[Milton-L] had removd

James Rovira jamesrovira at gmail.com
Mon Apr 7 14:54:47 EDT 2014


I agree with Prof. Skulsky's distinction between "vulgar time" and God's
time, which was well-formulated well before the Reformation and held by
those who believed in the harrowing of hell. I need to follow his reasoning
to see how that distinction applies to a temporal event such as the
resurrection and crucifixion. The NT asserts that graves opened and dead
people walked about (first zombies in literature?) after the crucifixion.

I should probably have isolated the specific passage:

Then with the multitude of my redeemd [ 260 ]
Shall enter Heaven long absent, and returne,
Father,

That sounds like the harrowing of tell to me.

Jim R


On Mon, Apr 7, 2014 at 2:50 PM, Michael Gillum <mgillum at unca.edu> wrote:

> 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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>
>
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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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