The Kingdom of God Is within You

Overview


First published in Germany in 1894, after being banned in Russia, The Kingdom of God Is within You reveals Tolstoy’s world outlook after his conversion to Christianity. He argues that the kingdom of God is within reach of all.

The core of the book deals with his nonresistance to evil, a principle Tolstoy passionately advocated. Gandhi was won over by the book. Tolstoy clearly describes the hazards that bullying governments and false beliefs produced. “The situation of the ...

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The Kingdom of God Is Within You

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Overview


First published in Germany in 1894, after being banned in Russia, The Kingdom of God Is within You reveals Tolstoy’s world outlook after his conversion to Christianity. He argues that the kingdom of God is within reach of all.

The core of the book deals with his nonresistance to evil, a principle Tolstoy passionately advocated. Gandhi was won over by the book. Tolstoy clearly describes the hazards that bullying governments and false beliefs produced. “The situation of the Christian part of humanity—with its prisons, forced labor, gallows, saloons, brothels, constantly increasing armaments, and millions of confused people ready like trained hounds to attack anyone against whom their masters set them—this situation would be terrible if it were the product of coercion, but it is above all the product of public opinion.”

Abhorring the violence of revolution, Tolstoy calls on Christians to remember that the only guide for their actions is to be found in the divine principle dwelling within them, which in no sense can be checked or governed by anyone or anything else.

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Editorial Reviews

Ernest J. Simmons

"A highly significant book."—Ernest J. Simmons, Leo Tolstoy
Henri Troyat

"The keystone of Tolstoy’s entire ethical structure."—Henri Troyat, Tolstoy
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780803294042
  • Publisher: University of Nebraska Press
  • Publication date: 11/28/1984
  • Pages: 390
  • Sales rank: 981,330
  • Product dimensions: 7.98 (w) x 5.36 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Leo Tolstoy

The foreword is by Martin Green, an English professor at Tufts University and author of The Origins of Nonviolence: Tolstoy and Gandhi in Their Historical Setting.

Biography

Count Leo Tolstoy was born in 1828 on the family estate of Yasnaya Polyana, in the Tula province, where he spent most of his early years, together with his several brothers. In 1844 he entered the University of Kazan to read Oriental Languages and later Law, but left before completing a degree. He spent the following years in a round of drinking, gambling and womanizing, until weary of his idle existence he joined an artillery regiment in the Caucasus in 1851.

He took part in the Crimean war and after the defence of Sevastopol wrote The Sevastopol Sketches (1855-6), which established his literary reputation. After leaving the army in 1856 Tolstoy spent some time mixing with the literati in St Petersburg before traveling abroad and then settling at Yasnaya Polyana, where he involved himself in the running of peasant schools and the emancipation of the serfs. His marriage to Sofya Andreyevna Behrs in 1862 marked the beginning of a period of contentment centred around family life; they had thirteen children. Tolstoy managed his vast estates, continued his educational projects, cared for his peasants and wrote both his great novels, War and Peace (1869) and Anna Karenina (1877).

During the 1870s he underwent a spiritual crisis, the moral and religious ideas that had always dogged him coming to the fore. A Confession (1879–82) marked an outward change in his life and works; he became an extreme rationalist and moralist, and in a series of pamphlets written after 1880 he rejected church and state, indicted the demands of flesh, and denounced private property. His teachings earned him numerous followers in Russia and abroad, and also led finally to his excommunication by the Russian Holy Synod in 1901. In 1910 at the age of eighty-two he fled from home "leaving this worldly life in order to live out my last days in peace and solitude;" he died some days later at the station master's house at Astapovo.

Author biography courtesy of Penguin Books LTD.

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    1. Also Known As:
      Leo Nikolayevich Tolstoy (full name)
    1. Date of Birth:
      September 9, 1828
    2. Place of Birth:
      Tula Province, Russia
    1. Date of Death:
      November 20, 1910
    2. Place of Death:
      Astapovo, Russia

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 16, 2006

    For non-Christians and Heretics

    I read this book about 3 years ago. It changed my life because I felt that Tolstoy saw the same thing I saw in Christianity which is the Sermon on the mount.I abandoned my catholic faith because of it. But now I believe in the Church again. What I can't understand about Tolstoy and other modernist heretics is that why do they concede only so much of their 'faith' to 'reason'? Like why believe in God and heaven and stop with the trinity and the incarnation? Why believe in Mt. 5-7 and stop with the rest of the gospel? Because of Reason? What to me doesn't make sense is believing in God, Heaven, sermon on the mount and then believe that for some stupid reason the early Christians made up the rest and even suffered persecution and death for their fables. This book is a good book about life in the late 19th century but it is a Heresy. Just because something is mysterious doesn't mean it is absurd. Life is mysterious but it can still made sense out of and doesn't have to be absurd just because some 19th/20th century philosopher said so. Poor Tolstoy for not being reasonable enough to see all of this.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 27, 2004

    A must Read

    This is one of the greatest works ever written. It outlines the corruption manifested in many organized religions and challenges the readers to search for their own Kingdom of God within themselves. It's no wonder that many of the churches and governments banned this work which was a challenge to their own belief system. The reader may be shocked that this does not read like a novel which Tolstoy is most known for. Of all the great works that Tolstoy has written, Anna Karenina, War and Peace, Haji Murad, The Death of Ivan Illyich, this IS his best work. I would reccomend to the reader to buy 3 or 4 copies of this book and give it as a gift to friends or family.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 9, 2009

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 20, 2010

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