From the time it was first promulgated in the sixth century, The Rule of St. Benedict has been one of the most influential, enduring documents of Western civilization. Composed for the guidance of his own monks at Monte Cassino, St. Benedict's Rule has become the basis for the rules of practically every Christian monastic community in the West. In it are the guidelines for living the spiritual life -- through work, prayer, study, obedience, community, and moderate asceticism. This acclaimed edition of The Rule of St. Benedict is a highly accessible modern translation that conveys the spirit and logic of the original text. It contains an invaluable in-depth Introduction that explores the development and spread of Christian monasticism; a biographical sketch of St. Benedict; a discussion of the structure and implementation of his Rule; its value and impact on religious orders from the Middle Ages down through history; its tremendous influence on Western culture and civilization; and, finally, various texts of the Rule.