Orthodoxy and Existentialism: The Religious Root of Dostoevsky's Moral Dialectic

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2015-04-30
Authors
Eschrich, David
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In my thesis, I show the ways in which Russian Eastern Orthodoxy relates to and impacts Fyodor Dostoevsky’s Existentialism. I begin by identifying and explaining the Orthodox theme of transformative suffering, as it appears in the ecclesial tradition of Kievan Rus, after which I demonstrate the presence of this theme and tradition in Dostoevsky’s upbringing in Nicholaevan Russia. I close by relating this transformative suffering to the moral dialectic Dostoevsky establishes in his novels, specifically Notes From Underground and Crime and Punishment. In doing so, I show the similarities and conversation between Russian Eastern Orthodoxy and Dostoevsky’s existentialism.

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