Chapter

Arrows, Eros, Agape

CATHERINE OSBORNE

in Eros Unveiled

Published in print April 1996 | ISBN: 9780198267669
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191683336 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198267669.003.0003

Series: Clarendon Paperbacks

Arrows, Eros, Agape

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In the prologue to the Commentary on the Song of Songs, Origen raises the question of how far and in what context we might be justified in using the language of Eros to describe the relationship between God and humankind. While recognizing that the use of erotic imagery may be a source of moral error for some, and hence allowing that scripture may deliberately prefer the language of ‘charity’, Origen is of the opinion that the two sets of terms are not importantly distinct; there is, in his view, no theological significance to the preference for the language of ‘charity’. It would be perfectly correct and reasonable to substitute the terminology of Eros. This justification of the use of the language of Eros was one of the passages regarded by Anders Nygren as evidence of an attempt by Patristic thinkers to assimilate Platonic Eros and Christian agape.

Keywords: Origen; language; God; humankind; charity; Anders Nygren; Eros; agape

Chapter.  15276 words. 

Subjects: Early Christianity

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