On the occasion of the 700th anniversary of the death of the Italian poet, writer and philosopher Dante Alighieri, Hillsdale College is offering a free online lecture series on his great work, The Divine Comedy.
Over the course of 10 lectures, taught by Hillsdale professor Stephen Smith, participants can join Dante as he travels through Hell, Purgatory and Heaven — or Inferno, Purgatorio, and Paradiso, as the three sections of the narrative poem are titled.
Dante begins his journey towards God amid the inhabitants of the Inferno. There he meets those unrepentant souls who chose sin over virtue. He descends through the nine circles of hell, led by his guide the Roman poet Virgil, and encounters all manner of sinners, from the ancient philosophers to Judas Iscariot.
Dante and Virgil depart Hell and enter Purgatory, where the poet explores the battle within each soul in the context of the Christian life. It is in Heaven that Dante meets the saints of the Church and comes closest to understand God’s Divine plan for the universe.
“Dante’s Divine Comedy provides a grand education in the proper order of the human soul and the order of the cosmos. Through his account of the afterlife, Dante reveals universal truths about character and choice, the nature of God and man, and the path to freedom and happiness,” reads a description on Hillsdale’s website.
Watch the introductory video from Hillsdale president Larry P. Arnn, to learn how, like Dante, you can “complete [your] education,” and come to a better understanding of your own soul and its place in the cosmos.