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Holy Foolishness in Russia

New Perspectives

edited by

Publication Year: 2011

Published by: Slavica Publishers

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. vii

The editors would like to thank the College of Humanities and Fine Arts, University of Massachusetts, Amherst and the Five Colleges Incorporated for financial contributions supporting editorial and translation work for this volume; the Hilandar Research Library and the Resource Center for Medieval Slavic Studies at The Ohio State...

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Holy Foolishness as a Key to Russian Culture

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pp. 1-14

The Byzantine ascetic, Symeon, after many years as a desert recluse, engaged in a specific form of behavior to announce his new public vocation as a holy fool. He entered the city of Emesa in rags, dragging a dead dog behind him, according to his seventh-century hagiographer He not only earned the jeers and blows of the neighborhood...

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Lice in the Iron Cap: Holy Foolishness in Perspective

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pp. 15-40

Iurodstvo (iurods tvo Khrista radi), or holy foolishness for Christ's sake, is a peculiar form of Eastern Orthodox asceticism whose practitioners, iurodivye Khrista radi (later referred to as iurodivye, holy fools, fools for Christ's sake, fools in Christ), feign madness in order to provide the public with spiritual guidance yet shun praise...

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Laughter as Spectacle

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pp. 41-53

Old Russian iurodstvo, or holy foolishness for Christ's sake, is a complex and multifaceted phenomenon, which has mainly been d escribed by Church historians. Since holy foolishness occupies an intermediate position between the world of laughter [smekhovoi mir] and the religious culture, the confines of the Church history...

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Holy Foolishness as Spectacle

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pp. 54-98

At the end of the seventeenth century, a brief vita of Maksim of Moscow was compiled; according to legend, this holy fool was a contemporary of Prince Vasilii Vasil'evich "the Dark" [Teminyi]. The author of Maksim's short vita, which was written to celebrate the translation of the saint's relics, knew..

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Holy Foolishness as Social Protest

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pp. 99-147

Holy foolishness has long been associated with the exposure of social vices. Hagiographers repeatedly underscore this connection, as do travelers to Russia in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, including the thoughtful and attentive Englishman Giles Fletcher. In his observations about Russian society...

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The Fool and the King: The Vita of Andrew of Constantinople and Russian Urban Holy Foolishness

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pp. 149-224

A. M. Panchenko in his essay "Laughter as Spectacle" identifies the special relationship between holy fool and ruler in the Russian tradition of urban holy foolishness. He notes that the fool's public display of uncouth and provocative behavior could occur equally before king and commoner and for...

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The Absence of Holy Fools from Medieval Bulgarian Calendars

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pp. 225-244

The role of holy fools in the Russian Orthodox hagiographic tradition has been studied closely since the nineteenth century, and specialists, including my colleagues contributing to this volume, have offered eloquent and compelling explanations for their popularity and influence on Russian culture...

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Isaakii of the Kiev Caves Monastery: An Ascetic Feigning Madness or a Madman-Turned-Saint?

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pp. 245-268

The ambiguity of Isaakii's hagiographic and canonical status is reflected in the debates over his ascetic identity. In a number of scholarly and ecclesiastical discussions of iurodstvo, or holy foolery, Isaakii figures as the first Russian holy fool. In contrast to this opinion, however, a number of scholars...

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Simon of lurievets and the Hagiography of Old Russian Holy Fools

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pp. 269-280

The first vitae of holy fools were written retrospectively, i.e., on the basis of preexisting popular legend or miracle cults, well after the fool's alleged existence. These vitae invariably consisted of literary cliches and did not carry any verifiable information. By the end of the sixteenth century, the remarkable...

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The Unmerry Widow: The Blessed Kseniia of Petersburg in Hagiography and Hymnography

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pp. 281-304

Saints are often called "pillars of faith" in the Orthodox hymn tradition and they serve as such for believers. While the image of pillars implies steadiness and immutability, the saint's image may undergo significant evolutions as social contexts change and different political and spiritual needs arise. These...

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Illustrations to the Vita of Andrew the Holy Fool of Constantinople in the Tradition of Russian Old Believers

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pp. 305-327

The Vita of Andrew the Holy Fool of Constantinople (hereafter VAndrew) occupies a prominent place in Old Russian hagiographic literature, in the visual arts tradition, and in the life of the Russian people The Old Believers played a dominant role in guaranteeing this vita's continuing impact because of their...

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An Illuminated Vita of Andrew the Fool of Constantinople from the Hilandar Research Library at Ohio State University: Preliminary Notes on the Manuscript and Illuminations

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pp. 329-336

The illumina ted vita of a saint is a special genre, which differs from the genre of "vita per se" as, in addition to the text that relates the story, it contains images that do not simply supply its interpretation but can also be seen as a story in its own right. The latter is influenced by the period of its creation, the...

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The Pathos of Holy Foolishness in the Leningrad Underground

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pp. 337-352

During the 1950s-70s, after Stalin's death, unofficial literature emerged and thrived in Leningrad. The majority of its representatives were young poets who came from a variety of backgrounds and did not belong to the Soviet Writers' Union. On the one hand, these writers exhibited provocative, subversive...

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Holy Foolishness and Postmodern Culture

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pp. 353-372

Iurodstvo, holy foolishness-in-Christ has become a popular concept in Russia since the fall of the Soviet Union. This article focuses on the uses of this concept in the post-Soviet period and considers the reasons for its popularity. It is concerned not with the uses of iurodstvo in the Church today, where it is...

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From Stylization to Parody: The Paradigm of Holy Foolishness (iurodstvo) in Contemporary Russian Performance Art

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pp. 373-389

Various studies on the paradigm of holy foolishness (iurodstvo) in contemporary Russian literature and culture have appeared in the last few years The literary journey of the fool for Christ starts off in Byzantium and ends in modern Russian literature, where he first appears in the guise of Pushkin's...

Image Plates

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Selected Bibliography

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pp. 391-405

Back Cover

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E-ISBN-13: 9780893578831
E-ISBN-10: 0893578835
Print-ISBN-13: 9780893573836
Print-ISBN-10: 0893573833

Publication Year: 2011