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Milton and the Rabbis Hebraism, Hellenism, & Christianity

by Jeffrey S. Shoulson

  • ISBN: 9780231123297
  • ISBN10: 0231123299

Milton and the Rabbis Hebraism, Hellenism, & Christianity

by Jeffrey S. Shoulson

  • List Price: $34.00
  • Binding: Paperback
  • Publisher: Columbia Univ Pr
  • Publish date: 11/01/2001
  • ISBN: 9780231123297
  • ISBN10: 0231123299
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Description: Taking as its starting point the long-standing characterization of Milton as a "Hebraic" writer, "Milton and the Rabbis" probes the limits of the relationship between the seventeenth-century English poet and polemicist and his Jewish antecedents. Shoulsons analysis moves back and forth between Miltons writings and Jewish writings of the first five centuries of the Common Era, collectively known as midrash. In exploring the historical and literary implications of these connections, Shoulson shows how Miltons text can inform a more nuanced reading of midrash just as midrash can offer new insights into "Paradise Lost."
Shoulson is unconvinced of a direct link between a specific collection of rabbinic writings and Miltons works. He argues that many of Miltons poetic ideas that parallel midrash are likely to have entered Christian discourse not only through early modern Christian Hebraicists but also through Protestant writers and preachers without special knowledge of Hebrew. At the heart of Shoulsons inquiry lies a fundamental question: When is an idea, a theme, or an emphasis distinctively Judaic or Hebraic and when is it Christian? The difficulty in answering such questions reveals and highlights the fluid interaction between ostensibly Jewish, Hellenistic, and Christian modes of thought not only during the early modern period but also early in time when rabbinic Judaism and Christianity began.
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