Written for the general audience by gifted scholars of literature, theology, and philosophy, the volume invites us into one of the greatest poetic accounts of the journey from dark to light, not in some other lifetimes, but right in the midst of this one.
— Janet Soskice, Professor of Philosophical Theology, University of Cambridge

From the Introduction...

What if reading Dante’s Commedia were a kind of pilgrimage? That would mean that both the destination and the mode of travel would be significant, and that the reasons why one sets off on this journey in the first place would be worthy of attention. Even those with a cursory knowledge of the poem know that Dante ends up gazing upon the “love that moves the sun and other stars” after beginning in a “dark wood” midway through life’s journey. With 100 cantos and the whole cosmos in between, it seems that there is quite a lot of distance between darkness and light, confusion and clarity, sorrow and joy. And yet, that great distance is as if nothing when considering that the journey Dante makes occurs as much within him by increments of love as it takes place outside him by his footsteps. If Dante’s Commedia were a kind of pilgrimage for the reader, too, then it would be a pilgrimage in a similar manner—one in which the reader moves toward something and also becomes someone in the process. Moreover, it would be a pilgrimage within and toward community, just as Dante himself moves from isolation to guidance to something perhaps best described as “mutual indwelling.”

Published by Cascade Book of Wipf & Stock Publishing


Praise for Dante, Mercy, and the Beauty of the Human Person

This thoughtful collection of essays convincingly demonstrates that the Divine Comedy has something to say to a society that is overly plugged-in yet increasingly disconnected, tribal, and short of that quality of mercy by which we come to recognize both beauty and God’s unimaginable, steadfast love. Dante, Mercy, and the Beauty of the Human Person is a gift of respite and reorientation to our roiling age.
— Elizabeth Scalia, Author of Strange Gods: Unmasking the Idols in Everyday Life
This superb collection is more than simply an anthology of scholarly essays on Dante’s Commedia; it is also an invitation for readers to be transformed intellectually, aesthetically, and spiritually as they journey through Dante’s poem into his living theological imagination and his extraordinary vision of the mystery and grandeur of human personhood. Read alongside Dante himself, this volume may become something more than an invitation – it may become an initiation!
— Jacob Holsinger Sherman, University Lecturer in Philosophy of Religion, University of Cambridge
This delightful volume invites us to see Dante’s poem as a pilgrimage, and to ourselves take steps along with the poet, not as solitary seekers of truth but as a community of fellow travelers who need to learn from one another. Written for the general audience by gifted scholars of literature, theology, and philosophy, the volume invites us into one of the greatest poetic accounts of the journey from dark to light, not in some other lifetimes, but right in the midst of this one.
— Janet Soskice, Professor of Philosophical Theology, University of Cambridge
Not only is this text astounding, but the very event of these 11 scholars coming together to develop such an unprecedented work is remarkable. In fact, their humble motivation to accompany us in reading Dante’s Divine Comedy captures the movement of mercy and beauty in the Divine Comedy to which they speak.

Each author draws upon his/her individual (and highly-renown) expertise as well as his/her own lived participation in humanity. We don’t just learn from these authors but we encounter them.

Montemaggi awakens us to the joy of being on a journey - a joy that manifests in human encounter and originates from where the journeys ends: in full union with God.

Cavadini sets Inferno in dialogue with Augustine’s City of God, uncovering sin as an illusion of autonomy and offering us hope in the humility of the Eucharist.

Fr. Grove illuminates Dante’s conversion as the consummation of an entire purgatorial journey that rebirths his whole being, inviting readers to say, “Yes,” to God’s mercy and to put on the obedience of Christ.

Moevs challenges us to expand the way in which we witness the terrain of the Divine Comedy and cultivates our intellectual capacities to imagine metaphysical dimensions.

DeLorenzo draws on his profound understanding of the Communion of Saints (see his publication - Work of Love) to unveil the movement of grace and invite us into the descent of mercy.

Pepper reshapes our attentiveness and wonder at the dignity of the human person.

Martin amplifies the Paradiso’s transfiguration of our capacity to see beauty through her own aesthetic mastery.

Keating, through her deep understanding of redeemed memory and the intimacy of received love, unveils the Eucharist as the source and summit of healing, engulfing us in Christ’s mercy.

O’Regan brilliantly calls us into the healing of rivalries through celebrating the particular beauty of one another as comically characterized in Paradiso.

And finally, Robin Kirkpatrick - a leading scholar on Dante whose translation of the Divine Comedy was embraced throughout - leaves us with a sense of meaning in our journey as a literary community with Dante.

This book is not only a collection of the some of the finest theological reflections on the Divine Comedy, but this work captures the story of one community’s pilgrimage with Dante through Lent of 2016 led by 11 of the most brilliant and attentive scholars worldwide - whose own authentic, harmonious, and humble guidance witnessed to the very mercy revealed in the Divine Comedy (that I can speak to, as a participant of the original lecture series experience). DeLorenzo and Montemaggi invite readers - beginners and experts alike - into this ongoing journey with Dante for ages to come.
— Kathryn Thompson, Medical Student, University of Chicago

Dante, Mercy, and the Beauty of the Human Person Lecture Series in 2016


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