[Milton-L] PL and the sabbath, etc.

Dan Knauss daniel.knauss at mu.edu
Tue Dec 21 15:35:53 EST 2004

Fascinating stuff. Are there any theories as to why this sort of thinking
didn't translate into Christianity--but quite the reverse? 

> -----Original Message-----
> From: milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu
> [mailto:milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu] On Behalf Of 
> Jeffrey Shoulson
> Sent: Tuesday, December 21, 2004 9:11 AM
> To: John Milton Discussion List
> Subject: Re: [Milton-L] PL and the sabbath, etc. 
> On Dec 21, 2004, at 12:47 AM, Dan Knauss wrote:
> >
> > I can't remember where I heard this, but supposedly sex on
> the Sabbath
> > was/is encouraged among Jews.
> What Dan Knauss is having trouble remembering is slightly
> more complex 
> than this:
> In the talmudic discussion of marital obligations in Tractate 
> Ketuboth 
> (the tractate that deals with the marriage contract), the 
> rabbis state 
> that a husband is required to provide three things to his wife:  
> sustenance (she'er), shelter (k'suth--both clothing and a home), and 
> sexual satisfaction ('onah).
> Not content with this simple formulation, the rabbis then go 
> on to try 
> to quantify all three of these items.  In their analysis of sexual 
> satisfaction (presumably since the rabbis were all men and didn't 
> consult with any women!) they chose to delineate the obligation in 
> terms of quantity, rather than quality, reducing the question to how 
> many times a husband should have sexual relations with his 
> wife. Again, not content with a single simple answer, the 
> rabbis concluded 
> that this number varied by the husband's profession.  The 
> following are 
> some of the minima.  A sailor, who could be expected to be away from 
> home for months at a time, was obliged only once every six months.  A 
> man of wealth and leisure who didn't work for a living was obligated 
> every day (except, of course, when his wife was deemed 
> ritually impure 
> because of her menstrual cycle).  Rabbis were obligated to have sex 
> with their wives once a week; and since the Sabbath was the day of 
> rest, the most appropriate evening in which to fulfill this 
> obligation 
> was deemed to be Friday night.
> Rabbinic literature and Jewish liturgy often speak of "oneg Shabbat," 
> the delight or pleasure of the Sabbath.  A good meal, a good nap, 
> and--ahem--a good lay are all elements of this delight.
> Thanks, by the way, to Professors Herman and Di Cesare for their very
> important comments about the impossibility of polarizing the biblical 
> and the classical in Milton's writings.  This is an aspect of 
> Milton's 
> poetry from the very beginning.  The Nativity Ode may insist on a 
> silencing of the pagan oracles and a banishing of the pagan gods with 
> the birth of Christ, but inevitably they return "in order 
> serviceable," 
> there to do the bidding of a poet more than willing to mine Egyptian 
> gold.
> Jeffrey Shoulson
> ___________________________
> Jeffrey S. Shoulson, Ph.D.
> Associate Professor, Department of English
> Director, Program in Judaic Studies
> Fellow, Sue and Leonard Miller Center for Contemporary Judaic
> Studies University of Miami 5202 University Drive 105 Merrick 
> Building, Rm. 109 Coral Gables, FL 33124
> o: 305.284.8180
> f: 305.284.8190
> m: 305.742.6973
> http://www.as.miami.edu/judaic/
> “As democracy is perfected, the office of president represents, more
> and more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great and 
> glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart's 
> desire at last and the White House will be adorned by a downright 
> moron.”
>                                 --HL Mencken

I am using the free version of SPAMfighter for private users. It has removed
9292 spam emails to date. Paying users do not have this message in their
emails. Try www.SPAMfighter.com for free now!

No virus found in this outgoing message.
Checked by AVG Anti-Virus.
Version: 7.0.296 / Virus Database: 265.6.2 - Release Date: 12/20/2004

More information about the Milton-L mailing list