[Milton-L] RE: Samson's prayer for revengr

James Rovira jamesrovira at gmail.com
Sat Feb 23 21:41:59 EST 2008


Thanks much for the detail.  Ambiguity toward the person of Samson in
17thC sermons seems to support a reading of the lines in question as
ambiguous, doesn't it?  Reading Paul's most recent post I get the
impression that our options here are to read the poem as a form of
Christian midrash, filling in gaps for the sake of answering questions
and for the purpose of edification, or to read the poem as Milton's
attempt to use the story of Samson to comment on something else.  At
present I read PL as a kind of Christian midrash in the sense
described above.  I'm not currently reading SA that way, however.
Milton seems primarily concerned with the end of Samson's life, while
Biblical material covers a great deal more.

Jim R

On Sat, Feb 23, 2008 at 9:31 PM, Sara van den Berg <vandens at slu.edu> wrote:
> If you want to contextualize the poem in terms of 17th c English
>  Christians, then it is worth noting that Samson was a controversial
>  figure in 17th c sermons.  Some were pro-Samson; others were not.  Some
>  sermons treated Samson as a type of Christ; others did not.  Joseph
>  Wittreich surveys the debate in his book on SA.  Another context, of
>  course, is the publication of SA with PR, a juxtaposition that invites
>  Milton's readers to compare/contrast Samson and Christ.  The questions
>  just keep getting bigger.
>
>  Sara van den Berg
>


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