revistas electrónicas de la Universidad de Granada

Images of life and death as a central theme to Crime and Punishment. Intertextual analysis of Crime and Punishment through the eyes of the 11th chapter of John´s gospel

Robert Kuthan


The aim of the study is to provide a coherent analysis of Dostoevsky´s use of biblical intertextuality as it appears in his novel Crime and Punishment. The presence of John 11 (The Raising of Lazarus) in its nearly complete citation is so apparent that it cannot have escaped any interpreter´s attention. However, many interpreters have failed to see how this biblical passage permeates the whole novel. First, I aim to provide a deeper analysis of the symbolism of the resurrected Lazarus as it unfolds in this novel. Without full understanding of this symbolism our reading of the novel can only be partial. Secondly, I wish to present an analysis of Dostoevsky´s very unique literary method of applying the biblical text to his narrative form. My main hypothesis is that John 11 forms an underlying theme (not just a mere allusion) of this great novel without which the novel as a whole makes little sense. Finally, my aim is to show that Crime and Punishment can be read as a highly adventurous existential drama whose interpretation of John 11 is from the theological point of view shockingly modern.

Palabras clave

Intertextuality, Death, Life, Resurrection, Lazarus

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ISSN: 1579-8372 | eISSN: 2255-517X