[Milton-L] "As by his Word . . ."

Jameela Lares Jameela.Lares at usm.edu
Mon Feb 14 13:29:16 EST 2011

In All the Names in Heaven: A Reference Guide to Milton's Supernatural Names and Epic Similes (Scarecrow, 2002), Larry R. Isitt has traced the naming patterns in Paradise Lost to conclude that it is indeed an Arian text. I have always found Isitt's argument quite compelling.

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 Gregory Machacek [Gregory.Machacek at marist.edu]
Sent: Monday, February 14, 2011 11:12 AM
To: John Milton Discussion List
Subject: RE: [Milton-L] "As by his Word . . ."

I don't feel as fully in possession of the theological knowledge as I would
like to be in order to put this possibility, but when these issues come up,
I sometimes wonder if it would be better to describe Milton as "no more
Trinitarian than Scripture allows" rather than "Arian" tout court.  If the
Bible one time refers to the Son as  "the firstborn of all creation" and
elsewhere as being "in the beginning with God," perhaps Milton deliberately
left his poem and his treatise similarly ambiguous on this matter, on his
principle that the Bible presents God as He feels is properly accommodated
to our limited minds.

In On Christian Doctrine, in the sections where Milton offers positions
that we label "Arian," does he himself explicitly use that term, or somehow
acknowledge that he is aware his views are similar to those of a known

Greg Machacek
Professor of English
Marist College

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