John Milton Goes to Kansas

Well not really, he has been dead for a while, but Baker University in Baldwin City, Kansas in the United States are currently holding an exhibition about “Paradise Lost”.

It is being shown at the Quayle Bible Library from September 11th 2021 until the 15th May 2022 and is entitled “On the Road from Paradise: John Milton’s Influence on Religion, Literature and Culture”. 

Each year, the Quayle Bible Collection at Baker University displays a new, specially curated exhibit and this year it is the turn of Milton.

The University says that “Paradise Lost”, an epic poem published in 1667 is widely regarded as one of the most influential pieces of poetry in the English language and the exhibition pamphlet reads, “the text itself, regardless of theological contributions, is considered remarkable. As a result, Milton’s “Paradise Lost” is arguably the singular most important piece of English literature. More than Pilgrim’s Process or the works of Shakespeare.”

I am assuming they mean “The Pilgrim’s Progress” here by that other great religious Englishman John Bunyan, but hey, we’ve all made typos since computers started to think for themselves.

The curator was surprised to learn the Quayle Library did not own a copy of “Paradise Lost” so they put some money donated in memoriam of a former staff member to good use and bought a copy. As another professor said “not only has it influenced religion but it laid the groundwork for modern literature”.

I won’t quote all the stuff in the Baker Orange student website about the exhibition but you can read it here:

Baker Orange Website

However, I will end by quoting what the curator said about “Paradise Lost”. He states “…the imagery has influenced mainstream interpretations of Christianity. A lot of what Christians know about Satan and Lucifer is not in the Bible. It’s in “Paradise Lost,” It influences Christianity through the idea of Satan becoming the serpent, which is not in the Bible, or the fall from Heaven, which isn’t really in the Bible.”