Author Topic: David Bentley Hart on Dostoevsky and Tolstoy  (Read 3518 times)

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Offline Iconodule

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Re: David Bentley Hart on Dostoevsky and Tolstoy
« Reply #45 on: June 22, 2017, 01:34:56 PM »
It's a tendency of great Russian writers to be overcome by ideas, insane moralisms, and crazy political drives.  When the idea takes over the man, the man dies.  I don't think anyone was as bad as Tolstoy  though.  He was the best writer, and the worst moralist. He wrote the greatest novels of the 20th century, followed by the worst Puritanical stories and pamphlets I've ever come across, to me that's a horrible  tragedy. Tolstoy  the artist is much better than Tolstoyism....the best art and worst pamphlets of Dostoyevsky, Gogol, Solzhenitsyn, or whomever all fall between that spectrum.  Their art is what makes them good, their preaching is what makes them insufferable.  There was always a Dostoyevsky left after he got polemical and philosophical (The Brothers  Karamazov is after all, his last major work)...Tolstoy never really recovered, and that may be why his ideas are so  much more totalizing and unforgiving.  The scope of bloody minded crazy "blood and soil" Nationalist drives is limited when compared to crazy internationalist moralisms that quite literally, destroy the life in everything.

This was an unwelcome reminder to me this morning of how wicked posts by regulars here can be. Morals are not insufferable; but living a life without access to morals quickly becomes insufferable, and someone who is motivated by ego to obscure this to others has blood on his hands.

You are misreading William.
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- from The King of Ireland's Son, by Padraic Colum

Offline Porter ODoran

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Re: David Bentley Hart on Dostoevsky and Tolstoy
« Reply #46 on: June 22, 2017, 01:40:59 PM »
It's a tendency of great Russian writers to be overcome by ideas, insane moralisms, and crazy political drives.  When the idea takes over the man, the man dies.  I don't think anyone was as bad as Tolstoy  though.  He was the best writer, and the worst moralist. He wrote the greatest novels of the 20th century, followed by the worst Puritanical stories and pamphlets I've ever come across, to me that's a horrible  tragedy. Tolstoy  the artist is much better than Tolstoyism....the best art and worst pamphlets of Dostoyevsky, Gogol, Solzhenitsyn, or whomever all fall between that spectrum.  Their art is what makes them good, their preaching is what makes them insufferable.  There was always a Dostoyevsky left after he got polemical and philosophical (The Brothers  Karamazov is after all, his last major work)...Tolstoy never really recovered, and that may be why his ideas are so  much more totalizing and unforgiving.  The scope of bloody minded crazy "blood and soil" Nationalist drives is limited when compared to crazy internationalist moralisms that quite literally, destroy the life in everything.

This was an unwelcome reminder to me this morning of how wicked posts by regulars here can be. Morals are not insufferable; but living a life without access to morals quickly becomes insufferable, and someone who is motivated by ego to obscure this to others has blood on his hands.

You are misreading William.

Hardly.
"Love ... is an abyss of illumination, a mountain of fire ... . It is the condition of angels, the progress of eternity" (Climacus).

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Yes we who are far from sainthood we can recognize a living saint and I'm talking from personal experience.Yes they are gentle soo gentle it can not be described it is like gentleness and humility in one and also they have this light this energy it's beyond words...and when you are near them you feel ecstatic and very happy

Offline William T

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Re: David Bentley Hart on Dostoevsky and Tolstoy
« Reply #47 on: June 22, 2017, 01:55:31 PM »
It's a tendency of great Russian writers to be overcome by ideas, insane moralisms, and crazy political drives.  When the idea takes over the man, the man dies.  I don't think anyone was as bad as Tolstoy  though.  He was the best writer, and the worst moralist. He wrote the greatest novels of the 20th century, followed by the worst Puritanical stories and pamphlets I've ever come across, to me that's a horrible  tragedy. Tolstoy  the artist is much better than Tolstoyism....the best art and worst pamphlets of Dostoyevsky, Gogol, Solzhenitsyn, or whomever all fall between that spectrum.  Their art is what makes them good, their preaching is what makes them insufferable.  There was always a Dostoyevsky left after he got polemical and philosophical (The Brothers  Karamazov is after all, his last major work)...Tolstoy never really recovered, and that may be why his ideas are so  much more totalizing and unforgiving.  The scope of bloody minded crazy "blood and soil" Nationalist drives is limited when compared to crazy internationalist moralisms that quite literally, destroy the life in everything.

