[Milton-L] Re: Eve seeking temptation

James Rovira jamesrovira at gmail.com
Wed Sep 9 16:01:17 EDT 2009

Jeffery --

You did say this in your Sept. 8th post of 6:13 PM:

<<Rather, I was simply noting that Milton does raise the question of whether
or not the God who placed the tree of knowledge in the garden is the true
God -- and that Milton raises this question through Satan's temptation,
which Eve falls for.>>

Which implies a question about the nature of the creator of the -tree-, at
any rate, although I don't know that in any Christian theology any being can
create something out of nothing but the main monotheistic deity.  No one can
make a tree but God.

You also said this previously:

<<But it's an assumption that Satan questions, and brings Eve to question,
so Milton must be raising the issue, too. Satan and his fallen companions
are shown openly questioning whether or not the God who has defeated them is
truly God -- or merely a superior angel who happened to come into being
before the rest of them and thereby had an advantage.>>

Which asks if the God who defeated Satan in the war in heaven was the true
God.  From a traditionally Christian point of view, this question would not
even be asked.  However, suggesting that Satan was defeated not by God but
by a superior angel or emanation of some sort does lean toward Gnostic
readings of the Genesis text.

At the time, I saw no reason to read these questions as rhetorical.  Really,
in context, I still don't.  But as rhetorical questions, they would assume a
positive answer, wouldn't they?  Then what would be the sense in calling
them rhetorical?  The point then would be to present the phenomenology of
rebellion and reject it, which I think was Milton's intent.

These are not, I think, questions that Milton thought were up for debate.
He assumed -- safely, I think -- that his readers would share his
assumptions.  Even Blake didn't ascribe intent to Milton if he did have a
preference for Satan, saying that Milton was of the devil's party -but
didn't know it-.

Jim R

On Wed, Sep 9, 2009 at 3:42 PM, Horace Jeffery Hodges <
jefferyhodges at yahoo.com> wrote:

> Could you show me where I've affirmed those "Gnostic" views? I believe that
> I've merely asked what Milton's answer to Satan's question is.
> Perhaps you misunderstood when I said that since Satan is raising the
> question as to whether the Christian God is the true God, then Milton is
> raising the question, too.
> I think that Milton is raising the question in a *devil's advocate* manner
> by having Satan bring Eve to ask herself the same question -- which means
> that Milton is also presenting the question to us.
> Does he answer it . . . or simply expect us to answer it ourselves?
> Jeffery Hodges
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