From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
WikiProject Religion (Rated C-class)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject Religion, a project to improve Wikipedia's articles on Religion-related subjects. Please participate by editing the article, and help us assess and improve articles to good and 1.0 standards, or visit the wikiproject page for more details.
C-Class article C  This article has been rated as C-Class on the project's quality scale.
 ???  This article has not yet received a rating on the project's importance scale.
WikiProject Christianity (Rated C-class, Mid-importance)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject Christianity, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of Christianity on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks.
C-Class article C  This article has been rated as C-Class on the project's quality scale.
 Mid  This article has been rated as Mid-importance on the project's importance scale.


I removed the circular wiki on anchorite, as it simply rdirected to this page. If someone wants to help define the distinctions on this page, that would be great. JHCC 14:04, 20 Apr 2005 (UTC)

It ought to be kept, because it is a subject it its own right, cf. the medieval anchoresses who lived in bricked up cells adjoining a church with just a small opening to listen to Holy Mass and receive Holy Communion. Someone may get round to writing it up. 20:11, 18 July 2006 (UTC)


I have a strong feeling that the Greek philosopher Heraclitus was not only a hermit, but a very influential pre-Socratic philosopher. Being my favorite western philosopher, I probably couldn't describe him with NPOV, but I think someone should. Just a thought. Rokenrol 20:45, 16 Apr 2005 (UTC)


What is Diogenes doing here? Even if an ascetic and cynic (in the classical) sense, he was hardly a hermit. -- Jussi-Ville Heiskanen 05:41, Dec 16, 2003 (UTC)


"John Chrysostom examplifies a misogynous hermit; he said that it was preferable to remain single than to have to bear the burden of a woman (among other contemptuous concepts on women)"

Can't say I agree with many of John Chrysostom views, but describing his views as "contemptuous" seems to break NPOV.

Aecarol 20:12, 4 Jul 2004 (UTC)

Actually, I think perhaps the author of that statement meant to say "views that hold women in contempt." However, I also have to say that this is the first time that I have seen being a hermit treated exclusively as a psychological illness. As far as I know, the term hermit is not most commonly used among people to refer to someone suffering from a psychological illness! The article seems to be based almost exclusively on the thought of Richard Freiherr von Krafft-Ebing, and I think it may be NPOV for the reason that it does not reflect a plurality of even commonly held viewpoints or really provides much description of hermits or their motivations for being hermits outside of a diagnosis of their "mental illness." I think most of the content present in the current article should be subordinated to other information in a new article, which describes objectively what a hermit is and expresses the viewpoints presented in this article along with others in the body of the description.

Of course, it is always easier to express the work that has to be done but much more difficult to actually do it, so guess what I'm not going to do :P ? Sorry, but I probably am not qualified anyways to do it. --Conwiktion 14:42, 9 Sep 2004 (UTC)

There's some confusion here between "hermit" and ascetic. A hermit (in the religious context) is an ascetic who retreats into solitude to escape the temptations that come with contact with other people. On the other hand, it is possible to live a life of ascetiscm either in community with other ascetics (as in a large monastery) or as part of society as a whole. While John Chrysostom was certainly ascetic, he was by no means a hermit (hard to do if you are the bishop of the capital of the eastern Roman Empire!); Anthony the Great was definitely a hermit, at least until disciples started gathering around him. JHCC 21:26, 22 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Agree with JHCC's point. Also, I don't understand the assertion that being a hermit is described in the article as being a "mental illness". It seems to me that the author who wrote that is reading too much into the article. Perhaps it's been changed since that comment, but the current article in no way equates being a hermit with suffering from a form of mental illness.

Look into the history of this article, especially before & after Cnp8's edits. Before she/he made the changes, the article clearly suggested that hermits were either sex perverts or psychotics, and quoted von Krafft-Ebing that religious feeling was a form of hysteria (which I doubt is included in DSM-IV, at least how von Krafft-Ebing appears to use the term). It was clearly POV, & is much less so now. Perhaps the label can now be removed?
(P.S., could people please sign their comments? Thanks.) -- llywrch 04:41, 28 Dec 2004 (UTC)

What about Thoreau?[edit]

Does anyone agree with me that Thoreau should be mentioned? I didn't see him in there. He wasn't entirely a hermit or ascetic but he was deffinitally kind of secluded and obstained from alot of things, such as consumerism and all that nifty stuff... I mean c'mon, he lived in the woods in a cabin he made himself and grew beans all year round. Sounds kinda hermit-ish if you ask me!

