Date of Award


Document Type

Dissertation - Restricted

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Keith J. Egan

Second Advisor

Ronald J. Feenstra

Third Advisor

Kenneth Hagen

Fourth Advisor

John J. Schmitt


This study is an exploration of the ecclesial self-understanding of the Taize Community as expressed in its Rule and related documents in the light of the ecclesial consciousness reflected in the early monastic tradition and its transmission to the West through the Rule of Benedict. In this way, it seeks to demonstrate that the concept of monasticism as church is not only essential to monastic community life but is indeed its reason for being. It can also be seen that, just as a consideration of the prior monastic tradition provides insights which are critical for an understanding of Taize in this regard, so too an examination of the emergence and development of Taize contributes significantly to an understanding of the ecclesial consciousness of monastic movements of the past. The method of inquiry utilized in this project incorporates textual and historical-theological analysis within the context of a comparative consideration of certain unifying ecclesial themes. Examination of the monastic rules and certain closely related writings reveals in each instance a constellation of ecclesial images drawn from scripture which are applied to the community in a self-descriptive way. In addition, an underlying ecclesial model can usually be identified which serves as a basic point of reference for the life of the community as a whole. Examination of the contemporary situation and the vision of the gospel articulated by the founder within that situation also provides important insight into the way in which the monastic community has conceived and expressed its ecclesial self-understanding. This study reveals that from its very origins, monastic community life has represented an attempt to embody a vision of corporate Christian life within a particular historical and ecclesial context. The monastic ideal is, in its essence, nothing other than an expression of the evangelical ideal, summed up in Christ's call to discipleship in community. It is an ideal aimed at a reactualization of the way of life exemplified by the disciples gathered around Jesus and formed after Easter into the nucleus of the Jerusalem church. In identifying itself with both the prior monastic tradition and its Protestant heritage, each of which has been substantially motivated by a concern for church renewal, the Taize Community has both reclaimed critical insights from the past and articulated a new ecumenical basis for monastic and also ecclesial life.



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