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Dante's Commedia > 21-27 April: Paradiso VIII-XIV

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Book Portrait | 658 comments Canto VIII illustrations



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Charles Martel on the vicissitudes of heredity: Dante and Beatrice hovering before Charles Martel, who stands within the Heaven of Venus, while below, Aeneas is standing before a Sicilian city, as three warriors approach

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message 2: by ReemK10 (Paper Pills) (last edited Apr 21, 2014 05:55PM) (new)

ReemK10 (Paper Pills) | 576 comments Mod
Freccero, John. "Paradiso X: The Dance of the Stars." In Dante Studies, LXXXVI, 85-111. [1968]

Drawing upon recent work of Jourdain, Rahner, Daniélou, and Bousset, as well as his own, Professor Freccero focuses upon Par. X to explore Dante's translation of beatitude into astronomical terms.

Pointing out that the Paradiso is an ad hoc reality which depends, not on a principle of mimesis, but on a metaphorical tour de force, he examines certain components (especially the Heaven of the Sun) of the canto that constitute in turn the metaphoric structure of the cantica and relates them to the spiritual reality they are made to represent.

In the accommodation of Heaven to the senses of the pilgrim, which stands also for the accommodation of the poet's experience per verba to us, Dante was following the pattern of the Bible, the eternal witness of God's accommodation--his Word--to man. "The extended metaphor of the Paradiso, established by the command performance of the elect for the benefit of the pilgrim, is in fact a poetic reconciliation of the Platonic myth of the stellar souls with the Christian conception of Heaven." The stellar dance of the "spiriti sapienti who have descended to the Heaven of the Sun for the pilgrim's edification has ancient Zodiacal origins: it occurs, for example in a passage adduced from the apocryphal Acts of John (confirmed by Apoc. 12:1) and is related also to a sketch in the pavement of the Baptistery in Florence.

"As the twelve constellations [of the Zodiac] surround what Dante calls the `sole sensibile,' so the twelve disciples turn about Christ."

Regarding the Sun as symbol of divinity and the association of Beatrice with the Moon, just as the twelve Apostles are the Zodiac of Sol Christi, so the twelve philosophers and theologians are the "corona" of Luna Ecclesiae; while the ancient view of the Sun and Moon as lovers neatly fits the Pauline teaching about the Heavenly Bridegroom [Christ] and His Bride [the Church].

Later, in Par. XXIII, 25-30, we find a shift in metaphor wherein the transcendental Sol Christi beheld then directly by the pilgrim is compared with the Moon (Diana-Trivia), because the mysterium Lunae, the Church, is all we have in material reality to foreshadow the Triumph of Christ.

". . . The traditional image of the Apostles and the Zodiac may be taken as the background for the controlling theme of Paradiso X and . . . the shift from the Apostles to theologians and philosophers finds its counterpart in a shifting of the center from the Sun to Beatrice and the pilgrim or, according to one of the comparisons, the Moon."

In the triumph of theologians and philosophers in Canto X can be seen a Triumph of the Church, foreshadowing the Triumph of Sol Christi in Canto XXIII, with Beatrice functioning as a figura Ecclesiae.

Professor Freccero closes by presenting further metaphorical associations between Par. X and the Platonic tradition--for example, the dance of the "spiriti sapienti" and the circular dance of the stars in the Timaeus; the concept of the Anima Mundi associated with the Sun, as echoed in the address to the reader, vv. 7-12; the astronomical motif of the Zodiac as traditional emblem of the Creator's mark on the world; the Platonic idea of relating the circular movement of rationality and the heavens to the circularity of divinity (Timaeus); and the rich associations between the "Platonic X" and the intersection of celestial movements that Dante asks the reader to contemplate, suggesting again the emblem of Christ, the Cross, and other aspects of the Christian mysteries.


http://www.dantesociety.org/adb/adb19...


message 3: by ReemK10 (Paper Pills) (last edited Apr 21, 2014 06:53PM) (new)

ReemK10 (Paper Pills) | 576 comments Mod
This is incomplete, but it was what I could find on Rahab and Dante:




Take, for instance, what Dante does with Rahab, the harlot of Jericho, who makes a brief and wordless appearance in Paradiso IX. Dante would have known her primarily from the Book of Joshua. She is the brothel keeper who saves two Hebrew spies in Canaan by hiding them on her rooftop and then letting them escape through her window in the city walls (Joshua 2. 1–24). From that window she suspends a crimson cord, a reminder of her mercy to them and a pledge of [End Page S70] their protection when the walls come tumbling down. Joshua not only spares her from that destruction but brings her and her household into Israel (6: 15–25).

