"It is a rule, like the Rule of St Benedict."

St Benedict delivering his rule to the monks of his order
Public DomainSt Benedict delivering his rule to the monks of his order - Credit: Wikicommons

 

In the opening section of the novel, when Lurie describes how he chooses to live according to the dictates of his temperament, he refers to this rule written in the sixth century.

Devised by the Italian Abbot, Benedict of Nursia, it provides a guide to a monastic way of life. Widely followed by monastic communities, the rule is still regarded as the seminal work detailing how monks should live and the core values anyone committed to a religious lifestyle ought to embrace.