our understanding, not only of the nature of monastic community, authority and rules at the end of late antiquity and the beginning of the early middle ages, but also of the transmission of the Benedictine Rule.

There was no strong organisation in the Columbanian Monks' rule to support the superior's authority against opposition, as Columbanus had relied on his own charisma to preserve the community. Attala now required to emphasise or to reinforce his own powers. To do this, he or his supporters created the Rule of the Master. Since the 1930s, attempts have been made to characterise this work as a pre-Benedictine monastic rule, from which Benedict of Nursia drew a substantial proportion of his material and ideas.23 However, the Rule of the Master contains a number of important Columbanian symptoms in its liturgical instructions, its Trinitarian teaching, its dating of the equinoxes and its rituals for blessing food, while some of its technical terminology is drawn from Lombard Italy. It also demonstrates extensive knowledge of the Benedictine Rule, which appears to have arrived in northern Italy by the 600s. The Rule ofthe Master builds on Benedict's measures to strengthen the powers of the superior. It promotes the coenobitic life under a rule and abbot, elaborating at length on Benedict's castigation of sarabaites and gyrovagues, monks who are subject in practice to neither. It invests the abbot with a Benedictine Amtscharisma, going even further than Benedict himself by dispensing altogether with the potentially troublesome prior and counselling that the abbot should refrain from appointing a successor-designate until he is on his deathbed. It combines hierarchical structures with organisational ones, often giving even more minutely detailed instructions for the daily routine of the monastery than does Benedict. And it is supplemented by what appears to be a rule for smaller dependent monasteries or cells (currently edited as the Regula Eugippii) which developed a dual agricultural and pastoral role. Even though the Rule's debt to Benedict is an obvious one, it still attempts to create its own charisma: most chapters are in the form ofreplies to questions headed by the statement that 'The Lord replied through the Master.' Its companion rule for cells, while it quotes from the Rule of the Master itself, is prefaced by the Augustinian Rules and thus by a vibrant evocation of monastic communal

23 Arguments for pre-Benedictine origins can be found in Adalbert de Vogue (SC 105-7) and The Rule of the Master, trans. Eberle and Philippi. Against this, Marilyn Dunn, 'Mastering Benedict'; see also Adalbert de Vogue. 'The Master and St Benedict: A reply' and Marilyn Dunn, 'The Master and St Benedict: a rejoinder', along with 'Tanaise rig": The earliest evidence'. For the rule for Bobbio's cells, currently ascribed to Eugippius of Lucullanum, see Fernando Villegas and Adalbert de Vogue (CSEL 87). For the origins of some of Bobbio's cells in the revolt against Attala, see Michele Tosi, 'I monaci colombaniani'.

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