Roman Roads Press Blog

Author: Joe Carlson

Four Reasons to Read Dante in 2023

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POETRY • BEAUTY • PERSPECTIVE • WISDOMFour Reasons to Read Dante in 2023By Joe Carlson Dante’s Divine Comedy + Reader’s Guide Audio version of this article It’s a new year. You are looking back at the number of books you read during the past twelve months and perhaps sighing. You therefore look ahead and resolve to read more. But where do you begin? Allow me to give you four reasons why you should place Dante’s Comedy at the top of your 2023 to-read pile. POETRY  Poetry teaches, shapes, edifies, and enriches us not by giving us a lecture, but by inviting us … Continue Reading “Four Reasons to Read Dante in 2023”

Dante and the Nature of Sanctification

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A central question in the Christian life is this: what does it mean to grow in holiness, and that particular holiness without which we will not see the Lord (Hebrews 12:14)?  You should not be surprised to hear me say there are seriously helpful answers to this question to be found in Dante’s Comedy. If you are a thorough-going protestant like myself, you might be surprised to hear that many of those answers are found in Purgatorio. There will be a time and place for unpacking the full nature of what our relationship to the notion of Purgatory should be … Continue Reading “Dante and the Nature of Sanctification”

Dante, Protestant

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Ok, so of course I’m being provocative. Dante was not a son of the Protestant Reformation. His Comedy was published in 1320, a full 200 years before Luther said, “Here I stand…” at Worms. And yes, his epic poem is full of doctrines that make actual protestants squirm. He prays to Mary; he prays for the dead; he holds to a purgatorial state where, even if man is reconciled to God by the blood of the cross, sinful habits that remain at the end of one’s life still must be purged after death before one ascends to Heaven. So how … Continue Reading “Dante, Protestant”

An Intro to Dante, by Dante

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This Article is an excerpt from the introduction to Inferno: Reader’s Guide. Dante Alighieri finished his Comedy (it was only called the Divine Comedy after his death) in 1320. He dedicated the final volume, Paradiso, to his friend and benefactor, the “magnificent and most victorious Lord, the Lord Can Grande della Scala.” In a famous letter written to his patron, Dante acknowledges the helpfulness of introductions. He says,  If any one, therefore, is desirous of offering any sort of introduction to part of a work, it behooves him to furnish some notion of the whole of which it is a … Continue Reading “An Intro to Dante, by Dante”

Hell is Obscene

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For those coming to Dante’s Inferno for the first time, you might be surprised to find brief instances of vulgarity coming out of the mouth of the narrator. “This is a Christian poem…why are there bad words?!” And the question really is directed at me, as the translator. “Couldn’t you have used ‘crap’ or ‘poop’?” Well, I could have. But I didn’t, and I wanted you to know why. The primary reason is that Dante didn’t pull any punches, and so I didn’t want to either. But more than that, one of the great benefits of reading the Inferno, and … Continue Reading “Hell is Obscene”