The Problem of Theophany in Paradiso 33

Essays in Medieval Studies 27:61-78 (2011)
  Copy   BIBTEX

Abstract

One widely discussed feature of Paradiso 33 is Dante’s emphasis on his failure to represent in words and memory his pilgrim’s exalted vision of the Trinity. Against other interpretations of this canto, I will discuss why, despite the fact that the language of failure seeks to reinforce the poetic illusion that revelation’s authority is grounded in an unmediated access to divine truth, the theophantic moment “represented” in Paradiso 33 instead shows that revelatory experience is nothing but a product of the impulse of natural reason to exceed its own legitimate scope—that is, the theophantic moment illustrates natural reason’s inherent tendency to overstep its own limits. Consequently, I shall argue, the poema sacro’s carefully constructed representations of the pilgrim’s revelatory insight are in fact grounded in Dante’s proto-humanist understanding of the authoritative role of natural reason in representing to ourselves the possibilities of our own spiritual and earthly beatitudes.

Links

PhilArchive

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

Analytics

Added to PP
2012-10-10

Downloads
413 (#50,658)

6 months
70 (#75,308)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Jason Aleksander
San Jose State University

Citations of this work

No citations found.

Add more citations

References found in this work

No references found.

Add more references