Genesis of Foolishness in the Byzantine TraditionSharabarina Evgeniya
In this article, an attempt was made to make a preliminary religious analysis of the phenomenon of foolishness from the perspective of the modern methodology of the Dutch researcher J. Waardenburg. It was noted that earlier in the Russian science of religion, this phenomenon practically did not become an independent object of study. The systematic concept of J. Waardenburg assumes a consistent consideration of religious facts from the perspective of four approaches of equal importance: historical, comparative, contextual and hermeneutic. The collection and primary analysis of empirical data is a necessary and preliminary condition for a full-fledged study of the phenomenon of foolishness. Foolishness arises in Byzantine society and is perceived ambiguously by the contemporaries. The article indicates the sources of the phenomenon of foolishness in the Byzantine tradition: ancient cynicism in the person of Diogenes Laertius, healed the demoniacs who spend a lot of time near temples, Old Testament prophets. This work also reflects the historical process of the gradual separation of foolishness as an independent rank of holiness. Its biblical justification is the multiple references on the pages of the Gospel to the madness of the world and the wisdom of the unwise. The fact that the foolishness was known to the culture of the Romans is evidenced by the fact of the spread of the phenomenon of false ugliness, which the official Church tried to fight. The reason for the appearance of foolishness in Byzantium can be called the extinction of spiritual life after its rise in the first centuries of the spread of Christianity. The tradition of honoring extraordinary ascetics, as well as the formation of iconography, was slow. Only at the end of the VIII century the process began to gain momentum, which was connected with the approval at the Seventh Ecumenical Council of the veneration of saints as a necessary element of Christian dogmatics. In the Byzantine Church, six holy fools were canonized. Despite their small number, the hagiographic literature of Christian ascetics of the first centuries often offers examples of episodic foolishness. The article concludes that the genesis of foolishness in the Byzantine tradition required a long time for its development. In Russian culture the phenomenon of foolishness has found its full-fledged development, becoming an integral part of Russian culture. The author assumes, that this phenomenon requires its further empirical study as an objective religious fact.