Rule of Augustine V. Einhards Charlemagne

Topics: Middle Ages, Charlemagne, Order of Saint Augustine Pages: 6 (1777 words) Published: December 7, 2012


The medieval era was plagued with constant power struggles, political disputes and religious turmoil. However, in the midst of all of the tumulus activity many documents were written. Works produced in the medieval era included personal correspondences, legal documents, biographies, diary entries, decrees and many more. Two specific documents written during this time period were a biography on The Life of Charlemagne and The Rule of Saint Augustine. Both of the documents had a strong influence in history. This paper will give a comprehensive analysis and show the significance of these two documents and will explore some similarities and differences between the two.

The rule of Saint Augustine was not written in the context in which the title might indicate. Augustine converted to Christianity when he received baptism from Ambrose around the year 387, about ten years later he developed his rule. He established one of the first monasteries in the Hippo region of Africa. Without many other communities practicing the monastic lifestyle, it was necessary to establish some sort of doctrine to guide daily life. describes his work as not being so much of a list of rules but they state “Augustine wrote this document to provide a guide for his congregation of priests.” Reverend Thomas Martin of Villanova University has described Augustine’s rule as nothing more than “an ancient version of a memo pinned to a bulletin board rather than a grand design for monastic life.” Nonetheless, both men and woman living the communal lifestyle followed Augustine’s rule. Additionally, Saint Benedict drew inspiration from Augustine as he laid the foundation for communal living within the Benedictine monasteries. In fact, Villanova University’s Augustinian Spirituality website tells us that The Rule of Augustine is said to be the oldest monastic rule in the western Church. There are those that have questioned the validity and authorship of Augustine’s Rule because he never mentions them in any of his other published works. However, a Dutch philologist, Reverend Luc Verheijen has determined through extensive study that Augustine did in fact author the Rule.

The body of Augustine’s Rule is quite simple. It is a document written to guide an individual wishing to lead a religious monastic lifestyle. It is fairly short and divided into eight sub sections or chapters. Augustine begins this document with an immediate explanation of its purpose. He is not arguing a point but rather laying down a set of general norms for the monastic life. This is evident as the first chapter of the document is titled “Purpose and Basis of Common Life.” Following the purpose of the document are six more chapters containing the body of the work. These chapters contain specific instruction regarding prayer, self-denial, chastity, personal property, forgiveness and obedience. It appears that Augustine understood that some of the rules outlined might be difficult to follow. Therefore, Augustine concludes this document with the final chapter that seems to be more of a reassurance than a rule.In it he states that they are not “slaves living under the law but as men living in freedom under grace.” Another interesting point that should be explored is that Augustine uses versus from the Bible to legitimize his rules. An example of this is seen in...
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