Spiritual Reading Culture in Medieval Western Christian Monasticism (c. 6-12.): Lectio Divina

Cumhuriyet İlahiyat Dergisi 26 (1):251-267 (2022)
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In this research, the key elements of lectio divina, which is a Western spiritual practice, were tried to be mentioned. Many new practices emerged in the transition from desert monasticism, where early Christian monasticism emerged, to the settled monastic order, which attached little importance to reading other than the Bible. The habit of reading has also become one of the indispensable elements of the monastery after the transition to the settled monasteries. The entry of this term into monastic literature dates back to St. Benedict (480-547), who included it in the daily monastic calendar as a kind of monastic discipline. The lectio practice applied in monasteries brought along some questions such as what the content of this reading activity is, how long it lasts and how it should be practiced. In this regard, the contributions of Cassiodorus (490-583), who was also a contemporary of St. Benedict, to the monastic literature and the ideal of the monastic school, are important. In addition, in this study, information is given about the monastery copying activities, which have an important place to be directly related to the lectio and ensuring the preservation of knowledge and transferring it to the next generations. From this point of view, it has been tried to examine the comments made by the monastic leaders from the early period to the 12th century on the pagan literature, which is not included in the Bible and religious works read in the monastic libraries. Lectio divina gained popularity among monasteries affiliated with the Roman Catholic Church, and by the 12th century it had developed into the four-stage reading process known today by Guigo II. The details of this four-stage process were tried to be given in the last section and the study was concluded after the evaluations made in the conclusion section.



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