This was an unwelcome reminder to me this morning of how wicked posts by regulars here can be. Morals are not insufferable; but living a life without access to morals quickly becomes insufferable, and someone who is motivated by ego to obscure this to others has blood on his hands.

You are misreading William.

Hardly.

You are.

Let bring me bring up a real life parody of Russian writers: Ayn Rand. Hopefully that will at least get you thinking in the direction I am. She was a moralist. Anthem and Fountainhead are at least readable (and a bit campy) pulp fiction. I'm not masochist enough to read all of Atlas Shrugged, but she definitely jumped the shark there, that's probably obvious to most...and all of that philosophy and cult stuff is probably a million times worse than even Atlas Shrugged.  That's what I was getting at.

 I'm just pointing out a feature in Russian literature.  This is a well known feature, commented on by Russians themselves.  The only three classic Russians (and I'm counting Gogol as Russian) I'm aware of who avoided these traits are Checkov, Pushkin, and Nabokov
« Last Edit: June 22, 2017, 02:00:01 PM by William T »
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Re: David Bentley Hart on Dostoevsky and Tolstoy
« Reply #48 on: June 22, 2017, 01:59:52 PM »
I was going to bring up Ayn Rand as a good example of moralism quite divorced from actual morals, and of ideology strangling art.

I would say though that Gogol avoided this problem in much of his work, at least most of his tales. I admit I find Dead Souls to be pretty dreary compared to his tales.
Quote
“A goose to hatch the Crystal Egg after an Eagle had half-hatched it! Aye, aye, to be sure, that’s right,” said the Old Woman of Beare. “And now you must go find out what happened to it. Go now, and when you come back I will give you your name.”
- from The King of Ireland's Son, by Padraic Colum

Offline William T

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Re: David Bentley Hart on Dostoevsky and Tolstoy
« Reply #49 on: June 22, 2017, 02:02:04 PM »
I was going to bring up Ayn Rand as a good example of moralism quite divorced from actual morals, and of ideology strangling art.

I would say though that Gogol avoided this problem in much of his work, at least most of his tales. I admit I find Dead Souls to be pretty dreary compared to his tales.

I was thinking more about how his life ended,, that was the "Russian Artist jumps the shark" part I was thinking of.  I like dead souls, but it is a bit different.  But yeah, his art is mostly devoid of jumping the shark.
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Offline William T

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Re: David Bentley Hart on Dostoevsky and Tolstoy
« Reply #50 on: June 22, 2017, 02:12:41 PM »
I was going to bring up Ayn Rand as a good example of moralism quite divorced from actual morals, and of ideology strangling art.

I would say though that Gogol avoided this problem in much of his work, at least most of his tales. I admit I find Dead Souls to be pretty dreary compared to his tales.

Speaking of artists who get ruined by ideology and Ayn Rand, have you ever read Steve Ditko's Mr. A?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mr._A

He left Spider-Man and Marvel because he became warped by Objectivist ideology and created Mr. A, an Objectivist superhero.  I think Alan Moore had that in mind somewhat when he wrote The Watchmen

« Last Edit: June 22, 2017, 02:15:19 PM by William T »
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Re: David Bentley Hart on Dostoevsky and Tolstoy
« Reply #51 on: June 22, 2017, 02:15:11 PM »
I was going to bring up Ayn Rand as a good example of moralism quite divorced from actual morals, and of ideology strangling art.

I would say though that Gogol avoided this problem in much of his work, at least most of his tales. I admit I find Dead Souls to be pretty dreary compared to his tales.

