The Alternative Trinity: Gnostic Heresy in Marlowe, Milton, and Blake

Hardcover | May 1, 1998

byThe late A. D. Nuttall

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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 centuryAD 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 theOphites 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 andphilosophically, than is commonly realised.

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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 centuryAD appear to have thought that God the Father...

A. D. Nuttall is at New College, Oxford.
Format:HardcoverDimensions:296 pages, 8.5 × 5.43 × 0.91 inPublished:May 1, 1998Publisher:Oxford University Press

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:019818462X

ISBN - 13:9780198184621

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Table of Contents

IntroductionPart I. Blake: The Son Versus the FatherPart II. Raising the Devil: Marlowe's Doctor Faustus1. Calvinists and Hermeticists2. Flying Men and GnosticsPart III. Milton1. Satan's Shield2. Milton's Theodicy: The Argument from Freedom3. The Garden as Maze4. The Fortunate Fall5. Arianism, Monism, Materialism6. The Invisible Christ7. The Language of Trees: Unstable MythologiesPart IV. Blake1. Godly Nudists2. The Matrix of Blake's Thought3. Blake and Milton4. Antinomian Blake5. Contraries

Editorial Reviews

`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