It is not clear if Dante knew what the rabbis made of this story. Was he aware that they saw her as the archetypal proselyte, married her off to Joshua, made her into a matriarch of Israel—ancestress of eight prophets, including Huldah and Jeremiah?3 But surely he would have known her as one of Israel's matriarchs from her mention in the first chapter of the Gospel according to Matthew, which opens with an Old Testament-like genealogy that includes women in what had been traditionally a masculine preserve. Among the three sets of fourteen generations that Matthew constructs for the time stretching between Abraham and Jesus, he names Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, and "the wife of Uriah" (Bathsheba). Early Christian commentators on Matthew recognized that the four Old Testament women conspicuous in the list of the Messiah's male ancestors were not the obvious matriarchal choices: Sarah, Rebekah, Leah, and Rachel. In fact, it became a point of honor for the Fathers to draw attention to skeletons in the family closet—to insist that the Savior's foremothers were women who could at one time have been prostitutes (like Rahab) or at least played the part when the occasion warranted (like Tamar); could be women who had dubious ethnic origins (like the Moabite Ruth) or who had engaged in illicit sexual activity (Bathsheba). According to Jerome, "it should be noted that none of the holy women [of Israel] are taken into the Savior's genealogy, but rather such as Scripture has condemned, that he who came for sinners being born of sinners might so put away the sins of all" (cit. in Aquinas 19–20). The two other mentions of Rahab in the Christian Testament do not concern her place in Jesus' family tree. Instead, she embodies a distinctive virtue—different in each case. For the author of Hebrews, she is a witness to faith; in the Epistle of James, a doer of good deeds—a heroine at once of faith and works.

The Church Fathers developed their version of Rahab against this rich and varied background of Scriptural text. Her identity as a former prostitute was embraced as a sign that given repentance, all could be forgiven. According to Jerome, "She who was at one time on the...


http://muse.jhu.edu/login?auth=0&...


message 4: by ReemK10 (Paper Pills) (last edited Apr 21, 2014 07:02PM) (new)

ReemK10 (Paper Pills) | 576 comments Mod
Canto 11:


The land of the "Sun": a romantic journey striving to achieve knowledge
« Between Tupino and the stream that falls
Down from the hill elect of blessed Ubald,
A fertile slope of lofty mountain hangs,
From which Perugia feels the cold and heat
Through Porta Sole, and behind it weep
Gualdo and Nocera their grievous yoke.
From out that slope, there where it breaketh most
Its steepness, rose upon the world a sun
As this one does sometimes from out the Ganges;
Therefore let him who speaketh of that place,
Say not Ascesi, for he would say little,
But Orient, if he properly would speak. »
(Dante Alighieri, Paradiso XI)

With these words Dante Alighieri in his Divine Comedy described these magical places, home to the Sun, St. Francis of Assisi.
Assisi's historical and cultural importance made the city the symbol of peace all over the world, a powerful attraction to tourists aiming to discover history and culture.
The most relevant feature of Assisi stems from its being home to the illustrious Saint, who was a theologian and the founder of the Order of Friars Minor, as well as the first representative of Italian literature, with his Canticle of the Sun.
Assisi offers a variety of monuments and works of art, realized throughout the city by the many populations who settled here: Etruscans, Romans, Ostroghts, Byzantines, Longobards and Frederick I Barbarossa.


message 5: by ReemK10 (Paper Pills) (last edited Apr 21, 2014 07:13PM) (new)

ReemK10 (Paper Pills) | 576 comments Mod
I was trying to do a goole search on Canto 11 when I came across this and found Dante mentioned in this list. There seems to be some significance in the numerology of the number 11.

http://www.wisdomportal.com/Numbers/1...


Book Portrait | 658 comments Reem I'm behind but looking forward to looking at your finds. The picture of Assisi is stunning!

In canto VIII Dante mentions the "celestial princes" (principi celesti, line 34), which are part of the Hierarchy of Angels.

