[Milton-L] Abdiel (thought-sins)

Tony Demarest tonydemarest at hotmail.com
Tue Jul 1 16:34:24 EDT 2008


Thank you Alice for your overwhelming response- regarding the intention- passionate or otherwise- surely the idea rests somewhere within the web of knowledge? Adam's insistence to know even the mechanics of the celestium- I wonder if Coleridge had this, and of course impossibly, your question in mind when he stated in the BL that "to KNOW is a verb active"?

Tony
----------------------------------------
> From: aberghof at uci.edu
> Subject: Re: [Milton-L] Abdiel (thought-sins)
> Date: Tue, 1 Jul 2008 12:19:10 -0700
> To: milton-l at lists.richmond.edu
> 
> The crisis halfway through the Confessions (translated in the lit as 
> "Whence this monster?" "Whence this portent?" - see Kenneth Burke on 
> this, also), the repeated discussion of the problem of asking about 
> source of evil in City of God, and the discussion of the topic in late 
> works - The Spirit and the Letter, for example - are useful as well as 
> Albrecht Dihle's The Theory of Will in Classical Antiquity, the latter 
> coalescing with Harold Skulsky's posting, perhaps adding a few stages 
> and terms.  My questions: in a syllogism in PL, whence the origin of 
> the logical as opposed to passionate intention to transgress?
> Alice
> 
> On Jul 1, 2008, at 11:47 AM, Tony Demarest wrote:
> 
>>
>> This smells of orthodoxy- I remember when one of our Jesuit religion 
>> teachers in high school explained to us the distinction between sins 
>> of thought and desire and act- concupiscence-  The "near occasion of 
>> sin"-I believe it was- when one needs to cross town and takes 42nd 
>> street rather than 43rd. NYC obviously. And if anyone can remember 
>> better than I- is Paul the source of this notion? Augustine?
>>
>> Tony
>> ----------------------------------------
>>> From: jwatt at butler.edu
>>> To: milton-l at lists.richmond.edu
>>> Date: Tue, 1 Jul 2008 13:06:19 -0400
>>> Subject: RE: [Milton-L] Abdiel (thought-sins)
>>>
>>> Dear Carol:
>>>
>>> The joy in all this is not whether Eve or Adam (or both!) are 
>>> 'responsible' for our situation.  Or whether they sin before they 
>>> partake of the fruit.  It's that the agency responsible for existence 
>>> itself is so generous that it has given us a poet, John Milton, who, 
>>> confronted with an origin myth had the great good sense to remake it 
>>> after his own best and honest effort and who, after having managed 
>>> the task breathtakingly turned to the even more profound myth at the 
>>> root of all our discussions, that of the embodiment of the divine in 
>>> all its grief and happiness.  Not surprisingly most folks believe the 
>>> Regaining of Paradise to be a lesser achievement than the 'Loss' of 
>>> it!  Oh well, there must be a reason for it, but, for me at least it 
>>> is an unconvincing argument that the poet of P.R. was operating at a 
>>> less exalted level.
>>>
>>> Jim Watt
>>> ________________________________________
>>> From: milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu 
>>> [milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu] On Behalf Of Carol Barton 
>>> [cbartonphd1 at verizon.net]
>>> Sent: Monday, June 30, 2008 7:54 PM
>>> To: John Milton Discussion List
>>> Subject: Re: [Milton-L] Abdiel (thought-sins)
>>>
>>> Michael, I think the distinction is between actually sinning, and 
>>> engaging in behavior that is likely to lead one to sin. Eve doesn't 
>>> confront evil when it seeks her out, as both Abdiel and Jesus do--she 
>>> goes *looking* for it. That behavior is not in itself sinful, but 
>>> it's not very prudent--and it's a type of pride (as I think I said 
>>> earlier)--think of Sir Guyon in the Cave of Mammon (FQ), and even 
>>> Samson's goading of Delilah (less prominent in the tale of Samson and 
>>> Dalila, but still there).
>>>
>>> One shouldn't (according to Milton) live a "cloister'd virtue"--one 
>>> in which the opportunity for temptation never exists--but it's 
>>> foolhardy to *seek* opportunities to "prove" oneself, too.
>>>
>>> Adam--as you've noticed--doesn't make any effort to follow any 
>>> dictate but that of his own desire . . . he doesn't even *pretend* to 
>>> reason, as Eve at least attempts to do (though quite faultily, with 
>>> disastrous results). I've always maintained that, despite the 
>>> traditions, the story demonstrates that it's Adam, not Eve, who is 
>>> responsible for Original Sin: had he refused to eat of the Fruit (on 
>>> any number of the grounds available to him) only Eve--if even 
>>> Eve--would have been cursed. It took *both* of our First Parents' 
>>> disobedience to damn the rest of us--and since Adam was the second to 
>>> disobey, it was he who was ultimately to blame for the ills our world 
>>> contains--not Pandora Eve.
>>>
>>> That's my story, and I'm sticking to it.   ;o)
>>>
>>> Thank you for provoking such an interesting and lively discussion, at 
>>> a time when most academics are too burnt out to argue about more than 
>>> what they want to have for dinner!
>>>
>>> Carol Barton
>>>
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>>
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