In Honour of Benedicta Ward

Santha Bhattacharji and Dominic Mattos, eds.,
“Prayer and Thought in Monastic Tradition. Essays in Honour of Benedicta Ward SLG” (Bloomsbury, 2014),
Prayer Ward
“In Honour of Benedicta Ward, Mother of the Deserts of Today and Yesterday:
You cannot have read in patristic literature in English today, especially monastic literature of the desert, without having come across the seemingly indefatigable translation work of Benedicta Ward.
sayings of the deseret fathers
Author or editor of such collections as “The Sayings of the Desert Fathers: The Alphabetical Collection” and “The Desert Fathers: Sayings of the Early Christian Monks”, she also authored the strikingly titled “Harlots of the Desert: A Study of Repentance in Early Monastic Sources”, all of which treat prominent figures in the Christian East.
Harlots Ward
Moreover, she has cooperated with such prominent Orthodox scholars as Kallistos Ware and John Chryssavgis on books such as “In the Heart of the Desert: The Spirituality of the Desert Fathers and Mothers”; with the late Russian Orthodox Archbishop Anthony Bloom on “The Wisdom of the Desert Fathers”; and with the brilliant translator of theological Greek, Norman Russell, on “The Lives of the Desert Fathers: ‘Historia Monachorum in Aegypto’”. She is, in sum, by any reckoning one of the leading scholars, editors, and translators of our time on this vast corpus of desert literature.
Bede Ward
But Ward is a genuinely “catholic” scholar who also turned her attention to prominent medieval Western figures and periods, including a study of Bede and the Psalter as well as a monograph on The Synod of Whitby 664 AD”, which synod I’ve seen tendentiously and anachronistically used and abused by both Anglican and Orthodox apologists in their fantastic myth-making about a supposedly (take your pick) pure “Anglican” or pure “Orthodox” practice of faith among the Angles and Celts before those big bad (take your pick) Franks/Romans/Latins came along and hijacked it after Whitby, leading to darkness and damnation that culminated, of course, in the grossly, almost violently misunderstood “Anselm of Canterbury – His Life and Legacy”, whom Orthodox apologists invariably, tediously, tiresomely caricature in the most lurid, fact-free ways. Ward has, doubtless, forgotten more about Anselm in this book and in her other study, “Anslelm of Canterbury Monastic Scholar”, than any Orthodox blogger has ever bestirred him/herself to read, let alone understand (I read Anselm in the Latin original more than 20 years ago, and wouldn’t dare claim to be an expert on him).

All this is just an introduction (which by no means exhausts her lengthy lists of publications) to a new Festschrift published for her. Such publications, alas, are often not best-sellers, and so publishers feel the need to recoup costs with large sticker prices, but that detracts nothing from the larger “worth” of this collection: Santha Bhattacharji and Dominic Mattos, eds., “Prayer and Thought in Monastic Tradition: Essays in Honour of Benedicta Ward” (Bloomsbury, 2014), 368pp.

About this book we are told:
“’Prayer and Thought in Monastic Tradition’ presents a chronological picture of the development of monastic thought and prayer from the early English Church (Bede, Adomnan) through to the 17th Century and William Law’s religious community at King’s Cliffe. Essays interactwith different facets of monastic life, assessing the development and contribution of figures such as Boniface, the Venerable Bede, Anselm of Canterbury and Bernard of Clairvaux. The varying modes and outputs of the monastic life of prayer are considered, with focus on the use of different literary techniques in the creation of monastic documents, the interaction between monksand the laity, the creation of prayers and the purpose and structure of prayer in different contexts. The volume also discusses the nature of translation of classic monastic works, and the difficulties the translator faces. The highly distinguished contributors include; G.R. Evans, Sarah Foot, Henry Mayr-Harting, Brian McGuire, Henry Wansbrough and Rowan Williams.”
http://easternchristianbooks.blogspot.com.au/2014/09/in-honour-of-benedicta-ward-mother-of.html
Ward and Williams
Rowan presenting a copy of the volume to Sister Benedicta at the launch of the book at Harris Manchester College in Oxford, March 18, 2014.
http://tandtclark.typepad.com/ttc/2014/03/launch-of-prayer-and-thought-in-monastic-tradition-essays-in-honour-of-sr-benedicta-ward-slg.html

