[Milton-L] the problem of hell

Horace Jeffery Hodges horacejeffery at gmail.com
Thu Oct 31 18:58:18 EDT 2013


>From an internet search (which I don't fully trust), I've found that the
Old English place name "Hel" seems to be feminine in grammatical gender,
and Hel is a female entity in Norse mythology who rules the underworld.
Someone more knowledgeable than I can confirm or deny.

For what it's worth, "She'ol" (Hebrew שְׁאוֹל) and "Hades" (Ἅιδης/ᾍδης) are
both masculine in grammatical gender.

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 Fri, Nov 1, 2013 at 1:05 AM, Mulryan, John <JMULRYAN at sbu.edu> wrote:

> ** ** **
>
> Dear friends: I was asked a question by a student that I cannot answer
> intelligently. In book 3, line 331, why is hell described as female” (her
> numbers full). I have some theories, but await to be instructed by my
> learned colleagues Best, John Mulryan ****
>
> ** **
>  ------------------------------
>
> *From:* milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu [mailto:
> milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu] *On Behalf Of *Richard A. Strier
> *Sent:* Wednesday, October 30, 2013 5:10 PM
>
> *To:* **John Milton Discussion List**
> *Subject:* Re: [Milton-L] the problem of hell****
>
>  ** **
>
> Everything Steve F says seems to me quite right.  But it doesn't really
> answer the question.  The question is whether the notion of hell is morally
> intelligible -- should anyone be punished eternally for a sin committed in
> time.   ****
>
> ** **
>
> The believers in universal salvation thought that this was an abominable
> idea, as do I.  The trouble with the protestant scheme is that in
> eliminating purgatory, it eliminated the possibility of guaranteeing moral
> improvement -- through whatever painful process of re-education -- for the
> wicked.  I know all the stuff about in hell the wicked re-perform their
> wickedness eternally, and therefore keep meriting their punishment, but
> that seems to me a nasty doctrine in itself.  The point is the ethically
> abominable status of the concept of hell.  A number of thinkers in the
> Christian tradition found it so (from Origen to young Thomas Browne on).
>  Even our penal system pretends that it values rehabilitation rather than
> mere punishment.****
>
> ** **
>
> To get out of the dilemma, ****Milton**** would have had to envision
> something like purgatory -- perhaps an ante-chamber to heaven in which
> purifying suffering took place (something a great visionary poet could do).
> ****
>
> ** **
>
> And to answer the (supposedly) knock-down question-- do I think Satan
> should eventually be saved (in a moral universe in which this question
> makes sense-- that is, in which there is such a thing as "salvation"), my
> answer is yes.  And then, of course, there is Hitler.  Again, I'd say,
> after enough salutary pain, and reeducation, yes.  ****
>
> ** **
>
> That seems to me what Christianity should look like -- a religion truly of
> love and grace.  Punishment and vengeance are not anything special.  Love
> is (and love only for the worthy is hardly impressive).****
>
> ** **
>
> Best,****
>
> the heretic****
>
> ** **
>
> ** **
>    ------------------------------
>
> *From:* milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu [
> milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu] on behalf of **Steve Fallon** [
> sfallon at nd.edu]
> *Sent:* Wednesday, October 30, 2013 10:57 AM
> *To:* **John Milton Discussion List**
> *Subject:* Re: [Milton-L] Bk 3****
>
> On Oct 26, 2013, at 6:49 PM, Richard A. Strier wrote:****
>
>
>
> ****
>
> Jeffery:  "Did ****Milton**** hold that all mankind would find grace?" ***
> *
>
> ** **
>
> RS:  He should have, but didn't.  Alas!  If he had, he could have been one
> of the heroes of D. P. Walker's wonderful *The Decline of Hell*.****
>
> ** **
>
> It all depends on what "all mankind" and "*find* grace" mean. I do not
> recall that ****Milton**** in his discussions of grace and predestination
> handles the question of those who have not heard of Christ, but setting
> that question aside he is clear in his opposition to the Calvinist
> doctrines of limited atonement and irresistible grace.  In other words, he
> is clear that grace is offered not only to the elect, but generally.  If
> the offer of grace to all is synonymous with all "find[ing] grace," then
> the answer would be that all do find grace. ****
>
> ** **
>
> In the epic, the Father promises that "Man shall not quite be lost, but
> saved who will, / Yet not of will in him, but grace in me / Freely
> vouchsafed."  With this grace, "lapséd powes" are "renew[ed]."  This points
> to the partial undoing of the fall, so that "yet once more" man will "stand
> / On even ground against his foe."  After the race is enthralled to sin as
> a result of the fall, God will allow each to choose.  One might argue that
> God does not specify explicitly all persons, but given the general language
> the specification would seem more necessary if God meant to exclude anyone
> from this offered grace.****
>
> ** **
>
> **Milton** is explicit in the *Christian Doctrine*: "God foreknew those
> who would believe, that is, he decreed or approved that they alone would be
> those for whom in Christ he should have regard—*all, certainly, if they
> believed " *(the new ****Oxford**** edition, 8.1:87; my emphasis).  The
> point is clear in the Latin (*"omnes utique si credidissent*").  The
> passage is in the Yale edition at 6.181-82 and in the Modern Library
> edition—slipping in a plug here—on pp. 1164-65).  Milton emphasizes the
> universality of offered grace a few pages later: "[I]f God rejects no one
> except the disobedient and the unbeliever, surely he imparts grace—if not
> equal, yet sufficient—to all, by which they may be able to arrive at
> recognition of the truth and salvation.... The reason, therefore, why God
> does not deem all worthy of equal grace is his own supreme will; the
> reason, however, for his deeming *all* worthy of sufficient grace is his
> justice" (my emphasis again, ****Oxford**** 8.1:101-03; in Yale,
> 6:192-93; in MLM 1168-69).  ****
>
> ** **
>
> So if to "find grace" means to accept it and believe, then the answer is
> clearly *no.  *If it means to have the benefit of grace enabling one to
> believe and be saved, the answer seems clearly to be *yes.*****
>
> ** **
>
> Steve F****
>
> ** **
>
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