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Onward & Upward with Dante

Thomas Albert (Tal) Howard on the Paradiso as Light for the Christian Mind

Dorothy Sayers once quipped that attempting to grasp Dante's Divine Comedy only from reading the Inferno would be like understanding Paris only through its sewer system. Unfortunately, if students are even assigned Dante in high school or college these days, it is usually the Inferno, possibly some bits of the Purgatorio, and rarely ever the Paradiso.

This is a pity because Dante reserves some of his richest insights for the Paradiso: it is at once a primer and an advanced course in medieval Christian theology, a lavish commentary on the education and ascent to glory of the Christian mind.

Having left behind . . .

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Thomas Albert Howard is professor of humanities and holder of the Duesenberg Chair in Christian Ethics at Valparaiso University. He is the editor of The Idea of Tradition in the Late Modern World (Cascade, 2020).

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