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Benedict, viz: the "common life" and family spirit.Under the Antonian system the austerities of the monks were left entirely to their own discretion; under the Pachomian, though there was an obligatory rule of limited severity, the monks were free to add to it what other ascetical practices they chose.Amongst other commentators the following deserve mention: St. Benedict's prohibition of flesh-meat did not include that of birds ; Bernard, Abbot of Monte Cassino, formerly of Lérins and afterwards a Cardinal (d.1282); Turrecremata (Torquemada) a Dominican (1468); Trithemius, Abbot of Sponheim (1516); Perez, Archbishop of Tarragona and Superior-General of the congregation of Valladolid; Haeften, Prior of Afflighem (1648); Stengel, Abbot of Anhausen (1663); Mége (1691) and Marténe (1739) Maurists ; Calmet, Abbot of Senones (1757); and Mabillon (1707), who discusses at length several portions of the Rule in his Prefaces to the different volumes of the "Acta Sanctorum O. B." It is impossible to gauge the comparative value of these and other commentaries, because the different authors treat the Rule from different points of view.The earliest commentary, in point of date, is that which has been variously ascribed to Paul Warnefrid (a monk of Monte Cassino about 780-799), Hildemar, Ruthard of Hirsau, and others.Hildemar, a Gallic monk, brought to Italy by Angelbert, Archbishop of Milan, reformed the monastery of Sts. Marténe, who considered this commentary to be the best ever produced, maintained that Hildemar was its real author, but modern critics attribute it to Paul Warnefrid. Rupert, near Bingen on the Rhine, who held that St.
Benedict was called from his cave to govern, and in the Gyrovagi and Sarabitae whom he mentions in terms of condemnation in the first chapter of his Rule.
His familiarity with the rules and other documents bearing upon the life of the Egyptian monks is shown by his legislating for the daily reading of the "Conferences" of Cassian, and by his recommendation (c. Benedict came to write his own Rule for the monasteries he had founded, he embodied in it the result of his own mature experience and observation.