Speaking of artists who get ruined by ideology and Ayn Rand, have you ever read Steve Ditko's Mr. A?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mr._A

He left Spider-Man and Marvel because he became warped by Objectivist ideology and created Mr. A, an Objectivist superhero.

No, never heard of that. It's kind of funny, in a sad way. I remember a number of great golden age scifi writers (e.g. AE Van Vogt) went downhill after joining Scientology.
Quote
“A goose to hatch the Crystal Egg after an Eagle had half-hatched it! Aye, aye, to be sure, that’s right,” said the Old Woman of Beare. “And now you must go find out what happened to it. Go now, and when you come back I will give you your name.”
- from The King of Ireland's Son, by Padraic Colum

Offline beebert

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Re: David Bentley Hart on Dostoevsky and Tolstoy
« Reply #52 on: June 22, 2017, 02:43:00 PM »
^ Someone has to ask it: Have you read any of their novels besides the one you're enamored of?
Of Course. I have read plenty. Tolstoy: Hadji Murat, War and Piece, The Kreutzer Sonata, The death of Ivan Ilyich (his greatest work), Youth and plenty of his short stories and one of his non-fiction works. Of Dostoevsky's Works : Brothers Karamazov (A League of Its own), Crime and punishment, The Idiot and Notes from Underground. I have to read Demons and Anna Karenina next. I am not surprised if you do not Believe me Though. But I have read a lot
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Re: David Bentley Hart on Dostoevsky and Tolstoy
« Reply #53 on: June 22, 2017, 02:49:18 PM »
^ Someone has to ask it: Have you read any of their novels besides the one you're enamored of?
Of Course. I have read plenty. Tolstoy: Hadji Murat, War and Piece, The Kreutzer Sonata, The death of Ivan Ilyich (his greatest work), Youth and plenty of his short stories and one of his non-fiction works. Of Dostoevsky's Works : Brothers Karamazov (A League of Its own), Crime and punishment, The Idiot and Notes from Underground. I have to read Demons and Anna Karenina next. I am not surprised if you do not Believe me Though. But I have read a lot

Good to know. I hope you do read Anna Karenina.
"Love ... is an abyss of illumination, a mountain of fire ... . It is the condition of angels, the progress of eternity" (Climacus).

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Yes we who are far from sainthood we can recognize a living saint and I'm talking from personal experience.Yes they are gentle soo gentle it can not be described it is like gentleness and humility in one and also they have this light this energy it's beyond words...and when you are near them you feel ecstatic and very happy

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Re: David Bentley Hart on Dostoevsky and Tolstoy
« Reply #54 on: June 22, 2017, 03:08:46 PM »
^ Someone has to ask it: Have you read any of their novels besides the one you're enamored of?
Of Course. I have read plenty. Tolstoy: Hadji Murat, War and Piece, The Kreutzer Sonata, The death of Ivan Ilyich (his greatest work), Youth and plenty of his short stories and one of his non-fiction works. Of Dostoevsky's Works : Brothers Karamazov (A League of Its own), Crime and punishment, The Idiot and Notes from Underground. I have to read Demons and Anna Karenina next. I am not surprised if you do not Believe me Though. But I have read a lot

Good to know. I hope you do read Anna Karenina.
I Will! I have heard that many consider it his masterpiece. Unfortunately I know how it ends for Anna Karenina though...
'Thou shalt not follow a multitude to do evil' (Exodus 23:2)

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Re: David Bentley Hart on Dostoevsky and Tolstoy
« Reply #55 on: June 22, 2017, 03:13:40 PM »
^ Someone has to ask it: Have you read any of their novels besides the one you're enamored of?
Of Course. I have read plenty. Tolstoy: Hadji Murat, War and Piece, The Kreutzer Sonata, The death of Ivan Ilyich (his greatest work), Youth and plenty of his short stories and one of his non-fiction works. Of Dostoevsky's Works : Brothers Karamazov (A League of Its own), Crime and punishment, The Idiot and Notes from Underground. I have to read Demons and Anna Karenina next. I am not surprised if you do not Believe me Though. But I have read a lot

Good to know. I hope you do read Anna Karenina.
Can't believe he's read all that but not AK, its sublime. It's 2nd to Don Quixote as my favorite novel.
« Last Edit: June 22, 2017, 03:20:51 PM by nothing »
"The business of the Christian is nothing else than to be ever preparing for death (μελεπᾷν ἀποθνήσκειν)."

