Endless Kingdom: Milton's Scriptural Society

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"The Endless Kingdom studies the dynamics of biblical reading and interpretation in Paradise Lost, Paradise Regained, and Samson Agonistes. Milton completed these three major poems after the Restoration of the monarchy in 1660, an event he viewed as a failure by the English people to find a political direction that might lead towards greater liberty." The endless Kingdom considers the discourses that favored the restored monarchy in their biblical components. Examining a wide range of sermons, treatises, and pamphlets of the time, David Gay
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Overview

"The Endless Kingdom studies the dynamics of biblical reading and interpretation in Paradise Lost, Paradise Regained, and Samson Agonistes. Milton completed these three major poems after the Restoration of the monarchy in 1660, an event he viewed as a failure by the English people to find a political direction that might lead towards greater liberty." The endless Kingdom considers the discourses that favored the restored monarchy in their biblical components. Examining a wide range of sermons, treatises, and pamphlets of the time, David Gay observes how preachers and polemicists used biblical texts to interpret the Restoration as a visible manifestation of the wisdom of divine providence. Contained in the charged atmosphere of what Christopher Hill calls the biblical culture of seventeenth-century England, a culture in which scriptural precepts supported diverse opinions, these texts inculcated uniform political perceptions that conditioned the acceptance of monarchical power in the English political imagination. Milton understood, and was formed by, the historical conditions of this biblical culture. His response to this culture in the years after the Restoration was neither to accept biblical interpretations that sanctioned the historical replication of monarchy, nor to retreat from history into disengaged observation. Instead, as this book centrally contends, Milton represented the Bible as a radically counter-historical text that provides grounds for critical and oppositional readings against the current of historical events.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780874137774
  • Publisher: University of Delaware Press
  • Publication date: 9/28/2002
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 6.58 (w) x 9.48 (h) x 0.73 (d)

Table of Contents

Foreword: Scripture and Society 9
Acknowledgments 13
1 The Righteous Ruler: Wisdom and Restoration in Milton's England 19
2 "Happier Life": Wisdom and Perception in Paradise Lost 63
3 "Contrary Blasts": Wisdom and Opposition in Samson Agonistes 99
4 "The Promis'd Kingdom": Wisdom and Revelation in Paradise Regained 140
Afterword: Society and Its Readers 185
Notes 188
Bibliography 206
Index 215
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