From our archives, Richard John Neuhaus on the late Joseph Frank’s biography of Fyodor Dostoevsky :

Frank is simply wrong when he writes that  Karamazov  is about “the great theme that had preoccupied [Dostoevsky] since  Notes from Underground : the conflict between reason and Christian faith.” I am keenly aware that Joseph Frank probably knows as much about Dostoevsky as any person alive. For all his undoubted knowledge, however, I am persuaded that he misunderstands texts that are crucial to his claim that Dostoevsky’s lifelong obsession was with the presumed conflict between reason and what Frank persistently calls “irrational faith.” Since that claim is key to, in some ways  the  key to, his construal of Dostoevsky’s life and work, this is no little disagreement.

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