The Terrestrial Gospel of Nikos Kazantzakis

Nikos Kazantzakis BookThe Terrestrial Gospel is an anthology of passages selected from various books by Kazantzakis, centering on Nature and the workers of the soil. A powerful and poetic work that raises environmental awareness and calls us to compassionate action, the book contains new translations from the Greek originals to English, some original poems by Maskaleris, a Preface by Jean-Michel Cousteau, and an illuminating essay by ecologist, author, and film-maker, Michael Tobias.

Love supports survival… Nikos Kazantzakis’ love of Nature inspired him to write beautiful hymns to Her and to the human life rooted in the soil — as the selections for this Anthology movingly demonstrate.

Having grown up on the fascinating island of Crete — close to trees, animals and wild peasants — he absorbed and retained the terrestrial life in his soul, and made it bloom in brilliant descriptions throughout all of his works. These poetic tributes are not mere “décor” but a vital source of ever regenerative human life, biological growth, individual spirit and ecological community. It is a poetic vision that is at once communal, and global, from one of the 20th century’s greatest writers.

Reading Kazantzakis’ passages in this book, one is not only delighted by their lyrical beauty but also inspired to revere the Earth, to live fully, never forsaking that all-abiding connection rooted in us which is the life force.

Nikos Kazantzakis at workLet us hope that an embrace of our natural habitat, such as Kazantzakis summons in each of us, will help galvanize our resolve to respect, revere and collectively protect our one and only home, the Earth.

Advance Praise From
Around the World

“This ‘terrestrial gospel’ is just the kind of bracing slap the world needs, a reminder from a great writer about what’s real and vital.”
— Bill McKibben
Founder,, Author of Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet

“Step into The Terrestrial Gospel of Nikos Kazantzakis, and you land in a natural world as lush and alluring as a Renaissance tapestry. But beyond its exultations – the voice of Zorba declaring that the wood, the stones, the wine, everything has a soul – there is also the warning. It comes because of the destructive path of “the ephemeral, two-legged monster,” who is devastating Eden with alacrity. Katzantzakis’ “gospel” is indeed a kind of sacred text filled with songs, hymns, and dirges. Lovers of the Earth should hear, and heed, them.”
— Joanna Biggar
Novelist, Travel Writer, Author of That Paris Year

Nikos Kazantzakis, younger“Kazantzakis’ descriptions of the natural world are indispensable food for thought. If, as this great author says, it is not the earth that belongs to us, but it is we who belong to the earth, why do we treat it almost with contempt instead of with reverence?”
— Richard Pierce
Translator and sculptor, Verona, Italy

“Nikos Kazantzakis writes like Homeros, Hesiodos and Xenophon: blessing the earth that gave life to the Greeks; praising nature for its beauty; and hymning the land and her crops that sustained and civilized the Greeks. Thanasis Maskaleris, a life-long student of Kazantzakis, translates the earth wisdom of Kazantzakis for the world. Read and enjoy this book, so essential for inspiring us to defend our imperiled planet.”
— Evaggelos Vallianatos
Writer, Environmentalist, Author of This Land is Their Land, and The Passion of the Greeks.

“Kazantzakis reminds us of our intimate tie to Mother Earth, our delight in her splendors; and dwells emphatically on our duty to save her…Will we stop acting like clueless and careless wizard’s apprentices and heed his powerful voice?”
— Angelos Sakkis
Poet & Translator

“Who better to advocate for the earth than Nikos Kazantzakis, and who better to lead us through his environmental wisdom than poet, scholar and fellow Greek, Thanasis Maskaleris. A current-day Virgil, Maskaleris takes readers on a tour of Kazantzakis’s earthly paradise. Enlightening and uplifting, The Terrestrial Kazantzakis will reignite a passion for this planet to which we owe our lives.”
— Linda Watanabe McFerrin
Author of The Hand of Buddha and Dead Love (Stone Bridge Press, 2010)

“Kazantzakis’ s stentorian message needs to be heard far and wide, as we persist in our sometimes mindless assaults on our fragile planet.”
— Dr. Leonidas Petrakis
Scientist, Writer

“Sensual and inspirational, these passages from Kazantzakis insist upon recognition of humanity’s interdependent connections with and obligation to the earth that nurtures us.”
— Dr. Roland Moore

“Professor Maskaleris’ distillation of Kazantzakis’s ponderings eloquently reminds us of a primary duty in this world . . . ”
— Hercules Demosthenis Morphopoulos


Thanasis Maskaleris, TranslatorTranslated and Edited by Thanasis Maskaleris
Published by Zorba Press
in collaboration with the Dancing Star Foundation
Ebook Edition: May 2011 (Available NOW)
Ebook edition Format: PDF
Paperback edition: Coming Summer 2011
Nonfiction; 162 pages; 5.5″ x 8.5″
ISBN: 978-0927379-97-7
Price: $ 7.99

Foreword from Athens by Patroclos Stavrou and Niki P. Stavrou
Preface by Jean-Michel Cousteau
Preface from Crete by Dr. Yannis Phillis
Preface from Arkadia by Dr. John Anton
Postscript by Dr. Peter Bien
with illuminating essays by Michael Tobias and Michael Pastore

Learn more about the book’s translator and editor, Thanasis Maskaleris (”The Green Greek”).