Abstract

If Milton’s De Doctrina Christiana has fostered debate about his theological positions, this essay argues that, in terms of the treatise, his theological process takes on greater importance than its results. Milton’s treatise theorizes a model of interpretative liberty rooted in his understanding of a Father and Son who differ in both number and essence, but who are unified through participation in the same process of profession. In a similar vein, human unity requires freely engaging in the process of working out one’s beliefs for oneself, even if the process invariably produces divergent results. The key to unifying these divergent results is the same “rule of charity” that Milton had articulated in the divorce tracts of 1643–45. As an illustration of Milton’s process, this essay probes his practice of rendering scripture into Latin, which brings out the complexities of the agency that engaging in this process of charitably liberated interpretation requires.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1543-0383
Print ISSN
0039-3738
Pages
pp. 346-374
Launched on MUSE
2014-04-16
Open Access
No
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