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Dante's Paradise

A Study on Part III of The Divine Comedy
Written by: Anthony Esolen PhD
Narrated by: Anthony Esolen PhD
Length: 4 hrs and 4 mins
Categories: Classics, Greek & Roman

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Publisher's Summary

You've followed Dante through the dreaded gates of Hell, to the arduous slopes of Mount Purgatory, and now, finally, to the transcendence of the Heavenly Court.

With Dr. Anthony Esolen, you've traveled into the depths of the Inferno. You've witnessed the terrible hopelessness of Hell and the bitter punishments for sinners there. You've accompanied Dante and Virgil through the mysteries of Mount Purgatory, where sinners are purged of all attachment to sin. Finally, together with blessed Beatrice, enter into the indescribable glory of Heaven.

The Beatific Vision

Dante imagines that Paradise consists of nine celestial spheres which surround the very Throne of God at the center. It is like a blossoming rose. Each petal reveals further splendor and glory the nearer we come to the center. Yet, in a way, Dante's journey to God reads something like science-fiction - after all, he and Beatrice travel through:

  • The Moon, Mercury, Venus, the Sun, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn
  • The "Fixed Stars" - a region medievals imagined to contain all stars except the Sun
  • And finally, through the "Primum Mobile" - the sphere which causes the motion of all other spheres within it because it is moved directly by God

In each astral location, Dante and Beatrice meet the blessed souls who enjoy the bliss of Heaven.

Unlike Purgatory and the Inferno, which are arranged by different types of sin, Paradise is structured according to virtue. Each sphere is associated with one of the cardinal virtues - prudence, fortitude, justice, and temperance - or one of the theological virtues - faith, hope, and charity.

Poetry of the Highest Order

Professor Esolen who has served as your guide through both the Inferno and Purgatory will guide you through the profound and elevated poetry of Paradise. An expert who has taught Dante to college students for more than 20 years, Professor Esolen is also the preeminent modern translator of the entire The Divine Comedy from the original Italian.

Dante can rightly be called the greatest poet who ever lived, because he chose for the subject of his epic poem the greatest subject ever conceived - namely, the whole purpose and end of man. Dante's imaginative genius gave us both astonishing human and theological insights and perhaps the most beautiful verse describing Heaven ever written.

Discover the ineffable majesty of Paradise with Professor Esolen, and complete the journey of all men who have conquered the self through the sufferings of Purgatory.

©2014 Saint Benedict Press, LLC (P)2014 Saint Benedict Press, LLC

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  • 31-01-20

Ascending where minds of our day fail to.

My words are lacking for such a grand and remarkable piece of literature as Dante’s Paradise. I can not fathom anyone in our world today better equipped to present it to us. Anthony Esolen’s depth of understanding of the Divine Comedy and joy and energy in presenting it is second to none. My mind was not prepared to receive all contained in the Comedy itself, let alone these reflections. I feel I could listen constantly for a year and only start to digest, though presented as if for anyone to hear. Marvelous. Thank you Dr. Esolen for contributing your many hours to this project, such that I and many in years to come may taste of this great piece of literature.