[Milton-L] had removd

Michael Gillum mgillum at unca.edu
Mon Apr 7 14:50:10 EDT 2014


Jim,

Prof. Skulsky distinguishes between our sequential "vulgar time" and God's
time, in which past and future are continuously present. So the passion of
Christ could redeem those who died BCE,  and do so within their mortal
lifetimes, provided they had acceptable faith. This was a common belief
among early modern Protestants, expressed for example in the Westminster
Longer Catechism. Subject to correction, I think Milton would have regarded
the Harrowing of Hell as a Roman Catholic fabrication.

Thanks for reminding us of the Son's grand apocalyptic prophecy. However, I
don't see the Harrowing in your quotation. The Son says he will round up
the fallen angels and herd them back to Hell, stopper them in with the
corpse of Death, then lead the redeemed into Heaven. These latter would be
the resurrected faithful. There is no indication they were rescued from
Hell. Also, Milton's mortalist doctrine would seem to preclude any
Harrowing of Hell.

Michael


On Mon, Apr 7, 2014 at 2:20 PM, James Rovira <jamesrovira at gmail.com> wrote:

> Michael --
>
> Thanks for your response, and I'm glad you mentioned Harold Skulsky's
> response, which I still need to assimilate.
>
> See, I think we're getting onto picky theological ground here involving
> rival theological traditions, and we'll have to locate Milton somehow --
> undoubtedly the work of more experienced Miltonists than I who all disagree
> with one another.
>
> But as I understand it (perhaps overly influenced by Kierkegaard on this
> point), both human redemption (individual and of the race) and the
> crucifixion of Christ are historical events (hence they are involved in a
> paradox). They occur in time, on earth, not in eternity, and the
> crucifixion of Christ isn't retroactive. The harrowing of Hell was
> necessary for the redemption of those who died prior to the death and
> resurrection of Christ.
>
> Christ seems to make reference to the harrowing of Hell as a future event
> in Book 3:
>
> But I shall rise Victorious, and subdue [ 250 ]
> My Vanquisher, spoild of his vanted spoile;
> Death his deaths wound shall then receive, and stoop
> Inglorious, of his mortal sting disarm'd.
> I through the ample Air in Triumph high
> Shall lead Hell Captive maugre Hell, and show [ 255 ]
> The powers of darkness bound. Thou at the sight
> Pleas'd, out of Heaven shalt look down and smile,
> While by thee rais'd I ruin all my Foes,
> Death last, and with his Carcass glut the Grave:
> Then with the multitude of my redeemd [ 260 ]
> Shall enter Heaven long absent, and returne,
> Father, to see thy face, wherein no cloud
> Of anger shall remain, but peace assur'd,
> And reconcilement; wrauth shall be no more
> Thenceforth, but in thy presence Joy entire.
>
> It's all the "I shalls...." that seem to place these events in the future.
>
> Jim R
>
>
> On Mon, Apr 7, 2014 at 2:11 PM, Michael Gillum <mgillum at unca.edu> wrote:
>
>> Alan and Jim,
>>
>> I would argue that the condition of A&E at the end of Book 10 is
>> precisely "Christian regeneration by the Holy Spirit," because God has
>> accepted their repentance through the intercession of the Son. As Harold
>> Skulsky points out, it doesn't matter that the crucifixion hasn't happened
>> yet in "vulgar time."
>>
>> Prevenient grace was already there, as symbolized by the clothing with
>> skins, but during the night after judgement Adam was clearly not
>> regenerate, what with his disordered philosophizing and his vicious attack
>> upon the penitent Eve. A&E have to decide to confess and pray for
>> forgiveness before they can be reconciled with God. This is the gap between
>> the arrival of prevenient grace and actual regeneration, a gap which is
>> collapsed by the narrator's language at the beginning of Book 11.
>>
>> Michael
>>
>>
>> On Mon, Apr 7, 2014 at 1:03 PM, alan horn <alanshorn at gmail.com> wrote:
>>
>>>  the Book 11 passage says prevenient grace caused A&E to be regenerate,
>>>> while the Book 3 passage says that it merely softens stony hearts, which
>>>> still must respond appropriately to God's persistent calling.
>>>>
>>>
>>> I would argue that the figurative language in the opening of XI, adapted
>>> from Ezekiel 11:19, and that of softening stony hearts in III come to
>>> exactly the same thing.
>>>
>>>
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>>
>>
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>
>
>
> --
> Dr. James Rovira
> Associate Professor of English
> Tiffin University
> http://www.jamesrovira.com
> Blake and Kierkegaard: Creation and Anxiety
> Continuum 2010
> http://jamesrovira.com/blake-and-kierkegaard-creation-and-anxiety/
> Text, Identity, Subjectivity
> http://scalar.usc.edu/works/text-identity-subjectivity/index
>
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