[Milton-L] Adam ate of . . . the wrong Tree!

James Rovira jamesrovira at gmail.com
Mon Nov 17 21:20:12 EST 2014


Can we really call it "sex" if it's not generative and doesn't require
gender?

Jim R

On Mon, Nov 17, 2014 at 9:15 PM, Richard A. Strier <rastrier at uchicago.edu>
wrote:

>  A and E in Eden look forward to having children.  And yes, angelic sex,
> which is spectacularly non-genital, does seem to be recreative, intimate,
> and amazingly erotic, but not procreative.
>
>
>    ------------------------------
> *From:* milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu [
> milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu] on behalf of Stella Revard [
> srevard at siue.edu]
> *Sent:* Monday, November 17, 2014 6:32 PM
> *To:* John Milton Discussion List
> *Subject:* Re: [Milton-L] Adam ate of . . . the wrong Tree!
>
>   Thanks Arlene!  and Richard, I think you are right--though I can't
> recall any PL texts confirming it--that if they had remained obedient, Adam
> and Eve, and all the other creatures, would have reproduced in Eden.  When
> we first "see" them in Book 3, they are "reaping immortal fruits of joy and
> love," and when we next see them, in Books 4 and 5, they are not turning
> from each other in their Bower of Bliss, so we surely would expect this to
> be a fruitful union--though I believe their first-born, Cain, was likely
> conceived during the post-Knowledge orgy, and their second-born, Seth, only
> in their snake-stomping days after they had relocated from Eden. I don't
> recall any PL text about whether or when humans if they had remained
> unfallen might have spread beyond Eden; Milton answered a great many
> questions but did not, I think, address that one.
>
> As for angelic sex as described by Raphael, am I wrong to infer that it
> was not for purposes of reproduction, but for pleasure--recreation, not
> procreation?  Milton tells us that Satan disguised himself as a "stripling"
> angel, so it does seem that there were younger angels and older ones,
> whatever we are to make of that.  And they did sleep, as witness "Sleep'st
> thou?" though I'm not sure whether Satan and his "mate" were sleeping
> "together" in that sense....
>
> Carter
>
>
> On 11/17/14, *Arlene Stiebel *<amstiebel at aol.com> wrote:
>
>    Yes.  And may we also keep in mind that the forbidden tree was the one
> prohibiting Knowledge of Good and Evil -- not *all* knowledge, but
> specifically that of a certain kind to which Adam and Eve were not supposed
> to have access.  One may infer that any other knowledge except for that "of
> good and evil" was available to our mutual parents, as they were
> continually being schooled in things appropriate to their status.
>
>
>  On Nov 17, 2014, at 3:29 PM, "Stella Revard" <srevard at siue.edu <
> srevard at siue.edu>> wrote:
>
> I think we should all read again, very carefully, Book Three.  There,
> Milton's God and his Son make it perfectly clear that God can do ANYthing
> (he could for instance create all the parking spaces humans may need--Noo
> Yawkers take note!), that he has begotten his Son and promoted him to head
> of all the angels, that the angels understand this is a new way for them to
> be raised in knowledge and heavenly joy and brought closer to God, that the
> angels (like Adam and Eve  when they are created) are free to accept or
> reject this gift, that some angels will reject it, and that God will will
> presently create the Universe for a race of new beings (human and animal
> plus ???).  In short, the angels are continually learning more about
> themselves, about Heaven, about God, about the Son; and their response,
> like that of Adam and Eve as they voice their morning prayers and psalms,
> is to sing, to put new knowledge into song, to celebrate their new
> knowledge of Everything past and present and to come, to understand more
> fully the power and mercy and justice of the Creator.  It is not a static
> place, Milton's Heaven, not one inhabited by passive or changeless beings,
> but a place where (as we first see and hear God, the Son, and the angels
> speaking) we see fierce and continual action, mysteries suddenly becoming
> clear, unimaginable happenings:  past, present, and future are put into
> words and we view all of history from the begetting of the Son through the
> rebellion of some angels, the creation of the Universe and the fall of its
> new human beings, then the judgment of them by the Son and the promise that
> he will redeem them (till one greater man restore them, and regain the
> blissful seat, as we had been told in the poem's opening sentence).
>
> We need to keep in mind also that this portrayal of angels in  PL 3 is not
