Inferno, Canto 10
As the Poets are passing along beneath the city walls, Dante is hailed by Farinata from one of the burning tombs, and goes to speak to him. Their conversation is interrupted by Cavalcante dei Cavalcanti with a question about his son. Farinata prophesies Dante's exile and explains how the souls in Hell know nothing of the present, though they can remember the past and dimly foresee the future.
The Prepatory Lecture
Questions for Reflection
Canto 10 © Jan Hearn
The Heretics. “It is necessary to remember what Dante meant by heresy. He meant an obduracy of the mind; a spiritual state which defied, consciously, ‘a power to which trust and obedi- ence are due’; an intellectual obstinacy. A heretic, strictly, was a man who knew what he was doing; he accepted the Church, but at the same time he preferred his own judgment to that of the Church. This would seem to be impossible, except that it is apt to happen in all of us after our manner.”
The tombs of the intellectually obdurate - iron without and fire within - thus fittingly open the circles of Nether Hell: the circles of deliberately willed sin.
Mark Vernon's Lecture