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by Dante Alighieri

Paradiso Time Quotes

How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Canto.Line). We used Allen Mandelbaum's translation.

Quote #10

Then she began: "I tell – not ask – what you
now want to hear, for I have seen it there
where, in one point, all whens and ubis end.
Not to acquire new goodness for Himself –
which cannot be – but that his splendor might,
as it shines back to Him, declare 'Subsisto,'
in His eternity outside of time,
beyond all other borders, as pleased Him,
Eternal Love opened into new loves.
Nor did he lie, before this, as if languid;
there was no after, no before – they were
not there until God moved upon these waters." (Par. XXIX, 10-21)

Beatrice's insistence that "there was no after, no before…until God moved upon these waters" supports the idea that time began when God created the universe. Beatrice claims that God created the universe so "that his splendor might, / as it shines back to Him, declare 'Subsisto'." This Latin word means "I am" and is in the present tense. Time doesn't exist for God. So God created the universe to reflect back to himself His own existence, and it is appropriate that Beatrice tells this story in the Primum Mobile – the place where Time began – because it most accurately reflects God's "Subsisto," as a place which is eternal and created only by His will.

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