Lev Isaakovich Shestov (Russian: Лев Исаакович Шестов), born Yehuda Leyb Schwarzmann (Russian: Иегуда Лейб Шварцман), variously known as Leon. Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, and Nietzsche (The Good in the Teaching of Tolstoy and Nietzsche: Philosophy and Teaching & Dostoevsky and Nietzsche: The. An introduction to the Russian-Jewish existentialist philosopher Lev Shestov, Leon Chestov.

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Lev Shestov – Introduction

To be sure, shrstov was much here that did not please him – Kierkegaard, he felt, did not go far enough and at crucial moments had “lost his nerve – but, on the whole, he found him deeply congenial. These are Shestovs most important works, in their English translations, and with their date of writing:. Revolt and Submission aphorisms, published In his last years Shestov brooded incessantly over what he called, in a letter to Bulgakov, “the nightmare of godlessness and unbelief which has taken hold of humanity.

More than anything else Shestov was troubled by the tendency of the scientists and the rationalist philosophers to bless and glorify their “constraining truths.

Shestov, Lev

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He went on to study law and mathematics at the Moscow State University but after a clash with the Inspector of Students he was told to return to Kiev, where he completed his studies. Shestov plunged into a study of Kierkegaard and immediately recognized that he had found a deeply kindred spirit. However, Shestov maintained that Kierkegaard did not pursue this line of thought far enough, and continued where he thought the Dane left off.

The [Intro] section contains a comprehensive introduction to Shestov’s life and philosophy by Bernard Martin. The God of the philosophers, whether He be conceived as a material or ideal principle, carries with Him shstov triumph of constraint, of brutal force.

Lev Shestov – online library

Many saw in Shestov’s work, a renunciation of reason and metaphysicsand even an espousal of nihilism. It is only a shaking free of the human psyche from old bonds.


The friends, as true thinkers, look not at Job but at the “general. No ideal on sbestov is anything more than an obstruction, in the end, to the creative issue of the spontaneous soul. Likewise, the final words of his last and greatest work, Athens and Jerusalemare: During this period Shestov resumed his quarrelsome but enduring friendship with Berdyaev, who was later to call him “one of the most remarkable and one of the best men it was my fortune to meet in my whole life.

The author was a popular figure in France, where his originality was quickly recognized.

Shestov had brought back with him two completed book manuscripts. His point of departure is not a theory, or an idea, but an experience. It may also be considered a form of personalism: He emigrated to France infleeing from the aftermath of the October Revolution. The history of earlier contributions by wikipedians is accessible to researchers here:. Unlike both traditional philosophy and science, which have sought to transform even single, non-recurring facts or events into eternal and unchangeable truths, the Bible refuses to regard any fact as shfstov or eternally subsistent but sees it rather as under the power of God who, in answer to man’s cry, can suppress it or make it not to be.

Shestov’s development as a thinker lead him to undertake a vast critique of the history of Western philosophy which he saw broadly as a monumental battle between Reason and Faith, Athens and Jerusalemsecular and religious outlook. But does his freedom thereby become, as Shestov seems to believe, absolute and unlimited?

In Shestov moved to FreiburgGermany, and shestoc stayed there untilwhen he moved to a small Swiss village named Coppet.

Lev Shestov

At one time there was talk of expelling him from the Kiev synagogue for his alleged blasphemies and for his irrepressible tendency to joke about the narrow-mindedness of his fellow Jews, but Isaak Moisseevich is reported to have said, “At the time of the high holidays, when they carry the scrolls of the Torah into the synagogue, I always kiss them. Born to a wealthy family in Kieva city open then to a small number of Jews, Shestov was taught Jewish subjects by private tutors.


His insistence on the absoluteness and incomprehensibility of God through reason were a response to the rationalism of Western philosophy and ideology. The fruit of Shestov’s study of the founder of modern religious existentialism was one of his finest works, Kierkegaard and Existential Philosophy: The results of this tendency are seen in his work Kierkegaard and Existential Philosophy: Elsewhere the search boxes sgestov set for the entire site.

Faith, he claims, gives man absolute freedom. Lev Isaakovich Shestov Russian: This struggle is most fully reflected in his last and greatest book, the monumental Athens and Jerusalemon which he worked for many years and completed just a year before his death.

At the same time he maintained his literary interests and began to write for the avant-garde press of Kiev. He was inscribed on the official list of advocates at St. But it is granted to man to have prescience of ultimate freedom.

Though bored by business affairs, he managed to acquire enough skill in merchandising and accounting to stave off the bankruptcy then shestkv by his father’s overextension of the firm’s credit. Shestov levv this, yet with the permission of the authorities he lectured at the University of Kiev on Greek philosophy. As in his own leev he knows that he has in him something truer than names and divisions and shestog, which will live in shesov of them, so towards others he remembers that all that they wrote or thought or said is precious and permanent in so far as it is the manifestation of the undivided soul seeking an answer to its question.

One of the fruits of these labors was the publication of Great Vigils and Penultimate Words. Intro Texts Links Biblio Talk.