[Milton-L] De Doctrina Christiana

James Rovira jamesrovira at gmail.com
Sat Jan 10 13:24:52 EST 2009

Much appreciation for the clarity of Kim's presentation of the difference
between theological and doctrinal.  I attempted to make that distinction in
a reply to Hannibal.

Carrol -- PL can still be a Christian poem because those elements "repugnant
to Christianity" have been Christianized, and because the "Christian"
includes a recognition of Divine working through even "pagan" religions for
many Christian thinkers.  If we reduce Christianity to Puritanism, then yes,
its impossible to incorporate these elements into a Christian poem.  If we
allow our definition of Christianity to include the 1500 years or so before
the Reformation, then this is nothing new --  in this Christian tradition
this is very old hat.  It's amazing to me I even feel the need to bring it
up in this discussion.  The old gods are either angels or demons.  Socrates
was as close to being a Christian as you can get without knowing Christ.
It's amazing how much those guys got right apart from Divine revelation.

Defining characteristics of a Christian poem do not include the absence or
presence of pagan elements, but the context in which they are understood.
Milton's ambition was for his poem to surpass Mts. Horeb, Sinai, and Helicon
precisely because it is a Christian poem, one informed by the knowledge of
Christ (and Christian theology), so that Jewish and other pre-Christian
material are organized and contextualized within Christian thought.

The trinitarian question is another matter, but this is purely a debate
between Christians.  That trinitarians often claim one cannot be a Christian
without being a trinitarian doesn't obscure the fact that they are still
arguing with people who believe in Father, Son, and Holy Spirit and take the
NT as their primary religious text.

Jim R

On Sat, Jan 10, 2009 at 12:37 PM, Carrol Cox <cbcox at ilstu.edu> wrote:

> What does it mean to be a Christian poem anyhow, if one can include so
> many elements that are or could be so repugnant to so many versions of
> Christianity?
> Carrol
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