[Milton-L] Bk 3

Horace Jeffery Hodges horacejeffery at gmail.com
Sat Oct 26 18:36:40 EDT 2013


Did Milton hold that all mankind would find grace?

Jeffery Hodges

Ewha Womans University
Seoul, South Korea


Novella: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00E18KW0K (*The Bottomless Bottle of Beer
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Doctoral Thesis: "Food as Synecdoche in the Gospel of John and Gnostic
Texts"


Ph.D., History, U.C. Berkeley
M.A., History of Science, U.C. Berkeley
B.A., English Language and Literature, Baylor University


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On Sun, Oct 27, 2013 at 5:14 AM, Richard A. Strier <rastrier at uchicago.edu>wrote:

> SUPPOSED PROBLEM FOR MY VIEW:   "at line 202 [the Father] goes on to say
> HOWEVER, even though by grace-given penitence he [man] may live obediently,
> nevertheless justice demands that he and all his posterity shall
> die--UNLESS ..."
>
> MY RESPONSE:  The problem of "justice" has already been taken care of when
> the Father explains why man can be forgiven, but Satan not.  His point is
> that justice does NOT require that mankind be condemned to death, etc.
>
> My overall point is that God's speech at the beginning of the Book -- a
> purely rationalistic, legalistic, and philosophical speech -- actually
> takes care of the problem of the fate of mankind.  I would hold that this
> speech is how M actually thinks, and the rest is M pretending -- perhaps to
> himself as well as to the world -- that he is a more normal sort of
> Christian than he actually was.  If M wrote CD -- which most Miltonists now
> seem to agree that he did -- then it's pretty clear that M was NOT a normal
> Christian.  The critique of the Trinity there is thoroughly rationalistic,
> as is the critique of Calvinism (see my piece in the New Milton Crit
> volume, or the earlier longer version of it in Milton Studies 38).
>
> RS
>
>
> ________________________________________
> From: milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu [
> milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu] on behalf of srevard at siue.edu [
> srevard at siue.edu]
> Sent: Saturday, October 26, 2013 4:27 AM
> To: John Milton Discussion List
> Subject: Re: [Milton-L] Bk 3
>
> But Richard, you seem to have stopped reading Book III at line 202.  Up to
> that
> point God has explained why he through grace will forgive Man; but at line
> 202
> he goes on to say HOWEVER, even though by grace-given penitence he may live
> obediently, nevertheless justice demands that he and all his posterity
> shall
> die--UNLESS "for him/ Some other able, and as willing, pay/ The rigid
> satisfaction, death for death./ Say, heavenly powers, where shall we find
> such
> love,/ Which of you will be mortal to redeem/ Man's mortal crime, and just
> the
> unjust to save:/ Dwells in all heaven charity so dear?" (lines 210-16)
>
> And here of course is where the Son volunteers to die for Man, saying
> (241ff):
> "On me let Death wreak all his rage;/Under his gloomy power I shall not
> long/
> Lie vanquished..../ But I shall rise victorious, and subdue/ My vanquisher,
> spoiled of his vaunted spoil;/ Death his death's wound shall then receive,
> and
> stoop/ Inglorious,/ Of his mortal sting disarmed..../ While by thee raised
> I
> ruin all my foes,/ Death last, and with his carcass glut the grave."
>
> You do notice that Milton here personifies (OOOH, Allegory, that serpent
> of the
> Nile, rears its ghastly head!!!) Death, gives him a "sting" that is the
> same
> one he held in Book Two?  And if you would like to see where Milton found
> Death
> with a sting, and found him and Sin personified, you might want to read
> Paul's
> Epistle to the Romans, especially for instance Chapter 5, verses 12 etc.
>
>
> Quoting "Richard A. Strier" <rastrier at uchicago.edu>:
>
> > SUPPOSEDLY KNOCK-DOWN POINT:  "not JUST granting humans "forgiveness" but
> > redeeming them from Death."
> >
> > It's not clear to me that these are different.  What else could divine
> > forgiveness mean?
> >
> >
> > ________________________________________
> > From: milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu
> > [milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu] on behalf of srevard at siue.edu
> > [srevard at siue.edu]
