Although monasticism still exists in the present-day, it is no longer the prominent feature of the social landscape that it was in medieval times: for a thousand years the monasteries and religious orders played a major role in the society, economy and the culture of the West, and the service they rendered to European civilization is incalculable. Moreover, richly endowed by kings and magnates, the great monastic houses and their leaders figured as much on the political, as on the spiritual, map of the medieval world. Ranging across Europe and the Middle East, this book reconstructs the internal life, experience and aims of the medieval cloister. It also explores the many-sided relationships between the monasteries and the secular world from which they drew recruits. This third edition contains new thoughts and perspectives. Key featues include: a revamp of the material on the Friars, as a result of Lawrence's work on the subject; an update of the material on the Cistercians; and a section on monastery food.
Table of Contents
1. The call of the desert.2. The rule of St Benedict.3. Wandering saints and princely patrons.4. England and the continent.5. The emperor and the rule.6. The age of cluny.7. The cloister and the world.8. The quest for the primitive.9. The Cistercian model10. The new monasticism versus the old.11. A new kind of knighthood.12. Sister or handmaids.13. The Friars.14. Epilogue: The individual and the community.