Paul’s Euripides, Greek tragedy and Hebrew antiquity in Paradise Regain’d

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


The exchange between Satan and Jesus in Book IV of Paradise Regained is the first substantial account of tragedy in John Milton’s 1671 volume. In his response to Satan’s Athenian temptation, Jesus offers an alternative to the more familiar defence of tragedy in the preface to Samson Agonistes. Here, Jesus invokes the Hebrew prehistory of Attic tragedy, expanding Milton’s tragic archive beyond the antique Athenians themselves, drawing instead upon Clement of Alexandria and Socrates of Constantinople – both of whom support Milton’s idiosyncratic belief that Paul quoted Euripides at I Corinthians 15:33. And where Clement and Socrates support this tragic provenance, they also address the vexed relationship between Christian faith and heathen learning. Far from showing contempt for Athenian art or erudition, Milton invokes these Patristic sources to enable readers to locate Jesus’ critical response in a dynamic relationship to the relevant preface to Samson Agonistes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)191-213
Number of pages23
JournalSeventeenth Century
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Cultural Studies
  • History


  • Clement of Alexandria
  • John Milton
  • Paradise Regained
  • patristic scholarship
  • poetics
  • tragedy


Dive into the research topics of 'Paul’s Euripides, Greek tragedy and Hebrew antiquity in Paradise Regain’d'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this