[Milton-L] Milton and the intellectus agens

Horace Jeffery Hodges horacejeffery at gmail.com
Sun Nov 16 14:09:25 EST 2014


I didn't receive Joel's post - or haven't yet.

Jeffery Hodges

On Mon, Nov 17, 2014 at 3:54 AM, James Rovira <jamesrovira at gmail.com> wrote:

> "Light" as a metaphor for the Divine or for Divine illumination is found
> in Plato, the Hebrew Scriptures, the Christian scriptures, and a number of
> other sources prior to the Koran. It's a very common and widely
> disseminated trope. Milton's language, as Joel pointed out, seems to most
> closely resemble the NT, but he certainly isn't limited to being influenced
> by that source.
>
> Jim R
>
> On Sun, Nov 16, 2014 at 1:23 AM, Horace Jeffery Hodges <
> horacejeffery at gmail.com> wrote:
>
>> Feisal, thanks for the interesting article.
>>
>> The *Qur'an* verse that serves as a source on divine illumination is
>> lovely:
>>
>> *The Qur’an* 24.35: "God is the Light of the heavens and the earth. The
>> parable of His light is, as it were, that of a niche containing a lamp; the
>> lamp is enclosed in glass, the glass shining like a radiant star: a lamp
>> lit from a blessed tree - an olive-tree that is neither of the east nor of
>> the west - the oil whereof is so bright that it would well-nigh give light
>> of itself even though fire had not touched it: light upon light!"
>>
>>
>> If I understand your article well, you intend to show that Milton,
>> despite his disdain for Islam, may have been working within the tradition
>> of Al-Farabi and the Qur'anic verse, either consciously or unconsciously,
>> in composing his invocation to light in *Paradise Lost* 3.1-6:
>>
>> Hail holy light, ofspring of Heav'n first-born,
>> Or of th' Eternal Coeternal beam
>> May I express thee unblam'd? since *God is light*,
>> And never but* in unapproached light*
>> *Dwelt from Eternitie*, dwelt then in thee,
>> Bright effluence of bright essence increate. (Milton Reading Room,
>> Dartmouth)
>>
>>
>> But you also cite Psalm 36:9:
>>
>> “For with thee is the fountain of life: in thy light shall we see light.”
>>
>>
>> I suggest two more verses that also correspond to Milton's invocation:
>>
>> 1 John 1:5 "This then is the message which we have heard of him, and
>> declare unto you, that *God is light*, and in him is no darkness at all."
>>
>> 1 Timothy 6:16: "Who only hath immortality, *dwelling in the light which
>> no man can approach* unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom
>> be honour and power everlasting. Amen."
>>
>>
>> Some of the wording corresponds rather closely and might be of interest
>> to you. Of course, these are merely verses and must be interpreted to fit
>> into a tradition by which Milton would call upon God for enlightenment.
>>
>> Thanks again for an interesting article.
>>
>> Jeffery Hodges
>>
>> On Sat, Nov 15, 2014 at 9:23 AM, Horace Jeffery Hodges <
>> horacejeffery at gmail.com> wrote:
>>
>>> I'm also among the fifty!
>>>
>>> Jeffery
>>>
>>> On Sat, Nov 15, 2014 at 8:21 AM, David Urban <dvu2 at calvin.edu> wrote:
>>>
>>>>   Thank you, Feisal.  Count me among the privileged 50!
>>>>
>>>>  Sincerely,
>>>>
>>>>  David
>>>>
>>>>
>>>>   David V. Urban, Ph.D.
>>>>  Associate Professor of English
>>>> Calvin College
>>>> 1795 Knollcrest Circle SE
>>>> Grand Rapids, MI 49546-4404
>>>> Office Phone: (616) 526-8646
>>>>
>>>>   From: Feisal Mohamed <f.mohamed00 at gmail.com>
>>>> Reply-To: John Milton Discussion List <milton-l at lists.richmond.edu>
>>>> Date: Friday, November 14, 2014 6:17 PM
>>>> To: John Milton Discussion List <milton-l at lists.richmond.edu>
>>>> Subject: [Milton-L] Milton and the intellectus agens
>>>>
>>>>   Dear Milton-L
>>>>
