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The Grand Inquisitor

4.34  ·  Rating Details  ·  3,010 Ratings  ·  129 Reviews
The Grand Inquisitor is a parable told by Ivan to Alyosha in Fyodor Dostoevsky's novel, The Brothers Karamazov. Ivan and Alyosha are brothers; Ivan is a committed atheist and Alyosha is a novice monk. The Grand Inquisitor is an important part of the novel and one of the best-known passages in modern literature because of its ideas about human nature and freedom, and becaus ...more
Kindle Edition
Published (first published 1880)
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Know, then, that now, precisely now, these people are more certain than ever before that they are completely free, and at the same time they themselves have brought us their freedom and obediently laid it at our feet. It is our doing, but is it what you wanted? This sort of freedom?

This is a chapter from one of my favorite novels, The Brothers Karamazov. Some friends already know about my unconditional love for Dostoyevsky's work. Anything I say is extremely subjective and ultimately forgettable
Skylar Burris
Oct 16, 2008 Skylar Burris rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have read this short story from the BK several times, and every time I read it, it moves me deeply. It inspires me to reflect on the radical freedom offered by Christ, to sorrow for the weakness of man in feeling he needs to surrender his freedom to governments and religious institutions for bread and security and justification, and also to feel gratitude for the gentle, liberating love of Christ, which woos rather than demands. Every time I read this story, it inspires a new question, a new c ...more
Mar 16, 2013 Thewhitewhale rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Though this is indeed a great work of literature, it is important to remember that is part of a larger and even greater piece of literature. I am not a fan of only reading a single chapter out of a larger work as I believe a reader will be missing out on what the author is truly trying to say. This is especially the case with this chapter. If you found this chapter captivating and extraordinary, I implore you to read the entire text of "The Brothers Karamazov". The chapter, "Talks and Homilies F ...more
Sidharth Vardhan
You know how practices of all religions degrade with time from the way they were originally supposed to be to how powerful pretenders want it to be. Perhaps this decline is natural to mankind - just look at how Abrahamic religions have fallen to pretenders after each prophet - Abraham, Moses, Jesus and Mohammad; or look at similar degradation of Hinduism and Buddhism in east.

'The Grand Inquisitor', which is but a section of Fyodor Dosteyvesky's novel 'Brothers Karamzov', documents this degradati
Dec 14, 2010 Kevin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Unbelievable. I had read Brothers Karamazov a few years back, but had a desire to crack it open to reread the Grand Inquisitor portion that this book is excerpted from (beginning with Alyosha and Ivan meeting at the bar, and ending when they leave). This is perhaps the best exposition of Jesus' temptations ever to be written, and it has a great deal to say about human freedom. It's one of those books I will probably need to read every year or two to keep it fresh in my mind.
Ben Crandell
Sep 22, 2011 Ben Crandell rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ok, so 'The Brothers Karamazov' was perhaps the most influential book I have ever read. I was quite pleased to find that this "book" is really just a small piece of that story. Brother Ivan (the Atheist) is telling his little brother Alyosha (the pious one) a fictional tale about the return of Christ during the Inquisition. The Grand Inquisitor arrests Christ and informs Him that he intends to burn Him at the stake although he knows exactly who he is. Only Dostoyevsky could wade into such deep a ...more
Ana Maria Rînceanu
I have not read the Brothers Karamazov yet, but after reading this I'm definitely looking forward to it.
Mar 06, 2009 Hannah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: blog-shelf
Wow - there is quite a bit of truth in here!

Dostoyevsky continues to impress me with both the depth of his subjects and the eloquence with which he explores them:

