By Robert Mayhew
Ayn Rand wrote that "one of the most evil consequences of mysticism . . . is the belief that love is a matter of 'the heart,' not the mind, that love is an emotion independent of reason, that love is blind and impervious to the power of philosophy."
This course is a history of the different conceptions of love in the ancient Greek world. First, Dr. Mayhew explores the development of the reason-independent view of love; next, he turns to the unsuccessful but influential attempts by philosophers to resist this view; finally, he covers the end of the line of this history: the view of love found in the New Testament. The focus is on the following texts: the Homeric Hymns to Aphrodite, the poetry of Sappho, Euripides's Hippolytus, Plato's Symposium, selections from Aristotle and Theophrastus, and the New Testament. It highlights both the crucial differences between pagan and Christian conceptions of love, as well as those features of the former that made the latter possible.
This course was recorded at the 2010 Objectivist Summer Conference in Las Vegas, NV.
(MP3 download; 4 hrs., 21 min., with Q & A, 178 MB)