"Let books be your dining table, / And you shall be full of delights. / Let them be your
And you shall sleep restful nights" (St. Ephraim the Syrian).

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Christos Yannaras's Relational Ontology

I have previously drawn attention to the important thought of Christos Yannaras for both contemporary philosophy and theology. A new translation has recently been published of Relational Ontology, trans. Norman Russell (Holy Cross Orthodox Press, 2011), 156pp.

About this book, the publisher tells us:
How is the person constituted? Is there a transcendent cause of existence? Starting from these questions, Christos Yannaras explores what we know about ourselves as willing, thinking, sexual beings, and suggests how we can overcome the predeterminations of nature to enter into a different mode of existence, a mode that enables us ultimately to share in the personal otherness of divine being. This book builds on the notion of the human person that Yannaras has already established in his previous works and develops it further in exciting new ways.
This book carries endorsements from two important non-Orthodox voices, an Anglican and a Roman Catholic:
"Christos Yannaras has been for several decades one of the most prolific, original, and contemporary Orthodox writers in Greece. He is perhaps one of the most significant Christian philosophers in Europe, and it is wonderful to be able to welcome this sustained enterprise in making him accessible to English-speaking audiences." - Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury

"In this recent work Christos Yannaras confronts the reductionist claims advanced by some neuroscientists, and in dialogue with Jacques Lac an reflects on the relevance of relation with the Other to the constitution of the human person. Everything in us manifests itself as a form of the desire for life-as-relation. It is this relational dynamic that shapes our mode of being, going beyond the determinism of nature and opening us up to the experience of freedom, sacrifice, love, and beauty. In the light of the originally relational constitution of human existence, Yannaras presents a suggestive rereading of the Christian faith - particularly of the doctrine of original sin - and offers a fascinating new approach to the problems of evil and death. This stimulating book is a most welcome addition to Holy Cross Orthodox Press's Yannaras series." - Basilio Petra, Professor of Moral Theology at the Faculty of Theology of Central Italy (Florence)
This will be expertly reviewed in Logos: A Journal of Eastern Christian Studies in 2012.


  1. Jean-Claude Larchet's newest book, "Personne et Nature" just came out. It's 4 essays on Christological and ecumenical issues, two of which were previously published and two are new. The last of them is a 200-page critique of Yannaras' and Zizioulas' personalism from the perspective of Larchet's reading of patristic ontology...


  2. Great! Thank you for this. I've read some of Larchet in the past and found him very sensible. I look forward to this critique.


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