Brill Encyclopedia of Early Christianity Online

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The ideal of Christian piety, which appears as foolishness and madness to uninitiated onlookers, acquired great popularity in early Christian Byzantium. Apparent and feigned madness, simple-mindedness, and folly came to be seen as the most radical expression of the Christian position of dissociation from worldly concerns and therefore as virtue and holiness. This ideal provided foundation for the…

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Kobets, Svitlana, “Foolishness”, in: Brill Encyclopedia of Early Christianity Online, General Editor David G. Hunter, Paul J.J. van Geest, Bert Jan Lietaert Peerbolte. Consulted online on 03 October 2023 <>
First published online: 2018

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