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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Translated, with an introduction by Bernard Martin. Any other situation of modern man leads, in the end, to despair. Also note that English editions of Shestov’s books are not always exactly equivalent to the Russian editions as to which essays are included. What else shfstov they do but obscuring the real torments of life?

In Scripture this source bears the enigmatic name “faith,” which is that dimension of thought where truth abandons itself fearlessly and joyously to the entire disposition of the Creator: Through faith, he appears to have believed, man becomes – in an important sense – like God. In his university days he was primarily interested in economic and social questions and, while studying in Moscow, wrote a lengthy paper on the problems of the Russian worker with the subtitle “Factory Legislation in Russia.

During the Moscow period, his work became more influenced by matters of religion and theology.

YIVO | Shestov, Lev

By man’s own wishing and striving for it? Variously described as an irrationalist, an anarchist, a religious philosopher, Shestov’s themes were initially inspired by Nietzsche until he found a kindred spirit in Kierkegaard. Shestov’s Greek quotes were abridged and latinized in English translations.

Shestov isn’t very well-known, even in the academic world.

The father himself, while generally regarded as something of a free thinker by the more orthodox Jews of Kiev, was a lover of Hebrew literature and had a strong loyalty to Judaism and Jewish tradition.

His own life was concentrated on a passionate struggle against the “self-evident” truths of lef philosophy and positivistic science which had come to dominate the mind of European man and made him oblivious to the rationally ungrounded but redeeming truths proclaimed in the Bible.

Shestov, Lev

What he insisted, rather, was that the limits of science must be clearly understood and that the scientists and the would-be scientific philosophers must not pretend that their essentially “soulless and indifferent truths” [34] alone will satisfy the ultimate needs of the human spirit. It is regrettable that this is so, and yet the fact itself is hardly surprising. Shestov himself died at a clinic in Paris. And what a sigh of relief men will breathe when they suddenly discover that the living God, ,ev true God, in no way resembles Him whom reason has shown them until now!


It was at Husserl’s home in Freiburg that Shestov, when he came to shesov German university town to lecture inmet Martin Heidegger.

InShestov contracted a serious illness while at his vacation home. If the latter are declared absurd before the bar of reason and experience, then the truths approved by these judges are themselves foolishness before God. Consequently, the path of both virtue and wisdom for man, they believe, lies not in useless rebellion against necessity but in submissive obedience and resignation. The root of this despair is what he frequently calls ‘Necessity’, but also ‘Reason’, ‘Idealism’ or ‘Fate’: In his next volume, The Apotheosis of Groundlessnesspublished in St.

Shestov’s dislike of the Soviet regime led him to undertake a long journey out of Russia, and he eventually ended up in France. Nevertheless, he would find admirers in such writers as D. Some of these have not been translated into English to my knowledgethey are marked with a triple asterix.

Similar authors to follow

Scripture itself, he shfstov out, does not demand faith; it presupposes it. Lawrence and John Middleton Murry in England – he did not enjoy any great popularity in his lifetime and now, a quarter of a century after his death, his writings are little read.

American and British readers, to whom the life and work of this great Russian Jewish thinker are now virtually unknown, [5] can profit from becoming acquainted with him. What they tend, rather, to do is to lead those who concentrate on them away from the ultimate reality given in revelation.

According to Michael Richardson’s research on Georges BatailleShestov was an early influence on Bataille and was responsible for exposing him to Shestpv. Likewise, the final words of his last and greatest work, Athens shsstov Jerusalem, end: Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. Koteliansky’s literary translation of the work, [1] summarized Shestov’s philosophy with the words: It contains not only a vigorous attack on the speculative metaphysics of the neo-Kantian and Hegelian idealist variety shesttov dominated European academic philosophy at the time but also a radical challenge to the pretensions of scientific positivism and its basic assumptions, namely, the principle of unalterable regularity in the sequence of natural phenomena and the idea of causal necessity that is supposed to govern them.

Lev Shestov (Author of All Things are Possible)

Shestov was always more of an essayist than a book writer. Among Jewish thinkers, he influenced Hillel Zeitlin. His diatribes against the untested assumptions of rationalist metaphysics and positivist science, as well as his superb and penetrating analyses of the leb, the inexplicable and the extraordinary in the human psyche, made a profound impression on at least a oev of the important figures of the French Existentialist movement who were developing their philosophical outlook just at the time when his works were appearing in France.


Kierkegaard as a Religious Philosopher published Shestov’s first reading of Nietzsche had been a shattering intellectual and emotional experience. To obtain that which is possible he turns to those oev himself.

Low to High Price: Unfortunately, Shestov’s stature has not hitherto been generally recognized nor has his work been lfv studied. This explains his lack of a systematic philosophical framework. The middle ‘s brought Shestov increasing fame not only in France but throughout Europe. In addition to continuing his research and writing, which had for some years now been concentrated on the Bible and on an intensive study he called it a “pilgrimage through souls” of the work of such great religious thinkers as Plotinus, St.

Though at this time Shestov had not even heard of Kierkegaard or of what a few years later came to be called Existenz-philosophieit is interesting to note that The Apotheosis of Groundlessness already adumbrates a number of the chief characteristics of existentialist thought. It is significant that Shestov did not show a preference to the Jewish religion or the Jewish God, but held an ecumenical position that the God of Abraham was the same as the God recognized by Christians, Muslims, and mystics throughout the world.

Kierkegaard and Dostoevsky published It is not forbidden for reason to speak of unity and even of unities, but it must renounce total unity – and other things besides.

The most natural thing would be to suppose that it sheestov at the foot of the scaffold when sentence of death was read out to him and his companions. More recently, alongside Dostoyevsky’s philosophy, many have found solace in Shestov’s battle against the rational self-consistent and self-evident; for example Bernard Martin of Case Western Reserve University, who translated sheatov works now found online [external link below]; and the scholar Liza Knapp, [6] who wrote The Annihilation of Inertia: