The Divine Comedy – Dante

I’m still alive even if I’m not as active on here as usual!

How’s your year going?

Mine seems to have started rather well, with opportunities to watch birds bringing way more success than last year.

At work things are evolving nicely, with up to 5 days some weeks where my car stays in the garage.

Modern technology seems to be helping, with many of my calls being on FaceTime or Whats App and saving hours of travel.

Since my last post I’ve read through Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ecclesiastes and now this magnum opus by Dante Alighieri (translated by Steve Ellis).

I’ve twice been asked why I bothered, and I can answer that easily. One of Christmas presents was “The Divine Commodity” a book that looks at how we (perhaps) treat church as consumers rather than ambassadors for Christ.

Some may also be familiar with “The Divine Comedy” who often feature on 6 Music with witty songs and double entendres.

The title was undoubtedly a play on words, and inspired by Dante’s great work – so I picked up a translation from the library.

It’s an incredible work. We live in an age when information is a google search away, but in the 13th & 14th centuries writing and research was far more demanding.

Dante was a bit of an Imperialist, believing the Roman era was divinely inspired whilst also holding on to the truth of scripture and importance of the Catholic Church.

The 640 pages of this Vintage Classics translation follow Dante as he is given a guided tour of “Inferno” (Hell) and Purgatory (where people work off their failings and tread their way towards Paradise (Heaven).

Along the way he’s guided by Virgil, and Beatrice before final arriving at the seventh level “Empyrean”.

I absolutely loved the mental agility of Dante’s mind, as he tries unpack scripture whilst poking fun at his contemporaries and those he felt had let down the common people.

Ultimately the Catholic influence shines through and Mary appears to sit above Jesus in the spiritual realm.

If this copy was mine I’d have been scribbling my own notes in the margins. As it stands I’m glad I just about got to grips with it, and may well by my own copy at a later date.

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