[Milton-L] death in Eden and tree bark.

Salwa Khoddam skhoddam at cox.net
Sun Nov 21 18:59:23 EST 2004

Dear John,
Thanks for this wonderful and clear explanation.
Salwa Khoddam
----- Original Message ----- 
From: "John Geraghty" <johnegeraghty at hotmail.com>
To: "John Milton Discussion List" <milton-l at lists.richmond.edu>
Sent: Wednesday, November 17, 2004 2:22 AM
Subject: Re: [Milton-L] death in Eden and tree bark.

> This thread and comment on Noah reminds me of two texts,
> 1. The Book of the Bee
> http://www.sacred-texts.com/chr/bb/
> "Some say that they clothed themselves with the skins of animals, which 
> they stripped off; but this is not credible, for all the beasts were 
> created in couples, and Adam and Eve had as yet no knives to kill and flay 
> them; hence it is clear that he means the bark of trees1. Only the blessed 
> Moses called the bark of trees 'skins,' because it fills the place of 
> skins to trees. In the land of India there are trees whose bark is used 
> for the clothing of kings and nobles and the wealthy, on account of its 
> beauty. After God had expelled Adam and his wife from Paradise, He 
> withheld from them the fruits of trees, and the use of bread and flesh and 
> wine, and the anointing with oil; but they cooked grain and vegetables and 
> the herbs of the earth, and did eat sparingly. Moreover, the four-footed 
> beasts and fowl and reptiles rebelled against them, and some of them 
> became enemies and adversaries unto them. They remained thus until Noah 
> went forth from the ark, and then God allowed them to eat bread and to 
> drink wine and to eat flesh, after they had slain the animal and poured 
> out its blood."
> 2. The Cave of Treasures
> http://www.iath.virginia.edu/anderson/retellings/Cave.html#div1.2.13
> "And God made for them tunics of skin which was stripped from the trees, 
> that is to say, of the bark of the trees, because the trees that were in 
> Paradise had soft barks, and they were softer than the byssus and silk 
> wherefrom the garments worn by kings are made. And God dressed them in 
> this soft skin, which was thus spread over a body of infirmities."
> The 1688 Illustration is not animal skins but fig leaves on the vine 
> http://www.johngeraghty.com/Literature/Texts/Milton/P_Lost_1688/tb/PL_1688_TB_Bk_XII.jpg 
> contrasting w/ the well-dressed Angels.
> Also notice how Satan's attire and appearance chronologically deteriorates 
> in the illustrations.
> http://www.johngeraghty.com/Literature/Texts/Milton/P_Lost_1688/PL_1688_Lib_1_img.jpg
> http://www.johngeraghty.com/Literature/Texts/Milton/P_Lost_1688/PL_1688_BOOKE_II_img.jpg
> http://www.johngeraghty.com/Literature/Texts/Milton/P_Lost_1688/PL_1688_BOOK_III_img.jpg
> http://www.johngeraghty.com/Literature/Texts/Milton/P_Lost_1688/PL_1688_BOOKE_IX_img.jpg
> -John
> ----- Original Message ----- 
> From: "Boyd M Berry" <bberry at mail1.vcu.edu>
> To: "John Milton Discussion List" <milton-l at lists.richmond.edu>
> Sent: Tuesday, November 16, 2004 2:11 PM
> Subject: Re: [Milton-L] death in Eden.
>> 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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