Born Into Families Without Great Wealth Or Notable Prestige

1599 WordsApr 23, 20177 Pages
Born into families without great wealth or notable prestige a thousand years apart, two men influenced not only literary history but also the ideals of man in a relationship with God. During the mid-years of their lives, Dante Alighieri and St. Augustine de Hippo studied the religious climate of their generations and experienced transformations in their lives bringing about personal spiritual enlightenment. Affected by the state of the church, Christianity, and their moral indiscretions, both Dante and Augustine wrote responsively towards their personal beliefs and values shaped by distinctive circumstances. The compositions of Confessions and The Divine Comedy highlight the spiritual journeys of these two authors. In addition, these…show more content…
Chadwick stated Augustine “did not think of Manichee adherence as a break with Christ, but only with the Church of which he was highly critical” (Chadwick 2009). However, after several years of following this type of “religion,” Augustine began to become skeptical and harbor doubts about everything he understood and believed from Mani. Doubt arose to the point that Augustine began a search to justify the Mani belief system. It was one such moment, “listening to the Bishop of Milan, that Augustine became drawn to Christianity” (Puchner pp. 46). At first, Augustine intended to only listen and gain insight from the teaching of others. However, he found himself instead “passing from Manichaeism into skepticism and soon found his way out of psychological deadlock” (Chadwick pp. 18; 27). Augustine’s process of learning came through self-evaluations and heading the words of trusted friends and fellow scholars of his time. Similarly, the religious climate of Dante’s life dealt with strife, however, during the medieval times it fell between the rule of the church and emperor. Dante grew up in a family with the means to provide for an education and he was a student “keen on study and learning” (Musa, 1983). Unlike Augustine, Dante’s path to spiritual realization was a personal journey that revolved around his personal desires. Instead of focusing inward and spiritually, Musa states, that Dante “applied his energies to philosophy” and developed his “view of love as the most

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