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Agape and Eros Paperback – April, 1982

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Paperback, April, 1982
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 764 pages
  • Publisher: Univ of Chicago Pr (Tx); First Edition edition (April 1982)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0226610780
  • ISBN-13: 978-0226610788
  • Product Dimensions: 7.8 x 5.2 x 1.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,649,846 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Language Notes

Text: English, Swedish (translation)

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51 of 52 people found the following review helpful By Thomas J. Oord on January 6, 2003
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Anders Nygren's mid-twentieth century work, Agape and Eros, is monumentally important for the contemporary dialogue between science and theologies of love. When examining Nygren's hypotheses pertaining to love, Gene Outka concludes, "whatever the reader may think of [Agape and Eros], one may justifiably regard this work as the beginning of the modern treatment of the subject" (Agape 1972, 1). Nygren's work is not so important for its substantive contributions to this dialogue. He fails to consider the science of his day, and this work is almost exclusively theological in orientation. Furthermore, contemporary biblical and theological scholars have been almost uniformly rejected his particular agape and eros love hypotheses.
What makes Nygren's tome so important to the current science and theologies of love interface is the book's formal contribution: Agape and Eros implanted on the Western psyche the notion that when the word "agape" is used to speak of love, we refer to something distinctive. "Agape" has come to function as a kind of code word, although to what exactly is being referred varies dramatically from author to author. Although biblical scholars have almost unanimously rejected the claim that agape holds special status in Christian scripture and tradition, the perceived significance of agape persists today thanks in large part to Agape and Eros.
Nygren states that his purpose in authoring the book is "to investigate the meaning of Christian love" and "illustrate the main changes it has undergone in the course of history" (27, 39). Such an investigation is important because love occupies the central place in Christian theology and piety.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Carl L. Bankston on October 22, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Nygren's book has a prominent place in the literature on the nature of love. It has implications for psychology (especially of the archetypal school) and philosophy, as well as theology. Nygren's method of "motif research," drawn form music, has been widely influential, making a recent appearance in Philip Rieff's maverick My Life Among the Deathworks.

The distinction between the two types of love is far more than a distinction between the physical and the spiritual. Agape is a form of love that comes down from God to humanity, while Eros moves up from humans toward the divine. Agape loves regardless of the value of the loved, in whom it creates value. Eros loves its objects only because they are worthy of love. Nygren is therefore standing Nietzsche on his head, transvaluing the transvaluation of values.

From the perspective of intellectual history, one has to wonder whether the distinction between these two types of love actually existed in the lives and minds of writers from late antiquity through the Reformation, or whether the book is an example of a modern theologian reading his own distinctions into the past. Connected to this point, Nygren's use of the love motifs may be seen as a subtle polemical weapon in a confessional dispute. One of the Protestant criticisms of Catholicism has been that the Catholic intellectual tradition moved away from true Christiantiy by absorbing non-Christian influences. Protestants have portrayed the Catholic hierarchy as a human effort to create a link to God through the Church structure, in place of immediate descent of God's love and grace to each individual. The characterization of agape as the original and true form of Christian love, adulterated by centuries of eros, implicitly takes the Protestant side in the Protestant-Catholic debate.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Thor Olav Olsen on July 22, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
To whom it may concern in Amazon.
Here comes my recommendation: The Book has to be read for all those who want to know more about Our Short Life on Earth.
Thor Olav Olsen.
Doctor Philosophiae in Philosophy.
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