Paradiso Canto 30




Josh Gibbs is an Upper School Humanities Teacher at Veritas School in Virginia. He is a lover of Great Books, a contributor at the Circe Institute, an associate fellow with the Alcuin Fellowship, and advisor to the Templeton Honors College at Eastern University.

Questions for Reflection

  • How does Dante describe Beatrice’s beauty as they begin their ascent into the Empyrean (30.14-36)? Why does Beatrice’s beauty increase as she approaches the Empyrean? What does this suggest to us about the effect of God’s presence on the human person? Why is it important for Dante to be unable to put Beatrice’s beauty into words?
  • How does Beatrice the Empyrean in lines 40-42? What does this tell us about the nature of heavenly reality?
  • Why does Dante see the souls of the blessed in embodied forms once he reaches the Empyrean while they were only seen as beams of light throughout the majority of his journey through the spheres?
  • Why does Dante go blind again as he crosses into the Empyrean (30.46-51)?
  • Why does Dante need to drink from the water of the river of light? How does this revisit the conclusion of Purgatorio?
  • How are the heavenly souls arranged in the Empyrean? How does this image redeem the dark wood of Inferno 1? Does this arrangement suggest that there’s a spiritual hierarchy in heaven?


  • Dr. Josh Gibbs
  • Templeton Honors College
  • Run Time 6:39