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From: Adam Stephanides <adamsteph@earthlink.net>
Subject: Re: (urth) Pelagianism
Date: Sun, 21 May 2000 09:17:01 

As I understand it, the orthodox, anti-Pelagian position does not deny
the existence of free will, as Nutria points out; nor does it deny that
the unsaved can perform virtuous acts (although these acts will always
be tainted by sin); nor does it deny that good works can play a role in
salvation (that was, after all, one of the major issues of the
Reformation).  Rather, it denies that humans can free themselves from
sin, or attain salvation, by their own unaided efforts.  And Severian's
career illustrates this throughout.  He never frees himself from sin,
iirc (though it's been a while since I last read the books).  He doesn't
become the Conciliator, or bring the New Sun, through his own unaided
efforts.  And given that he is manipulated throughout his life by
time-travellers who know his destiny, it is questionable how much free
will he actually has (though I've never really understood this aspect of
the books).

It has always seemed to me that the contrast between Loyal to the Group
of Seventeen's story and Folia's story exemplifies the contrast between
the Pelagian and orthodox views of salvation.  The protagonist of Loyal
to the Group of Seventeen's story succeeds through his own persistence;
the protagonist of Folia's story "gains" the princess through the
princess's free gift, though he has to be able to recognize this gift.

(As for the "trial" and "battle royal" on Yesod, I'm not sure how they
fit in to this, because I find that whole aspect of the Hierogrammates'
plan very obscure, as I've said before.)


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

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