Perspectives; Dante Alighieri

Durante di Alighiero degli Alighieri , commonly known by his pen name Dante Alighieri or simply as Dante (c. 1265 – 1321), was an Italian poet. His Divine Comedy is widely considered the most important poem of the Middle Ages and the greatest literary work in the Italian language. In the Late Middle Ages, most poetry was written in Latin, making it accessible only to the most educated readers. In De vulgari eloquentia ( On Eloquence in the Vernacular ), however, Dante defended the use of the vernacular in literature. He would even write in the Tuscan dialect for works such as The New Life (1295) and the Divine Comedy ; this highly unorthodox choice set a precedent that important later Italian writers such as Petrarch and Boccaccio would follow.

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"If the present world go astray, the cause is in you, in you it is to be sought."

"In the middle of the journey of our life I came to myself within a dark wood where the straight way was lost."

"We were not made to live as brutes, but to follow virtue and knowledge."

"The darkest places in hell are reserved for those who maintain their neutrality in times of moral crisis."

"He listens well who takes notes."

"Worldly fame is but a breath of wind that blows now this way, and now that, and changes name as it changes direction."

"Heaven wheels above you, displaying to you her eternal glories, and still your eyes are on the ground."


Wow. There’s a thought to ponder.


I’ve heard that one before but didn’t know until today that he was the one who said it.

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Bishop Barron cites Dante once in a while, most recently (within my listening) to quoting him as having certain Popes residing in the lower reaches of hell. I’m not at all familiar with Dante’s views on purgatory other than the plentiful medieval paintings based on his writing.

Dante is said to have done his theological research very thoroughly, and consequently to be a reliable guide to Church teachings. It was important to him to get his details right.


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