>>>>  Fort those interested, Taylor and Francis informs me that the first
>>>> 50 people to use the link below may access the online version of my article
>>>> "Milton's Enmity toward Islam and the *Intellectus Agens." * This will
>>>> appear in a 2015 special issue of *English Studies *on Milton and
>>>> Islam, co-edited by Francois-Xavier Gleyzon and David Currell. The link and
>>>> an abstract are below
>>>>
>>>>  This is not exactly a foretaste of door-crashing Black Friday offers,
>>>> but I hope it will be of some benefit to Milton-L subscribers with no
>>>> institutional access to *English Studies*.
>>>>
>>>>  Best to all,
>>>> Feisal Mohamed
>>>>
>>>>  http://www.tandfonline.com/eprint/FvkDHTYFSYEv9muWfWuQ/full
>>>>
>>>>    Abstract
>>>>   “The specific political distinction to which political actions and
>>>> motives can be reduced”, Carl Schmitt famously pronounced, “is that between
>>>> friend and enemy.” Milton's politics are often premised on a distinction
>>>> between the amity of the enlightened few and a benighted global majority
>>>> often associated with the East, and specifically with Islam. The
>>>> distinction is articulated most clearly in The Tenure of Kings and
>>>> Magistrates, which declares that an “Englishman forgetting all laws, human,
>>>> civil and religious … is no better than a Turk, a Sarasin, a Heathen”; it
>>>> also informs the sustained association of Satan with barbarous Middle
>>>> Eastern rule in Paradise Lost. The animosities reflect in many ways growing
>>>> contact with the Islamic world arising with the expansion of English
>>>> trade—at times rapid, at times halting, always contested—contact that also
>>>> pressed home the awareness, expressed by Milton's friend Roger Williams
>>>> in The Hireling Ministrie None of Christs, that Muslims significantly
>>>> outnumbered Christians in the period. Over his career, Milton's
>>>> cosmopolitanism, like his nationalism, becomes characterized by an ever
>>>> more pronounced sense of the worldly power of the benighted majority,
>>>> occasioning an emphasis on the inward turn of the enlightened few. But in a
>>>> way that is most visible in the invocation to light in Paradise Lost, the
>>>> language of Milton's inward turn draws on the intellectus agens tradition
>>>> with its roots in Islamic philosophy. This article explores these roots and
>>>> examines their potential influence on Milton's poetry. Is Milton
>>>> consciously drawing on al-Farabi and Ibn Sina, or is his engagement of this
>>>> category only a response to such contemporaries as John Smith? Has he
>>>> distinguished himself from falsafa, or has he developed an idea of the
>>>> enlightened subject that has admitted an enemy within? Exploring these
>>>> questions might reorient the intellectual history informing Milton's
>>>> anthropology, and also complicate the Islamophobic language in which he
>>>> indulges with unsettling frequency.
>>>>
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>>>>
>>>
>>>
>>
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>
>
>
> --
> Dr. James Rovira
> Associate Professor of English
> Tiffin University
> http://www.jamesrovira.com
> <http://t.signauxdix.com/e1t/c/5/f18dQhb0S7lC8dDMPbW2n0x6l2B9nMJW7t5XX48qCrCPW8qyPx43H6XTxW72TN_H5fT_cx101?t=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.jamesrovira.com%2F&si=4763272727232512&pi=aa267fd0-1e4b-4be7-9af0-0063abcb6d57>
> Blake and Kierkegaard: Creation and Anxiety
> Continuum 2010
> http://jamesrovira.com/blake-and-kierkegaard-creation-and-anxiety/
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> Text, Identity, Subjectivity
> http://scalar.usc.edu/works/text-identity-subjectivity/index
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