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Suicide in the Middle AgesVolume ii: The Curse on Self-Murder$
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Alexander Murray

Print publication date: 2000

Print ISBN-13: 9780198207313

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198207313.001.0001

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Occasional Theology

Occasional Theology

(p.287) 9 Occasional Theology
Suicide in the Middle Ages

Alexander Murray

Oxford University Press

Theology is an exact science. Its methods and aims may differ from those of the empirical sciences. But it remains exact in the sense of calling for painstaking accuracy in the formation of its main propositions. In defining ‘occasional’ theology, the answer lies in the nature of the present enterprise, which is not theological but historical, and history must take occasional liberties with terms. This chapter considers Dante's Inferno, particularly Canto 13, and examines the poet's thought about suicide and his moral system.

Keywords:   Dante, history, occasional theology, Divine Comedy, Inferno

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