Date of Award

Summer 1961

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts




The seventeenth century was a period of enormous scholarship and erudition. In the wake of the Reformation and the Humanist movements great interest was awakened in the field of Biblical scholarship, Many of the scholars, lay­ men, and divines began to devote much of their time and energy to the new Biblical exegesis. The doctrine which was receiving much attention during this period suggested that one might assure that the strongholds of the reformed religion were sufficiently fortified through improved trans­lation and qualified Biblical exegesis.

This was the era which produced John Milton 's method­ ical and learned tractate of Christian doctrine . Milton,

in his truthful profession of originality in the composition of the Christian Doctrine, stated: "I adhere to the Holy Scriptures alone--I follow no other heresy or sect, . . ." Numerous parallels have been discovered by Milton scholars which point to the fact that many of Hilton's so-called heresies were, in fact, commonplaces of his time. It has also been observed that many of the "heresies" were traceable through his use of contemporary sources, such as certain criticisms of scripture by Biblical scholars. Milton was undeniably influenced by this plethora of theological writings; but we shall discover that the Socinian system provides much more than superficial similarities.