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The Gospel in Tolstoy

Selections from His Short Stories, Spiritual Writings, and Novels


With Artwork by Fritz Eichenberg

4.62 Stars on Goodreads Read Reviews

A rich, accessible introduction to one of the world’s greatest novelists, this anthology shows how life and teachings of Jesus inspired some of Tolstoy’s best literary work.


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About The Book

This anthology vividly reveals Tolstoy’s lifelong fascination with the life and teachings of Jesus – in a way none of his novels, stories, or essays could on its own. In the hands of a master storyteller, the gospel themes come to life: betrayal and forgiveness, sacrifice and redemption, death and resurrection.

Hailed as one of the world’s greatest writers – by the likes of Dostoyevsky, Chekhov, Woolf, Joyce, Proust, Faulkner, and Nabokov – Leo Tolstoy (1828–1910) is best known for his novels War and Peace and Anna Karenina. But his short stories express a hard-won faith, and his essays on Christianity, nonviolent resistance, and justice profoundly influenced many including Martin Luther King Jr. and Mahatma Gandhi. Born into Russian nobility, Tolstoy eventually renounced his wealth and sought to put his beliefs into practice.

This rich, accessible introduction to a literary giant is drawn from Anna Karenina, War and Peace, Resurrection, The Death of Ivan Ilyich, Master and Man, Walk in the Light, Twenty-Three Tales, Confession, and The Kingdom of God is Within You. Tolstoy enthusiasts will be pleased to find some of his deepest, most compelling passages in one volume, while new readers will find their appetites whetted for more.

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Table of Contents

Finding God

  • The Three Hermits: An Old Legend Current in the Volga District
  • Levin Looks for Miracles: From Anna Karenina
  • The Death of Ivan Ilyich: A Selection from the Novella
  • My Way to Faith: From Confession

Love of Neighbor

  • Three Questions: A Story
  • Where Love Is, God Is: A Story
  • Master and Man: A Selection from the Story
  • What Men Live By:A Story

Peace and Nonviolence

  • The Empty Drum: A Folk Tale from the Volga Region
  • Nikolai Meets the Enemy: From War and Peace
  • How to Resist Evil: From The Kingdom of God Is Within You
  • What Pierre Learned from Platon the Peasant: From War and Peace

Forgiveness

  • God Sees the Truth, but Waits: A Story
  • A Spark Neglected Burns the House: A Story
  • Nekhlyudov Seeks Redemption: From Resurrection
  • The Healing of Prince Andrei: From War and Peace
  • The Repentant Sinner A Story

Living Simply

  • A Grain as Big as a Hen’s Egg: A Story
  • Ivan the Fool: A Fairy Tale
  • What Is the Meaning of Life?: From The Kingdom of God Is within You

The Way of the Kingdom

  • A Talk among Leisured People: An Introduction to the Story That Follows
  • Walk in the Light While There Is Light: A Story of Early Christian Times