[Milton-L] Milton & Lilith

maltzahn at uottawa.ca maltzahn at uottawa.ca
Fri Apr 15 15:17:44 EDT 2011


The Night-hag associated with the figure of Sin (PL, 2:662) has been
thought to recall Lilith (Isaiah 34:14) -- "presumably a Lilith variant",
as Richard Schell has it, in David Jeffrey, ed., _A Dictionary of Biblical
Tradition in English Literature_ (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Eerdmans, 1992),
sv. Lilith.  The usual identification of her with Hecate may invite some
such biblical elaboration.

If anyone knows better, I should be interested to hear of it, since
students ask about this from time to time.

Nicholas (von Maltzahn)

English / Arts
Univ. of Ottawa


> Ryan,
>
> When researching for an article tracing the sources for C.S. Lewis'
> witches (Graham, Jean E.  “Women, Sex, and Power: Circe and Lilith in
> Narnia.”  Children’s Literature Quarterly 29 (spring/summer 2004):
> 32-44), I could find no evidence of a connection--although like you I
> assume there is one.
>
> Jean
>
> Jean E. Graham
> Associate Professor of English
> The College of New Jersey
>
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Ryan Paul" <ryanspaul at gmail.com>
> To: "John Milton Discussion List" <milton-l at lists.richmond.edu>
> Sent: Monday, April 11, 2011 2:50:39 PM GMT -05:00 US/Canada Eastern
> Subject: [Milton-L] Milton & Lilith
>
>
> Dear E-Miltonists:
>
> A student asked me about Lilith and whether Milton knew her story or was
> influenced by it. I assume that Milton was well aware of the story, but I
> have no idea if his works, PL or otherwise, make any references to her. A
> scan through the index of Shoulson's Milton and the Rabbis did not turn up
> any mention of her, and the only mention I could find in a (very cursory)
> web search of Milton scholarship turned up a brief aside in Denis Saurat's
> 1922 article "Milton and the Zohar ," where he suggests that perhaps the
> character of Sin was based on the Lilith legend. All this suggests to me
> that Milton simply wasn't interested in her story, but I wanted to check
> with the list to see if any of you either knew of scholarship on the
> subject or had your own theories about her role in shaping Milton's
> theology or poetry.
>
> Thanks in advance for any thoughts.
>
> Best,
> Ryan Paul
>
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