[Milton-L] Re: Eve seeking temptation

Horace Jeffery Hodges jefferyhodges at yahoo.com
Tue Sep 8 18:13:42 EDT 2009


Jim, I don't think that Milton is insincere in his intention of justifying God's ways to men. Rather, I was simply noting that Milton does raise the question of whether or not the God who placed the tree of knowledge in the garden is the true God -- and that Milton raises this question through Satan's temptation, which Eve falls for.
 
My question concerned Milton's answer to this crucial question, for I find that I cannot easily recapitulate Milton's reply to Satan.
 
Jeffery Hodges


--- On Tue, 9/8/09, James Rovira <jamesrovira at gmail.com> wrote:


From: James Rovira <jamesrovira at gmail.com>
Subject: Re: [Milton-L] Re: Eve seeking temptation
To: "John Milton Discussion List" <milton-l at lists.richmond.edu>
Date: Tuesday, September 8, 2009, 2:38 PM


Jeffery -- assuming Milton is sincere in his claim to "justify the
ways of God to man," I think Milton gave us his answer by explaining
to his readers the very purpose of his poem.  If he makes that claim
ironically, then of course that changes the entire tenor of the poem.
And yes, in this case Milton should be read as a very sophisticated
Gnostic author writing a story about another fallen creator-god.  You
may believe that is true about the Jewish and Christian God, but was
that Milton's belief?

I'm fairly confident, however, that Milton's readers would know God
was good and Satan was not to be trusted even without Milton telling
them.  Seems like he does, though, here and there, does he not?   Even
apart from these widespread assumptions, doesn't Satan come to seem
very small and petty well before the end of the poem?  Even Shelley
didn't think he was a fit subject for his own mythological poem.

Jim R

On Tue, Sep 8, 2009 at 3:31 PM, Horace Jeffery
Hodges<jefferyhodges at yahoo.com> wrote:
> Jim Rovira wrote:
>
> "This reasoning assumes that God is indeed God, of course, which is an
> assumption that I think Milton held."
>
> But it's an assumption that Satan questions, and brings Eve to question, so
> Milton must be raising the issue, too. Satan and his fallen companions are
> shown openly questioning whether or not the God who has defeated them is
> truly God -- or merely a superior angel who happened to come into being
> before the rest of them and thereby had an advantage.
>
> What answer does Milton provide to this question?
>
> Jeffery Hodges
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