MILTON'S ARIANISM: "FOLLOWING THE WAY WHICH IS CALLED HERESY" (ENGLAND)

MICHAEL EDWARD BAUMAN, Fordham University

Abstract

For more than a century and a half since the publication in 1825 of his long-lost, systematic theology, De doctrina christiana, Milton's critics have been struggling, with Milton and one another, to determine into which school of Trinitarian thought he ought to be enrolled. He has been variously "matriculated" into the schools of Servetus, Socinus, and Ochino, as well as those of pre-Nicene subordinationism, Unitarianism, Arianism and orthodoxy. While some of these views appear more compelling than others, no one view has been able to capture a lasting scholarly consensus.^ This dissertation attempts to resolve the controversy by identifying Milton's position with that of Nicene Arianism. Milton's own pivotal works are compared to the standard exposition of the Nicene creed, as it has been propounded by commentators generally acknowledged as the foremost patristic scholars in this and earlier ages. Thus, if the case for Milton's Arianism is to be gainsayed, it could be done only by establishing that this dissertation has misconstrued Milton's own works or else by overturning the accumulated wisdom of 150 years of patristic study.^ In establishing Milton's Arianism, reference is made to the work of such universally acknowledged patristic scholars as, among others, G. L. Prestige, Jaroslav Pelikan, J. N. D. Kelly and G. C. Stead. Among Milton's critics, special note is taken of Maurice Kelley, J. H. Adamson, C. A. Patrides, William B. Hunter, Jr., Gordon Campbell and J. H. Sims. Among Milton's own works, those given special in-depth attention are Paradise Lost, De doctrina christiana, Of True Religion, and Art of Logic. By establishing Milton's Arianism upon these works the legitimacy of the Arian label appears substantially unassailable, for that would mean that in his greatest work, in his longest work, in his last original work, and in his book of logic, Milton was heretical. ^

Subject Area

Religious history

Recommended Citation

BAUMAN, MICHAEL EDWARD, "MILTON'S ARIANISM: "FOLLOWING THE WAY WHICH IS CALLED HERESY" (ENGLAND)" (1983). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI8323513.
https://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AAI8323513

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