Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Greek Words for Love

pic: mickhagen.com
  • Eros (έρως érōs) is passionate love, with sensual desire and longing. The Modern Greek word "erotas" means "(romantic) love;" however, eros does not have to be sexual in nature. The term eros (Greek erasthai) is used to refer to that part of love constituting a passionate, intense desire for something, it is often referred to as a sexual desire, hence the modern notion of ‘erotic’ (Greek erotikos). In Eros can be interpreted as a love for someone whom you love more than the philia, love of friendship. Eros is acquisitive, egocentric or even selfish.
  • Philia (φιλία philia) means friendship in modern Greek. It is a dispassionate virtuous love, a concept developed by Aristotle. In contrast to the desiring and passionate yearning of eros, philia entails a fondness and appreciation of the other. For the Greeks, the term philia incorporated not just friendship, but also loyalties to family and polis-one’s political community, job, or discipline. Although philia is wonderful, it too is not reliable since it is also held captive by the sifting sands of situation as well as by ours and other's perceptions and expectations.
  • Agapē (αγάπη agápē) means "love" in modern day Greek, such as in the term s'agapo (Σ'αγαπώ), which means "I love you. In Ancient Greek, it often refers to a general affection rather than the attraction suggested by "eros." Agape is used in ancient texts to denote feelings for a good meal, one's children, and the feelings for a spouse. It can be described as the feeling of being content or holding one in high regard. Agape refers to the paternal love of God for man and for man for God but is extended to include a brotherly love for all humanity



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