Thursday, July 3, 2008

The Grand Inquisitor's Bloodless Lips

Read through Dostoevsky's Grand Inquisitor (Chapter 5 from The Brothers Karamazov) for class tonight. It's been some time since I've thought about the sheer strangeness of the piece. In the past, I've been drawn to it because of the fantastic imagery and near epic weight of what Ivan is saying. Any Dostoevsky is worth reading, but this little chapter carries so much with it.

Did He (Jesus, presumably) make the right decision(s) during the Temptation, or should he have accepted the provocations of Lucifer? The chapter is really a keen little thing, all at once pointing a stern finger at the perceived evils of the Church while at the same time acting as a brilliant psychosocial commentary on fifteen-hundred years of history.

Ivan, quoting the Grand Inquisitor of his "poem," says, "Thou didst not come down, for again Thou wouldst not enslave man by a miracle, and didst crave faith given freely, not based on miracle."

Sweeeeeee(in some fashion)eeeeeeeet. I guess; Wikipedia's entry mentions the ambiguity of the piece. I agree.