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Portents and Parallels March Lecture by Gina Psaki
March 28, 2018 @ 6:15 pm - 7:00 pm
Lecture title: “Dante and the Separation of Church and State: The ‘Two Suns’ Theory”
Lecturer: Gina Psaki
Giustina Family Professor of Italian Language and Literature
Department of Romance Languages and Literatures
University of Oregon
In the early 14th century Dante Alighieri made a powerful case for the separation of church and state, in his case the separation of church and empire. We’ll look at a moment in each of the three parts of the Divine Comedy–Inferno, Purgatorio, and Paradiso–in which Dante explains what disasters result when church and state poach on each other’s territories. For him, church and empire are not lined up vertically, with the church above the empire: instead they are “two suns,” each equally important both for the “blessedness of this life” as well as for eternity. His political treatise, Monarchia (“On World Government”) gives a fourth example of what’s at stake when church and state don’t stay in their lanes.
The lectures are free, with a suggested donation of $5.00 to cover the use of the space.