Milton and the Creation of England’s Long Reformation

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Abstract

This essay considers how Milton's perspectives on the Long Reformation, including its messy process, can reshape debates, dominated by historians of early modern religion, over how to conceptualize England's Long Reformation or Reformations. The religious upheavals of the English Revolution, as the fragmented world of faith in England was becoming more fragmented than ever, gave Milton and his Puritan contemporaries the opportunity not only to assess the painful progress of the Long Reformation, but to think about how they might reconstruct the Reformation itself. This essay examines Milton's bold ideas and striking metaphors for reconceiving the Reformation, including in Areopagitica where he is thinking in creative ways about pluralism and division in religious culture, and about how to engage with the tensions generated by that division. Milton perceives that the Reformation is not only a long process and struggle, but that reconstructing the Long Reformation remains precarious. In his controversial writings Milton makes a distinctive contribution to the creation of the Long Reformation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)165-180
Number of pages16
JournalReformation
Volume24
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 3 2019

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All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Religious studies

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