Valentine’s Day often prompts an image of love that’s a little saccharine. This week on Home School Heartbeat with your host Mike Smith, a Christian scholar guides us through a unit study of literature that will give you and your student a more substantial taste of love!
I’m joined again today by Dr. Gene Veith, author and provost at Patrick Henry College. Dr. Veith, one might think that in a great Christian poem like Dante’s Divine Comedy, there wouldn’t be any room for a love story. But Dante’s love for Beatrice is a key element in the story. Now, what’s so virtuous about it, though?
Dr. Gene Veith:
Well, Dante, when he was just 9 years old, had a childhood crush on this little girl named Beatrice; she was only 8. And he saw her again nine years later. But a lot of people have these kind of infatuations with others, and they think that’s what love is. Dante and Beatrice, though, in his thinking about that experience, he really said that it brought him closer to God. That somehow, that little childish love taught him something about what love is. He changed his character; he did better; he forgave his enemies; and he associated that then with his becoming a Christian. And in The Divine Comedy, he turns Beatrice into a symbol for the grace of God. Now, what I think we can learn from that is that real love should improve us, should make us better.
Well, Dr. Veith, your excitement for literature is obvious, and hopefully it will excite our listeners, as well, to start reading these great books. And until next time, I’m Mike Smith.