"There exists no greater or more painful anxiety for a
man who has freed himself from all religious bias, than how he
shall soonest find a new object or idea to worship. But man seeks
to bow before that only which is recognized by the greater
majority, if not by all his fellow-men, as having a right to be
worshiped; whose rights are so unque
Aasem Bakhshi
Oct 26, 2012 Aasem Bakhshi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Its a short section from Brothers Karamazov (BK) and doesn't make much sense if taken out of the complete narrative, in my opinion. One reason is not knowing the characters of the two interlocutors, i.e., Ivan and Alyosha, apriori. This is the central part of the BK narrative that revolves around the exchange between and agnostic/ atheistic and a mystic. In my view, through the Grand Inquisitor, Dostoevsky juxtaposes an agnostic's desperate struggle to grapple with belief with God's ultimate and ...more
Ammara Abid
Apr 13, 2016 Ammara Abid rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Phenomenal !
This one brought my attention to the book
'The Brothers Karamazov' which I never forget to read. But waiting for the right time i.e. isolation with less work pressure, partially underground as one can't be completely before time.
Manohar Lal Solanki
I consider this novel of Foyodor Dostoevsky as an epic. It is a book where Dostoevsky appeals to emotions and feelings through his artistic style of writing novel, he has succeeded in producing profound amount of emotions and feelings in the novel. I will provide the short story of entire novel here. This book is essentially contradicting the idea of Christendom where Christian religion is giving the hopes to people that one day, in future, resurrection of Christ will happen, and Christ will rec ...more
Adriana Scarpin
Um dos mais belos escritos cometido pela mão humana.
Mar 14, 2015 Virginia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Non c'è nulla di più allettante per l'uomo che la libertà della sua coscienza, ma non c'è neanche nulla di più tormentoso
Sep 09, 2015 Brandt rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you appreciate the task of interpreting literature. then this book is for you. This book consists of The Grand Inquisitor section of Dostoevsky's The Brothers Karamazov. This section is introduced by Charles B. Guignon. In reviewing this edition, one of the first things I noticed is that it is based on the Constance Garnett translation of The Brothers Karamazov. This is an O.K. translation but, as Guignon rightfully points out, some changes to the translation had to be made, "in order to upda ...more
Michael David
Aug 11, 2015 Michael David rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Grand Inquisitor is an episode in Dostoevsky's Brothers Karamazov. Some critics have hailed it as the book's emotional center, and I believe it is.

It's a parable that Ivan Karamazov tells to his brother Alyosha. In the novel, Ivan is the archetypal logician: he buries his emotions deep because he believes in rationality. Faith and emotions to him should be subservient to one's mind and thinking. In real life, I'm pretty much similar to Ivan. Alyosha, on the other hand, is the truly kind per
Lorenzo Bovitutti
Non valuto questo libro perché aspetto di valutare i Fratelli Karamazov, di cui questo lavoro è un piccolo episodio.
Piccolo, ma immenso.
Dopo la gemma del "poema in prosa" di Ivan, monologo del Grande Inquisitore a Cristo, Gherardo Colombo fa un'accurata esegesi:
ci spiega il contesto storico (la schiavitù russa e americana di recentissima formale abolizione, il ruolo vigente del pater familias onnipotente);
evidenzia le mosse dialettiche dell'Inquisitore (intenti filantropici, disinteresse per il
Apr 23, 2011 Andrew rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Oh Dostoyevsky - you be so naughty!

Either religion is a sham, or, more intriguingly, the iron law of religion is God's gift of happiness.

By the way, this book is excerpted from the Brothers Karazmov. So if you buy that, locate this passage - you can read it out of context.
I have never read this passage IN context, so I have no idea how it links to the story. It seems to me that it may stand alone easily.
Feb 26, 2015 Red rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: back-ussr
a wake up call people. only appreciated by the sincerity of youth i guess. people obey to the inquisitors of their time. but will not aknowledge. i was so impressed when i read this that i took a train to seville the same year to see the place myself.

Really blew my mind when I read it as a standalone short story when I was in high school. Just a curious and eager kid trying to break in to the big books and the big authors...
Dec 10, 2009 Christopher rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this in The Brothers Karamazov, and ranked it separately because this scene is deserving of its reputation. Its parent book is still worth reading, but it's very tedious.
Lynn Joshua
Oct 11, 2014 Lynn Joshua rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Now I want to read The Brothers Karamazov again.
May 01, 2014 Sahizer rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
some quotations that I like a lot,
I am sorry not to be able to indicate pages as they are on kindle and I was not sure:

"Now, I am living out my life in my corner, taunting myself with the spiteful and useless consolation that an intelligent man cannot become anything seriously, and it is only the fool who becomes anything."

