The RFNS celebrates the seventh centenary of Dante’s death with a monographic issue dedicated to examining philosophical and theological thought in the Poet’s works, focusing on the strong revival of the study of these themes in Dante’s writings. Having abandoned ideological prejudice thanks to a greater openness to the sense of the history’s course and set aside the paternalistic myth of nineteenth century Danteanism, there has been a change in the choice of themes that have become canonical in Dante’s exegesis. A new path has been formed, with philology married to criticism and careful research of historical sources. The areas touched by the contributions collected in this monographic issue are closely connected with the research in progress at the eighteenth anniversary. The approaches’ versatility to Dante’s texts testifies, once again, to the wealth of opportunities that the works of the Poet offer even to specialists in the philosophy’s various fields.
Against the background of some unavoidable achievements of philosophical thought concerning the relationships between will, freedom and reason, achievements recognized by the critical tradition as operating in the Comedy, the contribution focuses on the central cantos of Purgatory, specifically on the relationship between the words of Marco Lombardo and Virgil’s discours on the free will. The point of view of the analysis is rhetorical, aiming to focus on the presence and distinctive features of the expressive forms through which Dante, in order to accompany the reader, poetically represents the progressive awareness, in the pilgrim, of the relationships between intellect, will and freedom.
This article intends to provide an interpretation of Inferno X through an analysis of some concepts and terms used in Dante’s Vita Nuova, Convivio and Rime. Starting from the interpretation of the verse «Forse cui Guido vostro ebbe a disdegno» (Inf. X, 63), the essay focuses on the relationship between Dante’s poetry and philosophical beliefs, and those of Guido Cavalcanti. In particular, an attempt will be made to clarify the meaning of some key words used in Inferno X – such as disdegno (disdain), nome (word), lume (light), and raggio (ray) – and their implication for the beatific vision with which Dante will conclude his otherworldly journey.
The article focuses on the figure of Brunetto Latini (13th c.) and some fundamental aspects of his political thought. The analysis of this author, famous above all for the Tresor (written in prose and in French) and the Tesoretto (in verse and in Florentine), is done by considering also the current historiographical debate about the so called Italian Theory (or Italian Thought). The aim is not to relaunch the debate concerning the supposed features of a certain philosophical tradition, but making it interact with some philosophical elements of a political culture, born in the institutional environment of the Medieval Italy.
According to the tradition, Dante introduces Nimrod as giant and builder of the Tower of Babel; actually, this is not a real biblical tradition, since it’s the result of a misunderstanding of the Genesis text, caused by the Vetus Latina based upon the Greek translation, to which is added the contribution of an external source like the work by Flavius Josephus. All this is well known since long ago. The present contribution’s aim is to provide evidence of something more: based upon lexical confirmations, it aims at recognizing in Dante the intention to compare Nimrod’s pride action to the consequences of Lucifer’s behavior, that leads to the origin of the Eden mount.
This note intends to present methodological elements for describing a new field of research that is called «Romance Philosophy». That Dante knew the Romance tradition first hand is an established fact. The thesis advanced here is that this familiarity and knowledge should qualify the interpretation of his thought. Dante reveals a peculiar disposition in the search for truth; his intellectual drive seems – from the evidence gathered – to have been first absorbed through the courtly literatures and only indirectly from other traditions and ‘cultures’ (e.g., scholastic philosophy, vernacular religious culture, monastic tradition, and civic thought). Read in this way, Dante directs us to unearth with systematic precision a genuinely philosophical, multilingual, thematically sectorial medieval tradition, focused on dominant problems (e.g. love, honor, play, election) and transmitted through specific literary genres and templates.
The importance of Guillelmus Peraldus’ OP (ca. 1200-1271) Summa de virtutibus et vitiis as a structural source of the Commedia has already been discussed by several studies. And yet, a detailed look on specific parts of the poem proves that Dante’s use of the treatise might have been even more profound. Indeed, a textual analysis of the episode regarding Maestro Adamo in Inferno XXX demonstrates in an exemplary manner that this character reveals treats of three vices (all related to counterfeit, the crime he has been condemned for): avarice, gluttony and the peccata linguae. The way these sins are concatenated with each other reveals that this particular shape of Dante’s narration is founded in the structure of Peraldus’ Summa de vitiis. At the same time, the impossibility to ascribe one precise vice to Maestro Adamo confirms the consequentiality and chaotic nature of sin itself.
