Can the Devil be Saved? (Modernity on Endless Trial, 1990)


by Leszek Kolakowski (1927 - 2009)

The title catchily paraphrases: ‘Can the cosmic and historical drama be interpreted as a movement towards the ultimate reconciliation of all things?’

This is not simply a religious query, though the essay requires a certain vocabulary – understanding terms like Pelagianism. Kolakowski indicts Enlightenment thinking, or its Utopian strand, as a serpent corrupting Christianity’s realism about human nature. He preaches that original sin and salvation through God’s grace must be accepted together as paired opposites so as to resist extremist thought. Writing with poise on the role of doubt, Kolakowski suggests a third way between the myths of Prometheus and Sisyphus.

Related recommendation: Camus’ ‘The Myth of Sisyphus’ (1942)

Origin: Poland

Themes: History

Genres: Tract or Treatise

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