Lecture 21 - Paradise XXIV, XXV, XXVI

author: Giuseppe Mazzotta, Department of Italian, Yale University
recorded by: Yale University
published: May 7, 2010,   recorded: November 2008,   views: 2379
released under terms of: Creative Commons Attribution No Derivatives (CC-BY-ND)
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Description

This lecture covers Paradise XXIV-XXVI. In the Heaven of the Fixed Stars, Dante is examined on the three theological virtues by the apostles associated with each: St. Peter with faith (Paradise XXIV), St. James with hope (Paradise XXV), and St. John with love (Paradise XXVI). While mastering these virtues is irrelevant to the elect, it is crucial to the message of reform the pilgrim-turned-poet will relay on his return home. Dante's scholastic profession of faith before St. Peter (Paradise XXIV) is read testament to the complication of faith and reason. The second of the theological virtues is discussed in light of the classical disparagement of hope as a form of self-deception and its redemption by the biblical tradition through the story of Exodus, the archetype of Dante's journey. The pilgrim's three-part examination continues in Paradise XXVI under the auspices of St. John, where love, the greatest of the virtues is distinguished by its elusiveness. The emphasis on love's resistance to formal definition sets the stage for the pilgrim's encounter with Adam, who sheds light on the linguistic consequences of the Fall.

Reading assignment:

Dante, Paradise: XXIV, XXV, XXVI

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