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Document Type

Religion and Philosophy

Abstract

Dante’s use of the word innocent—referring to infants who died soon after birth—presents a unique perspective on the spiritual hierarchy of The Divine Comedy. Though labeled as innocent, Dante’s infants are nonetheless excluded from Paradise. Concurrent mentions of innocence and original sin raise the question of the meaning of Dante’s innocence and its implications on the concepts of true choice, merit, and ignorance. These combined factors determine infants’ placement in Limbo or just below Paradise, and they help further a complete understanding of Dante’s theology and work as a whole.