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Toward a Theology of ErosTransfiguring Passion at the Limits of Discipline$
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Virginia Burrus and Catherine Keller

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780823226351

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: March 2011

DOI: 10.5422/fso/9780823226351.001.0001

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For the Love of God: The Death of Desire and the Gift of Life

For the Love of God: The Death of Desire and the Gift of Life

(p.38) For the Love of God: The Death of Desire and the Gift of Life
Toward a Theology of Eros

Mario Costa

Fordham University Press

This chapter deals with the desire for God and formulates the problem of desire, and in doing so challenge those theories that privilege lack and death, as well as the secular conditions that support them. To that end, it first contrasts the metaphysical conception of eros as articulated in Diotima's discourse in Plato's Symposium with a few epitomes of post-metaphysical lack-based theories. In focusing on Diotima's speech, an eroticism is discovered that lends itself easily to an explicitly Christian development, though the chapter's interests lie with the relevance of Diotima's doctrine for current theological arguments regarding the inadequacy of purely lack-based theories of desire—arguments that are, of course, resonant (though not simply conflatable) with Anders Nygren's opposition of agape to eros. Looking at dialogue with philosophical theologian Jean-Luc Marion, the chapter sees in Plato's text a concept of eros that is not simply identified with lack or death but encompasses also the agapic emphasis on resourcefulness or plenitude, in an inherently relational construal of divine-human desire in which eros itself arrives, and is returned, as a gift.

Keywords:   God, desire, gift, death, eros, Diotima, Symposium, Plato, Anders Nygren, agape

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