The Divine Comedy: Dante's Journey to Freedom, Part 2 (Purgatorio)
While Hell is “black, confined, stinking, noisy, and suffocating, the great Mountain of Purgatory rises in pure sunlit solitude out of the windswept southern sea.” (Sayers, Purgatorio; Introduction) Dante has undergone a conversion which has, literally, turned his world upside down.
Sadly, the majority of Dante’s readers do not accompany him beyond his escape from the Inferno, in part, perhaps, because of an instinctive anticipation that when the excitement of adventure is over, then the hard work of maturation must begin. Indeed, there is work aplenty on Mount Purgatorio, but there is also so much more. There is day and night, labor and rest, waking and dreaming, all the rhythms of diurnal living; but above all, there is the delight of hope. All that the penitent souls suffer here, they undergo in the eagerness of passionate yearning to be healed of the wounds of sin inflicted on them as part of the universal heritage of humanity. Purgatory is a “school of contemplation,” where the healing of wounds coincides with learning to suffer the weight of responsibility for one’s own identity as a person. For those willing to undertake the steep ascent of Dante’s seven-story Mountain, nowhere in the legacy of human culture is the process of becoming a “whole person” more closely observed or rendered with deeper psychological and social insight than in the cantos of Dante’s Purgatory.
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- Virtual Classroom
Who should attend?
- Gain familiarity with the theory and practice of “Contemplative Reading” that constitutes one of the principal structural dynamics of Liberal Arts education.
- Apply the general practice of “Contemplative Reading” to Dante’s Divine Comedy.
- Demonstrate in-depth and relatively advanced familiarity with and knowledge of an epic poem of the highest cultural significance; in specific, Dante’s Divine Comedy.
- Begin to articulate for themselves their own personal convictions in response to reflection questions about human dignity, freedom and responsibility with which the Divine Comedy inevitably confronts its readers.
- Engage with the most fundamental goal of Liberal education, promoting the universal dignity of personhood.
- Become acquainted with the specific contributions that the Christian, Catholic and Jesuit traditions of Georgetown University bring to the promotion of human dignity.
Course delivery details
This course is offered through Georgetown University, a partner institute of EdX.
8-10 hours per week
- Verified Track -$49
- Audit Track - Free
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