Donald John, professor of philosophy, religion, and history at Pacific Union College, recently contributed a chapter to the book, Radicalism in British Literary Culture, 1650–1830: From Revolution to Revolution, a collection of interdisciplinary essays by leading scholars published in January 2002 by the prestigious Cambridge University Press. John was solicited to write the article by Nigel Smith, who edited the book with Timothy Morton. Smith, currently a professor of English at Princeton University, studied at Oxford with John.
John’s article, “They became what they beheld: theodicy and regeneration in Milton, Law and Blake,” examines changing concepts of the problem of evil and the regeneration of self. In the book, which argues that the radical agendas of the mid-seventeenth century did not disappear throughout the long eighteenth century but were present in a more continuous transmission, John addresses the theology of redemption. This theology underwent a substantial change over the years as God was ‘interiorised’ in the believer. In his conclusion John refers to the radical "envisioning [of] God who 'becomes as we are, that we may be as he is.'" It is this concept John links to the concerns of the English Romantic poets. In doing so, he shows how "these revolutionising views of theodicy and regeneration had undeniably significant implications for radicalism in the fabric of social order and literary culture."