[Milton-L] Abdiel

Horace Jeffery Hodges jefferyhodges at yahoo.com
Tue Jun 24 18:43:02 EDT 2008

On the falling process of Adam (and Eve), I've actually published an article that I'll send by attachment to anyone interested. Here's the title and abstract:
When Did Adam Fall in Paradise Lost? 
Horace Jeffery Hodges 
"Human love, the love of Adam and Eve, 
is mortal and sinful unto death." 
- Eugen Rosenstock-Huessy 
MEMES 17.2 (2007.11): 363-381

The specific moment of Adam's fall in Paradise Lost would seem unambiguous. It occurs at the moment that he accepts and eats the apple. One might object that these are two slightly distinct moments and that Adam is breaking two slightly different prohibitions, i.e., neither to touch the tree nor to eat the fruit, but Milton plays upon an etymological ambiguity in the word "taste" (="touch") to conflate God's two commands and Adam's two violations. Thus does one sort of ambiguity appear to resolve the other sort. If we look more carefully, however, the precise moment in which Adam falls dissolves into a process of falling that was prepared for through Adam's idolatrous worship of Eve, confirmed by Adam's inner assent to the evil of placing Eve before God by deciding to accept her gift of the apple, and completed in Adam's act of taking and eating the fruit of the tree. This process has the effect of stretching out Adam's sin, making his fall a process of
 falling, but it has the advantage of making understandable Adam's decision for Eve and death over God and life.
I don't, however, talk about Abdiel.
Jeffery Hodges

--- On Tue, 6/24/08, Patricia Stewart <pstewart at uga.edu> wrote:

From: Patricia Stewart <pstewart at uga.edu>
Subject: Re: [Milton-L] Abdiel
To: "John Milton Discussion List" <milton-l at lists.richmond.edu>
Date: Tuesday, June 24, 2008, 5:13 PM

From: Michael Gillum:
>I guess Eve and Adam are "falling" rather than fallen or unfallen
at the
> time of their interior monologues-- as James Watt says, the categories 
> have
> a blurred zone between them.

Falling but not fallen?  Then is being tempted the same as being sinful? 
Abdiel is tempted, rejects the arguments presented to him, and returns to 
God as an unfallen angel.  Adam is sin free until he--willingly and 
knowingly--disobeys God and commits himself to Eve whatever the 
consequences.  Whether Eve really knows what she is doing--after all, she is 
confused by Satan's rhetoric plus she is hunger--I think is debatable.  But

to argue that they are--before eating--in a state of falling is to argue 
that being tempted is wrong and harmful. Such a conclusion means that Eve 
was wrong in separating from Adam and that Adam was wrong to let her go and 
that God was wrong to let Satan reach the Earth. 

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