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Torah and Law in Paradise Lost
     

Torah and Law in Paradise Lost

by Jason P. Rosenblatt
 

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It has been the fate of Milton, the most Hebraic of the great English poets, to have been interpreted in this century largely by those inhospitable to his Hebraism. To remedy this lack of balance, Jason Rosenblatt reveals Milton's epic representations of paradise and the fallen world to be the supreme coordinates of an interpretive struggle, in which Jewish beliefs

Overview

It has been the fate of Milton, the most Hebraic of the great English poets, to have been interpreted in this century largely by those inhospitable to his Hebraism. To remedy this lack of balance, Jason Rosenblatt reveals Milton's epic representations of paradise and the fallen world to be the supreme coordinates of an interpretive struggle, in which Jewish beliefs that the Hebrew Bible was eternally authoritative Torah were set against the Christian view that it was a temporary law superseded by the New Testament. Arguing that the Milton of the 1643-1645 prose tracts saw the Hebrew Bible from the Jewish perspective, Rosenblatt shows that these tracts are the principal doctrinal matrix of the middle books of Paradise Lost, which present the Hebrew Bible and Adam and Eve as self-sufficient entities.

Rosenblatt acknowledges that later in Paradise Lost, after the fall, a Pauline hermeneutic reduces the Hebrew Bible to a captive text and Adam and Eve to shadowy types. But Milton's shift to a radically Pauline ethos at that point does not annul the Hebraism of the earlier part of the work. If Milton resembles Paul, it is not least because his thought could attain harmonies only through dialectic. Milton's poetry derives much of its power from deep internal struggles over the value and meaning of law, grace, charity, Christian liberty, and the relationships among natural law, the Mosaic law, and the gospel.

Editorial Reviews

Jewish Book World
In this scholarly treatise, Professor Jason Rosenblatt shows the strong relationship between the middle books of Milton's Paradise Lost and the Jewish belief of the Hebrew Bible as an eternal Torah. While it is true that after the Fall, Milton adopted a Pauline ethos, this study highlights the often neglected Hebraism of the Edenic books and his prose tracts of 1643-45.
From the Publisher

"[Jason Rosenblatt] convincingly demonstrates that Milton's Hebraism, though ambivalent, is a significant and enduring feature of his poetic art."--Choice

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781400821303
Publisher:
Princeton University Press
Publication date:
07/05/1994
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
288
File size:
473 KB

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