Dante Alighieri: The Wisdom of the Comedy: Moral Topography and the Odyssey of the Soul - Mr Brian Williams
Wednesday, 25 February
2pm until 3.30pm, followed by tea.
venue: Pusey House, St Giles
Lent is the appropriate season of the Church year to read Dante’s Comedy, in part because his journey takes place at the end of Lent, from Maundy Thursday to Easter Wednesday. Even more, however, because as we travel with Dante we become Lenten pilgrims alongside him. We learn—and lament—the disorder of sin in Hell, we recognize—and accept—the long process of sanctification in Purgatory, and we witness—and desire—the contented harmony of Paradise. This lecture will introduce Dante Alighieri and will consider his Comedy as a work of wisdom literature intended to teach, delight, inform, and reform those readers willing to adopt the posture of the pilgrim alongside its medieval Florentine author.
Brian is a DPhil student in Christian Ethics, Oxford, researching the work of Hugh of St. Victor and Philip Melanchthon on education and the intellectual appetite. He is the author of The Potter’s Rib, a book that explores the history, theology, and practice of mentoring for pastoral formation.
'Angelic Intercourse: Richard Hooker’s Account of Prayer' Torrance Kirby, Professor of Ecclesiastical History, McGill University, Montreal
8 pm, Tuesday, 3 March
Pusey House, St Giles
Professor Kirby will speak about Richard Hooker’s description of prayer in Book V of the Laws of Ecclesiastical Policy, and the way in which it is shaped by the tradition of Christian Platonism. He will consider how the ‘dialectic’ of instruction and praise in Hooker’s account of Common Prayer is also an account of the mediation of the True and the Good, the relationship of God to humanity. For Hooker, the ‘sensible excellencie’ of orderly worship mediates this relation with respect to the Beautiful. In this way, Hooker stands in the tradition which describes the ultimate end of prayer as union with God and the enjoyment of God in a complete knowledge by means of a perfect love: “then are we happie therefore when fully we enjoy God, as an object wherein the powers of our soules are satisfied even with everlasting delight: so that although we be men, yet by being unto God united we live as it were the life of God.” (Lawes I.11.2)
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