[Milton-L]: Uriel Gliding Down a Sunbeam

carl bellinger bcarlb at comcast.net
Wed Feb 1 14:00:43 EST 2006

Has Milton's invocational language, for instance "there plant eyes... that I may see and tell of things invisible," ever been identified as gnostic?  Is he asking the holy light, the "coeternal beam," to beget here, to "plant" (like the Spirit brooded on the vast abyss, making it pregnant), a new creature, a poet with super-mortal powers of gnosis?  


  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: James Rovira 
  To: Milton-L at lists.richmond.edu 
  Sent: Tuesday, January 31, 2006 4:09 PM
  Subject: Re: [Milton-L]: Uriel Gliding Down a Sunbeam

  Thanks much for the response, Jameela.  I think the problem is that of contemporary vs. Renaissance/Restoration uses of the word "Gnosticism" (and for that matter, theological uses of the term vs. a historian's (such as Jonas) use of the term).  In theological circles and yes, probably to Milton, the word "gnostic" means "Christian heresy."  Contemporary writers have broadened the meaning; Eric Voegelin would probably say Milton was a gnostic at heart although I'm sure Milton himself would balk at the idea.  

  I wish I could address Mr. Kinder's question -- that requires more technical knowledge of Milton than I have.

  Jim Rovira  

  On 1/31/06, Jameela Lares <Jameela.Lares at usm.edu> wrote:

    I enjoyed your discussion, but on the point referenced above, I usually hear
    Renaissance understandings of Hermes Trismegistus lumped in with what they
    understood as "Platonism" (i.e., as filtered through Plotinus and later Ficino, 
    etc.) rather than with Gnosticism, which was seen as rather blatantly
    heretical, no?




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