[Milton-L] crucifixion

Kemmer Anderson kanderso at mccallie.org
Sun Apr 6 08:51:45 EDT 2014

"...slain for bringing life;" (12.14). I have just read the story of
Lazarus that is a part of the passion narrative. But in the lines Richard
quoted the ear hears the pound of the nails, the hammer behind victory. Yet
I wonder is Milton avoiding the icon of the crucifix, by purely being a
reformation theologian who relies on faith. In 12.409 he echoes the writer
of Hebrews 11 in his line: "Imputed becomes theirs, by faith....." Deep
questions but blank verse is the vessel for a theology of faith.   Kemmer

On Sat, Apr 5, 2014 at 6:06 PM, Richard A. Strier <rastrier at uchicago.edu>wrote:

>  Well, here goes!  I'll say it, and let the storm follow:  Milton could
> hardly care less about the crucifixion and still be any sort of Christian.
>  The Son's "heroism" in Book 3 is entirely adventitious, since, after the
> proem, the action of the Book OPENS with God's decision to pardon man on
> purely moral/rational grounds (he was misled -- but then, so were Satan's
> followers-- but that's another problem).  In any case, "Man therefore shall
> find grace" is determined, absolutely and definitively, before the whole
> drama of sacrifice takes place.  The critics who think Satan's heroism
> false and the Son's true have it backwards.  Someone had to do what Satan
> did, if his plan was to succeed (and it is not clear that anyone else was
> going to volunteer); the Son's Great Act is strictly unnecessary -- it's
> Milton trying to look orthodox, as if he believed in Anselmic atonement
> theory, when in fact he has already worked things out in his purely
> rationalistic way.
>  And of course, the crucifixion is notoriously difficult to find in the
> account of history in Bks XI-XII.  It takes up 3 lines (XII: 411-13), and
> even there, Milton finds the abjection intolerable, and immediately makes
> the event a military triumph and reversal of torture -- "But to the Cross
> he nails thy Enemies."
>  RS
>    ------------------------------
> *From:* 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 4:40 PM
> *To:* John Milton Discussion List
> *Subject:* Re: [Milton-L] tree of life
>     why is the Tree of Life there at all? Milton seems to strip it of any
>> function in the literal narrative and reduce it to a symbol prefiguring
>> Christian salvation. Does this get us any closer to establishing a
>> symmetrical relation between the Tree of Knowledge and the Tree of Life?
>  The Tree of Life is the type of the cross. Jesus dying on the cross in
> obedience to the law of God makes good Adam's disobedience in eating of
> that other tree. So Christ (the anti-type of Satan, who offered the fruit
> of the Tree of Knowledge, or death) redeems from death all those who
> "offered life / Neglect not" (XII, 425-6). The Tree of Life is identified
> with the true church in Book IV and Satan who perches on it as he scopes
> out Eden to corrupt clergy (193).
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