Check out my Areopagitica book summary and review  that I created to help you understand the basics of this great book.Areopagitic; A speech by Mr. John Milton for Freedom of Unlicensed Printing, to the Parliament of England, is a 1644 prose polemic by poet, scholar, and polemic author John Milton against licensing and censorship. Areopagitica ranks among the most influential and passionate philosophical defenses in the history of the right to freedom of expression. Many of its expressed principles formed the basis for modern justifications.

 

Areopagitica book

Areopagitica book summary

Areopagitica was published on November 23, 1644, at the height of the English Civil War. It takes its title in part from Areopagitikos (Greek: Ἀρεοπαγιτικός), a speech written by the Athenian orator Isocrates in the 4th century BC.

 (The Areopagus is a hill in Athens, site of royal and legendary courts, and was the name of a council whose power Isocrates hoped to restore.) Some argue that it is also a reference to Saint's accusations of promulgating foreign gods and strange teachings. , as recorded in Acts 17:18-34.

Like Isocrates, Milton (who was not a parliamentarian) did not intend his work to be an oral speech at that assembly. Instead, it was distributed via pamphlet, thus defying the very publication censorship he argued against. As a radical,

 Milton supported the Presbyterians in the English parliament, and would later work as a civil servant in the new republic, as the Press Ordinance. License of 1643, in which Parliament required authors to have a government-approved license before their work could be published.

The matter was personal to Milton, as he himself had been censored in his efforts to publish several treatises in defense of divorce (a radical stance at the time not supported by the censors). In particular, The Doctrine and Discipline of Divorce (1643), which he published anonymously and without license, was condemned by the Puritan clergy as heretical and intended to promote sexual debauchery,

and was cited in petitions to parliament as proof of necessity. to reinstall a pre-publication licensing system. Areopagitica is full of biblical and classical references that Milton uses to strengthen his argument. This is particularly apt because the pamphlet was being addressed to the Calvinist Presbyterians who made up Parliament at that time.

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