[Milton-L] De Doctrina Christiana

James Rovira jamesrovira at gmail.com
Sun Jan 4 19:49:10 EST 2009

Hannibal --

Don't we need to distinguish between "theological truth" in general (which
potentially includes any statement about God) and theological writing?
Narrative is a normal mode for the expression of theological truths if we
take the books of Genesis and Exodus and the parables of Christ as examples,
and so is poetry if we take the great Greek myths and epics and the Hebrew
books of prophecy as examples.

The distinction I think we need to make is between writing designed to
advocate specific, precisely defined points of doctrine (systematic
theology) -- which would necessarily be prose, and abstract -- and
devotional theology designed to move the reader toward God both emotionally
and intellectually.  Both convey theological truths and both present
arguments, but in very different ways.  It's the difference between reading
Teresa of Avila and Calvin's Institutes.

Jim R

On Sun, Jan 4, 2009 at 2:27 PM, Hannibal Hamlin
<hamlin.hannibal at gmail.com>wrote:

>   If Milton really wanted to "justify the ways of God to man," to express
> theological truth as he understood it, why on earth would he choose a poem
> as the form in which to do it?
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