Dante's Beatrice: Priest of an Androgynous God
Bernardo Lecture Series, No. 2
Examines Dante’s character of Beatrice and contends that, more than simply leading Dante to God, Beatrice allows him to see a feminine side in God, humanity, and himself.
Dante's Beatrice: Priest of an Androgynous God is the second 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 is designed to make available to a broad audience studies on a wide variety of subjects by leading medieval and Renaissance scholars.
Ferrante asserts that, more than simply leading Dante to God, Beatrice allows him to see a feminine side in God, humanity, and himself. In Paradise she teaches him to speak of the souls of men as female and the souls of women as male, and to see God as male and female both. Ferrante examines how Beatrice accomplishes this through the roles of the priest, confessor, and teacher of theology in which Dante casts her, and further explores Beatrice as a Christ figure.
Joan M. Ferrante is Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University.