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Test Edit[edit]

A note for peer reviewers. I am only editing the literary career portion of the page, which mixes information about his books, philosophy, spirituality, and relationship to the Greek Orthodox Church. I decided to split these sections up and to flesh them out. I am also going to add more sources to my article before I am finished. Finally does this edit look unbiased? Or is it argumentative? Please let me know if anything is confusing, unclear, needs citation, or anything else!

Literary Career[edit]

Kazantzakis' first published work was the 1906 narrative, Serpent and Lily (Όφις και Κρίνο), which he signed with the pen name Karma Nirvami. In 1907 Kazantzakis went to Paris for his graduate studies and was deeply influenced by the philosophy of Henry Bergson, primarily the idea that a true understanding of the world comes from the combination of intuition, personal experience, and rational thought[1]. The theme of rationalism mixed with irrationality later became central to many of Kazantzakis' later stories, characters, and personal philosophies. Later, in 1909, he wrote a one-act play titled Comedy, which was filled with existential themes, predating the post-World War II existentialist movement in Europe spearheaded by writers like Jean-Paul Sartre and Camus. After completing his studies in Paris, he wrote the tragedy, "The Master Builder" (Ο Πρωτομάστορας), based on a popular Greek folkloric myth.

Through the next several decades, from the 1910s through the 1930s, Kazantzakis traveled around Greece, much of Europe, northern Africa, and to several countries in Asia. Countries he visited include: Germany, Italy, France, The Netherlands, Romania, Egypt, Russia, Japan, and China, among others. These journeys put Kazantzakis in contact with different philosophies, ideologies, lifestyles, and people, all of which influenced him and his writings[2]. Kazantzakis would often write about his influences in letters to friends, citing Sigmund Freud, the philosophy of Nietzsche, Buddhist theology, and communist ideology and major influences. While he continued to travel later in life, the bulk of his travel writing came from this time period.

Kazantzakis began writing The Odyssey: A Modern Sequel in 1924, and completed it in 1938 after fourteen years of writing and revision[2]. The poem follows the hero of Homer's Odyssey, Odysseus, as he undertakes a final journey after the end of the original poem. Following the structure of Homer's Odyssey, it is divided into 24 rhapsodies and consists of 33,333 lines[1]. While Kazantzakis felt this poem held his cumulative wisdom and experience, and that it was his greatest literary experience, critics were split, "some praised it as an unprecedented epic, [while] many simply viewed it as a hybristic act," with many scholars still being split to this day.[2] A common criticism of The Odyssey: A Modern Sequel was aimed at Kazantzakis' over-reliance on flowery and metaphorical verse, a criticism that is also aimed at his works of fiction.[1]

Many of Kazantzakis' most famous novels were published between 1940 and 1961, including Zorba the Greek (1946), Christ Recrucified (1948), Captain Michalis (1950), The Last Temptation of Christ (1955), and Report to Greco (1961).

Scholar Peter Bein argues that each story explores different aspects of post-World War II Greek culture such as religion, nationalism, political beliefs, the Greek Civil War, gender roles, immigration, and general cultural practices and beliefs.[1] These works also explore what Kazantzakis believed to be the unique physical and spiritual location of Greece, a nation that belongs to neither the East nor the West, an idea he put forth in many of his letters to friends[2]. As the scholar Peter Bein argued, "Kazantzakis viewed Greece's special mission as the reconciliation of Easter instinct with Western reason," echoing the Bergsonian themes that balance logic against emotion found in many of Kazantzakis' novels[1].

Two of these works of fiction, Zorba the Greek and The Last Temptation of Christ had major motion picture adaptations in 1964 and 1988 respectively.

Language and Use of Demotic Greek[edit]

During the time when Kazantzakis was writing his novels, poems, and plays, the majority of "serious," Greek, artistic work was written in Katharevousa, a "pure" form of the Greek language that was created to bridge Ancient Greek with Modern, Demotic Greek, and to "purify" Demotic Greek. In his letters to friends and correspondents, Kazantzakis wrote that chose to write in Demoitic Greek to capture the spirit of the people, and to make his writing resonate with the common Greek citizen.[1] Moreover, he wanted to prove that the common spoken language of Greek was able to produce artistic, literary works. Or, in his own words, "Why not show off all the possibilities of demotic Greek?"[1] Furthermore, Kazantzakis felt that it was important to record the vernacular of the everyday person, including Greek peasants, and often tried to include expressions, metaphors, and idioms he would hear while traveling throughout Greece, and incorporate them into his writing for posterity[2][1]. At the time of writing, some scholars and critics panned his work because it was not written in Katharevousa, while others praised it precisely because it was written in Demotic Greek.

