[Milton-L] milton's all

John Rumrich rumrich at mail.utexas.edu
Thu Sep 20 15:53:34 EDT 2007

I've also puzzled over this one and, for what it's worth, read the  
passage in question as Professor Skulsky does.

On Sep 20, 2007, at 10:22 AM, Harold Skulsky wrote:

> Teskey's interpretation of PL 7.168-173 won't work, at least as  
> paraphrased by Machacek. If God withdraws to heaven from some  
> sector of space, then the unqualified claim of divine omnipresence  
> is false.
> What God the Father actually says here, on the contrary, is that  
> space is still NOT EMPTY--he remains omnipresent--EVEN THOUGH HE  
> "RETIRES" HIMSELF. The "retirement" in question is not his  
> departure from a given space, but (as God explicitly glosses  
> "retire" ad loc.) his free choice not to "act"--put forth  
> "goodness" creatively--at a space that he nevertheless continues to  
> occupy. He has not been brought on absurdly to compromise one of  
> his own essential attributes.
> Like Plutarch and other ancient writers, Milton is a many-worlds  
> cosmologist. (In his case the multiple worlds are heaven, earth,  
> chaos, and hell.) The  *metacosmia* or intervals between the worlds  
> are precisely parts of the essential substance of God ("I AM WHO  
> fill infinitude") where he practices "retirement" by choosing (so  
> far) not to create. In short, the universe or totality in which the  
> Miltonic worlds are embedded is God himself, not some created  
> matrix-cosmos or "multiverse."
> By virtue of his essential omnipresence, Milton's God is an  
> essentially spatial (or "extended" or "material") being; but this  
> will come as no surprise to readers of CD.
> (Incidentally, the "verse" in "universe" is not etymologically a  
> reference to the revolution of the spheres. *Universus-a-um" is an  
> archaic Latin synonym of *omnis* "all"; the point of "versus" is  
> that, to constitute an "all" or totality, many things need to be  
> "turned" into  one collective thing (*uni-*). As a cosmological  
> term, *universum*--"the All" par excellence--is Latin for Gk *to  
> pan.*)
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