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Paradise Lost: Bk II 
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DWill wrote:
Tom: nothing above individual judgment. How much further out into Christian left field can one go?
Tom, you make some good points, but nothing above individual judgment? Wouldn't that be like Robert's dreaded relativism? (sorry, Robert, no disrepect intended). It's very difficult to imagine M with that attitude.


Bill, it may be difficult in today's terms, but in his time Milton wasn't alone in this. Quakers held a similar view -- I think I remember Milton having dealings with Quakers. Quakers eventually went so far as to deny that the bible imposed any limit on human judgment and to deny the vicarious atonement.

I don't know what Robert dreads. Dingoes getting his chooks? :)

Tom



Mon Jan 26, 2009 8:57 am
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Quote:
Dingoes getting his chooks?


In the dreaded relativistic world view, would not the dingoes always get the chooks because it is in their nature? and would not the humans withhold judgement of this action out of respect for the ways of dingoes and chooks? and would not the humans starve, having no chooks left to eat?

:shock:



Mon Jan 26, 2009 2:23 pm
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I live in Canberra, and there are no dingoes this side of the dingo fence. However, we have lost chooks to foxes, and there are also quite a few eastern brown snakes near our place. I have never seen one stand on its tail and whisper in a sleeping lady's ear though. :smile:

I don't see Milton as a relativist. Rather, he is arguing his own perspective as absolute, and suggesting the establishment claims about absolutes are in fact false. But this gets tricky. Milton would say that all genuine believers share absolutely in a priesthood, whereas the church defines priesthood in sacramental institutional terms. Milton's absolute is based on reason, whereas the church absolute is based on authority.

My recent comments on relativism, in the Book 1 thread on 23 Jan, were "The hope is for an absolute good. When Satan calls God a tyrant he is simply wrong, arguing a false relativism between good and evil. Satan would say that, wouldn't he."



Mon Jan 26, 2009 8:47 pm
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Oh, don't be surprised about any animal standing on its tail . . . I watched a documentary about skunks the night before last - the spotted skunk stands up on its front paws and head and waves his hindquarters as a threat.

I thought that was amazing.

..................................................

I have to admit to letting my mind wander while listening to Book II tonight.

I think what I'll have to do tomorrow night is two things:

1) Re-listen to Book II;

2) Re-read the posts here, 'cause I also have to admit skimming them - you guys are way too intellectual for me, I always think, but when I apply myself to reading your posts carefully, I learn from y'all.

....................................................

The other thing I wanted to say was about the old fashioned spelling - in that time, it would have been considered correct English, I suppose - could anyone have foretold that our writing of the language would be so much different?

A hundred years from now, will our offspring be muddling over the way we write now?

.....................................................

Anyway, g'night all . . . I finally found a cough syrup that really works - so I guess I'll sleep well.

:bow:



Wed Jan 28, 2009 1:53 am
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WildCityWoman wrote:
The other thing I wanted to say was about the old fashioned spelling - in that time, it would have been considered correct English, . . .


You're right. Paradise Lost is unnecessarily difficult to read because of nonstandard spelling. Also because of its poetic apostrophe and absence of paragraphing. Simple modernization would make it much easier to read.

Tom



Wed Jan 28, 2009 8:18 am
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Were it not for the audio version of the book, which I listen to while reading from the online text, I wouldn't know what some of those words are.



Wed Jan 28, 2009 11:28 am
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I went over the text and the audio of Part II once again . . . here are my notes:

It intrigues me to think of those cast onto the burning waters as being
able to accustom themselves to the discomfort and rise above it - to
find other places on the 'planet' where they were cast - places that
might serve them better.

Like sending criminals to the continent of Australia - they were able
to grow as a people.

.............................................

Notice how he considers an immortal god with an immortal wife who give birth to immortal children; the same as the beasts.

.............................................