Several critics have argued that Kazantakis' writing was too flowery, filled with obscure metaphors, and difficult to read, despite the fact that his works were written in Demotic Greek. Kazantzakis scholar Peter Bein argues that the metaphors and language Kazantzakis used were taken directly from the peasants he encountered when traveling Greece[1]. Bein asserts that, since Kazantzakis was trying to preserve the language of the people, he used their local metahpors and phrases to give his narrative an air of authenticity and preserve these phases so that they were not lost.[1]

Religious Beliefs and Relationship with the Greek Orthodox Church[edit]

While Kazantzakis was deeply spiritual, he constantly struggled with religious faith, specifically his Greek Orthodoxy, for his entire life. Baptized Greek Orthodox as a child, he was fascinated by the lives of saints from a young age[3]. As a young man he took a month long trip to Mount Athos, a major spiritual center for Greek Orthodoxy. Most critics and scholars of Kazantzakis agree that the struggle to find truth in religion and spirituality was central to a great deal of his works, and that some novels, like The Last Temptation of Christ and Christ Recrucified focus completely on questioning Christian morals and values.[3] As he traveled Europe, he was influenced by various philosophers, cultures, and religions, like Buddhism, causing him to question his Christian beliefs[4]. While never claiming to be an atheist, his public questioning and critique of the most fundamental Christian values put him at odds with the Greek Orthodox church, and many of his critics.[3] Scholars theorize that Kazantzakis' difficult relationship with many members of the clergy, and the more religiously conservative literary critics, came from his questioning and reversal of the classic tenets of Christianity. In his book, Broken Hallelujah: Nikos Kazantzakis and Christian Theology, author Darren Middleton theorizes that, "Where the majority of Christian writers focus on God's immutability, Jesus' deity, and our salvation through God's grace, Kazantzakis emphasized divine mutability, Jesus' humanity, and God's own redemption through our effort," highlighting Kazantzakis' uncommon interpretation what of traditional Orthodox Christian beliefs.[5] Many Orthodox Church clergy condemned Kazantzakis' work and a campaign was started to excommunicate him. His reply was: "You gave me a curse, Holy fathers, I give you a blessing: may your conscience be as clear as mine and may you be as moral and religious as I" (Greek: "Μου δώσατε μια κατάρα, Άγιοι πατέρες, σας δίνω κι εγώ μια ευχή: Σας εύχομαι να ‘ναι η συνείδηση σας τόσο καθαρή, όσο είναι η δική μου και να ‘στε τόσο ηθικοί και θρήσκοι όσο είμαι εγώ"). While the excommunication was rejected by the top leadership of the Orthodox Church, it became emblematic of the persistent disapprobation from many Christian authorities for his political and religious views.

Modern scholarship tends to dismiss the idea that Kazantzakis was being sacrilegious or blasphemous with the content of his novels and beliefs.[6] These scholars argue that, if anything, Kazantzakis was acting in accordance to a long tradition of Christians who publicly struggled with their faith, and grew a stronger and more personal connection to God through their doubt.[3] Moreover, scholars like Darren J. N. Middleton argue that Kazantzakis' interpretation of the Christian faith predated the more modern, personalized interpretation of Christianity that has become popular in the years after Kazantzakis' death[5].

Sources For Kazantzakis Edit[edit]

Nikos Kazantzakis Potential Reference List


Encyclopedia of World Writers : Marie Josephine Diamond (SFSU Library)

  • A general biography of N.K. will be useful for my own understanding of his life, and also for general reference in the article, since there are very few references in general. This source will potentially give me more information on his life, and thus, more information to potentially include in the biography section of his article.

Nikos Kazantzakis, Novelist: Peter Bein (SFSU Library)[7]

  • Another general biography. Again, this source may provide me with additional information for the article, or will allow me to source claims already in the article, that have not yet been cited. This book's references section may also provide me with further sources.

Nikos Kazantzakis A biography in letters: Helen Kazantzakis (SFSU Library)

  • Useful for the same reasons as the other biographies. This biography was assmbled by his second wife, and also contains excerpts from his letters to friends, family, and general notes, potentially giving me his persectives on main events in his life. This source may also have more bias as it is closer to the source, but by the same token, may provide more colorful insight into N.K.'s beliefs and character.

Religious/Spiritual Beliefs:

“Does This One Exist?” The Unveiled Abyss of Nikos Kazantzakis[8] : Lewis Owens (SFSU Library, Journal of Modern Greek Studies)

  • An in overview and analysis of N.K.'s theological and spiritual beliefs. References his letters and written works to piece together an understanding of what he believed, and how it changed or stayed the same over time. I can use the author's analysis, and his references to N.K.'s letters, to flesh out a more thorough and properly sourced section on his spiritual/theological beliefs.

