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The other substantial difference from Shafarevich is that Solzhenitsyn deliberately avoids discussing religious doctrine. Despite the importance he attaches to his own religious faith a reticence on the subject of religion is typical of his work as a whole. He has surprisingly little to say about the fate of priests in The Gulag Archipelago or, in The Red Wheel, on the trauma undergone by the Church in the February Revolution.

He says in an introductory comment inTwo Centuries Together (vol 1, p.11):

'What should be the limitations of a book like this?

'I'm quite aware of the complexity and enormity of the subject. I understand that there is also a metaphysical side to it. It is even said that the Jewish problem can only be understood from a mystical and religious viewpoint. I certainly acknowledge the reality of this point of view, but although it has already been discussed in many books, I think it remains inaccessible to men, that by its very nature it is outside the reach even of experts.

'Even though all the important finalities of human history involve interventions and influences of a mystical nature, that does not prevent us from considering them on a concrete historical basis. I doubt if we have to appeal to these higher considerations to analyse phenomena that are immediately within our grasp. In the limits of our earthly existence we can assess Russians and Jews alike on the basis of earthly criteria. The heavenly ones, let us leave them to God.

'I only wish to deal with this problem in the categories of history, politics, daily life and almost exclusively in the limits of the two centuries in which Russians and Jews have been living in a single state. Never would I have dared to touch on the depths of Jewish history, covering three or four millennia and sufficiently represented in numerous works and meticulously assembled encyclopaedias ...' 

It seems to me that in writing this Solzhenitsyn is confusing two different problems - the problem of understanding the Jewish-Russian or Jewish-Christian confrontation theologically; and the problem of understanding how theological ideas (what Christians thought about Jews; what Jews thought about Christians) affected the course of events. The former may well not be within the grasp of the historian, the latter has an obvious historical importance, but Solzhenitsyn still tends to avoid it. 

Shafarevich on the other hand seems to have no such inhibitions. In 2002 (the year the second volume of Two Centuries Together was published) he published a book called The Three Thousand Year Old Enigma: History of the Jews from the perspective of contemporary Russia, making use, so Berglund tells us, of Israel Shahak's book, Jewish History, Jewish Religion. The weight of three thousand years. Shafarevich's book has not to my knowledge been translated into English or French but it is clear from the title that, like Shahak's book, which is easily available, published by Pluto Press, he is trying to go into the substance of the Jewish religious tradition, with a view to explaining what he sees as a wickedness intrinsic to the Jews. This is very much not Solzhenitsyn's approach.