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Thesis and Bibliography

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GENERAL THESIS (subject to amendment):

Dante’s Divine Comedy is not so much meant to be a reflection of Hell, Purgatory, and Heaven as such but is meant to be a good and entertaining story that, by poetic device, reflects the entire moral order as understood by Thomistic philosophical and theological principles.



Alighieri, Dante. The Divine Comedy, translated by John Ciardi (New American Library: New York, 2003).

The Text under primary consideration

Aristotle. The Basic Works of Aristotle, translated by Richard McKeon (Random House: New York, 1941).

The collected works of Aristotle which will be used primarily for translation comparisons for the sake of clarity of interpretation. The same works as those others authored by Aristotle will be consulted.

______. Nicomachean Ethics, translated by Hippocrates Apostle (Peripatetic Press: Grinnell, Iowa, 1975 & 1984).

Aristotle’s philosophic view of the order and division of ethics/morality which is pertinent to my consideration of Dante’s poetic representation of the Thomistic philosophic moral order, Aquinas’s view on this and other philosophical considerations itself being greatly influenced by Aristotle.

______. Physics, translated by Hippocrates Apostle (Peripatetic Press: Grinnell, Iowa, 1969 & 1980).

Aristotle’s philosophic understanding of change/motion in the composite order which is one of the fundamental cosmological views of the Classical period that greatly influenced the world-view of the medieval Scholastic period, including St. Thomas and, subsequently, Dante.

Hardon, Fr. John A., S.J. “Meaning of Virtue in St. Thomas” from “Great Catholic Books Newsletter”, Volume II, No. 1 (Electronic version copyrighted, Trinity Communications: Manassas, VA 1995)

The late Fr. Hardon’s concise summary of the infused virtues as discussed by St. Thomas.

Thomas Aquinas, St. Commentary on Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics, translated by C.I. Litzinger, O.P. (Dumb Ox Books: Notre Dame, Indiana, 1964).

The Angelic/Common Doctor’s commentary on “the Philosopher’s” seminal work on ethics/morality which will be re-echoed poetically in Dante’s narrative.

______. Commentary on Aristotle’s Physics, Books I-II translated by Richard J. Blackwell, Richard J. Spath & W. Edmund Thirlkel Yale U.P., 1963; Books III-VIII translated by Pierre H. Conway, O.P. Colege of St. Mary of the Springs, Columbus, Ohio 1958-1962 (No Copyright Information Provided)

St. Thomas’ commentary on the cosmological work of Aristotle which is reflected in the Divine Comedy.

______. Summa Contra Gentiles, An Annotated Translation (With some Abridgement) of the Summa Contra Gentiles of Saint Thomass Aquinas by Joseph Rickaby, S.J., M.A. Lond: B.Sc. Oxon., Author of “Aquinas Ethicus” etc. etc. (London: Burns and Oates, 1905). As found at the Jacques Maritain Center website of Notre Dame: (first referenced 10/03/2010)

The Common Doctor’s own views flushed out apart from his commentaries which, as matured and crystallized, will be embraced by Dante and used in the three canticles of the Comedy.

______. Summa Theologica (vel Theologiae), Second and Revised Edition, 1920 Literally translated by Fathers of the English Dominican Province. Online Edition Copyright © 2008 by Kevin Knight. As found at the website: (first referenced 10/03/2010)

The Angelic Doctor’s most celebrated summarization of theology which embraced the Divine Wisdom of revelation and (aiding the human intellect) the natural wisdom of natural philosophic studies as gleaned from the likes of Plato and Aristotle. As this is one of the most influential works of Western Civilization, and as Dante was a Thomist (to whatever degree), the Summa undoubtedly had an effect on our medieval poet which I propose can be traced and seen in the Divine Comedy and, more to the point, influenced its very structure.


Written by Paleo Thomist

October 3, 2010 at 8:13 pm

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Class Project

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This blogsite exists for the partial fulfilment of the requirements of the class “Dante’s Divine Comedy” (HACS PHTH615 – Fall 2010) conducted by Dr. Sebastian Mahfood, O.P., for Holy Apostles College and Seminary.

Forthcoming posts will exist to meet the requirements of the assignments per the posted syllabus on Blackboard e-education platform.

–Casey Cain (Paleo Thomist)

Written by Paleo Thomist

October 3, 2010 at 4:56 am

Posted in Uncategorized