From Skandalon to Scandal: Ivan's Rebellion Reconsidered

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Abstract

Ivan Karamazov articulates the philosophical problem of the limits of religion in his “Rebellion.” In this article, Harriet Murav argues that, far from being an enemy of religion, Ivan gets to the heart of the problem of responding to the suffering of the other. Christ crucified is a scandalous temptation, according to St. Paul. Extending the logic of the skandalon to Ivan makes possible an alternative reading of his “Rebellion.” The suffering of the innocent child is Ivan's “stumbling block,”—the skandalon that prevents him from accepting the meaningfulness of human history. But reading Ivan's position as nothing more than an attack on religion gets us off the hook of the skandalon too easily. To remain hypnotized by the difficulty without taking responsibility would be equally disastrous. Ivan's “Rebellion” makes legible the simultaneous impossibility and possibility of faith. Vasilii Rozanov, Emmanuel Levinas, and Jacques Derrida provide the framework in which to read the “Rebellion.”
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)756-770
Number of pages15
JournalSlavic Review
Volume63
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2004
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)

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