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From: Jim Jordan <jbjordan@gnt.net>
Subject: (urth) Nod
Date: Thu, 29 Jan 1998 17:07:09 

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

I know this is late, but a couple of contributions to the Play discussion.

	I don't know that we have to run too far afield from the Bible itself for
a lot of the factors. With Wolfe, the imagery is often "Bible + something
else," with the Bible as the foundation. In this case, at the least it is
"Bible + Persian creation myths."
	In this case, we have Adam and Eve (with Persian names). Now, in the Bible
Adam and Eve are the first humans. Their children married each other. The
murderous line of Cain founded a civilization around the city of Enoch in
the Land of Wandering (Hebrew: Nod). The faithful line of Seth (Abel's
replacement after his murder by Cain) founded another. In the course of
time, the Sethite "sons of God" started marrying the pretty Cainite girls,
the "daughters of (mere) men." This resulted in a lot of "mighty men,"
heroes of a sort (gang leaders, probably), who had the best natural
abilities of both lines, but who used their power for oppression: the
Nephilim. Eventually, only Noah's family was left of the faithful Sethites,
and you know the rest. Read it in Genesis 2-6.
	Jewish myths, and some exegetes, suggest another interpretation, which is
that the "sons of God" who married the "daughters of men" were fallen
angels (demons) who literally married with human women. There are a bunch
of problems with this notion, one of the principal being that such an
elaborate angelology does not factor in the early books of the Bible, like
	There is a third reading of this material, however, and it is the one
Wolfe is using. It is this. When God made Adam and Eve, He did not really
make Adam of dust and Eve of Adam's flesh and bone, but rather took a
couple of pre-Adamite apelike creatures and converted them into human
beings by imparting a soul to them. This notion is usually found in
theistic-evolution writings. God gradually raised up a line of apes until
they were almost human, and then transformed them (or two of them) into
human beings. Abel and Seth and the other children of Adam and Eve married
their siblings, but since Cain was driven out, he married with one or more
pre-Adamite she-apes; but the offspring had souls and were human.
	Someone who does not know Hebrew would think, reading Genesis 4, that the
Land of Nod refers to the land of some person named Nod. In fact it means
"land of wandering." (Wolfe probably knows this, of course.)
	Now we have all the information necessary to unpack this aspect of Dr.
Talos's play. Nod is the pre-Adamite man-ape who rules the land of Nod. He
expects that one of his she-ape daughters will marry Cain when he is exiled
from Adam's land. Notice that Nod describes his own way of acting when
upset as jumping around, hurling rocks down on people, etc.: all monkey
business. In Wolfe's Talosian parlance, the man-apes like Nod are the
	All of this could come very easily from Roman Catholic theistic
evolutionist writers that Wolfe would be familiar with.
	Of course, the ape motif relates to Severian's visit to the underground
monkey kingdom.

	Since it has been nearly a decade since I worked through the Severian
books the second time, I'm probably not going to have much to contribute to
the discussion until I can get back to them.


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