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Paradise Lost: Bk I 
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DWill wrote:
What little I've gathered about Niebuhr's theology, though, makes me think he wouldn't find the God of PL a good template. Do you agree? Also, would Niebuhr have assessed disdain for God any differently if he was with us today, vs. the situation in the 50s? The country is more religious now than then, though probably not in a way Niebuhr would have approved of.
At base I see Niebuhr and Milton as having the same idea of God as the law of love in the universe. Milton works this through analogically, but both have a deeply Christian vision that love was incarnate in Jesus Christ who had a filial relationship with the ultimate creative source. Looking from afar, I get the impression the USA's current religiosity is far more hypocritical, shallow, escapist and self-serving than the faith of the 1950s, when I think there was wider interest in dialogue. Your extremely telling comment earlier that fundamentalism has no theology just shows what a pack of liars American Christians are. You cannot be a Christian without a theology. Niebuhr says in Faith and History
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The New Testament faith anticipates that man's defiance of God will reach the highest proportions at the end of history. Precisely in "the last days perilous times will come ..." (2 Tim 3). This expectation of heightening forms of human defiance of God in history, which is also clearly expressed by Jesus himself in his warning of false Christs and false prophets (Matt 24) is a symbol of the tremendously wide frame of meaning which the Christian faith has for the stuff of history. It envisages antinomies, contradictions and tragic realities within the framework without succumbing to despair. (p31-2)
It seems to me that Milton was similarly interested in explaining the seductive power of Satan to deceive, as a way of explaining the apparent contradictions in life, and that this deceptive tissue has lately become so powerful that people cannot imagine a path of love.
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Your idea for the rock opera is good, maybe more promising than the movie under development, which I had no idea of. I'd be afraid that to commercialize the film, the battle scenes would be featured, and too much of that bores me. But spectacles in general tend to be my least favorite type of movie. On the website, users were asked to vote whether the movie would bomb or be the bomb. I'd bet money on the former.
You are right that an action movie alone would bomb, although the example of Jimmy Page helping with Godzilla comes to mind. They should get Jimmy Page and Eric Clapton as musical consultants. $100m is big buckaroonies. I wrote reviews of The Matrix and Matrix 3, which I now see used Milton's idea of the war in heaven between Michael and Satan, and which operated on multiple levels, as should Paradise Lost.



Sat Jan 24, 2009 12:58 am
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Raving Lunatic wrote:
I bow out of respect to those with such knowledge of both the Christian ideologies and Literature expertise, however, I am just a simple kind of person, so here is my two cents.

Satan believes wholeheartedly that God is wrong. He, God, should not put so much time and effort into a mere upgrade of an ape. Satan truly believes that the angels are deserving of soul. They protect the heavens to the fullest amount of their power and God gives them nothing but immortality. What good is immortality when you are not recognized for your job that holds the universe together. Satan sees it as not only as an insult but as a punishment for which they do not deserve. So he led a rebellion which he lost. But he doesn't give up. He tells his troops to continue their good fight even though their brothers will see it as evil and wrong. But they need not worry because theirs is a just and noble cause even when labeled as evil because every wrong has to have a right. Satan believes that this revolution of his is the right course of action for all the angels in heaven. Might makes right.

So with his noble speech, Milton cleverly allows the reader to feel sorry for Satan and his band of misfit angels. Not sorry to the point that the reader changes his religon, but to the point that the reader can relate or sympathize with Satan due to the current events that were happening at the time. Religious intolerance, overbearing government, Anglo-Dutch War, Discovery of the Great Lakes in the Americas, etc. At this time, many European nations were pouring money into the lands of the Americas. Could it be that Milton was a little envious of his own kingdom spending so much of their money aboard and not supporting those at home? Just something to think about.


Raving - I gave you a 'thanks' just now and why? For your simple way of putting things.

I too do not have the religious or literary expertise that allows me to speak knowledgably on this topic.

For now, I'm just listening to the audio, then reading the posts here.

I might give it up - dunno'. If you see me, you see me - if you don't, you'll know I gave up.



Tue Jan 27, 2009 12:59 am
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[quote="Robert Tulip"]Here are the lyrics for Rolling Stones: Sympathy for the Devil [quote]

Oh, Robert! You made my day - I went to U-Tube to find Mick singing this number . . .

http://ca.youtube.com/watch?v=JpNoniDH6IY

(Tip - always let the videos there play through once - fix yourself a cup of tea while it's doing so - they play more smoothly that way)

Mick is such a treat singing this - I'm enjoying listening to him singing while I'm reading the lyrics you quoted - it's more fun than listening to PL - so far.



Tue Jan 27, 2009 1:17 am
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When I wrote my last post and during the whole time I am reading this poem that very song is ringing through my head. I have kind of stop reading the poem myself but I will get back on it this week.

WildCityWoman,
Just push through it. You can do it! I believe in you.


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Tue Jan 27, 2009 10:27 am
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WildCityWoman wrote:
Raving - I gave you a 'thanks' just now and why? For your simple way of putting things.

