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Dante vs. Goethe

4.9.2007

From: Dante’s Inferno
Translated from the Original of Dante Alighieri by Henry Francis Cary, M. A.
and illustrated by Gustave Doré
Edited by Henry C. Walsh, A. M., Editor of American Notes and Queries.
John W. Lovell Company, New York
(without year, probably 19
th century)
Life of Dante. Page VI

The Divina Commedia exemplifies Dante’s–and, indeed, the Christian–idea of the genesis and development of good and evil. The Inferno … teaches that the germ of all sin lies in the substitution of self for God. … Man is free, and himself holds the measures of his doom: each soul creates for itself its own hell by allying itself with sin.

This teaching of the old mystic is directyl opposed to the materialistic thought of our day, and to that of many of our modern poets–of Goethe, for instance, whose Faust allies himself with the incarnation of sin and makes the devil the instrument of his salvation.

Dante’s teaching will, however, be found to accord with that of One greater than Goethe who came “to take away the sin of the world”, not to nourish it as an instrument of man’s salvation.

Read: Vicente F. Delmonte: Jedem nach seinen Taten (a voyage through hell, only in German language)

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