This article reconsiders Samson's relationship to Hebrew law and Christian liberty in Samson Agonistes by reading the drama alongside the seventeenth-century Sabbath debates. Milton, like many participants in the debates, was especially intrigued by the Sabbath teachings in Isaiah's final chapters. Isaiah seemingly offered an opportunity to unite the Hebrew and Christian scriptures because the book both exhorted readers to observe Hebrew Sabbath law and could be read as prefiguring Christ's work to free the oppressed. Amidst these discussions, Milton's Samson emerges as an Isaian hero who anticipates Christ's liberating labors not by breaking Hebrew law but by obeying it.
“Not in their idol-worship, but by labor”: The Sabbath and the Book of Isaiah in Samson Agonistes
Karen Clausen-Brown; “Not in their idol-worship, but by labor”: The Sabbath and the Book of Isaiah in Samson Agonistes. Milton Studies 1 September 2018; 60 (1-2): 134–156. doi: https://doi.org/10.5325/miltonstudies.60.1-2.0134
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