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From: Alex David Groce <Alex_Groce@gs246.sp.cs.cmu.edu>
Subject: Re: (urth) Pelagianism
Date: Fri, 19 May 2000 11:50:59 

It would make considerable sense as an intentional linkage.  Vodalus,
for one thing, is an ally of the Ascians.  Ascia is, among other
things, Wolfe's version of a Communist state.  The idea that Communism
is a kind of radical Christian heresy, sometimes considered an
extension of a particularly extreme Pelagianism, is well-known.  In
this case, also, the rejection of the doctrine of Original Sin can
probably be fruitfully compared to Vodalus' goals of returning to the
stars and empire--never mind those interfering "holy slave"
busybodies, reclaiming man's lost glory.

Chesterton's HERETICS probably wasn't the first place where the
identification (not a main point of the book) of modern non-Christian
ideologies with old and still-kicking Christian heresies was made, but
I'll bet Wolfe's read it, along with a number of other writers who've
taken this approach (after all, Wolfe says his political views were
once well-described by the phrase "Buckley conservative", and Buckley
can't mention Communism without saying "immanentize the eschaton" at
least twice).  More generally, beyond Pelagianism, Wolfe certainly (in
New Sun) allies all his players with faiths, true or false--and marks
the false ones as such by indicating that their "line to the Increate"
is broken.  Certainly Baldanders is not the (I think Wolfe would say
mythical) rational scientist, but a follower of a rigorous doctrine
(his action with the Claw, for instance).  All of these doctrines,
though, even in Long Sun, where they more clearly are based in part on
other religions, and even the "witch-doctors" of the jungle, are, in
Wolfe's world, derived from and broken off in reaction against the
Increate/Outsider, and thus heresies rather than true, free-standing

"And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." John 8:32
Alex David Groce (agroce+@cs.cmu.edu)
Ph.D. Student, Carnegie Mellon University - Computer Science Department
8112 Wean Hall (412)-268-3066

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

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