[Milton-L] "the only great Christian writer this nation has produced"

Dr. Larry Gorman larry at eastwest.edu
Thu Jan 21 14:06:34 EST 2010


I agree with Hannibal about the relation between greatness and
orthodoxy.  It seems to me that an orthodox imaginative can explore
creation, sin, atonement, and grace.  The trinity seems the kind of
point best left to theologians.  I would think that orthodoxy is a
structuring and limiting principle for the imagination, which the
imagination stretches and subverts.  A really orthodox writer would be
doctrinaire.  

 

________________________________

From: milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu
[mailto:milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu] On Behalf Of Michael Gillum
Sent: Thursday, January 21, 2010 12:49 PM
To: John Milton Discussion List
Subject: Re: [Milton-L] "the only great Christian writer this nation has
produced"

 

Surely there is a core of orthodoxy roughly defined by the principal
creeds and entailing the concepts of creation, sin, atonement through
Christ, the necessity of grace, and the trinity. Orthodoxy refers mainly
to doctrine, not to ecclesiastical polity or forms of worship.
Unitarian-Universalism would be an example of heterodoxy. 

 

Michael

On Thu, Jan 21, 2010 at 1:35 PM, Michael Gillum <mgillum at unca.edu>
wrote:

Eliot was "produced by this nation." as per the stipulated
characteristics. He was also a great and orthodox Christian writer.
Wouldn't Hawthorne also qualify? I really like Flannery O'Conner, but
the claim looks pretty silly.

 

Michael

On Thu, Jan 21, 2010 at 12:04 PM, Hannibal Hamlin
<hamlin.hannibal at gmail.com> wrote:

	The problem with all such value judgements is that they depend
upon various definition arguments. From reading Flannery O'Connor, for
instance, I'd be inclined to seriously question her "orthodoxy." Indeed
-- an idle thought -- might "greatness" and "orthodoxy" usually exist in
writers in inverse proportion? But then of course "greatness" is even
more difficult to define. And what, moreover, makes a writer
"religious"? I'd make a case for both Whitman and Dickinson as
religious, though they were far from orthodox. Certainly great. I
suppose we could even debate the parameters of "American." What about
T.S. Eliot?

	 

	Hannibal

	 

	
	
	 

	On Wed, Jan 20, 2010 at 6:01 PM, Horace Jeffery Hodges
<jefferyhodges at yahoo.com> wrote:

	I see that I've not been clear. I wasn't contesting the
exclusion of Milton from American writers, merely wondering if the same
logic, applied to Milton, would exclude him from a list of Christian
writers generally.

	 

	 

	But I seem also to have been wrong about Professor Wood being on
this list. Must be some other list. Apologies for the distraction. Now
back to the program "Cosmos," which is still in progress . . .

	 

	 

	Jeffery Hodges

	 

	
________________________________


	From: "Campbell, W. Gardner" <Gardner_Campbell at baylor.edu>
	To: John Milton Discussion List <milton-l at lists.richmond.edu>
	Sent: Thu, January 21, 2010 7:51:33 AM
	Subject: Re: [Milton-L] "the only great Christian writer this
nation has produced"

	
	Ralph's not on this list (so far as I know). In the interview,
he's speaking of US writers only. Still a debatable point, of course.
	
	Gardner
	
	Sent from my iPhone
	
	On Jan 20, 2010, at 4:37 PM, "Horace Jeffery Hodges"
<jefferyhodges at yahoo.com<mailto:jefferyhodges at yahoo.com>> wrote:
	
	
	Because I'm a Baylor alumnus, I receive regular emails from that
university on things that Baylor professors are doing. This morning, I
received an email informing me that our Milton List's very own Ralph
Wood has appeared on the PBS "Religion & Ethics Newsweekly" in a segment
about Flannery O'Connor:
	
	
	
	
	
	
<http://www2.baylor.edu/baylorproud/2010/01/baylor-professors-share-thei
r-expertise-with-pbs-other-news-outlets/>http://www2.baylor.edu/baylorpr
oud/2010/01/baylor-professors-share-their-expertise-with-pbs-other-news-
outlets/
	
	
	
	
	
	Professor Wood appears at about 37 seconds into the segment, and
he makes the interesting claim that O'Conner is America's "only great
Christian writer" of literature. He later qualifies this remark by
adding "orthodox Christian."
	
	
	
	
	
	I'm curious, then, what Professor Wood might say about Milton.
Since Milton was unorthodox in his theology, does that make him not a
"great Christian writer"?
	
	
	
	
	
	I'm not being polemical, by the way, I'm simply curious.
	
	
	
	
	
	Jeffery Hodges
	
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	-- 
	Hannibal Hamlin
	Associate Professor of English
	The Ohio State University
	164 West 17th Ave., 421 Denney Hall
	Columbus, OH 43210-1340
	hamlin.22 at osu.edu/
	hamlin.hannibal at gmail.com
	
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