From: "Andrew Bollen"
Subject: (urth) Typhon, Sev, Silk Date: Thu, 13 Mar 2003 19:29:12 +1100 > Matt says: > > I think you're off base here. Wolfe is presenting Severian as a > human being who is in the process of becoming more Christ-like (i.e. > as a Christian). Severian's arrest occurs near the beginning of his > journey, if I'm remembering correctly. His actions at the arrest > remind me more of St. Peter at Gethsemane than of Christ. > > If Wolfe is indeed the Catholic he claims to be, regarding Christ as > a wimp would pose something of a problem of faith. > > ----------------------- > Well, it happens very late in the story, really. By then, he's been confirmed as the New Sun, and almost completed his brief "ministry" on Typhon-era Urth. If lethal self-defence and the slaying of evil prison warders & tyrants are un-Christian acts, then it seems he still has a long way to go in his imitation of Christ by the time the story draws to a close. Perhaps Wolfe's point may be that men (even paragons like Severian) are bound by the evil choices of fallen humanity; and Christ's sacrifice was a unique act of compassion by God, not to be repeated. To be a Peter is the practicable summit of human aspiration. Or something. Maybe he would take a view that the important lessons for humanity in Christ's day were compassion & a degree of selflessness, qualities which I believe Wolfe in some interview rightly asserted as being lacking in conventional ethics pre-Christ. Sev's society on the other hand is quite emphatically post-Christian, IMO: it is rough & tough, because of resource constraints, but moderated in many ways by something like a Christian ethic. The Byzantine strand in the underpinning of the fictional world shows through: the society "feels" like Byzantium under one of the more enlightened, military emperors, not the hell-on-earth which was the pre-Christian Roman empire. Such a (potentially, partially) "redeemed" world needs struggle against evil, more than a spectacular act of love like Christ's. But I find it easier to believe that Wolfe simply views active struggle against evil, where possible, as morally superior to passive resistance. Expressing that view in a story paralleling Christ's arrest & execution is the kind of thing which IMO lifts Wolfe out of his genre. It also, of course, raises doubts about his orthodoxy. In 1st C Jerusalem, would he have been a Zealot, or a Christian? --