[Milton-L] The irrelevance of Satan's character

John Rumrich rumrich at mail.utexas.edu
Fri Jul 21 11:35:24 EDT 2006

There is a reverend study of Milton and Origen: HF Robins, If this be  
Heresy: A Study of Milton and Origen.  I also seem to recall Milton  
commenting on Origen in his commonplace book, disparagingly.  I think  
it had to do with Origen's literal reading of making oneself a eunuch  
for the kingdom of God (Matt 19.12).

It also seems pertinent to this thread that Milton insists on the  
distinction between what God wills and the ethical good.  As he  
writes in Defense of the English People regarding a the killing of a  
tyrant, "if he commanded it, it was surely permissible, praiseworthy,  
and noble.  It was not however permissible and good to put a tyrant  
to death because God commanded it, but rather God commanded it  
because it was permissible and good" (YP 4.407).  The notion of a  
theodicy presumes this logical distinction.  Various Christian  
traditions may efface it; Milton did not.

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