“’Prayer and Thought in Monastic Tradition’ presents a chronological picture of the development of monastic thought and prayer from the early English Church (Bede, Adomnan) through to the 17th Century and William Law’s religious community at King’s Cliffe. Essays interact with different facets of monastic life, assessing the development and contribution of figures such as Boniface, the Venerable Bede, Anselm of Canterbury and Bernard of Clairvaux. The varying modes and outputs of the monastic life of prayer are considered, with focus on the use of different literary techniques in the creation of monastic documents, the interaction between monks and the laity, the creation of prayers and the purpose and structure of prayer in different contexts. The volume also discusses the nature of translation of classic monastic works, and the difficulties the translator faces. The highly distinguished contributors include; G.R. Evans, Sarah Foot, Henry Mayr-Harting, Brian McGuire, Henry Wansbrough and Rowan Williams.

Table Of Contents
Introduction – Santha Bhattacharji
1. Re-thinking the History of Monasticism East and West: A Modest tour d’horizon – Columba Stewart, O.S.B.
2. Not by Bread Alone: St Brendan meets Paul, the Irish Spiritual Hermit – Eamonn O’Carragain
3. Theology and the Paschal Controversy: Bede’s Case Against the British Church – Rowan Williams
Bede
4. Bede’s view of the place of the Eucharist in Anglo-Saxon Life: the evidence of the Histroia ecclesiasticus gentis Anglorum – Thomas O’Loughlin
5. Women, Prayer and Preaching in the Early English Church – Sarah Foot
6. What Was Supposed to be Going on in the Minds of Monks When they Prayed the Psalter in Carolingian times? – Henry Mayr-Harting
7. ‘The brother who may wish to pray by himself’: Sense of Self in Carolingian Prayers of Private Devotion – Renie Choy
8. St Boniface Monk and Missioner – Henry Wansbrough O.S.B.
boniface
9. Turning the World Upside-Down: St Peter Damian’s Theology of the Spiritual Life – Gordon Mursell
10. John of Fécamp and Anselm of Bec: A New Language of Prayer – Brian McGuire
11. ‘Minds Wandering’ and ‘Monastic stability’ in the Early Monastic Letters of Anselm of Bec – G.R. Evans
12. Between Dialectic and the Sacred Scripture: Anselm of Canterbury and the Bible – Giles Gasper
anselm
13. Miracles and the Crusading Mind: Monastic Meditations on Jerusalem’s Conquest – Jay Rubenstein
14. Reading Saints’ Lives in the Light of John of Forde’s Life of Wulfric of Haselbury – Pauline Matarasso
Wulfric
15. The Eye of Reason – The Eye of Love: ‘Divine Learning and Affective Prayer’ in the thought of William of St Thierry – E Rozanne Elder
16. Concerning Academic Translation and the Latin of Conrad of Eberbach – Paul Savage
17. ‘Desire for the Eternal Country’: the Laity and the Wider World of Monastic Prayer in Medieval England – Brian Golding
18. Universities: Friend or Foe? – Alexander Murray
19. Late Medieval Mysticism: visionary writing as a mode of thought – Santha Bhattacharji
20. John Wesley and William Law: the founding of two contrasting religious communities in the Eighteenth Century – Ralph Waller
21. The Beloved: the Messianic Figure in the Song of Songs – Sister Edmée S.L.G.
22. Sr Benedicta Ward in a few words: Nun, Scholar, Teacher – Dominic Mattos
Select Bibliography of Works by Sr Benedicta Ward S.L.G. M.A. D. Phil
http://www.bloomsbury.com/uk/prayer-and-thought-in-monastic-tradition-9780567082954/

For Sister Benedicta Ward, see: https://citydesert.wordpress.com/2013/10/19/sister-benedicta-ward/

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