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Dante's Christian Ethics

Dante's Christian Ethics
Purgatory and its Moral Contexts

Part of Cambridge Studies in Medieval Literature

  • Publication planned for: February 2020
  • availability: Not yet published - available from February 2020
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781108489416

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  • This book is a major re-appraisal of the Commedia as originally envisaged by Dante: as a work of ethics. Privileging the ethical, Corbett increases our appreciation of Dante's eschatological innovations and literary genius. Drawing upon a wider range of moral contexts than in previous studies, this book presents an overarching account of the complex ordering and political programme of Dante's afterlife. Balancing close readings with a lucid overview of Dante's Commedia as an ethical and political manifesto, Corbett cogently approaches the poem through its moral structure. The book provides detailed interpretations of three particularly significant sins - pride, sloth, and avarice - and the three terraces of Purgatory devoted to them. While scholars register Dante's explicit confession of pride, the volume uncovers Dante's implicit confession of sloth and prodigality (the opposing subvice of avarice) through Statius, his moral cypher.

    • Provides scholarly but accessible analysis of key areas of Dante's thought and poem, including his ethics, politics, eschatology, conception of Purgatory, and moral autobiography
    • Pioneers reading the poem 'horizontally' through its moral structure (correlative to experiments in 'vertical reading', with close readings of three terraces of Purgatory as narrative structural units and as moral regions)
    • Opens up new contexts - in preaching and penitential sources - for Dante's Christian ethics, including Peraldus' treatise on the vices, as a point of comparison with Aquinas' moral theology
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    Product details

    • Publication planned for: February 2020
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781108489416
    • dimensions: 228 x 152 mm
    • availability: Not yet published - available from February 2020
  • Table of Contents

    Part I. Ethical and Political Manifesto:
    1. Dante's ethical agenda: vital nourishment
    2. Dante's political polemic: church and empire
    Part II. Reframing Dante's Christian Ethics:
    3. Dante's theological purgatory: earthly happiness and eternal beatitude
    4. Two traditions of Christian ethics: Aquinas and Peraldus
    Part III. Penance and Dante's Purgatory:
    5. The terrace of pride, and the poet as preacher
    6. The terrace of sloth, and the sin of scholars
    7. The terrace of avarice, and love of children.

  • Author

    George Corbett, University of St Andrews, Scotland
    George Corbett is Senior Lecturer in Theology and the Arts, School of Divinity, University of St Andrews, Scotland. Prior to this, he was Junior Research Fellow of Trinity College, and Affiliated Lecturer in Italian, University of Cambridge. He is the author of Dante and Epicurus: A Dualistic Vision of Secular and Spiritual Fulfilment (2013), editor of Annunciations: Sacred Music for the Twenty-First Century (2019), and co-editor, with Heather Webb, of Vertical Readings in Dante's Comedy, Volume 1-3 (2015–17), a major reappraisal of the poem in three volumes. He received a bronze medal from the Società Dantesca Italiana in Florence on the 750th anniversary of Dante's birth in 2015.

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