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Folly, Holy
(287 words)

[German Version]

The Eastern Church, following 1 Cor 4:10ff., describes as such the ascetic practice of publicly exposing oneself to mistreatment and isolation through feigned mental incapacity and, thus, of protecting oneself from the danger of popular admiration. It presumes a Christian environment and the absence of institutions for the mentally ill. Holy folly appeared first in the 4th century in a nun in Egypt, then occasionally in the Near East; it came to Russia in the 11th century and reached its greate…

Cite this page
Hauptmann, Peter, “Folly, Holy”, in: Religion Past and Present. Consulted online on 28 November 2020 <>
First published online: 2011
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004146662, 2006-2013

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