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Discussion Series “Religion and Culture”: Dante and Islam – On the Center and the Periphery in the Hereafter and in This World

22 May 2023 @ 17:30 - 18:00

The Center for the Study of Religion (Sofia University St. Kliment Ohridski) and the Centre for Advanced Study Sofia are pleased to announce the next seminar of the series

Religion and Culture

Topic for the 2022/2023 academic year: “Center and Periphery in Religions and Society”
Moderator: Simeon Evstatiev

You are cordially invited to a lecture by Prof. Vladimir Gradev

Dante and Islam: On the Center and the Periphery in the Hereafter and in This World

The lecture will take place on 22 May 2023 at 5:30 p.m. at the Center for Advanced Study, 7 Stefan Karadzha St., entrance 3, 2nd floor

Edward Said discovered in the Divine Comedy – a central work of Western Christian civilization – the starting point of the “Orientalist vision” that turned Islam into an epitome of the enemy lurking on the periphery of Christendom, of the outsider against whom the modern European culture was founded and built. For others, led by Asín Palacios, Dante was positively influenced by Islam, and his journey to the worlds beyond was modeled on the Muslim account of the mi‘rāj, the Prophet Muhammad’s night journey. For more than half a century, heated debates have continued as to whether the Comedy is an embodiment of the medieval “clash of civilizations” or, on the contrary, a testimony to a tolerance of religious and cultural differences and receptiveness to the Arab-Islamic heritage that was remarkable for its time. The lecture will examine – between the Scylla of “Islamophobia” and the Charybdis of Dante’s “Islamophilia” – essential aspects of the delicate and still important problem of the relationship between Dante’s world and Islam.

Vladimir Gradev teaches Theory of Religion and Culture of the Renaissance and Baroque in the Cultural Studies Program of Sofia University St. Kliment Ohridski, and is the editor-in-chief of the journal Philosophy. He is the author of Прочити на Данте (Readings of Dante) in three volumes (Sofia: Komunitas, 2023).

The seminar is part of the program “Religion, Center, and Periphery: The Orient in Europe, Europe in the Orient” of the Center for the Study of Religions, supported by the Scientific Research Fund of Sofia University St. Kliment Ohridski in 2023.


22 May 2023
17:30 - 18:00


Centre for Advanced Study Sofia


Centre for Advanced Study Sofia
7B Stefan Karadzha St, entr. 3
Sofia,‎ ‎1000‎ ‎Bulgaria
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