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Brimming with intrigue, mystery, and suspense, this book is a tale of history, literature, forgery, and religious conspiracy that exposes the enigma of John Milton’s epic poem. Paradise Lost is the most widely read and celebrated poem of Western literature and the supreme epic of the English nation and all Christendom. It was written to justify the ways of God to man and explain the moral paradox of evil. But was it truly based on Christian theology, as assumed, or from a different set of beliefs? Some believe that Milton himself wrote a lost manuscript explaining the true meaning of his poem. Was there really such a manuscript? If so, why has it remained concealed for so many years? This novel deals with the search for Milton’s true spiritual beliefs.


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This thrilling mystery is the story of Keith Jessup, a PhD student at Oxford, whose professor is murdered before delivering a lecture disclosing Milton’s own explanation of his great epic poem, Paradise Lost. In his stead, Keith takes up the quest to find the hidden Milton Manuscript and finally unravel the long lost meaning of the poem. The scholarly hunt proves perilous as he discovers a plot to conceal the manuscript. Why? What could it contain that would spark such fear and murder over the centuries? In this historically rich book, Libin uncovers the interpretation of Milton’s poem and reveals how Milton justified the ways of God to man.

“And enjoy it I did! Who would have thought that Milton’s De Doctrina could form the basis of a murder mystery! I am sending the Amazon link to some Miltonic friends.”

– Gordon Campbell, Professor of Renaissance Studies, University of Leicester ; author of John Milton: Life, Work and Thought (with Thomas Corns, 2008).

“A gripping mystery set in the world of scholarship, pitting the poet Milton’s lofty religious ideals against the hatred and violence of religious intolerance.”
– Dr. Jonathan Helfand, Emeritus Professor of Jewish History, Brooklyn College – CUNY

“Barry Libin displays a deft and subtle hand with his Milton work. Dr. Libin’s astute and nuanced work with Milton’s treatment of evil is highly impressive.”
– David Birnbaum, author of Summa Metaphysical

“For those who love adventure stories, this is a book worth putting on the same shelf with the Da Vinci Code. . . . You may accept its thesis as a possibility, or reject it as a far out claim, but either way, this I promise you: you will never think of John Milton in quite the same way after reading this book.”
– Jack Reimer, S. Florida Jewish Journal

  1. Milton and his publisher were concerned that readers of Paradise Lost would not understand his poem. As a result, Milton revised the second edition of the poem to include an introductory summary before each of the twelve books for clarification.
  2. Milton began writing Paradise Lost at the same time that he was writing the Christian Doctrine. It was coincident with his studying Judaic thought with a nameless “stranger” in 1657. It was reported (Aubrey’s diary) that the stranger entered Milton’s home on weekdays, before dawn, leave after a few hours, and then return for the remainder of the morning.
  3. Manasseh Ben Israel, the great Rabbi from Amsterdam, was in London in 1657 attempting to convince Parliament to allow the Jews to return to England, having been expelled by King Edward I in 1290. This was at the same time that Milton was writing Paradise Lost and The Christian Doctrine. Roger Williams, a defender of religious freedom (who founded the state of Rhode Island) was a great supporter of Ben Israel’s efforts and also a friend of Milton.
  4. The Popish Plot remains one of the great mysteries of English History. In October 1678 a magistrate by the name of Edmund Berry Godfrey was found murdered at the foot of Primrose Hill near London. It led to anti-Catholic hysteria that there existed a Catholic conspiracy to assassinate Charles II and reinstall a Catholic King.
  5. Milton’s The Christian Doctrine, remained hidden in London until 1823 when it was discovered under a pile of state papers. In the same pile was the official papers of the Popish Plot.
  6. William Prynne was a radical critic who was tried and his cheeks branded as a Seditious Libeler. He hated Milton for holding views in opposition to his, especially Milton’s liberal views on divorce and support of regicide. It was Prynne who wanted Milton executed for the hanging of Charles I.
  7. Samuel Hartlib wished to record all human knowledge and make it universally available for the education of all mankind. His papers were not found until 1933 in a wooden trunk in a London firm of solicitors.
  8. Daniel Skinner, in 1675, sent Milton’s Christian Doctrine to Amsterdam to have it published by Elzevir (the same Elsevier in existence today) where it was rejected because of its heretical nature. Manasseh Ben Israel also had an early publishing house in Amsterdam, and was the first to publish in Hebrew.


Barry Libin is an author, playwright, composer and lyricist, raised in Patchogue, New York. He graduated from the University of Rochester and the NYU College of Dentistry, then specialized in Periodontics and Oral Medicine. He left clinical practice to devote full time to medical research, focusing on the side effects of cancer therapy and the sustained delivery of drugs using nanotechnology. His play, “The Triangle,” tells the story of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire. He composed the book, score, and lyrics for the forthcoming musical, “The Fiftieth Floor!” He contributed lyrics to “Bring Them Peace – A Song for Haiti,” which raised money for relief efforts after the 2010 Haitian earthquake. The Mystery of the Milton Manuscript is his first novel. Barry is also a member of the Milton Society of America and The Dramatist’s Guild. He lives in New York with his wife.

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