Page 57. " ...with ambitious aim against the throne and monarchy of God rais'd impious war in heav'n and battel proud "

Chapter 5 Epigraph

Author: John Milton

Work: Paradise Lost, Book 1, Line 41-43

Full novel on Google Books.

Page 60. " The Magisterium is aive with speculation "

Based on the Magisterium in our world, this is the organisation of the church. In our own world it is the "teaching authority of the Roman Catholic Church", and more information can be found on the Wikipedia.

The Magisterium in Lyra's world is far more powerful and has control over scientific research and education facilities. It is made up of several different sub-organisations that vie for power, the strongest leading the authority with their own particular doctrine. The two primary sub-organisations that have control are the Consistorial Court of Discipline and the Society of the Work of the Holy Spirit.

Page 63. " He wants to set up a permanent inquisition in eery world, run directly from the kingdom "

A powerful religious court set up to hunt and sentence heretics under the Catholic church. The crimes were those against religious law or doctrine, often working to quash any radical ideas or theories; one notable example is that of Galileo declaring that the Earth was not at the centre of the Universe. More information can be found here or on the Wikipedia article.

More humourous than historically accurate, this video might help explain some of these feelings...

Page 69. " reliques, beads, indulgences, dispenses, pardons, bulls, the sport of winds... "

Chapter 6 Epigraph

Author: John Milton

Work: Paradise Lost, Book 3, Line 491-493

Full novel on Google Books.

Page 71. " And it says that if it comes about that the child is tempted, as Eve was, then she is likely to fall. "

Michaelangelo Fall of Man
Public DomainMichaelangelo Fall of Man

This relates to the idea of original sin and the fall of man. In these set of events Eve is represented by Lyra, Adam by Will and Mary Mallone takes the role of the Tempter. While religious teaching regards the fall of man and embrace of knowledge as intrinsically bad, Pullman appears to be taking a far more humanist view in embracing all life has to offer while on the planet.

The story of the fall is the focus of one of Pullman's main inspirations, Milton's Paradise Lost, and explores in depth Eve's fall.

For more information, there is, as always, a very helpful Wikipedia post to start you off.