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Coming ToConsciousness and Natality in Early Modern England$
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Timothy M. Harrison

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780226725093

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226725260.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 28 June 2022

Human Nature Experienced

Human Nature Experienced

(p.72) Chapter Two Human Nature Experienced
Coming To

Timothy M. Harrison

University of Chicago Press

This chapter provides a genealogy for Milton’s scenes of Edenic awakening in Paradise Lost, arguing that Milton diverges significantly from his predecessors in order to invite readers into a pure experience of their own natures. But these natures are not natural or even neutral. Instead, Milton uses Adam’s and Eve’s accounts of awakening to paint a picture of human nature—pitched against that advocated by thinkers as diverse as Faustus Socinus, Simon Episcopius, Hugo Grotius, and Robert South—capable of underwriting the existence of his own peculiar understanding of subjectivity, political community, and the nature of divine revelation. The chapter also explores Milton’s innovative relationship to central terms in the philosophical tradition—subject and substance, among others—showing how such works as Paradise Lost and De doctrina Christiana rework these terms in order to develop a theoretical account of human nature.

Keywords:   consciousness, John Milton, Paradise Lost, De doctrina Christiana, human nature, Hugo Grotius, Robert South, Faustus Socinus, Simon Episcopius, subject

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