The Divine Comedy Dante s Guide to the Spiritual Life

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Copyright Information,Lectures 2016 Jason Baxter,Study Guide 2017 Wyoming Catholic College. Excerpts from Inferno by Dante Alighieri translated by Robert and Jean Hollander Copyright. 2000 by Robert Hollander and Jean Hollander Used by permission of Penguin Random. House Audio Publishing Group a division of Penguin Random House LLC. Excerpts from Purgatorio by Dante Alighieri translated by Robert Hollander and Jean Hol. lander Copyright 2005 by Robert Hollander and Jean Hollander Used by permission of. Georges Borchardt Inc on behalf of the translators. Excerpts from Paradiso by Dante Alighieri translated by Robert Hollander and Jean Hol. lander Copyright 2007 by Robert Hollander and Jean Hollander Used by permission of. Georges Borchardt Inc on behalf of the translators. All rights reserved The guide s translations are by Jason Baxter. Cover Image Dante kneeling before celestial helmsman by Paul Gustave Dor Public Domain. Introduction, Wyoming Catholic College is a four year coeducational Catholic college whose primary educa. tional objective is to offer a traditional liberal arts education that schools the whole person in all. three dimensions mind body and spirit We accomplish this by immersing our students in the. beauty of the outdoors by introducing them to the wisdom of Western tradition and thought as. found in the Great Books and Good Books of the past millennia and by making the best of the. Catholic spiritual heritage part of the rhythm of daily life in our College community Students. graduate with the degree of Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Arts. The Center for Distance Learning shares the mission of Wyoming Catholic College by offering. courses podcasts retreats and other opportunities designed to provide adult learners with sound. reasoning skills growth in the virtues and a broad understanding of the rich heritage of Western. Civilization in the context of Catholic faith and practice. About This Course, The early twentieth century author essayist and Christian humanist Dorothy Sayers learned Ital. ian so that she could read Dante Alighieri s Divine Comedy in the original language Sayers whose. translation of the Comedy is still in print once called the poem the drama of the soul s choice. C S Lewis read the Inferno in Italian when he was a teenager He read the Purgatorio in a military. hospital while he recovered from wounds received in the trenches of World War I Then in 1930. he read the Paradiso Writing to a friend about its overwhelming power he said I think it reach. es heights of poetry which you get nowhere else an ether almost too fine to breathe It is a pity I. can give you no notion what it is like Soon after Lewis the adamant skeptic became a believing. Pope St John Paul II said Dante s art evokes lofty emotions and the greatest convictions and still. proves capable of instilling courage and hope guiding contemporary man s difficult existential. quest for the Truth which knows no setting Pope Benedict XVI said that in his first encyclical. Deus Caritas Est he wanted to try to express for our time and our existence some of what Dante. boldly summed up in his vision And Pope Francis as he announced the Year of Mercy urged. Catholics to turn to Dante in order to rediscover the lost or obscured meaning of our human. path calling its author a prophet of hope herald of the possibility of redemption of liberation. of the profound transformation of every man and woman of all humanity. This masterful work of epic poetry with its great sweep of time and eternity depths of Hell and. heights of Heaven is our subject In this course Dr Baxter gives you the tools needed to appreciate. and benefit intellectually and spiritually from one of the greatest pieces of literature ever com. posed My desire he said is to help readers to help you come to appreciate the depth of this. poem to understand its extraordinary and radical message and to recognize the contemporary. relevance perhaps even urgency of this medieval poem. Your Professor, Dr Baxter is Academic Dean and Associate Professor of Fine Arts and Humanities at Wyo. ming Catholic College where he teaches Greek Roman and Medieval humanities courses. as well as art history from antiquity through the Baroque Dr Baxter has also taught rhetoric. within the Trivium sequence and is responsible for designing Trivium 302 the Junior Author. Project Dr Baxter s primary research interests include medieval aesthetics the relationship. between the Platonic tradition and poesis both visual and verbal Dante and the Platonic. tradition Dante medieval mysticism and monastic spirituality and the relationship between. the Middle Ages and the Renaissance His scholarly publications include articles on the Pla. tonic tradition in the Latin West and writings on Dante. He earned his Ph D in Literature and an M A in Italian Studies at the University of Notre. Dame and a B A in Classical Philology at the University of Dallas In 2018 two books by Dr. Baxter were published A Beginner s Guide to Dante s Divine Comedy published by Brazos. Press and Falling Inward The Humanities in the Age of Technology from Cluny Media Press. How to Use This Guide, While the lectures in this series can be shown to large groups this guide is designed for either.
