21 - Paradise XXIV, XXV, XXVI
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This lecture covers Paradiso 24-26. 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 (Paradiso 24), St James with hope (Paradiso 25), and St John with love (Paradiso 26). 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 (Paradiso 24) 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 Paradiso 26 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.
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The last class of the semester consists of a brief recapitulation of topics in the Divine Comedy addressed throughout the course, followed by an extensive question and answer session with the students. The questions posed allow Professor Mazzotta to elaborate on issues raised over the course of...
Published 10/27/09
Professor Mazzotta lectures on the final cantos of Paradiso (30-33). The pilgrim's journey through the physical world comes to an end with his ascent into the Empyrean, a heaven of pure light beyond time and space. Beatrice welcomes Dante into the Heavenly Jerusalem, where the elect are...
Published 10/27/09
This lecture focuses on Paradiso 27-29. St Peter's invective against the papacy from the heaven of the fixed stars is juxtaposed with Dante's portrayal of its contemporary incumbent, Boniface VIII, in the corresponding canto of Inferno. Recalls of infernal characters proliferate as the pilgrim...
Published 10/27/09