Dostoevsky’s Religion by Steven Cassedy

By Steven Cassedy

Any reader of Dostoevsky is straight away struck through the significance of faith in the global of his fiction. That acknowledged, it's very tough to find a coherent set of non secular ideals inside of Dostoevsky’s works, and to argue that the author embraced those ideals. This ebook offers a trenchant reassessment of his faith by means of exhibiting how Dostoevsky used his writings because the automobile for an extreme probing of the character of Christianity, of the person that means of trust and doubt, and of the issues of moral habit that come up from those questions. the writer argues that faith represented for Dostoevsky a welter of conflicting perspectives and stances, from philosophical idealism to nationalist messianism. The energy of this research lies in its popularity of the absence of a unmarried spiritual prescription in Dostoevsky's works, in addition to in its luck in tracing the historical past of the information animating Dostoevsky’s non secular probing.

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Again we find Nietzsche. Like so many others, Gide knew full well that a conversation about Dostoevsky had to be at the same time a conversation about the novelist’s German soul brother. Gide’s remarks are filled with references to Nietzsche—more to Nietzsche, in fact, than to anyone besides Dostoevsky himself (in fact, Nietzsche’s famous comment about Dostoevsky the psychologist serves as the epigraph to his book). Where Nietzsche’s name comes up is precisely in connection with religion. In Gide’s eyes, both men were obsessed with the relation between man and something greater—God or Jesus.

The tragic vision is “an expression of man only in an extreme situation . . ” The tragic visionary is “the extremist who . . 72 Like all the Western critics I’ve mentioned, Krieger is handicapped by his inability to read Dostoevsky in the original language and his consequent reliance on a translation. Thus he identifies as a point of departure for any critic of The Idiot Dostoevsky’s intention “to portray a truly beautiful soul” and speaks of Myshkin’s combination of “pity and love” for Nastasia Filippovna.

Even in the case of Dostoevsky’s epilepsy (Mann could hardly have chosen the word “aura” without purpose), Mann declares the phase of the illness that follows a seizure, the phase characterized by depression and spiritual darkness, to be far more important than the phase that precedes, which Dostoevsky described in language so overtly religious as to leave no doubt that for him, if not for Thomas Mann, his illness carried a significant connection with at least his own understanding of religion.

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