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Religions 2018, 9(9), 263; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel9090263

Pausanian Classification or Socratic Participation: Theologizing the Plurality of Erotic Praxis in Plato’s Symposium

The Centre for Theology & Community, London E1 0BH, UK
Received: 2 August 2018 / Revised: 28 August 2018 / Accepted: 29 August 2018 / Published: 3 September 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sexuality and Greco-Roman Religions)
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Abstract

Read theologically, Plato’s Symposium is an exercise in doxology: how Eros is to be praised. Pausanias observes that, since Eros is not one, a unitary praise will be inadequate. Proposing a focus on praxis, he classifies erotic praxes, and praises one, in a synthesis of contemporary convention, sophistic rationality, social responsibility and polytheistic fidelity. Against this Socrates praises erotic praxis as one of a plurality of desires mediating between mortals and an otherwise transcendent good. Desire which is specifically erotic involves a praxis of (pro)creation through attention to beauty. In this praxis mortals participate in immortality and the divine. Pausanias’ praise is seriously offered. However, lacking a participatory element, it delivers an underwhelming doxology, making Eros at best an instrument of a sophistically constructed virtue ethic to which his polytheism is ambiguously connected. It is the philosophical theology of Socrates, which, praising Eros as a mediator enabling participation in the divine realm, and offering itself as an analogous form of mediation, is able to be consummated liturgically. View Full-Text
Keywords: Plato; Socrates; love; desire; Eros; polytheism; participation; liturgy; doxology; Radical Orthodoxy Plato; Socrates; love; desire; Eros; polytheism; participation; liturgy; doxology; Radical Orthodoxy
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).
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Krinks, P. Pausanian Classification or Socratic Participation: Theologizing the Plurality of Erotic Praxis in Plato’s Symposium. Religions 2018, 9, 263.

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