The goal of human wisdom is the Divine Essence or God himself. The sun here symbolizes not only intellectual illumination but God himself who is the light unperceptive to our senses but realized within our spiritual self. Dante begins Canto X with a beautiful expression of the mystery of the Triune God thus:
"The uncreated Might which passeth speech
Gazing on His Begotten with the Love
that breathes Itself eternally from each."
Dante encourages us to look upon the revolution of the spheres, that is, the "planets" circling the earth and the annual movement of the sun along the Zodiac and says,
"There gaze upon the Master's art,
Whence never He removes the eye of Him,
Such is the love He bears in His heart."
In the sphere of the sun Beatrice and Dante find themselves surrounded by twelve souls noted for their learning and wisdom. First and foremost is St. Thomas Aquinas noted for the Summa Theologica, an exposition of the truth of faith in the light of Aristotle and his commentators. This became the source for Dante's discussions on ethics and the soul.
Next, St. Thomas pays homage to his "Brother and Master", the Dominican Friar Albertus Magnus, a friar of extraordinary genius and extensive knowledge of Science, Philosophy and Theology. He wrote 21 foglio volumes and in his treaties on plants he lays down the principle of science, "Experiment is the only safe guide in such investigations."
"Next flames the light of Gratian's smile". (Canto X.103) Gratian was a Benedictine who lived in the 12th century and is the founder of Canon Law. He gathered Council Decrees, Papal Bulls, Bishop's decisions and wound up with 4,000 Canons. This is known as the Decretum Gratiani, published c. 1140-1150 AD, which also contained commentaries aimed to explain contradictory laws.
"That Peter next adorns our choir" (Canto X.106) refers to Peter Lombard Know as Master of the Sentences. This is primarily a collections of the saying of the Church Fathers grouped under the headings of God, Creation, Incarnation and Sacraments.
King Solomon is indicated with the phrase "in whom such wisdom did abound, none ever rose in any generation". (Canto X.112-113) Dante places him in heaven despite the fact that we read, "When Solomon was old his wives had turned his heart to strange gods, and his heart was not entirely with the LORD, his God." (1 Kg 11:4) I In his days the salvation of Solomon was a disputed question.
Dante says of Dionysius the Areopagite "In his mortal flesh right well discerned angelic natures and their ministrations". (Canto X.115) Dionysius was an Athenian converted to Christianity by St. Paul and the Middle Ages believed to have been the author of a book dealing with angelic hierarchies. We do not really know who wrote this work but his "dominant idea that the different choirs of angels are less intense in their love and knowledge of God the farther they are removed from him, just as a ray of light or of heat grows weaker the farther it travels from its source". To this must be added another fundamental idea peculiar to the Pseudo-Areopagite, namely, that the highest choirs transmit the light received from the Divine Source only to the intermediate choirs, and these in turn transmit it to the lowest". (New Advent: Web Encyclopedia)
The dominant idea of this work is that the different choirs of angels are less intense in their love and knowledge of God the farther they are removed from him, just as a ray of light or of heat grows weaker the farther it travels from its source.
"That pleader of the Christian age" (Canto X.119) is Paulus Orosius lived at the time of Augustine and wrote Seven Book of History Against the Pagans showing that disasters happened even before Christianity and the the adoption of faith in Christ by the Romans was not the cause of disasters. Dante owes much of his knowledge of Ancient history to Orosius.
Dante refers to Anicius Boethius (480-524) as "That joy who strips the world's of hypocrisies". Boethius was magister officiorum (Master of the King's Offices), one of the highest positions of the Roman Empire under king Theodoric. He was falsely accused of treason and while in prison wrote The Consolation of Philosophy, after which he was executed. Dante read this book after the death of Beatrice and was impressed by its clarity of thought. Boethius book dealt with human happiness and the possibility of achieving it amidst human sufferings and disappointments in life.
"There flames the glowing breath of Isidore,
Bede and that Richard who was wont to be
In speculation not a man, but more."
Isidore of Seville who in twenty volumes set down all that was known in the different fields of learning of his day. Bede (673-735) wrote the Ecclesiastical History of England. In the 12th century Richard of St. Victor wrote commentaries on the Old Testament, the Epistles of St. Paul and on the Apocalypse and works of mystical contemplation.
Finally we come to "The eternal light of Sieger", (Sieger Brabant) a doctor of philosophy at the university of Paris in the 13th Century. Sieger was one of those philosophers who explained Aristotle in the light of commentaries by Avveroes which , at times, was teachings contrary to the faith. "It is not the truth which Sieger believed, but truths as he saw them and deduced them according to logic."
8_St. Francis: Lady Poverty