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Milton: Paradise Lost: Religious and Literary Background

11. Another Consequence: The Second Adam and the Hope of Salvation

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About this Lecture

Lecture

In this module, we explore another consequence of the Fall: the coming of Christ and man's ultimate salvation. As with the presentation of Satan, the Son of God has two aspects; one is that which Milton's readers would have been familiar with from Christian doctrine ("For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive"); at times, however, Christ takes on a distinctly heroic aspect. That said, however, his heroism is of an entirely different order than that which we have seen with Satan: whereas Satan is presented as the ultimate martial hero in the mould of Achilles or Hector, Christ is defined by his absolute, god-like obedience to the Father.

Course

In this course, Dr Edmund White (University of Oxford) explores the religious and literary background of Paradise Lost. This course provides an introduction to the religious culture of seventeenth-century England, and shows how this culture influenced the composition of Milton’s epic poem, Paradise Lost. This course falls into two halves. In the first half: we explore the principal Christian ideas that feature in Milton’s narration of the fall of Adam and Eve; in the second half, we look at the political implications of the religious ideas articulated in Paradise Lost. In both halves, we take examples from key moments of the poem, as well as from other writings by Milton and his seventeenth-century contemporaries.

Lecturer

Dr Edmund White completed his D. Phil. in English Literature at the University of Oxford in January 2014. Supervised by Sharon Achinstein, the title of his thesis was “The Concept of Discipline: Poetry, Rhetoric, and the Church in the Works of John Milton”. The main interest of his research thus far has been in the intersection between mainstream ecclesiastical politics and literature in Milton's works. Discipline, his thesis argues, is a complex concept in Milton's writing, that develops over time: whereas it denotes coercive and persuasive ecclesiastical power in his early prose, his later poetry treats the concept in terms of personal, moral piety.

His future research will seek to compare Milton’s understanding of piety in his later works with the pieties advocated by other contemporaries of different confessional persuasions: Bunyan, Baxter, Traherne, Vaughan.

Cite this Lecture

APA style

White, E. (2018, August 15). Milton: Paradise Lost: Religious and Literary Background - Another Consequence: The Second Adam and the Hope of Salvation [Video]. MASSOLIT. https://www.massolit.io/courses/milton-paradise-lost-religious-and-literary-background/another-consequence-the-second-adam-and-the-hope-of-salvation

MLA style

White, Edmund. "Milton: Paradise Lost: Religious and Literary Background – Another Consequence: The Second Adam and the Hope of Salvation." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 15 Aug 2018, https://www.massolit.io/courses/milton-paradise-lost-religious-and-literary-background/another-consequence-the-second-adam-and-the-hope-of-salvation