Volume 1 considers some of the key theological influences on Dante. The contributors discuss what ‘doctrine’ might have meant for Dante and consider the poet’s engagement with key theological figures and currents in his time including: Christian Aristotelian and scholastic thought, including that of Thomas Aquinas; Augustine; Plato and Platonic thought; Gregory the Great; and notions of beatific vision. Each essay offers an overview of its topic and opens up new avenues for future study. Together they capture the energy of current research in the field, test the limits of our current knowledge and set the future study of Dante’s theology on firm ground.
Zygmunt G. Barański Dante and Doctrine (and Theology)
De doctrina et theologia, quales sint1 I am going to begin with a confession. Despite having spent a number of years considering the matter, and having discussed it with several friends and colleagues, I am still not really sure what the present chapter’s precise remit ought to be, and hence whether what follows adequately deals with the problem of doctrine and Dante. It is not just the term ‘doctrine’ that I find dif ficult, perplexing even, on account of – as we shall see – its rich range of connotation both in the poet and in medieval culture. I am in fact even less confident how best to approach and what stress to give to the key element – ‘theology’ – around which the present laudable initiative aimed at Reviewing Dante’s Theology is organized, and in the light of which the supposedly – and I stress supposedly – ancillary notion of ‘doctrine’ is to be evaluated. Two things, however, have become apparent. First, dot- trina / doctrina in Dante cannot, as might not unreasonably have been expected from our volume’s purview, be restricted to ‘Christian doctrine’ and its dissemination. The notion of ‘doctrine’, despite its strong religious associations, has long had more general connotations: 1 The subheading calques and adapts the title of the opening quaestio of Thomas Aquinas’ Summa theologiae – ‘Quaestio 1. de sacra doctrina, qualis sit et ad quae se extendat’ [on the nature and extent of sacred doctrine] – a question which has some bearing on matters discussed in this chapter. My reliance on...
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