Abstract

When Kazantzakis claimed at the end of Askitikí that "even this 'One' does not exist," his emphasis was not on a nihilistic concluding void but on the metaphysical 'One' or 'abyss' that lies beyond ('meta') the material realm. As this 'One' lacks any ontological reference point, it cannot be said to 'exist'. Furthermore, Kazantzakis drew on his rich Greek heritage--the neoplatonist Plotinus--in prioritizing this metaphysical 'One'. Examining the thought of Plotinus makes it possible to draw on and develop recent claims that Kazantzakis's thought may best be interpreted from the perspective of apophaticism or 'negative theology'. Indeed, the apophatic approach of Plotinus enables us to see how Kazantzakis could have asserted that "even this 'One' does not exist" without being a nihilist. Nevertheless, like Shestov's interpretation of Plotinus, Kazantzakis warns that ascent to the 'One' is both sublime and terrifying.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1086-3265
Print ISSN
0738-1727
Pages
pp. 269-281
Launched on MUSE
2001-10-01
Open Access
No
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