Here's a well-known depiction of these angels:


Angels' army by Guariento di Arpo (1360), Musei Civici Eremitani di Padova


http://www.padovaincoming.it/primopia...
http://bjws.blogspot.fr/2011/12/few-a...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christia...


Book Portrait | 658 comments Canto IX illustrations



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Dante and Beatrice encountering the spirit of Cunizza da Romano.


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Dante and Beatrice before Folco, who inveighs against the corruption of the Florentines.


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message 8: by ReemK10 (Paper Pills) (last edited Apr 23, 2014 05:22AM) (new)

ReemK10 (Paper Pills) | 576 comments Mod
Book Portrait wrote: "Reem I'm behind but looking forward to looking at your finds. The picture of Assisi is stunning!

In canto VIII Dante mentions the "celestial princes" (principi celesti, line 34), which are part of..."


Are the angels all women or just look like women? Wow!


Book Portrait | 658 comments ReemK10 (Paper Pills) wrote: "Are the angels all women or just look like women? Wow!"

I'm not sure but I don't think angels have a gender. These are probably supposed to be ... genderless? And pretty. :)


Book Portrait | 658 comments Canto X illustrations



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Dante and Beatrice before ascending to the Heaven of the Sun


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Dante and Beatrice in the sphere of the sun being greeted by Aquinas and Albertus Magnus, while ten other great intellectural authorities (the Doctors of the Church) are seated below, including Bede, Ambrose, Isidore, and Boethius.


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message 11: by ReemK10 (Paper Pills) (last edited Apr 23, 2014 08:21AM) (new)

ReemK10 (Paper Pills) | 576 comments Mod
Book Portrait wrote: "I'm not sure but I don't think angels have a gender. These are probably supposed to be ... genderless? And pre..."

You're right BP! I could only think of Gabriel and Michael which are male names, so I googled Islam's take on angels:

Jibreel (Gabriel) - in charge of communicating Allah's words to His prophets
Israfeel (Raphael) - in charge of blowing the trumpet to mark the Day of Judgment
Mikail (Michael) - in charge of rainfall and sustenance
Munkar and Nakeer - after death, these angels will question souls in the grave about their faith and deeds
Malak Am-Maut (Angel of Death) - in charge of taking possession of souls after death
Malik - guardian of hell
Ridwan - guardian of heaven

In Islam, it is believed that angels have been created out of light, before the creation of humans from clay/earth. They are naturally obedient creatures, worshipping Allah and carrying out His commands. Angels have no free choice, so it is simply not in their nature to disobey. The Quran says, "They do not disobey Allah's commands that they receive; they do precisely what they are commanded" (Quran 66:6). Angels are genderless and do not require sleep, food, or drink.

I just noticed the 66:6 like 666 the sign of the devil. Satan who did not obey!

It is We Who created you and gave you shape; then We bade the angels prostrate to Adam, and they prostrate; not so Iblis (Lucifer); He refused to be of those who prostrate."
(Allah) said: "What prevented thee from prostrating when I commanded thee?" He said: "I am better than he: Thou didst create me from fire, and him from clay. Qur'an 7:11–12


message 12: by Book Portrait (last edited Apr 23, 2014 09:15AM) (new) - added it

Book Portrait | 658 comments ReemK10 (Paper Pills) wrote: "You're right BP! I could only think of Gabriel and Michael ..."

Fascinating stuff. I like the idea that the angels would have been made out of light.

I was also looking a little more into the "hierachy of angels" and reading these Wikipedia articles:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hierarch...
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christia...
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islamic_...

It seems that The Celestial Hierarchy by Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite was a highly influential text for Christian theologians (possibly Islamic ones too?).

If you're interested you can find the text in English (about 40 pages) here:
http://www.esoteric.msu.edu/VolumeII/...
or
http://www.tertullian.org/fathers/are...


message 13: by Sue (new) - rated it 5 stars

Sue | 118 comments These pictures are all so beautiful and add so much to the reading, as do all the explanations and links. Another thank you!


message 14: by ReemK10 (Paper Pills) (last edited Apr 23, 2014 07:00PM) (new)

ReemK10 (Paper Pills) | 576 comments Mod
Book Portrait wrote: "ReemK10 (Paper Pills) wrote: "You're right BP! I could only think of Gabriel and Michael ..."

