Reading Dante's Commedia as Theology: Divinity Realized in Human Encounter

ISBN : 9780190495466

Vittorio Montemaggi
328 Pages
156 x 235 mm
Pub date
Aug 2016
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Dante's Commedia compels readers to confront the mystery of their existence, to seek understanding of their relationship to the living conscious reality from which all possible experience arises. By pursuing these lines of inquiry, says Vittorio Montemaggi, readers can reach an ultimate reality that Dante calls love. Montemaggi offers a detailed theological reading of the Commedia, examining the theme of human interaction, both as it is represented in the poem-the narrator Dante's interaction with other characters-and by the relationship between author and reader. In doing so he locates a Dante we may not be used to imagining, a man aware both of the spiritual power of his work, and of his profound, essential vulnerability and moral failing. Montemaggi shows that, for this Dante, truth emerges only through human limitation and failure, rather than in spite of it. Applying this interpretive framework to a reflection on the methodology of scholarship itself, Montemaggi offers his readers a vision of what the academy could be-not individual scholars in competition with others, but a community that seeks to foster the understanding that can arise through interaction, vulnerability, and love. His vision constitutes a benign challenge to some of the ethos and practices of the modern academy, while simultaneously reflecting on the dynamics of one of the most inspiring and influential texts ever written about the relationship between humanity and divinity.


Preface: Scholarship in Gratitude
Prologue: Divinity Realized in Human Encounter
Chapter I: Reading Dante's Commedia as Theology
Chapter II: Truth and Theological Virtue
Chapter III: Pride and Prayer
Epilogue: The End of Scholarship

About the author: 

Vittorio Montemaggi is Assistant Professor of Religion and Literature in the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures at the University of Notre Dame, where he is also Concurrent Assistant Professor in the Department of Theology. Following degrees in Theology and in European Literature, his work has centered on the relationship between language, truth, and love.

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