Simplicity, or the Terror of Belief: The Making and Unmaking of the Self in Early Christian Monasticism
The article focuses on ancient Christian monasticism. The simplicity admired and practiced by the early Christian monks, so often construed as a first order naiveté or credulity devoid of depth or subtlety, in fact contained and expressed a complex range of thought and feeling. More than this, it was, at least in its most mature expressions, a hard won achievement, realized only through a costly and demanding process of relinquishment. Ancient Christian monks actually did realize on occasion a simplicity that embodied a beautiful freedom and transparency. But such simplicity rarely came to expression in a life except through intense and costly, even terrifying, personal struggle. To realize such simplicity in one's life meant living through a kind of death.
Christie, Douglas E. “Simplicity, or the Terror of Belief: The Making and Unmaking of the Self in Early Christian Monasticisim.” Cistercian Studies Quarterly 40.4 (2005): 353-64. Print.