Fascinating stuff. I like the idea that the angels would have been made out of light.

I was also look..."
'

Merci BP! You find the most amazing things! I leave behind a gift:

http://books.google.com/books?id=ey3F...

http://www.openculture.com/2013/08/fr...

this as well:

http://www.openculture.com/2014/04/ge...


message 15: by Sue (new) - rated it 5 stars

Sue | 118 comments More wonderful gifts! Thank you.


Book Portrait | 658 comments ReemK10 (Paper Pills) wrote: "Merci BP! You find the most amazing things! I leave behind a gift:..."

I love these!! Thank you Reem!

The très riches heures du Duc de Berry is beautiful. Did you know that the book is kept in a museum in the beautiful Château de Chantilly near Paris? Here's a little video showing the manuscript (and the gorgeous library). Unfortunately it's in French but look at the book!!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r4haM...

And I can't believe all the free resources on Open Culture. Free books and language lessons and art pictures and conferences and... My head is spinning!! If you don't see me come up for air you'll know where I disappeared! :D


ReemK10 (Paper Pills) | 576 comments Mod
Book Portrait wrote: "ReemK10 (Paper Pills) wrote: "Merci BP! You find the most amazing things! I leave behind a gift:..."

I love these!! Thank you Reem!

The très riches heures du Duc de Berry is beautiful. Did you kn..."


Wonderful!! I share your excitement!!! I think I posted or shared this link with as many people as I possibly could! I love it when material is available for free over the internet and just think of of how many minds it may ignite!I'll check out your video now. Thank you!!!! :) Enjoy exploring. If you come across anything spectacular, do share!!!


message 18: by Sue (new) - rated it 5 stars

Sue | 118 comments I just watched some of the video then saved it to continue later. Of course there were others I had to sample too! Thank you again...both of you.


Book Portrait | 658 comments Canto XI illustrations



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Dante and Beatrice before Thomas Aquinas, who presents the two to Dominic and Francis, both standing on winged cherubim


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The renunciation of Francis before a bishop.

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Book Portrait | 658 comments Sue wrote: "I just watched some of the video then saved it to continue later. Of course there were others I had to sample too!"

*lol* I wandered off looking at the Book of Kells... among others... :)


Book Portrait | 658 comments Canto XII illustrations



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Dante and Beatrice before Bonaventure, who is standing in the Heaven of the Sun, while on the right, Dominic is preaching to a group of heathens


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Dante and Beatrice, on the left, and Bonaventure, on the right, hovering over the Twelve Doctors of the Church

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Book Portrait | 658 comments Canto XI - Saint Francis of Assisi



http://www.louvre.fr/en/oeuvre-notice...
Giotto - St. Francis of Assisi Receiving the Stigmata

Commented by the folks at the Khan Academy:
http://smarthistory.khanacademy.org/s...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stigmata...
http://www.artble.com/artists/giotto_...

Another famous image of the same scene, taken from the frescoes in the Basilica of San Francesco d'Assisi:


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Gio...
Giotto - Stigmatization of St Francis

For the whole series of Giotto's frescoes depicting St Francis' life:
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/The...

Giotto used the Legenda Maior, the biography of St. Francis by St. Bonaventure (1266) to reconstruct the major events in the life of St. Francis.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Basilica...


message 23: by Book Portrait (last edited Apr 25, 2014 05:16AM) (new) - added it

Book Portrait | 658 comments Canto XI - Seraphs



God surrounded by seraphim. From the Petites Heures de Jean de Berry, a 14th-century illuminated manuscript.

Medieval Christian theology places seraphs (from the Hebrew "burning ones") in the highest choir of the angelic hierarchy. They are the caretakers of God's throne, continuously singing "holy, holy, holy".

Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite in his Celestial Hierarchy (vii), drew upon the Book of Isaiah in fixing the fiery nature of seraphim in the medieval imagination.

St. Bonaventure, a Franciscan theologian who was a contemporary of Aquinas, uses the six wings of the seraph as an important analogical construct in his mystical work The Journey of the Mind to God.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seraphim


message 24: by Book Portrait (last edited Apr 25, 2014 05:24AM) (new) - added it

Book Portrait | 658 comments Canto XI - Saint Thomas Aquinas



Carlo Crivelli - Saint Thomas Aquinas (1476)

Aquinas is often shown with a sun on his chest (a symbol of sacred learning), and a pen, although Crivelli gives him a book instead. The artist also shows him holding a church.
http://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/pai...

