Chapter

Folly from East to Far West

John Saward

in Perfect Fools

Published in print December 1980 | ISBN: 9780192132307
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191670046 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780192132307.003.0003
Folly from East to Far West

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This chapter discusses the connection between Irish and Eastern folly. Early Christian Ireland had the most thoroughgoing monastic Church in Christendom. Folly became a feature of its spirituality and fools the regular companions of monks. The constant association of monks with fools, lepers, and outcasts preserved a sense of monastic marginality, a fervent resistance to conformity to the wisdom of the world. This is one of the key elements in Eastern folly, and it may be this generalized sense, rather than a completely developed hagiographical category of ‘holy fool’, which is most characteristic in early Irish Christianity.

Keywords: Ireland; holy folly; holy fools; Irish asceticism; Irish Christianity

Chapter.  6919 words. 

Subjects: Christian Theology

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