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For other uses, see Agape (disambiguation).

Agape (/ˈæɡəp/[1] or /ˈæɡəpɪ/;[2] Classical Greek: ἀγάπη, agápē; Modern Greek: αγάπη IPA: [aˈɣapi]), translated as "love: the highest form of love, especially brotherly love, charity; the love of God for man and of man for God."[3] The noun form first occurs in the Septuagint, but the verb form goes as far back as Homer, translated literally as affection, as in "greet with affection" and "show affection for the dead."[4] Other ancient authors have used forms of the word to denote love of a spouse or family, or affection for a particular activity, in contrast to philia (an affection that could denote friendship, brotherhood or generally non-sexual affection) and eros, an affection of a sexual nature.

Christianity developed Agape as the love of God or Christ for humankind. In the New Testament, it refers to the covenant love of God for humans, as well as the human reciprocal love for God; the term necessarily extends to the love of one's fellow man.[5] Although the word did not have a specific religious connotation, it has been used by a variety of contemporary and ancient sources, including biblical authors and Christian authors.[6]

Christianity[edit]

Fresco of a female figure holding a chalice at an early Christian Agape feast. Catacomb of Saints Marcellinus and Peter, Via Labicana, Rome

A journalist of Time Magazine has described John 3:16 as "one of the most famous and well-known Bible verses. It has been called the 'Gospel in a nutshell' because it is considered a summary of the central doctrines of Christianity."[7] The verb translated "loved" in this verse is ἠγάπησεν (ēgapēsen), past tense of "agapaō".

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

—John 3:16, KJV

Agape received a broader usage under later Christian writers as the word that specifically denoted "Christian" love or "charity" (1 Corinthians 13:1–8), or even God himself (1 John 4:8, ὁ θεὸς ἀγάπη ἐστίν, "God is Love").

The term agape was used by the early Christians to refer to the self-sacrificing love of God for humanity, which they were committed to reciprocating and practicing towards God and among one another (also see kenosis). When 1 John 4:8 says "God is love," the Greek New Testament uses the word agape to describe God's love.

Agape has been expounded on by many Christian writers in a specifically Christian context. C. S. Lewis, in his book The Four Loves, used agape to describe what he believed was the highest level of love known to humanity – a selfless love, a love that was passionately committed to the well-being of the other.[8]

The Christian usage of the term agape comes almost directly from the canonical Gospels' accounts of the teachings of Jesus. When asked what was the great commandment, "Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets." (Matthew 22:37-40) In Judaism, the first ("...love the LORD thy God..."), is part of the Shema.

In the King James Version of the New Testament, the word agape is translated "charity" [in some places] which has a contemporary connotation of giving to meet needs of the less fortunate.[8]

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said:

You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love (agapēseis) your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I say to you, Love (agapāte) your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward have you?

—Matthew 5:43-46, RSV

Tertullian, in his 2nd century defense of Christians, remarks how Christian love attracted pagan notice: "What marks us in the eyes of our enemies is our loving kindness. 'Only look,' they say, 'look how they love one another' " (Apology 39).

Anglican theologian O.C. Quick cautions however that this agape within human experience is "a very partial and rudimentary realization," and that "in its pure form it is essentially divine." Quick suggests that,

If we could imagine the love of one who loves men purely for their own sake, and not because of any need or desire of his own, purely desires their good, and yet loves them wholly, not for what at this moment they are, but for what he knows he can make of them because he made them, then we should have in our minds some true image of the love of the Father and Creator of mankind.[9]

In the New Testament the word agape is often used to describe God's love. However, other forms of the word agape (such as the various forms of the verb agapaō) are at times used in a negative context. Such examples include:

  • 2 Timothy 4:10— "...for Demas hath forsaken me, having loved [agapēsas] this present world...".
  • John 12:43— "For they loved [ēgapēsan] the praise of men more than the praise of God."
  • John 3:19— "And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved [ēgapēsan] darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.

Meal[edit]

Main article: Agape feast

The word agape in its plural form, i.e. agapai, is used in the New Testament to describe a meal or feast eaten by early Christians, as in Jude 1:12, and 2nd Peter 2:13.

