HW due 12/14: The Grand Inquisitor

1. Please be prepared to discuss The Grand Inquisitor on Monday–Read and annotate The Grand Inquisitor by Dostoyevsky! This is an excerpt from a much larger novel entitled The Brothers Karamazov. The excerpt is in your philosophy packet.

Helps to contextualize a bit.  The parable is an excerpt from one of Dostoyevsky’s greats, The Brothers Karamazov.

The Grand Inquisitor is a parable told by Ivan to Alyosha (two brothers) in Fyodor Dostoevsky’s novel The Brothers Karamazov (1879-1880). Ivan and Alyosha are brothers; Ivan questions the possibility of a personal, benevolent God and Alyosha is a novice monk.

The Grand Inquisitor is an important part of the novel and one of the best-known passages in modern literature because of its ideas about human nature and freedom, and because of its fundamental ambiguity.

The tale is told by Ivan with brief interruptive questions by Alyosha. In the tale, Christ comes back to earth in Seville at the time of the Inquisition. He performs a number of miracles (echoing miracles from the Gospels). The people recognize him and adore him, but he is arrested by Inquisition leaders and sentenced to be burnt to death the next day. The Grand Inquisitor visits him in his cell to tell him that the Church no longer needs him. The main portion of the text is the Inquisitor explaining to Jesus why his return would interfere with the mission of the church.

The Inquisitor frames his denunciation of Jesus around the three questions Satan asked Jesus during the temptation of Christ in the desert. These three are the temptation to turn stones into bread, the temptation to cast Himself from the Temple and be saved by the angels, and the temptation to rule over all the kingdoms of the world. The Inquisitor states that Jesus rejected these three temptations in favor of freedom, but thinks that Jesus has misjudged human nature. He does not believe that the vast majority of humanity can handle the freedom which Jesus has given them. Thus, he implies that Jesus, in giving humans freedom to choose, has excluded the majority of humanity from redemption and doomed it to suffer. (Wiki)

Read closely so that you can discern the narrative within the narrative.  If you are confused please email me so that I can be of further assistance.

2. Keep in mind, the due date for your creative final is Dec. 16th!

Due Date: December 16

  • You have an option of doing either a written or visual piece.
  • Your subject: The human condition/existentialism
  • Your angle: The subject as communicated by those whom we’ve read or the subject as seen entirely through your unique, subjective lens (a complement to your insight paper).
  • Your means of communication: Written (short story or play; approximately 10 pages) or Visual (or a combination of the two)… In deciding between written or visual, you should choose the one that will allow you the best opportunity for creative success here. Note, only choose the visual route if your visual will be nothing short of extraordinary :) and the same goes for the written route…
  • In short, your creative piece presents you with another means through which to communicate an understanding of this course.

To earn an A on the Creative Project, your project must:

  • Entice audience with original, innovative and daring use of ideas, images, language, plot and various literary or visual devices
  • Demonstrate a clear purpose that is accessible to the audience
  • Demonstrate expert use of literary and/or artistic form and devices
  • Demonstrate powerful use of sensory images
  • Demonstrate excellent effort and profundity

Artist’s statement:

Why did you choose to represent this piece in this way? Here discuss the technical decisions in creating your image (i.e. lighting, composition, etc.)

How does the creation of art make you feel? What emotions do you wish to convey? Here, you also connect the image back to the course (textual connection, thematic connection, etc).  Discuss how your creative project is thematically relevant.  What message are you trying to convey to the viewer/reader?

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