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Milton's AngelsThe Early-Modern Imagination$
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Joad Raymond

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199560509

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199560509.001.0001

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The Natural Philosophy of Angels

The Natural Philosophy of Angels

(p.277) 11 The Natural Philosophy of Angels
Milton's Angels

Raymond Joad

Oxford University Press

This chapter discusses the impact of natural philosophy on views of angels, and the ways in which angels constituted thought experiments in natural philosophy. Milton's angels are objects of natural-philosophical knowledge. There was no divorce between mechanical and occult or spiritual philosophy; rather, it was the opponents of the Society, such as Hobbes, who doubted that spiritual beings were reliable evidence. Increasingly the ‘proof’ of the spirit world lay in descriptions and explanations of apparitions, such as those compiled by Robert Boyle, Glanvill, and More. The spirits concerned were predominantly demons because the age of miracles and angels was over. Still, there is no real division between the philosopher, theologian, and poet, because the story is ‘a complex narrative organism’ and the part and whole must be understood together.

Keywords:   natural philosophy, angelic digestion, angelic lovemaking, Milton's theology, angelic optics

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