Milton’s divorce tracts


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The slide gives a brief look of John Milton's interlinked polemical pamphlets about divorce.

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Milton’s divorce tracts

  1. 1. Milton’s Divorce Tracts
  2. 2. Introduction Four interlinked polemical pamphlets  The Doctrine and Discipline of Divorce  The Judgment of Martin Bucer  Tetrachordon  Colasterion
  3. 3. Introduction  written in 1643-45  argues for the legitimacy of divorce on grounds of spousal incompatibility  bears importance in analyzing the relationship between Adam and Eve in his epic Paradise Lost
  4. 4. Context  Desertion by his newly married wife Mary Powell  Pursued “Miss Davis,” but his inability to appeal for divorce failed his want for marriage  Attempt to revamp the outmoded – if not non- existent – English divorce tracts
  5. 5. Mary Powell Daughter of Richard Powell, an Oxfordshire Justice of the Peace A young but irresponsible young women Married Milton in 1641 Lived at Aldersgate Street in London Felt imprisoned during the course of their union Milton agreed to let her go in the condition of coming back to him, but she did not Embarrassed to be associated with a radical like Milton
  6. 6. Mary Powell Plan backfire after two years Association with a distinguished Parliamentary would be advantageous Milton was writing The Doctrine… and was seeing a “handsome and witty gentlewomen” Her family knows one of Milton‟s beloved She hid during one of his visit at her friend‟s home Asked forgiveness and was taken back by Milton Died after seven years after the birth of their third daughter
  7. 7. Argument „Indisposition, unfitness, or contrariety of mind, arising from a cause in nature unchangeable, hindring and ever likely to hinder the main benefits of conjugal society, which are solace and peace‟
  8. 8. Doctrine and Discipline of Divorce Published on August 1, 1643 Second edition on February 2, 1644 did not abrogate the permission for divorce found in Deuteronomy 24:1 because in Matthew 19 he was just addressing a specific audience of Pharisees.
  9. 9. Doctrine and Discipline of Divorce An imperative reason for divorce It is the fault of men that there were not able to discern whether or not problems with their spouses leading to a divorce, will arise from their marriage but there is simply no way in determining what happens after marriage Only the divorcer can understand his situation  Regarding papists, „who are the strictest forbidders of divorce‟  Regarding the noisome divorce courts
  10. 10. Martin Bucer  German Protestant Reformer  His reformation efforts resulted in his excommunication from the Roman Catholic Church  Attempted to unite Catholics and Protestants to create a Church separate from Rome  Exiled to English and died at age 59  Pioneer of Ecumenism
  11. 11. Judgment of Martin Bucer Milton felt that using a popular Protestant figure would persuade the Parliament to change their views on divorce Taking from Bucer‟s De Regno Christi Published in August 13, 1644
  12. 12. Tetrachordon Connects four passages from the Biblical Scripture to rationalize divorce  Genesis 1: 27-28  Deuteronomy 24: 1  Matthew 5: 31-32. 19: 2-9  I Corinthians 7: 10-16 Focused on satirizing his critics
  13. 13. Tetrachordon Genesis 1: 27-28So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. God blessed them and said to them, "Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground."
  14. 14. Tetrachordon Deuteronomy 24: 1When a man hath taken a wife, and married her, and it come to pass that she find no favour in his eyes, because he hath found some uncleanness in her: then let him write her a bill of divorcement, and give it in her hand, and send her out of his house.
  15. 15. TetrachordonMatthew 19: 3-9And some Pharisees came to Him, tempting Him, and saying, "Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any cause at all?"And He answered and said , "Have you not read, that He who created them from the beginning made them male and female, And said, For this cause a man shall leave his father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and the two shall become one flesh? Consequently they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate."
  16. 16. TetrachordonThey say unto him, "Why then did Moses command to give her a certificate and divorce her?"He said to them, "Because of the hardness of your heart, Moses permitted you to divorce your wives; but from the beginning it has not been this way. And I say to you, Whoever divorces his wife, except for immorality, and marries another woman, commits adultery.
  17. 17. Tetrachordon 1 Corinthian 7: 10-16To the married I give this command (not I, but the Lord): A wife must not separate from her husband. But if she does, she must remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband. And a husband must not divorce his wife.To the rest I say this (I, not the Lord): If any brother has a wife who is not a believer and she is willing to live with him, he must not divorce her. And if a woman has a husband who is not a believer and he is willing to live with her, she must not divorce him.
  18. 18. TetrachordonFor the unbelieving husband has been sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife has been sanctified through her believing husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy.But if the unbeliever leaves, let him do so. A believing man or woman is not bound in such circumstances; God has called us to live in peace. How do you know, wife, whether you will save your husband? Or, how do you know, husband, whether you will save your wife?
  19. 19. Tetrachordon Title To Parliament Genesis Places Deuteronomy Places Matthew Places 1 Corinthian Places
  20. 20. Colasterion
  21. 21. Colasterion „The place of punishment‟ Published in March 4, 1645 with Tetrachordon Response to an anonymous pamphlet attacking The Doctrine… Does not pose new arguments, but to berate the pamphlet author Thrashes the “Champarty” (William Prynne, Herbert Palmer and Joseph Caryl)
  22. 22. Colasterion“wind-egg”So that whether his meaning were to inform his own Party, or to confute his Adversary, instead of shewing us the true Doctrine and Discipline of Divorce, he shews us nothing but his own contemptible Ignorance. For what is the Mosaic Law to his Opinion? And what is the Canon, utterly now antiquated, either to that, or to mine? Ye see already what a faithful Definer we have of him. From such a wind Egg of definition as this, they who expect any of his other Arguments to be well hatchd, let them enjoy the virtue of their worthy Champion.
  23. 23. Colasterion “serving-man”It was then told me that the Doctrine of Divorce was answered, and the Answer half printed against the first Edition, not by one, but by a pack of Heads; of whom the chief, by circumstance, was intimated to me, and since ratified to be no other, if any can hold laughter, and I am sure none will guess him lower than an actual Serving- man.
  24. 24. Colasterion “conspicuous gull”His Arguments are spun; now follows the Chaplain with his Antiquities, wiser if he had refrained, for his very touching aught that is learned, soils it, and lays him still more and more open, a conspicuous Gull.