[Milton-L] Directly

alan horn alanshorn at gmail.com
Sun Jul 30 22:15:07 EDT 2006

Professor Herman's point in bringing this passage to the attention of
the list was not to argue that God sometimes speaks inaccurately, or
that He is "a little loose with the truth," as another list member put
it. He was challenged to produce some textual basis for his contention
that God is portrayed in PL as cruel and mendacious, and this is what
he offered in reply. No doubt in a more expansive format he would have
cited further examples, but since he only chose one we can assume it
was his best shot. So the question is not whether God's description of
Satan's course is strictly correct, but whether it shows God to be
mendacious (Professor Herman's own word).

Professor Skulsky was very precise about what such an argument would
require. Professor Herman has cited a specific passage, but he has not
used this example to make the argument he was requested to make. He
has not "applied unambiguous moral criteria that Milton demonstrably
shares with his intended audience" and he has not established that
Milton either intentionally or inadvertently presented God as
misbehaving by those criteria (Professor Skulsky's crucial, if
misnumbered, points 2 and 3). He has neither answered Professor
Skulsky's question nor made a coherent argument of any kind.

By dismissing or avoiding these reasonable requests, I'm afraid
Professor Herman has to be judged as failing to live up to the very
high moral standards he sets for God.

Alan H.

More information about the Milton-L mailing list