The Spiritual Odyssey of Nikos Kazantzakis: a Talk  : Kimon Friar (SFSU Library)

  • Features letters between the two, and is a critical analysis of N.K.'s work: The Odyssey: A Modern Sequel. Offers an overview of N.K.'s theological and spiritual beliefs while also taking a critical look at one of his most famous works, The Odyssey: A Modern Sequel. Gives me information and references for another of his major works in addition to more information on his spiritual beliefs.

Broken Hallelujah: Nikos Kazantzakis and Christian Theology[9]: Darren J. N. Middleton (SFSU Library)

  • A critical at N.K.'s theological beliefs and how they actually work with Christian theology. N.K. had a rocky relationship with the Greek Orthodox Church, and this source argues that his message and beliefs were largely misunderstood or misconstrued by those in the church and the public. Would help me flesh out his spiritual/theological beliefs section, while also giving me references and additional facts on his disagreement with the Greek Orthodox Church, which is one of the final sections in the article on N.K.

Nikos Kazantzakis and The Last Temptation: Irony and Dialectic in a Spiritual Ontology of Body[10] : Jean Ellen Petrolle

Kazantzakis and God. Albany [6] John Chryssavgis

Nikos Kazantzakis and Process Theology: Thinking Theologically in a Relational World[4]: Darren J. N. Middleton

Daniel A. Dombrowski, Kazantzakis and God (

Anti-Nihilism in the Thought of Nikos Kazantzakis [11] : Christos Galanopoulos

Why Read Kazantzakis in the Twenty-first Century? [12]

Peter Bien

Nikos Kazantzakis’s ZORBA THE GREEK: Another Echo of Henri Bergson Wook-Dong Kim [13]

Kazantzakis and Christian Doctrine:

Some Bridges of Understanding

Darren J. N. Middleton*


Nikos Kazantzakis Page Checklist[edit]

Is everything in the article relevant to the article topic? Is there anything that distracted you? Nearly everything is relevant to the aritlce, although there are significant gaps in the biography of Kazantzakis' life, and the article focuses only on one or two of his books.

Is the article neutral? Are there any claims, or frames, that appear heavily biased toward a particular position? The article seems pretty neutral. Nothing appears to be biased one way or another. The only thing that would be good to double check is the reference to Kazantzakis' relationship to the Greek Orthodox church. The tone is definitely "in favor" of Kazantzakis, although it does not clearly state what the issue was central to his disagreement with the church. It hints that it started with the fact that he was agnostic, although there is no citation proving that he claimed he was agnostic, or that the Church was excommunicating him for this reason. The article says that the church started to excommunicate him, citing a website article titled, "The Myth of the Excommunication of Nikos Kazantzakis." The article explicitly states that, while the motion was initiated, it was never signed or completed by any authority in the Greek Orthodox church. While the source cited in the Wikipedia article ("The Myth of the Excommunication of Nikos Kazantzakis.") has no citations for its claims, the author states and links the article from which he got his proof, which is supposedly cited. That source is not accecible from the link provided in the article (File Not Found). The article supposedly referenced is called Dialogic Openness in Nikos Kazantzakis by Charitini Christodoulou.

Are there viewpoints that are overrepresented, or underrepresented?

Too much on Zorba the Greek, not enough representation of his other works. Also his bibliography is long enough that it should be listed in full on another page, and leaving only his most popular works on this page (see Faulker's page for an example of what I am thinking).

Check a few citations. Do the links work? Does the source support the claims in the article?

All but 1 citations work, although there are only 4 citations for the entire article. Definitely need more citations in general, and more citing in the article itself.

The sources loosely support the article. See above comments. Not sure how legitimate these other sources are.

Is each fact referenced with an appropriate, reliable reference? Where does the information come from? Are these neutral sources? If biased, is that bias noted? Is any information out of date? Is anything missing that could be added?

Info is relatively up-to-date. Needs more info on his BIO and books. A list of his translated works would be really nice. Sources seem neutral, but I can't tell if the sources are legitimate or not.

Check out the Talk page of the article. What kinds of conversations, if any, are going on behind the scenes about how to represent this topic? How is the article rated? Is it a part of any WikiProjects?

There are some behind the scenes talks about how the page is put together. Namely: if some works are over/underrepresented, fact checking, and a translation issue. Not too much on what the page needs to get taken to the next level, so to speak.

