Tolstoy wrote The Kingdom of God is Within You in the early 1890’s, after his crisis of religion and turning from the temptation of suicide. The book was banned in Russia and its first publication was in Germany in 1894. The title for the book was taken from the Gospel of Luke in the New Testament of the Christian Bible. Tolstoy agreed with the principle that Christians have the guiding principle of love within themselves and that it is part of their spiritual being, and the only way to live was to follow that “kingdom of God” within each person.
The Kingdom of God is Within You was a follow-up to the book My Religion, which followed A Confession. In the book, Tolstoy discussed his position that the church, particularly the Russian Orthodox Church, had lost its way – the true way that was preached by the early Christians. To Tolstoy, the early church founders would not have recognized the established church that had evolved and called itself “Christian”. He rails against what society has become and does not agree that ‘this social order, with its pauperism, famines, prisons, gallows, armies and wars, is necessary to society.’
This annotated edition includes a biography and critical essay.