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date: 24 March 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Assessing Milton’s complex allegiance to the biblical word, this chapter explores this most radical Protestant’s assertion that the Bible, for all its evident importance to him, may be fallible. Moving from comment in his theological treatise, De doctrina Christiana, on the potential and actual corruptions in the New Testament, Milton was driven, like many other Protestants, to argue for ‘a double scripture’, to distinguish the external scripture of the written word from the internal scripture of the Holy Spirit engraved upon the heart. This separation produced in the early modern reader of scripture both great confidence and gnawing anxiety. Forsyth explores the issues that Milton’s uncertain Bible allows him to open up and the distortions of scripture in his epic, using this exemplary reader to illustrate the significance and broad ramifications of biblical scholarship in the late seventeenth century.

Keywords: Milton, De doctrina Christiana, corruption in Bible, Bible in Paradise Lost, Holy Spirit, angels

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