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education, Christ, Christianity, student, teacher


“The Education of the Son in Paradise Regained: Milton’s Of Education as a Guide” argues that the character of Christ provides a model for effective learning, which is outlined in Milton’s treatise On Education. In the treatise, first published in 1644, some twenty- seven years before his brief epic, Milton explains the purpose for education as strengthening one’s relationship with God, and the best method for acquiring it— gradually, progressing from the easy to the more difficult. In my essay, I will analyze each step in Christ’s education, beginning with his boyhood and culminating in his temptation on the pinnacle of the temple. This analysis provides a way of understanding Christ’s rejection of Greek learning in the brief epic as well as explaining the limitation on knowledge depicted in Paradise Lost, both of which have provoked controversy among Milton’s readers and critics. The analysis also will suggest that the depiction of Christ’s gradual learning, particularly as it relates to his need for knowledge, emphasizes the humanity of the character, thereby making him a more effective model student. Ironically, Christ’s interactions with Satan serve to facilitate Christ’s maturing learning, which is capable of those “acts of ripest judgment” (Of Education). The final temptation provides the culmination of Christ’s education, a moment of recognition that links past with present and looks toward the future when he will save mankind. Christ as student is now prepared to be the Son as teacher, and, more importantly, the Christ as Savior.