Holy Fools In Byzantium And Beyond

Hardcover | June 13, 2006

bySergey A. IvanovTranslated bySimon Franklin

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There are saints in Orthodox Christian culture who overturn the conventional concept of sainthood. Their conduct may be unruly and salacious, they may blaspheme and even kill - yet, mysteriously, those around them treat them with even more reverence. Such saints are called 'holy fools'. Inthis pioneering study Sergey A. Ivanov examines the phenomenon of holy foolery from a cultural standpoint. He identifies its prerequisites and its development in religious thought, and traces the emergence of the first hagiographic texts describing these paradoxical saints. He describes thebeginnings of holy foolery in Egyptian monasteries of the fifth century, followed by its high point in the cities of Byzantium, with an eventual decline in the twelfth to fourteenth centuries. He also compares the important Russian tradition of holy fools, which in some form has survived to thisday.

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There are saints in Orthodox Christian culture who overturn the conventional concept of sainthood. Their conduct may be unruly and salacious, they may blaspheme and even kill - yet, mysteriously, those around them treat them with even more reverence. Such saints are called 'holy fools'. Inthis pioneering study Sergey A. Ivanov examines...

Sergey A. Ivanov is Senior Research Associate, Institute of Slavic and Balkan Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences.

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:496 pages, 8.5 × 5.43 × 1.21 inPublished:June 13, 2006Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199272514

ISBN - 13:9780199272518

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Table of Contents

Introduction1. The Precursors and Emergence of Holy Foolery2. Early Holy Foolery3. The Golden Age of Holy Foolery4. The Decline of Byzantine Holy Foolery5. Holy Foolery's Eastern Periphery6. Holy Foolery's Western Periphery7. Old Russian Iurodstvo8. The Iurodivyi and the Tsar9. Iurodstvo in Transition10. Iurodstvo Meets Modernity

Editorial Reviews

"The author's erudition is as amazing as the fascinating 'story' he tells, and we should appreciate the great efforts of the translator."--Ludwig Steindorff, The Russian Review "Ivanov gives an impressionistic overview of similar forms of religious foolery in Islamic culture and in medieval Western Christianity. Ivanov's study presents a very broad and in-depth examination of the unique tradition of holy foolery in Byzantium and Russia, which mkaes it a must-read for anyone interested in this phenomenon and in the broader historical scope of Byzantine and Russian Orthodox religion and culture." --Slavic and East European Journal