[Milton-L] death in Eden.

John Rumrich rumrich at mail.utexas.edu
Tue Nov 16 08:26:53 EST 2004

I think the connection is actually between "cover" and "sacrifice"; the 
animals lose their skins to cover Adam and Eve, an antetype of the 

On Nov 15, 2004, at 11:09 PM, James Rovira wrote:

> Thanks for the good response, Mr. Smith.  I think we need to read the 
> passage in Genesis within its own cultural context -- this was an 
> agrarian society which knew of no animal that shed its skin other than 
> reptiles, and could only conceive of separating an animal from its 
> skin by killing it.  Of course, if you know of other animals native to 
> the far east of the Mediterranean that shed their skins (and which had 
> skins suitable for use as human clothing), though, I'm open to 
> suggestion. Theological niceties are the only thing that would 
> motivate a reading that otherwise so defies the obvious. Isn't there 
> also a direct linguistic connection between "atonement" and 
> "covering?"
> I did once try to separate an animal from its skin without killing it, 
> but my wife wasn't at all amused and made me apologize to her cat.
> At any rate, there's undoubtedly a long and well thought out history 
> of theological niceties of which Milton was undoubtedly aware, and it 
> does seem clear that he at least considered the possibility of animals 
> shedding their skins for Adam and Eve and growing back replacements, 
> from the passage you quoted.  Thanks much for drawing attention to it.
> Somewhat bemused by the mental image, actually... :)  I see why you 
> enjoy the passage.
> Jim
> Samuel Smith wrote:
>> Actually, Jim, the biblical account does not commit Milton to the 
>> slaying of
>> animals to provide coverings for Adam and Eve.  Here's the KJV: "For 
>> Adam
>> also and for his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and 
>> clothed
>> them" (Genesis 3.21).  This allows Milton to remain uncommitted in 
>> his own
>> account:
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