[Milton-L] Areopagitica in the NYPL

Nancy Charlton pastorale55 at yahoo.com
Tue Feb 10 00:33:05 EST 2009

Could Milton have had in mind John 3:5: "...Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God"?  The whole thing as a metaphor of "life" would be implicit, and perhaps "book" would be a metaphor for word/Word. 

Further, is it possible that the Genesis verse in implicit in the John passage, and this somehow brings the whole thing round full circle?

Nancy Charlton


. . . Ring out, ye crystal spheres

--- On Mon, 2/9/09, James Rovira <jamesrovira at gmail.com> wrote:
From: James Rovira <jamesrovira at gmail.com>
Subject: Re: [Milton-L] Areopagitica in the NYPL
To: "John Milton Discussion List" <milton-l at lists.richmond.edu>
Date: Monday, February 9, 2009, 7:29 PM

But in the passage from A that you quoted, a "book" is the
of a "master spirit."  Book = blood = spirit, not life = blood =
spirit.  How does that fit Gen. 9:4 and make any sense, except
metaphorically?  A book, this physical object made of vellum or
whatever materials, is the "lifeblood" -- how is that possible? 
assuming the word "book" here is a synecdoche for the contents of a
book -- the product of a human rational capacity -- which has to be
embodied somehow (in a living human being or on pages) in order to
continue to communicate at all.  If we don't get a person's ideas from
the person or from their book, we don't get a person's ideas.

Books themselves are very much living things in Milton's mind, they're
like an alternate embodiment of the human rational capacity.

Jim R

On Mon, Feb 9, 2009 at 9:34 PM, Horace Jeffery Hodges
<jefferyhodges at yahoo.com> wrote:
> James, I had assumed that Milton was thinking of such Old Testament
> as Genesis 9:4:
> But flesh with the life thereof, [which is] the blood thereof, shall ye
> eat.
> After all, "the blood is the life" -- a nefesh (person, life,
soul) breathed
> into mankind by God, who is Ruach (Spirit). Of course, Milton may have had
> lots of things in mind, so I'm not discounting your analysis.
> But what did "imbalm" mean in Milton's time?
> Jeffery Hodges
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