Fw: [Milton-L] apostasy and apology

J. W. Creaser john.creaser at mansfield.ox.ac.uk
Thu Jan 3 13:10:28 EST 2008

I would second Larry Isitt here. The passage at 6.680-4 has long seemed to me one of the least veiled of Arian passages in the poem. It consistently distinguishes between God himself ('I am') and his image the Son, while an omnipotence that is second cannot be omnipotent.

Incidentally, re the point at the end of Greg Machacek's message, there is no lack of evidence that Milton's Arianism was strongly suspected before the publication of DDC. See, for example, Bauman.

John Creaser

----- Original Message ----- 
From: Larry Isitt 
To: John Milton Discussion List 
Sent: Thursday, January 03, 2008 5:31 PM
Subject: RE: [Milton-L] apostasy and apology

My thanks, Gregory, 

I neglected to comment. The lines immediately preceding "Second Omnipotence," I think, subtract from Milton's seeming orthodox assertion of equality between Father and Son, because what is said is that the Son is only able to reflect the Father's glory, not possess full deity inherently: the Son is but the "Effulgence of my Glory," "what by Deity I am," "what by Decree I do" [6.680-83] Thus, "Second Omnipotence" is more an assertion of what I would call deity extended to a second, which accords with the Arian concept of the Son. 


Larry R. Isitt

English Dept

College of the Ozarks

Point Lookout, MO 65726

Email: isitt at cofo.edu

Office: 417-334-6411 x4269 

"All flesh is grass...the grass withereth...but the word of our God shall stand forever" (Isa 40: 6,8) 

-----Original Message-----

From: milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu [mailto:milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu] On Behalf Of Gregory Machacek

Sent: Wednesday, January 02, 2008 5:26 PM

To: John Milton Discussion List

Subject: RE: [Milton-L] apostasy and apology


Larry Isitt asserts:  "Furthermore, in all of Paradise Lost, there is not a single clear reference to the Son by any of the attributes mentioned in this list." (Omnipotent, 

Immutable, Immortal, Infinite, 

Eternal King; thee Author of all being, 

Fountain of Light) 


But at 6.684 the Father addresses the Son as "Second Omnipotence."


I'm not claiming this counters all of the evidence of Milton's Arianism (which, however, had not been strongly felt within the poem before On Christian Doctrine surfaced).  And perhaps the "second" makes this not "clear" reference to the Son by any of the attributes.  But I couldn't let the categorical claim rest unqualified.


Happy New Year All,


Greg Machacek

Associate Professor of English

Marist College



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