The Carolingians and the Regula Benedicti
in Religious Franks
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This chapter addresses the question of how monks and monastic reformers dealt with the disconnect between the content of the Regula Benedicti and their own reality. Normative observance has its history and its genesis, and it is certainly not productive to reduce it to any modern legalistic understanding. The chapter suggests a typology of four basic models of textual techniques to bridge the gap between regula and reality: exegesis, selective reading, 'objectivation' and embodiment. None of these practices can be correctly described as a 'symbolic' reading of the Regula Benedicti (as Pius Engelbert phrased it) or using the Regula Benedicti simply as a metaphor (as Josef Semmler suggested it). All of them demonstrate an intensive engagement with its content but also a variety of attempts to get around its normative character.

Religious Franks

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