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The Kingdom of God is within You - Leo Tolstoy

The Kingdom of God is within You

Hardcover

Published: 1st March 2010
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Published in 1884, 'The kingdom of God is within you' is perhaps Tolstoy's most significant work of non-fiction. Due to the Russian censors, it was first published in Germany, but its dominant idea of non-violence echoed across the international stage throughout the 20th century. In essence, the book is a defence by Tolstoy of the position on non-violence he adopted in 'My Religion'; and therefore also an assault on the Orthodox Church. 'Nowhere,' says Tolstoy, 'is there evidence that God or Christ founded anything like what churchmen understand by the Church.' And in what it now proclaimed, Tolstoy believed the church was wasting its time: 'The activity of the church consists in forcing, by every means in its power, upon millions Russian people, those antiquated, time-worn beliefs which have lost all significance.' Freshly informed by Quaker ideals of non-violence; and full of both story telling and rhetoric, here is Tolstoy calling for a change in consciousness in society. He does not accept that 'this social order, with its pauperism, famines, prisons, gallows, armies and wars, is necessary to society.' That which is, is not that which must be. Rooted in the Sermon on the Mount, Tolstoy's Christianity is not primarily concerned with worship or salvation, but with a new way of behaving in society - behaviour informed by the pointlessness and sin of violence. Tolstoy tellingly reflects on the army at work - whether in internal repression or in national wars - and asks: 'How can you kill people when it is written in God's commandment 'Thou shall not murder?' Gandhi was 'overwhelmed' by the book, said 'it left an abiding impression', and in time, a correspondence started between the two men. The book convinced Gandhi that Hinduism and Christianity were one and the same at their core, and informed his passive resistance first in South Africa and then India; and later, of course, that of Martin Luther King in the USA.

PREFACE. INTRODUCTION. CONTENTS. CHAPTER 1 - DOCTRINE OF NON-RESISTANCE TO EVIL FROM THE ORIGIN OF CHRISTIANITY, HAS BEEN, AND STILL IS, PROFESSED BY THE MINORITY OF MEN. CHAPTER 2 - OPINIONS OF BELIEVERS AND UNBELIEVERS IN REGARD TO NON-RESISTANCE. CHAPTER 3 - THE MISCONCEPTION OF CHRISTIANITY BY NON-BELIEVERS. CHAPTER 4 - MISCONCEPTION OF CHRISTIANITY BY SCIENTISTS. CHAPTER 5 - CONTRADICTION OF OUR LIFE AND CHRISTIAN CONSCIOUSNESS. CHAPTER 6 - THE ATTITUDE OF MEN OF THE PRESENT DAY TOWARDS WAR. CHAPTER 7 - SIGNIFICANCE OF THE MILITARY CONSCRIPTION. CHAPTER 8 - CERTAINTY OF THE ACCEPTANCE OF THE CHRISTIAN DOCTRINE OF NON-RESISTANCE TO EVIL BY VIOLENCE BY THE MEN OF OUR WORLD. CHAPTER 9 - THE ACCEPTANCE OF THE CHRISTIAN LIFE-CONCEPTION DELIVERS MEN FROM THE MISERIES OF OUR PAGAN LIFE. CHAPTER 10 - USELESSNESS OF VIOLENCE FOR THE DESTRUCTION OF EVIL. CHAPTER 11. - CHRISTIAN PUBLIC OPINION ALREADY ARISES IN OUR SOCIETY, AND WILL INEVITABLY DESTROY THE SYSTEM OF VIOLENCE OF OUR LIFE. CHAPTER 12 - CONCLUSION.
Leo Tolstoy

Russian author, a master of realistic fiction and one of the world's greatest novelists.

Tolstoy is best known for his two longest works, War and Peace and Anna Karenina, which are commonly regarded as among the finest novels ever written. War and Peace in particular seems virtually to define this form for many readers and critics. Among Tolstoy's shorter works, The Death of Ivan Ilyich is usually classed among the best examples of the novella. Especially during his last three decades Tolstoy also achieved world renown as a moral and religious teacher. His doctrine of nonresistance to evil had an important influence on Gandhi. Although Tolstoy's religious ideas no longer command the respect they once did, interest in his life and personality has, if anything, increased over the years.

Most readers will agree with the assessment of the 19th-century British poet and critic Matthew Arnold that a novel by Tolstoy is not a work of art but a piece of life; the 20th-century Russian author Isaak Babel commented that, if the world could write by itself, it would write like Tolstoy. Critics of diverse schools have agreed that somehow Tolstoy's works seem to elude all artifice. Most have stressed his ability to observe the smallest changes of consciousness and to record the slightest movements of the body. What another novelist would describe as a single act of consciousness, Tolstoy convincingly breaks down into a series of infinitesimally small steps. According to the English writer Virginia Woolf, who took for granted that Tolstoy was “the greatest of all novelists,” these observational powers elicited a kind of fear in readers, who “wish to escape from the gaze which Tolstoy fixes on us.”

Those who visited Tolstoy as an old man also reported feelings of great discomfort when he appeared to understand their unspoken thoughts. It was commonplace to describe him as godlike in his powers and titanic in his struggles to escape the limitations of the human condition. Some viewed Tolstoy as the embodiment of nature and pure vitality, others saw him as the incarnation of the world's conscience, but for almost all who knew him or read his works, he was not just one of the greatest writers who ever lived but a living symbol of the search for life's meaning.

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ISBN: 9781907661204
ISBN-10: 1907661204
Audience: General
Format: Hardcover
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 324
Published: 1st March 2010
Publisher: White Crow Books
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 14.0 x 21.6  x 2.2
Weight (kg): 0.54