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Etty Hillesum's Russian Vocation And Spiritual Relationship To Dostoevsky

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Chapter Summary

This chapter investigates the position of Dostoevsky in Hillesum's work and the relationship between her philosophy of life and Dostoevsky's spirituality, as expressed in The Brothers Karamazov. It presents the context in which to place Hillesum's love for the Russian author and Russia in general. Two things are said in the chapter: one about the nature of Christianity and one about the nature of the Russian people. In her attitude toward life and in her diary, Etty Hillesum evidenced a remarkable similarity to the spiritual themes in The Brothers Karamazov. The Dostoevskian spirituality is expressed in three themes in her diary: (i) the problem of human suffering in relationship to God; (ii) the experience of the creation as Paradise, in spite of the evil in the world; and (iii) a common feeling of responsibility for the evil and an all-forgiving love towards everyone.

Keywords: Christianity; Dostoevsky's spirituality; Etty Hillesum; God; human suffering; Russian people; The Brothers Karamazov



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