Reading The Inferno gives one pause at moments. Frequently in fact. It isn't so much the punishments described in Hell as it is a number of factors that stem from that. For example, did Jesus not teach us, "Judge not, lest ye be judged." And yet Dante, with impunity, assigns any number of people to any circle of Hell he chooses. Now, were these living people (at the time of his writing) one could say that this were a cautionary tale; however most of them are dead as of the writing of the work. What then do we adjudge from this seeming infraction of a commandment of love?The answers he gives are good. Go read them -- I thought it would be cheating to quote the whole post, though it deserves it.
Next, we get from the Inferno a God of infernal intellect, delicating designing and manipulating Hell as to be of the most exquisite pain to the sinners assigned there. The lavish and ornate punishments that make up the bulk of hellish existence beggar the imagination. What then was Dante about?
Finally, we have an image of a God of such remarkable sternness, indeed of such profound violence that one is at a loss to figure out what Dante wanted us to understand of God from this.
Which reminds me that I really need to get back to Dante again some day... If not before, maybe I'll blog through the rest of Purgatorio for next Lent.