Inferno Canto 19




Greg Peters is a Professor in the Torrey Honors College at Biola University. He is an ordained priest in the Anglican Church of North America and teaches Medieval and spiritual theology.

Questions for Reflection

  • Who is Simon Magus and how does Dante use him to make a prophetic denunciation of corruption in the Church?
  • Does Dante overstep piety (or good taste) by condemning popes to hell for simony? How might he justify his temerity (see lines 16-21)?
  • What is the punishment for simony and how is each aspect of this punishment a parody or perversion of biblical imagery?
  • The year that Dante was exiled (1302), Pope Boniface VIII released Unam Sanctum on the unity of the Church. In it, the Pope discussed the importance of being in conformity with the papal office in order to be saved. In light of that, what risk is Dante running in this canto? Do you think Dante disdains or rejects the office and the authority of the pope?


  • Dr. Greg Peters
  • Torrey Honors College
  • Run Time 6:51