The 9 Circles of Beaumont Hell – and Who You’ll Meet There

“The Italian poet Dante Alighieri was kind of a twisted dude. His 14th-century opus, the Divine Comedy, led readers into the depths of a nine-layer hell filled with flaming tombs, rivers of boiling blood and giant worm-monsters. He spent plenty of time in the Inferno, the first part of the Divine Comedy, outlining all the sins that can get you a one-way ticket to Satan’s inner circle. But by 2014, a lot of those sins feel pretty out-of-date — we stopped burning heretics at the stake a while back, and I’m not even sure that simony is still a thing.

“With Dante’s colorful imagery in mind, I updated and localized his nine circles of hell as a reminder to Southeast Texans that if you’re not going to be polite because it’s the right thing to do, at least be polite to avoid retribution in the afterlife.” […]    –Beth Rankin, Beaumont Enterprise, December 6, 2014

The Social Media of Hell

“People, especially people’s troubles, are not fit entertainment, but can be entertaining. That’s not good. We need justice, but doing justice is not so we can make a Netflix series and gaze slack jawed at the bad guys and marvel at their talk.

“A Christian is called to love his enemies and that’s hard to do if they are providing your amusement for the evening. Social media can send a swarm of us after the latest example of someone breaking down or being taken down on Twitter.

“When I participate, I am going down to Hell and listening to the endless natter, the continuous stream of accusations, justifications, and whines that mark the damned or so Dante’s Inferno would suggest. There Dante gets stuck in a dangerous place, because he wishes to hear the social media stream of damnation.” […]    –John Mark N. Reynolds, Patheos, April 2, 2019

Dante to College Administrators: On Debt

“I do not know if then I was too bold when I answered him in just this strain: ‘Please tell me, how much treasure did our Lord insist on from Saint Peter before He gave the keys into his keeping? Surely He asked no more than ‘Follow me.’

“So says Dante to Pope Nicholas. The pontiff is in torment in Dante’s hell for simony: profiting from selling church offices for money. Others will join him soon and he is only the latest of many before he came. Dante shows him upside down, feet in the air, because this false shepherd has loved money more than God or God’s people. He has turned the non-profit work of the church to profit and so inverted the calling of the church.

“Only a master as great as Dante can combine beautiful poetry with a jeremiad against the church that was so true, good, and lovely that Christians called his comedy divine.” […]    –John Mark N. Reynolds, Patheos, March 30, 2019

The Sin of Silence

“In the Inferno, Dante Alighieri, a critic in his day of Church leadership, famously put the souls of at least three popes in hell, as well as countless other clerics who go nameless, their faces blackened beyond recognition. However, one cleric he does meet along the way is Ruggieri degli Ubaldini (d. 1295), the archbishop of Pisa, who notoriously arrested the city’s strongman, Ugolino della Gherardesca (1220-1289), along with several members of his family, and starved them to death in a tower.

“Dante’s fantastical encounter with Ruggieri and Ugolino in the Inferno takes place on a vast lake of ice near the bottom of hell. Here, frozen for eternity, are the souls of sinners condemned for treason: some for betraying their city or country, and others for betraying their kinsmen. Dante is not far from the bottom of the pit, where he will soon come face to face with Satan, a giant demon, frozen in ice to his waist, who eternally chews on the bodies of three of history’s most infamous traitors, Brutus and Cassius, who betrayed Julius Caesar, and Judas Iscariot. Three pairs of legs dangle from the demon’s mouth.

“As Dante pushes on across the lake, he sees two souls frozen in the same hole. They are encased in ice up to their necks. One of them is repeatedly sinking his teeth into the skull of the other, like a dog gnawing a bone. He is startled by Dante’s presence. He takes his mouth from his “savage meal” and wipes his lips on the other’s hair. He introduces himself as Count Ugolino. ‘And this,’ he says of the other, ‘is the Archbishop Ruggieri.’

“Ugolino and Ruggieri were Dante’s contemporaries. Both where partisans in a conflict between two armed factions that roiled much of Italy in the thirteenth century, and both were accused of treason, Ugolino, Pisa’s podestà or political leader, for switching sides in the conflict, and Ruggieri, a sometime ally of Ugolino’s, for rising up against him and for capturing him by deception. Dante knew the story, which, when passed through his poetic imagination, comes down to us as one the most disturbing passages in the Inferno.” […]    –James Soriano, Crisis Magazine, October 8, 2018

School Zones Belong Inside Dante’s Inferno

“Those important pieces of classical writing that I read in college are a little fuzzy these days. That’s what happens when the music you listened to in college has been on classic rock stations for the past five years.

“But I need to reread Dante’s Inferno because I only remember (with the aid of Google) nine circles of hell in the poem.

“But I’m sure there is a 10th.

“The 10 circles of hell have to be limbo, lust, gluttony, greed, anger, heresy, violence, fraud, treachery and school parking lots during pick-up/drop-off time.” […]    –Dale Miller, The Independent, September 9, 2018

The 9 Circles of Hell in Dante’s Divine Comedy based in Malta

“A lot of people are familiar with Dante’s Divine Comedy. A great masterpiece written by a guy who was either really creative or was really high.

The Divine Comedy tells the story of Dante as he travels through Hell, Purgatory and Heaven in order to find both God and his dead girlfriend Beatrice.

“Anyway, this guy stumbles upon the deceased poet Virgil who was kind of just chilling about. These two walk around the woods for some time until they come upon the gates of hell, which state ‘Abandon all hope, ye who enter here’ which should totally be Tigne Point’s car park’s slogan, but whatever.

