Sunday, August 15, 2010

Agape

Have you ever felt that 1 Corinthians 13 is following you round?

I had to do it as a reading at one of Kevin's weddings. (Prodnose: Bride or groom? Myself: Season ticket.) My father quoted in his speech a couple of weeks ago, and now it has turned up towards the end of my reading of Tim Parks' Teach Us to Sit Still.

It's about love. " In the original Greek, the word αγαπη agape is used throughout. This is translated into English as charity in the King James version; but the word love is preferred by most other translations, both earlier and more recent."

So we get:

Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.
or

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.

Intriguing isn't it?

"Agape is one of several ancient Greek words for distinct types of love, one which became particularly appropriated in Christian theology ..... in contrast to philia—an affection that could denote either brotherhood or generally non-sexual affection, and eros, an affection of a sexual nature."

The Sapir-Whorf hypothesis suggest that that differences in the way languages encode cognitive categories affect cultural values to the extent that speakers of different languages think and behave differently because of it.

It's all food for thought, when you consider the meaning a naive English speaker who knows what pediatrician and Francophile mean might derive for paedophile. I know our manners are bad. Perhaps our language is coarser than it might be as well.

Love is too weak a word for what I feel - I luuurve you, you know, I loave you, I luff you, two F's, yes I have to invent ...

Alvy Singer
Annie Hall

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