Italy is celebrating the 700th anniversary of Dante Alighieri’s death. For months, Italian media have been presenting (and will be for a long time) commemorative content which praise the greatness of the genius poet from Florence. A few days ago, Pope Francis himself even released an apostolic letter ‘Candor Lucis Aeternae’ dedicated to the greatest poet in Italian history.
Yet, if Dante was alive today and tried to publish his “Divine Comedy”, it would most likely be very difficult for him to find a publisher willing to print his work. He would be chased away from many places as an insolent intruder. Perhaps a niche publishing house would finally agree to print the massive volume in minimal circulation. Dante would be unable to count on positive reviews and his epic poem would be met with two reactions from opinion-making media: silence or overwhelming criticism.
From the point of view of today’s dominating culture, the “Divine Comedy” is a scandal. It represents a theocentric image of the world, which has supposedly been overcome by the modern human a long time ago. It presents the outrageous image of God as a just judge who rewards the good and punishes the evil. It shows the unacceptable vision of an afterlife with Hell, in which countless sinners undergo eternal suffering.