In this searching investigation, Stelios Ramfos explores the roots of the modern debate on the person and concludes that the preoccupation of the Byzantine Greeks with eternity inhibited them from developing a fruitful sense of interiority. He argues that, nevertheless, a figure such as Leontius of Byzantium can suggest a way forward if Byzantine theological thinking is re-visited in the light of insights derived from the Western philosophical tradition.
“One of the most important and ecumenically influential contributions of Orthodox theology in the last century to broader discussions on the Trinity, Christology, theological anthropology, and ecclesiology has been the retrieval of a relational understanding of personhood, in which the person is constituted as an event of irreducible uniqueness and ecstatic freedom in relations of communion. Stelios Ramfos, however, convincingly demonstrates that for a contemporary theological anthropology, there exists a depth and richness to the Byzantine tradition well beyond the Cappadocian Fathers. . . . Through his masterful translation, Norman Russell again makes available to the English-speaking world an engaging and provocative book by a Greek intellectual. Ramfos expands our knowledge of the Byzantine tradition and contemporary Orthodox theology; he also enriches the current debate, theological and philosophical, on the nature of personhood. Aristotle Papanikolaou,Associate Professor of Theology and Associate Chair for Undergraduate Studies, Fordham University
An original and most cultivated thinker, Stelios Ramfos is capable as few people are of immersing himself in the incomparable story of classical, Byzantine, and modern Hellenism. In his important book, Yearning for the One, he explores in a fascinating way the lines that Hellenism's spiritual future might take. --Basilio Petra, Professor of Moral Theology, Theological Faculty of Central Italy (Florence)