[Milton-L] PL and the sabbath, etc.
daniel.knauss at mu.edu
Mon Dec 20 23:47:04 EST 2004
I can't remember where I heard this, but supposedly sex on the Sabbath
was/is encouraged among Jews.
> -----Original Message-----
> From: milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu
> [mailto:milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu] On Behalf Of
> Susan Bissett
> Sent: Monday, December 20, 2004 11:12 PM
> To: milton-l at lists.richmond.edu
> Subject: [Milton-L] PL and the sabbath, etc.
> I recall reading somewhere of a minister in New England who
> chastised couples in his congregation, considering that a
> child born on a Sunday must have been conceived on a Sunday
> -until his own wife gave birth on a Sunday. I wish I could
> remember the source. The New England Puritans seem to have
> included some rather legalistic and literal types. They are
> known to have legislated and enforced Sabbath observance.
> It might also be relevant that church going was a much longer
> affair for many Puritans - a long service during the morning
> was followed by a cold or pre-cooked lunch, and then
> additional sermons during the afternoon, in some churches.
> Certainly no Sunday afternoon games. It doesn't seem to have
> left much time or privacy for making whoopee.
> The implication that sex on a Sunday was wrong would surely
> not have been the opinion of some of the radical sects
> 1640-1659, some of whom practiced free love, aspired to
> sexual equality, and went naked in the belief that
> pre-lapsarian innocence was attainable by believers in
> anticipation of the millenium. A certain Quaker named Naylor
> comes to mind, as do the Adamites. The Adamites were accused
> of wife-swapping in one of the Thomason tracts (illustrated).
> I don't know whether they allegedly did this on Sundays or whenever.
> Sexual asceticism was an attribute of Catholicism, especially
> after the Council of Trent; many Protestants (notably Luther
> and his followers) considered marriage, not the convent or
> the celibate life, to be normal behavior for Christians.
> Puritan clergy, after all, were encouraged to marry, as did
> Calvin, and Knox. And, of course, other Protestants
> disagreed. Robert Boyle, the chemist, considered the
> scientist a kind of priest of knowledge, and considered
> scientific experiments to be a kind of worship, suitable for
> Sundays. He also was an avowed celibate, as was Isaac
> Newton. Both had Puritan backgrounds; both contributed
> intellectual support to Anglican latitudinarianism. It
> seems quite safe to say that there was a variety of opinion
> about sexuality during this period, as always, but it seems
> that radicals were freer than other Protestants, and that the
> high church tended towards celibacy more than others.
> Congregationalists (Independents) and Presbyterians, it seem!
> s, have always liked to make rules, and have enforced
> Sabbatarianism. That is the kind of character trait that
> might outlaw sex on Sunday.
> As for Milton...
> Milton's references to married love in Paradise Lost are, of
> course, referring to the unfallen state. But they are both
> luscious and full of great dignity. Somehow, sex seems much
> sexier before the fall, which I suppose to be Milton's
> intent. Milton follows Augustine in supposing that Adam and
> Eve had sex without sin in Eden. Clearly, Milton puts sex in
> a more positive light than other commentators, who regarded
> sex as a result of the fall. Furthermore, Milton's
> idealistic portrayal of the possibilities of married
> "conversation" (with both meanings) in the Divorce tracts,
> and his disparagement of "grinding" sexual intercourse in an
> unhappy marriage indicates an emphasis on intellectual and
> spiritual love rather than physical. The physical act of
> love is valued when it is part of a good relationship, and it
> is devalued when it is purely physical. This certainly
> leaves the door open for righteous sex on Sunday, although,
> poor Milton, it's hard to imagine him actually ac!
> hieving the kind of relationship he idealized.
> James Grantham Turner, where are you when we need you?
> Susan J. C. Bissett
> sbissett at drew.edu
> Milton-L mailing list
> Milton-L at lists.richmond.edu
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