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How The Ancient Greeks Defined Love

Feb 15, 2008
The air is filled with love as the world celebrates Valentines Day today. It is but rightful that we talk about this word "LOVE" this month. With this in mind, let us explore the meaning and the depth of the word "LOVE" itself. To fully understand it's meaning, we have to go to the source of love which is God himself as stated in the Bible.

The writing in the New Testament was written in the ancient Greek. If we only have one word for love in English, the ancient greeks have 5 different words for love. In the English language, to properly distinguish the meaning of a single word, the context of the sentence is considered in order to fully appreciate the meaining of the word. In contrast when using New Testament Greek or "koine Greek" the context is given minimal consideration since the word itself conveys the full meaning. As an illustration, in English when we say we love our dog, we love our country, we love our parents and we love our wife, we are obviously not referring to the same kind of love. However in Koine greek different words for the word love is used for different kinds of purposes.

Undoubtedly, English is the "lingua franca" of the world. However I believe the ancient Greeks did a much more better job of expressing the word love than the way we do it in English.

1.) Agape - Is being referred to as a "pure" and "ideal" type of love. This word is often used of the love of God or "such love that is willing to sacrifice one's life for another person." The word "Agapo" itself is used to say "I love you".

2.) Eros - Is being use to refer to "passionate love", or "sensual desire and longing." This kind of love is often used for romantic relationships.

3.) Philia - Widely known as "brotherly love". Aristotle was the one who developed this concept of "virtuous love". This word is used to describe the kind of "love" felt for family, friends and the community.

4.) Storge - Known as natural affection. This is the kind of love a child feels for his or her parents.

5.) Xenia - Is used to refer to a "hospitable kind of love." This is best described as that bond of friendship formed between a host and a visitor.

Now don't you agree with me that the Greeks did a better job of expressing "Love" than we do in the English ?
About the Author
Zigfred Diaz may not blog about love meanings everyday but he regularly write about several interesting topics including how to invest in the Philippine stock market, money management, finances as well as other very interesting topics. Visit his blog today
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