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Re: The snake's sense

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  • Médéric Laitier
    Dear James, Thank you for clarifying the nature of the he. I thought it was likely to be as you have explicited it but I preferred to ask in order to be sure.
    Message 1 of 34 , Mar 1, 2008
       

      Dear James,

      Thank you for clarifying the nature of the he. I thought it was likely to be as you have explicited it but I preferred to ask in order to be sure.

      When it comes to the symbolic value of the snake in the Genesis as well as the meaning of the fruit, well, yes what you write is quite consistent with a very common line of interpretation indeed and the ambiguity of the biblical notion of knowledge seems to have its part in this line of interpretation. I agree with you that this tradition is an element to be kept in the background of our knowing mind when we read H.' paper.

      If you don't mind I'd like to draw us back a little in our passionate surge for knowledge and come back to the introductory chapters of the Genesis (1&2).

      As you know I have posted a few excerpts in the file section and I would  now like to have a closer look to them:


      http://groups.yahoo.com/group/kierkegaardians/files/03-TGFC/Genesis-1%262-samples.htm


      Although it may not appear crystal clear at first glance, the filed citations are split in three divisions and are mainly concerned with the account the Genesis offers of the Creation of mankind.


      The first division consists of Gen1:27 and Gen1:28. Oops, I realise I have messed up the placing of divide marks: 1:27 and 1:28 should not be seperated by a ~ sign! I'll have to correct that. Let's pretend there never was such a mistake from my part...

      For practical reason allow me to reproduce here the text as it was understood by King James (or his bunch of Scholars):


      So God created man in his [own] image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.

      And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.

      Gen1:27-28, KJV


      The aspects I should like to enhance as quite striking in this passage are the following:

      a- God created man, both male and female.

      b- God blessed them and invited them to have progeny and conquer the earth.


      The next citation (second division in the file) is composed of Gen2:4 and Gen2:5; King James' rendering reads thus:


      These [are] the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens,
      And every plant of the field before it was in the earth, and every herb of the field before it grew: for the LORD God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and [there was] not a man to till the ground.

      Gen2:4-5, KJV


      The verses stand after what appears to be the conclusion of the creation (Gen2:3 the seventh day, a holy day) and seem to serve as a transition to the days of Eden's narration.

      Now you may be interested, and others as well, in reading alternative takes on this passage. 2:4 seems to have been received in a broad agreement but 2:5 appear to have awakened more dispute as far as interpretation is concerned;  for an immediate glance over a few alternative readings, you may wish to visit:

      a direct link to the various versions available at http://www.blueletterbible.org/


      Perhaps it is worth noticing that in this passage:

      a- It is here made mention for the first time of the LORD god, apparently a standard translation of : יְ×"וָ֥×" אֱלֹ×"ִ֖ים.

      b- The earth and the skyes are said in 2:5 to be bare which appears to be somewhat in tension with at least 1:11-12, 1-20-21, 1:24-25.


      Now the last citation (third and final division in the file) is composed of Gen2:15-17. Here is how is reads as rendered by King James:


      And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it. And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.


      Here the LORD god's forbid is rendered by an explicit commandment: 'But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.'

      It is particularly interesting, I think, to note in this passage that the kind of knowledge of which it is question is precisely qualified: The knowledge of good and evil.


      Well, these were the few elements of introduction I thought might be of worth in our present discussion of the sense of the Snake in the account of Haufniensis' psychological discussion of the dogamtic of hereditary sin in the Concept of anxiety. I hope they were not exceedingly long and wish to apologize for the readers solely interested in K.'s very own prose.

      I will break here, dear James, and resume our discussion a little later. Feel free to comment on or complete them with your own!


      To be continued...


      Sincerely

      Mederic


       

      --- In kierkegaardians@yahoogroups.com, "James Rovira" <jamesrovira@...> wrote:
      >
      > Thanks for your response so far, Mederic. Very sorry about being
      > unclear -- the "he" in the sentence in question refers to Haufniensis.
      > Haufniensis can't account for the snake because his concern is with
      > human psychology. Explaining the snake's actions as either the
      > snake's or the devil's would require some account of serpentine or
      > angelic psychology, and that's beyond the scope of Haufniensis's work.
      > He is only focusing on human psychology.
      >
      > I left something out when I made reference to Haufniensis saying,
      > "language itself is speaking." He also ties this to Adam. So the
      > implication here is that, perhaps, through language Adam himself
      > tempted Eve, so that the whole "snake in the Garden" thing is an
      > analog for sex. Adam tempted Eve (the phallic snake), Eve gave Adam
      > her fruit -- they were both ashamed afterwards and hid their
      > nakedness. Jerome (4thC) interpreted the Adam/Eve/Garden story as an
      > analog for the loss of sexual innocence as well, so
      > Haufniensis/Kierkegaard would not be outside the pale of recognized
      > Christian readings of the Genesis story with this suggestion.
      >
      > But Haufniensis doesn't develop this idea of the snake representing
      > either language or sexual temptation -- he mentions it then drops it.
      > Milton, on the other hand, seems to want to provide a full account of
      > everyone.
      >
      > I don't think Haufniensis means to trivialize either dogmatics or
      > psychology by bringing them together. I think he mentions both
      > because he wants to assign them their separate spheres. Furthermore,
      > when we engage in an activity (even sinning) we engage in it with our
      > entire beings, and different fields of knowledge, in Haufniensis's
      > view, seem to address different aspects of human experience. So he
      > can talk about logic as a discipline and ethics as a discipline and
      > dogmatics as a discipline and psychology as a discipline. Dogmatics
      > talks about spirit. Psychology talks about our mental and emotional
      > lives. Haufniensis chooses to account for the existence of sin
      > psychologically -- that is the task he has set himself -- but this
      > doesn't exclude or denigrate other understandings of sin, many of
      > which he explains in his early pages.
      >
      > Jim R
      >
      >
      > > Now there is a bit further down in your unextensively quotable paper an
      > > expression which requires clarification:
      > >
      > > 'Of course he can't account for it.'
      > >
      > > Here I am not sure exactly whom you are referring to. It seems reasonable to
      > > me to assume you were speaking of K. but given it could also be that you had
      > > switched to this Milton you have mentioned just before it feels safer to
      > > ask: were you discussing K.'s impossibility or Milton's? Or both?
      > >
      >
    • James Rovira
      Thanks for the response, Don. I ve read a great deal of Reformation theology (as well as Anglican and neo-Orthodox) but I don t consider myself a Reformation
      Message 34 of 34 , Mar 6, 2008
        Thanks for the response, Don. I've read a great deal of Reformation
        theology (as well as Anglican and neo-Orthodox) but I don't consider
        myself a Reformation Christian. I like Eastern Orthodox theology
        because it seems to unite the experiential and the theological, but I
        haven't read any in quite some time and would probably never attend an
        EO church.

        Jim R
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