The importance of the concept of law in medieval culture and conscience is undeniable and this emerges strongly in Dante’s thinking. On the one hand, it is a call to that «ratio scripta» which can certainly be associated with the great Roman tradition, which Dante’s time had effectively recovered. On the other hand, it uncovers the fundamental presence of Natural Law through its intimate account of Divine Law and its expression of that ordered depiction of the world that is always central to the work of the great Florentine Poet, also in its being a concrete display of the work of Providence moving human history. The essay aims to highlight these aspects in Dante’s main works, and, in particular, to capture the essential ethical value attributed to law and its sublimation in God’s eternal law.
Through the use of juridical sources, in his commentary on the Divine Comedy Pietro Alighieri analyzes the episodes of Dante’s work from a criminal perspective and stresses the importance of the penal aspects of Dante’s Hell. The first Cantica becomes a scientific monograph about justice, meaning of guilt and about the relationship between crime and punishment. In this way, from an original perspective, with his exegesis, Pietro Alighieri pushes the Divine Comedy in a new modern dimension, making it look like a kind of manual for judges or for young students attending the Faculty of Law.
The article investigates the significance of the references to classical epic poets (Virgil, Lucan, Statius, Ovid) in the chapters of the Convivio’s fourth treatise dedicated to the virtues and the four ages of life. After an introductory section on the relationship between poetry and philosophy in the Convivio, and a concise analysis of Dante’s conception of nobility and virtues in relation to the ages of life, it will be shown that the recourse to epic poetry is not merely ornamental, but essential to the construction of the argument. The poetic examples stir Dante’s conception in the direction of a social ethic and support a moral philosophy attentive to the concrete context in which the virtues are realized and to the psychological conditions that determine our actions. The analysis of the category of amazement (stupore) highlights the originality of Dante’s conception when compared to its sources.
Among Dante’s Epistole, the third and the fourth provide us with an autobiographical tale, expressed in rhymes that are attached to, about the vicissitudes and love experiences in the life of the exiled Florentine poet. But, is that really all? Wouldn’t be better to think to an effort to deepen moral themes, dealing with complex philosophical questions concerning the medieval debate on the human soul? The close relationship between love and free will, actually, is the leitmotiv in the whole Purgatory as well as in the referred enclosed rhymes; the aim of this article is to show the most relevant connections between the major Dante’s works and the two epistles.
The paper is divided into six sections. In the first two it reconstructs, from a historiographical perspective, the path that led to hypothesize a forgery; in the third and in the fourth it demonstrates how the Questio deals with topics that were widely debated in the previous and contemporary treatises and does not respond, instead, to discussions attributable to subsequent works such as Buridano’s Questiones; in the last two it displays the philological objections, including the probable contact between the dissertation and Jacopo Alighieri’s Dottrinale, which confirm the attribution to Dante.
Foscolo admired Dante from the time of his youth, and he devotes a lot of space to him in the Ultime lettere di Jacopo Ortis, where he emphasizes above all the Florentine’s exemplary life, rather than his work. For the protagonist of this epistolary novel, Dante, because of his heroic behaviour, is yardstick of moral choices. This ethical interpretation entails the elimination of Dante’s theology and in particular of the eschatological dimension. Jacopo Ortis, on the other hand, directs the cult of the great medieval poet towards a self-destructive horizon: for him to speak with Dante is to converse with death.
A possible link between Dante and the contemporary Pakistani philosopher Muhammad Iqbal (1873 [or 1877] -1938) lies in the heavenly journey they did in search of the Self and of the transcendent – a highly symbolic journey. After studying the hermeneutical character of symbolization, the essay will study Dante’s philosophy of Light as described in the Paradiso in its neo-platonic implications referring also to the Pseudo-Dionysius and to al-Farabi. ‘Jumping’ ahead until Iqbal will lead us to see how, even though Dante’s philosophy can be considered more ‘theological’ while Iqbal’s one more anthropological’, it is by no means difficult to point out a common spiritual and speculative framework between Christianity and Islam.
The studies on Dante’s thought published by the «Rivista di Filosofia Neo-Scolastica» reflect the line adopted by the Journal, which has followed a path that from the recovery of the Aristotelian- Thomistic metaphysical system has come to the fruitful encounter with the different instances emerging from time to time from contemporary philosophy. From the pioneering studies of Bruno Nardi to the all-out defense of Dante’s Thomism supported by Cordovani and Busnelli, passing through the intellectual honesty of Vanni Rovighi and the philological competence of Grabmann, the Rivista takes a less ideological path and is more open to a constructive confrontation with the various philosophical currents. After thirty-seven years of silence, the Rivista publishes a series of contributions in line with the progress made by studies on medieval philosophical and theological culture on the one hand and Dante on the other, hosting works by foreign scholars and young researchers.