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Kazantzakis’ Askitiki: A Collaboration with Life

altA lecture about Kazantzakis’ Askitiki will be presented by Howard F. Dossor next Thursday 2 June, at the Greek Centre, as a part of the Greek History and Culture Seminars offered by the Greek Community of Melbourne.

The theological perspective known as “Process Theology” has made much use over recent years of the writings of Nikos Kazantzakis to validate its interpretation of God as a deity in development. Whereas, during his lifetime, Kazantzakis found himself ostracized by many within the Church as an apostate, today he is welcomed within some branches of the western church as an important theological thinker.

However, an opposing reading of Kazantzakis is not only possible but arguably more in tune with the spiritual perspicacity of an era that has been designated post-Christian. While religious readers of his work will focus on his repeated use of the word God in his writings, its more definitive centre may lie in what Kazantzakis has to say to us about man.

Celebrating Life as the highest value human beings can esteem, Kazantzakis gives it its full value and locates human existence firmly within its energetic thrust upward towards an escalating enrichment. Further, he offers us a set of practical guidelines which enhance our capacity to engage spiritually and creatively with Life in that forward thrust. If he invites us to be free of religious mythologies, it is only because he has a vision of humanity flowing within the mainstream of Life itself towards an ever expanding horizon. Man’s absolute responsibility, Kazantzakis seems to argue, lies not in preparing himself for a permanent state of paradise but in contributing to the enrichment of life.

Howard F. Dossor came out of the ministry of the Congregational Churches when he discarded his theological views. Entering the education sector, he taught in schools and at the La Trobe University Language Centre in Melbourne, before moving into university administration, being appointed as the Registrar and University Secretary of Victoria University. In his retirement, he pursued his interest in the work of the English philosopher and novelist, Colin Wilson, editing a collection of that author’s shorter writing under the title The Bicameral Critic (Ashgrove, Bath,1985) before completing the definitive study, Colin Wilson: The Man and His Mind (Element, Shaftesbury, 1990), a study judged by Wilson to be the best interpretation of his work.

He became acquainted with Kazantzakis in 1956, when he read Zorba the Greek and has lectured regularly on him, pre-eminently to the Existentialist Society and The University of the Third Age but also in England to The International Society of the Friends of Nikos Kazantzakis. His paper, The Existential Theology of Nikos Kazantzakis was published, in 2001, in the prestigious Pendle Hill Pamphlet series (No. 359). Several of his public lectures on Kazantzakis are presented on YouTube.

We thank the following donors: Chris Fifis and The International Society of Friends of Nikos Kazantzakis - Melbourne Branch.

During the course of the year considerable expenses are incurred in staging the seminars. In order to mitigate these costs individuals or organisations are invited to donate against a lecture of their choice. You too can donate for one or more seminars and (optionally) let your name or brand be known as a patron of culture to our members, visitors and followers, as well as the broader artistic and cultural community of Melbourne.

Please email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or call 03 9662 2722.

When: Thursday 2 June 2016, 7:00pm
Where: Greek Centre, Mezzanine, 168 Lonsdale Street, Melbourne