Praeparatio Evangelica – or Daemonica? C. S. Lewis and Anders Nygren on Spiritual Longing

Jason Lepojärvi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


C. S. Lewis had serious disagreements with Anders Nygren’s theology of love. Several scholars have noticed the similarities between Nygren’s eros-love and Lewis’s concept of need-love. This article suggests, however, that need-love is not necessarily the best candidate in Lewis’s taxonomy of love as a translation of eros. The author argues that Lewis’s concept of Joy is a largely overlooked contribution to the “Nygren debate”, and contrasts it with the three main features of Nygren’s eros. While capturing a significant portion of eros, Joy seems to avoid many its derogative exaggerations. In Lewis’s theological vision, spiritual longing, rather than jeopardising the Gospel, is a God-given desire that prepares the return to its Giver.
Original languageEnglish
JournalHarvard Theological Review
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)207-232
Number of pages26
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2016
Externally publishedYes
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Fields of Science

  • 614 Theology

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