Episode 34 Sacred and Profane Love: Dante’s Paradiso

“Heaven is a place where nothing, nothing ever happens...” Talking Heads

OK, friends, we are finally in Paradise, with our faithful guides Beatrice, St. Bernard, and of course, Professor Matthew Rothaus Moser. It turns out that perfect happiness is resting, delighting, and dwelling in the good. How does Dante manage to write 33 more cantos about rest? You should listen to find out, of course!

As always, I hope you enjoy our conversation.

Matthew Rothaus Moser joined the Honors College faculty at Azusa Pacific University in Fall 2020 after teaching for seven years in the Theology Department at Loyola University Maryland. He has won two awards for excellence in teaching: the first from Baylor University (2013), the second from Loyola University Maryland’s Center for Humanities (2016). In addition to essays and book chapters on the theology of reading, theological aesthetics, and theology and literature, he has also published Love Itself is Understanding: Hans Urs von Balthasar’s Theology of the Saints (Fortress Press, 2016) and the forthcoming Dante and the Poetic Practice of Theology (Wipf & Stock Publishers). You can follow him on Twitter @M_Rothaus_Moser

Jennifer A. Frey is an associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of South Carolina and fellow of the Institute for Human Ecology at the Catholic University of America. Prior to joining the philosophy faculty at USC, she was a Collegiate Assistant Professor of Humanities at the University of Chicago, where she was a member of the Society of Fellows in the Liberal Arts and an affiliated faculty in the philosophy department.  She earned her Ph.D. in philosophy at the University of Pittsburgh, and her B.A. in Philosophy and Medieval Studies (with a Classics minor) at Indiana University, in Bloomington, Indiana. She has published widely on action, virtue, practical reason, and meta-ethics, and has recently co-edited an interdisciplinary volume, Self-Transcendence and Virtue: Perspectives from Philosophy, Theology, and PsychologyHer writing has also been featured in First ThingsFare ForwardImageLaw and LibertyPloughThe Point, and USA Today. She lives in Columbia, SC, with her husband, six children, and six chickens. You can follow her on Twitter @jennfrey


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Sacred and Profane Love is a podcast in which philosophers, theologians, and literary critics discuss some of their favorite works of literature, and how these works have shaped their own ideas about love, happiness, and meaning in human life. Host Jennifer A. Frey is associate professor of philosophy at the University of South Carolina. The podcast is generously supported by The Institute for Human Ecology at the Catholic University of America and produced by William Deatherage.

This episode of Sacred and Profane Love is sponsored by The Classical Learning Test, which provides an to alternative standardized tests rooted in tradition. Featuring passages selected from great works across a variety of disciplines (including Dante!), the CLT suite of assessments provide a highly accurate and rigorous measure of reasoning, aptitude, and academic formation for students from diverse educational backgrounds. The exams are taken online in just two to three hours, and all three assessments (traditional CLT, CLT10, CLT8) give test results within 24 hours. (Please note that scores for the new remote-proctored CLT are available 1-2 weeks after testing.) The CLT also provides colleges and secondary schools with detailed information about student learning trends, to facilitate decisions about admissions, curricula, and instruction. The CLT unites a dedicated group of educators, businesspeople, and scholars, all in service to a shared passion: to reconnect intellectual pursuit with the pursuit of virtue.

Music credits, “Help me Somebody,” by Brian Eno and David Byrne, licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.5.By Jennifer A Freyin Virtue, Happiness, & the Meaning of Life534 WordsLeave a commentEdit

2 thoughts on “Episode 34 Sacred and Profane Love: Dante’s Paradiso

  1. Oddly, the topic of retroactively saving the soul of Virgil in Hell came up in the Symbolic Word podcast lately with Jonathan Pageau. They briefly mention Charles Williams writing a poem (I believe) about it. Very odd to hear the same obscure idea (obscure to me) mentioned in the same week. See https://thesymbolicworld.com/videos/a-universal-history-history-through-the-symbolic-lens-with-richard-rohlin/


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