Love from Afar: Distance, Intimacy and the Theology of Love



Proceeding from Jean-Luc Marion's The Erotic Phenomenon, this article discusses how the Christian concept of love can manifest intimacy. While most theological concepts of love spell out the requirement of distance, they do not pay sufficient attention to the intimate variants of love. The article argues that a full-fledged theological account should make room for love's different economic and donative variants, as well as for love's advance from ‘distance’ to ‘visibility’ and, finally, ‘intimacy’. Concrete examples of intimate love include mystical union, transforming hospitality, fidelity and love that is as strong as death.