Holy Eros

A Liturgical Theology of the Body

Adam G. Cooper

Foreword by David W. Fagerberg

In John Paul II’S Theology of the Body, the sexed human body speaks a language revealing God’s creative design and heralding humanity’s ultimate goal in the nuptial union of Christ and the Church. In a similar way, the Church, the body of Christ, anticipates her future nuptial union with Christ here and now through the “body language” of her public worship. Holy Eros combines insights from the great Pope’s theology of the body with traditional and contemporary liturgical studies, allowing each to shed light on the other. It shows how the various rituals of the Church, and the “shape” proper to the liturgical gathering, engage us as performative, physical enactments which actuate the spiritual and divine realities they signify, making heavenly marriage real on earth.

Praise for Holy Eros

“This little book is brimming with profound insights, which carry one gracefully into the heart of the Church’s liturgy. It is written with both a fresh, joyful simplicity and a deep understanding. Adam Cooper manages to make sophisticated ideas from the Church’s philosophical and theological tradition accessible by showing forth their intrinsic beauty, a beauty that grows as one sees how all these ideas fit together.”

— D.C. Schindler​, author of The Catholicity of Reason

“What does Jesus’s sacrificial love on the Cross have to do with the way that we should worship him? And what does the way we worship him have to do with who we are and how we should relate to each other as embodied persons? Drawing together metaphysical, semiotic, and theological reflection, Adam Cooper’s eloquent book answers these questions; and, along the way, he shows us what the best of the new generation of Ressourcement theology looks like.”

— Matthew Levering​, author of The Theology of Augustine

“Inspired by the work of St. John Paul II, Adam Cooper joins together two themes that are urgently important for our time: liturgy and theology of the body. The union is fruitful: he succeeds in uncovering new and profound meanings in both.”

— David L. Schindler​, author of Ordering Love; Editor, Communio: International Catholic Review

“In the light of John Paul II’s Catechesis on Human Love, Cardinal Angelo Scola and others have argued that the nuptial mystery has objective implications for working out the elaboration of the intellectus fidei of revelation. Adam Cooper’s Holy Eros is precisely such a work of elaboration in the context of liturgical theology. Those with an interest in liturgy and the theology of St. John Paul II will find it to be an exciting contribution to both fields.”

— Tracey Rowland​, author of Culture and the Thomist Tradition

About the Author

Adam G. Cooper

Adam G. Cooper is a permanent fellow and senior lecturer in the theology of the body at the John Paul II Institute for Marriage and Family, Melbourne. He has doctorates in Greek patristics and contemporary theology from the University of Durham (UK) and the Pontifical   John Paul II Institute at the Lateran ­University (Rome). Previous books include The Body in St. Maximus the Confessor (2005), Life in the Flesh (2008), and Naturally Human, Supernaturally God (2014).