[Milton-L] the Immaculate Conception

Dennis Danielson danielso at interchange.ubc.ca
Sun Dec 19 00:42:13 EST 2010

OK, so this hasn't much to do with Milton. And perhaps I shouldn't rise 
to the bait. But Mr. Sirrah's assumptions are apparently false 
(infuriating, too, but let that pass) on two counts:

1. The Roman Catholic doctrine of the Immaculate Conception states that 
*Mary* was conceived without sin; it wasn't officially formulated as 
dogma until the 19th century.

2. If Sirrah means to say that *Mary* was impregnated against her will, 
that statement is contrary to the plain meaning of the biblical account 
of Luke 2:26-38 (See below, noting the future tense in the angel's "you 
will conceive," plus Mary's compliant response).

I'm done, except to thank Louis Schwartz for his eminently sensible 
comments yesterday, and to wish my fellow Miltonists all the blessings 
of the season, whatever feasts or festivals they observe.

Dennis Danielson

Luke 2:26-38

In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel 
to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a 
man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. The 
angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The 
Lord is with you.”

Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of 
greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, 
Mary; you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to 
a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be 
called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne 
of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; 
his kingdom will never end.”

“How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”

The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of 
the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be 
called[b] the Son of God. Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have 
a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is 
in her sixth month. For no word from God will ever fail.”

“I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be 

On 10-12-18 9:07 PM, Nairba Sirrah wrote:
> in the vein of considering the classic epic hero and the classic epic
> villain, let us remember that "the immaculate conception" was (if it
> actually happened) categorically...rape. Anytime you impregnate a woman
> against her will, it is rape.
> So if Satan is the hero, guess who's the villain.

Dennis Danielson
Professor of English
University of British Columbia
#397 - 1873 East Mall
Vancouver, BC, Canada V6T 1Z1
telephone: 604-822-4092
Author: The First Copernican
Editor: Paradise Lost, Parallel Prose Edition
WEB: http://faculty.arts.ubc.ca/ddaniels/

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