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Reading Dante’s Commedia alongside Jacques Derrida’s later religious writings, Francis J. Ambrosio explores what these works reveal about religion as a fundamental dynamic of human existence, about freedom and responsibility, and about the significance of writing itself. Ambrosio argues that both the many telling differences between them and the powerful bonds that unite them across centuries show that Dante and Derrida share an identity as religious writers that arises from the human experiences of faith, hope, and love in response to the divine mystery of being human. For both Dante and Derrida, Ambrosio contends, “scriptural religion” reveals that the paradoxical tension of freedom and absolute responsibility must lead to the mystery of forgiveness, a secret that these two share and faithfully keep by surrendering to its necessity to die so as always to begin again anew.

Table of Contents

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  1. Cover
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  1. Title Page, Copyright Page
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  1. Contents
  2. p. vii
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  1. On the Pre-text or As a Pre-face
  2. pp. ix-xi
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  1. Acknowledgments
  2. p. xii
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  1. List of Abbreviations
  2. p. xv
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  1. Introduction
  2. pp. 1-13
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  1. CHAPTER ONE: Vita Nuova: The Promise of Writing
  2. pp. 15-49
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  1. CHAPTER TWO: Inferno: The Aporia of Forgiveness
  2. pp. 51-115
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  1. CHAPTER THREE: Purgatorio: Re-turning to the Scene of Forgiveness
  2. pp. 117-158
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  1. CHAPTER FOUR: Paradiso: Turning Tears into Smiles
  2. pp. 159-211
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  1. In Memoriam: A Smile in Passing . . .
  2. pp. 213-228
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  1. Notes
  2. pp. 229-237
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  1. Index
  2. pp. 239-240
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