— Saint Irenaeus of Lyons, Fragment XI

Modernist thinking and being consists of nothing but uncritical acceptance.

Offline beebert

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Re: David Bentley Hart on Dostoevsky and Tolstoy
« Reply #56 on: June 22, 2017, 03:15:05 PM »
It's a tendency of great Russian writers to be overcome by ideas, insane moralisms, and crazy political drives.  When the idea takes over the man, the man dies.  I don't think anyone was as bad as Tolstoy  though.  He was the best writer, and the worst moralist. He wrote the greatest novels of the 20th century, followed by the worst Puritanical stories and pamphlets I've ever come across, to me that's a horrible  tragedy. Tolstoy  the artist is much better than Tolstoyism....the best art and worst pamphlets of Dostoyevsky, Gogol, Solzhenitsyn, or whomever all fall between that spectrum.  Their art is what makes them good, their preaching is what makes them insufferable.  There was always a Dostoyevsky left after he got polemical and philosophical (The Brothers  Karamazov is after all, his last major work)...Tolstoy never really recovered, and that may be why his ideas are so  much more totalizing and unforgiving.  The scope of bloody minded crazy "blood and soil" Nationalist drives is limited when compared to crazy internationalist moralisms that quite literally, destroy the life in everything.

This was an unwelcome reminder to me this morning of how wicked posts by regulars here can be. Morals are not insufferable; but living a life without access to morals quickly becomes insufferable, and someone who is motivated by ego to obscure this to others has blood on his hands.
I feel Sorry for Tolstoy when I read about him and when I read his confessions. He was honestly searching for the truth but was a tormented man. Tormented by his past it seems. I love him for his honesty and briliance. His problem was Perhaps to some decree that he used and trusted his rationality too much. For Dostoevsky the opposite is true; he gives the impression of an irrational madman. But that was part of his greatness since it Made him discover the irrationalities of the human soul.

I remember an ironic quote by Gogol btw  (speaking of him): "It is sad that one finds nothing Good in goodness"
« Last Edit: June 22, 2017, 03:20:29 PM by beebert »
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Offline Porter ODoran

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Re: David Bentley Hart on Dostoevsky and Tolstoy
« Reply #57 on: June 22, 2017, 03:22:54 PM »
I think he was a healthy, happy man with a powerful mind and an honest personality. I think, all told, he throve materially, spiritually, in the estimation of others, and of course in his numerous offspring. A great man along the lines of the King-Saints of old.
"Love ... is an abyss of illumination, a mountain of fire ... . It is the condition of angels, the progress of eternity" (Climacus).

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Yes we who are far from sainthood we can recognize a living saint and I'm talking from personal experience.Yes they are gentle soo gentle it can not be described it is like gentleness and humility in one and also they have this light this energy it's beyond words...and when you are near them you feel ecstatic and very happy

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Re: David Bentley Hart on Dostoevsky and Tolstoy
« Reply #58 on: June 22, 2017, 03:25:10 PM »
I think he was a healthy, happy man with a powerful mind and an honest personality. I think, all told, he throve materially, spiritually, in the estimation of others, and of course in his numerous offspring. A great man along the lines of the King-Saints of old.
Yes... But in his old age, according to his confessions, he often thought of comitting suicide... :/
'Thou shalt not follow a multitude to do evil' (Exodus 23:2)

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Re: David Bentley Hart on Dostoevsky and Tolstoy
« Reply #59 on: June 22, 2017, 03:34:34 PM »
I think he was a healthy, happy man with a powerful mind and an honest personality. I think, all told, he throve materially, spiritually, in the estimation of others, and of course in his numerous offspring. A great man along the lines of the King-Saints of old.
Yes... But in his old age, according to his confessions, he often thought of comitting suicide... :/

I think you're not reading the book in the spirit it was intended. It's not like Rousseau's Confessions. It's a short philosophical work, the introduction to Count Tolstoy's series of theological books.
"Love ... is an abyss of illumination, a mountain of fire ... . It is the condition of angels, the progress of eternity" (Climacus).

