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The Kingdom of God is Within You

The Kingdom of God is Within You [Kindle Edition]

Leo Tolstoy , Leo Wiener
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)

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"A highly significant book." Ernest J. Simmons, Leo Tolstoy "The keystone of Tolstoy's entire ethical structure." Henri Troyat, Tolstoy

Product Description

The essence of the social conception of life consists in the transference of the meaning of our personal lives into the life of the aggregate of personalities,-the tribe, the family, the race, the state. This transference has taken place easily and naturally in its first forms, in the transference of meaning of life from the personality to the tribe, the family. But the transference to the race or nation is more difficult and demands a special education for it...
-from The Kingdom of God Is Within You

He is considered one of the greatest novelists in any language in all of human history, but Leo Tolstoy was also an influential social reformer and peace advocate. Subtitled "Christianity Not as a Mystical Teaching but as a New Concept of Life," this powerful exploration of the preachings of Jesus from a pacifistic perspective. First published in 1893, it introduced such important 20th-century figures as Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King to the concept of nonviolent resistance.

This edition is vital reading for anyone wishing to understand the history of protest around the world or gain a deeper appreciation of pacifistic Christianity.

Russian writer COUNT LEV ("LEO") NIKOLAYEVICH TOLSTOY (1828-1910) is best known for his novels War and Peace (1869) and Anna Karenina (1877). Translation by Harvard professor of Slavic languages, Leo Weiner (1862-1939).

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 3989 KB
  • Print Length: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Cosimo Classics (30 Nov 1898)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B001B22978
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #241,695 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Count Leo Tolstoy was born in 1828 on the family estate of Yasnaya Polyana, in the Tula province, where he spent most of his early years, together with his several brothers. In 1844 he entered the University of Kazan to read Oriental Languages and later Law, but left before completing a degree. He spent the following years in a round of drinking, gambling and womanizing, until weary of his idle existence he joined an artillery regiment in the Caucasus in 1851.

He took part in the Crimean war and after the defence of Sevastopol wrote The Sevastopol Sketches (1855-6), which established his literary reputation. After leaving the army in 1856 Tolstoy spent some time mixing with the literati in St Petersburg before travelling abroad and then settling at Yasnaya Polyana, where he involved himself in the running of peasant schools and the emancipation of the serfs. His marriage to Sofya Andreyevna Behrs in 1862 marked the beginning of a period of contentment centred around family life; they had thirteen children. Tolstoy managed his vast estates, continued his educational projects, cared for his peasants and wrote both his great novels, War and Peace (1869) and Anna Karenina (1877).

During the 1870s he underwent a spiritual crisis, the moral and religious ideas that had always dogged him coming to the fore. A Confession (1879-82) marked an outward change in his life and works; he became an extreme rationalist and moralist, and in a series of pamphlets written after 1880 he rejected church and state, indicted the demands of flesh, and denounced private property. His teachings earned him numerous followers in Russia and abroad, and also led finally to his excommunication by the Russian Holy Synod in 1901. In 1910 at the age of eighty-two he fled from home 'leaving this worldly life in order to live out my last days in peace and solitude'; dying some days later at the station master's house at Astapovo.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
40 of 41 people found the following review helpful
Authors come and authors go, occasionally one will stick in the public conscience, influence humanity and be hailed as a genius. Tolstoy is obviously one of these giants. War and Peace has assumed a mythical place as the book most people have heard of and very few have read, or at least finished. Tolstoy himself turned his back on this novel but one of the books he counted as having great merit was this harmonisation of the Gospels. Evangelical it is not, even the humanist classics have published a translation, but Tolstoy endeavours to synthesise the ethical teaching of Jesus as presented by the evangelists. Many can argue over his success in achieving this, the exclusion of miracles and his decision to stick only to the ethical strand of the Gospels sticks in the gullet of many sincere Christians but the influence of this small book cannot be doubted.
Wittgenstein is arguably the greatest philosopher of the 20th century but his discovery of Tolstoy's “Gospel in Brief” during the First World War had an immense influence on his philosophy so that he became an evangelist of sorts for Tolstoy even being know as “the man with the Gospel”. Here is just one example of the greatness of this small book. It is indeed an idiosyncratic rendition of the Gospels but it contains great wisdom, is beautifully written and deserves to be read over and over by anyone interested in philosophy or even life.
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34 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The heart of Tolstoy 7 Feb 2006
By A Customer
This is a book that could change your world. It is the core of Christianity, a faith stripped down to its essential truths - the Sermon on the Mount. This for Tolstoy is a way of life as far removed from 'Churchianity' as you can get, and dangerously radical just like Jesus himself. At its heart is Matthew V, verse 39, and Christ's words "Resist not evil", which led Tolstoy to a belief in absolute non-violence. This is where the Quakers are, as well as the Mennonites in America and the Doukhobors in Canada. This is what turned M K Gandhi's life upside down when he read it. It remains a powerful influence and holds a central place in the literature of pacifism. It is tough going, and this edition does contain the odd literal, but you won't be able to put it down. If more people read it and convert to its view, the world will be a more peaceful place. Order it now.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tolstoy goes right for the Jugular 25 April 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Before setting off for Turkey for two weeks in the summer of 2012, I had discovered the writings of Count Leo Tolstoy, the famous Russian writer. I only knew of his work as small inspirational quotations used by various writers, but had never really been introduced to his work properly until i heard that he was a Christian Anarchist...then my ears perked up.

