[Milton-L] obedience

Carol Barton, Ph.D., CPCM cbartonphd1 at verizon.net
Sun Apr 6 17:57:25 EDT 2014


Yes.


From: Michael Gillum 
Sent: Sunday, April 06, 2014 5:47 PM
To: John Milton Discussion List 
Subject: Re: [Milton-L] obedience


PL's God decreed during the first elevation of the Son that angels who do not accept his kingship will be cast out "without redemption, without end" (5.615). So when, in Book 3,  he says the fallen angels will not find grace, he is just reaffirming a ruling that he had announced to the angels before their revolt. The parallel decree for A&E is that they will die in the day they eat the forbidden fruit. Prof. Strier considers this a lie (in Genesis at least), but it is not a lie in the context of PL and DDC. Milton's rationalization of that threat is of course that the various disorders introduced by the fall (and beginning in that day-- "disordered passions rise") constitute a lingering death, a "long day's dying" leading up to physical death. So PL's God keeps his word with both groups, while adding the rider that he would provide a means to rescue humans from death. 


Oydin's ontological argument (a lower creature being deceived by a higher is a different case from equals being led astray by an equal) makes sense as a way of explaining God's distinction between the two cases. We know Milton thought along these lines in defending heavenly monarchy while decrying earthly monarchy. Also consider that the discursive style of human reasoning would seem to be more vulnerable to sophistry than the angels' intuitive reason. So I don't think God's distinction is arbitrary or obviously unfair.












On Sun, Apr 6, 2014 at 3:19 PM, Gregory Machacek <Gregory.Machacek at marist.edu> wrote:

  God the Father's distinction is purely arbitrary.  The Son's response shows how one ought to respond to God the Father's arbitrary dicta.  He operates in the poem as a foil for Adam and Eve, an example of obedience (12.397).


  (I don't know whether I believe this, and I'd be out of my depth to say it solves all of the theological problems the issue raises, but it popped into my head since we'd been talking so much about the arbitrariness of prohibiting one fruit).


  I do think the Son is a foil.  I think that when Milton settled on Man's Disobedience as his topic, part of the process of inventing the poem was to think of foils he could include, just like treating the Wrath of Achilles poetically involves including an unraging, dutiful-unto-death Hector to serve as a foil.



  Greg Machacek
  Professor of English
  Marist College


  -----milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu wrote: ----- 
  To: "John Milton Discussion List" <milton-l at lists.richmond.edu>
  From: "Carol Barton, Ph.D., CPCM" 
  Sent by: milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu
  Date: 04/06/2014 02:54PM
  Subject: Re: [Milton-L] crucifixion


  Exactly, Oydin: in fact, I was posting an argument containing that observation while you were posting this.


  From: Uzakova, Oydin Yashinova 
  Sent: Sunday, April 06, 2014 2:39 PM
  To: John Milton Discussion List 
  Subject: Re: [Milton-L] crucifixion


  I am rather surprised that no one (so far) has pointed out the fact that man was "deceived" by a higher being (an angel), while the angels were "deceived" by one of their own species and thus were "self-deceived" just like Lucifer had been.  I strongly believe that Milton's God makes this particular distinction in determining who will find grace. 




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