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Dante and Governance$
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John Woodhouse

Print publication date: 1997

Print ISBN-13: 9780198159117

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198159117.001.0001

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‘Diligite iustitiam qui iudicatis terram’: Justice and the Just Ruler in Dante

‘Diligite iustitiam qui iudicatis terram’: Justice and the Just Ruler in Dante

(p.137) 9 ‘Diligite iustitiam qui iudicatis terram’: Justice and the Just Ruler in Dante
Dante and Governance

John Took

Oxford University Press

This chapter on justice and the just ruler focuses on Paradiso XVIII–XX, paying particular attention to the responsibility of princes and governors as lawmakers and justiciaries, and tracing the general concept of justice as a divine name, from the moral-philosophical emphases of Convivio to the affective-theological emphases of Paradiso. The practicality of Justinian's historical and legalistic approach gives way here to medieval theology and Christian faith. In Paradiso VII, Beatrice tells that Man's original sin was too great for a simple act of contrition to bring him as low in humility as his presumption had raised him high in pride, a pride no doubt compounded by his overweening arrogance in building the Tower of Babel to reach the same level as his Creator. Man needed to pay the price for sinning, but lacked the means, while God had the means to forgive but did not need to do so.

Keywords:   Paradiso, Beatrice, justice, Monarchia, sinning, Christ

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