[Milton-L] I had to share this
jshoulson at miami.edu
Mon May 1 14:15:30 EDT 2006
Let's not forget, however, that this misidentification of Dante and
other Catholics as something other than Christian was very much at
the heart of English Protestantism during Milton's time and that
Milton was not above such an assertion. See, for instance, the
famous autobiographical introduction to the second book of The Reason
of Church Government:
"That what the greatest and choycest wits of Athens, Rome, or modern
Italy, and those Hebrews of old did for their country, I in my
proportion with this over and above of being a Christian, might doe
for mine: not caring to be once nam'd abroad, though perhaps I could
attaine to that, but content with these British Ilands as my world,
whose fortune hath hitherto bin, that if the Athenians, as some say,
made their small deeds great and renowned by their eloquent writers,
England hath had her noble atchievments made small by the unskilfull
handling of monks and mechanicks."
Notice how the modern Italians are classified with the Ancient Greeks
and Romans, i.e., the non-Christians.
Now the students in question may not have been alluding to this in
their own assertions, but their innocent misstatements can be used as
helpful teaching moments!
Jeffrey S. Shoulson, Ph. D.
Associate Professor of English
Director, George Feldenkreis Program in Judaic Studies (ON LEAVE, AY
Fellow, Sue and Leonard Miller Center for Contemporary Judaic Studies
University of Miami
5202 University Drive
Coral Gables, FL 33146
jshoulson at miami.edu
On May 1, 2006, at 12:21 PM, <gilliaca at jmu.edu> wrote:
>> My favorite student blooper regarding Milton occurred almost
> a decade
>> ago in a sophomore World Lit class:
>> "Dante was a Catholic. In contrast, Milton was a
>> Oh the joys of teaching in the Bible belt!
> Yes indeed. Some years ago I taught an honors seminar in
> which we read the Aeneid, the Divine Comedy, and Paradise
> Lost. One of my students complained that when we left 'that
> pagan' [Vergil] we went to a heretic [Dante]. Boy was she
> surprised at some of the things she found in PL!
> Cynthia A. Gilliatt
> English Department, JMU
> JMU Safe Zones participant
> "You have made God in your own image when God hates the same people
> you hate." Fr. John Weston
> Milton-L mailing list
> Milton-L at lists.richmond.edu
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