> > Sent: Friday, October 25, 2013 7:11 PM
> > To: John Milton Discussion List
> > Subject: Re: [Milton-L] Bk 3
> >
> > Aieee!  you not only stepped in it, but as Molly Bloom said of a somewhat
> > different activity, "up to the neck almost"!
> >
> > I think if you go back and READ the dialogue between Father and Son
> (which I
> > have just done), you will see that the issue is not JUST granting humans
> > "forgiveness" but redeeming them from Death, which is what the Son steps
> up
> > to
> > do by suffering death for them. Let fellow listers correct me if I am
> wrong,
> > but this, I think, is hardly sham Christian; I think it is doctrine
> shared by
> > Puritans and Catholics, Laudians and Calvinists. God does explain this
> quite
> > clearly and the Son echoes and amplifies it (and incidentally, that other
> > lion
> > named Aslan illustrates how it works, if you want to reread the Narnia
> > stories
> > where C. S. Lewis invents another female version of Sin). Milton draws
> here
> > on,
> > among other narrative traditions, the Harrowing of Hell, a story that
> quivers
> > within the Sin/Death/Satan episode but is not "realized" until God and
> the
> > Son
> > explicitly evoke it.
> >
> >
> > Quoting "Richard A. Strier" <rastrier at uchicago.edu>:
> >
> > > OK, now I'll really step in it.
> > >
> > > About Book 3:  as far as I can tell, the Son's offer to bear death,
> etc, is
> > > completely unnecessary to Milton's conception (further proof of how
> far he
> > > is/was from traditional, normal Christianity).  It's all a sham, and
> > another
> > > case (like moments that sound Calvinist) of M trying to appear/sound
> > > orthodox.  Here's why it's a sham:  Milton has already, at the very
> > beginning
> > > of Bk 3, had God the Father (the only real God) explain that He
> intends to
> > > forgive man's fall on purely moral/philosophical grounds -- man was
> misled
> > by
> > > another -- and contrasting this with Satan's fall, which He will not
> > forgive.
> > >  No further mechanism or explanation for man's forgiveness is needed.
>  And
> > > it's all decided  on that basis.  Already.
> > >
> > > It seems to me that the normal reading of Bks 2 and 3 in this regard
> has it
> > > backwards -- Satan's heroism is real (he really doesn't know what's
> going
> > to
> > > happen), while the Son's is totally superfluous.  I'm not saying that
> Satan
> > > doesn't indulge in some manipulation and theatrics, but that he his
> doing
> > > something that, from the point of view of the fallen angels, really
> > > can't/won't be done otherwise.  But this is less important than the
> point
> > > above.  And I'm not saying that M doesn't get some of the normal
> experience
> > > of Christianity from the episode, just that it is not actually needed
> for
> > his
> > > story and his overall position.
> > >
> > > Coeur de Lion
> > >
> > > ________________________________________
> > > From: milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu
> > > [milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu] on behalf of srevard at siue.edu
> > > [srevard at siue.edu]
> > > Sent: Friday, October 25, 2013 3:41 PM
> > > To: John Milton Discussion List
> > > Subject: Re: [Milton-L] oops, I forgot one
> > >
> > > Well asked, Alan. For instance, how about Hypocrisy, who shows up when
> > Satan
> > > is
> > > disguising himself as a stripling angel in order to bamboozle Uriel?
> > >
> > > Does everyone agree that Milton carefully placed the Death/Sin/Satan
> drama
> > > near
> > > the end of Book II in order to set up the opening of Book III, the
> poem's
> > > doctrinal center in which the dramatic encounter of God and Son so
> > precisely
> > > and on so many levels contrastingly parallels that between Satan and
> Death?
> > >
> > > Quoting alan horn <alanshorn at gmail.com>:
> > >
> > > > Is all the figurative language to be stripped from the poem or just
> this
> > > > one episode?
> > > >
> > > > I want to second Jim R’s suggestion to look back at Harold Skulsky’s
> > series
> > > > of posts from a couple of years ago explaining the genre and
> function of
> > > > the passage in question and citing precedents in classical epic for
> > > > Milton’s use of this convention.
> > > >
> > > > Alan Horn
> > > >
> > >
> > >
> > >
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