The Rule of Saint Benedict: Latin & English (Trabuco Canyon, CA: Source Books, 1997)

The obvious editions of The Rule of Saint Benedict for both research and devotional use, featuring both the Latin text and a serviceable English translation, are either the RB1980 edition, edited by Timothy Fry, or Terence Kardong’s Benedict’s Rule: A Translation and Commentary. Yes, I own them both and I would suggest anyone serious about living the Rule (whether inside or outside the cloister) will sooner or later want both of these books. However (you knew this was coming!), as a contemplative, I believe both Fry and Kardong provide an overly cautious translation of the Prologue verse 9. From the Latin “et apertis oculis nostris ad deificum lumen,” the RB1980 gives us “Let us open our eyes to the light that comes from God” and Kardong, “Let us open our eyes to the divine light.” But Luke Dysinger offers a more literal translation (notice he retains the word “et”): “And let us open our eyes to the deifying light.” It may be a subtle difference, but I consider it an important one: we need to regain a theology of deification, and one way to do that is to reclaim how our ancestral Christians wrote about this key aspect of the spiritual life. So for this reason alone, I suggest you need this translation of the Rule as well. Unfortunately it’s out of print, but inexpensive used copies seem easy to find. Grab one now before they become scarce.

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