Quote from: Seekingtrue
Yes we who are far from sainthood we can recognize a living saint and I'm talking from personal experience.Yes they are gentle soo gentle it can not be described it is like gentleness and humility in one and also they have this light this energy it's beyond words...and when you are near them you feel ecstatic and very happy

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Re: David Bentley Hart on Dostoevsky and Tolstoy
« Reply #60 on: June 22, 2017, 03:40:35 PM »
I look forward to reading DBH's NT translation this October.
"The business of the Christian is nothing else than to be ever preparing for death (μελεπᾷν ἀποθνήσκειν)."

— Saint Irenaeus of Lyons, Fragment XI

Modernist thinking and being consists of nothing but uncritical acceptance.

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Re: David Bentley Hart on Dostoevsky and Tolstoy
« Reply #61 on: June 22, 2017, 03:45:33 PM »
I think he was a healthy, happy man with a powerful mind and an honest personality. I think, all told, he throve materially, spiritually, in the estimation of others, and of course in his numerous offspring. A great man along the lines of the King-Saints of old.
Yes... But in his old age, according to his confessions, he often thought of comitting suicide... :/

I think you're not reading the book in the spirit it was intended. It's not like Rousseau's Confessions. It's a short philosophical work, the introduction to Count Tolstoy's series of theological books.
Perhaps you are right. But what about his excommunication from the church and his End of life when he fled from his wife and family and dies at a train station (I think it was) on his way to a monestary? Sounds like something was problematic?
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Re: David Bentley Hart on Dostoevsky and Tolstoy
« Reply #62 on: June 22, 2017, 03:54:29 PM »
I think he was a healthy, happy man with a powerful mind and an honest personality. I think, all told, he throve materially, spiritually, in the estimation of others, and of course in his numerous offspring. A great man along the lines of the King-Saints of old.
Yes... But in his old age, according to his confessions, he often thought of comitting suicide... :/

I think you're not reading the book in the spirit it was intended. It's not like Rousseau's Confessions. It's a short philosophical work, the introduction to Count Tolstoy's series of theological books.
Perhaps you are right. But what about his excommunication from the church and his End of life when he fled from his wife and family and dies at a train station (I think it was) on his way to a monestary? Sounds like something was problematic?

I never said his life didn't comprise its hardships and doubts. That's human life. As for your account of his last days, you seem to know more than historians do, and as far as I know his wife was present or nearby at his death. It's also thought he did get to see a priest. My opinion is that St. John of Kronstadt decreed against Tolstoy more as a move against Tolstoyanism (a political movement apart from the man himself) than anything else. It was a period of great political and religious volatility. At any rate, to get back to your post, yes all men suffer and sin but having a vital spiritual change and activity up to the end of life sounds overall like a good thing to me.
"Love ... is an abyss of illumination, a mountain of fire ... . It is the condition of angels, the progress of eternity" (Climacus).

Quote from: Seekingtrue
Yes we who are far from sainthood we can recognize a living saint and I'm talking from personal experience.Yes they are gentle soo gentle it can not be described it is like gentleness and humility in one and also they have this light this energy it's beyond words...and when you are near them you feel ecstatic and very happy

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Re: David Bentley Hart on Dostoevsky and Tolstoy
« Reply #63 on: June 22, 2017, 04:06:01 PM »
I look forward to reading DBH's NT translation this October.
oh yes me too! He is very interesting.
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Re: David Bentley Hart on Dostoevsky and Tolstoy
« Reply #64 on: June 22, 2017, 04:11:20 PM »
I think he was a healthy, happy man with a powerful mind and an honest personality. I think, all told, he throve materially, spiritually, in the estimation of others, and of course in his numerous offspring. A great man along the lines of the King-Saints of old.
Yes... But in his old age, according to his confessions, he often thought of comitting suicide... :/

I think you're not reading the book in the spirit it was intended. It's not like Rousseau's Confessions. It's a short philosophical work, the introduction to Count Tolstoy's series of theological books.
Perhaps you are right. But what about his excommunication from the church and his End of life when he fled from his wife and family and dies at a train station (I think it was) on his way to a monestary? Sounds like something was problematic?

