[Milton-L] death in Eden.
jrovira at drew.edu
Tue Nov 16 16:54:49 EST 2004
That sounds reasonable. While a sheep could be shorn (but then, you're
right, we wouldn't be talking about skins), even in that case it's a bit
loaded with sacrificial imagery.
Abel sacrificed from his flocks, remember, while Cain sacrificed from
You're right, let's leave Egypt out of this :)
Beth's question does raise some problems. If we have talking snakes and
lions that don't eat meat, why not mammals that shed their skin?
Another question: animals weren't given to humans for food (or feared
humans) until after the flood waters receded - -Noah's time. The most
natural inference to make from this is that pretty well every animal was
vegetarian until then.
Samuel Smith wrote:
> Dear Jim and John:
> A colleague in Hebrew Bible informs me that the verb translated as
> "clothed" in Genesis 3.21 is labash, not kaphar. The atonement
> connection would be stronger of God were "covering" (kaphar) them, but
> he isn't. Everett Fox, Robert Alter, the KJV, and the NRSV are all
> correct to use "clothed." So there isn't any direct or indirect
> linguistic connection to atonement in Genesis 3.21. Rabbinic
> commentary tends to emphasize God's kindness in clothing Adam and Eve
> (as Milton does in his text--do Jason Rosenblatt or Jeffrey Shoulson
> talk about this?), identifying a moral obligation to clothe the naked.
> As for ancient middle eastern agrarian society, perhaps a sheep (which
> Milton clearly has running about in Eden) would be a better analog
> than a cat [unless you want to go back to Egypt :)]? While wool isn't
> literally skin, it would serve metaphorically as a covering provided
> from the skin of an animal. I'm not suggesting that Milton images God
> shearing a sheep to cover and protect the human pair from the cold.
> I'm imagining a possibility for Genesis 3.21 that doesn't require the
> shedding of blood within the cultural context of the text's origins.
> Samuel Smith
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