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Milton's Messiah: The Son of God in the Works of John Milton 1st Edition

5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review
ISBN-13: 978-0199591886
ISBN-10: 0199591881
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Editorial Reviews


"Hillier's is a thorough analysis of the presence of Christ and his work of salvation in Milton's poetry. The author ably interweaves evidence for Milton's soteriology with readings of important passages from his treatise De Doctrina Christiana, and his meticulous discussion of the importance of Christ in Paradise Lost and Paradise Regained is supported by numerous examples from contemporary and patristic authors, as well as from classical sources. Hillier never wanders far from Milton's text - indeed, very few paragraphs are without direct quotations from the poems - and the result is an understanding of how, in his literary works, Milton projected the Son's role in the context of a theology based on the doctrine of redemption." --The Heythrop Journal

"Milton's Messiah is a fine scholarly work that demands and rewards the concentration
of readers, particularly those who share some familiarity with soteriological discourse... Hillier offers distinctive and illuminating close readings of important passages from both Paradise Lost and Paradise Regain'd, not a mean feat these days." --Modern Language Review

"Hillier's readings of Milton's poetry are frequently excellent, having that all-too-rare combination of dense learning and readability. This is a book well worth the attention of students of Milton and of Reformation theology, and one that makes a significant contribution to scholarship." --Renaissance Quarterly

"Most striking about Hillier.'s analysis is his excellent use of Milton's De Doctrina Christiana which continually supports his readings of Milton's faith in the power of redemption. ... Hillier's study is one that empathises with his modern reader ... detailed discussions of the Bible and Milton's work offer invaluable support and depth to the reader's understanding of seventeenth-century Protestantism." --The Glass

About the Author

Russell M. Hillier was born in the West Country of England. He took his BA and MA degrees in Classics and English at Corpus Christi College, Oxford University, and in 2008 he completed his Ph.D at Selwyn College, Cambridge University. He has published numerous articles in journals that include Milton Quarterly, Milton Studies, Studies in English Literature, and Studies in Philology, on writers as diverse as John Milton, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Fyodor Dostoevsky, and Cormac McCarthy. He is currently Assistant Professor of English at Providence College, Rhode Island.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (May 2, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199591881
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199591886
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 1 x 6.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,531,878 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Russel Hillier: Milton's Messiah: The Son of God in the Works of John Milton


1. The Nature of Milton's Son and his Justification of Men's Ways to God: Things Indifferent?
2. Milton's Great Argument
3. `Matter new to gaze': Satan's Blindness and the Manifestation of Milton's Sacramental Universe
4. `On other surety none': Raphael's Temporal and Spatial Passion Allegories
5. The Good Communicated: Milton's Drama of the Fall and the Law of Charity
6. Surprised by Sin, Assured by Grace: Milton's Redeeming Irony
7. Paradise Found: Milton's Messiah and the Argument of Weakness in Paradise Regain'd

This "study of Milton's Messiah" and "re-evaluation of redemptive theology for Milton's thought" (vii), "proceeds from the assumption that Milton's poetry serves as the handmaiden to his theology" (vii). Hillier writes, "The purpose of this study is to restore the balance by returning Milton's reader to that other face of Holy Scripture, that is, to the more affirming side of Milton's poetic theology and his theological poetry" (viii).

Milton's Messiah serves as a "corrective" and "implicit rejoinder" to the "sly brilliance" of Empson, who, as Hillier tells us in chapter 1, "imported into Paradise Lost" a "Stalinist, totalitarian deity" (29). To this end, Hillier foregrounds Milton's patripassian view of God, which holds that the Father participates in the suffering of the Son (and secondarily, in the suffering of his whole creation--sadism is precluded). Pointing to how "the face of God is called...'loving-kindness' in biblical Hebrew," Hillier writes, "Comprehending Milton's Son as an avatar of divine compassion illuminates the nature of God in ways far removed from Empson's" view of "the deity" (2).
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