By Milton, John; Milton, John; Song, Eric B
Booklet by way of tune, Eric B
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342–44). Satan unwittingly advances a powerful case against warfare by suggesting that the battlefield tends not to distinguish but to confuse barbarous and civilized or even pagan and nominally Christian forces. Waging war against the Tartars turns into a Tartarian act that imperils coherence. Milton’s Jesus recognizes that the true threat to Israel is not subjugation from without but degeneration from within. 415). 419). Divine initiative, not military action, may redeem the Israelites: No, let them serve Their enemies, who serve idols with God.
Similarly, the devils pursue war against God with the aid of a “strange fire” that briefly threatens to reduce Heaven itself to a state of abject confusion. 38 Just as in Milton’s histories, the Tartarian threat points to political and cultural dangers closer to home. Milton’s allusions to the Tartars confirm the culturally barbarous nature of the chaotic womb. Long-standing questions about the Tartars—whether The Strange Fire of the Tartars 35 their abject status represents a dangerous menace or the possibility of conversion—inform the ambivalent representation of primordial matter in Paradise Lost.
For some writers, the link between the Tartars and the Lost Tribes makes possible a narrative of conversion and restoration. Milton’s writings bear witness to the enduring politics of subjugation and eradication, whereby God confronts strange fire with a consuming fire of his own. Agrican with All His Northern Powers In Paradise Regained, Jesus prefers a politics of grace. 45 Yet Jesus’s gracious politics registers the necessity of forceful subjugation. Earlier in the short epic, Jesus prefers a metaphorical, inward rule over oneself to power over others.