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From: akt@attglobal.net
Subject: (urth) Pelagianism
Date: Fri, 19 May 2000 20:04:18 

I'm hoping this is the beginning of an interesting discussion, not
making positional points of my own.


The idea that Communism
> is a kind of radical Christian heresy, sometimes considered an
> extension of a particularly extreme Pelagianism, is well-known.

I find it difficult to understand how such a doctrinaire belief as
Communism could endorse a radical embracement of Free Will. Could you
explain a bit?

 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.

I don't get your reasoning here, either, though it seems interesting.

> 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
> systems.

If this is true in a parallel way--I don't think it is--I'd like to see
a mantis-like chart equating one to another. I don't think it can be
done, but I'd truly applaud the person who proves me wrong.


The Pelagic movement does not pertain to Sev but to Vodalus. It is
Vodalus who gives the pass-phrase, and Vodalus to whom we must look for
some meaning to the "heresy," if that is what it is.

> Perhaps Severian is Pelagic in the sense that mankind's savoir
> salvation for himself and Urth by an act of free will -- renouncing
the life
> of cruelty and decadence represented by his guild and choosing mercy.
> is apparent in the test of Yesod as well, which turns not on faith in
> Increate, but one man's personal spiritual accomplishments during his
> lifetime.
> Given the other meaning of Pelagic, perhaps it is no surprise that
some of
> the moments when Sev fights internal moral battles over what kind of
> he will be take place in deep water (I am referring in particular to
> colloquies with the undines in books 1 and 4 (I think)).


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

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