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Milton in the Long Restoration$
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Blair Hoxby and Ann Baynes Coiro

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780198769774

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198769774.001.0001

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Milton, Newton, and the Implications of Arianism

Milton, Newton, and the Implications of Arianism

(p.319) 17 Milton, Newton, and the Implications of Arianism
Milton in the Long Restoration

Stephen M. Fallon

Oxford University Press

Conventional periodization has separated John Milton, the last Renaissance poet, from Isaac Newton, the first Enlightenment natural philosopher. But their lives and their circles of friends overlapped, and their shared intellectual positions are numerous and substantial, embracing theology, biblical hermeneutics, natural philosophy, and metaphysics. Arianism plays a defining role Milton’s and Newton’s complex, mirroring systems, both accounting for much of what is shared and highlighting a crucial difference between their fundamental imperatives: freedom of the will for Milton and divine omnipotence for Newton. Viewed from the perspective of the years following his death, Milton seems less an eccentric and idiosyncratic voice and more an early adopter of important strains of thought in late seventeenth- and early eighteenth-century England.

Keywords:   John Milton, Isaac Newton, Paradise Lost, De doctrina Christiana, Christian Doctrine, Arianism, Socinianism

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