Hi. I used to use this blog a lot more than i do now. I don't agree with much of what i've posted here, but such is the nature of time. :) My instagram & facebook are likely to be more up to date.

dante's paradise

>> Saturday, August 15, 2009


a great piece of writing was sent in answer to one of my questions... it not only answered my question but it was so charming in it's delivery i thought it would be enjoyable to others...

me (paraphrased):

"hey... what's the deal with the paradiso?"

brilliant response from an un-named genius:

"I confess to having a strong preference for the Paradiso, which is not shared by many. For whatever reason, a lot of people are intrigued by the rather creatively imagined punishments and purgative exercises in the other volumes (e.g., the proud carrying around heavy rocks on their shoulders so that they can't look up!), but as someone drawn to the classic mystics, I find the whole structure of the Paradiso-- ending with the sublime and inexpressible (even for Dante) beatific vision-- utterly fascinating. You just have to accept that it's a bit of a shortcut through the medieval mind to begin there. There's quite enough to keep one busy for a long time, because it's impossible to avoid following the footnotes into the cosmology and angelic theology of Pseudo-Dionysius (the most esoteric of the lot, who probably only made it into mainstream Christian thought because of his pseudonym), Bernard of Clairvaux, Aquinas, the Neo-Platonists, etc.

I am hardly a scholar on the subject (although I've certainly accumulated the resources to do it if I should suddenly acquire a different kind of mind.) I've always felt free to mine the metaphors liberally-- and avoid the arguments that stopped being interesting several centuries ago (not to mention Italian city-state politics-- which got Dante exiled and with some speculative time on his hands in the first place). Maybe it was exile that evoked in him such a compelling interest in the final resolution of things... And keep in mind that Dante wasn't entirely literal about all of this. There's a place where he explains that the whole distribution of the souls that he encounters into the various planetary spheres is really just an organizational convenience arranged for the benefit of his mortal mind. Rather generous of God, I think-- but one of the reasons that I retain more patience than most with classic Christian symbology. The truth in it has nothing whatsoever in common with the verifiability of the six o'clock news..."

2 comments:

T Dubs August 15, 2009 at 10:44 PM  

Thought you might find this kind of cool.

http://www.tvtonight.com.au/2009/08/ukraines-got-real-talent.html

James Gyre August 16, 2009 at 10:55 PM  

thom... saw that... yeah... she's cool... didn't watch it with the music (or the knowledge of her narrative) but it's a great method...

got money? feed kids!

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