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Benedictine scholarship is the scholarly path laid out by Benedictine of Nursia, founder of the Benedictine Holy Order. Benedictine believed that scholarship was as much a part of spiritual development as was charity and prayer. For Benedictine, the entire purpose of scholarship was to prepare one's heart and mind for communion with the divine. Monks of the Benedictine Order typically engage in the reading of scripture, either collectively or individually, for up to six hours per day. Preferred texts include the Bible and the work of certain church patriarchs. Benedictine believed that reading the works of these "church fathers" was a necessary first step to understanding the scripture. He did not believe that a person could simply read the Bible unaided and gain full understanding. Neither was he a literalist when it came to matters of scripture. Rather, Benedectine believed that the truth within the scripture lay withn the tradition of the Church itself, so that one had to be intimately familiar with Church dogma and history before one could hope to be enlightened by the scriptures. Benedictine scholarship thus focuses on the learning of Church dogma, theology, and scriptural interpretation for the purpose of religious knowledge and character building.
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