Reading Dante's Commedia as Theology: Divinity Realized in Human Encounter (Hardback)
  • Reading Dante's Commedia as Theology: Divinity Realized in Human Encounter (Hardback)
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Reading Dante's Commedia as Theology: Divinity Realized in Human Encounter (Hardback)

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£62.00
Hardback 328 Pages / Published: 04/08/2016
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Dante's Commedia compels readers to confront the mystery of their existence, to seek understanding of their relationship to the living conscious reality from which all possible experience arises. By pursuing these lines of inquiry, says Vittorio Montemaggi, readers can reach an ultimate reality that Dante calls love. Montemaggi offers a detailed theological reading of the Commedia, examining the theme of human interaction, both as it is represented in the poem-the narrator Dante's interaction with other characters-and by the relationship between author and reader. In doing so he locates a Dante we may not be used to imagining, a man aware both of the spiritual power of his work, and of his profound, essential vulnerability and moral failing. Montemaggi shows that, for this Dante, truth emerges only through human limitation and failure, rather than in spite of it. Applying this interpretive framework to a reflection on the methodology of scholarship itself, Montemaggi offers his readers a vision of what the academy could be-not individual scholars in competition with others, but a community that seeks to foster the understanding that can arise through interaction, vulnerability, and love. His vision constitutes a benign challenge to some of the ethos and practices of the modern academy, while simultaneously reflecting on the dynamics of one of the most inspiring and influential texts ever written about the relationship between humanity and divinity.

Publisher: Oxford University Press Inc
ISBN: 9780190495466
Number of pages: 328
Weight: 548 g
Dimensions: 243 x 163 x 29 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
Like Dante, Montemaggi is a careful scholar who admits vulnerability and expresses gratitude to the scholarly community that has nurtured him. He writes autobiographically, with a remarkably clear memory, and acknowledges many guides, from Rowan Williams and Denys Turner to his undergraduate students at Notre Dame. Each is named, and together they compose a kind of scholarly communion of saints who have blazed for him a scholarly and spiritual path. Thus, Montemaggi shows usjust as Dante doeshow the life of theologian and disciple are integrally related. * Paul J. Contino, Christian Century *
Montemaggi has written a book that invites a new look at what we mean by theological writing in general, as well as theological poetry...All in all, this is a very welcome and deeply original and illuminating book. * Rowan Williams, Times Literary Supplement *
Montemaggi has written a truly path-breaking book, one that is a game-changer rather than only a contribution of a few more erudite details concerning some specific cruxes. The book exemplifies and explores, in a pioneering spirit, a different way of doing literary criticism and of pursuing study in the humanities. The change, nevertheless, for all its momentousness, is effected by only a nuance of difference. Actually, this new approach is easily within the reach of all. It is, I believe, what most all of us in critical humanities studies have been aiming at all along, without fully realizing how or why, and without understanding ourselves as fully authorized to do so. * William Franke, Literature and Theology *
This book provides the most daring reading of Dante as a theologian so far. Montemaggi shows how poetic idiom is integral to a certain novel act of theological representation. The poem's mode of fictional tour of ultimate reality performs the integrity despite the contingency of that reality, and especially of the created and yet self-shaped persons within it. Against more world-refusing readings of Dante's metaphysics, this book shows how this very contingency is paradoxically the best clue as to the non-contingency of the heavenly realm, and the divine in its nature as unlimited love. * Catherine Pickstock, Professor of Metaphysics and Poetics, University of Cambridge *
Reading Dante's Commedia as Theology is a remarkable achievement, one which is distinctive for both its interdisciplinary charge and its powerful close reading of Dante's Commedia. Bringing into close dialogue the fields of Dante studies, religion and literature, and theology, Montemaggi eloquently demonstrates how Dante's great poem might and can be read as theology. In so doing, he provides richly focused analyses of questions related to love, justice, truth, prayer, and salvation, and explores how the 'dynamics of human interaction' permeate the poem and define the nature of divinity as it is realized in human encounter. * Simon Gilson, Professor of Italian, University of Warwick *
As curious, quirky, and all-embracing as the Commedia itself, Montemaggi's kaleidoscopic book fuses two very distinct modes of writing about Dante that until now have always remained separate: a reader's deeply personal, spiritual engagement with the poem on one hand, and a professional Dante scholar's rigorous intellectual analysis on the other. Presenting Dante not simply as a poet who creates art that happens to involve theology, but as a truly original theologian whose poetic art is his theology, Montemaggi ably articulates the startling inventiveness of Dante's bold theological vision: for the Commedia insists that we are all called to divinization, to union with the living God, whom Dante invites us to discover within ourselves and, more importantly, in our loving relationships with each other. * Commonweal Magazine *

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