I think this is a good idea. However, unless you have the conferenc
here, I doubt if I shoall get to it.

There is an extension to the problem. I think that there is a
distinction, and that it actually matters, because principle does,
and because it points directly at the life I lead. But I am talking
about monks (and friars) now: which raises diplomatic delicacies,
draws attention to the ignorance of most modern monks and friars (and
are there not nuns?) in the matter of medieval history. So I am in
danger of confusing monastic ideology and historical attention to

I think it is correct to say that friars were mostly urban, because
the OP and OFM gathered in cities and did a great deal to establish
Universities (instead of just Paris), whereas most OSB (and all
OCist) set up monasteries in the country, or rather were already
there before the cities grew, for reasons which have a good deal to
do with the notion of the desert (the *waste*). Places like
Peterborough and Westminster (I understand) grew up round an Abbey.
The process may be studied in embryo here. 

But when I say all this, as my old church history used to say, what
about the evidence?

How shall I know, unless some man show me?  Acts 8.31



>Dear colleques,
>I have been following the discussion concerning monks and friars with 
>great interest. A thought occurred to me today (rare incidence I may 
>I have been rather unhappy with certain generally accepted and widely 
>distributed opinions or views concerning the friars. To give you but 
>one example, the opinion that they were essentially an urban movement 
>puzzles me more than just little. It is rather odd considering that 
>more than 90% of the population lived in rural areas, and even those 
>who from theoretical point of view lived in towns had very rural 
>surroundings and way of life. 
>The point is: Are there other with similar feelings, could we 
>organise a conference or something to get together and discuss it 
>over, and eventually, in due course and when the time is ripe, 
>publish something on it? I know that this communication is 
>somewhat vague and not particularly ready and well thought out. It 
>is just an idea to test with you. All suggestions and opinions 
>are wellcome either through the list or personally if you so prefer.
>Jussi Hanska

Anselm Cramer OSB
Ampleforth Abbey, York 
GB - YO6 4EN
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