Nil By Mouth! The Fall of Adam and Eve by William Blake

A video commentary by Bill Donaghy of the Theology of the Body Institute.

Here is the third in the series of 12 short videos on art by Bill Donaghy of the Theology of the Body Institute in Philadelphia. Originally intended for a Monday, this is moved to Wednesday for Christmas! I encourage all to investigate the courses they offer, by the way, which are available through their website.

Once again there are great insights here. Here is one little nugget to tempt you with, if you will forgive the pun, is the play on the word ‘adoration’. Bill explains how this word is derived from the Latin, ad-oratio, that is ‘to the mouth’. To adore is to love intimately – mouth-to-mouth contact – as the imagery of the root portrays. As we see in this painting, the destruction of the harmony between God and man is brought about by a perversion of this, in which Blake show a mouth-to-mouth temptation by the serpent. I suggest that the restoration of this harmony, brought about by Christ, is a spiritual mouth-to-mouth resuscitation!

Again this is exquisitely rendered in a neo-classical form by Blake.

Temptation And Fall
William Blake


  1. Those thorns on the tree: I wonder if Blake was foreshadowing the redemption on the cross through Christ, the New Adam? so adding to Genesis 3’s post-Fall warning that the now-cursed ground shall bring forth “thorns and thistles.” The tree resembles a crown of thorns, studded with rich paradisiac fruits.


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