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Studia Historiae Ecclesiasticae

On-line version ISSN 2412-4265
Print version ISSN 1017-0499


DU TOIT, Cornel W. Mistieke elemente in Dante se Divina Commedia, met verwysing na die Inferno. Studia Hist. Ecc. [online]. 2013, vol.39, n.2, pp.403-419. ISSN 2412-4265.

Dante's Commedia represents one of the great classical works of the Middle Ages, and renewed interest in this work has been stimulated by the recent publication of Dan Brown's novel Inferno. This article explores some of the main theological influences in Dante's Inferno with special focus on mystical elements underlying the work. This is done in dialogue with the ideas of JS Kruger as it comes to the fore in his recent translation of the Inferno into Afrikaans. He proposes that the Inferno is mystically inclined (tendensie) although the explanation of these mystical elements may transcend the apparent intention (intensie) of the work. Kruger brings a wide horizon of mystical traditions into play spanning all religions and historical periods. He identifies common mystical elements that Dante shares with these traditions. Attention is also given to the idea of Ungrund (the groundless), the Absolute and Infinitive. The article expands on some theological motives in Dante's work. Dante's combination of historical facts with imaginative depictions thereof is compared with the notion of immanent transcendence. Immanent transcendence in this context describes the movement from the quotidian and historical to the imaginative transcendent world that accommodates the mystical. Reference is made to the role of human biology, science and the subconscious in Dante's work. In this context, dream and dance is suggested as important mystical metaphors.

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