FIND in
<--prev V28 next-->

From: Jim Jordan <jbjordan@gnt.net>
Subject: Re: (urth) Messianic
Date: Mon, 22 Nov 1999 09:30:13 

At 05:46 PM 11/20/99 -0800, you wrote:
>I wish to clarify that I certainly do not doubt that Ragnarok is the
>inevitable outcome of the failure of the New Sun to appear.  Nor do I doubt
>that human expansion into the universe prior to the darkening of the sun was
>violent and imperialistic.  If Gene Wolfe's premise is that humanity is bad
>news, irremediable, and must be destroyed for the good of everyone else,
>then, yes, as you point out, I can disagree with that but all I would be
>doing is railing against the author's point of view.

	I think Wolfe's premise is that before the coming of Christ, the world was
ruled by violent and imperialistic empires. In the ancient world context,
Alexander's Hellenistic Empire (which was not very kind to the non-Greeks
they subdued), and Rome. Later on, the various imperia that give way to the
	Along these lines, and recalling Wolfe's interest in history, consider the
fact that such imperia do not collapse into the peacefulness of "let each
esteem the other better than himself" overnight. In fact, we see in the
conversion of Constantine, and that of rulers in Northern Europe, that
there is an initial transition, followed by a long time of outworking.
Consider that the initial transition is marked by something very simple:
the adoption of the AD chronology. The older way of counting years, back to
the founding of Rome, etc., changes to a new way of counting years. Urth to
Ushas? But it is a long time before the "green man" arrives, the man who is
restored to Eden. The process starts with a definitive break from the old
history, and often with a great judgment (such as a plague), but takes
centuries/millennia to work out. This kind of construction is what I would
impute as background to Wolfe's narrative, since it lines up with his own
beliefs and interests.
	Continuing to tease out Wolfe's premises: The culture on Urth has
forgotten the Gospel, and has collapsed back into tyranny and imperialism.
Typhon is an example. A more modified form is in the Commonwealth,
Byzantium, which has a dictator, but also an opposition, keeping it in a
kind of tense balance that cannot endure for very long. 
	But the Gospel is still there. It's underground -- where Severian
encounters the missionaries near the underground sea, where people are
buried -- catacombs? It survives in garbled form, as in Dr. Talos's play,
as it survives in garbled form in the Long Sun. Pelerines also. (Hey, is
Silk, who is tall, the Long SON, as Severian is the New SON?)
	Perhaps it's been discussed here already, but Severian descends
underground several times. Each of these could be a death-resurrection
sequence. Does he not bring people back to life each time? Are these stages
along the way of his entering into his calling?
	At any rate, we have a frozen, perverse, and tyrannical society.
Accordingly, a judgment day arrives. No, it's not the last one. No, it's
not brought by Jesus, or even by a very good copy of him. But it is brought
by "angels" working with/through a man who is predestined for this purpose.
And it is an "application" of the Gospel, which when it first came was
attended by the destruction of Old Jerusalem and then of the Beast-Roman
	As for the other planets in the human starry empire, well, the Long Sun
Narrative shows us that the Increate has not left them alone, either. The
story of Urth is the story of ... Urth. Wolfe is not obliged to show how
the outworking of the New Creation comes to every other planet in the
universe, but it seems that he is doing a bit of that in the Long Sun.
	This may well be going too far, but the Bible declares that judgment
"starts" at the house of God, meaning the Church. But Wolfe can do the
same, with a flood and resurrection of the original earth (Urth-Ushas), the
implications of which then flow out to the rest of the human imperium. 
	Does such a construction make sense to you?

Nutria (JBJordan)

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

<--prev V28 next-->