See also[edit]

Judaism[edit]

Eastern religions[edit]

  • Mettā, Pali word (Sanskrit: Maitrī), "loving-kindness" or "friendliness"
  • Ishq, Arabic word, "Divine Love" or "lustless love"

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Oxford English Dictionary
  2. ^ "Agape". Collins Dictionary. n.d. Retrieved 24 September 2014. 
  3. ^ H. G. Liddell; Robert Scott (October 2010). An Intermediate Greek-English Lexicon: Founded Upon the Seventh Edition of Liddell and Scott's Greek-English Lexicon. Benediction Classics. p. 4. ISBN 978-1-84902-626-0. 
  4. ^ Henry George Liddell; Robert Scott (1901). A Lexicon Abridged from Liddell and Scott's Greek-English Lexicon. Oxford : Clarendon Press. p. 6. 
  5. ^ "agape." Encyclopaedia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. Encyclopædia Britannica, 2011. Web. 17 Sep. 2011.
  6. ^ "The love racket: Defining love and agape for the love-and-science research program", Zygon, vol. 40, no. 4 (December 2005), pp. 919-938 Defining Love (PDF)
  7. ^ John 3:16 in Pop Culture. Time.com Accessed: 22 May 2009
  8. ^ a b Kreeft, Peter. "Love" Accessed: May 22, 2009
  9. ^ Quick, O.C. Doctrines of the Creed, Scribners, 1938 p. 55.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]


Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agape — Please support Wikipedia.
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31774 news items

 
The Ledger
Sun, 02 Aug 2015 17:45:00 -0700

King has been a Winter Haven resident since 1928. GENESIS CHURCH HOSTS AGAPE. Genesis Church in Highland City hosted an Agape Food Bank Mobile Food Pantry grocery distribution July 28. Groceries were distributed to 200 families on a first-come ...
 
Sidney Daily News (subscription)
Fri, 31 Jul 2015 11:45:00 -0700

Agape Distribution, 209 S. Brooklyn Ave., will give a voucher worth $25 to any teacher who goes there from Aug. 3 to Aug. 8. The vouchers are good for purchasing supplies at Agape Distribution. “Twenty-five dollars is like $100-$125 retail,” said ...

First Things

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There's been much talk lately about the moral purposes of history, especially from those celebrating the recent Supreme Court decision regarding gay marriage. History, we hear, is on the side of ever-expanding personal freedom, and those who counter ...
 
East Oregonian (subscription)
Tue, 28 Jul 2015 18:07:30 -0700

HERMISTON — Bargains on furniture, clothing, knick-knacks, books and more can be found at the Agape House parking lot sale. Clothing is priced at three items for $1, furniture is as marked and knick-knacks are you name the price. The sale is Saturday ...
 
Pratt Tribune
Fri, 31 Jul 2015 22:03:45 -0700

The next Agape Health Clinic will be from 5 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 5, at the Hope Center, 314 S. Main. The clinic is for low income, uninsured residents of Pratt County. Patients must be registered by 7 p.m.. First-time attendees are asked to bring ...

WANE

WANE
Tue, 07 Jul 2015 15:30:00 -0700

BERNE, Ind. (WANE) – The Agape Baseball League threw out the first pitch of the 2015 season on Monday evening. Going into it's 12th year, Agape gives kids, teens, and young adults with physical or developmental disabilities an opportunity to play ...

Southwest Virginia Today

Southwest Virginia Today
Sun, 19 Jul 2015 14:00:00 -0700

The Blew Ridge Brass Quintet will perform at the Concert & Dessert fundraiser for the Agape Food Pantry Inc. on Monday, Aug. 3, at 7 p.m. at the Wohlfahrt Haus Dinner Theater. Members are Linda Bartlett, Taryn Wooten, Jude Raffeinner, Judith Lineberry ...
 
Smith Mountain Eagle
Thu, 23 Jul 2015 13:48:45 -0700

Summer might still be in full swing, but parents are already looking forward to sending their kids back to school. Many are already shopping for school supplies: pencils, pens, notebooks, calculators, and backpacks—everything necessary to help their ...
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