Spring 1997

Eros and Agape: The Divine Passion of Love

Ysabel de Andia

The disciples of Christ crucify their eros, but this crucifixion, far from making eros die, transforms it and awakens it.

The Hebrew word ahaba is translated in the Greek bible with agape1 - a noun practically unknown in the secular language - rather than with the verb agapao, "to welcome with affection," especially a child or a guest. Here, the idea is one of "tender inclination toward" (which is found again in the Latin dilegere-dilectio) or one of friendship (the Greek phileo-philia2). The word eros3, "passionate love," on the other hand, is found only twice in the Septuagint, and never in the New Testament. 


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1. agape (Septuagint): 2 Kgs 1:26; 13:15; Eccl 9:1; 9:6; Song 2:4, 5, 7, 5:8, 7:5; 8:4, 6, 7; Wis 3:9; 6:18; Sir 48:11; Jer 2:2.

2. philia (Septuagint): employed only in the wisdom books (Proverbs, Wisdom, and Sirach) and in Maccabees (1-4).

3. eros (Septuagint): Prv 7:18; 30:16,