«Strong as Death is Love»: Eros and Education at the End of Time

Samuel D Rocha, Adi Burton


This essay is an extended reflection on the relationship between death and love expressed in a fragment from Song of Songs 8:6: «Strong as death is love». The passage will be analyzed through a Jewish, Orthodox, and Catholic exegesis and literary reflection. In particular, the essay describes the role of a particular form of love (eros) within a particular form of education (education at the end of time). While eros has frequently been ignored or resigned to a purely sexualized role, we will look closely at Augustine’s eulogy of his mother, Monica, in the Confessions, suggesting that perhaps the most visceral expression of eros is to be found in the phenomenology of death. We will also draw on the phenomenological manifestation of death by looking to the rich description of dying provided by Leo Tolstoy in his novella, The Death of Ivan Ilych.

Together these investigations of eros and education yield a «curriculum of death», which draws on the re-conceptualist notion of curriculum. Our claim is that this curriculum of death offers a sense of urgency and seriousness found lacking in schools today, where death abounds, but is rarely if ever addressed in a humanistic way. This final methodological emphasis on the humanities elucidates more directly and critically the role of research for a curriculum of death within the dominance of social science in the field of education.


love; death; education

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.14516/ete.2017.004.001.154


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