I was to go on to find that Tolstoy shared many of my beliefs about how the Christian church had, over the millennia, moved away from the traditional teachings of Jesus Christ. Tolstoy's book "The Kingdom of God is within you", written well over a hundred years ago, is more relevant than ever for us today. First printed in 1894 in Germany, since it was banned in his native Russia, it is the culmination of thirty years of Tolstoy's Christian anarchist beliefs.

Reading The Kingdom of Heaven is Within you below the cool shade of the palms trees outside my rented apartment in Western Turkey last year, the vision of Christ that Tolstoy put forth was the Christ I had known from my childhood, the same Christ the church rebuked me for believing in in later years. Tolstoy goes right for the jugular with his condemnation of the hypocritical church of his day, a church not unlike our own today.

As is evident in the book, Tolstoy was a pacifist, and his teachings of "The Doctrine of Non Resistance to Evil by Force" is well explained throughout the book, an example of which can be seen here...

"The Sermon on the Mount, or the Creed. One cannot believe in both. And Churchmen have chosen the latter.
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36 of 39 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Reading this book can, hopefully, change how persons think about truth and non-violence. No doubt Gandhi was overwhelmed by it (and tried to practise it). They lived in the same time. If everyone practices even an iota of the observations and yearning for truth from this book, the world would be a better place to live in. Definitely recommended for all who seek the Truth and are willing to try.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Tolstoy's non-fiction masterpiece 19 Sep 2005
Tolstoy was a devout Christian towards the end of his life, but had no belief in the miraculous. This book is his account of why Christianity is an excellent way of living even without all the miracles, which he says have been put into Christianity by powerful governments and other elites in order to dumb the people down; give them lies to believe in to distract them from what is really happening. Tolstoy was also a pacifist and hated the idea that God or Christ or any religious idea is used to take people into war. Christ was against violence, that is plain to see. Elites use religion to compel men to go to war. That, for Tolstoy is a terrible crime and he addresses these issues and more in this book. His central theme is sound, but as with many 19th century authors, he tends to grind on sometimes, particularly when he's making a point he feels is important. I think this book is a very valuable contribution to thinking about Christianity, even if I don't agree with it all. What is more, his anti-establishment sentiments and rejection of the miraculous events in Christianity as lies establish Tolstoy within the circle of 19th century anarchist thinkers, some claim. He never calls himself an anarchist, but certainly there are similar overtones to his work. This book is interesting from this perspective since 19th century anarchists are generally atheists. Tolstoy's political views coupled with his religious ones make for an interesting comparison.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Tolstoy
This book is okay but it does not keep my interest as other Books I have purchased do. I think its a bit too heavy reading for me.
Published 6 months ago by Sandra Fletcher
4.0 out of 5 stars A genius
Tolstoy is one of my favorite authors. This is an extraordinary read too - his take on life is especially relevant today.
Published 7 months ago by S Winspur
5.0 out of 5 stars An Exhaustive Treatment of a Central Part of Christ's Teaching
Enjoyed this book immensely. The "use-of-force-for-self-defense" issue is one that causes a big problem for me as well as many others. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Zamboni
2.0 out of 5 stars Page line format too wide for my comfort
This is a note simply for the benefit of some readers who like myself have eyes that are of age enough to tire easily. Read more
Published 12 months ago by Tom Older
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting
This is a good-value version of The Kingdom of God is Within You. I was a little disappointed with Tolstoy here though. Read more
Published 13 months ago by Nick White
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant book
A must for all Christian Anarchists. I recommend this book to anyone who is intereseted in the history of religion, Christianity, anarchism
Published 19 months ago by J. Griffiths
5.0 out of 5 stars A good read
This book was referenced from Gandhi's autobiography and was very interesting for those with some interest in philosophy. I found it interesting to learn about Tolstoy's beliefs.
Published 20 months ago by Chris
4.0 out of 5 stars The Kingdom of God
Herein, Tolstoy elaborates his absolutist view on the Sermon on the Mount. Taken by many as a good teaching on the conduct of Christ, Tolstoy takes the Sermon... Read more
Published 22 months ago by abclaret
1.0 out of 5 stars Beware, this Kindle edition has not been fully digitalised!
As I understand it, the method of digitalising books is a process that involves photocopying physical book pages and then using type recognition software to convert the image into... Read more
Published on 16 Aug 2012 by a person
5.0 out of 5 stars Wisdom is within this book
It is amazing to see how little attention this book gets in todays day and age when it offers answers to a lot of ills faced by us. Read more
Published on 20 April 2012 by A. Gupta
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