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From: Ouroboros <ottofaij@yahoo.com>
Subject: (urth) Religion of the New Sun
Date: Tue, 23 Nov 1999 08:45:22 

I seem to recall from the published edition of his
letters (publisher Houton-Mifflen sp?) that when
people asked J.R.R. Tolkien (also Catholic) if "Lord
of the Rings" were a Christian allegory, he said "No,
I just can't write that way". 

I also, recall him conceding that despite his devout,
and practicing Faith, there was no real Religion in
Middle Earth (unless you count the Swarthy Men's
worship of Sauron), let alone a Judeo-Christian one.
Although the Middle Earth sub-creation was supposedly
placed in the nether-pre-historic past, it *was* still
sub-creation. To insert the super-reality of his Faith
into a fragile sub-creation would rend it to shreds
and blur the line between Fantasy and Reality.

While TBOTNS is set in the distant future, it is not
speculative SF. Wolfe is NOT trying to argue that this
is a possible future. I know there's an Increate in
TBOTNS, there's one at the beginning of the
Silmarilion. That's not religion. Wolfe is just trying
to tell an interesting, plausible story. So despite
the reference to a Christian saint, Wolfe is NOT
speculating about the possible future of the Body of

St. Catherine of Alexandria is a useful motif for
TBOTNS because roses and torture are an important
element of her story. I'll also point out that of all
the canonized saints Wolfe could have selected, he
chose one whose very existence is all but certainly
fictional, whose feast day the Catholic Church has
removed from the calendar.

Finally, in an interview Wolfe balked at the
opportunity to say that "Severian is Jesus". He said
instead...I know it's not in the story's text but he
said it none the less...that Severian is a
"Christ-figure" not Jesus. While he's suggested that
he believes Jesus made crosses (ala "The Last
Temptation of Christ"), Wolfe clearly does not intend
to map "one to one" Severian and Wolfe's Lord and
Savior Jesus Christ. Roy's right. It would be
blasphemous to equate Jesus and Severian. 

Severian is a kind of messiah ("promised one") and
Wolfe points to that fact by creating a Temptation in
the Wilderness scene between Sev and Typhon. He's the
"head" and "savior of his race". But he's only "a"
messiah not "the" Messiah. And a fictional one to

So speculation about how the biblical promises of God
and the Hope of the faithful apply in TBOTNS is
senseless because they don't. One is a something Wolfe
has committed his life to and the other is a story he
made up.


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