The orthodox religion and russian literature in the 20th century
Source document: Sborník prací Filozofické fakulty brněnské univerzity. C, Řada historická. 2007, vol. 55, iss. C53, pp. -116
License: Not specified license
The social and political climate of 20th century Russia strove to replace the Christian tradition in Russian culture by ideology, but without success. During the times when the Orthodox Religion had been repressed and replaced by Communist ideology, the great works of Russian literature still sought answers to many questions regarding God, human existence, the meaning of life, sin and evil. Just as the Orthodox priests serve God, so did Russian literature serve a higher authority: the principle of goodness. The complex structure of the novel The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov (1891-1940) reflects the author's belief in the victory of good over evil. Five years later, Boris Pasternak (1890-1960), the future Nobel Prize laureate, began writing the work of his life, the "Gospel of Russian Life", Doctor Zhivago (1945-1956). Bulgakov's attitude toward the Scriptures was ambiguous; he had used Biblical themes as the philosophical background of The Master and Margarita, a great parable written as a fantastical farce, hiding a deep philosophical message, and exploring the issue of good and evil in a fascinating, imaginative manner. Pasternak, on the other hand, had treated the Gospel motifs quite differently. Pasternak's belief in Christ and the truth of his teaching had always been an inexhaustible source of spiritual power for him, just as it was for his fictional hero, Yuri Zhivago. The novel shows Pasternak as a great religious thinker, explaining his views of the world, history, man, and religion.