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The opposite of a great truth is another truth. One of the obvious problems is that he lived a long time ago, and many of the cultural referents have changed. A lot of the stuff at first sight just seems irrelevant to the 21st century world I started wondering if there was any modern-day author one could identify with Dante, and if that might help us connect to his concerns. And in fact, I do have a suggestion that some people will no doubt condemn out of hand as completely heretical: Richard Dawkins.

Dante was a Christian to the core of his being, but he was furious with the way the Church was being run; he put several of its leaders, notably Pope Boniface VIII, in Hell.

Amen to that. As noted, both Dante and Dawkins are extremely unhappy with the way mainstream religion is being organized. The other characteristic that unites them for me is this passionate love for science. One has to remember that, for Dante, Ptolomaic astronomy was state of the art stuff, and the details of the angelic hierarchy were a topic of vital importance; of course he cross-examines the hosts of the blessed to find out more.

These days, I imagine he would be trying to get inside information on what happened during the Big Bang before spontaneous symmetry breaking occurred, whether or not the Higgs particle really exists, and how evolution produced human intelligence. I do wonder what he would have thought if he had been able to learn that many leading religious figures, even in the early 21st century, reject a large part of science as being somehow unreligious.

I can see him getting quite angry about this, and deciding to rearrange the seating a little down in Hell. I think there is now far more material for an ambitious poet to work with than there was in the 14th century. For example, when we get to the Heaven of the Galaxy, I imagine him using this wonderful fact that all the heavy elements are made in supernova explosions.

Finally, we reach the Heaven of the Multiverse, and find that we are just one of many different universes. It was necessary to create all of them, so that random processes could make sure that a very small number would end up being able to support life. How impious to assume that God would only be able to create one Universe, and have to tweak all the constants Himself!


The Divine Comedy: The Inferno, The Purgatorio, and The Paradiso (John Ciardi Translation)

An initial canto, serving as an introduction to the poem and generally considered to be part of the first cantica, brings the total number of cantos to It is generally accepted, however, that the first two cantos serve as a unitary prologue to the entire epic, and that the opening two cantos of each cantica serve as prologues to each of the three cantiche. Additionally, the verse scheme used, terza rima , is hendecasyllabic lines of eleven syllables , with the lines composing tercets according to the rhyme scheme aba, bcb, cdc, ded, Within each group of 9, 7 elements correspond to a specific moral scheme, subdivided into three subcategories, while 2 others of greater particularity are added to total nine. For example, the seven deadly sins of the Catholic Church that are cleansed in Purgatory are joined by special realms for the late repentant and the excommunicated by the church.


The Divine Comedy



The Divine Comedy: The John Ciardi Translation by Dante Alighieri - PDF free download eBook


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