Title

"And lo, as luke sets down for us": Dante’s re-imagining of the emmaus story in purgatorio XXIX-XXXIII

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

5-1-2019

Keywords

Beatrice, Christ, Dante, Emmaus, Eric auerbach, Figura, Gospel of Luke, Pedagogy, Purgatorio

Abstract

This essay will suggest that Dante’s journey through the earthly paradise in the Purgatorio is a figural representation of the journey of Cleopas and the unnamed disciple on the road to Emmaus in Luke 24. By making several references to the Gospel of Luke, Dante seems to be setting the stage for the reader to understand his own pilgrimage through the Garden of Eden as a retelling of the Emmaus story in the context of the Church Triumphant. Indeed, reading Luke 24 alongside Cantos XXIX-XXXI of the Purgatorio helps students to unpack the complex images of Dante’s experience in light of the themes present in the Emmaus story. For example, the concealment of Beatrice’s face and the gradual unveiling of her beauty mirrors Christ’s gradual revelation of his nature to Cleopas and the unnamed disciple. Cleopas and his companion also walk away from the promise of God revealed in Christ by leaving Jerusalem, just as Dante “took himself” from Beatrice and “set his steps upon an untrue way” (XXX 125, 130). In developing these and other parallels as well as elaborating on their significance for the latter cantos of the Purgatorio, this essay will attempt to establish a pedagogical approach to Books XXIX-XXX that draws on students’ recollections of the familiar Gospel text of Emmaus, which Dante clearly intends (among others) as a resource for appreciating his vision of an essential passage in Christian life.

Publication Title

Religions

E-ISSN

20771444

Volume

10

Issue

5

DOI

10.3390/rel10050320

Share

COinS