[Milton-L] Abdiel (JD Fleming)

jfleming at sfu.ca jfleming at sfu.ca
Wed Jul 2 16:36:19 EDT 2008

On Wed, 02 Jul 2008 11:51:52 -0400 milton-l at lists.richmond.edu wrote:
> Prof. Fleming--
> In Adam's interior monologue in 9, he is first horrified that Eve is now
> "Defaced, deflow'red, and to death devote" by breaking God's commandment,
> and next he resolves to die with her. But in the subsequent speech to her,
> he speculates that the serpent's foretasting took the curse off and
> that the
> humans on tasting will ascend to angelic or divine status. He suggests God
> will retract his  decree rather than destroy his creation.
> It seems to me this sequence indicates a process of corruption that
> precedes
> the eating of the fruit and that breaks the "absolute continuity of
> speech-action" and separates "intension from expression" (Your very useful
> ideas about the unfallen condition).He never audibly expresses his basic
> understanding of the situation, that Eve is lost through her
> He softens it into a "bold" and "adventurous" action incurring
> "peril." Then
> he engages in a chain of specious reasoning that I think we can regard as
> rationalizing his own decision but also palliating Eve's sin rather than
> addressing it as what he knows it to be.

Sure. But that is precisely to say that he is deciding to fall; that the
separation of intention from expression that you note is both the marker and
the content of this decision; and that, _precisely because A is as yet
unfallen_, there is no possibility of his forming this intention without
proceeding to its expression -- viz., eating and falling. The intentional
autarky to which he commits himself is, ironically, impossible for him as he
commits himself to it. This is what I meant by saying that the joke is on
The upshot, for me, is that any interpretation of the unfallen A and E that
binarizes their intentions over their expressions is wrong-headed. And this
seems to me the heading of the view that the fall is preceded by a process
of mental corruption discrete from the fall itself.

That's what I think! JDF
> My interpretation of this pattern is that Adam's reason has already been
> darkened and his unity of being has been fractured in consequence of sin,
> which is resolving to disobey (not just thinking "eat fruit").
> What do you think?
> Michael
> On 7/2/08 10:40 AM, "jfleming at sfu.ca" <jfleming at sfu.ca> wrote:
> > In any case, and as I have tried to argue, the ethical and psychological
> > ideality (in M's  terms) of A and E before eating the fruit mean
> that it is
> > impossible for them to sin in thought but not in deed. They live in the
> > absolute continuity of perfect speech-action. Thus, in a sense, the
> joke is
> > on them. Only after the fall (after eating the fruit) does it become
> > possible to separate (to secrete) intension from expression. Indeed,
> > separation is, again, a marker of the fall (perhaps _the_ marker),
> in and of
> > itself. Therefore, there is simply no such thing as an unfallen
> > "thought-sin"; not because unfallen thoughts cannot become sinful, but
> > because they cannot, as such, remain merely thoughts. 
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James Dougal Fleming
Department of English
Simon Fraser University
cell: 604-290-1637

Nicht deines, einer Welt.

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