[Milton-L] The War in Heaven

Peter C. Herman herman2 at mail.sdsu.edu
Tue Jul 11 20:13:24 EDT 2006

At 06:30 PM 7/11/2006, you wrote:
>I don't think Adam invented fire.  He discovered a law in nature which is 
>created by God.  So it's not technology.

While Prof. Khoddam is right to note that Adam didn't invent fire, he does 
something other than discover a law in nature. Rather, he discovers two 
artificial means of creating fire. The first is using a kind of magnifying 
glass ("how we his gather'd beams / Reflected, may with matter sere 
foment"); the second is friction ("Or by collision of two bodies grinde / 
The Air attrite to Fire"). So I would say that this is technology.


>  Milton would find artifice, extravagant and man-made ornamental art, 
> also demonic.  Eve's tending to the flowers is not art in this 
> sense.  Note Satan's throne in Bk. II. A splendid example of technology 
> which reminds me of Satan's invention of the cannon in war in heaven are 
> the orcs in Lord of the Rings, who melt and smelt metals to make their 
> horrible war machinery.  This is technology, but the swords, shields, and 
> spears of Aragorn and company are not.  I suppose motive determines what 
> is technology:  Is the purpose to exploit nature, play God with its 
> materials for business enterprises and Faustus-like projects, or is the 
> purpose to work with God-given materials to address primary needs (i. 
> clothes, food, protection from natural disasters)?
>Salwa Khoddam
>----- Original Message ----- From: "Michael Gillum" <mgillum at unca.edu>
>To: "John Milton Discussion List" <milton-l at lists.richmond.edu>
>Sent: Tuesday, July 11, 2006 6:54 PM
>Subject: Re: [Milton-L] The War in Heaven
>>>What inventing fire? 5.396: "No fear lest dinner cool."
>>Adam invents fire when bad weather begins after the Fall (10.1070-85). 
>>This is after Adam has absorbed Eve's idea of repentance and begun to 
>>think there may be a point to carrying on with life.
>>Michael Gillum
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