FIND in
<--prev V206 next-->
Date: Fri, 14 Jun 2002 12:13:22 -0500
From: James Jordan 
Subject: Re: (urth) Christians and Christs: A new RPG?

At 09:27 AM 6/12/2002 -0700, you wrote:
>Crush declaimed:
> > ... Actually, I think the operative sentence here is "Severian is a
> > Christian rather than a Christ." Although, to me for some reason,
> > saying Severian is a Christian is a more jarring statement than
> > saying he's a Christ.
>Well, here you fall afair of the common Catholic theological concept
>of the "anonymous Christian" -- the person who, for whatever reason,
>is not given the grace to know and believe in Christ in this life, but
>believes in what the closest conception available to him/her. This is
>a hair, but a critical hair, separater from syncretic universalism: it
>doesn't say that everyone will be saved; rather, it says that God
>plays fair and that everyone has the opportunity to be saved.

         I'm inclined to think that there is Christianity in the Urth 
world, but that we don't see it except very indirectly. Wolfe has left it 
in the background, but hinted at it with his Byzantine setting, the 
Byzantine theological terminology (Increate, Pancreator, Theoanthropos), 
the confused but still somewhat faithful nuns of the Pelerines (sp?) with 
their saint-relic shrine, etc. Severian utters a prayer as he commits his 
first book to the stellar winds. So I don't think we're supposed to think 
of Sev as an "anonymous Christian" but as a person living in a confused and 
compromised Christian world (as all Christian worlds are, because of sin, 
and Byzantium certainly was) and as having a background that makes him a 
very "undisciplined" Christian of some sort. He's a believer, but a weak 
one. He shares the common faith of his society.
         BTW, when Wolfe told me that he was thinking of Briah as a 
previous universe, I took it at face value. Maybe all this means is that 
this is what he was thinking when he started out. He was "playing" with the 
notion of a cyclical universe. I certainly don't have anything invested in 
it, and the 11 or 12 volume super-novel is in a lot of ways simpler if we 
assume it is "our" universe. I don't think it matters much, for I have not 
been able to see that it is some kind of major interpretive clue -- except 
that it does allow him to have a flood over the earth, which in our 
universe would be problematic because of the promise to Noah. That aspect 
of the narrative is "cleaner" if this a pre-Noah universe.



<--prev V206 next-->