University of Notre Dame

Center for Italian Studies


Summer Seminar 2013

Dante's Theology

An International Summer Seminar on Theological Dimensions of Dante's Work 

at Tantur Ecumenical Institute, Jerusalem 

June 17-28, 2013


Since 2011, Italian Studies at Notre Dame, together with Nanovic Institute for European Studies, has sponsored an annual seminar, usually held in Rome, with the aim of bringing together scholars from around the globe for reflection, discussion and training on a topic of current significance in the field of Italian of Studies. The Seminar, structured around a series of individual seminar sessions and lectures given by prominent scholars, is intended to attract the participation of junior faculty and advanced graduate students whose work is currently connected to the Seminar's topic. The topic for 2013 was “Dante’s Theology.” This choice of topic reflects not only the increasing scholarly interest in this field of enquiry, but also Notre Dame's involvement over the last few years in a set of international and interdisciplinary collaborations which are opening up new and fruitful ground for research on the theological dimensions of Dante's work. Indeed, the 2013 Seminar was organized in collaboration with the Leeds Centre for Dante Studies, with which the Devers Program for Dante Studies at Notre Dame has formally collaborated since 2009 in the study of Dante's Theology.

The specific aim of the “Dante’s Theology” Seminar was that of bringing together Dante scholars and theologians so as to offer participants the opportunity for sustained, high level interdisciplinary engagement with Dante's theology, thereby creating the possibility for the development of new insights and fresh methodological perspectives from which the field at large may benefit. It was also our aim to create a human and professional environment that can foster ongoing friendship and collaboration in the furtherance of our understanding of Dante's work.

The sessions of the Seminar ran for two weeks: Monday, June 17th - Friday, June 21st; and Monday, June 24th - Friday, June 28th. The Seminar proceedings were structured around a series of eight individual seminar sessions, each on an important question connected to the overall topic of the Seminar (e.g., Scripture, Liturgy, Mary, Ineffability etc.), and led by a prominent scholar in the field. These were held each morning. The afternoons were left more open, and included time for individual reading, group discussion and/or visits to Jerusalem and the surrounding area. There were around 40 participants at the Seminar, including seminarists, seminar leaders, discussants, lecturers and organizers. Two discussants, one a dantist and one a theologian, participated in the full two weeks of the seminar, to provide formal and informal responses to seminars and lectures and foster continuity. Alongside the activities referred to above, there was one major public lecture per week, intended as the distinguished highlights in the Seminar's proceedings and as a point of contact between the Seminar's proceedings and the wider academic community in Jerusalem.

The 2013 Seminar was held at the Tantur Ecumenical Institute, located on a beautiful 40 acre hill site in Jerusalem, not far from Bethlehem. Built by Fr. Theodore Hesburgh and the University of Notre Dame at the request of Pope Paul VI, Tantur exists for the purpose of nourishing ecumenical and inter-religious dialogue and understanding. Indeed, it is our hope that studying Dante together in the special context of Tantur and Jerusalem, can lead us to an enriched understanding of what the significance might be of studying Dante in our present world and culture. To this end, and as mentioned above, the Seminar was structured in such a way as to provide opportunities for group visits to significant sites in Jerusalem and the surrounding area. Tantur also holds one of the most important theological libraries in the area, and Seminar participants had the opportunity of using this resource for their personal study. 

Sunday, June 16

  • Arrivals

Monday, June 17th, afternoon

  • Introduction to seminar, presentations from organizers and discussants

Tuesday, June 18th - Thursday June 27th (excluding weekend)

  • 8.45am - 12.45: seminar
  • Afternoons: open for reading time, excursions, and further discussion sessions

Tuesday, June 18th and Monday, June 24th (date tbc) evening or afternoon

  • Public lecture

Friday, June 28th, morning

  • Concluding discussion, led by organizers and discussants

Saturday, June 29

  • Departures






Speakers and Seminar Leaders

Piero Boitani (University of Rome "La Sapienza")

Brian Daley (Univeristy of Notre Dame)

William Franke (Vanderbilt University)

Peter Hawkins (Yale University)

Robin Kirkpatrick (University of Cambridge)

Giuseppe Ledda (University of Bologna)

Giuseppe Mazzotta (Yale University)

Brian Reynolds (Fu Jen University)

Janet Soskice (University of Cambridge)

Denys Turner (Yale University)