Thomas Aquinas (1225 – 7 March 1274), also Thomas of Aquin or Aquino, was an Italian Dominican friar and priest and an immensely influential philosopher and theologian in the tradition of scholasticism, within which he is also known as the "Doctor Angelicus", "Doctor Communis", and "Doctor Universalis".
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_A...


Book Portrait | 658 comments Canto XII - Saint Dominic



El Greco - St Dominic in Prayer

Saint Dominic (Spanish: Santo Domingo), also known as Dominic of Osma and Dominic of Caleruega, often called Dominic de Guzmán and Domingo Félix de Guzmán (1170 – August 6, 1221), was a Spanish priest and founder of the Dominican Order.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint_Do...


ReemK10 (Paper Pills) | 576 comments Mod
Book Portrait wrote: "Canto XI - Saint Francis of Assisi



http://www.louvre.fr/en/oeuvre-notice...
Giotto - St. Francis of Assisi Receiving the Stigmata

Commented by the folks at th..."


Thanks Beepers! :)


janet | 122 comments ReemK10 (Paper Pills) wrote: "Freccero, John. "Paradiso X: The Dance of the Stars." In Dante Studies, LXXXVI, 85-111. [1968]

Drawing upon recent work of Jourdain, Rahner, Daniélou, and Bousset, as well as his own, Professor F..."


Interesting article - I found the discussion of the moon/sun relationship very intriguing and will enjoy following this thread as we read.


janet | 122 comments ReemK10 (Paper Pills) wrote: "Book Portrait wrote: "I'm not sure but I don't think angels have a gender. These are probably supposed to be ... genderless? And pre..."

You're right BP! I could only think of Gabriel and Michael ..."


I really enjoyed your illumination on angels. The angels in those images are intense.

I guess they would be examples of direct creation as was explained in Canto XIII.


janet | 122 comments The celebration and examination of caritas coming from amorousness in Canto IX and the examples of ardor and intellect in cantos X through XIV work really well together and by the end of that last canto it feels like Dante is really progressing in both his understanding and caritas. He moves beyond his awe of Beatrice but at the same time his love for her is transformed into something on a higher plane. In a way, Dante adds different dimensions to love in the way he shows how the amorous as well as the Franciscans and Dominicans are all pleasing to God though their love for god takes different forms.


message 30: by janet (last edited Apr 27, 2014 02:27PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

janet | 122 comments The reference that Reem found on Rahab and women in the Biblical tradition and their sins being used to show how people can be saved is very intriguing. Ciardi suggests this same reason as the one for Dante including Cunizza da Romano who
"was known as an outgoing woman, her tendencies attested by the fact that she had various lovers as well as three husbands." Ciardi speculates, "He must have credited her with a true contrition in her later years, and certainly he might have been moved to show that even a great sinner could find heaven’s grace through repentance, but at best she would have been scheduled for more than twenty-one years in Purgatory. "

I am not entirely sure about this. Though this would be the obvious Christian interpretation, I think amorousness could be allegorically similar to caritas in the Divine Comedy because of the way he uses his love for Beatrice. In fact, as Paradiso or the Comedy continues, his human love is being transformed into Caritas.

These lines that Folquet speaks could support this suggestion.

But none repents here; joy is all our being:
not at the sin—that never comes to mind—
but in the All-Ordering and All-Foreseeing.

Here all our thoughts are fixed upon the Love
that beautifies creation, and here we learn
how world below is moved by world above.

Canto IX, lines 103-108, Ciardi translation.

What complicates this, of course, is the fact that none of them would regret anything they did because they drank from Lethe. However, they seem to remember they had many lovers. This seems a bit contradictory. Ciardi's answer to this is really quite funny. He says, "Dante has to give them something to talk about, and the narrator has never existed who can sustain a conversation about mankind without bringing sin into it."


janet | 122 comments In reference to Canto XIV, I don't know about you, but I can't imagine wanting my body back after being a shiny starry spirit. I know it was part of church doctrine, but it was kind of surprised when the topic was introduced. I did really enjoy this line in the explanation, though:

"Thereby, it follows, the vision shall increase; increase the ardor that the vision kindles; increase the ray its inner fires release."
Canto XIV, lines 33-34, Ciardi


janet | 122 comments More on Cunizza:

Both Hollander and Ciardi speculate her freeing all of the slaves of her house before her death might have helped her avoid purgatory. It also shows caritas.

