[Milton-L] The TeaM: Plasma

Dario Rivarossa dario.rivarossa at gmail.com
Wed Dec 1 06:43:21 EST 2010

E col denso di lui l’acque distinse
Vaghe, rare, sottili e preste e snelle,
O di ondeggiante o di gelata e salda
Natura in sé raccolta. E dipartille,
Altre sotto lasciando, altre di sovra.

_____Torquato Tasso, Il Mondo Creato 2.53-57

(Subject: God; object: the firmament, i.e. “solid layer”)

And by its denseness He split the waters:
Fickle, thin, fine and quick and nimble;
Or of wavy nature, or frozen and solid
Self-gathering one. And He parted them,
The latter leaving below, the former above.

Tasso had to sweat blood to reconcile the Bible, the Catholic
theology, and the contemporary science and philosophy. As a matter of
fact, his position was much more thorny than Milton’s, who
programmatically acted as a free thinker.
Tasso didn’t want to interpret the book of Genesis only as an allegory
(as some Church Fathers did, instead). On the other hand, he was too
much of a genius to be content with a simple, literal reading of the
Holy Scripture, just while the western civilization round him
discovered a lot of new exciting horizons.
So, it often happened as it happens in this case: he tried to read the
verses in the Bible as a brief hint at greater sceneries. The outcome
often proves striking. Here, e.g., these “fickle, thin, fine and quick
and nimble” waters that stretch beyond the stars look like a “fine and
quick” description of the cosmic plasma.

As a cultural parallel, there are nowadays Muslim thinkers who adopt
this very method in order to find cosmological revelations in the
Koran: black holes etc. It is too early to foresee if this approach
will lead – not to a flat concordism – but to some unexpected
development, letting us view the universe from alternative
standpoints. Why not? See Paul Feyerabend.

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