Love In World Religions


  Ancestors function as official guardians of the social and moral order of a culture insofar as they constitute the basic categories of moral and legal thought by rising above transitory human life. This invests them with sacred significance. A cross-cultural study of the history of religions reveals that deceased ancestors evolved into a religious […]

Altruistic Love

  The dialogue between science and religion on the nature of unselfish love has the potential to increase the practical and conceptual understanding of those individuals who live lives devoted to the service of all humanity without exception. This dialogue inevitably engages scientific research on human altruism and on the emotion of love from the […]

Akiva ben Yosef

  Rabbi Akiva ben Yosef (50-135 CE) was a Talmudic sage known for his life and teachings of love. According to the Talmudic account, his life with his wife Rachel was a model of romantic love and self-sacrifice. Living apart from each other for more than two decades, Rabbi Akiva finally fulfilled his love pledge […]


  An examination of the term nnnx (ahavah)— the Hebrew cognate noun for love in the Bible —provides a foundation for comprehending the unique qualities of the notion in Judaism. Unlike Christian and Greek literature that offer a linguistic distinction between agape (spiritual) and eros (physical) love, the term ahavah ranges in meaning from sensuous […]


  Awe is an ingredient in any encounter with the nonrational, the mysterious, or the numinous. In a religious context, the radically “other” identified as the Divine is perhaps most pronounced in Judaism. The Hebrew words yirah (fear) or eymah (dread) express an emotion, awe, that denotes dread or terror inspired by the sacred—reverent fear […]


  Asceticism is derived from the Greek verb “to exercise,” and ascetics are accordingly understood to exercise—quite literally, to put into action—both mind and body in the interest of cultivating virtue and a closer relationship with the divine. Specific practices of religiously inspired asceticism include celibacy, fasting, silence, and various forms of corporal mortification. In […]

Art in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam

  To the extent that love is at the core of religion, it also inspires many forms of art. From temple altars where sacrifices were offered to please and appease the gods, to churches where the ultimate sacrifice of God himself is represented by the Crucifixion, images have been made to serve as messengers of […]

Beauty in Islam

  The word beauty (jamal) occurs only once in the Qur’an (16:5-6). The context is the divine creation of nature, and the word beauty refers to cattle and their usefulness. Jamil, usually translated as “beautiful,” means “praiseworthy” in the Qur’an, in the sense of morally right—a feature of many of its cognates as well. The […]

Beauty in Hinduism

  Beauty comprises one of the triad of ideals— truth, goodness, beauty—with which classical philosophy has been especially concerned. It is looked upon as one of the active forces of the universe and an aspect of the ideal spiritual power, propelling all reality. In the Hindu context, beauty has been closely linked with godliness as […]

Beauty in Christianity

  The notion of beauty or “the beautiful” or “the good” in Christianity and Christian thought is central to theological aesthetics. Aesthetics is a dimension of human experience concerned with the nature and meaning of that which is beautiful. The Christian, then, seeks to participate with or become that which is ultimately beautiful. Some theologians […]