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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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God's Jesters: The Cistercians

God's Jesters: The Cistercians

(p.58) 5 God's Jesters: The Cistercians
Perfect Fools

John Saward

Oxford University Press

‘Holy madness’ for the Cistercian Fathers, the rationale of their extremist renewal, is grounded in the dogmas of the Incarnation and Redemption. Thus union with God, growth in grace, and sanctification must involve an increase in these hard virtues and participation in the excess and foolishness of God. This chapter explores the mystery of holy folly in models or archetypes of Christian perfection which Cistercian Fathers saw in the child, the idiot, the pauper, the humiliated man, and the fool.

Keywords:   holy folly, holy fools, Cistercian Fathers, child, idiot, pauper, humiliated man

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