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Desire and Love

Chapter in book
Authors Ola Sigurdson
Published in The Oxford Handbook of Theology, Sexuality, and Gender. Edited by Adrian Thatcher
Pages 523-537
ISBN 9780199664153
Publisher Oxford University Press
Place of publication Oxford
Publication year 2014
Published at Department of Literature, History of Ideas, and Religion
Pages 523-537
Language en
Keywords agape and eros, Anders Nygren, Augustine, desire, love, love and theology, love of God, love of neighbour
Subject categories Practical philosophy, Systematic theology, Faith and reason, Psychology of religion


Desire and love have always been important themes in Christianity, but there is no self-evident meaning for either of these concepts. This chapter examines some important contributions in the history of theology to the understanding of each, and offers some steps towards a constructive theology that regards desire as an integrative part of love. If the problem with the dominant tradition during antiquity and the Middle Ages was that it separated eros from a legitimate sexuality, the problem of modern Christianity is that it has reduced desire to sexuality. It is not helpful to separate agape from eros, as this implies a theology for which important aspects of human longing fall outside its frame. An account of love that avoids narcissism and an economy of the same includes desire; a love without desire lacks the motor that moves us forward towards the other.

Page Manager: Webmaster|Last update: 9/11/2012

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