Dostoevsky, Soloviev, and the Problem of Theocracy in The Brothers Karamazov
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Allen, S. Elayne
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I examine the relationship between Ivan Karamazov's early article on theocracy and his articulation of theocracy in the parable of The Grand Inquisitor. In this study, I look to Russian Orthodox writings on political ecclesiology, Russian history, the Russian political climate at Dostoevsky's time, and the writings of Dostoevsky's close friend Vladimir Soloviev, an avid proponent of Russian theocracy. Soloviev is a crucial figure in this study because he was influential in Dostoevsky's creation of The Brothers Karamazov, most poignantly in Dostoevsky’s creation of Ivan Karamazov. Through Ivan's writings, I argue that Dostoevsky is offering a critique of Soloviev's conception of theocracy in "The Grand Inquisitor." Dostoevsky offers an alternative vision of political life, which can be characterized as participation in a community of selfless love of neighbor.