The Brothers Karamazov

By fyodor dostoyevski is an interesting book. Yesterday I decided to reread some two chapters, rebellion and the grand inquisitor. In both chapters, it is Ivan doing most of the talking and Alyosha doing the listening.

In the rebellion, Ivan takes on the case of suffering but dwells mainly on the issue of children whom he says are innocent. The adults have eaten the fruit and know of good and evil but not the children. He argues, therefore, that suffering of children is acute and must be explained.

He tells Alyosha the promise of a pleasant heaven where there is happiness does not cut it for him. He will take his chances on this side of the grave. He tells Alyosha he cannoy the person who has metted suffering on the children even the children forgave and sang praises to the good lord.

In the grand inquisitor, Ivan goes for broke. He says the three questions or temptations put to Jesus at the of his forty fast and his response to them is the reason for the unending strife on earth. By refusing to do as per the tempter, he denied men the miraculous, the mystery and authority.

By refusing to turn stone into bread, he denied men the miraculous. Only the elect few can follow him. The rest of mankind must look for bread.

By refusing to jump from the spire of the temple, even if he wasn’t certain he would be rescued, he denied men mystery instead ingima requiring that they worship him without the burden of miracles.

Lastly, by refusing dominion over all mankind, all empire builders have been struggling to unify the world. The Gengis Khans and all. Their tower of babel all come to naught. He would have achieved much more had he obeyed the tempter.

I say going for broke because there are many miracles Jesus does as reported by his biographers. Whether any of the supposed miracles achieved their ends, the jury has returned their verdict.

Have you read the two chapters and what do you think of the positions adopted by Ivan?