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Sacred Folly – A New History of the Feast of Fools - Cornell Scholarship Online
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Sacred Folly: A New History of the Feast of Fools

Max Harris


For centuries, the Feast of Fools has been condemned and occasionally celebrated as a disorderly, even transgressive Christian festival. The problem with this popular account, is that it is wrong. This book rewrites the history of the Feast of Fools, showing that it developed in the late twelfth and early thirteenth centuries as an elaborate and orderly liturgy for the day of the Circumcision (1 January)—serving as a dignified alternative to rowdy secular New Year festivities. The intent of the feast was not mockery but thanksgiving for the incarnation of Christ. Prescribed role reversals, in ... More

Keywords: thanksgiving, Feast of Fools, Circumcision, clergy, divine office, France, incarnation, Christ, festivities, liturgy

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2011 Print ISBN-13: 9780801449567
Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016 DOI:10.7591/cornell/9780801449567.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Max Harris, author
University of Wisconsin-Madison

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