Seminary/School of Divinity


Fall 12-2020

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Theology (M.A.)

Type of Paper/Work



William B. Stevenson

Second Advisor

Paul Niskanen

Third Advisor

Pietro Rossotti


This thesis formalizes an argument that Pope Benedict XVI mentions in his first encyclical Deus Caritas Est. The argument is based on an interpretation of Salvation History expressed in the Scriptures that God's love for man should be understood as eros. Benedict expresses this conclusion in the context of the development of the concept of eros starting with the works of Plato which were brought into the Christian context by Saint Augustine and ultimately rejected by Andres Nygren. Benedict proposes that an understanding of love that removes eros lacks an authentic understanding of God's love. Furthermore, throughout his pontificate, he expresses the importance of a proper understanding of love for the life of the Christian. This argument is made in three stages. The first provides the context of the history of eros. The second expresses Benedict's understanding of eros. The third provides the evidence for Benedict's conclusion.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share Alike 4.0 International License.