Dante makes Thomas Aquinas the first voice of the Heaven of the Sun (Paradiso, Canto 10), and hence offers him as an emblem—perhaps the emblem—of redeemed creaturely wisdom. Dante recognized in Thomas the "teacher for everyone" (doctor communis) long before that usage became general; and so Dante reflects (and reflects deeply upon) Thomas' comprehensive sacra doctrina  as he constructs his comprehensive allegory of love and responsibility.  This course will read The Divine Comedy with an eye for important junctures at which Thomas' teaching proves especially relevant, and the course will address Dante's text in light of that teaching.


Course Schedule:
Eight Week Course, meeting on Tuesdays starting with an Orientation on February 16th at 5:30pm Pacific, and ending April 20th, 2021.

NO CLASS on Tuesday, April 6th, due to an Easter Week Recess

5:30pm Pacific Time
8:30pm Eastern Time

Format for Each Class Session:
Lecture 55 mins; break 10 mins; seminar discussion 55 mins

ORIENTATION CLASS ON ZOOM: February 16th at 5:30 Pacific Time

Anthony Esolen, trans., Dante, Inferno (New York: Modern Library, 2002).  ISBN 13: 978-0812970067;
Dante, Purgatory (New York: Modern Library, 2003).  ISBN 13: 978-0812971255;
Dante, Paradise (New York: Modern Library, 2004).  ISBN 13: 978-0812977264
Course Content Texts:
Week 1 (Tuesday, 2/23/21): Inferno, Cantos 1 - 12 (Good and Evil in Human Action; principal reference, Summa theologiae Ia IIae QQ. 18 - 20);
Week 2 (Tuesday, 3/2/21): Inferno, Cantos 11 - 24 (The Architecture of Hell; principal reference, Commentary on the Nicomachean Ethics of Aristotle, Book VII);
Week 3 (Tuesday, 3/9/21): Inferno, Cantos 25 - 34 (Passion and Malice, Sin and Vice; principal reference, Summa theologiae Ia IIae QQ. 71 - 89);
Week 4 (Tuesday, 3/16/21): Purgatory, Cantos 1 - 11 (The Separated Soul; principal reference, Summa contra gentiles, IV, 91 - 95);
Week 5 (Tuesday, 3/23/21): Purgatory, Cantos 12 - 22 (Love and Will; principal reference, Summa theologiae Ia QQ. 82 - 83);
Week 6 (Tuesday, 3/30/21): Purgatory, Cantos 23 - 33 (Grace; principal reference, Summa theologiae IIa IIae QQ. 109 - 114);
Easter Week Recess
Week 7 (Tuesday, 4/13/21): Paradise, Cantos 1 - 17 (St. Thomas in Person in The Divine Comedy; references to the life of St. Thomas and to the voluntary poverty movement of the 13th century, and beyond, and to Summa theologiae IIa IIae QQ 183 - 189);
Week 8 (Tuesday, 4/20/21): Paradise, Cantos 18 - 33 (The Love that moves the sun and other stars; principal reference, Summa theologiae IIIa Q. 1).

About Instructor

Steven Cortright

Steven A. Cortright is a Professor in the Philosophy Department and Integral Program at St. Mary’s College of California where he has been teaching since 1977. A graduate of St. Mary’s College himself and the University of Notre Dame, Professor Cortright is the founding president of the Albertus Magnus Institute.

1 Course

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Course Includes

  • 8 Lessons
  • Course Certificate