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Published by: Sandra on Apr 22, 2010
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Feodor Dostoievsky on the coming Jewish "complete reign"The following is an extract from Dostoievsky's non-fiction work The Diary of aWriter, published serially from 1871 to 1873.He writes of Christianity in a civilizational, rather than a doctrinal, sense; asdoes Israel Shamir.THE DIARY OF A WRITERF. M. DOSTOIEVSKYTRANSLATED AND ANNOTATED BY BORIS BRASOLNew York GEORGE BRAZILLER 1954{p. 630} FEODOR DOSTOIEVSKY: 1877 ...Many people, in a purely Western fashion, began to see in the Church nothing butdead formalism, segregation, ritualism, and starting with the end of the pastcentury - even prejudice and hypocrisy: the spirit, the idea, the living force wasforgotten. There appeared economic conceptions of the Western pattern, newpolitical doctrines, new morality which sought to correct and supersede the formerone. Finally, science made its appearance, and it could not help but introducedisbelief in the former ideas. ... Besides, in the peoples of the East there beganto awaken pre-eminently national ideas: suddenly there arose a fear that, afterhaving shaken off the Turkish yoke, they would fall under the yoke of Russia.However, among the many millions of our common people and in their czars the ideaof the liberation of the East and of the Church of Christ was never dead. Themovement which seized the Russian people last summer proved that they forgotnothing of their ancient hopes and beliefs; it even surprised the overwhelmingmass of our intelligentsia to such an extent that they adopted a skeptical andscoffing attitude toward it, assuring everybody - and above all themselves - thatthe movement was invented and counterfeited by disreputable men who were seekingto come to the forefront to occupy a showy place.Indeed, who, in our day, among our intelligentsia - save a small portion of itwhich detached itself from the general chorus - could admit that our people arecapable of consciously comprehending their political, social and ethical mission?How could it be conceived that this coarse common mass, which only recently waskept in bondage and which now half-killed itself with vodka, knew and wasconvinced that its destiny was to serve Christ, and that of its Czar - to guardthe Christian faith and to liberate Orthodoxy ? "Even though this mass alwayscalled itself Christian, nevertheless it has no conception of either religion oreven Christ; it knows not even the most ordinary prayers." This is what is usuallybeing said about our people. Who is saying this ? You think - a German pastor whohas organized our Stundism; or a travelling European; a correspondent of apolitical newspaper; or some educated top Jew, from among those who do not believein God and of whom suddenly nowadays so many have been propagated in our midst;or, finally, one of those Russians residing abroad who pictures to himself Russiaand her people not otherwise than in{p. 631} the guise of a drunken peasant woman with a square bottle in her hand ? -Oh, no ! Thus thinks an enormous part of our Russian, very best society. Yet theydo not suspect that even though our people do not know prayers, nevertheless theessence of Christianity, its spirit and truth, are conserved and fortified in themdespite their vices - as strongly as, perhaps, in no other people in the world.
True, an atheist or a Russian European indifferent to religion even does notunderstand it otherwise than in the shape of formalism and hypocrisy. However, inthe people they behold nothing akin to hypocrisy, and, therefore, they infer thatthe people understand nothing in religion; that they pray, whenever they deem itnecessary, to a board, but that, essentially, they are indifferent and theirspirit is killed by formalism. They do not at all discern in the people theChristian spirit, perhaps, because they have long ago lost it and do not knowwhere it resides and where it blows. However, this "depraved" and ignorant peopleof ours loves the humble man and God's holy fool: in all their traditions andlegends the people have preserved the belief that the weak and the humbled,unjustly suffering for Christ, will be raised above the eminent and the strongwhen God's judgment and ordainment are pronounced. Our people are also fond oftelling the story of the renowned and grand life of their great, chaste and humbleChristian Knight, Ilya Murometz, the champion of truth, the liberator of the poorand weak, the meek and modest, the faithful and pure in heart.And possessing, revering and loving such a valiant knight, how can our people failto believe in the triumph of oppressed peoples and our brethren in the East ? Ourpeople revere the memory of their great and humble hermits and saints; they arefond of reciting to their children the stories about the great Christian martyrs.They have learned and know these stories, and it was from them that I first heardthem; they were told with deep understanding and reverence and they becameengraved in my heart.Besides, every year, there arise from the people's midst great repenting "Vlases"who give away all their property and who, with touching emotion, engage in thehumble and great exploit of truth, work and poverty. ...