[Milton-L] M and the hidden God

Horace Jeffery Hodges jefferyhodges at yahoo.com
Sat Jul 29 15:07:36 EDT 2006

Richard Strier wrote:

Here's a new Proverb of Hell for Michael Bryson &
others who talk about M's "hidden God":

"Milton would have done better if he had kept his God
more hidden."

I'd suggest shortening this proverb:

"Better Milton had done to keep his God more hidden."

This way, we have a wordplay between "had done" and

Alas, Milton wanted it both ways: a hidden God
rationally portrayed in human terms to accomodate our
limited understanding, as Raphael notes in PL

High matter thou injoinst me, O prime of men,
Sad task and hard, for how shall I relate
To human sense th' invisible exploits [565]
Of warring Spirits; how without remorse
The ruin of so many glorious once
And perfet while they stood; how last unfould
The secrets of another World, perhaps
Not lawful to reveal? yet for thy good [570]
This is dispenc't, and what surmounts the reach
Of human sense, I shall delineate so,
By lik'ning spiritual to corporal forms,
As may express them best, though what if Earth
Be but the shaddow of Heav'n, and things therein [575]
Each to other like, more then on earth is thought?

The consequence of this is a God lacking in mystery. A
more shrouded God might have evoked that mysterium
tremendum that Otto associated with the presence of
the Holy -- rather missing in Milton's pedantic God.

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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