How does the way Wikipedia discusses this topic differ from the way we've talked about it in class?

It is less sources, and does not give a comprehensive general overview of the subject. Too much listing, his complete list of works should be on a separate page , rather than padding out the main page. It looks super messy.

What the article needs:[edit]

  • More citations in the biography
  • A separate section on his idea/relationship with Christianity/Greek church
  • ·A separate section on his awards
  • ·Separate bibliography page, only main works listed on page (see Faulkner for example)
  • ·A section on his literary beliefs/practices (parts of this can be merged with church section)
  • ·Section on his past & current status in Greek/General literary culture (and popular culture)
  • ·List of his works that have been translated into English[14]
  • ·"In-Line citations," meaning, citations that are inserted at the end of a sentence to tie said statement to a specific reference.
  • ·In general, more references. His page has only 5 references, 2 of which are exactly the same (Nomination Database)[15]
  • Here is a random citation. [16]
  • Another[17] test citation.[18]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Peter., Bien, (1989). Nikos Kazantzakis, novelist. Bristol: Bristol Classical Press. ISBN 1853990337. OCLC 19353754. 
  2. ^ a b c d e Kimon., Friar, (1979). The spiritual odyssey of Nikos Kazantzakis : a talk. Stavrou, Theofanis G., 1934-, Σταύρου, Θεοφάνης Γ. 1934-. [St. Paul, Minn.]: North Central Pub. Co. ISBN 0935476008. OCLC 6314676. 
  3. ^ a b c d 1966-, Middleton, Darren J. N., (2007). Broken hallelujah : Nikos Kazantzakis and Christian theology. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books. ISBN 9780739119273. OCLC 71322129. 
  4. ^ a b Middleton, Darren J. N. (2010-06-24). "Nikos Kazantzakis and Process Theology: Thinking Theologically in a Relational World". Journal of Modern Greek Studies. 12 (1): 57–74. doi:10.1353/mgs.2010.0139. ISSN 1086-3265. 
  5. ^ a b c Middleton, Darren J. N. (1998-10-01). "Kazantzakis and Christian Doctrine: Some Bridges of Understanding". Journal of Modern Greek Studies. 16 (2): 285–312. doi:10.1353/mgs.1998.0040. ISSN 1086-3265. 
  6. ^ a b Constantelos, Demetrios J. (1998-10-01). "Kazantzakis and God (review)". Journal of Modern Greek Studies. 16 (2): 357–358. doi:10.1353/mgs.1998.0029. ISSN 1086-3265. 
  7. ^ Peter., Bien, (1989). Nikos Kazantzakis, novelist. Bristol: Bristol Classical Press. ISBN 1853990337. OCLC 19353754. 
  8. ^ Owens, Lewis (1998-10-01). ""Does This One Exist?" The Unveiled Abyss of Nikos Kazantzakis". Journal of Modern Greek Studies. 16 (2): 331–348. doi:10.1353/mgs.1998.0041. ISSN 1086-3265. 
  9. ^ 1966-, Middleton, Darren J. N., (2007). Broken hallelujah : Nikos Kazantzakis and Christian theology. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books. ISBN 9780739119273. OCLC 71322129. 
  10. ^ Petrolle, Jean Ellen (2010-06-24). "Nikos Kazantzakis and The Last Temptation: Irony and Dialectic in a Spiritual Ontology of Body". Journal of Modern Greek Studies. 11 (2): 271–291. doi:10.1353/mgs.2010.0336. ISSN 1086-3265. 
  11. ^ Galanopoulos, Christos (2010-07-09). "Anti-Nihilism in the Thought of Nikos Kazantzakis". Journal of Modern Greek Studies. 28 (1): 7–37. doi:10.1353/mgs.0.0083. ISSN 1086-3265. 
  12. ^ Bien, Peter (2010-07-09). "Why Read Kazantzakis in the Twenty-first Century?". Journal of Modern Greek Studies. 28 (1): 1–6. doi:10.1353/mgs.0.0078. ISSN 1086-3265. 
  13. ^ Kim, Wook-Dong (2017-07-03). "Nikos Kazantzakis's ZORBA THE GREEK: Another Echo of Henri Bergson". The Explicator. 75 (3): 181–184. doi:10.1080/00144940.2017.1346575. ISSN 0014-4940. 
  14. ^ "The horror! First-world San Francisco 'problems' we face every day". SFGate. Retrieved 2017-10-05. 
  15. ^
  16. ^
  17. ^ "Wikipedia:Inline citation". Wikipedia. 2017-07-28. 
  18. ^ "Wikipedia:Citing sources". Wikipedia. 2017-09-25.