> something just worked out by Milton while writing the poem; he had
> portrayed angels in *Lycidas* as beings whose songs gave heavenly solace
> and higher status to a human being:  "There entertain him all the Saints
> above,/ In solemn troops, and sweet Societies,/ That sing, and singing in
> their glory move,/ And wipe the tears forever from his eyes."
>
> And so it goes.  Best to all the List Folk.
>
> Carter
>
>
>
>
>
> On 11/17/14, *James Rovira *<jamesrovira at gmail.com <jamesrovira at gmail.com>>
> wrote:
>
>  Right -- Adam and Eve were built capable of both reproduction and
> physical? immortality (via the Tree of Life), so the assumption should be
> that had they chosen eternal life they would both physically reproduce and
> physically live forever. Space would be a problem, but parking would be a
> bigger problem.
>
>  Is the immortality communicated by the Tree of Life in PL physical? Or
> would they be translated to heaven as Enoch and Elijah were?
>
>  I imagine also that all of their progeny would have to choose not to eat
> the fruit, so some would be subject to death, creating parallel human
> species cohabitating on the same planet: fallen and unfallen.
>
>  Sounds like the premise of a science fiction novel.
>
>  Jim R
>
> On Mon, Nov 17, 2014 at 4:10 PM, Richard A. Strier <rastrier at uchicago.edu
> <rastrier at uchicago.edu> <rastrier at uchicago.edu <rastrier at uchicago.edu>>>
> wrote:
>
>>  I like the point about extra space in heaven.  Other planets available
>> too.  But why assume that future humans would not reproduce, since this is
>> part of their "job," and is one of the things that distinguishes them/us
>> from angels?
>>
>>
>>    ------------------------------
>> *From:* milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu <
>> milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu> <milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu
>> <milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu>> [
>> milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu <milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu>
>> <milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu <milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu>>]
>> on behalf of Michael Gillum [mgillum at unca.edu <mgillum at unca.edu> <
>> mgillum at unca.edu <mgillum at unca.edu>>]
>> *Sent:* Monday, November 17, 2014 3:03 PM
>>
>> *To:* John Milton Discussion List
>> *Subject:* Re: [Milton-L] Adam ate of . . . the wrong Tree!
>>
>>
>>  About the Malthusian problem--
>>
>>  "Your bodies may at last turn all to Spirit
>> <http://t.signauxdix.com/e1t/c/5/f18dQhb0S7lC8dDMPbW2n0x6l2B9nMJW7t5XX48qCrCPW8qyPx43H6XTxW72TN_H5fT_cx101?t=&si=4763272727232512&pi=d52cf1ca-744e-4e95-8485-9adf0d6daa46>
>> ,
>> Improv'd by tract of time, and wingd ascend
>> Ethereal, as wee, or may at choice
>> Here or in Heav'nly Paradises dwell;" [ 5.500 ]
>>  --So, the evolved future humans will have access to Heaven, which is
>> huge compared to Earth and seems to have lots of unoccupied territory.
>> Also, I suppose the spiritualized future humans will longer reproduce, just
>> as angels do not reproduce.
>> Michael
>>
>>  On Mon, Nov 17, 2014 at 3:26 PM, Richard A. Strier <
>> rastrier at uchicago.edu <rastrier at uchicago.edu> <rastrier at uchicago.edu <
>> rastrier at uchicago.edu>>> wrote:
>>
>>>  Would that have raised a Malthusian problem?  A and E and all the
>>> progeny and their progeny's progeny, etc forever?
>>>
>>>  Also-- how are the angels continually raised in status?  Seems like
>>> they stay where they are.
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>>    *From:* milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu <
>>> milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu> <
>>> milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu <milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu>>
>>> [milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu <
>>> milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu> <
>>> milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu <milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu>>]
>>> on behalf of Stella Revard [srevard at siue.edu <srevard at siue.edu> <
>>> srevard at siue.edu <srevard at siue.edu>>]
>>> *Sent:* Monday, November 17, 2014 2:11 PM
>>> *To:* John Milton Discussion List
>>> *Subject:* Re: [Milton-L] Adam ate of . . . the wrong Tree!
>>>
>>>
>>>  And the clear answer, Richard, is that "immortality" means
>>> deathlessness:  Adam and Eve, had they not fallen, would never have died,
>>> but like angels been continually raised in status and brought to greater
