[Milton-L] death in Eden.

James Rovira 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 
his crops.

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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