"Liberty, freedom of thought and conscience, and science will lead them into such impassable chasms, place them face to face before such wonders and insoluble mysteries, tha
Jan 19, 2012 Darryl rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Erin
One of the greatest pieces of writing I have ever read. The fable of the Grand Inquisitor is an except of three chapters from The Brothers Karamazov is so strong and so enduring that has been published separately as a set piece for many years.

I went to Half-Price Books to look for the Brothers Karamazov, but all they had was The Grand Inquisitor. So I bought that instead. What makes these three chapters a super-classic in the middle of a reknowned classic is the depth of understanding that Dost
Jul 16, 2013 Nancy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Grand Inquisitor: With Related Chapters from The Brothers Karamazov, Edited and Introduction by Charlses B. Guignon

Introduction by Charlses B. Guignon is worth the price of the book. Excellenat critique and explaination of Dostoevsky’s chapters on the Book V’s Grand Inquisitor, Pro and Contra and Book VI’s The Russian Monk.

"As Dostoevsky sees it, there is a gap between the explicit claims made by the reformers—
the theories and positions they propose—and the actual feelings and motivations un
Feb 25, 2011 Audrey rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recognizing the magnificance of the novel, The Brothers Karamazov from which this novel is taken, and its achievement as a classic in its own right, it's difficult for me to rate this book. It's thought-provoking and certainly stretched this mind of mine; it's interactive and doesn't leave one unmoved. The exhortations of The Russian Monk are particularly compelling and it would seem he ascribes to the teachings in Matthew's Gospel, chapters 5, 6, and 7, which is fantastic since there is no othe ...more
I refuse to shy away from any book regardless of its theme. I know that many may feel uncomfortable reading any book that is of a religious nature or hints of it. However, I can not ignore the heritage of mankind because I truly believe there is great wisdom hidden within them that can be beneficial. Unfortunately, I feel as though many easily get lost in either the symbolism, metaphors or are repulsed by the mere idea of something hinting of religion. I only say this because of the immediate im ...more
Mar 27, 2012 Kenyon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is my second reading of the Brothers Karamazov. The translation I have currently is not the one I would have chosen, but I took what was available. (My current translation is by Andrew MacAndrew; the preferred translation is by Pevear and Volokhonsky; my first reading was the Manuel Komroff translation). I've read most of Dostoevsky's other works (The Adolescent (aka The Raw Youth), The Double, Crime & Punishment (twice), The Idiot, The Possessed (Demons)(twice), The House of the Dead, ...more
Dec 29, 2008 Paula rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Apparently when I read this in college, I didn't realize it was a chapter from The Brothers Karamazov. What I do know, however, is that this is a retelling of Jesus's three temptations by Satan in the desert, except that the setting is different (it mainly takes place in a jail), Jesus never is mentioned explicitly by name (he's most often called "Him" or "Thou"), and the three temptations are reinterpreted (dare I say updated?) by Dostoevsky in a way that seems to me to be the modern equivalent ...more
Amos Smith
Sep 18, 2015 Amos Smith rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: top-books-other
The Dostoyevsky chapter entitled "The Grand Inquisitor" is sheer brilliance!! Sometimes there is a chapter of a book that is an epigram for the author's life and work. This chapter is that epigram. And even for those who are not interested in swimming in the ocean of Dostoyevsky, this chapter is a must! I am glad for this edition that hones in on this one chapter.
-Amos Smith (author of Healing The Divide: Recovering Christianity's Mystic Roots)
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Fyodor Mikhaylovich Dostoyevsky (Russian: Фёдор Михайлович Достоевский), sometimes transliterated Dostoevsky, was a Russian novelist, journalist, and short-story writer whose psychological penetration into the human soul had a profound influence on the 20th century novel.

Dostoyevsky was the second son of a former army doctor. He was educated at home and at a private school. Shortly after the death
More about Fyodor Dostoyevsky...

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“In the end they will lay their freedom at our feet and say to us, Make us your slaves, but feed us.” 33 likes
“Man is tormented by no greater anxiety than to find someone quickly to whom he can hand over that great gift of freedom with which the ill-fated creature is born.” 29 likes
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