[Milton-L] "Ontological superiority"

Horace Jeffery Hodges jefferyhodges at yahoo.com
Wed Jul 19 13:05:45 EDT 2006

Concerning James Rovira's argument about the
"ontological superiority" of "The Father" in Paradise
Lost, I suppose that Richard Strier and -- and
undoubtedly Michael Bryson -- might respond that one
could question whether the depiction of "The Father"
in Paradise Lost reflects "a god" or "The God."

Satan and the other fallen angels think that "The
Father" is merely "a god." What does Milton think?
Ostensibly, he rejects this view and thinks that "The
Father" is "The God." If I understand Bryson's
argument well, then Bryson thinks that Milton --
despite superficial appearances -- also considered
"The Father" as "a god" and therefore susceptible to
moral critique and in need of justification.

Bryson's subtext in his article on this issue --
"'That be far from thee': Divine Evil and Milton's
Attempt to 'Justify the ways of God to men'" Milton
Quarterly, May 2002, vol. 36, no. 2, pp. 87-105 -- is
an ironic one, namely, that "The Father" himself needs
a savior, Christ The Son, to receive the required
justification (in the Christian soteriological sense)
for his own moral failings.

In this scheme of things, "The Father" is the fallen
one, the sinful one, the one in need of redemption by
the sacrifice of "The Son." It's a pretty neat twist
on the traditional Christian economy of salvation.

Not that I agree that Milton intended this as the
proper interpretation of Paradise Lost, but I see the
argument's power...

Jeffery Hodges

University Degrees:

Ph.D., History, U.C. Berkeley
(Doctoral Thesis: "Food as Synecdoche in John's Gospel and Gnostic Texts")
M.A., History of Science, U.C. Berkeley
B.A., English Language and Literature, Baylor University

Email Address:

jefferyhodges at yahoo.com



Office Address:

Assistant Professor Horace Jeffery Hodges
Department of English Language and Literature
Korea University
136-701 Anam-dong, Seongbuk-gu
South Korea

Home Address:

Dr. Sun-Ae Hwang and Dr. Horace Jeffery Hodges
Sehan Apt. 102-2302
Sinnae-dong 795
Seoul 131-770
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