Cistercian Studies Quarterly, founded in 1966, is an international review of the Christian monastic and contemplative spiritual tradition. It is a peer reviewed journal. Issues often include studies of the early desert tradition, Cassian, the Rule of Saint Benedict, Gregory the Great, Bernard of Clairvaux, Ælred of Rievaulx, and other Cistercian men and women from the twelfth century to the present. CSQ also features a wide spectrum of contemporary essays and book reviews. Sample articles can be viewed in Current and Recent Issues.
A Cumulative Index of all articles by author and title is available online. All articles from CSQ, from the first issue onward, are now available online through the ATLA database, available at many universities.
At only $40 per year and averaging 136 pages per issue, CSQ is exceptionally affordable. See ordering instructions under Subscriptions.
Cistercian Studies Quarterly began as an offshoot of Collectanea, a review of monastic spirituality and history published under the auspices of the Cistercian Order of the Strict Observance (OCSO) since 1934. Though primarily a French language publication, for many years Collectanea included occasional articles in English.
In 1965 the board of directors of Collectanea decided to separate the articles in English from those in French and have two journals. At first, the idea was to have the same articles in both reviews, but soon it was felt better to have original articles as well as translations in English in Cistercian Studies, and thus Cistercian Studies Quarterly was founded in 1966.
Thomas Merton was proposed as the first editor of the English journal. However, in August of 1965, after many years of desiring a more eremitical form of life, Fr. Louis was granted permission to live fulltime in a hermitage at Gethsemani. After due consideration, Dom James Fox felt this special vocation precluded him from being editor of the journal.
The first issue of Cistercian Studies appeared in the fall of 1966 (only two numbers were published in that year), describing itself as a "quarterly review dealing with monastic spirituality published in collaboration with Collectanea Cisterciensia," under the editorship of Dom Samson (James) Wicksteed, abbot of Caldey Abbey in Wales. CSQ's editorship remained at Caldey through 1981. Since then CSQ's editors have been members of various OCSO monasteries in the United States.
In 1981 Abbot Thomas Davis of New Clairvaux Abbey in California, who was president of the United States Region, was approached by Frs. Charles Dumont and Maur Standaert regarding the possibility of Cistercian Studies being published in the States. After some consultation in the Region, it was finally decided to bring it to the Abbey of Gethsemani with Br. Patrick Hart as editor. There it remained for the next decade.
Initially patterned on Collectanea, Cistercian Studies Quarterly gradually became independent. Although it was originally intended as a forum for monastic authors and readers, from its early years the journal has included contributions from university and independent scholars. This collaboration has increased notably since the early 1990s in terms of both authorship and involvement in editorial responsibilities. The name was changed to Cistercian Studies Quarterly since there was a conflict with the Cistercian Studies Series published by Cistercian Publications at Kalamazoo.
In 1991, the journal under the new title was transferred to New Clairvaux Abbey with Fr. John-Baptist Porter as editor. It was at this time that Dr. Marsha L. Dutton became associate editor, a position she has held through to the present.
In 1995 the journal was taken over by Holy Trinity Abbey at Huntsville, Utah under Fr. Charles Cummings's editorship.
In 2002, the journal made a full circle, returning to Gethsemani under the joint editorship of Fr. Charles Cummings and Br. Patrick Hart during the interim period preceding the General Chapter in October 2002, during which Fr. Elias Dietz was chosen to be the new editor of the journal. He served as editor from 2003 through 2007.
CSQ found a home at Genesee when Fr. John Eudes Bamberger served as editor of CSQ 2007 through 2009.
It returned to Gethsemani when Mark Scott, who was editor of Cistercian Publications, also became editor 2009 through 2013, when he became superior ad nutum of New Melleray.
It then moved to Wrentham when Sr. Edith Scholl became its editor from 2013 until her death in 2017.
After Sr. Edith's death, Marsha Dutton served as interim editor 2017-2018.
The journal returned again to Gethsemani when Fr. Lawrence Morey became its editor in 2018.
For a more complete account of CSQ's history see Br. Patrick Hart's 2003 article, "A Note on the Origins and Subsequent History of Cistercian Studies Quarterly," available here in PDF format.