Milton and the Rabbis: Hebraism, Hellenism, and Christianity [NOOK Book]

Overview


Taking as its starting point the long-standing characterization of Milton as a "Hebraic" writer, Milton and the Rabbis probes the limits of the relationship between the seventeenth-century English poet and polemicist and his Jewish antecedents. Shoulson's analysis moves back and forth between Milton's writings and Jewish writings of the first five centuries of the Common Era, collectively known as midrash. In exploring the historical and literary implications of these connections, Shoulson shows how Milton's ...
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Milton and the Rabbis: Hebraism, Hellenism, and Christianity

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Overview


Taking as its starting point the long-standing characterization of Milton as a "Hebraic" writer, Milton and the Rabbis probes the limits of the relationship between the seventeenth-century English poet and polemicist and his Jewish antecedents. Shoulson's analysis moves back and forth between Milton's writings and Jewish writings of the first five centuries of the Common Era, collectively known as midrash. In exploring the historical and literary implications of these connections, Shoulson shows how Milton's text can inform a more nuanced reading of midrash just as midrash can offer new insights into Paradise Lost.

Shoulson is unconvinced of a direct link between a specific collection of rabbinic writings and Milton's works. He argues that many of Milton's poetic ideas that parallel midrash are likely to have entered Christian discourse not only through early modern Christian Hebraicists but also through Protestant writers and preachers without special knowledge of Hebrew. At the heart of Shoulson's inquiry lies a fundamental question: When is an idea, a theme, or an emphasis distinctively Judaic or Hebraic and when is it Christian? The difficulty in answering such questions reveals and highlights the fluid interaction between ostensibly Jewish, Hellenistic, and Christian modes of thought not only during the early modern period but also early in time when rabbinic Judaism and Christianity began.

WINNER: American Academy for Jewish Research's Salo W. Baron Prize for a First Book in Jewish Studies for 2001

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Editorial Reviews

Albert C. Labriola
Shoulson brings the light of brilliant analysis to numerous vexing issues in Milton's writings.
Seventeenth-Century News

[Shoulson]... is as sophisticated a reader of Milton's works as he is of the rabbinical writings that shaped the milieu in which Milton and his contemporaries worked out their relationship to Christiantiy and to the ancient and contemporary Hebraic traditions. The results are enlightening and truly rewarding.

Sixteenth Century Journal

A rich canvas... Shoulson brings to his task great erudition, scholarly comprehensiveness, and critical acumen.

— Manfried Weidhorn

Religious Studies Review
Insightful and inventive... Rather than trying to claim a specific source for Milton's "Hebraic" tendencies, Shoulson asserts that rabbinic literature might have reached [Milton] through a variety of means, direct and indirect.

— Heather Shillinglaw, Indiana University

Sixteenth-Century Journal
A rich canvas... Shoulson brings to his task great erudition, scholarly comprehensiveness, and critical acumen.

— Manfried Weidhorn

Sixteenth Century Journal - Manfried Weidhorn

A rich canvas... Shoulson brings to his task great erudition, scholarly comprehensiveness, and critical acumen.

Religious Studies Review - Heather Shillinglaw

Insightful and inventive... Rather than trying to claim a specific source for Milton's "Hebraic" tendencies, Shoulson asserts that rabbinic literature might have reached [Milton] through a variety of means, direct and indirect.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780231506397
  • Publisher: Columbia University Press
  • Publication date: 6/1/2010
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 384
  • File size: 17 MB
  • Note: This product may take a few minutes to download.

Meet the Author


Jeffrey Shoulson is assistant professor of English and Judaic studies at the University of Miami.


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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
A Note on the Texts
Introduction: Hebraism and Literary History 1
1 Diaspora and Restoration 10
2 "Taking Sanctuary Among the Jews": Milton and the Form of Jewish Precedent 45
3 The Poetics of Accommodation: Theodicy and the Language of Kingship 93
4 Imagining Desire: Divine and Human Creativity 135
5 "So Shall the World Go On": Martyrdom, Interpretation, and History 189
Epilogue: Toward Interpreting the Hebraism of Samson Agonistes 240
Notes 263
Selected Bibliography 309
Index 329
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