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a heretical form of religious mysticism founded by Miguel de MolinosMolinos, Miguel de
, 1640–1697?, Spanish priest and mystic. He was the founder of quietism, which he adhered to in its most extreme form. From 1669 he lived principally at Rome.
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, a 17th-century Spanish priest. Molinism, or quietism, developed within the Roman Catholic Church in Spain and spread especially to France, where its most influential exponent was Madame GuyonGuyon, Jeanne Marie Bouvier de la Motte
, 1648–1717, French mystic and author of writings dealing largely with quietism. Confined by the government (1688) in a convent because of her heretical opinions and her correspondence with Miguel de Molinos, she was released through
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. She preached her doctrines to members of the French aristocracy, winning a convert and friend in Madame de MaintenonMaintenon, Françoise d'Aubigné, marquise de
, 1635–1719, second wife of the French king Louis XIV. Her grandfather was Théodore Agrippa d'Aubigné, the Huguenot hero.
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, Louis XIV's second wife, and an ally in Archbishop FénelonFénelon, François de Salignac de la Mothe
, 1651–1715, French theologian and writer, a leader of the quietism heresy, archbishop of Cambrai. As tutor to the duke of Burgundy, he wrote Télémaque
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. Another quietist was Antoinette BourignonBourignon, Antoinette
, 1616–80, Flemish Christian mystic, adherent of quietism. In 1636 she fled from home to avoid a marriage urged by her father, spent a short time in a convent, and was in charge (1653–62) of an orphanage.
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. The essence of quietism is that perfection lies in the complete passivity of the soul before God and the absorption of the individual in the divine love to the point of annihilation not only of will but of all effort or desire for effort. Molinos talked about an entire cessation of self-consciousness, and Madame Guyon maintained that she could not sin, for sin was self, and she had rid herself of self. Molinos and his doctrines were condemned by Pope Innocent XI in 1687. A commission in France found most of Madame Guyon's works intolerable, and in 1699 Pope Innocent XII prohibited the circulation of Fénelon's book, the Maxims of the Saints.


See W. Backhouse and J. Janson, comp., Guide to True Peace … Composed Chiefly of Writings of Fénelon, Guyon, and Molinos (1946).

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



a religious and ethical teaching that propounds a contemplative mystical attitude toward the world, passivity, tranquility of spirit, complete subordination to the will of god, and indifference toward good and evil, heaven and hell. Quietism emerged at the end of the 17th century within Catholicism; it expressed the rise of moods of opposition to the pope and a hostile attitude toward the Jesuits. The ideas of quietism were developed by the Spanish priest M. de Molinos (1628–96), who published in Rome in 1675 the book A Spiritual Guide. According to the teaching the soul, having accepted all suffering and having renounced the world, plunges fully into god’s love.

The Catholic Church, and especially the Jesuits, reacted strongly to quietism. In 1685, Molinos was imprisoned, and 68 postulates of the teaching were condemned as heresy. Molinos’ ideas were developed by his follower in France, J. de la M. Guyon (1648–1717), who was defended by Bishop F. Fénelon. However, a special church commission headed by J. B. Bossuet condemned quietism as an immoral heretical teaching and brought about Guyon’s imprisonment in the Bastille. Elements of the teaching are also manifested in 18th-century Lutheran pietism.

The term “quietism” has acquired another, more general, meaning as a synonym for passivity, nonresistance, and abstention from any activity. In this meaning many see in it the characteristic peculiarity of many Eastern religions. Lenin, finding elements of quietism in Tolstoyism, sharply criticized attempts at idealizing them (see Poln. sobr. soch., 5th ed., vol. 20, p. 104).


Scharling, C. E. Michael de Molinos: Ein Bild aus der Kirchengeschichte des siebzehnten Jahrhunderts. Gotha, 1855.
Heppe, H. Geschichte der quietistischen Mystik in der katholischen Kirche. Berlin, 1875.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


a form of religious mysticism originating in Spain in the late 17th century, requiring withdrawal of the spirit from all human effort and complete passivity to God's will
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
But even quietists who deny that all the RKRs of constitutive activities provide normative RKRs posit a brute connection.
These are among the prominent teachers in the top Ja'fari seminary in Qom, all belonging to the Quietist School.
The WuF concept is opposed by the quietists as well as the Sunni world (see Part 67 in sbme3IrqWuF-Mar21-11, and news23IrnWuF-FateJun6-11 & news2TurkSaudiJuly11-11).
Ward, as Professor Ward points out, minimized Guyon's influence, arguing that there was nothing "distinctive" in her Quietist mysticism.
Sistani and most other senior Ja'fari theologians belong to the quietist school in Shi'ism.
Internally, the theocracy's legitimacy remains in hot dispute between advocates of Khamenei's application of Wilatat ul-Faqih (WuF - i.e, the rule of a chosen guide who claims to represent God through deputising for the missing 12th Imam al-Mahdi) and both the nationalist camp to which Ahmadi-Nejad belongs and those quietist theologians who argue that religious men should not rule.
With respect to social activism, the 1857-58 revival either changed nothing or drew people like Phoebe Palmer more exclusively toward preaching and piety or (in the case of the rededicated Frederic Dan Huntington) gave them no new purchase, theoretical or practical, upon either quietists' or activists' attention.
To the quietists, speaking for the silent majority, it is "forbidden for any individual or group to rule over the faithful in the absence of the 12th Imam, the holy al-Mahdi, who is in a state of occultation (from the 9th century AD) and is expected to return to Earth together with Issa (Jesus Christ - see a detailed background of al-Mahdi via Google).
The free nationalist Shi'ites (al-Ahrar) in Lebanon is a Ja'fari movement backed by the quietists and opposed to Hizbullah and the WuF concept.
Opened and hosted by President Bush, a Republican whose term ends in early 2009, this conference unleashed all fronts in world politics: diplomacy versus violence, an Arab state in Palestine Vs a Jewish state in Israel, the hawks Vs doves in Palestine and Israel, Arab Vs "Persian", quietists of Najaf Vs Tehran's theocracy in Shi'ism, a modern Muslim state Vs a Neo-Salafi caliphate in Sunnism, and the moderates Vs radicals in the world (see news23-AnnapolisOpensAllFrontsDec3-07).
The majority in this community is opposed to Iran's Wilayat ul-Faqih (WuF) concept of rule; and the spiritual leaders of this "silent majority" are either quietists opposed to WuF as in the case of Sadr's clan and his successor, the late Ayatullah Muhammad-Mahdi Shemseddin and his clan, or secular like ex-speaker Kamel al-Ass'ad and his clan and the followers of the late ex-speaker Sabri Hamade (see news9Iran-WuFvsUS-Mar2-09 and news5IRGC-Aug3-09).