Sunday, February 17, 2013

Anna Karenina: Part V, Chapter 11

Pilate washes his hands - Duccio
Pilate Washes His Hands, Duccio di Buoninsegna

In Part V, Chapter 11 of Anna Karenina, Anna is admiring a painting of Christ standing before Pilate by a painter named Mikhailov. (Mikhailov later paints Anna's portrait.)
"How marvelous Christ's expression is!" said Anna. Of all she saw she liked that expression most of all, and felt that it was the center of the picture, and so praise of it would be pleasant to the artist. "One can see that He is pitying Pilate."
This again was one of the million true reflections that could be found in his picture and in the figure of Christ. She said that He was pitying Pilate. In Christ's expression of love, of heavenly peace, of readiness for death, and a sense of the vanity of words. Of course there is the expression of an official in Pilate and of pity in Christ, seeing that one is the incarnation of the fleshly and the other of the spiritual life. All this and much more flashed into Mikhailov's thoughts.

...Pilate entered into the judgment hall again, and called Jesus, and said unto him, Art thou the King of the Jews?34 Jesus answered him, Sayest thou this thing of thyself, or did others tell it thee of me?35 Pilate answered, Am I a Jew? Thine own nation and the chief priests have delivered thee unto me: what hast thou done?36 Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence.37 Pilate therefore said unto him, Art thou a king then? Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice.38 Pilate saith unto him, What is truth? And when he had said this, he went out again unto the Jews, and saith unto them, I find in him no fault at all.
John 18:33-38 
...what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God.21 For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:22 Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth:23 Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously:24 Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.
1 Peter 2:20-24 

*All Scripture quotes are from the King James Version unless otherwise stated.

(Source: BibleGateway. Image Source: WikiPaintings)


  1. AK saw pity in the picture, but I see love in Christ's conversation with Pilate. He treats Pilate with dignity, not dismissively, answering his questions and engaging him where he is. I think God's love is evident throughout the passages you quote, Adriana. Thanks for connecting these for us.


    1. Your insight adds depth to each of my C&theB posts, Tim. I was particularly challenged by your post at Housewife Theologian today. Your thoughts blend nicely with what Tolstoy was showing us in AK by inserting the painting of Christ before Pilot in front of a character who was essentially asking "What is Truth?"

      Sadly Anna did not accept the Truth of God's love.