Dante's Inferno

Discussion in 'Books / Publications Forum' started by C.S. Murphy, Nov 27, 2005.

  1. C.S. Murphy

    C.S. Murphy
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    I recently discovered that the poetry of Dante is being studied in our highschool. I find this unsuitable for many reasons but I was wondering if anyone has looked into this and had any insight. Apart from it's violence it seems to promote some pretty weird doctrines.
    Murphy
     
  2. Filmproducer

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    What exactly is your problem with Dante? I have read and studied the Inferno extensively, and I think it is perfectly suitable for highschoolers. If not anything else it can be used as tool to study human nature, not to mention a glimpse of the views of "Christian" men in the Middle Ages.
     
  3. C.S. Murphy

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    I am partly concerned with it's brutality, such as Dante walking among the heads of the damned and kicking them. Also the descriptions of people eating others in hell and of fathers eating their children in this life. I feel that his declaration that those committing suicide are sent to hell and that un baptized children are placed in limbo. My reason for this concern is that when teaching this one might easily have a student who has lost a baby brother or had a loved one commit suicide. In addition Dante is seen as somewhat of a mystic and I just don't feel his claims of visiting heaven and hell should be taught in school. Maybe I am overeacting but I am concerned with these and other issues, and I just feel that there are plenty of other quality works that could be studied.
    Murph
     
  4. Helen

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    I think in a secular, or public, high school you are probably right, C.S., but I taught in a Christian school for a number of years and did teach the book in a literature/history class. We combined the two subjects as an experiment and it was fantastic as we studied what happened in history along with the literature of the time it happened. "Inferno" made a very valuable contribution to that and sparked enormous discussion. But because we could always refer back to Bible, which cannot be done in public schools, there was not the danger you describe -- which is probably a very real danger.
     
  5. TexasSky

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    Dante's inferno has been required reading in most high schools for the last 30 plus years.

    If you want your children to be successful at the college level they will need to be familiar with the book, and you cannot shield them from everything you disagree with all their life.

    It is better to teach them how to deal with such things in a Christian manner. Read the Inferno WITH your children. Discuss it with them.
     
  6. Rachel

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    I've never read it but I have been meaning to for a long time. [​IMG]
     
  7. Johnv

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    Dante is classic literature, and suitable for study of classic literature in high school, imo. I read Dante in HS, and I went to a private HS. Unrelated, but of interest: "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God" was required reading my my daughter's English Lit class. She attended public high school.
     
  8. C.S. Murphy

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  9. Karen

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    Could you explain this more fully? I'm not seeing it.
    My oldest did read some excerpts in literature class in high school.
    But I doubt reading it or not reading it has had any impact on his college success.
    On a practical level, I substitute teach all the time, and I have come across few kids that age poring over and soaking up classic literature. LOL

    Karen
     
  10. Filmproducer

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    TexasSky is correct. Many classes and fields reference Dante's Divine Comedy. The Inferno is a staple among courses in English and Literature. He is extensively used in philosophy classes, especially in regards to human nature. Political Scientists refer to his work in studying the politics of the time, as well as comparing his life and work to the later Italian political scholar Machiavelli. Not to mention any history course that deals with the Middle Ages would also reference Dante's Inferno.

    Apparently I missed it, but I may have been at lunch when they passed it out. Do you have info about this being required reading or can you give me a link to it.

    From my personal experience I can tell you that the Inferno was required reading in 5 of my college classes ranging from Philosophy and Poly Sci, to English and Literature.

    I fear that by putting it out in the public school when we cannot show it's error Biblically it can be dangerous.

    I'm sorry but I am not seeing this. First of all it is classic literature. Secondly, these are highschoolers we are talking about, we should not have to spoon feed literature to them. Do you not think that they can discern that this was written during the Middle Ages? If we ban teachers from using classical allegorical literature, such as Dante, what's next?
     
  11. C.S. Murphy

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    [ I fear that by putting it out in the public school when we cannot show it's error Biblically it can be dangerous.

    I'm sorry but I am not seeing this.

