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

John Saward

in Perfect Fools

Published in print December 1980 | ISBN: 9780192132307
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191670046 | DOI:
Joy, Mirth, and Folly in the Hermits of the Eleventh Century

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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

Chapter.  3966 words. 

Subjects: Christian Theology

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