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Home :: Archive :: 1997 :: February ::
Re: Sin
Shakespeare Electronic Conference: SHK 8.0209. Friday, 14 February 1997.

(1)     From:   John Cox <
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        Date:   Thursday, 13 Feb 1997 14:10:26 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Sins in MM

(2)     From:   Louis C Swilley <
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        Date:   Friday, 14 Feb 1997 07:36:13 -0600 (CST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 8.0203 Qs: Sin

(3)     From:   Paul Nelsen <
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        Date:   Friday, 14 Feb 1997 09:30:13 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 8.0203  Qs: Sin


(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           John Cox <
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Date:           Thursday, 13 Feb 1997 14:10:26 -0500 (EST)
Subject:        Sins in MM

James Saeger asks about Angelo's and Claudio's position on sin in MM, wondering
if there might be a difference between Catholic and Protestant positions.
Geoffrey Bullough prints an interesting parallel from Augustine (*Narrative and
Dramatic Sources* 2:418-19), roughly a thousand years before the Reformation.

John Cox
Hope College

(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Louis C Swilley <
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Date:           Friday, 14 Feb 1997 07:36:13 -0600 (CST)
Subject: 8.0203 Qs: Sin
Comment:        Re: SHK 8.0203 Qs: Sin

Mr. Saeger,

Have you checked St. Thomas' *Summa* for this?

I don't know what the theologians of any denomination say about this, but
common sense tells me that Isabella can - in charity, not in justice - do this
sinlessly to save her brother, sin being necessarily in the *intention* as well
as in the nature of the deed.  But the brother can not ask her to do it.

L. Swilley
Houston

(3)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Paul Nelsen <
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Date:           Friday, 14 Feb 1997 09:30:13 -0500 (EST)
Subject: 8.0203  Qs: Sin
Comment:        Re: SHK 8.0203  Qs: Sin

I passed the message on to my friend Edward Isser <
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 >, who
had recently staged a striking production of the play at College of the Holy
Cross and in the process had given considerable thought to the complexity of
Isabella's dilemma. Ed asked me to channel the following back to the list:

1) The Pauline Principle

        "evil is not to be done that good may come of it"

        "For if the truth of God hath more abounded through my lie unto
        his glory; why yet am I also judged a sinner?  And not rather (as we
        be slanderously reported, and as some affirm that we say), Let us do
        evil, that good may come? whose damnation is just"  (St. Paul,
        Epistle to the Romans)

2) Aquinas Notion of Venial vs. Mortal sin

        If a Nazi came to your door, and you said there were no Jews
        there-- you'd be guilty of a Venial sin which can be wiped away
        through contrition.  BUT if you turn the Jew over and he/she is
        killed-- you are guilty of a mortal sin

3) The Principle of Double Effect

        This grows out of an incident in ancient Rome when a group of
        Christian virgins threw themselves off a bridge to avoid being raped.
        The issue was/is are they guilty of the sin of committing
        suicide--indeed did they commit suicide?  The answer is that they did
        not, because they AVOIDED being raped-- in other words their INTENTION
        was to avoid rape-- their intention was not to commit suicide

So the bottom line is that if a woman is raped (Isabella?!) she is not guilty
of the sin of intercourse because there is no intentionality-- but if she
WILLINGY submits then it is a sin.  The key to Measure for Measure is that both
Angelo and Claudio want Isabel to SUBMIT and that indeed WOULD be a mortal sin
that would damn her forever-- not to mention her greatest fear that her child
would be born out of wedlock "I had rather my brother die by the law than my
son should be unlawfully born" (3.1.185)

Apparently this moral position is embraced by Catholics, Protestants and
Jews!!!!!!

Not to mention American law-- where women have (unfairly) had to prove that
they "resisted."
 

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