>>> knowledge and fuller being.  (Raphael's speculative account of humans
>>> ascending to angelic status, still presumably able to eat and digest fruit
>>> completely without waste or corruption, is relevant but not at issue in
>>> Book 11.)  I don't see how Milton could have made it any clearer, at least
>>> for readers who like Jameela actually DO read what Milton wrote and see
>>> that he had thought matters through and stated them as plainly as the
>>> complicated and tangled Scriptural authorities would allow.  In the opening
>>> lines of the poem, "brought Death into the world" states matters clearly
>>> and simply; and the lines Jameela quotes give some detail in which Milton
>>> is thinking straightforwardly about fallen human physiology of eating,
>>> drinking, digesting, crapping, and so on. "Corruption" is given a very
>>> closeup and literal meaning here.  (For an obsessed variant of this, see
>>> Swift's Gulliver:  Swift is outraged and disgusted whereas Milton is
>>> matter-of-fact.)
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>>  On 11/17/14, *"Richard A. Strier" *<rastrier at uchicago.edu <
>>> rastrier at uchicago.edu> <rastrier at uchicago.edu <rastrier at uchicago.edu>>>
>>> wrote:
>>>
>>> But the question is what "immortality" means here.
>>>
>>> Sent from my iPhone
>>>
>>> > On Nov 17, 2014, at 11:23 AM, "Jameela Lares" <jameela.lares at usm.edu <
>>> jameela.lares at usm.edu> <jameela.lares at usm.edu <jameela.lares at usm.edu>>>
>>> wrote:
>>> >
>>> > PL does say something about pre- and postlapsarian diet.
>>> >
>>> > But longer in that Paradise to dwell,
>>> > The Law I gave to Nature him forbids:
>>> > Those pure immortal Elements that know
>>> > No gross, no unharmoneous mixture foule,
>>> > Eject him tainted now, and purge him off
>>> > As a distemper, gross to aire as gross,
>>> > And mortal food, as may dispose him best
>>> > For dissolution wrought by Sin, that first
>>> > Distemperd all things, and of incorrupt
>>> > Corrupted.  I at first with two fair gifts
>>> > Created him endowd, with Happiness
>>> > And Immortalitie: that fondly lost,
>>> > This other serv’d but to eternize woe. . . .
>>> > (PL 11:48-60)
>>> >
>>> > Jameela Lares
>>> > Professor of English
>>> > The University of Southern Mississippi
>>> > 118 College Drive, #5037
>>> > Hattiesburg, MS  39406-0001
>>> > 601 266-4319 ofc
>>> > 601 266-5757 fax
>>> >
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>>
>
>
>
>  --
>  Dr. James Rovira
> Associate Professor of English
> Tiffin University
> http://www.jamesrovira.com
> <http://t.signauxdix.com/e1t/c/5/f18dQhb0S7lC8dDMPbW2n0x6l2B9nMJW7t5XX48qCrCPW8qyPx43H6XTxW72TN_H5fT_cx101?t=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.jamesrovira.com%2F&si=4763272727232512&pi=d52cf1ca-744e-4e95-8485-9adf0d6daa46>
> Blake and Kierkegaard: Creation and Anxiety
> Continuum 2010
> http://jamesrovira.com/blake-and-kierkegaard-creation-and-anxiety/
> <http://t.signauxdix.com/e1t/c/5/f18dQhb0S7lC8dDMPbW2n0x6l2B9nMJW7t5XX48qCrCPW8qyPx43H6XTxW72TN_H5fT_cx101?t=http%3A%2F%2Fjamesrovira.com%2Fblake-and-kierkegaard-creation-and-anxiety%2F&si=4763272727232512&pi=d52cf1ca-744e-4e95-8485-9adf0d6daa46>
>  Text, Identity, Subjectivity
> http://scalar.usc.edu/works/text-identity-subjectivity/index
> <http://t.signauxdix.com/e1t/c/5/f18dQhb0S7lC8dDMPbW2n0x6l2B9nMJW7t5XX48qCrCPW8qyPx43H6XTxW72TN_H5fT_cx101?t=http%3A%2F%2Fscalar.usc.edu%2Fworks%2Ftext-identity-subjectivity%2Findex&si=4763272727232512&pi=d52cf1ca-744e-4e95-8485-9adf0d6daa46>
>
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-- 
Dr. James Rovira
Associate Professor of English
Tiffin University
http://www.jamesrovira.com
<http://t.signauxdix.com/e1t/c/5/f18dQhb0S7lC8dDMPbW2n0x6l2B9nMJW7t5XX48qCrCPW8qyPx43H6XTxW72TN_H5fT_cx101?t=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.jamesrovira.com%2F&si=4763272727232512&pi=d52cf1ca-744e-4e95-8485-9adf0d6daa46>
Blake and Kierkegaard: Creation and Anxiety
Continuum 2010
http://jamesrovira.com/blake-and-kierkegaard-creation-and-anxiety/
<http://t.signauxdix.com/e1t/c/5/f18dQhb0S7lC8dDMPbW2n0x6l2B9nMJW7t5XX48qCrCPW8qyPx43H6XTxW72TN_H5fT_cx101?t=http%3A%2F%2Fjamesrovira.com%2Fblake-and-kierkegaard-creation-and-anxiety%2F&si=4763272727232512&pi=d52cf1ca-744e-4e95-8485-9adf0d6daa46>
Text, Identity, Subjectivity
http://scalar.usc.edu/works/text-identity-subjectivity/index
<http://t.signauxdix.com/e1t/c/5/f18dQhb0S7lC8dDMPbW2n0x6l2B9nMJW7t5XX48qCrCPW8qyPx43H6XTxW72TN_H5fT_cx101?t=http%3A%2F%2Fscalar.usc.edu%2Fworks%2Ftext-identity-subjectivity%2Findex&si=4763272727232512&pi=d52cf1ca-744e-4e95-8485-9adf0d6daa46>
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