Christian Philosophy in the Patristic and Byzantine Tradition

by B.N. Tatakis
Edited, translated and annotated by Protopresbyter George Dion. Dragas


Paperback (September 2007)

ISBN: 978-1-933275-16-1

Price: $22.95 + S&H (USD)


Hardcover (September 2007)

ISBN: 978-1-933275-17-8

Price: $32.95 + S&H (USD)


Tatakis is a real master of thought, a “philosopher who theologizes,” or, putting it otherwise, a philosopher who takes theology seriously and brings out its insights dressed in philosophical form. The result is indeed a most fruitful synthesis of philosophy and religion; a philosophy of religion, or more accurately, a religious philosophy. It is a Christian philosophy, which is possible, because this is indeed the legacy of Byzantium, that priceless alabaster of Eastern Orthodox Christianity of which Tatakis has been a key exponent and interpreter. It is precisely this Greek Orthodox Christian synthesis that this volume explains in a straightforward, comprehensive and profound way. This work is a real companion to Tatakis' earlier work on Byzantine Philosophy, laying the emphasis on the content of Byzantine thought and its characteristic religious bent, Greek Orthodox Christianity, as distinct from its history and literature, which are more typical of the earlier work. There are certain overlaps between the two books, but this one brings out more clearly the Greek Orthodox theological dimension in Tatakis’ thought which deserves to be explored much more than it has. It reveals the great soul of this extraordinary man who is both a philosopher and a man of faith and theology; and who, in spite of the exigencies of life (as he describes them very movingly in his last and most interesting book - the book of his life — published posthumously in 1993), has left us the strength and the aroma of the Greek Orthodox spirit and nobility.



Basil N. Tatakis was one of the most distinctive and distinguished personalities of 20th century Greece who made a long-lasting contribution in education and in Patristic and Byzantine Philosophy. He was born in the small village of Syneti in the Greek Island of Andros in 1896 as the last child in a family of nine children, where he received his first education, and died in Athens at the age of 90 in 1987. His high-school studies were in the famous Evangelical School of Smyrna (1909–1914) and his first University degree in Philosophy in the University of Athens (1919–1922). He served as High School teacher in various schools (Scopelos, Limassol, Nicosia, Serres) during the years 1922–1928 and in 1928 he pursued post-graduate studies in Philosophy at the Sorbonne in Paris. On completion of his studies in Paris (1930) he returned to Greece, he earned a Doctorate of Philosophy from Aristotle University in 1939 and continued working in secondary education as head of various schools in Greece (Thessalonica, Crete, Athens, etc.) until 1958 when he was elected Professor of Philosophy at the Aristotle University of Thessalonica (becoming Dean of the School of Philosophy in 1962) and served there until 1967 when he retired. In 1958 he became a member of the then Royal (and now State) Institute of Research and during 1964–1967 he served as president of the State Theater of Northern Greece. In 1982 he received the Award of Excellence in Historical and Social Sciences from the Academy of Athens. In 1993 his fascinating and longest book (650pp), Memoirs: A Biographical Mythistoriography (Ἀπομνημονεύματα: Βιογραφικὴ μυθιστορία), was published (posthumously) by the Educational Institute of the National Bank of Greece, in which he reveals the trials of his life, his labors and achievements and the greatness of his soul, which made him one of the most distinguished Greek souls of the 20th century. The extent and quality of his work and his long-lasting contribution are fully described by the other great Byzantinist philosopher Prof. Linos Benakis in the Andriaka Chronika, vol. 33 (Andros 2002) pp. 25–35, 49-66 and vol. 37 (Andros 2004) pp. 19–23, 189. The entire volumes 33 and 37 of Andriaka Chronika are dedicated to Tatakis and contain very important elucidations of his philosophical work. What needs to be now done is the elucidation of his religious philosophical work which is revealed in the present publication in a special way.



Protopresbyter George Dion. Dragas, Ph.D., D.D. (Hon.), Δ.Θ. (Hon.) is Professor of Patrology/Patristics at Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology in Brookline, Massachusetts. He was born in Athens, Greece, where he received his first education and studied science. He pursued Theological Studies at Edinburgh University (B.D.), Princeton Theological Seminary (M.Th.) and Durham University, England (Ph.D.).

He taught Patristics at Durham University in England from 1974–1995. Since 1995, he has been teaching at Holy Cross in Brookline. At present, he is also Visiting Professor at Sherbrooke Université and Université Laval in Quebec, Canada, and at the University of Balamand (Lebanon), St. John of Damascus School of Theology.

He is a specialist on St. Athanasius and the Alexandrian theologians and is responsible for updating with critical introductions the Athens reprint of Migne's Patrologia Græca (about 150 volumes published so far).

He is a member of the Academie Internationale des Sciences Religieuses (Brussels) and has been involved in Ecumenical Dialogues for many years as representative of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople.

In 2000, the Faculty of Theology of the St. Klement National University of Sofia, Bulgaria conferred on him the degree of Doctor of Divinity (D.D.) Honoris causa. In 2005, he was honored with another honorary Theology Doctorate by the Aristotle University of Thessalonike in Greece. In 2006, he received the Aristeion (top award for academic excellence) of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki.


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