I never said his life didn't comprise its hardships and doubts. That's human life. As for your account of his last days, you seem to know more than historians do, and as far as I know his wife was present or nearby at his death. It's also thought he did get to see a priest. My opinion is that St. John of Kronstadt decreed against Tolstoy more as a move against Tolstoyanism (a political movement apart from the man himself) than anything else. It was a period of great political and religious volatility. At any rate, to get back to your post, yes all men suffer and sin but having a vital spiritual change and activity up to the end of life sounds overall like a good thing to me.
I agree with you. I just had the impression from his confessions and from things I have read about him regarding his last days that he was very tormented. But Maybe I am wrong. Nevertheless, it doesnt in any way diminish my respect and love for him. He is one of the greatest artists I know, all categories. In fact, there are few I hold in higher esteem. A couple of composers, Dostoevsky, and maybe some more... For me that is...
'Thou shalt not follow a multitude to do evil' (Exodus 23:2)

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Re: David Bentley Hart on Dostoevsky and Tolstoy
« Reply #65 on: June 22, 2017, 04:19:05 PM »
I think he was a healthy, happy man with a powerful mind and an honest personality. I think, all told, he throve materially, spiritually, in the estimation of others, and of course in his numerous offspring. A great man along the lines of the King-Saints of old.
Yes... But in his old age, according to his confessions, he often thought of comitting suicide... :/

I think you're not reading the book in the spirit it was intended. It's not like Rousseau's Confessions. It's a short philosophical work, the introduction to Count Tolstoy's series of theological books.
Perhaps you are right. But what about his excommunication from the church and his End of life when he fled from his wife and family and dies at a train station (I think it was) on his way to a monestary? Sounds like something was problematic?

I never said his life didn't comprise its hardships and doubts. That's human life. As for your account of his last days, you seem to know more than historians do, and as far as I know his wife was present or nearby at his death. It's also thought he did get to see a priest. My opinion is that St. John of Kronstadt decreed against Tolstoy more as a move against Tolstoyanism (a political movement apart from the man himself) than anything else. It was a period of great political and religious volatility. At any rate, to get back to your post, yes all men suffer and sin but having a vital spiritual change and activity up to the end of life sounds overall like a good thing to me.
I agree with you. I just had the impression from his confessions and from things I have read about him regarding his last days that he was very tormented. But Maybe I am wrong. Nevertheless, it doesnt in any way diminish my respect and love for him. He is one of the greatest artists I know, all categories. In fact, there are few I hold in higher esteem. A couple of composers, Dostoevsky, and maybe some more... For me that is...

He lived for decades past the so-called Confessions. You have to understand that he chose a narrative structure to pull that introduction to his theology together and keep interest, and the narrative structure he chose happened to be flashes from his own thought life. To read it as autobiography and as tho his years were consumed by the problems he poses is really missing the point. The problems he poses were those he considered to be important to society at the time and to which he considered his theology to be an answer.
« Last Edit: June 22, 2017, 04:20:08 PM by Porter ODoran »
"Love ... is an abyss of illumination, a mountain of fire ... . It is the condition of angels, the progress of eternity" (Climacus).

Quote from: Seekingtrue
Yes we who are far from sainthood we can recognize a living saint and I'm talking from personal experience.Yes they are gentle soo gentle it can not be described it is like gentleness and humility in one and also they have this light this energy it's beyond words...and when you are near them you feel ecstatic and very happy

Offline beebert

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Re: David Bentley Hart on Dostoevsky and Tolstoy
« Reply #66 on: June 22, 2017, 04:41:11 PM »
I think he was a healthy, happy man with a powerful mind and an honest personality. I think, all told, he throve materially, spiritually, in the estimation of others, and of course in his numerous offspring. A great man along the lines of the King-Saints of old.
Yes... But in his old age, according to his confessions, he often thought of comitting suicide... :/

I think you're not reading the book in the spirit it was intended. It's not like Rousseau's Confessions. It's a short philosophical work, the introduction to Count Tolstoy's series of theological books.
Perhaps you are right. But what about his excommunication from the church and his End of life when he fled from his wife and family and dies at a train station (I think it was) on his way to a monestary? Sounds like something was problematic?

