Christ & Dionysos

Discussion in 'Graeco-Roman' started by Bruce Michael, May 31, 2007.

  1. Bruce Michael

    Bruce Michael New Member

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    Shalom Friends,


    I like what Archbishop Temple says in his very inspiring book, Readings in the Gospel of St. John"The modest water saw its God, and blushed". This is quoted by Alfred Heindenreich in his "The Unknown in the Gospels".

    More from there:
    The other point is, that up to the Mystery of Golgotha alcohol had not completed its mission. This was the "turning point of time" and alcohol then worked in a different way. The Christ now brought us the full power of the Self.


    Br.Bruce
     
  2. Thomas

    Thomas Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Hi Bruce –

    In light of the above, Pope Benedict XVI's first Encyclical, "Deus Caritas Est" (God is Love) draws out the distinction between the Hermetic and Bacchic 'eros' of inspiration – an ecstacy in which the individual loses all sense of self – and the Christian 'agape'.

    It is this distinction, between eros and agape – and the way in which the terms are used in an original way when compared to the texts of antiquity – that illuminates a number of texts, and one that scholars have drawn attention too as a necessary prerequisite to understand the Christian Mysteries.

    Thomas
     
  3. Eclectic Mystic

    Eclectic Mystic Member

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    Hello,

    Not to drag the conversation in a different direction, but isn't it a mere assertion to state that there even can be a distinction between eros and agape love in the first place? And then if there can, is it also a mere assertion that they have conflicting attributes, just as when a seesaw rises on one side, it necessarily lowers on the other?
     
  4. Thomas

    Thomas Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Hi Eclectic Mystic —

    Well the answer I made is 'mere assertation' — but I do point to the deeper understanding.

    To fully grasp what 'eros' and 'agape' means in terms of Christian theology requires that one reviews the terms in comparison with their usage in the literature of the time — are they being used in the same way, or are they signifying something other, and if so are they being redefined with proper philosophical and theological argument?

    To answer that requires a working familiarity with the texts of antiquity, a huge amount of reading and research — of etymology, epistemology, philosophy and hermeneutics. This is what scholars have done, and this is what the current understandings are based on, so no, it is in no sense a 'mere assertation' in that sense — its something that has been studied in great depth.

    In fact I would say the opposite is invariably the case — that if the same word appears in this literature and that literature, the assumption is the same thing is implied in both.

    That's not the case, if it were, philosophy, for example, would not have advanced one step.

    Two points:
    1 - The meanings of words change as we grow in understanding.
    — Plato, for example, had a very low opinion of 'rhetoric' as a linguistic device, and regarded it as something of a linguistic con trick — for him a rhetorician was no better than a snake-oil salesman.

    Aristotle investigated the word further, and brought out profound levels of understanding, demonstrating that Plato's understanding was somewhat superficial and dismissive. In Aristotle rhetoric became one of the three original liberal arts or trivium (with dialectic and grammar) in the Western philosophical tradition, and was carried into the universities.

    2 - The meaning often 'slips back' to its most superficial and generalised understanding in common usage (people are not philosophers).
    — 'metaphor' as taught in schools is nowhere near as sophisticated as it is in Aristotle — and then people read a theologian who says 'metaphor' and assume the most superficial and generalised meaning of the term, and thus invariably miss the point entirely.

    Thomas
     

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