Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Christianity vs. Mythology

Dante manages to blend Christianity and Mythology. Normally, we think of these two things as irreconcilable. But Dante makes a whole epic poem containing both. Obviously, Hell is a Christian doctrine. However, Dante inserts Roman poets and mythological creatures into Hell. Charon, Cerberus, the River Styx, and Phlegyas, to name a few, are mythological people who appear in the Christian Hell. Dante also compares himself to Paul and Aeneas by saying "I am not Paul, I am not Aeneas." Dante blends these two religious beliefs together to great an amazing epic poem.

6 comments:

Dylan Bryan said...

I think that Dante's mix of both mythology and Christianity is one of the most interesting parts of the epic. Mythology was part of Roman tradition and Dante is fusing these traditions and well known myths in with Christian doctrine. In religion class, Father Millican told us about how sometimes followers of the Christian church would also acknowledge other religions such as Roman mythology in order to avoid persecution. It is interesting that Dante is in a way using another religion along with Christianity. Throughout the levels of Hell there are many figures from mythology, that may also serve the purpose of portraying the evils of Hell. Because the readers in Dante's time were so familiar with mythology, they probably had a better understanding of Dante's portrayal of Hell.

Joseph Martin said...

I also think the fusion of Christianity and classical makes Dante's work all the more interesting. Dante combines the Christian notion of Hell with the mythological beliefs of the underworld. He is able to do this seamlessly because of the similarities in the two. Therefore, Dante not only references both, but makes the reader compare two different things that many people thing are completely different. Also, Dante himself wasn't religious, as we saw in the handout where Dante references Aristotle and not God. Therefore, Dante does this fusion with the purpose of including multiple beliefs and proving they aren't that different.

Bailey Taylor said...

I also think this is a very interesting idea. I think he combined mythology in there because he had to get creative since the Bible doesn't explicitly explain hell. Everyone knows the mythological stories so he combined that with the Christian doctrines to create his own hell.

Luke Jeanfreau said...

I think it is somewhat strange that Inferno wasn't considered sacrilegious when it was written. It obviously has a lot of social value, but the church was a lot more strict back then and it really doesn't seem like they would have let this fly.

Julia Scofield said...

I also find it interesting that the church was not angry about Dantes inferno. The combination of the two religions seems as though it would offend members of the church. In a way, combining the two religions also compares them. Both religions have a type of hell, both have a leader of hell, and both have a supreme being. However, Christians would've found the idea of ploytheism offensive, and believers in mythology would've found the idea of a "Perfect God" offensive.

Brooke Williamson said...

Everyone makes good statements. I think it's significant that this was a fusion of Greek mythology and religion because of the juxtaposition of the two beliefs. To some extent, there should really only be one or the other, and not both at the same time. I feel like this connects with the fact that people held religious but also secular viewpoints.