Inferno or Paradiso? On Introducing Students to the Divine Comedy

Dr. Jason Baxter, Academic Dean at Wyoming Catholic College and author of The Beginners Guide to Dante’s Divine Comedy offers his thoughts on how to introduce students to the Divine Comedy.  By forcing the Divine Comedy (and many other “Great Works”) on our boys without the proper groundwork, we risk cheating them of a profound encounter.  But there is value, and this is an introduction worth making.  How do we go about it?  Listen in and follow our guide.

Dr. Jason Baxter

About the guest:

Dr. Jason Baxter

Dr. Baxter has been with WCC for nine years. His primary research interests include medieval and Renaissance ideas of beauty, the long-lived legacy of the thought of Plato, and the poetry of Dante. He is also interested in medieval mysticism, humanism, and the relationship between the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. At WCC, Dr. Baxter teaches Greek, Roman, Medieval, and Renaissance humanities courses, as well as art history from antiquity through modernity. Dr. Baxter also teaches written rhetoric within the Trivium sequence and is responsible for designing Trivium 302, the Junior Author Project. His scholarly publications include articles on the Platonic tradition in the Latin West, and writings on Dante. Dr. Baxter worked with Wyoming Catholic College’s Distance Learning Program to produce a free, eighteen-part introduction to the Comedy: “Dante in the Year of Mercy,” and, more recently, a full online course on the “Medieval Mind of C.S. Lewis”. His A Beginner’s Guide to Dante’s “Divine Comedy,” which focuses on the spiritual meaning of Dante’s poetics, is available from Baker Academic. He has also published Falling Inward: Humanities in the Age of Technology, has made multiple media appearances, and frequently writes and speaks on his own experiences in travel, the relevance of the liberal arts, the relationship between humanistic studies and technology, and topics on Dante, for both popular and scholarly audiences. His monograph, The Infinite Beauty of the World: Dante’s Encyclopedia and the Names of God (which will appear in the Leeds Dante Series, published by Peter Lang in 2020), explores the spiritual meaning of the Comedy’s famous “encyclopedism.” He is currently working on An Introduction to Christian Mysticism (Baker Academic, 2021); The Medieval Mind of C.S. Lewis (IVP, 2021); and a new translation of the Comedy.

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