Dante's Commedia: Theology as Poetry (2010)

Dante's Commedia: Theology as Poetry book cover

Edited by Vittorio Montemaggi and Matthew Treherne

The William and Katherine Devers Series in Dante and Medieval Italian Literature, Volume 11

In Dante's Commedia: Theology as Poetry, an international group of theologians and Dante scholars provide a uniquely rich set of perspectives focused on the relationship between theology and poetry in the Commedia. Examining Dante's treatment of questions of language, personhood, and the body; his engagement with the theological tradition he inherited; and the implications of his work for contemporary theology, the contributors argue for the close intersection of theology and poetry in the text as well as the importance of theology for Dante studies.

Through discussion of issues ranging from Dante's use of imagery of the Church to the significance of the smile for his poetic project, the essayists offer convincing evidence that his theology is not what underlies his narrative poem, nor what is contained within it: it is instead fully integrated with its poetic and narrative texture.

As the essays demonstrate, the Commedia is firmly rooted in the medieval tradition of reflection on the nature of theological language, while simultaneously presenting its readers with unprecedented, sustained poetic experimentation. Understood in this way, Dante emerges as one of the most original theological voices of the Middle Ages.

VITTORIO MONTEMAGGI is assistant professor of religion and literature at the University of Notre Dame.

MATTHEW TREHERNE is senior lecturer in Italian and co-director of the Leeds Centre for Dante Studies, University of Leeds.

CONTRIBUTORS: Piero Boitani, Oliver Davies, Theresa Federici, David F. Ford, Peter S. Hawkins, Douglas Hedley, Robin Kirkpatrick, Christian Moevs, Vittorio Montemaggi, Paola Nasti, John Took, Matthew Treherne, and Denys Turner.

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