Were it not the Monday of Holy Week, the Roman Catholic Church would be celebrating the feast of the Annunciation today, March 25. Lovers of Dante also celebrate March 25 as the day the pilgrim began his descent into the Inferno. Yes, there is a bit of a scholarly discussion about that, as there is with everything in Dante. In Dante's time, March 25 was considered the anniversary of the creation of Adam, the conception of Christ, and the crucifixion. It also marked the Florentine New Year. I'm on academic leave this year, and so it is the first time in more than four years that I haven't read part of Dante's Commedia. So, I have a proposal for dotCommonweal readers: I'm planning to read the entire Commedia from Easter Sunday to Pentecost Sunday. The Inferno has 34 cantos, the Purgatorio 33, and the Paradiso 33. One hundred in all. That works out to two cantos a day for fifty days. If people would like to join me, I can write up posts on Verdicts a couple of times a week, and we can have a bit of a discussion of the text in the comments. It is certainly much more interesting to talk about Dante than it is to talk about the vagaries of ecclesial or national or international politics. I should warn you that I am by no means a Dante expert, but I'm proud to be a Dante enthusiast. If you've never read the Commedia,why not give it a try? Beginners and veterans, enthusiasts and scholars are all welcome. If people indicate interest in the comments to this post, I'll start posting some time next week. Who's in?
Scott D. Moringiello is an an assistant professor in the Department of Catholic Studies at DePaul University, where he teaches courses in Catholic theology and religion and literature. He blogs at dotCommonweal.