Untangling Eros: Toward an Ethic of Sensuality

in Erotic Attunement

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print June 2011 | ISBN: 9780226811383
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226811376 | DOI:
Untangling Eros: Toward an Ethic of Sensuality

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This chapter draws on recent reinterpretations of Plato's Symposium to argue for a contemporary critical reappropriation of Platonic erotic love of less powerful persons, minus its androcentrism and its era's sexualization of inequality and of eroticism. It theologically elaborates the reflections on desire, sin, and grace. Moreover, it addresses the contemporary recoveries of Plato's Symposium and the account of desire that has affected so much of Western thought, Christian and secular. The Symposium was nothing if not an illustration of the seduction that wise, self-possessed men work on younger men in pursuit of knowledge or pleasure. It formulated a vision of ideal erotic love from the point of view of the lover. Edward Vacek believed that hope in the genuine affirmation that comes from being loved back is normally a part of the motivation. Vacek overcame the Platonic dualism that produces a barrier between physical and spiritual eros.

Keywords: Plato; Symposium; Platonic erotic love; eroticism; desire; sin; grace; Edward Vacek; Platonic dualism

Chapter.  11491 words. 

Subjects: Ethical Issues and Debates

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