The Brothers Karamazov
by Fyodor Dostoevsky
The Brothers Karamazov Religion Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Book.Chapter.Paragraph). We used Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky's translation.
"It is not the Church that turns into the state, you see. That is Rome and its dream. That is the third temptation of the devil! But, on the contrary, the state turns into the Church, it rises up to the Church and becomes the Church over all the earth." (2.5.31)
Father Paissy draws a distinction between Catholicism and Russian Orthodoxy. Catholicism – "Rome" – corrupts Christianity in seeking to use religion to establish political power (such as the Holy Roman Empire). Russian Orthodoxy ("the Church") seeks the complete opposite – to sublimate the state (political institutions or nations, like Russia for example) into a higher, spiritual order. This is a response to the Grand Inquisitor's idea that the Church ought to establish a political authority on earth.
"[D]o not weep, life is paradise, and we are all in paradise, but we do not want to know it, and if we did want to know it, tomorrow there would be paradise the world over." (6.1.a)
A central premise of the novel is that once we recognize that paradise is here on earth, we can approach life with joy and happiness, no matter how much suffering is lobbed our way.
"But what is great here is this very mystery – that the passing earthly image and eternal truth here touched each other. In the face of earthly truth, the enacting of eternal truth is accomplished." (6.1.b)
Zosima's discussion of Job's story is a response to Ivan's Grand Inquisitor, who believes that mystery can only be used to enslave man's mind. Zosima insists that the mysteriousness of the Bible's stories comes from the encounter of an earthly mind with divine will.