In Benedict Backwards, Terrence Kardong builds the case that the Rule of Benedict is best read "backwards," that is, with emphasis on the last chapters, not the first ones. Benedict starts out dependent on the Rule of the Master, but he ends on a much more self-assured note, revealing more about his own thoughts on matters of monastic life. Kardong shows the final chapters of the Rule are primarily about community, and they provide insight into Benedict's vision for his monks.
Terrence G. Kardong is a monk of Assumption Abbey, Richardton, North Dakota. He has been editor of The American Benedictine Review since 1982 and has written many books and articles. His latest research concerns the Irish monks of St. Columban, who were the first transmitters of the Rule of Benedict north of the Alps. His book on that subject, Saint Columban: His Rule, His Life, His Legacy, will be published by Cistercian Studies in 2017.