Dante’s Vita Nuova and the New Testament: Hermeneutics and the Poetics of Revelation 

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“As if called forth on cue by our time and its crises, Dante demonstrates how theology can be crucial to the continuing intelligibility and viability of the humanities. Dante’s translation of theological doctrine into poetic vision is key to our being able to continue to receive the saving graces of religion and humanities alike in our current twice-over secularized culture and technologized world. Dante is among our greatest guides to how we can still benefit from our human wisdom traditions and their spiritual vision. We can and need to be galvanized by these resources in their broader potential for shedding a light of truth open to infinity in this unprecedentedly perilous situation for human culture susceptible to collapsing and succumbing to a “post-truth” condition.”   –from Prologue

AWARD WINNERHermes Award: Book of the Year in Phenomenological Hermeneutics, Agora Hermeneutica, The International Institute for Hermeneutics (IIH), 2021

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‘This book, which includes the original text and a new, spirited English translation of it, proves beyond any reasonable doubt that the presence of the Christian New Testament on young Dante’s mind when he wrote the Vita nuova is not just occasional – it is indeed part of Dante’s determined effort to write a kind of ‘sacred story’ long before he conceived the ‘sacred poem’ – the Divine Comedy. William Butler Yeats once wrote, in a poem entitled after Dante’s Vita nuova ‘Ego Dominus Tuus’, that Dante ‘has made that hollow face of his / more plain to the mind’s eye than any face / but that of Christ’. Franke now shows that there is more to the Irish poet’s lines than we thought. He bravely confronts the problems of hermeneutics which making his ‘face’ plain in the Vita nuova’s love story might imply for its author and proposes, shedding light on both texts, that this strange ‘autobiography’ deliberately looks for a ‘poetics of revelation’ and is constructed as a true ‘New Testament’.’ Piero Boitani, Emeritus, Comparative Literature, Sapienza University of Rome

‘Professor Franke’s original, tightly argued study makes a significant contribution to the reappraisal of Dante’s youthful masterpiece by offering, at once, a fresh translation and a well-rounded interpretation. Dante’s Vita Nuova and the New Testament is to be welcomed for its concern to present Dante’s libello to an Anglophone readership, as it offers a global interpretation of the Vita nuova at the crossroad between Biblical and philosophical traditions.’ Giuseppe Ledda, Università di Bologna

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