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Unit information: The Religious World of Dante in 2014/15

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Unit name The Religious World of Dante
Unit code THRS20090
Credit points 20
Level of study I/5
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Mr. Ferzoco
Open unit status Open
Pre-requisites

None

Co-requisites

None

School/department Department of Religion and Theology
Faculty Faculty of Arts

Description

The unit is designed to give students an understanding of the content and the context of Dante's *Inferno* within the framework of medieval understandings of God, morality, and the afterlife. The unit will be taught through two hours of class meetings weekly: one hour will be in lecture form, and the other will be a seminar which actively involves the entire class; student participation (and, in some cases, presentations) will also be expected. Topics covered include: the theology and religious culture of late medieval Italy; the life and works of Dante; the structure of the *Comedy* and, more importantly, the *Inferno*; medieval understandings of sins' causes, effects and punishments; and the notion of intercession.

Aims:

  • To provide an understanding of the religious culture of medieval Italy
  • To provide an understanding of the role of religion within medieval culture
  • To provide an understanding of major theological premises and innovations of Dante Alighieri
  • To develop written presentation and argumentation skills through written work (formative essay, summative examination) and group work.

Intended learning outcomes

By the end of the unit students will be expected to have:

acquired knowledge and skill to discuss significant aspects of Italian medieval spirituality;

acquired knowledge and skill to discuss the role of religion within medieval culture;

acquired knowledge and skill to discuss the major theological premises and innovations of Dante Alighieri;

acquired skills through formative group work, a formative essay and an summative examination in presenting, analyzing and evaluating complex ideas and arguments in both written and oral forms.

Teaching details

Weekly: one hour lecture, one hour seminar

Assessment Details

One summative coursework essay of 2500 words (50%) and one exam of 2 hours (50%).

Reading and References

Dante Alighieri, Inferno (ed. and trans. Robert M. Durling)

John Scott, Understanding Dante

Rachel Jacoff, ed., The Cambridge Companion to Dante (second edition)

Amilcare Iannucci, ed., Dante

Stephen Bemrose, A New Life of Dante

Robert Hollander, Dante: A Life in Works

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