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April 2, 2006

Favorite Readings

You encounter some fine minds as you pour through the often wonderful literature on disbelief and its history. Twice, however, I have been truly blown away: once while reading Nietzsche's Anti-Christ; and then again last week when, about a third of the way into The Brothers Kazamazov, I met (for the third time in my life) the Grand Inquisitor.

The Inquisitor, leader of the local Church, is speaking in Spain in the 16th century to the latest Heretic he has arrested -- a long haired semitic Man with a beard and "a gentle smile of infinite compassion":

Nothing is more seductive for man than his freedom of conscience, but nothing is a greater cause of suffering.... We have corrected Thy work and have founded it upon miracle, mystery and authority. And men rejoiced that they were again led like sheep and that the terrible gift that had brought them such suffering was, at last, lifted from their hearts.

Nietzsche read and respected Dostoyevsky.

Posted by Mitchell Stephens at April 2, 2006 11:24 AM


Do you remember the beginning of Brothers Karamazov, when one of the characters breaks down seeing a horse being abused? That was Nietzsche's move as he became insane. I wonder if Nietzsche had read Brothers K. shortly before that breakdown. I'm sure someone has pointed that out/examined it.

Posted by: seth at April 3, 2006 10:26 AM

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