Perhaps sparked by Thoureau, it was modish in the 1800s among landed New Englanders to have a hermit living on their estate. Somebody might want to explore that topic. -KJJ

  • I don't think Thoreau should be here. He lived along the main path to Walden Pond, had many visitors from the path, went into town often to visit with friends, and ate at his mother's house on the weekends. I don't think this qualifies as a hermit, "a person who lives to some greater or lesser degree in seclusion and/or isolation from society." I do believe he was an ascetic, but I don't think he belongs here. 17:27, 18 August 2005 (UTC)

  • Thoreau was definitely a hermit by even liberal definitions. During his experiment he spent most of his time isolated from people at Walden Pond but like most hermits was never really able to be completely shut off from society (many hermits said this was not necessarily a bad thing (ie. the Desert Fathers.) Also of some significance is that Peter France in his book Hermits features Thoreau. I don't think any collection of hermits would be complete without him. 17:23, 6 March 2007 (UTC)

Systemic Bias[edit]

It seems to me that this page nearly violates NPOV, though unintentionally through a systemic bias, because it only gives comprehensive coverage to the Christian religious hermetic tradition. Secular hermetic history abounds and a secular context constitutes the vast majority of modern usage of the term, but it is treated as a secondary subject here.VanTucky 19:32, 6 May 2007 (UTC)

I totally agree. I am hardly ignorant, but I have never heard of a "religous" hermit. So why should what is to most people a secondary meaning dominate a whole page, not once mentioning any real "modern-day" hermits, certainly not the cave dwellers that the mention of the word brings to mind. Liamoliver 21:48, 17 June 2007 (UTC)

I would say rather that to downplay the Christian heremitic tradition -- which is, after all, the source of the word -- would be to bias the article toward a US-centric POV. In other parts of the world, the Christian meaning is the primary meaning.
In any event, these are two distinct meanings of the word. That this article covers the Christian meaning as primary is a consequence of editors with an interest in that meaning getting here first. Hermit (disambiguation) has a line for the sense you want covered, but it just points to here for some reason. I suggest making Hermit the disambiguation page, with Hermit (religious) containing the bulk of the content here, and Hermit (social) covering the subject you feel is inadequately addressed. TCC (talk) (contribs) 23:57, 17 June 2007 (UTC)
US-centric point of view? I've always been strongly opposed to "US-centric" points of view on Wikipedia, but I live eight time zones away and I can tell you that hermit's religous definition is hardly prevelant. I wouldn't imagine any people think of this definition when they hear the word. Liamoliver 20:02, 20 June 2007 (UTC)
It becomes very difficult to follow a thread when posts are split, so I moved your comment.
When I think of a hermit, I think of the religious meaning first and I find it astonishing that you've never encountered it before. I did propose a compromise, so what do you think? TCC (talk) (contribs) 21:32, 20 June 2007 (UTC)
TCC, having just tried to clarify certain matters in this article, I support your suggestion of splitting the subject into "Hermits (religious)" and "Hermits (social)". But that's not all that's needed. For example, the article on religious hermits would benefit from further competent contributions. In addition, under the Christian heading, sub-dividing according to denominations may also be helpful, as there are some technical aspects (e.g. Canon Law) that presumably do not apply to all Christian denominations. 10:35, 6 July 2007 (UTC)
Must add my weight to the view that this page is christian centric. Until I read it I had never associated the word 'hermit' with any religion but the article implies that hermit is a state specific to christianity. Maybe the page should be forked into Hermit_Christian and Hermit_Solitary pages. I disagree with the US centric comments, I think that 'US' is being used as a synonym for christian in these comments. Mtpaley (talk) 21:54, 1 November 2009 (UTC)

I definitely agree this article is Christian centric. China has the longest hermit tradition in the world, dating back to its shamanism days circa 3000 BCE, yet there is no mention of it at all Karma Chakra (talk) 02:55, 5 February 2010 (UTC)

-There is an obvious Christian bias to this article. 98% of the page is about Christainity and 2% on "other religions". In pretty much every eastern religion I can think of the concept of a hermit is more important than it is in the Abraham religions (Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, etc.) In any case, the word hermit is a characteristically secular term. There are, as previous comments have said, plenty of examples of secular hermits. Clearly, this subject needs separation (for example "Hermits in X Religion" and "Hermit (secular)" — Preceding unsigned comment added by Ration (talkcontribs) 09:18, 24 October 2011 (UTC)

"Stafford historian James Johnson"[edit]

The present link provides no clue why "Stafford historian James Johnson" merits to be mentioned in this article. 10:10, 6 July 2007 (UTC)


Tom Bombadil had a wife. A sexy wife. Not too hermitty to me, interwebstarrz. I removed it. Gatesofawesome! 21:43, 11 November 2007 (UTC)

hermit vs. eremite[edit]

