[Milton-L] A.E. Housman Misquoted on John Milton

Enna Martina eoor at planet.nl
Tue Jun 7 06:22:40 EDT 2011

God's will suggests a kind of absolute will, which cannot be the case. God's will is only partly free. I think Milton was aware of it.
Satan has a will too and the battle between God and Satan is the struggle between good and evil. The principle (conflict) of good and evil is also present in mankind. The principle of polarity is present in the cosmos as positive and negative poles just like in a magnet; starting from energy which is the basis, all of it works according to a certain logic. Mankind to a certain extent has a will too, but again, not absolute; this makes mankind contributory to the whole system.
According to Roger Penrose, the British mathematician and physicist, (also known for the Penrose tiling) it will turn out that morality is not a social phenomenon but has a deeper origin as a Platonic element in the cosmos. I quote Penrose (article in a journal): "For Plato and his ideal world three elements were important: truth, beauty and morality. I searched after the mathematical truth. That is the truth in its purest form, which already seems to exist somewhere and which one can discover. And anyway not per definition always connected with the physical world."
Cosmology is very interesting and seems as we progress to come closer to the old religious beliefs.
I apologise to the scholars, I could work it out if wanted.

Best regards,

Enna Martina.
  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Horace Jeffery Hodges 
  To: John Milton Discussion List 
  Sent: Monday, June 06, 2011 9:07 PM
  Subject: [Milton-L] A.E. Housman Misquoted on John Milton

  Fellow Milton enthusiasts might find interesting a misquote in a recent column by Bogdan Kipling:


    "And malt does more than Milton can; To justify God's will to man."

  I've blogged on this to point out that Housman wrote "ways," not "will":


  But I added a query:

    Housman himself was paraphrasing Milton's epic poem, Paradise Lost 1.26, which expresses Milton's desire to "justifie the wayes of God to men." I suspect that Milton would not have entirely liked the expression "justifie the will of God to men," for God's ways are not reducible to 'Will' alone, in Milton's thought, but include -- as that which informs His Will -- "Divine Reason," for Milton's God is a fully rational rather than arbitrarily willful deity.

    I'd be interested, by the way, in the views of others on this point, which might prove to be a contested one, though I don't recall any scholarly debate over the subjunctive question as to why Milton didn't seek to "justifie the will of God to men."

  What do others think. Did Milton perhaps choose "wayes" over "will" for the reason that I've speculated . . . or is this subjunctive query pointless?

  Jeffery Hodges


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