This concluding chapter argues that scholars have continued to rely on classic notions of monastic reform, monastic networking, and abbatial leadership to justify Richard's relevance to the development of Benedictine monasticism. However, the book shows that his stature as a great “apostle of reform” is doubtful, and that he did not initiate a true reform movement. The fundamental problem underlying the scholars' marginalized evaluations of Richard's life is that their reconstruction of his motivations and achievements is based on his identity as monk and abbot. In contrast, Richard's thinking was crucially shaped in an environment that, although inspired by monastic modes of thinking, aimed to impact primarily the ideology and practice of clerical and secular rulers.
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