    So are you saying this work is not in error biblically?
    Murph
     
  12. TexasSky

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    Karen,

    Dante's Inferno is used so frequently in college courses that Sparknotes came up with a version of it, and term papers of it are for sale on line. Do a web search and you will see it used by professors of philosophy, history, language arts, literature, culture, poetry, imagry, comparative studies, ethics....my daughter's religion class used it. The assignment was to read it, compare it to the bible, and point out Dante's errors using scripture.

    It was once limited to college classes, but as High School students become more literate they read more challenging work. The book, whether you love it or hate it, is considered one of the great classics of literature. To force a child to face the world with little or no knowledge of it is to leave a child unprepared for discussions of what others at the college level will consider "common knowledge."

    You may have studied it more than you realize. A lot of times it shows up on lists as "The Divine Comedy".

    Just look at other works about it and you get a feel for the value of it.
     
  13. Filmproducer

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    Murph,

    I am not arguing that Dante is not in error biblically, for pete's sake, the Inferno was written during the thirteenth century by a Catholic. The Divine Comedy is, however, a great piece of classic literature, and, as TexasSky pointed out, is used extensively at the college level. If we are going to limit the literature our highschoolers read to only those that are "biblically correct" then they will have a very short reading list. Once again, I ask, where do we draw the line? Dostoevsky's work is also classic literature, and it is not biblically correct. Should we ban students from reading Crime and Punishment or The Brothers Karamazov? What about the Illiad and the Odessey, which refer to Greek mythology, should they be banned?

    TexasSky,
    It was once limited to college classes, but as High School students become more literate they read more challenging work. The book, whether you love it or hate it, is considered one of the great classics of literature. To force a child to face the world with little or no knowledge of it is to leave a child unprepared for discussions of what others at the college level will consider "common knowledge."

    Nicely stated. [​IMG]
     
  14. Johnv

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    I'm in agreement with Filmproducer. The Illiad and the Odessey are classic literature and contain doctrinal error. One can see how ridiculus the "doctrinal error content" litmus test becomes when the topic is a world literature class. Heck, what about Oedipus Rex? That was required reading in High School, and depicts sexual attraction between a parent and child. Romeo and Juliet depicts underaged sex, plus contains abundant casual bantering about fornication.
     
  15. C.S. Murphy

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    Now that is high quality educational materials.
    Murph
     
  16. Karen

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    Thanks for explaining more fully, TS and Filmproducer.
    I'm acquainted with The Divine Comedy. But I guess times have changed that it would be such a key component of a college education. I got around in my college career, and extensive knowledge of that work was in no way needful to me. I took the courses you mentioned, and then some.
    My son attends a major school. He touched on The Divine Comedy in high school, but even if he had not, he could have coped well with his history and humanities courses.

    In my opinion, it does not matter how long a work has been accepted as classic.
    The school should exist to support the parent. The parent does need to be aware of what his child studies. If something is objectionable to the parent, there should be alternatives available. I don't see it as ridiculous for a parent to supervise what the child studies.

    My kids have studied Shakespeare, for example, but I could certainly understand if a parent had concerns.
    It used to be a sin for Baptists to go to the theater, after all. Partly because of the actual themes involved in a lot of classic dramatic plays.

    Karen
     
  17. SaggyWoman

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    I read Dante's inferno in college.
     
  18. SaggyWoman

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    I read Dante's inferno in college.
     
  19. TexasSky

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    Going to the movie was not a sin.
    It may have been called one, but traditions and opinions of men don't make it so.

    The school should NOT exist to support the parent. It should exist to educate the child.

    There are far too many parents out there who are dangerous and stupid and sinful to make blanket statements like the school should exist to support the parent.
     
  20. Johnv

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    To what extreme? If the class is English or World Literature, then literature should be studied. I'm not a fan of "alternatives". I am, however, in favor of supllemental education. That is: a parent supplementing the education of the child. A parent does this at home. In other words, if a parent has a problem with Dante's Inferno, then the student should continue to study the topic in school, and then the parent should note the objections at home, not school.
     

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