Gnostic Heresy in Marlowe, Milton, and Blake
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Publisher: Oxford University Press
Number of Pages: 296
Width: 14.4 cm
Height: 22.4 cm
The Trinity of orthodox Christianity is harmonious. The Trinity for Blake is, conspicuously, not a happy family: the Father and the Son do not get on. It might be thought that so cumbersome a notion is inconceivable before the rise of Romanticism but the Ophite Gnostics of the second century AD appear to have thought that God the Father was a jealous tyrant because he forbade Adam and Eve to eat from the Tree of Knowledge and that the serpent, who led the way to the Tree of Knowledge, was really Christ. This book explores the possibility of an underground `perennial heresy', linking the Ophites to Blake. The `alternative Trinity' is intermittently visible in Marlowe's Doctor Faustus and even in Milton's Paradise Lost. Blake's notorious detection of a pro-Satan anti-poem, latent in this `theologically patriarchal' epic is less capricious, better grounded historically and philosophically, than is commonly realised.
Nuttall's book is a lively and learned study ... impressive mastery of theology combined with much sensitivity to textual and literary details. * David Loewenstein, MLR, 96.2, 2001 * Nuttall is constantly illuminating and informative .../ Stephen Prickett, TLS, 9/7/99 entertaining and beautifilly written. * Margaret Anne Doody, Raritan, Fall 00. * the treatment has all of Nuttall's usual good-tempered energy and his gift for lateral thinking, ... full of intellectual energy and novelty. ... Much of the pleasure offered by this agreeably argumentative and learned study derives from the author's own power of scholarly fantasy;/Frank Kermode/LRB 15/10/98 Nuttall shows much learning ... Nuttall offers some engaging expositions of familiar material and some useful citations of less familiar lore. * E D Hill, CHOICE September 1999, vol 37 no1 *