[Milton-L] Re: Eve seeking temptation

Horace Jeffery Hodges jefferyhodges at yahoo.com
Wed Sep 9 20:29:08 EDT 2009

I'm happy that we're now on the same wavelength. We may have taxed the patience of our fellow Milton Listers.
Jeffery Hodges

--- On Wed, 9/9/09, James Rovira <jamesrovira at gmail.com> wrote:

From: James Rovira <jamesrovira at gmail.com>
Subject: Re: [Milton-L] Re: Eve seeking temptation
To: "John Milton Discussion List" <milton-l at lists.richmond.edu>
Date: Wednesday, September 9, 2009, 7:21 PM

Thanks, Jeffery, I think I've finally caught up to you now.  Satan wouldn't be much of a Satan if he didn't sound convincing, would he?  I don't think Satan's ability to sound convincing is any measure of Milton's conscious intent for his poem.  

I tend to read the seduction of Eve within the context of a broader tradition of acknowledgement of the limitations of reason.  Adam's responses to Eve in Book 9 include these words:

But God left free the Will, for what obeyes
Reason, is free, and Reason he made right
But bid her well beware, and still erect,
Least by some faire appeering good surpris'd
She [Reason] dictate false, and misinforme the Will [ 355 ]
To do what God expresly hath forbid,
Not then mistrust, but tender love enjoynes,
That I should mind thee oft, and mind thou me.
Firm we subsist, yet possible to swerve,
Since Reason not impossibly may meet [ 360 ]
Some specious object by the Foe subornd,
And fall into deception unaware,
Not keeping strictest watch, as she was warnd.

This tradition culminates in Kierkegaard's conception of Religiousness B in Concluding Unscientific Postscript, in which faith is defined as that which crucifies the understanding.  Once we begin to reason with the devil, we lose.    

Jim R

On Wed, Sep 9, 2009 at 5:06 PM, Horace Jeffery Hodges <jefferyhodges at yahoo.com> wrote:

'Well, that was exactly what I was asking.
I originally wanted to know if Milton ever gave an answer to the question raised in the temptation scene in which Satan brings Eve to the point of wondering if God is the true God. Milton was implicitly raising the question in his readers' minds, it seemed to me, and I therefore asked others on the Milton List if Milton offers an answer in Paradise Lost.

Jeffery Hodges

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