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Perfect FoolsFolly for Christ's Sake in Catholic and Orthodox Spirituality$
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John Saward

Print publication date: 1980

Print ISBN-13: 9780192132307

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780192132307.001.0001

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Joy, Mirth, and Folly in the Hermits of the Eleventh Century

Joy, Mirth, and Folly in the Hermits of the Eleventh Century

(p.48) 4 Joy, Mirth, and Folly in the Hermits of the Eleventh Century
Perfect Fools

John Saward

Oxford University Press

In 11th-century western Europe there was a reawakening of interest in the solitary life. Not surprisingly, its main protagonists have much to say about the wisdom of a life which looks like sheer lunacy. The folly of the hermits is not a species of fanaticism, rather there is a gay, joyful, almost humorous quality in their writings and the accounts of their lives. This chapter explores the ‘merriment of the heart’ and folly for Christ's sake in the eremitical spirituality of the West in the 11th century, and especially in St. Romuald, St. Peter Damian, and the founders of the Carthusian Order.

Keywords:   holy fools, holy folly, hermits, St. Romuald, St. Peter Damian, Carthusian Order, monastic life, sprituality

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