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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).



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.



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
References in periodicals archive ?
Tensions between Iraq's quietist Arab Ja'faris and Iran's theocracy began as soon as the US invaded this country in March 2003.
While the quietists are respected in the Sunni world, supremacist theologians like Ayatullah Ahmad Jannati regard Bahrain as part of Iran and say its Ja'fari majority must topple its Sunni ruler and have a theocracy under Tehran's guidance.
The Ibadiyya arose from the quietists of Basra who rejected the extremist policies of Nafi' b.
For example, the Grand Ayatullahs of Najaf who together form the Hawza (collective religious authority), are followers of the quietist school.
Sistani and most other senior Ja'fari theologians belong to the quietist school in Shi'ism.
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.
To the quietists, political power corrupts and those involved tend to be blinded to the danger of losing the trust of the people as the crisis in Iran is showing.
For the Sayyid, such quietists were unbelievers who deserved to be killed and the degeneration of the Sayyid's jihad into a bloody intra-Somali civil war cannot but have had some impact on the fortunes of the Qadiriyya.
He disagrees with the Wittgensteinian quietists or therapists or metaphysicians, claiming that in Wittgenstein's later work no attempt is made to address what Popper called 'the demarcation problem--tracing the border between good science and bad metaphysics.
The quietists are strongly opposed to the use of force or being armed.
Where the quietists are concerned, political power corrupts and those involved tend to be blinded to the danger of losing the trust of their people as the crisis in Iran is showing.
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).