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Showing posts from April, 2008


First: I finished Moby-dick; it now stands up there with The Great Gatsby - my favorite novels (those are the only two in the worship-worthy category of 'absolute favorites). It's good. If you've not read it, read it. That's all I have to say about that.

I also finished Tracks. It was interesting, but not something I would necessarily recommend to a friend. The next novel we read in History of the Novel in English was Watchmen, the famous graphic novel. It was amazing. Especially exciting was the discussion regarding Veidt's decision at the end, which I will talk about in the body of this post.

Mountains Beyond Mountains was simply inspiring. I'd recommend it to anybody who feels a need to do something big in the world. It is an autobiography of Dr. Paul Farmer, a passionate advocate for the poor. Cry, the Beloved Country was not quite monumental as I expected, but it was still good. It highlights the plight that South Africa experienced leading up to and during …

Visions of Hell

“Abandon all hope, you who enter here.”

This quote, seen over the entrance to Hell in Dante's Inferno, expresses a sentiment that many contemporary evangelicals would share. Dante's Hell is not only familiar to most Christians, but many believe that that is the way it is going to be for unbelievers throughout eternity. Many Christians do not realize that the history behind the Christian doctrine of Hell, and indeed the Bible itself, allows for alternative doctrines of Hell. This essay will attempt to summarize these varying beliefs, comparing them with Dante's vision of the abyss. The predominate views of Hell that exist today include the traditionalist view, the Conditionalist or Annihilationist view, and the Universalist or Apocatastasis view.

The study of these doctrines cannot be divorced from the Old and New Testament descriptions of Hell. In the Old Testament, death indiscriminately took all of its victims to a shady underworld known as Sheol. According to an article…

Reaction to Dante's Hell as Portrayed in Dante's Inferno

Since its Patristic roots, the Church has struggled with two seemingly contradictory aspects of God's nature. One one hand, God is said to be loving and caring towards his creation. At the same time, however, God is seen as a judge, dealing out justice to all according to their actions. Some Christians have argued that God, due to his overabundance of love, can never punish or cause harm. Other Christians have no qualms in maintaining that a loving God sends people to Hell, even against their own will. Most fall in between these two extremes. I would maintain that Dante's view of punishment in Hell errs on the side of the latter extreme, given the assumption of a loving God as described in Christian literature. The God portrayed in Dante's Inferno punishes based on gross oversimplifications. His God ignores the larger picture of human psychology and sociological influences in addition to the rehabilitative capacities of wrongdoers.

Good parents do not punish their children …

Two Papers on Dante

In World Literature II, the class was asked to respond to Dante's Inferno. After reading this response to another class and discussing the topic for a bit, I felt I should write a bit more about the history of Hell. The next two posts are these two papers. I hope they are the finished, edited copies. I'm too lazy to go back and re-edit them if they are not.

*Disclaimer* The second paper cites Wikipedia. I encourage you to visit the Wikipedia articles. While some discount Wikipedia as inaccurate, I made sure only to cite articles which themselves where thoroughly cited. I visited many of the sources of this information via Wikipedia's article.

Well, here is my eternal destiny....

The Dante's Inferno Test has sent you to the First Level of Hell - Limbo!
Here is how you matched up against all the levels:
LevelScorePurgatory (Repenting Believers)Very LowLevel 1 - Limbo (Virtuous Non-Believers)Very HighLevel 2 (Lustful)ModerateLevel 3 (Gluttonous)ModerateLevel 4 (Prodigal and Avaricious)LowLevel 5 (Wrathful and Gloomy)ModerateLevel 6 - The City of Dis (Heretics)HighLevel 7 (Violent)ModerateLevel 8- the Malebolge (Fraudulent, Malicious, Panderers)ModerateLevel 9 - Cocytus (Treacherous)Low
Take the Dante's Inferno Test

The Light at the end of the Tunnel

Only a few more weeks of school are left. My last final is on the 23rd... And I'm ready for it.

I finished The Crying of Lot 49 before the backpacking trip. It was an excellent book. Since I identify myself more and more with Postmodernism, I was especially fond of what the book had to say about truth and the nature of knowing. A short read, recommended to everyone who isn't easily offended by sex and language (by the way, the book is absolutely hilarious!).

I finished Voltaire's Candide during break as well. It was an interesting contrast to Pascal. Although I do not agree with either Pascal or Voltaire's philosophy (as much as Voltaire was able to express his philosophy in a satire), I tend to find Voltaire's thoughts a little more honest. Another humorous piece of literature, that Candide.

This week's book in my Novel class was Beloved by Toni Morrison. It is not funny at all; in fact, it is very serious - and very excellently written. Morrison won the Nobel pr…