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Monastic hospitality: from philosophy to practical theology

O'Gorman, Kevin D. and Morrison, Alison J. (2007) Monastic hospitality: from philosophy to practical theology. In: International Hospitality and Tourism Virtual Conference 2007, 2007-04-18 - 2007-04-25.

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This paper reports on an investigation into the hospitality offered by Benedictine monasteries and demonstrates how an enhanced understanding of hospitality can be achieved through synergy between social anthropology, philosophy and practical theology. It also tests the methodology proposed by Lashley et al. (2007) to examine social situations of hospitality and extends previous investigations into the history of the phenomenon of hospitality. This paper extends a previous hermeneutical analysis and interpretation of Chapter 53, of St. Benedict's Rule for monastic hospitality (O'Gorman 2006). It also extends the work done by O'Gorman (2005, 2007) who investigated textual evidence of hospitality within Classical Antiquity. St. Benedict's rule (c. 530 AD) was to become the basis of European hospitality as a consequence of a variety of factors, most notably: the development of humanism; the effects of the Protestant Reformation across Europe, and the creation of the secular nation-states. Hospitable activities became separated from their Christian ties as the state increasingly took over more responsibility for them, although they adopted the principles of hospitality that had already been established within the monastic tradition and which are evident in civic, commercial and domestic versions of hospitality. Research into the phenomenon of hospitality continues to broaden through an ever-increasing dialogue and alignment with a greater number of academic disciplines and Lashley et al (2007) evolve a 'conceptual lens' that allows hospitality to be investigated. This research combines the testing of the 'lens' and the previous conceptual studies as background, to explore modern monastic hospitality.