Dante

Ascending the Mountain of Love

By |2019-12-12T01:49:38-06:00December 11th, 2019|Categories: Christianity, Dante, Great Books, Imagination, Literature, Love, Paul Krause, Senior Contributors|

“Here let death’s poetry arise to life, / O Muses sacrosanct whose liege I am! / And let Calliope rise up and play / her sweet accompaniment in the same strain / that pierced the wretched magpies with the truth / of unforgivable presumptuousness.” Thus was Dante’s opening prayer as he entered Purgatory and [...]

Learning to Love Again: Dante’s Descent in the “Inferno”

By |2019-11-27T20:57:22-06:00December 4th, 2019|Categories: Dante, Great Books, Imagination, Literature, Love, Paul Krause, Senior Contributors|

That there is much depth to Dante’s “Inferno” is an understatement, and the poet’s descent into the abyss is perplexing at first glance. However, by invoking the muses of poetry and in being guided by Virgil, Dante tips his hand and reveals to the astute reader that the journey into—and through—hell will require the flowering [...]

Dante on the Beatific Vision

By |2019-10-29T20:47:24-06:00October 29th, 2019|Categories: Christianity, Dante, Great Books, Imagination, Letters From Dante Series, Louis Markos, Senior Contributors|

To achieve the Beatific Vision of Plato and his pre-Christian heirs is to move to a place of absolute serenity, removed from the passions and emotions of our world. That is not what I encountered in paradise. Far from a place of stoic calm, heaven overflowed with ecstasy and jubilation. Author’s Introduction: Imagine if [...]

Dante on Hierarchy

By |2019-10-24T14:54:04-06:00October 24th, 2019|Categories: Christianity, Dante, Great Books, Imagination, Letters From Dante Series, Louis Markos, Senior Contributors|

Rather than seek to create an artificial equality that violates God’s diversity of gifts, find your own unique place in the celestial hierarchy. And once you find your assigned part, take pride in it, without envying those above you in the hierarchy or condescending to those below. Author’s Introduction: Imagine if Homer, Virgil, Dante, [...]

Dante on Jealousy

By |2019-10-14T22:17:54-06:00October 14th, 2019|Categories: Christianity, Dante, Great Books, Imagination, Letters From Dante Series, Louis Markos, Senior Contributors|

Too many of your theologians and preachers have rejected an aspect of God that is made clear in the scriptures: our God is a jealous God. And you’ve rejected it, not because you have disproved it, but because you are embarrassed by it. You simply cannot imagine that God could have anything in common with [...]

Dante on Gifts

By |2019-09-20T12:49:48-06:00September 24th, 2019|Categories: Christianity, Dante, Great Books, Imagination, Letters From Dante Series, Louis Markos, Senior Contributors|

Not only has your age been graced with many gifts and talents; you have been showered with a wealth of instruments and opportunities for the doing of good. Nevertheless, in the midst of plenty, you continue to bury them under the ground rather than invest them in and for God’s Kingdom. You must relearn [...]

Dante on Sin

By |2019-09-20T14:16:30-06:00September 17th, 2019|Categories: Dante, Great Books, Imagination, Letters From Dante Series, Louis Markos, Senior Contributors|

In our mortal lives, we can often hide the desiccated state of our souls from others; in the afterlife, we can no longer hide from others what we truly are inside. Let go of your rebelliousness and disobedience, my friends, before it is too late, before you find yourself circling the path of futility. Author’s [...]

Dante on Lust

By |2019-09-09T22:56:39-06:00September 9th, 2019|Categories: Christianity, Dante, Great Books, Letters From Dante Series, Louis Markos, Love, Morality, Sexuality, Virtue|

It is both seemly and right to feel love and even erotic passion, but when such feelings are taken to an improper extreme or directed toward an improper object, they grow twisted and perverse and morph into the sin of lust. We will have done significant damage to ourselves. Author’s Introduction: Imagine if Homer, [...]

Dante on Virtuous Pagans

By |2019-09-03T16:27:48-06:00September 3rd, 2019|Categories: Christianity, Dante, Great Books, Letters From Dante Series, Louis Markos, Reason, Senior Contributors, Virgil, Virtue|

It was there, in the first circle of Hell, that I first understood what it meant to be a virtuous pagan. It meant to be led by the dim but true light of reason, to seek continually after the higher things, to pursue with courage and devotion a life of virtue. Author’s Introduction: Imagine [...]

Dante on Citizenship

By |2019-12-09T16:41:28-06:00August 28th, 2019|Categories: Christianity, Citizenship, Dante, Great Books, Heaven, Letters From Dante Series, Louis Markos, Senior Contributors|

I could never again go home to Florence. Still, out of that dark beginning, God brought great good. What he allowed me to learn on my feet was a simple but life-altering truth: that my primary citizenship is not in Florence, nor in Rome, nor in any other earthly city. My true citizenship is [...]

“Thoughts That Wound From Behind”: Great Books & the Power of Allusion

By |2019-07-30T22:14:33-06:00July 30th, 2019|Categories: Alfred Tennyson, Dante, Great Books, Literature, Morality, Poetry|

One value of reading truly great works of literature, works that have stood the test of time for decades or even centuries, is the opportunity such reading affords for exploring the tradition that has since built up around them. Any such truly great work—the Iliad, the Aeneid, Paradise Lost, Shakespeare’s Hamlet—will have accrued innumerable [...]

Love, Ancient and Modern

By |2018-12-08T21:36:00-06:00December 8th, 2018|Categories: Aeneid, Dante, Family, Love, Marriage, Odyssey|

“Sing to me of the man, Muse, the man of twists and turns driven time and again off course, once he had plundered the hallowed heights of Troy.” The opening words to Homer’s Odyssey are among the most famous and recognizable in Western literature. That beginning stanza captures so much of the human condition and [...]