The Divine Comedy for Beginners

12-Week Session


2:30 - 3:35 PM EST

Online | Zoom

$265 Student

$215 Auditor


January 29 through April 23, 2021

(no class April 2)

Registration is closed. Please sign up for the mailing list if you would like early notice about upcoming classes.

In the last thousand years, no author has created a more beautiful and comprehensive vision of Christian virtue than Dante. The Divine Comedy is a sprawling, sublime work of poetry which recounts Dante’s journey from the miserable depths of Hell to the glorious heights of God’s throne room. While there are too many great books to read them all in just one lifetime, no classical education is complete without a reading of The Divine Comedy.  

On January 29th, Joshua Gibbs will begin a twelve-week online class which covers the whole of Dante’s most celebrated work. The Comedy is an epic which can be reread endlessly and understood on many levels, but The Divine Comedy for Beginners is tailored for readers who are venturing through the Comedy for the first time. 

Dante's Comedy for Beginners is available from to students age fifteen and up. College students and adults are more than welcome to register as well. 


The Penguin Classics editions of Inferno, Purgatory, and Paradise translated by Dorothy Sayers

Ascent To Love: A Guide to Dante’s Divine Comedy by Peter Leithart


The Divine Comedy for Beginners is a twelve-week course running from January 29th, 2021, through April 23rd, 2021. The class will meet on Zoom every Friday from 2:30 - 3:35 PM EST during these dates with the exception of April 2nd, when classes are cancelled for Good Friday.


The Divine Comedy for Beginners is offered at two different levels: Auditor and Student

The Student Level ($265): Students will have entry into Friday Zoom classes, as well as access to recordings of class videos and the class Canvas page, where students may ask questions (of one another or Mr. Gibbs) and carry on discussions about the Comedy. Two essays will be assigned to students. Students are not required to complete the essays but may do so if they choose. Students who complete the essays will receive feedback on their work and may resubmit their work for additional feedback if they choose.  

The Auditor Level ($215): Auditors will receive recordings of the class videos delivered by email every Saturday. The Auditor Level does not come with a Canvas login. It is ideal for anyone whose schedule does not allow attendance on Friday afternoons and who does not plan on doing any written work for the class. On the evenings of Thursday, March 4th, and Thursday, April 15th, Joshua Gibbs will hold an hour-long open Zoom session for any Auditors who want to talk about the Comedy or ask questions. These two Thursday night sessions will only be open for Auditors.  



Students will be assigned two papers, one in the middle of the semester and the other at the end of the semester. The papers should be a minimum of 1200 words long and will receive written feedback which will be returned to students and parents. 


  1. The Divine Comedy for Beginners is open to students aged 15 and above. Adults and college students are welcome. 

  2. The class will meet every Friday between January 29th, 2021 and April 23rd, 2021 from 2:30 to 3:35 EST. No make-up sessions will be given, but recordings of the class will be available for all students. 

  3. Class will begin each Friday with the assumption that students have already done the reading which is being discussed.  

  4. All emails exchanged between students and Mr. Gibbs should be copied to a parent. All emails sent from Mr. Gibbs to individual students will be copied to parents. No private conversations between underage students and Mr. Gibbs will take place. 

  5. Students are expected to use their real names and unmodified backgrounds when in class Zoom sessions. 

  6. Students will be clearly informed of due dates for the two papers. It is the responsibility of the student to turn in work. If a student does not turn in work, Mr. Gibbs will not remind or hound the student to do so, neither will parents be notified. 

  7. Students are expected to be courteous and polite to one another in class. They are also expected to represent and defend their opinions with dignity and common sense. Disagreement between students will happen, but this is simply part of discussing politics and philosophy like mature adults. If one student’s feelings are hurt by another student, it does not necessarily mean anyone has been mistreated or that an apology is warranted. 

  8. Refund policy: A full refund is offered for anyone who decides to drop the class before the start date. A 50% refund is offered for anyone who drops the class before February 5th, 2020.

  9. Late start policy: If there is space available, students and auditors may join the class after January 29th but will not receive a discounted rate.  

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