David Bruce: Dante’s PARADISE: A Discussion Guide — “Canto 27: Gemini — Heaven’s Wrath at the Sinful Church; The Primum Mobile”

“Canto 27: Gemini — Heaven’s Wrath at the Sinful Church; The Primum Mobile”

  • What happens after Adam has answered Dante’s questions?

Dante’s exam took place in the eighth sphere — the sphere of the fixed stars. Previously he had visited the seven spheres of the planets (including the Sun, which Dante called a planet).

In the Ptolemaic universe, the fixed stars move as a group. They do not move in relation to each other. In contrast, the planets such as the Moon are not fixed. They move around in the night sky.

After Adam has answered Dante’s questions, song again is heard:

“Glory be to the Father, to the Son,

And Holy Ghost!” all Paradise began,

So that the melody inebriate made me.”

(Longfellow 27.1-3)

Dante then says something interesting that Joseph Gallagher believes is “a compact definition of Heaven” (186):

“O joy! O gladness inexpressible!

O perfect life of love and peacefulness!

O riches without hankering secure!”

(Longfellow 27.7-9)

  • How does Saint Peter criticize his successors?

Red is the color of anger, while white is the color of holiness, and Saint Paul turns from white to red as he criticizes the bad Popes who have succeeded him.

Saint Peter especially criticized Pope Boniface VIII:

“He who usurps upon the earth my place,

My place, my place, which vacant has become

Before the presence of the Son of God,

Has of my cemetery made a sewer

Of blood and stench, whereby the Perverse One,

Who fell from here, below there is appeased!”

(Longfellow 27.22-27)

Saint Peter’s criticisms of Pope Boniface VIII are harsh:

  • Although Boniface VIII is the Pope, Christ regards the papacy as being vacant because of Boniface VIII’s corruption.
  • Boniface VIII has turned the papacy “into a sewer” (Musa 27.25).

Saint Peter also points out two things:

  • Saint Peter and his good successors did not covet gold.
  • Saint Peter and his good successors did not engage in hurtful politics.

Saint Peter does, however, say that reform is coming.

  • What is the ninth sphere?

All the saints leave, rising upward, and Dante looks down toward the Earth. What he sees is not impressive; he calls the Earth “this puny threshing-ground of ours” (Musa 27.85).

The next sphere that Dante will visit is the ninth. This sphere is the Primum Mobile, or the Prime Mover. We can regard it as the created universe’s outermost sphere.

Aristotle spoke about the Prime Mover. It is that which gives motion to the other spheres. He also called it the Unmoved Mover — the first uncaused cause.

What is beyond the ninth sphere is not located in space or time.

  • How does Beatrice criticize greed?

We see lots of criticism in this canto.

Saint Peter criticizes bad Popes — bad shepherds of the sheep.

Beatrice criticizes bad people — greedy sheep:

“O Greed, so quick to plunge the human race

into your depths that no man has the strength

to keep his head above your raging waters!

The blossom of man’s will is always good,

but then the drenchings of incessant rain

turn sound plums into weak and rotten ones.

Only in little children can we find

true innocence and faith, and both are gone

before their cheeks show the first signs of hair.”

(Musa 27.121-126)

Why do the sheep go astray? Because they lack good shepherds. Beatrice says,

“My words should not surprise you when you think

there is no one on earth to govern you

and so the human family goes astray.”

(Musa 27.139-141)

People on Earth need good rulers.

This should not surprise us.

***

Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved

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PARADISE: CANTO 26  RETELLING

https://davidbruceblog.wordpress.com/2017/04/02/dantes-paradise-canto-26-retelling-gemini-saint-john-examines-dantes-love-adam/

PARADISE: CANTO 27  RETELLING

https://davidbruceblog.wordpress.com/2017/04/03/dantes-paradise-canto-27-retelling-gemini-heavens-wrath-at-the-sinful-church-the-primum-mobile/

PARADISE: CANTO 28  RETELLING

https://davidbruceblog.wordpress.com/2017/04/04/dantes-paradise-canto-28-retelling/

PARADISE: CANTO 29  RETELLING

https://davidbruceblog.wordpress.com/2017/04/05/dantes-paradise-canto-29-retelling-primum-mobile-the-creation-and-fall-of-angels/

PARADISE: CANTO 30  RETELLING

https://davidbruceblog.wordpress.com/2017/04/06/dantes-paradise-canto-30-retelling-mystic-empyrean-the-river-of-light-the-mystical-rose/

PARADISE: CANTO 31  RETELLING

https://davidbruceblog.wordpress.com/2017/04/07/dantes-paradise-canto-31-retelling-mystic-empyrean-saint-bernard/

PARADISE: CANTO 32  RETELLING

https://davidbruceblog.wordpress.com/2017/04/08/dantes-paradise-canto-32-retelling-mystic-empyrean-saint-bernard-and-the-saints-in-the-rose/

PARADISE: CANTO 33  RETELLING

https://davidbruceblog.wordpress.com/2017/04/09/dantes-paradise-canto-33-retelling-saint-bernard-prays-to-mary-the-trinity-and-christs-dual-nature/

***

INFERNO: CANTO 1 RETELLING

INFERNO: CANTO 2 RETELLING

INFERNO: CANTO 3 RETELLING

INFERNO: CANTO 4 RETELLING

INFERNO: CANTO 5 RETELLING

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PURGATORY SMASHWORDS (EBOOKS)

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PURGATORY PAPERBACK

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PARADISE KINDLE EBOOK

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PARADISE SMASHWORDS (EBOOKS)

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PARADISE PAPERBACK

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DIVINE COMEDY  KINDLE EBOOK

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DIVINE COMEDY  SMASHWORDS (EBOOKS)

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DIVINE COMEDY  PAPERBACK

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3 Responses to David Bruce: Dante’s PARADISE: A Discussion Guide — “Canto 27: Gemini — Heaven’s Wrath at the Sinful Church; The Primum Mobile”

  1. tref says:

    I’ve been debating this in my head for the last month: Holy Ghost or Holy Spirit? Holy Ghost conjures (!) a whole different kind of entity to me, with chains and stormy nights, et al. Holy Spirit seems more appropriate. Though I suppose it is half a dozen of one and, uh, six of the other. But here I am bringing it all back to produce shopping again.

    Liked by 1 person

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