jamesrovira at gmail.com
Mon Apr 7 17:16:34 EDT 2014
Wow, what a statement of the problem. Thank you.
As I understand your argument (and I may not), part of the rub of the
"therefore" is that it seems like a step in a sequence of causation, so
that Satan's temptation is the reason for God's redemptive mercy for
mankind. Yes, that's perverse.
Could the therefore function, though as a kind of hinge by which Milton's
logic swings back and forth between Satan and God? I'm picturing it as the
pivot point of a meter: Satan is on the red end and man on the green side
Satan is self-motivated THEREFORE I will show him no mercy.
Man was tempted by Satan THEREFORE I will show him mercy.
That doesn't deal with the other problem, though:
"Man does ordain his own fall, and we always know it to be so, but a decoy
like 'therefore' is nevertheless able to make us go against our knowledge,
for a moment; we want very much to read 'deserve' instead of 'find' grace,
and do so until the word 'mercy' reminds us that grace is gratuitous,
cannot be earned and certainly not deserved: 'But Mercy first and last
shall brightest shine'."
I think the therefore implies a "deserve" -- at the least, "deserves" less
to be condemned. Milton could think that extending salvation to Adam and
Eve is still a matter of grace because they still deserve to be condemned,
but saying that they deserve to be condemned "less"... that still seems to
give the lie to grace.
On Mon, Apr 7, 2014 at 3:18 PM, Neil Forsyth <neil.forsyth at unil.ch> wrote:
> May I intervene briefly in this interesting discussion, since one
> correspondent has mentioned my contribution in *The Satanic Epic?*
> I'm not sure that I hammer mercilessly at 'therefore', but I do indeed
> make it a key to understanding the logic of the epic (theology too
> perhaps), and in doing so am arguing against, or perhaps developing an
> argument of, my own teacher Stanley Fish. Here is what I wrote:
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