By Colin Manlove
This is the 1st account of invented tales regarding the Christian supernatural. of their improvement a primary difficulty is located to be the fantasy-making human mind's eye itself, before everything obvious as a trouble to Christian objective, yet extra lately given freer rein.
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Additional resources for Christian Fantasy: From 1200 to the Present
The new universities were flourishing. The confidence of the Christian faith had perhaps never been so great, nor its influence so pervasively felt in every aspect of life: no more was it the Church embattled, as in the first thousand years of its history, nor the Church militant, as in its crusades against Islam, but was nearer the Church triumphant; the danger was rather that it might become the Church corrupt. For a time Dante nourished hopes that through the Emperor Henry VII the time of universal peace and of a world state was near.
Rather it is that, having become truly herself, she can be more than herself. The cantos at the end of the Purgatorio are justly celebrated for their unique power in conveying different layers of reality simultaneously. Literally, our emotions are engaged with Dante as he is led by Matelda through the wooded Paradise to a stream on the other side of which, in an open space, appears a Pageant of the Sacrament, with Beatrice in the midst of it, on a triumph-car drawn by a gryphon. It is, at this level, an exciting narrative moment, with images which fire our imaginations.
This is the world of the divine Bildungsroman, of becoming, rather than being. Hell is full of great discontinuities and barriers to progress the forbidding door itself, the river Acheron, Minos the judge of Hell, the three-headed dog Cerberus, Pluto, the City of Dis, the Minotaur, the precipice to the seventh circle, the river Phlegethon, the Great Barrier, the broken bridge over the sixth Bolge. In Hell Dante is continually being told to go back. But in Purgatory he is continually encouraged forward, and he and Virgil are assisted and advised by the shades they meet.