It is distinctly paradoxical that John Milton - who opposed infant baptism, supported regicide, defended divorce and approved of polygamy - should be heard as a voice of orthodoxy. Yet modern scholarship has often understated or explained away his heretical opinions. This volume investigates aspects of Milton's works inconsistent with conventional beliefs, whether in terms of seventeenth-century theology or the common assumptions of Milton scholars. Contributors situate Milton and his writings within his specific historical circumstances, paying special attention to Milton's pragmatic position within seventeenth-century religious controversy. The volume's four sections deal with heretical theology, heresy's consequences, heresy and community, and readers of heresy; their common premise is that Milton, as poet, thinker and public servant, eschewed set beliefs and regarded indeterminacy and uncertainty as fundamental to human existence.
Medieval Europe was a hotbed of revolt against religious dogma. Particularly offensive to the established church were the views of the Cathars, whose dualist beliefs Rome condemned as heretical. Through a variety of literary works, this book explores the dualist religious movement which developed as a culture of the masses and took place in Europe between the 12th and 17th centuries. It examines the strong parallels between the Bogomils and Cathars and the religious practices of the British Lollards, extrapolating Lollardy’s spread from eastern to western Europe. Providing numerous text comparisons, the work focuses on a number of authors including John Wycliffe, William Tynsdale, William Langland and John Milton, whose works exhibit the dualist philosophy.
Diese Studie entfaltet anhand des epischen Gedichts Paradise Lost die Theologie von John Milton (1608 – 1674). Vor dem Hintergrund der nachreformatorischen Kontroversen über Prädestination, Schöpfung, freien Willen, Sünde und Gnade zeigt der Autor, wie Milton sein Konzept der Freiheit im kreativen Wechselspiel von Kontinuität und Diskontinuität entwickelt.
On the basis of a close reading of Milton's major published political prose works from 1644 through to the Restoration, William Walker presents the anti-formalist, unrevolutionary, illiberal Milton. Walker shows that Milton placed his faith not so much in particular forms of government as in statesmen he deemed to be virtuous. He reveals Milton's profound aversion to socio-political revolution and his deep commitments to what he took to be orthodox religion. He emphasises that Milton consistently presents himself as a champion not of heterodox religion, but of 'reformation'. He observes how Milton's belief that all men are not equal grounds his support for regimes that had little popular support and that did not provide the same civil liberties to all. And he observes how Milton's powerful commitment to a single religion explains his endorsement of various English regimes that persecuted on grounds of religion. This reading of Milton's political prose thus challenges the current consensus that Milton is an early modern exponent of republicanism, revolution, radicalism, and liberalism. It also provides a fresh account of how the great poet and prose polemicist is related to modern republics that think they have separated church and state.
This volume contains a selection of essays presented at the 8th International Milton Symposium, -Milton, Rights and Liberties-, which was held in Grenoble, France, 7-11 June 2005. It was the first time ever that such a major event was organized in France, hence the volume's title. Moreover, Milton's writings influenced key figures of the French Revolution. The essays presented in this volume were written by emerging as well as confirmed Milton scholars from around the world. Topics range from Romanticism (Milton and Wordsworth) to a psychoanalytic reading of Milton, from the iconography of the garden in "Paradise Lost" to the prosody of "Samson Agonistes," from Derridean readings of Milton to Milton's presence in Brazil and China. Another volume of essays entitled "Milton, Rights and Liberties" was published in 2007."
What is true liberty? Milton labors to provide an answer, and his answer becomes the ruling principle behind both prose works and poetry. The scholarly community has largely read liberty in Milton retrospectively through the spectacles of liberalism. In so doing, it has failed to emphasize that the Christian paradigm of liberty speaks of an inward microcosm, a place of freedom whose precincts are defined by man's fellowship with God. All other forms of freedom relate to the outer world, be they freedom to choose the good, absence of external constraint and oppression, or freedom of alternatives. None of these is true liberty, but they are pursued by Milton in concert with true liberty. Milton's Inward Liberty attempts to address the bearing of true liberty in Milton's work through the magnifying glass of seventeenth-century theology.