Squaring the Circle

‘Within the depths of divine light, Dante perceives a geometric image of the Holy Trinity. He “sees” three circles of the same circumference with distinct though unspecified colors. One circle appears as the reflection of the other , and the third circle (Spirit) looks like fire breathed equally by the other two . Dante’s final challenge, resolved not on his own but through a flash of divine grace, is to comprehend the perfect fit between a human figure and the second circle in which it appears. This is the theological paradox of the incarnation, two complete natures–human and divine–in a single person . Dante compares his unsuccessful effort to grasp this paradox on his own to that of a geometer who seeks to square the circle: that is, using only a straight edge and a compass, to construct a square with area equal to that of a given circle.’

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