ABSTRACT

Milton considered scripture (“written records pure”) man's fundamental source of truth. His fundamentalism is qualified by the belief that scripture must be read in the light of the Spirit and that the truth reveals itself in different ways to different readers. Hence his treatment of Creation in Book VII departs emphatically from the surface meaning of the biblical account. There is a strong suggestion that Creation is begun by a sexual impregnation of unformed matter, followed by an organic, almost evolutionary development of the visible world. The development completes itself in man, whose sexuality in Book IV is the culmination of a motif that begins with the initial impregnation of Chaos by the Spirit. Milton's view is similar to views found in Philo Judaeus, the pseudo-Dionysius, and several Renaissance Platonists. It illustrates the latitude of interpretation permitted those who read scripture in the light of the Spirit.

The text of this article is only available as a PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.