The Unknown Dante and His Mystical Esotericism (1)
Dante’s poetry played a huge role in shaping Renaissance humanism and in the development of European cultural tradition in general, having a significant impact on culture not only in poetic and artistic, but in philosophical terms (from Petrarch’s poetry to the sophiology of VS Solovyov) . Therefore, the study of Dante’s work today is formed in a special branch of medieval studies – Dantology.
In the field of philosophical thought, Dante was influenced by Aristotle, scholastic Aristotelianism and Averroism, and in part by Neoplatonism, Stoicism, and Arab philosophy. He systematically studied the texts of Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite, John Scott Eriugena, Bernard of Clairvaux, Alan Lilski and Siger of Brabant. The axiological system of Dante’s poetics genetically dates back to Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite (the final part of the Divine Comedy) and Peripateticism (the Feast). Dante’s political ideal, formed in the conditions of a permanent civil war, was a single secular state – a guarantor of peace and embodied legitimacy – in which separatism and private land ownership would be eliminated. The rule of this state is understood by Dante according to the Platonic model: the decisions of the monarch should be based on the advice of philosophers (“O you unfortunate ones who rule today! Oh you, the most unhappy, through whom they rule! There is no philosophical authority to combine with your government). The optimal political system, from Dante’s point of view, is based, on the one hand, on the presumption of world unity and, on the other, presupposes the preservation of local self-government and the guarantee of freedom. The development of both tendencies must reach the “fullness of times”, ie. to universal prosperity. The denial of the so-called “Constantine’s gift” (or the transmission at the time by Emperor Constantine of a large territory from Italy under the pope’s jurisdiction) provoked a sharp reaction from the church to the point that Cardinal Beltrando del Podiseto ordered the burning of the monarch’s manuscript. , and in 1329 called for an autodafe of Dante’s remains. Dante’s semantic social model is open to interpretations from the standpoint of the ideal of global civilization with its presumption of ethnic polycentrism.
Dante himself in his “Hell” IX, 61-63 indisputably indicates that in his work there is a hidden, secret meaning, whose doctrinal and external meaning is only a veil and should be explored by one who is able to penetrate in him. The Divine Comedy has been studied mainly literally as a literary work, the philosophical meaning has been studied, or rather the philosophical-theoretical as well as the political-social meaning, but Dante himself instructs us to look for another – a fourth meaning. This is essentially the purely initiative, metaphysical meaning, giving an esoteric character to the messages in this work. Some researchers ask the question: Was Dante a Catholic or an Albigensian? Was he a Christian or a pagan at all? (Cf. Arturo Reghini, L’Alegoria esoterica di Dante, – Nuovo Patto, Sept.-Nov. 1921, pp. 541-548). True esotericism is radically different from external religions. The ancient members of initiating societies took part in all external cults, following the customs established in the countries where they resided, as they found behind external differences the essential doctrinal and fundamental unity between religions, without turning it into an artificially created “syncretism”. We find religious syncretism and eclecticism in many Roman emperors. At imp. Elagabalus / Varius Avitus Bassianus /, in 218, Trimontium (now Plovdiv) received the status of a city-neocor and became the center of the cult of Apollo Kendriziiski, the god of the sun (cf. Gramatikov, hierod. Peter, “Arian Council in Philippopolis – 343 “, KAMA Publishing House / French Cultural Institute, Sofia, 2006, p. 8):” He (Elagabalus) consecrated his god Elagabalus on the Palatine Hill just opposite the Imperial Palace and dedicated a temple to him. He said that the cult of the Jews and the Samaritans, as well as the Christian religion, must be transferred there in order for the service of the god Elagabalus to possess the secrets of all religions “(From: History of the Augustus / Elagabalus, 3), – quoted in Nomo L. , Les Empereures Romains et le Christisnisme, Paris, 1931) Emperor Alexander the Great (222-235) was a religious eclectic in his prayer room, next to the busts of Apollonius of Thebes, the magician of Greco-Latin antiquity, 2nd century AD. BC) and Orpheus, stood the busts of Christ and Abraham, and his mother, Julia Mameia, called in her palace Origen, who is the most prominent Neoplatonist in antiquity (cf. Bolotov, Lectures on the History of the Ancient Church, vol. 2, pp. 112).
Pure metaphysics, therefore, is neither pagan nor Christian, but universal. In the Middle Ages, there were societies, initiative and non-religious in nature, which, however, were based on Catholicism. It is very likely that Dante was a member of one of these organizations and was not declared a “heretic” because most of them did not create a conflict between the esoteric and the exoteric. There are exceptions, of course – some are tried as heretics (this was also the official accusation against the Order of the Templars as a pretext for political purposes).
In the world of Islam, esoteric schools do not encounter any hostility from the religious and legal authorities representing exotericism. But let us allude to the fate of the famous Al-Khalaj, who was killed in Baghdad in 309 by Hejira (921 AD), whose memory is revered to this day by the descendants of those who sentenced him to death. for “his offensive teachings.”
Eliphas Levy, in his History of Magic, writes of Dante’s connection to the ancient mysteries: “Comments and research on Dante’s work are increasing, but no one, at least to our knowledge, has discovered its true character. The work of the great Ghibelline is a declaration of war against the Papacy through the revelation of the mysteries. Dante’s epic is Ioanite (Note: The connection with Rosicrucianism is that St. John is associated as head, head of the inner Church, and opposes St. Peter as head of the outer Church. In the 14th century in France and Italy he gained strength one related to the knightly orders, a secret occult but not occult doctrine, later understood as the initiative direction of the Rosicrucians with an hermetic doctrine.
Their name was first given in 1374) and Gnostic; an application of the images and numbers of Kabbalah to Christian dogmas; and a secret denial of all that is contained in these dogmas. His journey to the supernatural worlds takes place like the Eleusinian and Theban mysteries. Virgil accompanies and protects him in the circles of the new Tartarus … Hell is an obstacle only for those who do not know how to return … “(cf. Rene Guenon,” L’Esoterisme de Dante “, Gallimard, Paris, 1957). Many contemporary authors easily imagine that they see a Kabbalistic teaching in anything that only smells of esotericism. It is difficult to accept a link between Kabbalah and chivalry in the Middle Ages because it is a Hebrew tradition and we have no data or facts that Dante had Jewish influence, although we have evidence that during his lifetime Dante had a long personal relationship with a Jewish scholar and poet, Immanuel ben Salomon ben Yekutiel (1270-1330). The fact that we find the science of numbers (numerology) in his work does not make him a Kabbalist in any way. Rather, we can seek a relationship with Pythagoras, and we cannot accuse Pythagoras of practicing Jewish Kabbalism.
Part 1 of 2 (Read PART 2 HERE)