dionhalic at gmail.com
Mon Apr 7 17:36:06 EDT 2014
I think I agree with RS's statement.
As I see it, this question about PL could only be raised by readers
concerned with that poem's relation to the faith and practice of "orthodox"
Christianity, Roman, or Reformed. Surely a reader from, say, some other
life-congenial solar system -notwithstanding it is now believed there may
be millions such-
would have to read through PL more than just once or twice to divine some
serious axis in the poem regarding a crucifixion. I find myself wondering
if the poem would be made more self-consistent if -rather than cutting out
the monster Sin&Death episodes- the episodes portraying huge, discursive,
philosophical debate might be removed into the CD where judging by many a
discussion here they seem to belong.
On Apr 5, 2014 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."
> *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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