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Date: Mon, 14 Jul 2003 19:09:17 -0500
From: James Jordan 
Subject: Re: (urth) Sev's not-so-perfect memory

At 06:43 PM 7/14/2003, you wrote:
>Crush responds:
>>Since they are trivial, they can only be errors in memory (assuming
>>they aren't typos).
>They might also be errors in interpretation.  Perhaps Drotte and Roche 
>both said it, but at
>one point it was more significant that one said it, and at another time 
>the other.  Maybe
>Vodalus handed the pistol to Thea with his helper as an intermediary. 
>After a while it starts
>to sound like Biblical exegesis.  Which may be the point.

         Yes, this is like interpreting a particular part of the Bible that 
is kind of relevant to the Severian narrative: the gospels. One can find 
scores of "contradictions" in the four gospels that upon a brief inspection 
turn out not to be contradictions. Did Jesus meet two blind men on the road 
to Jericho (Matthew), or only one (Mark)? Resolution: He met two, but for 
thematic reasons the legal "two witness" gospel of Matthew mentions two, 
and the personalistic gospel of Mark only mentions one and names him. Was 
Jesus leaving Jericho or entering it? Leaving the old Jewish city (Matthew 
& Mark, more Jewish) and entering the newer Roman city (Luke, more Gentile 
orientation). The gospels seem to give different accounts of who came to 
the empty tomb on resurrection morning, but these can easily be put 
together into a coherent narrative.
         Another example of this kind of question consists of the 
differences between the books of Kings and the books of Chronicles, in the 
Old Testament.
         Of course, some people object to these harmonizings and prefer to 
believe in real errors or differences between the gospels. Fine. Wolfe, 
however, is a conservative Catholic, and I've no doubt but he is a 
harmonizer when it comes to the gospel accounts. And the question on the 
table is what Wolfe is doing.
         Which is why I agree with Tom. Before assuming there are real 
contradictions in Sev's book, we should consider whether some or even all 
of them can be harmonized.
         I agree that Sev's repeated claims to perfect memory are 
suspicious, and likely a self-deception. I'm just arguing that we want 
fully clear-cut examples so we can begin to uncover precisely what Wolfe 
may be getting at.



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