Tuesday, October 25, 2011

John Milton Wasn't A Philosopher?

Yet from these flames
No light, but rather darkness visible.
John Milton, Paradise Lost, Book I, Lines 62 - 63

What better time to talk about John Milton? Evil has descended upon the land, especially  here in Canada! Why today, the social deconstruction continues apace. New legislation to destroy the long gun registry was tabled. Rob Ford was frightened and called 911 over a visit by Marg Delahunty at his residence in Toronto. Rex Murphy appeared on Strombo, in the biggest reverse Judas act ever seen. The Oracle of Ottawa is convinced that we are living in the end times! Nothing is going to get any better. The neo-con conservative rule will continue to tighten. They will win an even larger majority in the next election. The Senate Chamber by then will be converted into a temple. The Speech From the Throne will be replaced with burnt offerings...The curtain of Canada will be rent asunder for all time!

John Milton

What better time to get into Milton's Paradise Lost? But before we do we must prepare the ground. What was the importance of John Milton to philosophy? Good, evil, power, gnashing of teeth, pretty common foundational philosophical issues, no? The Oracle of Ottawa must refer to a higher power. Pulling my copy of The Oxford Companion To Philosophy down from the shelf, I was shocked, shocked! That John Milton did not get an article in what I thought up to this point was a most excellent reference work and all around help. And to add insult to injury, I have the latest "New Edition"!

"sulphur and perfidy"

But, fear not, dear reader, the Oracle of Ottawa is most well resourced for a retired blue collar worker! We will just go up to the bigger guns! Pulling volume five down of my most treasured copy of The Encyclopedia of Philosophy edited by Paul Edwards, the day was saved! It contains a most brilliant erudite article of John Miltons importance to philosophy. "Milton was essentially a religious and ethical thinker, and his views are a striking blend of Christian humanism and Puritanism." This is most reassuring in this present age of sulphur and perfidy!

Yes but, what was the point? Yes, this article gets right to the very heart of the matter, in answering the question most brilliantly. " Central to Milton's conception of Christian liberty is the distinction between the Mosaic law, a law of bondage which extorts servile obedience through fear, and the gospel, which offers a free, elective and spiritual service based on mans filial relation to God." Now you to can understand Question Period!

What is the ultimate point? Again, quoting form the text: "This strong emphasis on inner law led Milton to the antinomian view that Christ, by his life and death, abrogated the whole Mosiac law, the moral parts as well as the judicial and ceremonial parts." Perhaps there is hope for the future after all?

Who would have guessed that Paradise Lost would become modern and contemporary?

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