If anyone is interested in following it up, Hollander references,

Masciandaro, Franco, "Appunti sul paesaggio dantesco (Inferno V, XXVI, e Paradiso IX)," The Craft and the Fury: Essays in Memory of Glauco Cambon, ed. J. Francese (West Lafeyette, Indiana: Bordighera Press, 2000), pp. 113-21.

Masciandro suggests, "Cunizza as correctively mirroring Francesca, and their surrounding landscapes as mirroring their inner states."


Teresa janet wrote: " Ciardi's answer to this is really quite funny. He says, "Dante has to give them something to talk about, and the narrator has never existed who can sustain a conversation about mankind without bringing sin into it.""

His dry humor is one reason I love Ciardi's notes. I laugh out loud at notes like this one and then just have to share them with my husband.


janet | 122 comments In canto XIV, Dante makes this amazing shift from a vision of Christ on the Cross to dust motes.

So, here on earth, across a slant of light that parts the air within the sheltering shade man’s arts and crafts contrive, our mortal sight observes bright particles of matter ranging up, down, aslant; darting or eddying; longer and shorter; but forever changing
Canto XIV, lines 112-117, Ciardi

He does this to try to explain what is happening with the lighting of this vision. It is wonderful that he ties it to something observable that is in itself rather wonderful.


message 35: by janet (last edited Apr 27, 2014 02:59PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

janet | 122 comments In Canto XII, the criticisms against the Franciscans seemed rather vague, but there is an interesting though not fully developed story there. First of all, St. Bonaventura became Minister General of the Franciscan Order in 1257 and was created Cardinal Bishop of Albano in 1273. As an administrator, he had to deal with funds that their order held. The donation of money to the Franciscans complicated their severe order of poverty and by this time the order had changed from the days of St. Francis. There was still a conflict between some Franciscans who tried to keep to the original model of St. Francis and were criticized for it. As leader of the order, he would have disagreed with their stance.

On the other hand, money being taken for the use of their order but not in an organized way might have caused some Franciscans to stray from their original intent towards avarice.

This is a question that the church itself faced and lead to its corruption according to Dante.

I found it shocking and sad that, according to Ciardi, some pure Franciscans were actually killed for trying to stick to the pure form of their order:

"Historically, the original rule of St. Francis was so harsh that it was, in effect, banned by the Church. Its severity had, in fact, caused a schism within the order even before the death of St. Francis. One group sought to modify the rule of absolute poverty. The other (the Zealots or Spiritual Franciscans from whom stemmed the Penitentes) insisted on the rule to the point of open conflict with church authority. In 1318, in fact, four of the Spirituals were burned for heresy when they refused to modify the original rule of St. Francis."

Hollander makes an interesting point about lines 118-120:

The obvious Scriptural allusion (to Matthew 13:24-30, the parable of the wheat and the tares) somehow seems to have escaped the earliest commentators. It appears first in Landino (DDP Landino.Par.XII.118-120) and then is repeated in almost all subsequent comments. The reference of the tercet is a cause of some debate. See Manselli, 'francescanesimo' (ED.1971.3), pp. 15-16; his view is that the word 'loglio' (tares) does not refer to the Spiritual Franciscans, as some believe, but to all corrupt members of the Order, whatever their leaning in the controversy between Spirituals and Conventuals.


message 36: by ReemK10 (Paper Pills) (last edited Apr 27, 2014 04:49PM) (new)

ReemK10 (Paper Pills) | 576 comments Mod
janet wrote: "In Canto XII, the criticisms against the Franciscans seemed rather vague, but there is an interesting though not fully developed story there. First of all, St. Bonaventura became Minister General ..."

You bring up very interesting points Janet, I wonder if the criticisms had anything to do with St. Francis's relationship with the Muslims.

St. Francis and the East:




"St. Francis's connections with the East may have begun early in life. He was very interested in the Troubadours of Provence during his youth and may have been influenced by their way of life. They, in turn, were likely derived from Islamic culture (the etymology of the word 'troubadour' is disputed, but it is unusually close to the Arabic word 'tarab', which means a kind of transcendence through music).

