Kaleidoscope: E M. Dostoevsky and Early Dialectical Theology

By Tew, David | Anglican Theological Review, Spring 2016 | Go to article overview

Kaleidoscope: E M. Dostoevsky and Early Dialectical Theology


Tew, David, Anglican Theological Review


Kaleidoscope: E M. Dostoevsky and Early Dialectical Theology. By Katya Tolstaya. Brill's Series in Church History, Volume 61. Boston, Mass.: Brill, 2013. 370 pp. $146.00 (cloth).

Katya Tolstayas Kaleidoscope attempts to trace the novelist Fyodor Dostoevsky's influence and reception within early dialectical theology, especially in the earliest works of Eduard Thumeysen and Karl Barth. This text also contributes to broader ongoing conversations regarding literary analysis, hermeneutics, and the intersection between literature and theology.

In part one Tolstaya constructs her methodology, providing specific consideration for the distance between the author, narrator, and characters within Dostoevsky's novels. Here Tolstaya follows literary critic Mikhail Bakhtin. Far from being a mouthpiece for the author, each character represents an idea which in turn contributes to the ongoing conversation of the polyphonic world. The multitude of voices do not harmonize, but instead create an ever-growing world of possibility in which the conversation shall not cease and all questions remain open. Tolstaya believes Dostoevsky employs the polyphonic form because "the man in man" (p. 3) (the religious core of each character) can only be explored in conversation. Here "the author occupies an external position in order to portray the protagonist as an independent subject; the reader does so in order to return to himself' (p. 30). For this reason Tolstaya suggests it is misguided to assume that the living person Dostoevsky may be known through the novels.

Thus, in part two Tolstaya examines Dostoevsky's "Ego Documents," a group of articles, letters, and diary entries. Much weight is given to a particularly powerful diary entry from 1864, written immediately after the death of Dostoevsky's first wife. These documents provide an image of the living person which may be regarded as substantive though necessarily incomplete. Tolstaya posits that Dostoevsky's religious thought may be understood as a kaleidoscope. In this analogy God, love, and immortality are like glass fragments which are always interrelated yet appear differently given the subject's Sitz im Leben. This also extends to the world of the novel, where numerous characters share the same glass fragments, but vastly different portraits emerge. Within the novel's polyphonic world, the religious core of each character may be depicted only in the ongoing conversation. Extrapolating from this methodological analogy, Tolstaya draws two important points. First, Dostoevsky's faith does not operate in the realm of systematic abstraction but rather in concrete reality. Second, the religious core of both Dostoevsky and his characters cannot be known completely or in isolation. Instead, the conversation reveals a true yet incomplete image of each character's religious core. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Kaleidoscope: E M. Dostoevsky and Early Dialectical Theology
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.