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From: "Alice Turner" <al@interport.net>
Subject: (urth) Theodicy
Date: Tue, 1 Jul 1997 09:23:56 

[Posted from URTH, a mailing list about Gene Wolfe's New Sun and other works]

> 	Gimmeabreak! Was Shakespeare writing tracts instead of plays, because he
> had messages for the monarchs? 

This does not parse.

> >> Slimey Alga wrote:
> >> 
> >> >Ratty,
> >> >
> >> >I define a Christian as someone who believes that he or she will
> >> >eternal salvation through Jesus Christ. Severian has never heard of
> >Jesus
> >> >Christ, and he himself has brought salvation (through destruction) to
> >Urth.
> >> 
> >> 	Whoa! Agia refers to the Theoanthropos in 1:21. Also, in that chapter
> >the
> >> woman missionary (Marie - Mary) is reading from the Urth equivalent of
> >> Deuteronomy 34. (1:21 = Shadow, ch. 21).

> 	Well, there are two questions here: 1. Is there a "Jesus Christ" in the
> Urth/Whorl universe; and 2. Is Severian a self-conscious follower of that
> person? The answer to "1" is what I was dealing with. Some wrote that
> is unknown in the Urth/Whorl universe. I pointed out that he clearly is,
> because of "Theoanthropos." The more obvious line of evidence is the Silk
> quartet, where references to the crucifixion, to the sign of the cross,
> etc. are more in evidence.
> 	As for question 2., I don't know. Wolfe says that Severian is not what
> regards as a Christ figure (allegory of Christ, I take it), but a
> figure (allegory of a Christian, I take it). I don't understand why
> wants to insist that Wolfe intends something he has stated clearly that
> does not intend.

Almost certainly, Agia's Theoanthropos does refer to JC, though probably
not consciously. (If it were conscious, and she a believer, that would be
interesting, considering her character.) But he's not the only hero with
such claims. Gilgamesh was 2/3 god and only 1/3 human; Herakles was 1/2
god. And so on. Urth is very old, and ancient stories tend to conflate, as
the Brown Book shows us again and again. The Theoanthropos could be taken
as a composite figure, as indeed Silk's Outsider seems to be. In any case,
he doesn't seem to register with Severian.

As for Severian's being a Christian, well, let's agree to differ. Your idea
(and perhaps Wolfe's) of what constitutes a Christian, even allegorically
(whatever that may mean in this context), is not mine, nor, it seems, that
of many of the rest of this group.  

[skip: kittens as baseballs]
> 	Well, that's (a) an irrelevant ad hominem argument, and (b) at least as
> false as true.

(a) Granted. (I did put it in parens.) (b.) How so?

> 	BTW, are you the authoress of a book on hell that I happen to have on my
> shelf?

I haven't looked at your shelf recently, but probably. Quaint term.


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