David Bruce: Dante’s PARADISE: A Discussion Guide — “Canto 28: Primum Mobile — The Hierarchy of Angels”

“Canto 28: Primum Mobile — The Hierarchy of Angels”

  • What is the Mystic Empyrean?

The Mystic Empyrean lies beyond the Primum Mobile. Actually, “lies beyond” is misleading, as the Mystic Empyrean does not exist in space and time. However, because we are human beings who exist in space and time we have to use language metaphorically when we speak of the Mystic Empyrean.

The Mystic Empyrean is the goal of Dante’s journey. It is the place where God dwells. Of course, here again “place” is a word that is used metaphorically.

Here again, Dante looks at the places he has been, and now he looks ahead to where he is going.

He sees a point of brilliant light. Nine rings of fire surround it. The closer a ring of fire is to the point of brilliant light, the faster it moves. Beatrice helps explain what Dante is now seeing:

My Lady, who in my anxiety

Beheld me much perplexed, said: “From that point

Dependent is the heaven and nature all.”

(Longfellow 28.40-42)

The nine whirling rings of fire are the nine orders of angels, and this leads to a discussion of the nine orders of angels.

The point of brilliant light turns out to be God, Whom Dante is seeing from a distance.

What Dante sees seems to him to be the reverse of what we see in nature. We see the Earth as the center, and the spheres around the Earth become more and more divine the farther they are from Earth. Here, however, the point of brilliant light is divine, and the rings of fire whirling around are holier the closer they are to the point of brilliant light.

Of course, what Dante is seeing now is ultimate reality, and not the inside-out version of reality that we get on Earth.

  • What is ultimate reality?

Of course, ultimate reality has God at the center — not the Earth. Circling around God are the orders of angels. All of the angels sing “Hosanna” to God. (“Hosanna” is a cry of praise that is directed toward God.)

  • Briefly describe the orders of angels.

Each order of angel is associated with a heavenly sphere:

  1. Primum Mobile

The order of Angels is Seraphim.

  1. Fixed Stars

The order of Angels is Cherubim.

  1. Saturn

The order of Angels is Thrones.

The trait associated with this sphere is Contemplation.

  1. Jupiter

The order of Angels is Dominions.

The trait associated with this sphere is Justice.

  1. Mars

The order of Angels is Virtues.

The trait associated with this sphere is Courage.

  1. Sun

The order of Angels is Powers.

The trait associated with this sphere is Wisdom.

  1. Venus

The order of Angels is Principalities.

The trait associated with this sphere is Love.

  1. Mercury

The order of Angels is Archangels.

The trait associated with this sphere is Hope.

  1. Moon

The order of Angels is Angels.

The trait associated with this sphere is Faith.

When Beatrice names the orders of the angels, she does so in threes:

The Seraphim, Cherubim, and Thrones

The Dominations, Virtues, and Powers

The Principalities, Archangels, and Angels

Threes play an important part in The Divine Comedybecause of the Trinity. H

Of course, we can put all the angels in three groups:

1) The good angels in Paradise.

2) The bad angels who rebelled with Lucifer.

3) The neutral angels who did not take a stand and who are now in the Vestibule of Hell, rejected by both Paradise and the Inferno.

  • Why did Pope Gregory the Great laugh when he reached the Empyrean?

Pope Saint Gregory the Great (590-604) had a different way of listing the orders of angels, but he was mistaken. When he reached Paradise, he realized that he had been mistaken — and he laughed! The person who listed the angels correctly was Dionysius the Areopagite, who converted to Christianity because of the preaching of Saint Paul. We read,

And Dionysius with so great desire

To contemplate these Orders set himself,

He named them and distinguished them as I do.

But Gregory afterwards dissented from him;

Wherefore, as soon as he unclosed his eyes

Within this heaven, he at himself did smile.

(Longfellow 28.130-135)

Joseph Gallagher writes, “Dante too must have been smiling as he wrote this, because in The Banquethe followed Gregory’s arrangement” (189).

***

Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved

***

DANTE PDFs and LINKs

https://cosplayvideos.wordpress.com/dante-pdfs-and-links/

***

Free eBooks by David Bruce (pdfs)

https://wordpress.com/view/cosplayvideos.wordpress.com

***

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

INFERNO: CANTO 6 RETELLING

INFERNO KINDLE EBOOK

https://www.amazon.com/Dantes-Inferno-Retelling-David-Bruce-ebook/dp/B00AP9IGZM

INFERNO SMASHWORDS (EBOOKS)

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/89244

INFERNO PAPERBACK

http://www.lulu.com/shop/david-bruce/dantes-inferno-a-retelling-in-prose/paperback/product-23014882.html

PURGATORY KINDLE EBOOK

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00BH719IC/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_bibl_vppi_i29

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00BH719IC/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_bibl_vppi_i29

PURGATORY SMASHWORDS (EBOOKS)

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/210951

PURGATORY PAPERBACK

http://www.lulu.com/shop/david-bruce/dantes-purgatory-a-retelling-in-prose/paperback/product-23684335.html

PARADISE KINDLE EBOOK

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00BH78R5U/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_bibl_vppi_i42

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00BH78R5U/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_bibl_vppi_i42

PARADISE SMASHWORDS (EBOOKS)

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/238110

PARADISE PAPERBACK

http://www.lulu.com/shop/david-bruce/dantes-paradise-a-retelling-in-prose/paperback/product-23895207.html

DIVINE COMEDY  KINDLE EBOOK

https://www.amazon.com/Dantes-Divine-Comedy-Retelling-Prose-ebook/dp/B00923K8N0

DIVINE COMEDY  SMASHWORDS (EBOOKS)

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/238180

DIVINE COMEDY  PAPERBACK

http://www.lulu.com/shop/david-bruce/dantes-divine-comedy-a-retelling-in-prose/paperback/product-23806384.html

Advertisement
This entry was posted in Dante, Discussion Guide and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s