Bodies, theology and Dante’s Divine Comedy
Engaging Dante and Aïda Muluneh
AbstractPlacing the words Comedy and Africa in the same sentence, is like laying claim to two expansive and complex entities which do not immediately bear relation to another and yet, there is ample opportunity for engagement. The article begins by showing how a young South African’s reading of the Divine Comedy through the lens of her own preoccupation with the body and its theo-performative demeanour can bring fresh perspectives to the fore. A primary instance of the intersection between the body, God and theological performance is the Ethiopian artist Aïda Muluneh’s interpretation of Inferno, canto xx. Muluneh’s performative expression transforms the scope and meaning of tears in the Comedy by bringing to bear her own particularity. Here, tears become central in unveiling the truth that the Comedy speaks. The article explores the significant role that gestures have in giving form to the Divine Comedy. As the logic of relationality, love forms the spine of this article while drawing together the themes of creation and incarnation. The article ends by suggesting that if one has a proper understanding of the relationship between humans and the created order, one might find a theology from below latent in the Comedy.
Copyright (c) 2021 Pieter de Waal Neethling Trust, Stellenbosch
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Once an article is published in Stellenbosch Theological Journal (STJ)extends an exclusive license agreement, where authors have copyright but license exclusive rights in their article to the Pieter de Waal Neethling Trust (PDWN Trust). The PDWN Trust is a trust fund established in 1932. In this case authors have the right to:
- Share their article in the same ways permitted to third parties under the relevant user license (together with Personal Use rights) so long as it contains the Creative Commons Attribution License, and a DOI link.
- Retain patent, trademark and other intellectual property rights (including research data).
- Proper attribution and credit for the published work.
The PDWN Trust pledges to maintain a legitimate scholarly record of the author’s work and to defend the author’s article against plagiarism and copyright infringement.
The PDWN Trust is committed to full Open Access publishing. This means that all articles published in STJ will be made freely available online. Authors maintain the right to:
- Share and self-archive their work.
- Make printed copies of their article for educational use.
- Present their article at a meeting or conference and distribute printed copies of the article
- Adapt and expand their published journal article to make it suitable for their thesis or dissertation.
- Republish the article (ensuring that the original article is cited as published in STJ).
By submitting a manuscript for publication in STJ the authors commit themselves to the fulfilment of the following legal and ethical requirements:
- That all authors involved are in agreement regarding the manuscript to be submitted for publication in STJ and allow the designated author to submit the manuscript on their behalf.
- That the contents of the manuscript do not infringe on any rules or regulations of the responsible authorities where the research was carried out.
- That the manuscript has not been published previously, in part or in whole, except as part of a published lecture or academic thesis.
- That the manuscript has not been submitted to any other journal while being considered for publication by STJ.
- That all relevant sources have been appropriately and correctly cited and that credit is given to the work or findings of others wherever it contributed to one’s own findings.
- That all figures, tables, images or large sections of text that have been published previously, is accompanied by written permission from the original copyright owner(s) to reproduce said items in the particular article in STJ. Such written permission must be submitted with the manuscript. Furthermore, all material used under copyright must be credited appropriately in the submitted manuscript.