[Milton-L] death in Eden.

Boyd M Berry bberry at mail1.vcu.edu
Tue Nov 16 17:11:26 EST 2004


Well, the vegetarians--Roger Crab and Thomas Tryon--though men became
carnivores with Noah.  Books about diet conventionally noted that the
patriarchs muct have been very healthy as they lived so long, but wilth
one exception I recall (and don't recall the name), dietary writers glided
over that possibility in favor of beef.

Boyd Berry

On Tue, 16 Nov 2004, James Rovira wrote:

> 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.
>
>
> Jim
>
> 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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