[Milton-L] Strier, disquised departures

carl bellinger bcarlb at comcast.net
Fri Aug 11 13:49:07 EDT 2006

Prof. Strier wrote,
> From my point of view, it does no good to quote stuff where the poem looks 
> or sounds like standard Christian theology (death for death, etc), since M 
> wants the poem to look that way.  PL works to disguise M's major 
> departures from normative Xtianity-- and he seems to have convinced his 
> critics to see him as more orthodox than he actually was (as an Arian, 
> mortalist, rationalist, etc).  Whether M merely wants, in some sense, to 
> have it both ways here; or whether he is doing some sort of "Straussian" 
> devious thing; or whether he expected closed readers to notice the sham; 
> or whether he was confused and contradictory in what he believed; or 
> whether he did not want to own up to his lack of use for the central 
> mythos of Xtianity-- I do not know.

Should "gnostic" or "cabalistic" be added to this fine catalog of possible 
_disguised departures_ in Milton?  (perhaps subsumed under "Straussian?")

Separate question: are there any indications in Puritan, or Quaker 
literature, or other Protestant permutations in Milton's England, of 
cabalistical/gnostic/mystical interests such as would inform poetic 

Were the Cambridge Platonists allowed under some Protestant standard, or 
considered entirely outside the pale?


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