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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 Fleshly Imagination and the Word of God

The Fleshly Imagination and the Word of God

(p.162) 6 The Fleshly Imagination and the Word of God
Milton's Angels

Raymond Joad

Oxford University Press

This chapter explores the development of the notion of accommodation and debates about accommodation and scriptural interpretation in early modern Britain, before turning to reformed poetics in the seventeenth century. Paradise Lost is one of a series of epic poems, all centrally concerned with angels, that use this doctrine to meditate on representation. The theological tradition was fundamental to literary writing. There is a connection between seventeenth-century epic, reformed theories of representation, and the invisible world of angels. To Milton, accommodation signifies the condescension of God and the raising of human thought, and the Christian guarantee that while this is taking place, miscommunication, or misrepresentation or misunderstanding, will not occur. Accommodation inhabits inspired writing: it is God who is representing himself; and his prophets, therefore, are conduits for his words, though their words are also his.

Keywords:   angels' bodies, accommodation, literalism, Reformation, Paradise Lost

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