Chapter 5 - Eros Pt.1
Chapter 5 - Eros Pt.1 E-mail

The Four Loves

Chapter 5 - Eros, Pt. 1

1.  How does Lewis use the terms Eros and Venus?

2.  Lewis believes that Eros often comes before Venus (sexual desire).  Do you think that is the case in contemporary American culture?

3.  How does Eros transform a Need-pleasure into an Appreciative-pleasure?  How does it transform sexual desire from being about self to being about the Beloved?

4.  What did the "older moral theologians" see as the danger in marriage?  By contrast, what danger in marriage did St. Paul fear?  (See 1 Corinthians 7:32-35.)

5.  Lewis lists four reasons why Venus (sex) is serious, but then advises against taking it too seriously.  What does he find humorous about Venus?  What do you think of Lewis's characterization of Venus as "one of God's jokes"?

6.  According to Lewis, man has held three views of the body.  Do you think there are more?  How does the Bible view the human body?  Consider the following verses:  Genesis 1:27; Psalm 139:14; Matthew 26:41; Romans 6:13; Romans 12:1; 1 Corinthians 6:19, 20. 

How does pondering the implications of living in a body affect your thoughts on the incarnation?  (Consider John 1:14 and Hebrews 2:14-18.)

7.  Why did Lewis like St. Francis's view of the body as "Brother Ass"?

8.  Do you think Lewis has a healthy view of the body?  Of sex? 

[For this week, stop approximately halfway through the chapter - with the paragraph ending, "When natural things look most divine, the demoniac is just round the corner."]


Lucretius (99-55 BCE): Roman poet and Epicurian philosopher who wrote De Rerum Natura trans. On the Nature of Things.  In Book IV of his epic poem, Lucretius gives a mechanical view of sex and love.

Kraft-Ebbing:  Richard Freiherr von Krafft-Ebing (1840-1902), German psychiatrist who coined the term "sadism."  Psychopathia Sexualis, his best-known work, is a study of sexual perversity.

Havelock Ellis (1859-1939): a British doctor and sexual psychologist who wrote a seven volume series called Studies in the Psychology of Sex, which was legally available only to medical professionals until 1935.  He was interested in eugenics and sexual liberation.

Dr. Marie Stopes (1880-1958):  Scottish author of several books on contraception and founder of the first birth control clinic in England.  She also promoted eugenics.

Ovid (43 BCE-17 CE):  Roman poet who believed in art for pleasure's sake.  Wrote The Art of Love, advice on how to seduce a woman and Metamorphoses, a source of 250 myths.  Ovid was a major inspiration for Dante, Chaucer, Shakespeare and Milton.

Papageno & Papagena:  characters in Mozart's opera "The Magic Flute."  When Papageno finally finds Papagena and agrees to marry her, she transforms from a crone into a beautiful young woman.  After she runs away.  Papageno despairs, then remembers his magic bells, plays them, and Papagena returns.

Sir Thomas Browne (1605-1682):  English author writing in the fields of medicine, religion and science.  His work demonstrates both a deep Christian faith and scientific curiosity.  The sentence Lewis quotes is from Religio Medici (1643). 

Touchstone and Audrey:  characters in Shakespeare's As You Like It.

© 2008 by Allyson Wieland