[Milton-L] The Tyrant's plea

John Rumrich rumrich at mail.utexas.edu
Sun Jul 30 17:35:57 EDT 2006

Professor Strier is certainly correct to say that the Son plays no  
necessary part.  Milton unequivocally asserts in Christian Doctrine  
1.5 that even the Son's generation occurs freely, according to the  
Father's sovereign freedom.  In PL the character of God insists that  
necessity keeps its distance from him, and the Son voluntarily  
chooses to do what he will do.  The method of salvation they light  
upon is not the necessary one.  It's the one they extemporize, so to  
speak.  I don't see the problem with acknowledging this.  Milton  
never associates the necessary with the praiseworthy so far as I can  

John Rumrich

On Jul 30, 2006, at 2:59 PM, Richard Strier wrote:

> Brief response to Mr. Fleming:
> 1) re the Son's role, Mr. F says:  "I think Diane McColley has  
> already done this. But the point hardly requires proving."
> First of all, Prof. McColley's response includes its own refutation  
> (Father could have done it himself).  Moreover, simply to say a  
> point doesn't need proving won't/can't make any impression on  
> someone who thinks that it does need proving.  A supercilious  
> assertion is not an argument.  I have heard no response to my point  
> about the Father's first speech in Bk 3, where he says,  
> unequivocally, that man will find grace, and gives his own purely  
> moral reasons for this decision. The Son is not mentioned.  But I  
> feel that I am starting to repeat myself, which I do not wish to  
> do.  My point, to try to clarify it, is not that the Son is not  
> given things to do by the Father, and perhaps morally tested in Bk  
> 3; my point is that nothing that the Son does is required by the  
> theology of the poem.
> 2) re hermeneutics, I am not recommending esotericism or  
> Straussianism.  But I have said all I am going to say about this  
> topic, and probably the above one as well, since I think the  
> discussion is becoming  unproductive.  Others may wish to carry on  
> this discussion, however.
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