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The Image of Christ in Russian LiteratureDostoevsky, Tolstoy, Bulgakov, Pasternak$
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John Givens

Print publication date: 2021

Print ISBN-13: 9780875807799

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: May 2022

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780875807799.001.0001

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Christ Outside the Truth

Christ Outside the Truth

Negative Christology in Demons and Brothers Karamazov

(p.40) Chapter Two Christ Outside the Truth
The Image of Christ in Russian Literature

John Givens

Cornell University Press

This chapter compares Demons and Brothers Karamazov as apophatic discourses that underscore the difficulty of belief, even among those who profess faith. Both of these novels demonstrate how the apophatic exercise can lead as easily to unbelief as to belief. If doubt is faith's constant companion, then for Fyodor Dostoevsky it is also a kind of dangerous but necessary goad. Indeed, unbelief is so strongly and convincingly articulated in his works precisely because it is also capable of revealing faith both dramatically and compellingly. Readers often learn the most about faith in Dostoevsky's works apophatically, that is, by discovering what it is not. It is within this context that the chapter explores two of the writer's most important Christological novels: Demons and The Brothers Karamazov, the latter of which reveals how the writer's apophatic approach is more pronounced than in any other novel.

Keywords:   Fyodor Dostoevsky, Demons, Brothers Karamazov, negative Christology, apophatic approach, faith, doubt, unbelief, Christological novels

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