[Milton-L] crucifixion

Bob Blair bblair48 at yahoo.com
Sun Apr 6 01:17:58 EDT 2014

Which points out an important problem in modern Milton and 17th-century scholarship.  Good studies go unnoticed because they are unnaturally hidden behind a money wall.  Why should the best scholarship be firewalled simply because it's good enough to be accepted by a journal that operates at a profit?  I limit my references to authors who published before 1924, not because they are necessarily the best words on the subject (though in many cases they are), but because I want to publish on the net, and need links to my authorities.  I would use contemporary sources if they were freely linkable.

Sorry, you hit a hot button.

Bob Blair
On Sat, 4/5/14, David Urban <dvu2 at calvin.edu> wrote:

 Subject: Re: [Milton-L] crucifixion
 To: "John Milton Discussion List" <milton-l at lists.richmond.edu>
 Date: Saturday, April 5, 2014, 7:38 PM
 For the record, Samuel Smith's article is not in
 fact forthcoming, but already published:
 "Milton's Theology of the Cross: Substitution and
 Satisfaction in Christ's Atonement​"
  *Christianity and Literature* 63.1 (Autumn 2013): 5-25.
 (Sorry for the oversized font, copied and pasted! :)
 milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu
 <milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu> on behalf of
 Smith, Samuel <ssmith at messiah.edu>
 Sent: Saturday, April 5, 2014 9:02 PM
 To: John Milton Discussion List
 Subject: Re: [Milton-L] crucifixion
 I want to come back to what I find most cogent and
 pertinent in Richard's response, which marks
 Milton's inconsistency - or perhaps (others on this list
 will know better than I) his inability to make (complete?) a
 journey to the Socinian alternative:
 speech gives a full and coherent rationale -- ON STRICTLY
 MORAL/RATIONAL GROUNDS -- for forgiving man.  Not only
 is the crucifixion not mentioned, it is not needed --
  that's the point (my point).  The grounds for
 man's salvation are clearly laid out in this speech;
 nothing further is needed.
 I find this reading absolutely on target. Because of
 this, "Die hee or justice must" puzzles me (or, to
 borrow previous discourse, "bugs" me).
 Milton's God (and I don't see Milton severely split
 off from his God, although I'm no psychoanalyst) affirms
  common interpretation of Paul, one that I inherited as the
 son of an Evangelical minister and the nephew of a Reformed
 Baptist minister whose life-long hero has been John Owen
 (and it's been a rather long-life: eight decades now).
 Given the interdiction, perhaps
  humans must die in order for God to be consistent with his
 promise - God's integrity is at stake; God cannot play
 the relenting parent ("well, just this once"). But
 that Death and/or its consequences must be experienced
 eternally by individual sinners does
  not seem to follow, at least not as an instance of
 So the crucifixion is unnecessary as an Anselmian
 satisfaction or as a penal-substitutionary atonement. 
 So Richard is right, I think: Milton's God can
 forgive humanity without any crucifixion/sacrifice. And yet
 Milton clearly embraces the crucifixion as a (necessary)
 sacrifice. Why? Probably because it is difficult to read
 Paul as an authoritative source and
  not do so - there seems to have been no crisis in the life
 of Milton to compel him to write the equivalent of
 The Doctrine and Discipline of Divorce that would
 find a way to re-contextualize and reinterpret biblical
 texts that made the death of Christ as an atoning sacrifice
 anything other than the plain truth of the matter. I
 think Milton gives little time
  to it because this is one of his most
 basic governing presuppositions - one of a number
 of things he did not rethink or reconfigure - at least not
 in print. 
 P.S. Naturally,
 I prefer my own inconsistencies to Milton's. I like
 to think he would appreciate that.
 milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu
 <milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu> on behalf of
 Richard A. Strier <rastrier at uchicago.edu>
 Sent: Saturday, April 5, 2014 7:49 PM
 To: John Milton Discussion List
 Subject: Re: [Milton-L] crucifixion
 not sure what this snide comment accomplishes (and I am sure
 that it's not appropriate).  What does "taking
 him [Milton] at his word" mean?  I am taking the
 speech that God gives
  at its word.  Doing so is the whole basis of what I am
 saying. The point (for me) is that the poem is conflicted
 and contradictory at some points.  And as I said, I am
 not sure how to think about the contradiction that I see.
 milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu
 [milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu] on behalf of alan horn
 [alanshorn at gmail.com]
 Sent: Saturday, April 05, 2014 6:19 PM
 To: John Milton Discussion List
 Subject: Re: [Milton-L] crucifixion
 should have added, as I tried to make clear the first time
 around, that Milton is trying to APPEAR orthodox in the body
 of Book 3.  He wants the central "action" of
 the Book, through some powerful
  writing, to lead us to forget the position of the opening
 monologue, to bracket it, as it were.  He really does
 want to appear orthodox-- 
 How nice for you that you know why Milton wrote what he
 did while the rest of us have to take him at his
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