“Here are the nine circles of hell in Dante’s Divine Comedy reimagined in Malta.” […]    –ChiaraM, Lovin Malta, August 10, 2018

Beware of Dante’s (ERP) Inferno

“ERP implementation projects are large, complex endeavors that can quickly spiral out of control. Blown budgets and delayed implementations are not uncommon, and in the worst cases, failed ERP projects can cripple the entire organization.

“Despite risk management frameworks, robust development methodologies, and highly motivated teams, ERP initiatives still fall victim to poor decisions. In his Divine Comedy, Dante chronicles his journey through the nine circles of hell. To avoid a similar story for your ERP project, beware of these deadly ERP sins.” […]    –Shawn Stamp, CIO Dive, June 25, 2018

Why Dante’s Inferno Stays Relevant After 700 Years

“The 14th-century Italian poet Dante Alighieri couldn’t have foreseen contemporary forms of hideous, malicious behavior—the Holocaust, the trans-Atlantic slave trade, genocide committed by ISIS.

“Yet, Dante’s nearly 700-year-old, three-part epic poem, the Divine Comedy—of which Inferno is the initial part—remains an influential piece of literature in exploring the origins of evil.

“Dante’s work has influenced or inspired music, novels, films, mobile apps, and even video games. Medieval manuscript illuminators and artists, including Sandro Botticelli and Salvador Dalí, have produced paintings mirroring stories Dante told. Most recently, Dante’s work was adapted for the crime and mystery film Inferno, starring Tom Hanks.

“When you have an actor like Tom Hanks starring in a movie adapted from best-selling novelist Dan Brown, you’re bound to get more questions about Dante than usual,” says Fabian Alfie, a professor in the University of Arizona department of French and Italian.

“But interest in Dante has never waned in the 700 years since he died,” Alfie says. “There is an unbroken tradition of Dante’s influence in Western culture since the 14th century. Dante has never stopped being popular because his poem deals with questions that are always relevant.”

“Ultimately, Alfie says, Dante was attempting to address the “big questions” associated with being: “What is evil? What is human nature? What is redemption, goodness, sanctity?” […]   –Monica Everett-Haynes, University of Arizona, Futurity, November 17, 2016

How I Discovered The 10th Circle of Hell: The Bolivian Bureaucracy

“According to Dante’s Inferno, there were supposedly only 9 circles of hell: Limbo, Lust, Gluttony, Greed, Anger, Heresy, Violence, Fraud, and Treachery.  After what I’ve been through in the last week trying to procure a visa in Bolivia, I am officially recognizing the 10th circle of hell: the Bolivian Bureaucracy.

“I think the real reason Dante only described 9 circles of hell is because the 10th circle, the Bolivian Bureaucracy, apparently has a way out:  money.” […]    –Jojo Bobo, Corporate Monkey CPA, June 28, 2017

The Seven Deadly Social Networks

“Lust, of course, is Tinder. That’s easy. In Dante’s Inferno, a source of much seven-deadly-sin apocrypha, lustful souls are blown around forever like they’re stuck in a hurricane. Today they would be condemned to a similar cyclone—to swipe right forever but never get a match.

“Gluttony is Instagram. We hear sometimes of Tantalus, stuck in a pool below branches laden with fruit. His punishment was that the fruit always pulled away from his grasp, and the water always receded when he tried to drink. So it is with Instagram: The most tantalizing morsels pass in front of our eyes, and we can eat none of them.

“On to Greed. According to Dante, the greedy and avaricious are condemned to joust with each other using enormous heavy boulders, forever. What’s more, they are rendered unrecognizable—each soul appears as the blandest, dullest version of itself. Does that sound like LinkedIn or what? Mandelbaum’s translation put it particularly well:

… I saw multitudes
to every side of me; their howls were loud
while, wheeling weights, they used their chests to push.
They struck against each other; at that point,
each turned around and, wheeling back those weights,
cried out: “Hi, I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn.”

“Sloth was Zynga once, per Hoffman, but Zynga is no more. Now sloth is Netflix. I know that’s not a social network, but, eh.

“Wrath, according to Dante, was a twin sin to sullenness. He wrote that they both came from the same essential error: Wrath is rage expressed, sullenness is rage unexpressed. And he condemned both the sullen and the wrathful to the Fifth Circle—where, in a foul marsh, the wrathful attacked each other unendingly, without ever winning; while the sullen sat beneath the murk and stewed and scowled and acted aloof. Rarely has there been a better description of Twitter.

“Envy makes people so desirous of what they don’t have that they become blind to what they have. That’s Pinterest. I don’t have a joke about it.

“And what about pride, the weightiest sin? Hoffman said it was Facebook, but I’m not so sure. Pride is sometimes considered the sin from which all others flow: the belief that one is essentially better than all one’s neighbors. It is, I imagine, something like telling everyone else they’re bad at what they do and then saying “ping me.” Pride is Medium.

“If Facebook doesn’t represent pride, then, what is it? Some theologians recognized two other sins beyond the original seven. The first was Vanity or Vainglory—an unrestrained belief in one’s own attractiveness, and a love of boasting. That’s Facebook.

“But the second of the new sins was Acedia, a word we have now largely lost but whose meaning survives somewhat in melancholy. It is the failure to do one’s work and take interest in the world—a cousin to boredom, exhaustion, and listlessness. It is the Hamlet Feeling. It is the feeling of Tumblr, it is the feeling of Deep YouTube—it is the feeling of the afternoon Internet.” […]    –Robinson Meyer, The Atlantic, May 9, 2016