The Gospel in Brief

The Gospel in Brief

The Gospel in Brief

The Gospel in Brief


The Gospel in Brief is Leo Tolstoy's integration of the four biblical Gospels into a single account of the life of Jesus. Inspired in large measure by Tolstoy's meticulous study of the original Greek versions of the Bible, The Gospel in Brief is a highly original fusion of biblical texts and Tolstoy's own influential religious views.

Tolstoy explains that his goal is a solution to "the problem of life", not an answer to theological or historical questions. As a result, he sets aside such issues as Jesus' genealogy and divinity, or whether Jesus in fact walked on water. Instead, he focuses on the words and teachings of Jesus, stripped of what Tolstoy regarded as the Church's distortions and focus on dogma and ritual. The result is a work that emphasizes the individual's spiritual condition in a chaotic and indifferent world.

Like Tolstoy's celebrated literary achievements, The Gospel in Brief has the distinct bearing of a classic: in its urgency and directness it is remarkably current, as if it were written only yesterday rather than a century ago.


Leo Tolstoy (1828-1910), one of the world's great novelists, finished writing War and Peace in 1869 and Anna Karenina in 1877. Despite his success, fame, and fortune, Tolstoy was on the verge of suicide by the end of 1879. He had come to believe that his life was empty and had no meaning. This culminated in a spiritual crisis, which marked a dramatic turning point in both his personal and literary lives. Tolstoy soon began a spiritual journey, a journey that would last until his death in 1910.


Leo Nikolaevich Tolstoy was born in 1828 on his family's estate, Yasnaya Polyana, located in the Russian province of Tula. Born to power and privilege, Tolstoy received his early education from tutors and was raised in the Orthodox Christian faith. the young aristocrat entered the University of Kazan in . . .

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