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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

 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
 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"
 needs struggle against evil, more than a spectacular act of love like

 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?


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