[Milton-L] Milton and Sin

Alice Crawford Berghof aberghof at uci.edu
Sat Jun 28 19:10:09 EDT 2008

Thanks, sounds good to me.  Short-circuiting of judgment.  I like that 
phrase, and find it useful.  For a longer conversation at a later date: 
what mediates between judgment and passion?  There has to be a higher, 
unnamed faculty at work or failing to work - hence the limit of names, 
perhaps, to apply John Leonard's terms, or the conundrum of speaking 
about the Fall in fallen terms.  Alternately, is that higher faculty 

I'm trying to reconcile the notion of Adam's individual perception with 
what you said earlier: "he knows his decision is wrong from God's 
standpoint and in an absolute sense."  Also, I agree that the monologue 
is lyric, but I am remembering what John Leonard says about the 
passage, and I am still trying to decide whether we should place limits 
on the extent of the lyricism, given that Adam could've died for Eve, 
etc.  Happy to hear what you think at any point in the future.  No 
problem discussing this at a later date.  I am hoping I'm not keeping 
people away from writing, etc.

On Jun 28, 2008, at 3:43 PM, Michael Gillum wrote:

> Alice,
> I didn't intend my post to address only Harold Skulsky-- should have 
> made
> that clearer.
> Raphael's line, "as thou thyself perceiv'st" (8.566), refers to Adam's
> previously stated understanding that his reverence for Eve is out of
> proportion, given that he is by nature slightly superior to her. I take
> Raphael to be speaking here about objective reasoning rather than what 
> we
> would call point of view or individual perception. Adam's subjective 
> view
> combines this rational understanding with his passionate feelings for 
> Eve,
> and the latter will determine his fatal choice. It's not so much a 
> defect in
> judgment as a short circuiting of judgment.
> The latter part of Adam's monologue ("How could I live without thee,"
> 9.908-16) is a pure lyric expression of emotion.
> Michael
> On 6/28/08 5:38 PM, "Alice Crawford Berghof" <aberghof at uci.edu> wrote:
>> Dear Professor Gillum,
>> I am certain Professor Skulsky will respond with greater knowledge and
>> better judgment than I.  Just a few quick ideas: re your last point
>> (5), John Leonard Naming in Paradise 213 and following.  Also, your
>> point gets at the difference between knowledge and judgment - I'm
>> trying to place your term "motivation" in here somewhere...  What do
>> you think of Raphael's line, "as thou thyself perceiv'st" (VIII.566),
>> in terms of whether Adam should've been able to perceive things from a
>> perspective other than his own?  Would support your reading, I 
>> believe.
>>   However, do you think it's possible that Adam knows "his decision is
>> wrong from God's standpoint and in an absolute sense," as you say, but
>> that he has not been provided with adequate judgment?  Perhaps he has
>> sufficient knowledge but insufficient judgment to do the right thing.
>> What would the right thing have been?  Dying for Eve would have been
>> one possibility, acc to John Leonard in his fascinating discussion 
>> that
>> brings us all the way to this idea: "The thought of bodily 
>> resurrection
>> for Adam is not absurd" (page 218).
>> Alice
>> On Jun 28, 2008, at 1:34 PM, Michael Gillum wrote:
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