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Milton's History of BritainRepublican Historiography in the English Revolution$
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Nicholas von Maltzahn

Print publication date: 1991

Print ISBN-13: 9780198128977

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198128977.001.0001

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Milton and the Early Church

Milton and the Early Church

(p.141) 6 Milton and the Early Church
Milton's History of Britain

Nicholas von Maltzahn

Oxford University Press

John Milton learned of a terrible warning in Gildas' lament. The Britons' corruption had been a problem of Church as much as State, long before any Roman contamination of the primitive native Church. Early in Milton's career as a polemicist, his hostility to the confusion of Church and State had found expression in the anti-episcopal tracts of 1641 and 1642. King Lucius, the first Christian king of Britain, and the Early British Church is discussed here. Next, Milton's views on Emperor Constantine are both emphatic and troublingly inconsistent, and therefore suggest in outline some deeper currents in his thought. In Milton's response to the Saxon Church and its legacy, an especially revealing historical episode is the mission to England of St Augustine of Canterbury, in whom the Saxon episcopacy had its inception.

Keywords:   John Milton, Gildas, Early British Church, State, King Lucius, Emperor Constantine, Saxon Church, Canterbury

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