The Paradiso is the last volume of Dante’s Divine Comedy (which includes The Inferno, The Purgatorio and The Paradiso). The Divine Comedy was written between 1308 and 1320. The Paradiso is Dante’s ascent through heaven. Dante’s vision of heaven (and God) is so poetically beautiful and well done that much of today’s Christian belief is steeped in The Paradiso. In fact all the volumes of The Divine Comedy lends some basis for the Christian beliefs of the afterlife.
Like the first 2 volumes Dante uses The Paradiso to denounce the corruption in the church. He sees Popes and other religious figures while in Hell and Purgatory (He names the people he sees). In Paradise, St. Peter calls the leaders of the church (including the sitting Pope) corrupt lairs who uses the church to get rich. St. Peter tells Dante to go back and tell all what he says. I’m amazed at the blatant heresy he got away with in his time, and the fact the church even allowed the publishing of The Divine Comedy.
As Dante moves through heaven, his awareness and understanding of God’s love and goodness comes into focus.
The Divine Comedy is a must read for everyone. No matter your religion, even if you are an atheist or agnostic, I would be surprised if you didn’t enjoy this trilogy. The poetry is beautiful and the visions Dante creates range from horrifying justice of hell, to unimaginable beauty, bliss and love of heaven.