Author: Valentina S. Sergeeva
Information about the author:

Candidate of Philological Sciences, Senior Research Assistant of the Centre “Dostoevsky and World Culture” (the Gorky Institute of World Literature RAS, Moscow), translator.

E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

For citation:

Sergeeva V.S. The Motif of Singing in “The Meek One”. Dostoevsky and World Culture, Philological journal, 2019, No 3(7), pp. 130-141.

Issue: 2019 № 3(7)
Pages: 130-141
DOI: 10.22455/2619-0311-2019-3-130-141
UDK: 82+821.161.1+2-1
BBK: 83+83.3(2=411.2)+86.2
Keywords: Dostoevsky, “The Meek One”, Gnostics, Pistis Sophia, mystic literature.

Abstract: The article traces the connection between F.M. Dostoevsky’s works and the Gnostic worldview with reference to the general acquaintance of the 19th century readers with Gnostic sources, through the example of “The Meek One”. This paper is an attempt to interpret the story’s climax (the protagonist’s singing and suicide) through the prism of the treatise Pistis Sophia that entered scientific circulation in the end of the 18th century and became one of the most talked-about samples of the early mystic literature.



1. Antichnoe khristianstvo. Shkola Valentina. Fragmenty i svidetel'stva [Ancient Christianity. Valentin’s school. Fragments and evidences]. St. Petersburg, Aleteiia Publ., 2002. 304 p. (In Russ.)

2. Apokrif Ioanna [St. John’s apocrypha]. Available at: apocryph.htm#_ftn51 (access date: 06.07.2019) (In Russ.)

3. Berdiaev N.A. Otkrovenie o cheloveke v tvorchestve Dostoevskogo [Revelation of man in Dostoevsky’s works]. Berdiaev N.A. O russkikh klassikakh [About Russian classics]. Moscow, Vysshaia shkola Publ., 1993, pp. 54-75. (In Russ.)

4. Glinka F. Opyty allegorii ili inoskazatel'nykh opisanii, v stikhakh i v proze [Essay on allegory or parabolic description, in verse and in prose]. St. Petersburg, Voennaia tipografiia Glavnogo shtaba E.I.V. Publ., 1826. 217 p. (In Russ.)

5. Dostoevskii F.M. Poln. sobr. soch.: v 30 t. [Collected workd: in 30 vols.]. Leningrad, Nauka Publ., 1972-1990. (In Russ.)

6. Izhe vo sviatykh ottsa nashego Irineia Episkopa Lionskogo, piat' knig oblicheniia i oproverzheniia lzheimennogo znaniia [Of our holy father Irinaeus, bishop of Lyon, five books on the detection and overthrow of the so-called Gnosis]. Irinei Lionskii, sv. Tvoreniia [Holy works of Irinaeus of Lyon], reprint of 1900. Moscow, Pravoslavnyi palomnik Publ., 1996, pp.17-528. (In Russ.)

7. Leont'ev K.N. Sobr. soch.: v 9 t. [Works: in 9 vols.]. Moscow – St. Petersburg, Izdanie V.M. Sablina i Russkogo knizhnogo tovarishchestva "Deiatel'' Publ., 1912-1913. Vol. 8. 354 p. (In Russ.)

8. Magaril-Il'iaeva T.G. Gnostitsizm v literature russkogo realizma: rannii Dostoevskii [Gnosticism in the literature of Russian realism: early Dostoevsky]. Russkaia literatura i filosofiia: puti vzaimodeistviia [Russian literature and philosophy: ways of interaction]. Moscow, Vodolei Publ., 2018, pp.196-216. (In Russ.)

9. Mikhnovets N.G. Krotkaia [The Meek One]. Dostoevskii: Sochineniia, pis'ma, dokumenty: Slovar'-spravochnik [Dostoevsky: works, letters, documents: reference dictionary]. St. Petersburg, Pushkinskii dom Publ., 2008, pp. 116-121. (In Russ.)

10. Moma A. Nemnogo o Pistis Sofii. Available at: shtml (access date: 04.07.2019) (In Russ.)

11. Trofimova M.K. Iz istorii gnosticheskoi interpretatsii [From the history of Gnostic interpretation]. Znanie za predelami nauki [Knowledge beyond science]. Moscow, Respublika Publ., 1996, pp. 48-50. (In Russ.

12. Janssens Y. L’Evangelie selon Philippe. Museon, 1981, No 81, pp. 79-133. (In French)

13. Segelberg E. The Coptic-Gnostic Gospel according to Philip and its Sacramental System. Numen, 1960, No 7, pр. 189-200. (In English)

14. Tripp D.H. The ‘Sacramental System’ of the Gospel of Philip. Studia Patristica, 1982, No 17, pр. 251-260. (In English)