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Jamie Kreiner on What Monks Teach Us about Distraction

Renee Bright / Wikimedia Commons
KUER / Wikimedia Commons

Today, it’s received wisdom that screens ruined our ability to concentrate. But Medieval monks were obsessed with distraction, too — and the stakes were higher.

In the minds of early Christian ascetics, distraction was sinful — it pulled you away from God. So, monks of that era devoted much of their time to trying to overcome it, setting demanding physical and spiritual routines for themselves. In her new book, the historian Jamie Kreiner explores these Medieval methods of concentration, linking those efforts to our own, modern battles with distraction. She joins us this Friday at noon.


  • Jamie Kreiner, professor of history at the University of Georgia, author of “The Wandering Mind: What Medieval Monks Tell Us About Distraction” [Amazon|Bookshop].

Airdate: Friday, Feb. 17, 2023 at 12 p.m. and Saturday, Feb. 18, at 11 a.m.

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