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Smiling Through the Cultural CatastropheToward the Revival of Higher Education$
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Jeffrey Hart

Print publication date: 2001

Print ISBN-13: 9780300087048

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: October 2013

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300087048.001.0001

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Dante, Rome (Athens), Jerusalem, and Amor

Dante, Rome (Athens), Jerusalem, and Amor

(p.138) Chapter Seven Dante, Rome (Athens), Jerusalem, and Amor
Smiling Through the Cultural Catastrophe

Jeffrey Hart

Yale University Press

This chapter takes a look at Dante and the Divine Comedy, a work that is regarded as one of the greatest poems of all time—right next to the works of Homer and Shakespeare. Looking at Dante's epic in its larger context, however, it is seen that his intellectual project was to bring together three powerful traditions. First, he renewed the synthesis of the Athens–Jerusalem tension on a vast scale—bringing together the likes of Virgil and Augustine, Cicero and Aquinas. At the same time he also added a third element: the so-called religion of Love, the religion of Amor which had become popular and widespread throughout eleventh-century Europe. The chapter thus examines and analyzes Dante's epic, his interiorizing of the heroic and his making it the ideal of inner perfection.

Keywords:   Dante, Divine Comedy, Homer, Shakespeare, Athens-Jerusalem tension, Virgil, Augustine, Cicero, Aquinas

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