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Cambridge University Press
Online publication date:
June 2023
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Book description

In this book, Rachel Teubner offers an exploration of humility in Dante's Divine Comedy, arguing that the poem is an ascetical exercise concerned with training its author gradually in the practice of humility, rather than being a reflection of authorial hubris. A contribution to recent scholarship that considers the poem to be a work of self-examination, her volume investigates its scriptural, literary, and liturgical sources, also offering fresh feminist perspectives on its theological challenges. Teubner demonstrates how the poetry of the Comedy is theologically significant, focusing especially on the poem's definition of humility as ethically and artistically meaningful. Interrogating the text canto by canto, she also reveals how contemporary tools of literary analysis can offer new insights into its meaning. Undergraduate and novice readers will benefit from this companion, just as theologians and scholars of medieval religion will be introduced to a growing body of scholarship exploring Dante's religious thought.


‘Dante and the Practice of Humility enters and refreshes a field of Dantean debate. It assembles evidence from a great range of medieval sources while offering a comprehensive but subtle account of Dante’s poetry. Equally, the volume will stand as an important contribution to theological debate … Its clarity and elegance not only make the piece a pleasure to read, but are also functional in allowing the author to move both gracefully and efficiently from point to point, covering both conceptual and textual complication with notable lightness of touch.’

Peter S. Hawkins - Professor of Religion and Literature Emeritus, Yale Divinity School

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