Milton, at the same time, seems to assume two things;

1) that everything before man was created, consisted of mortals only;

2) that the devil and his associates are beasts . . .

How can we talk about heaven, hell and earth, if earth and man did not
yet exist - yet he speaks of it as if it did.

Maybe I'm just not grasping it properly.
\



Wed Jan 28, 2009 11:29 am
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OK - I'm enjoying it - I find I have to listen closely and follow the text too . . .

If I don't, my mind drifts off.

I'll go on to book 3.



Thu Jan 29, 2009 6:52 am
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WildCityWoman wrote:
It intrigues me to think of those cast onto the burning waters as being able to accustom themselves to the discomfort and rise above it - to find other places on the 'planet' where they were cast - places that might serve them better. Like sending criminals to the continent of Australia - they were able to grow as a people.
What a superb idea! Milton wrote in 1670, and the First Fleet of convicts was sent to Australia from the glorious UK in 1788. I can well imagine the great and good bigwigs of London, having read their Milton, imagining Australia as a hell at the bottom of the known universe where they could safely consign the satanic criminal rabble of the lower classes to rot in chains on a lake of fire, just as God sent Satan from heaven to hell in Paradise Lost. I will have to read The Fatal Shore by Robert Hughes one day; he says the four goals of the convict system were to 'sublimate, deter, reform and colonise'. Maybe God had a similar idea about hell? The irony of this parallel is that Australia turned out to be something of a Paradise, for example the town of Eden, and Britons came to imagine Australia as a heavenly escape from their own cold dreary dark hell. Thinking of the diggers who have returned home from the colonies to the angelic old country, Rupert Murdoch comes to mind as a particularly beguiling man of wealth and taste. Murdoch well illustrates the rich vein of double meanings in the Miltonic parable, and how worldly success can have a Faustian price.



Thu Jan 29, 2009 12:00 pm
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Hi, I am trying to see all the posts. So I thought I would post something to see if this fixed that bug.



Fri Jan 30, 2009 7:02 pm
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No such luck. :(



Fri Jan 30, 2009 7:03 pm
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seespotrun2008 wrote:
Hi, I am trying to see all the posts. So I thought I would post something to see if this fixed that bug.


Beelzebub does want us talking about him. An exorcism might help, as clearly this is beyond the control of science :)

In the meantime, we can work around the little devil by accessing posts by going to the index and working down to where the sought post is. Get to the index by clicking on Forums or on Forum Index.

Tom



Fri Jan 30, 2009 7:22 pm
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I must first admit I have not read any of this thread yet -- I've just finished bk II and just want to post a thought I had while listening to it. I couldn't get Cormac McCarthy's No Country for Old Men out of my mind. I guess I better explain my take on the title. It seems to me that the book is suggesting that a tide has turned, a balance tipped. The world is now more evil than good, as illustrated by the pure evil of the character Anton Chigurh. He in fact is the last man standing; surviving to even walk away from a car crash at the very end. Hence, this new world is no country for old men. In McCarthy's world Satan is winning.


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Fri Jan 30, 2009 9:35 pm
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Post Massy
Oh, one more thing -- what's with the word massy? Milton uses it a lot. It does sound good in the places that he has placed it, but was it a word in common use at the time Milton wrote or is it a poetic?


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Fri Jan 30, 2009 9:43 pm
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Post Re: Massy
Saffron wrote:
Oh, one more thing -- what's with the word massy? Milton uses it a lot. It does sound good in the places that he has placed it, but was it a word in common use at the time Milton wrote or is it a poetic?


He scarce had ceas't when the superiour Fiend
Was moving toward the shoar; his ponderous shield
Ethereal temper, massy, large and round, [ 285 ]
Behind him cast; the broad circumference
Hung on his shoulders like the Moon, . . . .
-- Book I

Saffron, this is the only occurrence of 'massy' in Paradise Lost. Am I mistaken?



Fri Jan 30, 2009 10:49 pm
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