Plato's discussion of Eros (Ερος love) written in the 4th century BC parallels Paul's "hymn to charity/love" in 1 Corinthians 13.


Plato, Symposium 197d-e, in The Symposium, ed. M. C. Howatson and Frisbee C. C. Sheffield (trans. M. C. Howatson; Cambridge Texts in the History of Philosophy; Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008), 31-32

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‘It is Love who takes from us our sense of estrangement and fills us with a sense of kinship; who causes us to associate with one another as on this occasion, and at festivals, dances and sacrifices is the guiding spirit. He imparts gentleness, he banishes harshness; he is lavish with goodwill, sparing of ill-will; he is gracious and kindly; viewed with admiration by the wise and with wonder by the gods; coveted by those with no share of him, precious to those whose share is large; the father of luxury, delicacy, glamour, delight, desire and longing. He looks after good and cares nothing for bad; in toil, in fear, in longing, in discourse, he is steersman, defender, comrade and saviour without compare, who confers order upon gods and humans alike, the finest and best guide, whom every man should follow, singing beautiful hymns in his honour, taking part in the song he sings to enchant the minds of all gods and humans alike. ‘This, then, Phaedrus, is my speech, to be offered up to the god. I have made it playful in part but moderately serious too, to the best of my ability’.

BHR Staff Commentary

The Greek of the passage reads:

[197c] οὕτως ἐμοὶ δοκεῖ, ὦ Φαῖδρε, Ἔρως πρῶτος αὐτὸς ὢν κάλλιστος καὶ ἄριστος μετὰ τοῦτο τοῖς ἄλλοις ἄλλων τοιούτων αἴτιος εἶναι. ἐπέρχεται δέ μοί τι καὶ ἔμμετρον εἰπεῖν, ὅτι οὗτός ἐστιν ὁ ποιῶν

εἰρήνην μὲν ἐν ἀνθρώποις, πελάγει δὲ γαλήνην

νηνεμίαν, ἀνέμων κοίτην ὕπνον τʼ ἐνὶ κήδει.

Plato [197d] οὗτος δὲ ἡμᾶς ἀλλοτριότητος μὲν κενοῖ, οἰκειότητος δὲ πληροῖ, τὰς τοιάσδε συνόδους μετʼ ἀλλήλων πάσας τιθεὶς συνιέναι, ἐν ἑορταῖς, ἐν χοροῖς, ἐν θυσίαισι γιγνόμενος ἡγεμών· πρᾳότητα μὲν πορίζων, ἀγριότητα δʼ ἐξορίζων· φιλόδωρος εὐμενείας, ἄδωρος δυσμενείας· ἵλεως ἀγαθός· θεατὸς σοφοῖς, ἀγαστὸς θεοῖς· ζηλωτὸς ἀμοίροις, κτητὸς εὐμοίροις· τρυφῆς, ἁβρότητος, χλιδῆς, χαρίτων, ἱμέρου, πόθου πατήρ· ἐπιμελὴς ἀγαθῶν, ἀμελὴς κακῶν· ἐν πόνῳ, ἐν φόβῳ, ἐν πόθῳ, ἐν [197e] λόγῳ κυβερνήτης, ἐπιβάτης, παραστάτης τε καὶ σωτὴρ ἄριστος, συμπάντων τε θεῶν καὶ ἀνθρώπων κόσμος, ἡγεμὼν κάλλιστος καὶ ἄριστος, ᾧ χρὴ ἕπεσθαι πάντα ἄνδρα ἐφυμνοῦντα καλῶς, ᾠδῆς μετέχοντα ἣν ᾄδει θέλγων πάντων θεῶν τε καὶ ἀνθρώπων νόημα.οὗτος, ἔφη, ὁ παρʼ ἐμοῦ λόγος, ὦ Φαῖδρε, τῷ θεῷ ἀνακείσθω, τὰ μὲν παιδιᾶς, τὰ δὲ σπουδῆς μετρίας, καθʼ ὅσον ἐγὼ δύναμαι, μετέχων. (Plato, Platonis Opera, ed. John Burnet” [Medford, MA: Oxford University Press, 1903])

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