[Milton-L] death in Eden.

James Rovira jrovira at drew.edu
Mon Nov 15 20:42:44 EST 2004

_Anxiety in Eden_ by Tanner is a good, extended discussion of the fall 
and the possibility of a "fall before the fall" (the problem being the 
transition from innocence to fallenness -- at what point do Adam and Eve 
become fallen?  When they decide to eat the fruit?  Before?).  I think 
the question is something only a Christian exegete can anachronistically 
read into the Genesis account.  There was no sin of thought or motive in 
prelapsarian Eden, only of deed, so Adam and Eve did not sin until they 
actually ate the fruit.  They weren't commanded not to think about 
eating the fruit and they weren't commanded not to want to eat the 
fruit, only not to eat the fruit.

Tanner uses Kierkegaard's _Concept of Anxiety_ to resolve some of these 
problems.  This isn't specifically about nature, but Tanner does a good 
enough job reviewing scholarship related to this question that you can 
probably have an idea where to start looking.  I think it was written 
within the last 15 years.

If Milton followed the Biblical account, the first death should have 
been the animal slain to provide skins for Adam and Eve when they were 
cast out of the Garden.


Douglass A Bourne wrote:
> I am a graduate student taking a Milton seminar.  Soon I must have a working 
> thesis statement to present to the class.  I could use some guidance in a 
> couple of areas.  I want to explore death in Eden.  

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