A collection of schools, churches and book clubs are uniting to read Dante's Inferno in honor of the 700th anniversary of his death.
September 14 is considered the anniversary of Dante Alighieri's death, the author who wrote Inferno, Purgatorio and Paradiso, which collectively make up the epic poem Divine Comedy - a text exploring the depths of heaven and hell in 14th-century prose.
To mark the anniversary, multiple universities are partnering up to encourage each other to read Dante's work in 100 non-sequential days and form the "World's Largest Dante reading group."
Each week, readers will be encouraged to read three cantos, or a section, of the poems. Each reading assignment will be supplemented by video presentations and explainers written by professors and designed to people to the literature.
The program will continue from September 8 until April 17, 2022, allowing clubs flexibility to begin their reading later in the year.
In an interview with Catholic outlet Aleteia, Anthony Nussmeier of the University of Dallas said that "We really want to emphasize the idea of the poem as a Christian epic, one that is informed by Christianity and one that can inform Christians with its wisdom, even in 2021." Nussmeier believes that this opportunity is perfect for anyone "who might be interested in the intellectual underpinnings of western Christianity."
The 100 Days of Dante initiative is organized by the Baylor University Honors College, with support from the University of Dallas, Gonzaga University, Torrey Honors College at Biola University, Templeton Honors College at Eastern University, and Whitworth University.