[Milton-L] 'Myth' of "Unfallen" language

Diane McColley dmccolley at earthlink.net
Sun Sep 30 19:39:49 EDT 2007

 From  Christian Doctrine I, Chapter 18:

"Regeneration is that change operated by the Word and the Spirit, 
whereby the old man being destroyed, the inward man is regenerated by 
God after his own image, in all the faculties of his mind, insomuch 
that he becomes as it were a new creature, and the whole man is 
sanctified both in body and soul, for the service of God, and the 
performance of good works.  Is regenerated by God: namely, the Father, 
for no one generates, except the Father.  In all the faculties of his 
mind; that is to say, in understanding and will.  This renewal of the 
will can mean nothing, but a restoration to its former liberty."

The statement seems to me to imply that for Milton a person's faculties 
of understanding and will, employed in the   poet's production of 
language, can be in the process of regeneration regardless of which 
language the person uses, in the case of the poet with the help of the 
"Heav'nly Muse" and the "Spirit" invoked in 1.17-26.  Of course the 
poem is not entirely "outside of Christian dogma" and contains speeches 
that are obviously prelapsarian and postlapsarian, but since the 
language of the poem as a whole can't be called either fallen or 
unfallen, I'm suggesting a third state, a process of renewal.

On Sep 30, 2007, at 12:30 PM, Carrol Cox wrote:

> Diane McColley wrote:
>> I'd like to pitch in with my usual refrain, that the choice between 
>> pre- or post- lapsarian implies a third possiblity, regenerate.
> But this is not a statement about the poem; it's a statement about the
> universe. "Fallen," "Unfallen," and regenerate are meaningless outside
> of Christian dogma. To be relevant to the poem you would have to show
> how the poem invents an arbitrary set of signals that a given passage 
> is
> "regenerate." The language of the poem remains 17th-c English.
> Carrol
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