{p. 637} CHAPTER II1"The Jewish Question"OH, PLEASE don't think that I mean to raise "the Jewish question" ! I wrote thetitle jestingly. To raise a question of such magnitude as the status of the Jew inRussia, and the status of Russia which among her sons has three million Jews - isbeyond my power. The question exceeds my limits. Still, I can have a certainopinion of my own, and it now appears that some Jews begin to take interest in it.For some time I have been receiving letters from them in which they seriously andwith bitterness have reproached me for the fact that I am attacking them, that "Ihate the Yiddisher," that I hate him not for his vices, "not as an exploiter," butspecifically as a race, i.e., somewhat along the line that "Judas sold outChrist." This is being written by "educated" Jews, meaning, by such ones as (thisI have noticed, but by no means do I generalize my remark, and this I amemphasizing in advance) always, as it were, endeavor to advise you that, becauseof their education, they long ago ceased to share "the prejudices" of theirnation; that they do not comply with their religious rituals, like other pettyJews; that they deem this below the level of their enlightenment, and that,besides, they do not believe in God.I shall observe, parenthetically, that to all those gentlemen from among the "topJews" who are such staunch advocates of their nation, it is much too sinful toforget their forty-century-old Jehovah and to renounce him. And this is sinful notonly because of national sentiment but likewise for other momentous reasons. Andstrangely: a Jew without God is somehow inconceivable; a Jew without God cannot beimagined. However, this is a vast theme, and for the time being we shall leave it
aside.The thing that surprises me most is how, on what grounds,{p. 638} have I been classed as a hater of Jews as a people, as a nation? To acertain extent I am permitted by these gentlemen themselves to condemn the Jew asan exploiter and for some of his vices, but only ostensibly: in fact, it isdifficult to find anything more irritable and susceptible than the educated Jew,more touchy than he, as a Jew. But, again, when and how did I declare hate againstthe Jews as a people? - Since there never has been such a hatred in my heart, andthose Jews who are acquainted with me and have dealt with me know it, from thevery outset and before I say a word, I withdraw from myself this accusation, onceand forever, so as not to make special mention of it later.Am I not accused of hatred because sometimes I called the Jew "Yiddisher"? But, inthe first place, I did not think that this is so abusive, and secondly, as far asI can remember, I have always used the word "Yiddisher" in order to denote acertain idea: "Yiddisher, Yiddishism, Yiddish reign," etc. This denotes a certainconception, orientation, characteristic of the age. One may argue about this idea,and disagree with it, but one shouldn't feel offended by a word.I shall quote certain passages from a long, and in many respects, beautifulletter, addressed to me by a highly educated Jew, which aroused in me greatinterest. It is one of the most typical accusations of my hatred of the Jew, as apeople. It goes without saying that the name of Mr. N. K., the author of thisletter, is kept strictly anonymous."... But I intend to touch upon a subject which most decidedly I am unable toexplain to myself: this is your hatred of the 'Yiddisher' which is revealedvirtually in every issue of your Diary."I should like to know why are you protesting against the Yiddisher, and not theexploiter in general? I, not less than you, cannot tolerate the prejudices of mynation, - not little have I suffered from these - but I shall never concede thatthere dwells sham less exploitation in the blood of this nation."Is it possible that you are unable to lift yourself to the comprehension of thefundamental law of any social life to the effect that all citizens of a state,without any exception, if they are paying all taxes required for the existence ofthe state, must enjoy all rights and advantages of its existence, and that for theviolators of the law, the harmful members of the society, there must be one andthe same measure of punishment, common to all? ... Why, then, should all the Jewsbe restricted in their rights, and why should special penal laws exist for them?In what manner is alien exploitation (the Jews are nevertheless Russian subjects)by Ger-{p. 639} mans, Englishmen, Greeks, of whom there is so great a number in Russia,better than Yiddish exploitation? In what way is the Russian Orthodox kulak,peasant-exploiter, inn-keeper, blood-sucker, who has propagated so profusely allover Russia, better than the one from among Yiddishers, who nevertheless isoperating within a limited area? Why is this one better than the other ..."[At this juncture my esteemed correspondent compares several notorious Russiankulaks with Jewish ones in the sense that the Russians are just as bad. But whatdoes this prove? Indeed, we take no pride in our kulaks and we do not set them asexamples for imitation, and on the contrary we agree wholeheartedly that both areno good.]

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