In Christianity, agape (ɑːˈgɑːpeɪ,_'ɑːgəˌpeɪ,_ˈægə-; ) is "the highest form of love, charity" and "the love of God for man and of man for God". This is in contrast to philia, brotherly love, or philautia, self-love, as it embraces a profound sacrificial love that transcends and persists regardless of circumstance.
The verb form goes as far back as Homer, translated literally as affection, as in "greet with affection" and "show affection for the dead". Other ancient authors have used forms of the word to denote love of a spouse or family, or affection for a particular activity, in contrast to eros (an affection of a sexual nature).
In the New Testament, agape refers to the covenant love of God for humans, as well as the human reciprocal love for God; the term necessarily extends to the love of one's fellow human beings. Some contemporary writers have sought to extend the use of agape into non-religious contexts.
The concept of agape has been widely examined within its Christian con