The Ph.D. Program in History

at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York

Non-GC Events

04-07 The NYU Department of Italian Studies presents Colloquium in the Humanities

Dante’s Cosmology in Context

April 7, 2014
6:30 P.M.
24 West 12th Street, 2nd floor Library
Phone 212-998-8730

According to one authoritative historian of science “no genuine cosmological synthesis was developed during the late Middle Ages.” Dante‚Äôs Commedia stands out in contrast to the cosmographical context of its time, almost as the great gothic cathedrals of the period stood out in their urban settings and against the horizon of the surrounding countryside. The intellectual ferment and debate surrounding cosmological questions stimulated Dante to pursue through poetry a higher synthesis of the diverse elements that constituted the contemporary cosmological picture. To achieve a full understanding of the order of creation was for Dante tantamount to achieving knowledge of the Creator. In the Poem he thus attempted to present as comprehensive and integrated a vision of the cosmos as was possible, thereby compensating for the lack of such a vision in the doctrinal contributions of the theological and philosophical masters.