Stunningly naïve or great marketing?
‘[T]he hermit tradition reached its pinnacle in Simeon Stylites. After such monastic achievements that he was expelled from a monastery to save the lives of his imitators, his cave was constantly besieged by fans. So, failing to escape outwardly from the world, he escaped upwardly. He took to living on a ten-foot pillar, but of course (whether you call it stunningly naïve or great marketing) this only swelled the crowds. So he extended it, until he was sixty feet in the air, and Syria’s major tourist attraction – the first hermit, it has been said, to achieve solitary confinement in public ... He finally descended after thirty-six years, dead’ !!
A Short History of Christianity (Oxford, Lion: 2005), by Stephen Tomkins, p. 56.
This is a helpful, short, lively and amusing account of Church history, even if Tomkins seems to have more time detailing the undisputable negatives, than mentioning the also indisputable positives. Still, it makes for the occasional chuckle!