Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoyevsky (11 November 1821 - 9 February 1881), sometimes transliterated Dostoevsky, was a Russian novelist, short story writer, essayist, journalist and philosopher.
The Grand Inquisitorby Feodor Dostoevsky
Translation by H.P. Blavatsky
The tale is told by Ivan with brief interruptive questions by Alyosha. In the tale, Christ comes back to Earth in Seville at the time of the Inquisition. He performs a number of miracles (echoing miracles from the Gospels). The people recognize him and adore him, but he is arrested
The Grand Inquisitor
Translation by H.P. Blavatsky
The tale is told by Ivan with brief interruptive questions by Alyosha. In the tale, Christ comes back to Earth in Seville at the time of the Inquisition. He performs a number of miracles (echoing miracles from the Gospels). The people recognize him and adore him, but he is arrested by Inquisition leaders and sentenced to be burnt to death the next day. The Grand Inquisitor visits him in his cell to tell him that the Church no longer needs him. The main portion of the text is devoted to the Inquisitor explaining to Jesus why his return would interfere with the mission of the Church.
The Inquisitor frames his denunciation of Jesus around the three questions that Satan asked Jesus during the temptation of Christ in the desert. These three are the temptation to turn stones into bread, the temptation to cast Himself from the Temple and be saved by the angels, and the temptation to rule over all the kingdoms of the world. The Inquisitor states that Jesus rejected these three temptations in favor of freedom, but the Inquisitor thinks that Jesus has misjudged human nature. He does not believe that the vast majority of humanity can handle the freedom which Jesus has given them. The Inquisitor thus implies that Jesus, in giving humans freedom to choose, has excluded the majority of humanity from redemption and doomed it to suffer.
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For an in depth understanding of the temptations of Christ you can do no better than Anne Freemantle's introduction to 'the Grand Inquisitor.' In plucking this chapter from 'The Brothers ....', Freemantle goes straight to the heart of Christianity and the freedom offered to man by God. What an extraordinary and inciteful booklet.
I was perusing the shelves of Barnes & Noble this evening and carelessly picked up this book (or a poem in prose as Dostoevsky describes it). I was immediately and intensely moved by its poignancy of topic, depth of thought, unabashed critique of the Church, and scathingly, yet eerily logical, depiction of the depravity of human nature. I have never before written a review and only do so now because I believe that such an incredibly striking text should be read by all who have never before been rendered speechless (as I have not before now) by a book.
This is VERY hard to follow. Don't expect to get through this in one sitting. It takes at least 2 reads to understand the implications of what is being said, but if you can understand the meaning of it, then you are in for a Grand Enlightenment.