St. Benedict - Christian History
Welcome to Quatr.us Study Guides!

Benedict

Benedict
Benedict giving his rules to the monks
(from a later manuscript, 1129 AD)

In the 500s AD, Benedict was the founder of a new Christian movement toward monasticism. Already in the 300s, especially in Egypt, men and women had been going off by themselves into the desert, away from people, to live a life of prayer, devoted entirely to God. This followed earlier movements in India and China where Buddhist monks also retired from the world into caves cut into cliffs. These men and women were called monks (and the women gradually came to be called nuns).

But as there got to be more and more of these monks, all over Europe and Asia, and not just in the desert but even in towns and cities, it got harder and harder to figure out whether somebody was really devoting herself to God, or if she was really some kind of scam artist. In China, by the 500s AD the Chou and T'ang emperors closed many Buddhist monasteries and took their money. Benedict wanted to prevent this from happening to Christian monks by showing that they could regulate themselves. He organized a community of monks in Italy, and wrote up a set of rules for them to live by. Gradually people agreed, all over the Christian world, that you should only trust monks who lived by the rules of these communities, with somebody who was in charge of them and could vouch for their character.

Gregory the Great
Main Christianity page
Main religion page


Please help other teachers and students find us: link to this page from your class page.
Karen Carr is Associate Professor Emerita, Department of History, Portland State University. She holds a doctorate in Classical Art and Archaeology from the University of Michigan. Follow her on Instagram, Pinterest, or Twitter, or buy her book, Vandals to Visigoths.
Karen Carr is Associate Professor Emerita, Department of History, Portland State University. She holds a doctorate in Classical Art and Archaeology from the University of Michigan. Follow her on Instagram or Twitter, or buy her book, Vandals to Visigoths.
Sign up for more free articles and special offers in Quatr.us' weekly newsletter:
We will never share your e-mail address unless you allow us to do so. View our privacy policy. Easy unsubscribe links are provided in every email.
Check out our new ebook: Short and Simple: Ancient Greek Myths! - just out! Twenty-five easy to read, illustrated stories, from Pandora to Medea, Icarus, and the Trojan Horse (you can read these online as samples). Get it this week for just $14.99, five dollars off the regular price of $19.99.
Cite this page
  • Author: K.E. Carr
  • Title:
  • Site Name: Quatr.us Study Guides
  • Publisher: Quatr.us
  • Date Published:
Did you find what you needed? Ask your teacher to link to this page so other people can use it too! Send it in and win a Quatr.us "Great Page!" award!
Sign up for more free articles and special offers in Quatr.us' weekly newsletter:
We will never share your e-mail address unless you allow us to do so. View our privacy policy. Easy unsubscribe links are provided in every email.
Comment on This Article
Quatr.us is loading comments...
(Comments will appear after moderation, if they are kind and helpful. Feel free to ask questions, and we'll try to answer them.)
Cite this page
  • Carr, K.E. . Quatr.us Study Guides, . Web. 23 June, 2017
ADVERTISEMENT