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Eros UnveiledPlato and the God of Love$
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Catherine Osborne

Print publication date: 1996

Print ISBN-13: 9780198267669

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198267669.001.0001

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Arrows, Eros, Agape

Arrows, Eros, Agape

Chapter:
(p.52) 3 Arrows, Eros, Agape
Source:
Eros Unveiled
Author(s):

CATHERINE OSBORNE

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198267669.003.0003

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

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