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From: "Alex David Groce" <adgroce@eos.ncsu.edu>
Subject: Re: (urth) Dualism & horror
Date: Mon, 19 Oct 1998 14:36:05 

Mark Millman wrote:

> While I'll grant you that Islamic and Zoroastrian
> works aren't typically of great importance in our
> culture, Sergeant, I'd hesitate to suggest that
> Judaism is either pagan or contains Christian
> elements.  If you want to argue that supernatural
> evil in Judaism is a relic of pre-Jewish Semitic
> paganism, I'll agree with you; but then I'll insist
> that Christian supernatural evil derives from a
> much wider variety of assimilated and co-opted
> pagan sources.  As for high theology, which can
> be far removed from Christian folk belief, and
> even a great deal of doctrine . . . I can't speak
> to that.

Yes, Judaic works would be another category.  Although I can't really think of
a work from a Jewish perspective involving a supernatural evil right off
hand...  And I suspect that any I could think of would have an attitude to it
not unlike some Christian works.  Judaism may not have Christian elements, but
I'd be fairly silly as a Christian to deny their are Jewish elements in
Christianity...  Either way, you have some similarity of the view of evil (not
identity, at all, but similarity).

> Sergeant Rock continued:
> > If Satan exists, he's void, in the sense
> > of having no substance--I believe the
> > common metaphor is say he is like a
> > shadow. (Hmmm....shadows in Wolfe's
> > works...not an uncommon theme.
> > Hmmm.)
> If Satan is void and without substance, there's
> a strong implication that all the other members
> of God's heavenly hosts are as well; the book
> of Job makes Satan's existence, if not his
> exact role, quite explicit.  And, while it's not
> clear whether God gave Satan only the man-
> agement or the actual performance of Job's
> misfortunes, there is more than a suggestion
> of agency.
> But I do very much like your observation on
> shadows.

Yes, although evil is a perversion of good, it does EXIST -- Satan has a will
of his own--in the end he's "without substance" in one sense, but I think he's
an agent capable of action and indeed, in orthodox thought, of great power in
the world.  Sins, after all, arise out of an improper degree or object of love,
but still exist (by drawing substance from the good).  This is sloppy language
of course, but then St. Thomas can sound sloppy talking about the Mystery of
Evil (or Free Will, which is inextricably linked).

"And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free." - John 8:32
Alex David Groce (adgroce@eos.ncsu.edu)
Senior (Computer Science/Multidisciplinary Studies in Technology & Fiction)
'98-99 NCSU AITP Student Chapter President
608 Charleston Road, Apt. 1E (919)-233-7366

*More Wolfe info & archive of this list at http://www.urth.net/urth/

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