Altissima povertà: Regole monastiche e forma di vita

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Giorgio Agamben

Very High Poverty: Monastic Rules and Life Form

Translated to Russian by S. Ermakov; under scientific editing by D. Raskov and A. Pogrebnyak. Moscow; Saint-Petersburg: Gaidar Institute Press; Faculty of Liberal Arts and Sciences SPbSU, 2020. – 216 p.

ISBN 978-5-93255-571-2

What do we mean by rule if it actually and unreservedly fuses with life? Thus, what the human life means if its every gesture, word, silence cannot be distinguished from the rule?

It is precisely these questions that Agamben wished to provide answers in his new book by making use of enthusiastic re-reading of that fascinating and profound phenomenon that represented Western monasticism in the years from Pachomius to St. Francis.

Although the author thoroughly reconstructs life of the monks with its obsessive attention to timing and rule, ascetic techniques and liturgies, he nevertheless highlights in his thesis that true novelty of monasticism does not represent a mixture of life and norm, it is rather the discovery of a new dimension, where perhaps for the first time “life” as such asserts itself in its autonomy, and the claim to “highest poverty” and “usage” poses a challenge to the law, which we will apparently have to face off.