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Dante and the Three Religions

Dante and the Three Religions

(p.214) Dante and the Three Religions
Dante and Islam
Giorgio Battistoni
Fordham University Press

This essay examines questions of Dante and Islam, as well as Judaism and Christianity, through the historically specific lens of Verona and the court of Cangrande della Scala as well as a personal scholarly journey. By drawing attention to the transmission of the Liber scale machometi that is attested to not in Tuscany but in Verona and Lombardy in the later part of the 14th century, it shows how the northern Italian setting is particularly relevant in tracing the possible influence of non-Christian sources on Dante during his time at the court of Cangrande. The figures of Hillel of Verona and Manoello giudeo, mentioned but briefly by Asín Palacios, are further examined as they attest to a vibrant intercultural exchange from the early 13th century to Dante’s time in Verona and to the particular Jewish role in bringing the three monotheistic traditions into literary contact with one another. In finding links between the work of Dante and Manoello in particular, we might see a culture of tolerance as well as a shared risk that leads both to be lambasted and damned in a later sonnet by Cino da Pistoia.

Keywords:   Dante Alighieri, Cangrande della Scala, Verona, Hillel of Verona, Manoello giudeo

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