I believe the term, hermit, doesn't apply specifically to religious "loners" (for lack of a better term). I believe the specific word for a religious "loner" is "eremite" [1][2][3][4]. This article should be re-titled "eremite" and linked to a real article on "hermits" in general; or listed in the "hermit" disambiguation article. JimScott (talk) 00:54, 25 August 2009 (UTC)

After re-reading some of the eremite definitions, I see the word "Christian" coming up a lot. Perhaps we should re-title this article "anchorite" [5][6][7][8] which seems to have a more generic sense to it with regard to religion; with a section devoted to "eremites" and re-direct "eremite" to this article/section. JimScott (talk) 01:07, 25 August 2009 (UTC)

I AM a hermit![edit]

I *AM* a hermit. I haven't spoken to nor seen another human more than 5 times this year, for no more than 5 minutes each time, even that is too much. The longest I have gone without seeing another human has been 3 years. Being a hermit I *know* that it is because of lousy ignorant christians that I have chosen that it is better to live and die alone than be around any fuckingly pathetic, ignorant, and stupid christians. So don't give me this shit that it's a "christian" belief system. If there were no christians on earth I'd have no need to be a hermit. What fuckingly pathetic fool writes this wiki crap anyway? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:07, 16 October 2010

Latinisation vs. Romanisation[edit]

About [9]: I prefer "Latinisation". "Romanisation" is normally used to refer to a mapping merely on the writing system level. "Latinisation", no matter if it's used with proper names or other words, refers to an adaptation on the level of the grammatical form, as for instance from Gr. -itēs to Lat. -ita. Fut.Perf. 21:20, 4 February 2011 (UTC)

Thanks for your response. Your answer highlights the inadequacy of the wiki page on "Romanization" (there is no independent page on "Latinisation"). Maybe you could add your distinction to "Romanization". (talk) 01:13, 5 February 2011 (UTC)

humans are, as I understand it, a social animal/being -there needs to be some interaction with the rest of 'society' -even if it's just a platform to moan about that said society - jung speculated that when a mind was completely isolated then it would compensate for the lack of social stimulus by halucinations which, I suspect, is what happened to these religious types who went off 'in the wilderness' - but I will stand corrected — Preceding unsigned comment added by Thetiesthatbind (talkcontribs) 22:08, 25 March 2013 (UTC)

Just for the Record[edit]

I realize that no one has taken an interest in this page for a long time, so maybe I am writing for the dakinis, but. . . .I have made a few edits to this article and I will make more because I am a religious hermit and nun of the Episcopal Church and have lived the life for 35 years. I also am a Tibetan Buddhist nun of the Nyingmapa tradition who has spent significant time in solitude. I earned my BA in Comparative Religion at Barnard, and did my master's and doctoral work in theology at Notre Dame. Finally, I am a writer of several books and more articles than I can even remember. All that said, my history and $2 will buy me a cup of coffee at the local diner, so don't think this is ego.

I have no religious or--G-d forbid!--denominational ax to grind here; however, IMHO this article is very superficial, pulled from the old (Roman) Catholic Encyclopedia, with few additions of any depth from other editors. The section on the eremitical tradition in Orthodoxy, which is an incredibly rich one, is so sketchy as to be useless. Nothing was included about solitaries in the Anglican Communion. Unconventional contemporary religious hermits of old Celtic and other traditions were also omitted. The few additions of hermits in Buddhism, Hinduism, Taoism, etc., were pitiful, and they do not fit any common interreligious understanding of the hermit life, whether spontaneously undertaken or entered into via the authority structure of a religion.

I made a decision that, since the original meaning of "hermit" (the life, not the etymological meaning) has always been a spiritual one, it was time to move the secular and comic strip references to the disambiguation page. I wasn't as ruthless as I intend to be, but all of you out there who actually KNOW something about the eremitical milieu, why don't you ADD some useful information? SisterScrounge (talk) 03:37, 8 April 2011 (UTC) aka Sister Elias Freeman/Ani Rigdzin Chodon

Ornamental Hermits[edit]

I don't think you can say that ornamental hermits are just from popular culture. These were people living as hermits, just not religious ones. More information needs to be added about this type of hermit and it won't happen if it is squeezed into another section. (talk) 10:36, 6 January 2012 (UTC)

You put the material in the "In other religions" section, where it oes not it. It's not important enough to have it's own section, so putting it in the "In popular culture" section is the best fit for it. Beyond My Ken (talk) 22:54, 6 January 2012 (UTC)

For the record[edit]

Bwrs (talk) 00:15, 27 April 2012 (UTC)


An unnamed hermit of over 500 years old in the mountains of China taught Li Ching-Yuen the art of Baguazhang and a set Qigong. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:52, 9 November 2012 (UTC)


Sounds like me Lin Rongxiang 14:57, 30 December 2013 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by Ronggy (talkcontribs)