The Five Loves

If you've grown up in Christianity you've likely listened to sermons about the contrasts between "the four loves." C.S. Lewis wrote a book about this entitled The Four Loves.

The four loves is a useful approach to the concept of love as the Greeks had many words for love while English speakers have only one word, the word "love."

The four loves are eros, philia, storge and agape. Eros is romantic love. Philia is the love of friendship. Storge is familial love. And agape is often described as sacrificial love.

That's how the four loves are typically presented and no doubt you've heard it all before. But if I was going to write a book about this subject I would add a love and title the book The Five Loves.

Specifically, I'd add in the love xenia. Or how this love is describe in Hebrews 13.2: philoxenia.

A xenos in Greek is a stranger. Xenia is the Greek word describing the love involved in hospitality, the love/friendship extended to the guest and the stranger (xenos). Xenia is the love of the Other.

Relatedly, the word philoxenia is brotherly love (philia) extended to the stranger (xenos).

And as we know, opposed to xenia is xenophobia, the fear of the Other.

But perfect love should cast out fear. Xenia should cast out xenophobia.

Given the biblical notion of God coming to us as a xenos, as a stranger and guest, I think the addition of hospitality (xenia, philoxenia) would make an important addition to the four loves.

Five loves.

Eros, storge, philia, xenia and agape.

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