TitleLove in the Greek and Roman Context
AbstractDante’s Divine Comedy and Plato’s Symposium explore the connections between love and the divine. While the authors lived in different countries, time periods, and cultures, Dante and Socrates agree that love elevates humans from things on earth to things of divine qualities. However, Dante and Socrates disagree on the mechanisms by which love directs humans to the otherworldly realm. For Dante, love is the bridge between human wisdom and divine wisdom. For Socrates, love is a ladder, on which one first loves the body and then one loves the soul. The differences between the ladder and the bridge analogy present complicated issues for understanding the divine, particularly in terms of the human relation to the divine. For Dante, the divine is a supreme being, and a human should desire to be in the presence of the divine. Socrates, however, demonstrates that humans’ desire for beauty is linked ultimately to their desire for immortality, which they seek to satisfy in many ways. This presentation examines these tensions of understanding love in relation to the divine from the Judeo-Christian tradition and the Greek tradition.