Later, he exhibited a keen interest in travelling to the Muslim world. He attempted to go east to Syria, but managed only to get to the Dalmatian coast of what is now Albania. He then tried to go west to Morocco, but ended up in Spain.

In 1219, St. Francis did finally succeed in an eastern journey when he reached the city of Damietta in Egypt, which was then besieged by Crusaders. St. Francis crossed from the Crusader to the Saracen side of the Nile to meet with the Sultan Malik el-Kamil. The traditional explanation is that he did so in order to convert him to Christianity, but failed in his effort. There are indications however that his purpose was different.

He was well received by the Sultan and permitted to preach in his lands. Upon returning to the Christian armies, St. Francis did his utmost to dissuade the Western knights from attacking the Muslims. He was ignored and the result was a Crusader defeat at the walls of Damietta.

Since the fall of the Crusader kingdoms in the Middle East, only the Franciscans have been permitted to be the "Custodians of the Holy Land" on behalf of Christianity.

In subtle ways, he (and many others in his time) may have symbolized a broader current of human development than either the outward forms of Christianity and Islam can convey. He and the Sufi poet Rumi, for example, were contemporaries and share strong similarities in their poetry.

St. Francis even more closely paralleled the Sufi Najmuddin Kubra, the founder of an order called the 'Greater Brothers' (the Franciscans were also known as the 'Minor Brothers'). Sixty years before St. Francis's birth, Najmuddin was known for his love of animals, and for having tamed a fierce dog - as the Christian saint was later to do with a wolf.

Indeed, one of St. Francis's major contributions was to infuse a more democratic and "grass roots" movement into a very hierarchical church. He refused to become a priest, and returned the faith closer to the people, and away from institutions and authorities - a characteristic that has defined the Franciscans ever since.


Among his other many achievements, St. Francis, with his love for nature as the mirror of God and for animals as his "brothers and sisters", created the idea of the manger or nativity scene for Christmas, a symbol still very much alive today."
http://albabblog.blogspot.com/2011/12...


ReemK10 (Paper Pills) | 576 comments Mod
Teresa wrote: "janet wrote: " Ciardi's answer to this is really quite funny. He says, "Dante has to give them something to talk about, and the narrator has never existed who can sustain a conversation about manki..."

Good to see you back Teresa. I wondered what had happened to you.


message 38: by Sue (new) - rated it 5 stars

Sue | 118 comments I was just noting, happily I have to confess, that Dante's more lyrical nature (that seemed to have been left in Purgatory) really made a comeback in Canto 14. I find him much easier to read and attend to if he throws me some lyrical portions.


Teresa ReemK10 (Paper Pills) wrote: "Good to see you back Teresa. I wondered what had happened to you."

Thanks so much, Reem. Since Good Friday, family obligations had hampered my computer time -- though I still made sure to read a canto every day. I'm happy to say I think things have finally calmed down.


Teresa Sue wrote: "I was just noting, happily I have to confess, that Dante's more lyrical nature (that seemed to have been left in Purgatory) really made a comeback in Canto 14. I find him much easier to read and at..."

I agree, Sue. So much easier to just go with the flow ...


Book Portrait | 658 comments Canto XIII illustrations



http://www.bl.uk/catalogues/illuminat...
The legends of Theseus and Ariadne


http://www.bl.uk/catalogues/illuminat...
Adam, Christ and Solomon, with a sunburst of glory behind them

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Book Portrait | 658 comments Canto XIV illustrations



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The Resurrection of the dead

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Book Portrait | 658 comments janet wrote: "The reference that Reem found on Rahab and women in the Biblical tradition and their sins being used to show how people can be saved is very intriguing. Ciardi suggests this same reason as the one ..."

Musa is not as humorous as Ciardi! On Cunizza Musa's comment also mentions her four husbands and two lovers (^^) and explains her rise to Paradise as follows: "After the death of her fourth husband, she went to live in Florence, where she freed the slaves of her father and brothers in 1265. According to early commentators of the Comedy, during her later life Cunizza was known for her acts of compassion and mercy."

I seem to recall that in the Comedy Beatrice represents spiritual love (she is an allegory of it) rather than romantic love.


