning outcomes


Articulate their experience of Benedictine spirituality and hospitality;


Identify the central themes and concerns of the Rule of St Benedict and the Benedictine way of life;


Articulate and evaluate the creative tension between the Rule of Benedict as a sixth century text and its application in contemporary Christian life;


Discuss the historical role and contemporary significance of monasticism within the Australian church and community.

Unit sequence

Pre-requisite 18 points in CH


Community of practice developed with onsite engagement at Jamberoo, lecture input, structured conversation, structured reflection

Indicative Bibliography

  • Böckmann, A. Perspectives on the Rule of St Benedict: expanding our hearts in Christ. Collegeville: Liturgical Press, 2005.
  • Casey, M. The Road to Eternal Life: reflections on the Prologue of Benedict’s Rule. Collegeville: Liturgical Press, 2011.
  • Collins, G. Meeting Christ in His Mysteries: A Benedictine Vision of Spiritual Life. Collegeville: Liturgical Press, 2010.
  • Feis, H. , R. Peppin and M. O’Brien (ed.) A Benedictine Reader: 530 – 1530. Collegeville: Liturical Press, Cistercian Studies Series, 2019.
  • Finnegan, M., The Women of Helfta: Scholars and Mystics. Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press, 1991.
  • Fry, T. (ed.). The Rule of St Benedict in English Collegeville: Liturgical Press, 1981. *
  • Hamberger, J. Nuns as Artists: The Visual Culture of a Medieval Convent. Berkley: University of California Press, 1997.
  • Kardong, T. The life of Saint Benedict by Gregory the Great: Translation and Commentary. Collegeville: Liturgical Press, 2009.
  • Kulzer, L and Bondi, R. Benedict in the World: Portraits of Monastic Oblates. Collegeville: Liturgical Press, 2002.
  • Peters, G. Reforming the Monastery: Protestant Theologies of Religious Life. Eugene, OR: Cascade Books, 2014.
  • Stewart, C. Prayer and Community: the Benedictine Tradition. London: Darton, Longman & Todd, 1998


Type Description Word count Weight (%)
Journal 1000 20.0
Poster 2000 30.0
Essay 3000 50.0

Unit approved for the University of Divinity by Maggie Kappelhoff on 16 Sep, 2020

Unit record last updated: 2020-09-16 10:49:31 +1000