individual study and reflection or small group up to fourteen people study and discussion. If you are using this course with a small group someone will need to serve as a facilitator. This could be the same person for the entire course or a different person for each lesson It. is important that this person see himself or herself as a facilitator not the group s teacher A. good facilitator has a grasp of the material but rather than sharing what he or she knows asks. questions and fades as much as possible into the background This allows the group to strug. gle with the questions through conversation Not only is this much more interesting for the. group but it is a far more effective way of learning. The facilitator s role is to keep the discussion on topic and directed at the lecture and the. texts under consideration while allowing the group to draw its own conclusions Whether. studying alone or in a group discovering the beauty and meaning of classical literature is a. life long pursuit There is no hurry and this kind of audio based adult distance learning pro. gram allows you to proceed at your own pace Having said that however it s easy to allow the. busyness of the day to keep you from seemingly optional activities such as reading and study. Set realistic goals for doing the readings listening to the lectures and reflecting on what you. have learned You will probably not find time for this course You will need to make time. Each lesson has five parts Getting Started Read Listen and Reflect These do not need to be. done all in one sitting At the same time we encourage you not to skip over any of the sections. or questions We also encourage you to begin and end your study with prayer for a teachable. spirit clarity of thought and wisdom in application. Getting Started This section has two goals First it allows the individual learner or small. group members to transition from all the things that have occupied their attention through. the day to the topic under discussion Second it is designed to connect the topic with personal. experience engaging the mind and the imagination, Read The lectures and this guide are companions to Dante s Divine Comedy not a sub. stitute Thus it is highly recommended that you read the assigned canti before listening to. each lecture The more reading you do the more you will get out of the course Even if this. extends the course by weeks or even months taking the time to read the Comedy will deepen. your understanding and make the course that much more beneficial Whenever possible we. recommend you use your own copy of the Comedy allowing you to read with a pen in hand. to underline and make notes, Listen Set aside some undisturbed time to listen Each lecture lasts between 30 and 45 min. utes and is best considered as a whole rather than a bit at a time as you run errands around. town listening piecemeal in your car We strongly encourage you to listen with the text open. and a pen in hand to take notes in the space provided in this guide in the text s margins or. in a separate notebook Remember that if you miss something Dr Baxter has said you can. always go back and replay a portion of the lecture or the entire lecture. Reflect The guide comes with questions for you to consider after listening to each lecture. Reading them prior to listening to the lecture may help you focus on the issues raised These. questions are not an exam but are designed to help you interact with the speakers and much. more importantly with the authors of the great works of literature you will be studying. Again have a pen in hand and use a notebook to jot down your thoughts. On Reading Poetry The texts we will be considering in this course are poetry and most. people today no longer read poetry As a result some of you may be in unfamiliar territory. Reading poetry simply takes practice Here are two suggestions First consider reading at. least parts of the Comedy aloud The poets use words in part for their sound so sound them. out and listen as you read Try reading a bit of the Italian as well Second pay attention to the. punctuation Phrases will often continue from one line to the next and pausing at the end of. every line will obscure rather than clarify the meaning The more you read poetry the better. you will become at understanding it and the more you will appreciate it a life long benefit of. this distance learning course, On Translations of the Comedy While there are numerous good translations of the Com. edy the one recommended for this course is one by Robert and Jean Hollander The edition. includes the original Italian along with the English plentiful notes and outstanding intro. ductions If you choose another translation we urge you to make sure it is in verse form not. converted into prose, Lover Poet Exile An Introduction to Dante s Comedy. While the Divine Comedy describes a spiritual journey that all humans share the work also re. flects the particulars of Dante s time place and personal history Written around the turn of the. 14th century the Comedy is filled with allusions to the politics of Dante s home city of Florence. as well as the politics of Italy the papacy and Europe Dante built the poem on Medieval theology. and cosmology And the poem reflects Dante s personal life his youth his love for a girl and her. subsequent death his career as a poet soldier and politician and his exile from the place where. he was born Understanding the literary cultural political and personal context of the poem is. step one in understanding, Getting Started What are your hopes for this course What would you like to achieve.
When you hear the word Medieval what comes to mind. Read Rod Dreher How Dante Saved My Life in The American Conservative April 9 2014. www theamericanconservative com articles how dante saved my life. Virgil The Aeneid Book 6, 1 It s a famous fact says Dr Baxter that the more you read in Dante the harder it gets. Dante structured his poem to get higher lighter and more abstract as we ascend and get closer. to God Why would you expect Dante to do that How is sin more concrete and comprehensible. than holiness, 2 After quoting Pope Francis who said Dante was a prophet of hope a herald of the possibility. of the profound transformation of every man and woman Dr Baxter asks Could it really. be true that an old poem can redirect the course of our world which seems too eager to destroy. itself How would you answer Dr Baxter s question, 3 Dante began as a love poet writing popular songs about emotion and romance Yet in his. book Vita Nuova or The New Life he showed the desire to elevate a popular form of writing the. love song to a theological level How would you explain the connection between romantic love. and theology In what ways is the love of man and woman analogous to the love God has for his. 4 For Dante argues Dr Baxter love is not just exciting it s ennobling He believed along with. the vernacular literary tradition that when you fall in love then you are braver more virtuous and. so on but most importantly you are more alive and vital You see the world with new vigor Why. do you agree or disagree How can this kind of love amore also be bitter amaro. 5 How did Dante s love for Beatrice and her subsequent death inform his view of love How. according to Dr Baxter did his love for Beatrice inspire Dante to pull together the joys of earthly. love and the joys of heavenly bliss, 6 How did Dante s suffering the death of Beatrice and his exile from Florence inform his. poetry How did it form in him what Dr Baxter calls prophetic sensibility the power to look. down into the root causes of problems of society and awaken men to a love of goodness again. Additional Resources, C S Lewis The Weight of Glory in The Weight of Glory and Other Essays HarperOne.
Revised edition 2001, C S Lewis The Discarded Image A Guide to Medieval and Renaissance Literature Cam. bridge University Press Reprint edition 2012,The Hero and the Coward in the Dark Wood. Midway in the journey of our life,I found myself in the midst of a dark wood. the true way was lost, With those now famous words Dante the poet began his vast epic of the spiritual life And with. those words we meet Dante the pilgrim someone to whom we immediately relate The dark. 14th century the Comedy is filled with allusions to the politics of Dante s home city of Florence as well as the politics of Italy the papacy and Europe Dante built the poem on Medieval theology and cosmology And the poem reflects Dante s personal life his youth his love for a girl and her

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