[Milton-L] 'Myth' of "Unfallen" language

James Rovira jamesrovira at gmail.com
Sun Sep 30 15:05:30 EDT 2007


I don't think most Christian traditions understand postlapsarian
language itself to be morally neutral in the sense in which Prof.
Skulsky describes it.  Language is an instrument of thought,
postlapsarian thought is corrupt, so language is necessarily corrupt.
Language in the case of God is creative, prelapsarian Adamic language
assigned meaning and value (man gave names to all the animals).
Language is never morally neutral so far as I can tell.  I don't think
we need to believe individual words, in themselves, are corrupt or not
in order to believe language is corrupt, however.  But of course
individuals words do not a language make.

How can we separate language from "an interesting fact about the human
condition" when human language does not exist apart from human beings,
and these human beings are fallen?  I think it would help if we
thought of morality and corruption in terms more comprehensive than
individual right or wrong acts.  Milton could have thought otherwise,
of course, but there may be hints of the idea of a fallen language in
Milton's statements about the nature of truth in the Areopagitica, at
least.

Jim R


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