Academic Catalog and Handbooks

2023-2024 Edition

Monastic Studies (MONS)

MONS 402  Monastic History I: Pre-Benedict  (3 Credits)  
The rise of monasticism within the early Church of East and West to the time of Benedict. Cross-listed with HCHR 413.
Prerequisites: None  
Equivalent courses: HCHR 413, HHTH 413  
MONS 404  Monastic History II: Benedict to the Reformation  (3 Credits)  
The development of Western monastic life and reform movements from the early Middle Ages through the fifteenth century. Cross-listed with HCHR 415.
Prerequisites: None  
Equivalent courses: HCHR 415, HHTH 415  
MONS 406  Monastic History III: Reformation to the Present  (3 Credits)  
The decline of Western monasticism in the sixteenth century through its revival in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Cross-listed with HCHR 417.
Prerequisites: None  
Equivalent courses: HCHR 417, HHTH 417  
MONS 408  Contemporary Monasticism  (3 Credits)  
The multiplicity of expressions of monastic life: from intentional communities to heritages, from traditional Benedictine and Cistercian communities to ecumenical, inter-faith and Protestant communities, from solely vowed religious to various forms of affiliation of lay membership. The changing face of monasticism in the 21st century.
Prerequisites: None  
MONS 410  Rule of Benedict  (3 Credits)  
The Rule and its sources; exegesis of the text; issues of interpretation.
Prerequisites: None  
Equivalent courses: MONS 440, SPIR 440  
MONS 412  Monastic Structures  (1 Credit)  
The history of Benedictine monastic structures of governance, including individual monasteries and congregations. The present laws governing monasteries. The rights and obligations of monastics. Visions for the future.
Prerequisites: None  
MONS 421  Monastic Liturgy  (3 Credits)  
The liturgical shape of organized monastic life: the Liturgy of the Hours, the Eucharist, rites of admission and profession, the consecration of virgins, the blessing of abbots and abbesses, rites of the refectory, rites of hospitality, the washing of feet, rites concerning faults, sin, and reconciliation, rites for the sick, dying and dead.
Prerequisites: None  
MONS 423  Monastic Formation  (3 Credits)  
The formation of the Christian in the context of the faith-giving community. Conversatio, stability and obedience. Conveying and supporting faith in the monastic context through eagerness for the work of God, for obedience and for humble service. Special emphasis on lectio divina. Examination of the ways monasticism has traditionally realized community: common prayer, common meals, common decision-making and common support of work.
Prerequisites: None  
MONS 434  Monastic Spiritual Theology  (3 Credits)  
The development of monastic spiritual theology will be studied from the perspective of monastic primary sources. Texts will be studied as guides and sourcebooks for models of monastic spiritual progress and human maturity. Special emphasis will be placed on: (1) the original meanings of "active" and "contemplative" in the vocabulary of early monasticism; (2) models of spiritual development in the early church and in the early monastic movement; (3) the interrelationship between the cenobitic and eremetic lifestyles; (4) the theory and practice of lectio divina; (5) the mystical interpretation of the scriptures and the practice of liturgical prayer; (6) monastic reform and renewal; (7) spiritual guidance in the monastic tradition. Cross-listed with SPIR 434.
Prerequisites: None  
MONS 435  Christian Asceticism  (3 Credits)  
The development of Christian asceticism will be studied from the perspective of primary sources, drawn chiefly from the Christian monastic tradition. Texts will be studied as guides and sourcebooks for models of conversion, growth in human maturity, and spiritual progress. Special emphasis will be place on: (1) classical and Christian understandings of ascesis; (2) repentance and the call to conversion as the basis for authentic ascetical practice; (3) the dynamic interrelationship between ascetical practice and contemplative vision; (4) philosophical and monastic models of virtue and vice; (5) the contrasting and interdependent asceticism of hermitage and cenobium; (6) friendship as the form and ascetical school of virtue; (7) spiritual exercises and the love of learning-implications for monastic reform and renewal. Cross-listed with SPIR 435.
Prerequisites: None  
Equivalent courses: SPIR 435  
MONS 436  Bible and Prayer  (3 Credits)  
This course will examine early Christian and monastic attitudes toward the biblical text and the interplay between the Bible and forms of prayer. Topics will include: methods of interpreting the Bible; ways of encountering the Bible (reading, memorization, meditation), kinds of early monastic prayer and their biblical basis. There will also be some attention to the subsequent history of those traditions and a consideration of present-day implications. Cross-listed with SPIR 436.
Prerequisites: None  
MONS 437  Desert Ammas  (3 Credits)  
Fourth century Christianity gave birth to a spirituality which called women out of conventional understandings of wife, courtesan, and/or mother into lives of prayer, service, and the founding of communal households and monasteries. An exploration of writings by and about such foremothers on the monastic movement as Macrina, Melania, Paula, Eustochium, Marcella, Syncletica, Mary of Egypt, and Egeria, their social and historical realities, and their influence then and now.
Prerequisites: None  
MONS 440  Perennial Wisdom of the Rule of Benedict  (1 Credit)  
This course explores important themes in the Rule of St. Benedict, such as doing good works in order to reach God’s kingdom, being an apprentice in the spiritual life, having the right interior dispositions (e.g., humility), and the usefulness of observances. In addition to reading the Rule, we will look at some materials from the historical context in which St. Benedict wrote and some contemporary treatments of related topics. This course will be valuable for those looking to engage the perennial wisdom of the Rule more deeply.
Prerequisites: None  
Equivalent courses: MONS 410, SPIR 440  
MONS 441  Wise Women of Early Monasticism  (1 Credit)  
Prerequisites: None  
MONS 468  Topics in Monastic Studies  (1-3 Credits)  
Prerequisites: None