I too do not have the religious or literary expertise that allows me to speak knowledgably on this topic.

For now, I'm just listening to the audio, then reading the posts here.

I might give it up - dunno'. If you see me, you see me - if you don't, you'll know I gave up.

It's not an easy row to hoe, PL. It is tailor-made, though, for selective reading, so my advice would be not to think you have to slog through the whole thing. Maybe read the parts that seem to be provoking the most discussion.


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Tue Jan 27, 2009 10:45 am
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Raving Lunatic wrote:
When I wrote my last post and during the whole time I am reading this poem that very song is ringing through my head. I have kind of stop reading the poem myself but I will get back on it this week.

Robert did a service to us by pointing out the extreme similarity between Jagger's song and Satan's character in PL. It's one proof of how Milton's poem insinuated itself into our culture, though few have read it.


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Tue Jan 27, 2009 10:48 am
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Raving Lunatic wrote:
When I wrote my last post and during the whole time I am reading this poem that very song is ringing through my head. I have kind of stop reading the poem myself but I will get back on it this week.

WildCityWoman,
Just push through it. You can do it! I believe in you.


Thanks, Raving - when I come across reads like these, that I just don't grasp in the same way others do, I feel my 'mediocrity' - I feel like everybody can see I didn't go to college.

Most of the time I consider myself to be pretty smart and with it - but times like this, with PL?

Oh, I'm such a dummy, I tell myself.

Thanks for your encouragement - I went to the end of Book 2 tonight!



Wed Jan 28, 2009 1:30 am
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DWill wrote:
WildCityWoman wrote:
Raving - I gave you a 'thanks' just now and why? For your simple way of putting things.

I too do not have the religious or literary expertise that allows me to speak knowledgably on this topic.

For now, I'm just listening to the audio, then reading the posts here.

I might give it up - dunno'. If you see me, you see me - if you don't, you'll know I gave up.

It's not an easy row to hoe, PL. It is tailor-made, though, for selective reading, so my advice would be not to think you have to slog through the whole thing. Maybe read the parts that seem to be provoking the most discussion.


Thanks Will - as always, you're such a sweetie.



Wed Jan 28, 2009 1:31 am
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As for the Mick Jagger song - Sympathy for the Devil - I didn't go back and listen to it again - for fear I'd get too hung up on it.

I'll allow myself to hang off it (and Mick) after I've successfully negotiationed PL.

It's like the War and Peace movies - I'm on Book 11 - I'm not allowing myself to watch any more of the You Tube goodies until I've finished the book.

Then I'll go rent all versions I can get my hands on, order in a big passle of Chinese Food and celebrate!

About MJ . . . in my next life, I want to be two things;

1) a man

2) Mick Jagger



Wed Jan 28, 2009 1:38 am
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DWill wrote:
It's not an easy row to hoe, PL. It is tailor-made, though, for selective reading, . . .

Milton was a Ramist and wrote a book on Ramist logic. Ramist logic is a technique for complex outlining using a binary tree sorting structure. I suspect that Milton used this logic in designing Paradise Lost, and that is the reason its complexity is so hard for us without this logic to grasp.

Tom



Wed Jan 28, 2009 7:59 am
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That explains everything.

;-)



Wed Jan 28, 2009 10:54 am
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I've now listened to Bk I about 3 1/2 times through. It is amazing how helpful getting used hearing it out loud is. I also found a connection to one of my favorite book! Mary Webb's Precious Bane takes it's name from PL, Bk I:

"Let none admire that riches grow in Hell; that soyle may best deserve the pretious bane."

Now I just have to figure out what that means....help!

Edit added in:
Okay, a quick trip over to Wikipedia got me this:

It refers to the love of money, which, as Prue records, blights love and destroys life.

Now, how to get from the Milton quote to the piece I pulled from Wikipedia. I see that if riches grow in hell, they must be bad. Someone help me with the Precious Bane part. I do know that bane means: cause of harm, ruin, or death. Does soyle = soil?


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Fri Jan 30, 2009 6:46 pm
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Saffron wrote:
"Let none admire that riches grow in Hell; that soyle may best deserve the pretious bane."

Now I just have to figure out what that means....help!



Jewels and precious metals are taken out of the earth, so riches grow in Hell. All money in Milton's time was such metals, I think. The main business of Milton's father and Milton himself (again, I think) was money lending, and they prospered. His income gave him the liberty to write. "That soil deserves the pretious bane" because matter opposes spirit. Noted that the devils in Hell mined gold and made Pandemonium of it.

Tom



Fri Jan 30, 2009 7:05 pm
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Thank you, Tom. Your answer hit the spot, fully illuminating the answer to my question.


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I see we're back in business. "Precious Bane" is another of Milton's oxymorons. Here with us (he says to his readers) riches cause a good part of our misery, so it's perfectly logical that Heaven would be stocked with them. I think Milton's father began as a scrivener, did well and went into real estate. He sent John to college on his money. I'm not aware that Milton was in business as well.


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