Classical and modern hospitality: the Benedictine case

Classical and modern hospitality: the Benedictine case

By Kevin D. O’Gorman

Thinking Through Tourism, edited by Julie Scott and Tom Selwyn (Berg Publishers, 2010)

Introduction: The development of the anthropology of tourism is anchored in the anthropology of hospitality. Interdisciplinary research further highlights just closely these are related to other disciplines; in this case history and theology. Benefits are also to be gained from multidisciplinary analysis of hospitality and tourism.

When investigating contemporary hospitality sometimes there is the opportunity contextualise the investigation in the past in order to more fully understand the present; this opportunity to explore the historical dimension is often ignored, overlooked or misunderstood by some hospitality researchers resulting in flawed rhetoric, and work with little or no empirical research. However, recent advances in hospitality research have included the development of the hospitality conceptual lens that offers a potential framework for organising and presenting data. It has also provided the basis for the development of the dynamic Host-Guest Transaction Model, which allows the hospitality transaction between the host and the guest to be illustrated and explored. More importantly the model also assists with the understanding of the underpinning complexity within hospitality relationships.

An overview of the approaches to investigating biblical hospitality highlight the problems associated with this type of research. The example of monastic hospitality shows that contemporary monastic hospitality has its foundations in much earlier practices and anthropological accounts. This is partly achieved by tracing hospitality back to one of its classical roots: the Judeo-Christian Bible. This chapter then is not about the evolution of commercial hospitality; it focuses on the hospitality phenomenon as it subsists within the monastic environment.

Click here to read/download this article from the University of Strathclyde

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