- Paperback: 125 pages
- Publisher: St. Augustines Press; 3rd edition (November 15, 1999)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 189031823X
- ISBN-13: 978-1890318239
- Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.4 x 8.4 inches
- Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #867,797 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Enthusiasm And Divine Madness 3rd Edition
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"Pieper's . . . book . . . is in every way beautiful: in format, in translation, in subject (Plato's Phaedrus), in its philosophic grace." -- Christian Century
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Top Customer Reviews
As Pieper says: "What is really so bad, in fact inhuman, about this attitude us not the craving from sensual gratification, but the deliberate, systematic separation of sensuality from spirituality, of sex from love". Eros becomes neutered and powerless when the nature of man is denied so that he is not "open to shattering emotion, susceptible to being carried away...Real man is a being by nature given to shattering emotion". Socrates in effect says that eros is not something about which we can have a "cool objectivity" - our nature is not given to us as "raw material" for us to mould to suit ourselves. Thus, for Socrates, eros opens up the lover to "frenzy" a "being-beside-oneself", a "loss of his self-possession". Pieper leads us to consider poetry which seems to emerge from the same sort of loss of self possession and then to the main theme, to consider the "ravishing nature of "beauty". But, what then is the difference between lust and love? Pieper answers: "The lustful knows quite well what they want; at bottom they are calculating, see clearly, and "have their wits about them". In other words, they remain self possessed. Pieper then notes what lovers and philosophers have in common: "Lovers and men philosophising belong together to the extent that in erotic emotion and in genuine philosophical inquiry something is activated which cannot come to rest in the finite world...Both the philosopher and true lover are insatiable".
I am conscious that I have only scratched the surface of this very profound little book and I would be less than honest if I did not admit that I had an inkling for what he was talking about but my reaction was not one of: "now I see" but perhaps in time with greater wisdom and on the nth read, I may then understand or not! One small point: the background to the discussion of love may is not ideal - the context of love, as may be expected from the Greeks, is not a man for a woman or vice versa but a man for a boy.