[Milton-L] Chaos: "Eternal Anarchie"

Horace Jeffery Hodges jefferyhodges at yahoo.com
Sat May 20 06:16:26 EDT 2006

Sorry to respond so late with this. I've been very
busy (and am only taking a break from my busy-ness to
do this).

I (Jeffery Hodges) wrote:

>>(5) Or [by "Eternal Anarchie,"] does Milton mean
"timeless" -- time, after all, is lost here [in chaos]
(line 894).<<

Salwa Khoddam replied:

>I've just finished teaching PL so it is on my
mind..Just a thought about your question..  since
Milton believed that God created the universe ex Deo,
I would assume that matter existed with God.  It
became formless because He "retired" from it to create
the heavens, hell, and earth by exercising His
creative virtue (see VII,168 ff.). Chaos existed
before the events of PL So it seems to me that your #
5 is a the better answer.<

But in that case, would chaos have existed as "Eternal
Anarchie"? Presumably, it wouldn't have been anarchy
until God retired from it.

(And doesn't retiring from it suggest that it is
something distinct from God? -- but that's another

If the anarchy of chaos is eternal, then something
distinct from God would have eternal existence.

Or maybe I'm remembering my distinctions incorrectly.
If "Eternal Anarchie" means that time is lost, then
this anarchy bears a resemblance to divine eternity,
which is timeless.

Can anybody straighten this out? What did Milton mean
by "Eternal Anarchie"?

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

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