1. Welcome to Religious Forums, a friendly forum to discuss all religions in a friendly surrounding.

    Your voice is missing! You will need to register to get access to the following site features:
    • Reply to discussions and create your own threads.
    • Our modern chat room. No add-ons or extensions required, just login and start chatting!
    • Access to private conversations with other members.

    We hope to see you as a part of our community soon!

Agape Love vs Philia Love

Discussion in 'General Religious Debates' started by Falvlun, Feb 17, 2009.

  1. Falvlun

    Falvlun Earthbending Lemur Staff Member Premium Member

    Messages:
    10,457
    In researching for a different post, I stumbled upon an interesting contradition.
    Christians have adopted "agape love" as the epitome of how a Christian should love.
    According to a Christian site:
    Agape
    and
    Philia love, on the other hand:
    source: The Different Kinds of Love Mentioned in the Bible > Marriage and Family: The Missing Dimension

    But if we go to good ole Wikipedia, we get a sort of opposite rendition:

    Agape:
    Philia:
    Is it just me, or did the Christians flip the meanings of the words? Philia seems to me to be the more virtuous sort of love. Futhermore, the selflessness that is supposed to characterize agape love is completely missing from its actual Greek definition. In fact, agape love seems to be rather similiar to the common English definition of "love", though Christians seem to go through great pains to draw disimilarities between them. What gives?
     
  2. Sunstone

    Sunstone De Diablo Del Fora Staff Member Premium Member

    Messages:
    56,251
    Religion:
    Erotic Dance
    When it comes to the ancient Greek words for love, everything depends on which scholar or source you look at. (Even the transliteration of the words varies from one source to another, especially in the case of "philia" -- philia, phileo, philos, etc.) Ever since I became interested in the subject 35 years ago, I've read so many differing accounts of what the ancient Greeks meant by eros, philia, agape, and one or two other words they sometimes used for "love", that my head is permanently dizzy now.

    Nevertheless, I do think you are in agreement with several scholars in saying that Christians altered the meanings of the words to suite their own purposes. That, however, is a common and continuous practice the world over. Simply look at how the word "force" was given an additional new meaning by the Star Wars series.
     
    autonomous1one1 likes this.
  3. angellous_evangellous

    angellous_evangellous Pater Familias Staff Member Premium Member

    Messages:
    47,115
    Agape and Phileo are the same thing.

    End of story.
     
  4. astarath

    astarath New Member

    Messages:
    1,825
    agape and philio do differ however this is one of those fun translational miscues in which a concept probably outlined in hebrew or aramaic is poorly translated into a foreign tongue and the meaning immediately contradicts the message offered.
     
  5. Falvlun

    Falvlun Earthbending Lemur Staff Member Premium Member

    Messages:
    10,457
    Good point, and it does make sense for a group to create specific labels to better convey what they mean. It just seems to me that if Paul wrote "agape" then he meant "agape", and not some new definition that no one ever heard of before; to say otherwise is to retroactively change the meaning of his words. Unless, of course, Paul was actively re-writing the definition himself...

    The more I read the two Wiki definitions, the more this makes sense. Both refer to a general love towards family, friends, and things.

    The only difference is that philia also had a "virtuous" connotation imparted by Aristotle, and means friendship in modern Greek, whereas agape means love.

    I wonder what a Greek-speaking person makes of the Christian definition of agape.

    Greek was the original language of these letters, so translation shouldn't have been a problem.
     
  6. astarath

    astarath New Member

    Messages:
    1,825
    correct was the original written language unfortunately these letters were not the originals immediately placed into a book and scripted from one to another. Rather they were dictated most likely in Aramaic or Hebrew and transcribed in greek.
     
  7. Charity

    Charity Let's go racing boys !

    Messages:
    5,532
    Well as Christians we believe that "The Force is with us".......:D
    And it's because of "Agape" Love ;)
    Phil, sweetie your head isn't dizzy from many differing accounts of words but from the many beers that you are consuming......:biglaugh:....You should clear your head with a shot of Tequila ever so often.....
     
  8. tomspug

    tomspug Absorbant

    Messages:
    4,247
    I see love, rather than being a series of categories, as being a scale that leads into infinity. This is why I agree with AE that there isn't much distinction between agape and phileos (a philosophical conception, which is suspect immediately). Eros, on the other hand, is not love. With sexual love, there is an intermingling of desire and service, which clearly is more complicated or, at the very least, different from appreciation and devotion.

    The clear distinction, in my mind, is that there is love through words and love through action. What better way to demonstrate love than to sacrifice yourself for another person? In my mind, there is none, which is why Jesus points to it so fervently.
     
  9. Falvlun

    Falvlun Earthbending Lemur Staff Member Premium Member

    Messages:
    10,457
    So you are saying that it was correctly written in Greek, then translated to Aramaic, and then mis-translated back into Greek? Forgive me for being skeptical. This wasn't a one-time "error" as the agape vs phileo concept is found a few times throughout the New Testament. Also, I'm sure biblical and historical scholars would have been all over this by now if that were the case. Many people were speaking Greek back then, too, and the error should have been caught.

    We are not talking about some obscure verse in Nahum. This is a major Christian concept. Is it really probable that it was simply some scribe's error?

    (By the way, what exactly is the error you have in mind? Are you thinking that philia and agape got swapped somehow?)

    I'm not sure I see a distinction between a series of categories and a scale...

    For what it's worth, I see the different sorts of love more like a network, all interconnected, all having their part, all necessary.

    Certainly there is a similarity between all the loves; otherwise, they wouldn't have all been characterized as a type of love (and yes, this would have to include eros love, too).

    I'm surprised that you agree with AE though, since you seemed to go through great pains in the "Love Requires Imagination" thread to show why they are completely different things.

    Don't you need a another qualifier to make your distinction meaningful? "Love through words and love through self-less action." Do you really think a mother's love for her child stops at words? Of course not. Yet, again referring to the Imagination thread, according to you a mother's love is not agape love.

    Besides, words did seem important to Jesus: He wanted the agape form, and Peter kept saying the phileo form.

    I wonder now if Peter's reticence had something to do with the fact that the agape form more typically referred to a spousal love, and it was strange to use it towards Jesus.
     
  10. Sunstone

    Sunstone De Diablo Del Fora Staff Member Premium Member

    Messages:
    56,251
    Religion:
    Erotic Dance
    Some scholars dismiss that passage as most likely a fabricated conversation that never happened.
     
  11. Falvlun

    Falvlun Earthbending Lemur Staff Member Premium Member

    Messages:
    10,457
    Well, then, the author still either a) made up their own definition or b) used the wrong form of love.:D

    EDIT:
    Or, rather, it doesn't really matter from the Christian perspective whether the exchange was fictional or not. They believe that it is real, and have created a concept of love based upon it.
     
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2009
  12. Sunstone

    Sunstone De Diablo Del Fora Staff Member Premium Member

    Messages:
    56,251
    Religion:
    Erotic Dance
    I see your point.
     
  13. Oberon

    Oberon New Member

    Messages:
    4,164
    "Agape" was not used much in classical greek (the nt was written in a later form known as koine), and neither was the associated verb "agapao." The ancient greeks tended to use "phileo" to describe non-erotic love of all sorts. Related words include "philia" or friendship, and "philos" or dear one, friend, etc.

    "Agape" is best defined as "brotherly love" and is used far more in christain texts than anywhere else. The two words "philia and agape" do have a different connotation. "Agape" comes to refer specifically to christian love, and always had a more specific meaning than "philia" and related words.
     
Verification:
Draft saved Draft deleted