Skip to Main Content
Have library access? Log in through your library
The Unfolding God of Jung and Milton

The Unfolding God of Jung and Milton

Copyright Date: 1993
Pages: 248
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    The Unfolding God of Jung and Milton
    Book Description:

    In this first extensive Jungian treatment of Milton's major poems, James P. Driscoll uses archetypal psychology to explore Milton's great themes of God, man, woman, and evil and offers readers deepened understanding of Jung's profound thoughts on Godhead. The Father, the Son, Satan, Messiah, Samson, Adam, and Eve gain new dimensions of meaning as their stories become epiphanies of the archetypes of Godhead.

    God and Satan ofParadise Lostare seen as the ego and the shadow of a single unfolding personality whoseanimais the Holy Spirit and Milton's muse. Samson carries the Yahweh archetype examined by Jung inAnswer to Job, and Messiah and Satan inParadise Regainedembody the hostile brothers archetype.Anima, animusand the individuation drive underlie the psychodynamics of Adam and Eve's fall.

    Driscoll draws on his critical acumen and scholarly knowledge of Renaissance literature to shed new light on Jung's psychology of religion.The Unfolding God of Jung and Miltonillumines Jung's heterodox notion of Godhead as a quarternity rather than a trinity, his revolutionary concept of a divine individuation process, his radical solution to the problem of evil, and his wrestling with the feminine in Godhead. The book's glossary of Jungian terms, written for literary critics and theologians rather than clinicians, is exceptionally detailed and insightful.

    Beyond enriching our understanding of Jung and Milton, Driscoll's discussion contributes to theodicy, to process theology, and to the study of myths and archetypes in literature.

    eISBN: 978-0-8131-6153-2
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

Export Selected Citations Export to NoodleTools Export to RefWorks Export to EasyBib Export a RIS file (For EndNote, ProCite, Reference Manager, Zotero, Mendeley...) Export a Text file (For BibTex)
  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Preface
    (pp. ix-xii)
  4. 1 Something of Graver Import
    (pp. 1-37)

    Paradise Lostis rich above all other epics in the graver import of the universal or the archetypal. Critics, however, have left unexcavated some of the richest veins of its graver import. Bringing them to light requires two fundamental changes. First, we must give archetypal elements priority over historical influences and Milton’s conscious designs, those surface veins of meaning critics commonly pursue. Second, we must supplement standard critical methods with philosophical and psychological methods designed to probe the archetypal. Implementing these changes, this chapter will utilize the combined methods of modern philosophy and Jungian psychology to explore the graver import...

  5. 2 The Shadow of God
    (pp. 38-84)

    Many of the difficulties modern readers experience withParadise Lostare reactions to one character, God the Father. The Father, defending himself and combating Satan, often resembles a flawed human being. Consequently, to presume, as the narrator frequently does, that he manifests supreme goodness seems a mockery of truth. Offended, moderns may retort that, far from being supremely good and deserving worship, the Father deserves to be repudiated as evil. Jung's analytical psychology, however, offers a more refined perception, which promotes a more balanced response.

    The best starting point for a Jungian analysis of God the Father is the doctrine...

  6. 3 Decisive Identity
    (pp. 85-150)

    In his epics Milton attempts to portray decisive identity. By “decisive identity” I mean a conscious guiding of individuation wherein identity and character are created through moral decisions. Decisive identity does not imply creating what we initially are. Rather, it involves consciously deciding what we become, which requires a troublesome but indispensable element, freedom. Milton develops themes, character, and plot by showing the origins and consequences of identity-forming decisions. These decisions are the foci of moral judgment and meaning. InParadise LostandParadise Regainedthe crucial decisions are those by Adam and Eve causing man’s fall and those by...

  7. 4 Yahweh Agonistes
    (pp. 151-175)

    Learn as you go seems to be the rule for creative endeavors. It is arguable whether literary criticism can be genuinely creative; the criticism in this chapter at least bears the marks of learning in process. My original conception assumed thatSamson Agonistes,first published in 1671, was written subsequent to the publication ofParadise Lostin 1667. I was aware of the minority scholarly opinion, most forcefully enunciated by Shawcross, Gilbert, and Parker, that it was conceived and first composed much earlier, probably in the mid-1640s, later revised, and finally published much later still.¹ Although their arguments cast the...

  8. Glossary of Jungian Terms
    (pp. 176-197)
  9. Notes
    (pp. 198-230)
  10. Index
    (pp. 231-235)