I never said his life didn't comprise its hardships and doubts. That's human life. As for your account of his last days, you seem to know more than historians do, and as far as I know his wife was present or nearby at his death. It's also thought he did get to see a priest. My opinion is that St. John of Kronstadt decreed against Tolstoy more as a move against Tolstoyanism (a political movement apart from the man himself) than anything else. It was a period of great political and religious volatility. At any rate, to get back to your post, yes all men suffer and sin but having a vital spiritual change and activity up to the end of life sounds overall like a good thing to me.
I agree with you. I just had the impression from his confessions and from things I have read about him regarding his last days that he was very tormented. But Maybe I am wrong. Nevertheless, it doesnt in any way diminish my respect and love for him. He is one of the greatest artists I know, all categories. In fact, there are few I hold in higher esteem. A couple of composers, Dostoevsky, and maybe some more... For me that is...

He lived for decades past the so-called Confessions. You have to understand that he chose a narrative structure to pull that introduction to his theology together and keep interest, and the narrative structure he chose happened to be flashes from his own thought life. To read it as autobiography and as tho his years were consumed by the problems he poses is really missing the point. The problems he poses were those he considered to be important to society at the time and to which he considered his theology to be an answer.
Okay I understand. That is interesting
« Last Edit: June 22, 2017, 04:41:43 PM by beebert »
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Offline Porter ODoran

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Re: David Bentley Hart on Dostoevsky and Tolstoy
« Reply #67 on: June 22, 2017, 04:58:10 PM »
I'd even go so far as to say the flat rationality he uses to propose his ideas in the follow-up books is itself a bit of a device. Count Tolstoy was living in a time and place perhaps even more volatile than ours, with thousands of schools of thought and political and religious movements flying about, Marxism, nihilism, fascism (St. John's preference, apparently), positivism -- heck, even Mormonism was seeking a presence in Russia at the time. The common thread was probably anti-ecclesiasticism and (faux or not) rationalism. So Tolstoy, with the salvation of Russians always in his heart, seeks powerfully to interject the Gospel into the public discourse, with a necessary pose of some anti-ecclesiasticism and rationalism. By this I am not saying he was some secret saint, just that I detect a calculated coloring to the project such as one would expect in any great writer. Somewhere in the thread, perhaps in the original post, somebody describes Count Tolstoy as akin to a liberal Protestant. Again, this is not a historically-sensitive reading. If anything, they are the degraded epigonen of him, he is not one of them. Further, it is simply a shallow reading all around, as the fact is Tolstoy sought the most radical salvation of the modern society; contemporary liberal Protestants speak honeyed words in this vein, from some motive of self-comfort rather than self-denial I'd say, but at any rate they certainly do not work great changes.
"Love ... is an abyss of illumination, a mountain of fire ... . It is the condition of angels, the progress of eternity" (Climacus).

Quote from: Seekingtrue
Yes we who are far from sainthood we can recognize a living saint and I'm talking from personal experience.Yes they are gentle soo gentle it can not be described it is like gentleness and humility in one and also they have this light this energy it's beyond words...and when you are near them you feel ecstatic and very happy

