Eros and the Life of the Theologian, Pt. 1

In my last post, I promised that this post would be about the erotic nature of theology. However, after writing this post, I realized that it might take a few posts to get there. During the last six months, I have spent a lot of time reading and rereading Plato’s Symposium, Phaedrus, and Republic. In particular, I have examined many aspects of Plato’s “theory” of eros. I put the word “theory” in quotation marks, because I am at a loss (aporia) about whether these three dialogues can even be interpreted as having a unified theory of eros. Now, I studied these works as part of a seminar on Plato. As such, I focused on uncovering, as best as possible, Plato’s teaching on the subject. Anyone who has studied Plato in depth knows that interpreting Plato is difficult at the very least. In fact, if you ever read a book that makes Plato’s ideas simple and easy to understand, throw it away immediately—It is rubbish!

For those of you who have never read Plato, you might be surprised to learn that Plato never speaks in his own voice. All of his works (except possibly some letters) are written as literary dialogues. Moreover, there is strong internal evidence that we should not simply interpret any particular character as the mouth piece of Plato (not even Socrates).

I realize that the content of the Symposium and the Phaedrus might seem strange and bizarre to most modern Americans. For, both discuss eros/Eros primarily within a pederastic context. Socrates, who is well known for his constant denial of all knowledge, claims in the Symposium that the only subject he has knowledge of is ta erotika (the erotic things). Although I think that there is much that modern Christians should disagree with in these works, I think Plato raises many issues that the modern Christian should not ignore. Thus, in future posts, I would like to focus on a few problems Plato addresses that I find interesting and applicable. However, for now, I would like to merely state some of these problems. Plato seems particularly interested in these problems in the life of the philosopher, but I want to raise them in connection with the life of the theologian.

  • What is eros?
  • What is the proper function (orthopraxis) of eros in the life of the theologian?
  • What is the relationship between the body and the soul?
  • Are all forms of madness (mania) bad?
  • What is the relationship between reasoned arguments and myths?
  • How can we have true knowledge of non-sensible objects?
  • How does the body respond to knowledge of non-sensible objects?
2 Responses to “Eros and the Life of the Theologian, Pt. 1”
  1. dion says:

    Sex is good!!

  2. dion says:

    Don’t we all seek a deep connection? Sex is a good examlple of what we all want from life, friends, god, our soul, our body. We want to find connection in the deepest way. Right?

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