Great Books III Fall 2020

Paradise Lost - John Milton

"God's Objective is ___"

Reading/Discussion Schedule

August 31: I; September 3: II, III, IV (through IV.719);    

September 10: IV (remaining), V, VI, VII;

September 14: VIII, IX; September 17: X, XI, XII

Reading/Discussion Prompts 

August 31

  1. What is Satan's problem?

  2. What makes Satan heroic?

  3. How is this work like the Iliad?

  4. What does pure evil look like?

  5. How is Satan justified? unjustified? in his relationship with God/with his minions?

  6. Why is Satan at war with God?

September 3

  1. Why is sin unable to close the gate?

  2. Why does Man receive grace despite his fall, yet Satan receives none?

  3. Is God really in charge, omnipotent, omniscient, ... while allowing Satan to enter the garden?

  4. Why does God plant BOTH trees in the garden?

  5. What is "guided free will"? What is an "umpire conscience"?

  6. Describe Satan's state of mind.

  7. Why are there no children in paradise?

 September 10

  1. Read the first two chapters of Genesis.

  2. What does "thrice happy" mean?

  3. Is knowledge ever bad?

  4. Does God's perfection include Satan?

  5. How is Paradise the ultimate form of happiness? How not so?

  6. How can servility be freedom?

  7. What is God's "great purpose" in all of this?

 September 14

  1. You are in a state of perfection for each of the following time periods. What are you doing? a) one minute, b) one hour, c) one day.

  2. Who is ultimately to blame for the fall?

  3. Was Eve's fall due to reason?

  4. Unpack the time between Eve's fall and Adam's.

  5. Unpack the changes in Adam and Eve because of the Fall.

  6. Unpack their changed relationship with God.

  7. What is the difference between knowledge and reason?

  8. Satan is a tragic hero. How so? Not so?

September 17

  1. Reread the last section of Book X, lines 720-1104.

  2. After the fall, how are Adam and Eve (un)like Satan?

  3. What is "deathless death"?

  4. How is death a stroke of genius on God's part?

  5. Why must Adam and Eve leave Paradise? See Masaccio's rendition.

  6. Why are there two trees in the Garden?

  7. How is the fall a "happy sin"?

  8. Find a single line in the poem to answer the question: What is God's objective?