LAWRENCE AUSTER writes:
As I have said before, the non-discriminatory principle at the core of modern liberalism means that every traditional institution and community, every nation, every culture, every religion, must be eliminated. In line with that principle, the UN-affiliated human rights organization Gherush 92 demands that Dante’s Divine Comedy be banned from classroom teaching because it is “offensive and discriminatory” against Muslims, homosexuals, and Jews. This is not, as one critic predictably calls it, “an excess of political correctness”; it is simply consistent liberalism. Which means that if people want such attacks on our culture to end, it is liberalism itself that they must reject.
On a side point, I recently re-read The Inferno, and I don’t remember any anti-Jewish material in it. However, when it comes his offensive treatment of Muhammad, Dante is spot on. See my entry, “Muhammad in Hell.”
— Comments —
Daniel S. writes:
This is rich considering that while placing Muhammad in Hell as a schismatic and sower of discord, Dante also placed several Muslim figures among the virtuous pagans in Limbo. Muslim philosophers Averroes and Avicenna were viewed with the utmost regard, not only by Dante, but by the Angelic Doctor, St. Thomas Aquinas, who referred to Averroes as “the Commentator” for his numerous commentaries on the works of Aristotle. Aquinas and the other Catholic scholastic philosophers, of which Dante would have read, held Avicenna, a Persian Muslim, in similar regard. (The writings of Aquinas are full of numerous references to Muslim and Jewish philosophers.) Dante, furthermore, placed the Muslim general Saladin, who fought against the Christian crusaders in the Holy Land, in Limbo with the virtuous pre-Christian pagans. So the charge that Dante was an mindless, knee-jerk “Islamophobe” is ignorant and malicious.
As for Muhammad, Dante’s view of the founder of Islam was no different than that of any of his Christian contemporaries. St. John of Damascus, who lived in Muslim-ruled Syria, viewed Islam as a Christian heresy, as did St. Thomas Aquinas who condemned Muhammad as a charlatan and a warlord. Dante, as a believing Christian (and not some anti-Western liberal intellectual) would naturally hold that someone who denied the Trinity and the Incarnation, compiled the Koran from Jewish and Christian sources, and who encouraged his followers to wage a military jihad against Christians was a heretic and violent schismatic.
Like Mr. Auster, I have read The Divine Comedy numerous times and have never noticed any “anti-Semitic” content (of course, Dante would have held views on the Jews not sanctioned by Abe Foxman or the Southern Poverty Law Center, but that same could be said about Winston Churchill). It does go without saying that the anti-Dante lobby seems to let the Koran and Karl Marx off the hook as far as anti-Semitic rhetoric is concerned.
That is all beside the point, at least as far as this leftist group is concerned. Dante here is the chosen representative of traditional, Western, Christian history and civilization which is so despised by the globalist left. Thus, this is the left consistently applying its proclaimed principles.
Michael S. writes:
Consider also In Praeclara Summorum, Encyclical On Dante by Pope Benedict XV, promulgated on April 30, 1921.