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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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A Stronger Existence: Angels, Polemic, and Radical Speculation, 1640–1660

A Stronger Existence: Angels, Polemic, and Radical Speculation, 1640–1660

Chapter:
(p.89) 4 A Stronger Existence: Angels, Polemic, and Radical Speculation, 1640–1660
Source:
Milton's Angels
Author(s):

Raymond Joad

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199560509.003.0004

The revolutionary decades of the seventeenth century witnessed copious writing about angels. This chapter suggests four complementary perspectives upon these engagements. There is a rhetorical mode, in which angel-doctrine is used metaphorically, in topical and political writing, to bring Scripture to bear upon constitutional thought and polemical force. The second mode is the exegetical, and these decades saw further development of a vernacular tradition of scriptural commentaries and systematic angelography. The third, creaturely mode describes the visible or invisible intervention of angels in recent human affairs, providential appearances, and direct communication between humans and angels. The fourth mode is a synthesis of the first three: the radical mode, not only because it is associated with religious enthusiasts, but because it evokes the immediacy of the spirit world and attempts to redescribe the history and geography of the universe, to redraw the heavens.

Keywords:   Edmund Calamy, millenarianism, apocalypse, rhetorical angels, exegetical angels, creaturely angels, radical angels

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