“Whether we find true love or ache from its absence, whether we treat sex as a gift or a game, our love life drives us toward or away from God,” writes Kurt Bruner and Jim Ware in their introduction to their book The Purpose of Passion: Dante’s Epic Vision of Romantic Love. Drawing on The New Life (La Vita Nouva), Inferno, and The Divine Comedy (La Divina Commedia) Bruner and Ware trace, through Dante’s life and writings, the ups and downs of romatic love as it plays out in God’s plans and purposes.
Now I will confess that I have read some of Dante’s works in bits and pieces and so at times, I felt lost. But then, as if coming out of the woods, I would regain my bearings and find myself reading myself some very insightful thoughts.
The Purpose of Passion is split into three parts: “Love Kindled,” that focuses on “a look at how and why romantic love invades our unsuspecting lives;” “Love Gone Astray” where the reader will “discover the tragic consequences of defective love –including the downward pathways often chosen on love’s perilous path;” and “Love Fulfilled” where we “discover the true and eternal object of our affections.”
What I appreciated and have taken from this book is a view that romantic love is a part of God’s great purpose and is not to be dismissed nor taken lightly. In fact, I think that by tracing Dante’s own personal journey through his writings, Bruner and Ware make the case that through the intensity and passion of romantic love we are driven “toward or away from God.”
I will read this book again.
(Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Tyndale House Publishing as part of their Blogger Review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”)