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Eros and agape in the gospel of John

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Chapter Summary

This chapter begins with a discussion on Anders Nygren's famous book Eros and Agape. Nygren opposes the two: eros is Greek and egoistic, agape is Christian and altruistic. A synthesis between the two has been endeavoured in Antiquity, both by Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite and St. Augustine, but these radically different views could not be reconciled. The author of the Fourth Gospel was not alien to Greek thoughts and views. He even introduced the thoroughly un-Jewish and typically Greek concept of a "beloved disciple" and dared to represent the Last Supper as a sort of Symposion at which the beloved pupil rested at the bosom of this teacher. He knew both eros and agape. It is quite clear that the Fourth Gospel has so much in common with the typically Judaic Christian Apocalypse of John that both can be positioned in Ephesus in the first century A.D.

Keywords: agape; Anders Nygren; eros; Fourth Gospel; Gospel of John; Judaic Christian Apocalypse of John



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