[Milton-L] Re: orthodox doctrine in Milton vs "tasteless" intention

Horace Jeffery Hodges jefferyhodges at yahoo.com
Fri Dec 17 19:04:58 EST 2010

Nairba wrote:

"The most liberal view and/or deviation and/or license and/or 
obscene orchestration Milton decided to insert is likely the creation and 
pre-lapsarian mentality and character of Jesus (the Son). He clearly means 
Jesus, so that's the name I'll use."

I don't think Milton would agree with this. Only with the incarnation does the 
Son receive the human name of "Jesus," and Milton does freely use that name in 
Paradise Regained. But nowhere does Milton use the name "Jesus" in Paradise 
Lost, so far as I know.

Jeffery Hodges

From: Nairba Sirrah <nairbasirrah at msn.com>
To: milton-l at lists.richmond.edu
Sent: Sat, December 18, 2010 1:39:33 AM
Subject: RE: [Milton-L] Re: orthodox doctrine in Milton vs "tasteless" intention

Thank you for contributing Professor Lares,
I simply did not list all of Milton's deviations from standard orthodox doctrine 
because I assumed many interested parties on here would have been already 
well-versed with them.
My point essentially, is that the biggest no-no (outside of being an atheist) in 
17th century England, was putting words in God's mouth that are not in the 
Bible. Not to mention events.
The most liberal view and/or deviation and/or license and/or 
obscene orchestration Milton decided to insert is likely the creation and 
pre-lapsarian mentality and character of Jesus (the Son). He clearly means 
Jesus, so that's the name I'll use.
It is essentially heresy, or just plain wrong, to invent events in the life of 
Jesus. Not to mention having him say things he didn't say, and give him credit 
for phrases and actions of the Old Testament...which the Old Testament clearly 
assigns to God the creator.
Ay, but there's the rub - Christianity over the years morphed Jesus into being 
just as much God as God (if not more so). When you smash theem with your fist, 
which is more disgusting? the chicjen? or the egg?
I suppose my defense of Mr. Lindall should have requested list participants to 
define "tasteless"...my definition of tatseless is: "not having the mental sense 
of artistic taste to taste a thought that would evoke more distaste than 
conceptual satisfaction."
I would sooner have been offended by the literal interpretation of the forbidden 
fruit being an actual piece of fruit than seeing the image of Adam and Eve 
having sex.
As for Milton being in line with the thinking of his time, that is most 
certainly not true. Milton's wild way of telling that story was most definitely 
the first time that had ever been done. The only time anyone's come close to 
altering the story of Jesus to that extent is The Book of Mormon - which, again, 
is likely simply the liberal invention of an 18-year old for the sake of 
"tasteless" manipulation of people who already have no detailed knowledge of 
biblical scripture.
If there's one thing I'm an expert at, it's knowing the difference between what 
the Bible says and what Milton says about what the Bible says. He tries to cover 
his tracks, but the glaring change in the tone of voice, when he suddenly 
inserts the condeming sentences of Genesis in Book X make the whole narrative 
suddenly fall apart. Book 12 is "orthodox" simply by necessity...to force it all 
"to work" even it doesn't work in the slightest of the foggiest. At least 
there's the part with Sin and Death dancing toward earth for comic relief.
In all seriousness though, from the moment where Milton has Jesus condemning the 
serpent to crawl on its belly, and for women to have birthing pains...there 
really isn't much point in reading any further, except to experience being 
embarassed for the poet's impossible task of "justifying the ways of Milton to 
> From: Jameela.Lares at usm.edu
> To: milton-l at lists.richmond.edu
> Date: Fri, 17 Dec 2010 06:04:29 -0600
> Subject: RE: [Milton-L] Re: "tasteless" Milton (response)
> Actually, many of Milton's readings reflect standard thinking. The Bible was 
>thought in his time to be a doctrinally unified, so that one part glossed 
>another. Satan is called "that old serpent, which is the Devil" in Rev. 20:2, at 
>almost the opposite end of the text, which placement has a nice symmetry. And 
>Paradise Lost quotes from all over the Bible. (See especially Sims, The Bible in 
>Milton's Epics, but even Sims's listing does not include everything.)
> Milton's epic was thought to be completely orthodox until the publication of 
>his De Doctrina Christianity in 1825. Recently, some people have been reading it 
>as fissured. Pendulums swing. 
> You are certainly welcome to your own interpretation of life, the universe, and 
>everything, but you might consider whether you are reading an interpretation 
>into Milton that the text cannot support. In another post, you made certain 
>statements about Christianity: "[Milton] not only changed the facts that govern 
>Christianity, he completely deleted the central virtue: the worth of human 
>decision, our inherant power to change the future. The glory of Christianity is 
>that painful sacrifice is a virtue, and that even a divine being would choose to 
>endure that pain to prove it to all eternity. That we have a choice in life. But 
>Milton's version takes away the choice." That's actually not Christianity, which 
>is rather a statement that man's sins have separated him from God, Christ's 
>sacrifice has permitted us back in, but that we have to accept his government. 
>But Milton's explanation of soteriology in Paradise Lost 12 and elsewhere is 
> Jameela Lares
> Professor of English
> The University of Southern Mississippi
> 118 College Drive, #5037
> Hattiesburg, MS 39406-0001
> 601 266-4319 ofc
> 601 266-5757 fax
> ________________________________________
> From: milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu [milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu] 
>On Behalf Of Nairba Sirrah [nairbasirrah at msn.com]
> Sent: Friday, December 17, 2010 12:59 AM
> To: milton-l at lists.richmond.edu
> Subject: RE: [Milton-L] Re: "tasteless" Milton (response)
> Anyhow, none of any of that is how it reads in any form of Judiasm or 
>Christianity. Much of what Milton did was against the law in 1667. The reality 
>that Paradise Lost was approved for publication by the office of the Bishop of 
>Canterbury is astonishing.
> Milton basically changed all of God's reasons for doing everything, and made an 
>epic mockery out of every divine and human decision.
> Essentially saying "if god forsees the future, then there was no chance that 
>Eve had a choice...so why forbid her from doing something fate dictated she wwas 
>going to do anyway."
> I realize the Pandora's Box this opens. But again, in defense of my point, 
>Milton's reworking of the essential narrative is quantum and, I dare say, wrong. 
>He might as well have just made up a whole new religion. At what point does a 
>Milton emmendation become too ridiculous? Saying Raphael warned them is HUGE. 
>Why not say Adam ate the fruit first?
> The license Milton took is too far out of bounds. The main reason it's not 
>talked about is hardly anyone ever reads the whole poem.
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