[Milton-L] The Milton Controversy and Satan

James Rovira jrovira at drew.edu
Tue Feb 15 19:36:31 EST 2005

I think one problem with Fish's thesis in _Surprised by Sin_ is that it 
demands a single attitude toward Satan at a time...attraction, then 
repulsion.  This is a fair reading and a good one for Fish's 
contemporaries, who have  no prior commitment to disgust with Satan (if 
anything, they have a prior, deliberate commitment to "openmindedness" 
or even "sympathy for the Devil"), but other readings from readers with 
different commitments than Fish's should be considered as well.  What I 
think "should" be felt from the perspective described in Ms. Barton's 
first post on this subject -- and perhaps from Milton's contemporaries 
-- is simultaneous attraction and repulsion, perhaps one coming to the 
front more often than another at different times, but both existing 
simultaneously in the most dramatic moments. Thinking of the 
Areopagitica and its description of the -same- book being able to be 
either a vehicle for lust or an opportunity to exercise reason, this 
type of thinking wasn't foreign to Milton either.  It represents a 
flesh/spirit dichotomy present in Christian thought from the beginning 
and worked out in different ways over the centuries.

Jim Rovira    

Carol Barton wrote:

>Ultimately unattractive, of course, Michael. But unattractive from the

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