Offline beebert

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Re: David Bentley Hart on Dostoevsky and Tolstoy
« Reply #68 on: June 22, 2017, 05:06:44 PM »
I'd even go so far as to say the flat rationality he uses to propose his ideas in the follow-up books is itself a bit of a device. Count Tolstoy was living in a time and place perhaps even more volatile than ours, with thousands of schools of thought and political and religious movements flying about, Marxism, nihilism, fascism (St. John's preference, apparently), positivism -- heck, even Mormonism was seeking a presence in Russia at the time. The common thread was probably anti-ecclesiasticism and (faux or not) rationalism. So Tolstoy, with the salvation of Russians always in his heart, seeks powerfully to interject the Gospel into the public discourse, with a necessary pose of some anti-ecclesiasticism and rationalism. By this I am not saying he was some secret saint, just that I detect a calculated coloring to the project such as one would expect in any great writer. Somewhere in the thread, perhaps in the original post, somebody describes Count Tolstoy as akin to a liberal Protestant. Again, this is not a historically-sensitive reading. If anything, they are the degraded epigonen of him, he is not one of them. Further, it is simply a shallow reading all around, as the fact is Tolstoy sought the most radical salvation of the modern society; contemporary liberal Protestants speak honeyed words in this vein, from some motive of self-comfort rather than self-denial I'd say, but at any rate they certainly do not work great changes.
I agree. You said some very Good and interesting things here. I know that for example Sergei Bulgakov returned to Faith very much because of Tolstoy
« Last Edit: June 22, 2017, 05:07:29 PM by beebert »
'Thou shalt not follow a multitude to do evil' (Exodus 23:2)

Offline RobS

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Re: David Bentley Hart on Dostoevsky and Tolstoy
« Reply #69 on: June 22, 2017, 09:12:05 PM »
I look forward to reading DBH's NT translation this October.
oh yes me too! He is very interesting.
I think what sold me on it was that recent article of his:
https://www.commonwealmagazine.org/christs-rabble

If you can get past the purple prose, there's somebody who understands just how radical and revolutionary Christianity is. I'm glad someone feels the same way about the NT like I do and also that he's offended some readers who have the sensibilities and principles of white middle class suburban Christians.
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Modernist thinking and being consists of nothing but uncritical acceptance.

Offline Iconodule

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Re: David Bentley Hart on Dostoevsky and Tolstoy
« Reply #70 on: June 23, 2017, 09:06:23 AM »
fascism (St. John's preference, apparently)

Wait, what?
Quote
“A goose to hatch the Crystal Egg after an Eagle had half-hatched it! Aye, aye, to be sure, that’s right,” said the Old Woman of Beare. “And now you must go find out what happened to it. Go now, and when you come back I will give you your name.”
- from The King of Ireland's Son, by Padraic Colum

Offline beebert

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Re: David Bentley Hart on Dostoevsky and Tolstoy
« Reply #71 on: June 23, 2017, 11:08:29 AM »
I look forward to reading DBH's NT translation this October.
oh yes me too! He is very interesting.
I think what sold me on it was that recent article of his:
https://www.commonwealmagazine.org/christs-rabble

If you can get past the purple prose, there's somebody who understands just how radical and revolutionary Christianity is. I'm glad someone feels the same way about the NT like I do and also that he's offended some readers who have the sensibilities and principles of white middle class suburban Christians.
interesting article! I wonder, have you read Kierkegaard?
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Offline Porter ODoran

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Re: David Bentley Hart on Dostoevsky and Tolstoy
« Reply #72 on: June 23, 2017, 01:13:07 PM »
I look forward to reading DBH's NT translation this October.
oh yes me too! He is very interesting.
I think what sold me on it was that recent article of his:
https://www.commonwealmagazine.org/christs-rabble

If you can get past the purple prose, there's somebody who understands just how radical and revolutionary Christianity is. I'm glad someone feels the same way about the NT like I do and also that he's offended some readers who have the sensibilities and principles of white middle class suburban Christians.
interesting article! I wonder, have you read Kierkegaard?

He's certainly read a host of tertiary literature that pretends to be Kierkegaard.
"Love ... is an abyss of illumination, a mountain of fire ... . It is the condition of angels, the progress of eternity" (Climacus).

Quote from: Seekingtrue
Yes we who are far from sainthood we can recognize a living saint and I'm talking from personal experience.Yes they are gentle soo gentle it can not be described it is like gentleness and humility in one and also they have this light this energy it's beyond words...and when you are near them you feel ecstatic and very happy