Tag: Dante Alighieri

Dante 2015: Paradiso part 3: Cantos 23-33

Series Index John Ciardi’s Translation of the Commedia The Heavenly Thesis Defense Dante’s ascent through Heaven’s catechism culminates, as do so many of our educational experiences, with an oral examination.  There’s never any sense that Dante’s status as one of the saved hinges on his answering properly–after all, as is the case throughout the poem, God’s…

Dante 2015: Paradiso part 2: Cantos 13-22

Series Index John Ciardi’s Translation of the Commedia Unexpected Company There’s a certain mindset among progressive-minded folks that one or two significant points of difference, especially on moral questions, means that a text or a writer has nothing to offer that’s worth thinking on.  So a hint of what we late-moderns would regard as racism here…

Dante 2015: Paradiso part 1: Cantos 1-12

Series Index John Ciardi’s Translation of the Commedia Analogy and Allegory More than in the first two Canticles, Dante spends a great share of his lines in Paradiso telling us, the readers, that he has no business writing this poem.  In the opening canto Dante denies that he has the knowledge to make sense of what…

Dante 2015: Purgatorio part 3: Cantos 25-33

Series Index John Ciardi’s Translation of the Commedia When Knowledge Passes Away Virgil’s long explanation of the genesis of souls and bodies poses a particular sort of intellectual challenge: this version of how human bodies develop reached its expiration date long before I was born, and there’s little chance that the refined-blood theory of human reproduction,…

Dante 2015: Purgatorio part 2: Cantos 13-24

Series Index John Ciardi’s Translation of the Commedia The Speech of the Saved I’ve taught Dante’s Purgatorio to three cohorts of upper-division literature students, and each time, the students do alright among the prideful.  Carrying a grand rock seems unpleasant, to be sure, but it stoops them down, and students get that basic body motion.  They…

Dante 2015: Purgatorio part 1: Cantos 1-12

Series Index John Ciardi’s Translation of the Commedia Worthy of the Kingdom Dante couldn’t care less about my evangelical sensibility and sensitivities, and I love him for that. Even beyond the fact that a third of the Commedia has to do with Purgatory, a state of post-mortem being that I’m not supposed to believe in, and…

Dante 2015: Inferno part 3: Cantos 24-34

Series Index John Ciardi’s Translation of the Commedia Hypocrites and Church-Thieves Living seven hundred years after Dante’s poetic career makes the final stretch of Inferno a particular philosophical challenge, largely because our temptation is to view all things “medieval” as somehow homogenous rather than parts of a grand philosophical and moral debate.  (My hunch is that…

Dante 2015: Inferno part 2: Cantos 12-23

Series Index John Ciardi’s Translation of the Commedia The Democratization of American Sins One popular topic for invention among youth-group kids in the mid-nineties (and I was one for a spell) was the democracy of sinners.  In terms of eternal salvation, the game started, all sins, whether genocide or looking at a girl in a short…

The Christian Humanist Podcast, Episode #20: Judas Iscariot

This week’s theme music is “Judas Skin” from the Vigilantes of Love record Slow Dark Train. General Introduction – What’s on the blog? – An historical moment for the Christian Humanist Podcast – Detective fiction from Douglas Adams and Terry Pratchett – Our upcoming series on Lost Introduction to Judas – Getting agitated – How…

The Christian Humanist Podcast, Episode 11: Epic

This week’s music: “Her Right Hand Rules the World,” by They Sang As They Slew, from Get Well (Northern Records, 2004). Great band, great record, great Tolkien reference. General Introduction – Nathan’s back, and he’s angry at us – Another CHP ex cathedra announcement Defining and Misdefining Epic – Thanks, FailBlog – That’s so random…