Monday, February 14, 2011

The Purpose of Passion: Dante's Epic Vision of Romantic Love

Have you read Dante's Divine Comedy?

If so, did you read it because you had to, or did you choose to and enjoy it?

Either way, you have probably never been guided through "Dante's Epic Vision of Romantic Love" as Dante was guided by Virgil, nor as you will be guided through this book, The Purpose of Passion: Dante's Epic Vision of Romantic Love by Kurt Bruner and Jim Ware.

As Bruner notes in the introduction to this book, he and Ware "have partnered to provide readers a scene-by-scene tour through such great book series as The Lord of the Rings and The Chronicles of Narnia.  In this volume, (they) turn to the works of a man who inspired the writings of J. R. R. Tolkein and C. S. Lewis and helped frame their understanding of the gospel itself.  In fact, (his) favorite books by C. S. Lewis, including The Great Divorce, The Chronicles of Narnia, and The Screwtape Letters, were profoundly shaped by The Divine Comedy."

As far as the premise of this book itself, Bruner again describes eloquently in the introduction:
"To be honest, I did not always associate Dante with romance.  But he, perhaps more than any other writer in history, connects the dots between the ups, downs, highs, and lows of human romance and the mountains, valleys, slopes, and ravines of humanity's spiritual quest.  In my case, he transformed the scenes of my relationship with Olivia (Bruner's wife) into an icon of God's romance with humanity.  That's why we recommend Dante as the best guide to discovering the purpose of passion."
 "...Each reflection (chapter of the book) opens with a creative retelling of a scene from The New Life or The Divine Comedy form which we connect the dots between human romance and the epic love story between God and his people."
(words in Italics and parentheses are my own descriptive additions)

I could not have introduced the book any better myself.

This book is a very easy read, in the sense that it does not take long to get through each chapter and the total length of the book is 134 pages.  Additionally, the authors retell Dante's work in a very easy-to-follow and captivating way.  If you ever remember reading Dante's Divine Comedy in the past and having to struggle through it due to his writing style, such is definitely not the case with this book.  However, though the authors have made The Divine Comedy much "easier" to read and understand, they guide us on a journey of considering some very deep, intriguing thoughts of the connections of romantic love to the undeniable divine inner-workings with which we were all created which seek to know and be known by the ultimate Lover of our soul - our God.  After all, we are the bride of Christ.

With that, I will not give away any more of this creatively woven volume.  I highly suggest you take a piece of your time to read this book and ponder the countless thoughts and considerations it brings forth in you.

Happy Valentine's Day to you all, whether you have a valentine on this earth or not.

Your Creator loves you and longs to woo you into a deeper relationship with Him like none you have ever known nor will ever know on this earth.

Surrender your heart to His epic love and discover the true Purpose of Passion!

Disclaimer:   I received this book for free from Tyndale House Publishers.   No other compensation was received.  The fact that I received a complimentary product does not guarantee a favorable review.

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