For the Love of God: The Death of Desire and the Gift of Life

Mario Costa

in Toward a Theology of Eros

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print January 2007 | ISBN: 9780823226351
Published online March 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780823236718 | DOI:

Series: Transdisciplinary Theological Colloquia

For the Love of God: The Death of Desire and the Gift of Life

Show Summary Details


This chapter deals with the desire for God and formulates the problem of desire, and in doing so challenge those theories that privilege lack and death, as well as the secular conditions that support them. To that end, it first contrasts the metaphysical conception of eros as articulated in Diotima's discourse in Plato's Symposium with a few epitomes of post-metaphysical lack-based theories. In focusing on Diotima's speech, an eroticism is discovered that lends itself easily to an explicitly Christian development, though the chapter's interests lie with the relevance of Diotima's doctrine for current theological arguments regarding the inadequacy of purely lack-based theories of desire—arguments that are, of course, resonant (though not simply conflatable) with Anders Nygren's opposition of agape to eros. Looking at dialogue with philosophical theologian Jean-Luc Marion, the chapter sees in Plato's text a concept of eros that is not simply identified with lack or death but encompasses also the agapic emphasis on resourcefulness or plenitude, in an inherently relational construal of divine-human desire in which eros itself arrives, and is returned, as a gift.

Keywords: God; desire; gift; death; eros; Diotima; Symposium; Plato; Anders Nygren; agape

Chapter.  10339 words. 

Subjects: Christian Theology

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Fordham University Press »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.