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From: Adam Stephanides <adamsteph@earthlink.net>
Subject: Re: (urth) Pelagianism
Date: Tue, 23 May 2000 09:41:11 

akt@attglobal.net wrote:
> > From: Adam Stephanides <adamsteph@earthlink.net>
> > 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).
> >
> Adam,
> A good argument, but it doesn't take into account that it is Vodalus who
> is the Pelagian, not Sev, who doesn't even understand the pass-phrase.

I'm confused.  I don't see how my argument presupposed that Sev was the
Pelagian.  In fact, although I didn't say so explicitly, I was arguing
against Carlton Greene's suggestion that Sev was Pelagian.

> Vodalus is also a man of action, but
> Wolfe throws this curious quasi-religious point in to puzzle us all.

I don't think the Pelagian-orthodox contrast is just "thrown in."  I
think that the contrast between Urth returning to the stars through its
own efforts (as Vodalus advocates), and Urth's relying on the help and
guidance of the Hierodules--and, by analogy, between two different
theories of salvation--is key to the book.  That's one way in which URTH
OF THE NEW SUN does "complete" the tetralogy, no matter how problematic
it is in other respects.  It makes it clear that, contrary to what
Severian believes at the end of BotNS, Urth's redemption does not depend
primarily upon Severian's "good works" as Autarch (I would argue for
this regardless of how the "battle royal" scene is interpreted).


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

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