[Milton-L] Milton and the crucifixion, etc

jfleming at sfu.ca jfleming at sfu.ca
Fri Jul 28 14:07:17 EDT 2006

What evidence can there be for M's (or any writer's) "unconsciously
critiquing his own overt system of beliefs"?

No empty predications, please. JD Fleming


On Fri, 28 Jul 2006 14:26:53 -0500 milton-l at lists.richmond.edu wrote:
> (The 
> Son in PL has no necessary role, except to serve as an irritant to 
> Satan.	

A rather remarkable statement. Illuminating, in its verifiable
erroneousness, the possibility that "soteriological scheme" (below) is not
the point or interest of M's representation.

In the first speech in Book 3, the Father has already decided 
> to give erring man a chance (and the erring angels, none), so the 
> Son's "intervention" is not really part of the soteriological scheme. 
> And driving dad's chariot in Book VI is not much of a role.)	So, 
> talk about the meaning of the crucifixion is basically irrelevant to 
> Milton. 
> For a successful theodicy, see Charles Hartshorne, The Divine 
> Relativity, etc.  H's idea is that to get a morally acceptable 
> picture of God in relation to evil one has to give up some of the 
> traditional attributes (i.e. can't keep both absolute goodness and 
> absolute power).  It's quite a brilliant treatment, and does not rely 
> on empty predication like "the best that can be thought."
> Re Milton intending the Father to look mean, etc, I do not at all 
> agree with my friend Peter H.  This is why the notion of M writing 
> "in fetters" (Blake) when he wrote of God, and unconsciously 
> critiquing his own overt system of beliefs (Shelley) are so powerful. 
> The rational-choice model of theodicy has many problems, but it is 
> definitely the one M chose.  I think that there's lots of bad writing 
> in the treatment of God and heaven in PL.  Again, I would refer folks 
> to my essay on why Eden is better than heaven (writing about Eden, M 
> was not in fetters).
> And, of course, Steve F is right about M's Arminianism and rationalism.

James Dougal Fleming, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of English,
Simon Fraser University,
(604) 291-4713
cell: 778-865-0926

Laissez parler les faits.

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