St. Bonaventura – The Seraphic Doctor

In the second circle of the Sun in Dante’s Paradiso, the main voice is the Light of St. Bonaventure (c.1217-1274) – a professor at the University of Paris, and a leader of the Franciscan Order.

In Bonaventure’s main work “The Soul’s Journey into God” we can see several aspects which Dante is using in the Paradiso, f.ex. a description of the final moments of the ascent:

“For no one is in any way disposed for divine contemplation that leads to mystical ecstasy, [..] such desires are enkindled in us in two ways: by an outcry of prayer [..] and by the flash of insight by which the mind turns most directly and intently towards the rays of Light.”
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Richard of St. Victor

In his “On Trinity and Creation”, Richard of St. Victor (c.1100-1173) writes about the nature of the mystic ascent towards the Divine, which shows us some of the inspiration and background for Dante’s Paradiso:

“You see our starting point, our destination, and the steps of our ascent: by means of hope and love [we ascend] from Faith toward Divine Knowledge, and through Divine Knowledge [we ascend] toward Eternal Life.”
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