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1 There is a passage in the Convito (Tr. III. c. 15) in which Dante seems clearly to make the distinction asserted above, ‘And therefore the desire of man is limited in this life to that knowledge (scienzia) which may here be had, and passes not save by error that point which is beyond our natural understanding. And so is limited and measured in the angelic nature the amount of that wisdom which the nature of each is capable of receiving.’ Man is, according to Dante, superior to the angels in this, that he is capable both of reason and contemplation, while they are confined to the latter. That Beatrice's reproaches refer to no human pargoletta, the context shows, where Dante asks,
The pargoletta in its ordinary sense was necessary to the literal and human meaning, but it is shockingly discordant with that non-natural interpretation which, according to Dante's repeated statement, lays open the true and divine meaning.
But wherefore so beyond my power of sight
Soars your desirable discourse that aye
The more I strive, so much the more I lose it?
That thou mayst recognize, she said, the school
Which thou hast followed, and mayst see how far
Its doctrine follows after my discourse,
And mayst behold your path from the divine
Distant as far as separated is
From earth the heaven that highest hastens on.Purgatorio, XXXIII. 82-90.
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