Dante Between Philosophers and Theologians: Paradiso X - XIII
Bernardo Lecture Series, No. 11
Raises the radical question of how Dante’s understanding of poetry shaped his theology, his ethics, and, more generally his sense of the organization of knowledge or encyclopedia.
Dante Between Philosophers and Theologians: Paradiso X-XIII is the eleventh in a series of publications occasioned by the annual Bernardo Lecture at the Center for Medieval and Early Renaissance Studies (CEMERS) at Binghamton University. This series offers public lectures which have been given by distinguished medieval and Renaissance scholars on topics and figures representative of these two important historical, religious, and intellectual periods.
Dante Between Philosophers and Theologians raises one central, radical question: how Dante's understanding of poetry shaped his theology, his ethics, and, more generally his sense of the organization of knowledge or encyclopedia. By focusing on the cantos in the Heaven in the Sun, Giuseppe Mazzotta shows, first of all, the textual interrelationship holding together seemingly disparate thematic and conceptual patterns such as an extensive reflection on the Trinity, the issue of poverty among the Franciscans and Dominicans, and the dance of the wise spirits. What sustains the complexities of the text, so does Mazzotta argue, is Dante's insight into a "theologia ludens," which embraces an ethics of risk as well as the notion of the joyful essence of the divinity.
Giuseppe Mazzotta is Sterling Professor of Italian and the Chairman of the Italian Department at Yale University. He is currently serving as President of the Dante Society of America. His publications span the whole arc of Italian literary history. But at the center of his scholarship there stands his work on Dante, and to Dante's theological poetry and thought Professor Mazzotta has devoted two ground-breaking books: Dante Poet of the Desert: History and Allegory in the Divine Comedy and Dante's Vision and the Circle of Knowledge. He has edited the volume Critical Essays on Dante and has written a number of articles on the poem.