Novelist, essayist, dramatist, and philosopher, Count Leo Tolstoy is most famous for his sprawling portraits of nineteenth-century Russian life, as recounted in Anna Karenina and War and Peace. But at the age of fifty, he endured a spiritual crisis that prompted him to seek answers from learned men on “the problem of life.” When they were unable to offer solutions, he turned to the study of Christianity. Dazzled by the light of truth that illuminated mankind for more than two thousand years, he found answers to his questions that led him to write his own version of “the greatest story ever told.”
As he reinterpreted the first four books of the New Testament into a single, integrated version that expressed the essence of Christ, Tolstoy avoided the mystery and miracles emphasized by the Church. Instead, he worked exclusively from the actual words and actions of Jesus, uncluttered by what he regarded as the Church’s false interpretations. The result: a revolutionary work that challenged long-held doctrines, presented in a way that reflects Tolstoy’s views on the divine purpose for human existence in a chaotic world. As brilliantly written as his other literary treasures, The Gospel in Brief is a remarkably modern—and moving—meditation on spirituality.