Roman Roads Press Blog

Tag: Dante

Just the Inferno?

by Joe Carlson on Posted on

Of the many, many people I have talked to over the years about Dante, the vast majority of those who have actually read something of the Comedy have only read the Inferno. Usually it’s because that’s all they read in high school. And when talking with teachers who only assign the Inferno, more often than not the reasoning is something like, we simply do not have time to get through the whole poem. And I get it. It’s a long poem, and the further you get the more obscure and difficult it becomes. What is more, unlike the other two … Continue Reading “Just the Inferno?”

Three Reasons Every High School Student Should Study Dante 

by Joe Carlson on Posted on

Listen to the article. I want to make the case that every high school student should read and study Dante’s Comedy. More specifically, I want to argue that every protestant, reformed, and evangelical high school student should read and study Dante. Everyone should read Dante, so why do I get so specific? Because Dante was upstream of the Protestant Reformation. He was born before Luther and Calvin, and predates the Protestant Reformation. Because of this, he is often unjustly condemned to the wrinkled brows of skepticism and wariness. Dante published the Comedy almost 200 years before Luther posted his 95 … Continue Reading “Three Reasons Every High School Student Should Study Dante “

The Centrality of Christ

by Joe Carlson on Posted on

BLOGTHE CENTRALITY OF CHRISTBy Joe Carlson The Divine Comedy Audio version of this blog post It is easy to read the Comedy, and Paradiso especially, and lose sight of the pilgrim’s primary trajectory, a trajectory that governs the whole poem. There are over five hundred characters that find their way into the narrative, hundreds of ancient Greek and Roman myths explicitly and implicitly alluded to, dozens of political events particular to thirteenth and fourteenth-century Italy referenced, and many points of theology discussed as foreign to us as the Medieval world itself. It is no great surprise we feel lost reading … Continue Reading “The Centrality of Christ”

 Nostra Vita – Joe Carlson

by Joe Carlson on Posted on

BLOGNOSTRA VITABy Joe Carlson The Divine Comedy The following was my portion of a Dante panel, focusing on the Inferno, presented at the University of Dallas, March 27, 2023. Nel mezzo del cammin di nostra vita. The 13th century Florentine poet, Dante Alighieri begins the greatest poem in the history of mankind with these words: Nel mezzo del cammin di nostra vita — In the middle of the course of our life. This opening line is rich with meaning and implications that govern the rest of the 14,232 lines that follow. It situates the poem in the striking particularity of … Continue Reading ” Nostra Vita – Joe Carlson”

Four Reasons to Read Dante in 2023

by Joe Carlson on Posted on

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

by Joe Carlson on Posted on

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

by Joe Carlson on Posted on

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

by Joe Carlson on Posted on

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

by Joe Carlson on Posted on

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”

3 More Ways Dante Influenced Lewis | Part II

by Christiana Hale on Posted on

If you read my last post and are ready for more specifics on the ways in which C.S. Lewis was influenced by Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy in the writing of his Ransom Trilogy, you have come to the right place. The first part of this post can be found here and I do recommend reading that first by way of introduction. And off we go! 1 | Devils in Disguise: Hell on Malacandra As I said in part 1 of this post, there is a sense in which the trajectory of the Ransom Trilogy both parallels and contrasts that of … Continue Reading “3 More Ways Dante Influenced Lewis | Part II”