Book Portrait | 658 comments janet wrote: "In reference to Canto XIV, I don't know about you, but I can't imagine wanting my body back after being a shiny starry spirit. I know it was part of church doctrine, but it was kind of surprised wh..."

Lol. I'd be happy to do without the body too (plus in what condition would we find it after all these years? And which body would we get: the fifteen-year old model or the deathbed one?...). Or I'd go with an improved version of it (never having a cold or zits for instance! Or experiencing things differently, more intensely maybe?...). But I'd think that the superpowers from being a "spirit" would be much more fun...

In any case I find the idea of resurrecting the body surprising as I thought Christianity favoured the mind over the body (so many of the sins come directly from the body: lust, gluttony...).


Book Portrait | 658 comments ReemK10 (Paper Pills) wrote: "St. Francis crossed from the Crusader to the Saracen side of the Nile to meet with the Sultan Malik el-Kamil. The traditional explanation is that he did so in order to convert him to Christianity, but failed in his effort. There are indications however that his purpose was different...."

That's very interesting. I went looking for further info but the Wikipedia article on Francis of Assisi has no further details. There's also an academic article on the subject but I haven't read it yet:
http://www.academia.edu/3450232/St._F...

I did find other representations of St Francis meeting the Sultan. :) Here's one by Giotto (from his series of frescoes at Assisi):




ReemK10 (Paper Pills) | 576 comments Mod
Book Portrait wrote: "ReemK10 (Paper Pills) wrote: "St. Francis crossed from the Crusader to the Saracen side of the Nile to meet with the Sultan Malik el-Kamil. The traditional explanation is that he did so in order to..."

Fabulous! My goodness this Dante read has unearthed so much for us! Thanks for the links and photos BP!

Good to have you back Teresa. Lily is also AWOL. Kalliope is away. Kris is probably busy wrapping up the semester.


message 47: by ReemK10 (Paper Pills) (last edited Apr 28, 2014 05:05AM) (new)

ReemK10 (Paper Pills) | 576 comments Mod



Saint Francis of Assisi with the Sultan al-Kamil.15th century. By Benozzo Gozzoli.


Al-Kamil (Arabic: الكامل‎) (full name: al-Malik al-Kamel Naser al-Din Abu al-Ma'ali Muhammed) (c. 1177 – 6 March 1238) was a Kurdish ruler, the fourth Ayyubid sultan of Egypt. During his tenure as sultan, the Ayyubids defeated two crusades. In a temporary agreement with the Crusaders, he ceded Jerusalem to the Christians and is known to have met with Saint Francis of Assisi at the alleged Trial by Fire.[1

Al-Kamil was the son of sultan al-Adil ("Saphadin"), a brother of Saladin.

Al-Kamil made many offers of peace to the Crusaders, all of which were rejected, due to the influence of the papal legate Pelagius. He offered to return Jerusalem and rebuild its walls (which his brother had torn down earlier in the year), and to return the True Cross (which he probably did not have). At one point he even negotiated with Francis of Assisi, who had accompanied the crusade, and who apparently tried to convert the sultan.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Al-Kamil


Teresa Book Portrait wrote: "I seem to recall that in the Comedy Beatrice represents spiritual love (she is an allegory of it) rather than romantic love."

Yes, though Ciardi mostly speaks of her as Divine Revelation, which of course comes from (or is equal to?) God's love.


Teresa Book Portrait wrote: "In any case I find the idea of resurrecting the body surprising as I thought Christianity favoured the mind over the body (so many of the sins come directly from the body: lust, gluttony...)."

The resurrection of the body is part of Catholic doctrine because it's Biblically based.
http://www.catholic.com/tracts/resurr...


message 50: by janet (last edited Apr 28, 2014 01:00PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

janet | 122 comments Book Portrait wrote: "janet wrote: "The reference that Reem found on Rahab and women in the Biblical tradition and their sins being used to show how people can be saved is very intriguing. Ciardi suggests this same reas..."

Thanks for pointing out this problem. Oh absolutely she is a representation of Divine Love - I agree. However, in a literal sense, Dante writes of her in a way that sounds like human romantic love. There are both meanings operating at the same time. As we continue from Purgatorio when he first saw her to this point in the Paradiso, his love for her is becoming more spiritual and through the connection to her, he is also turning to a deeper love of God.


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