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From: Jim Jordan <jbjordan@gnt.net> (by way of Jim Jordan <jbjordan@gnt.net>)
Subject: (whorl) Long Sun Allegory
Date: Wed, 04 Dec 1996 18:28:31 

[Posted from Whorl, the mailing list for Gene Wolfe's Book of the Long Sun]


	Re-reading the last two chapters of volume three of the Book of the Long
Sun, in preparation for volume four, I suddenly realized that Father Silk
is not only a good pastor, but a Christ figure in the sense of acting out
the events in Jesus' life. Wolfe would say a "Christian figure," since we
are all to live in Christ and be Christlike; but here, as in the Book of
Acts and in Cordwainer Smith's "Scanners Live in Vain," there is an
allegorical presentation of this matter.
	The reader should bear in mind that Wolfe is a devout, practising Roman
Catholic strongly influenced by G.K. Chesterton, and that a number of his
other works are Christian allegories. 

	Consider: (Spoiler Warning: Numbers 1-17 come from the first three volumes
only; after that you are at risk.)

	1. Silk's "enlightenment" and call by the Outsider // Jesus' baptism. Some
have thought that this might merely be a downloading of information from
Mainframe, but Mainframe is not the Outsider, and it becomes clearer and
clearer that the Outsider is the God of the Bible.

	2. The Crow (Night Chough) who accompanies Silk // the Holy Spirit Dove
who accompanies Jesus.

	3. Silk receives a foot wound right away // Jesus as the One whose foot
was bruised (Genesis 3:15).

	4. Silk is a priest who is reputed to be king also // Jesus, and the
gradual reputation He acquired as King-Messiah.

	5. The riot and war that take place about "Calde" Silk in Viron // the
chaos in Jerusalem when "King" Jesus arrives at Palm Sunday.

	6. Silk dies and is buried at the end of volume 3, and then is raised to
life again by the Outsider // Jesus' death, burial, and resurrection.

	7. Silk leads the Whorl's inhabitants to a new land // Jesus and the
New Creation.

	8. By the end of volume three, Silk is completely free from idolatry, and
ready to begin to deliver the people from it // Jesus' work to deliver us
from idolatry and to the worship of the Outsider (Creator).

	9. The whorl is a self-contained, enclosed world, much like the First
Creation. It is maintained by the angelic Fliers from Mainframe, who will
not be needed once the people migrate to the outside (Outsider's) world.

	10. The whorl's inhabitants can be possessed by evil gods from Mainframe,
and can be guided by good gods (Tenebrous Tartarus), and can be possessed
by telepathic humans like Mucor // the outbreak of demonic possession in
the gospels, and the angelic guidance of the prophets. Compare Auk and,
say, Ezekiel or Jeremiah or Daniel of John (Book of Revelation).

	11. Big, lumbering, good-hearted Auk is Silk's Peter.

	12. Hyacinth // the Mary Magdelene of mythology (prostitute), who is
supposedly Jesus' earthly temptress to earthly love (as in _The Last
Temptation of Christ_). Like Jesus, Silk loves her but does not bed her (in
book three).

	13. The choice of "Exodus" as title for the fourth volume is significant;
it might have been "Departure" or something else. 

	14. The government of Viron is a clan of cousins (all named for various
Lemurs), who have replaced the King (Calde) // compare the family of High
Priests in the gospels, who supersede the Davidic line. 

	15. Silk is constantly tempted in all points like as we are, as
the Outsider told him he would be, yet without sin (though he, unlike
Jesus, is a sinner.)

	16. We know from the Severian Quintet that two-headed Pas is the wicked
and titanic Typhon // the devil. He rules the whorl, and makes himself god
there (Pas means "all"). Clearly, leaving the whorl and moving to a planet
will mean deliverance from this Luciferian Overlord.

	17. When Typhon-Pas built the whorl from an asteriod, he suppressed the
original religion of the people he put into it, and superimposed on them
the worship of himself and his family; but the original (Christian)
religion remains underneath (the Outsider as the forgotten God). The "sign
of addition" is the sign of the cross; while Pas's "voided cross" or
"gammadion" is a swastika.

	18. And now to book four (spoiler warning). Silk was decanted from an
embryo kept in storage. Parallel virgin birth of Jesus. (Info on Silk is
given in the cast of characters section at the beginning of book four.)

	19. Silk travels to the angelic realm of the fliers. Compare ascension of

	20. Silk's personality joins Pas and his lover, replacing Pas's dead head,
and thus is "seated at the right hand of the Father." Compare Jesus's
enthronement with Father and Spirit at His ascension. The "Pas" in
Mainframe is not quite the same as Typhon, in this regard. He is a kind of
"Good Lucifer."

	21. Hyacinth's gross waywardness and infidelity are pictures of the
sinfulness of Christ's Church-Bride. Wolfe makes sure we are both horrified
and forgiving of her sins.

	22. When Silk returns to Viron, it is armageddon, the end of the world
battle. Compare the prophecies of Christ's return.

	23. At this armageddon, Silk delivers his church, which was his task all
along: Save the Manteion. Jesus returns to rescue His Bride from armageddon
and to take her to heaven.

	24. At the last moment, Silk's own wayward bride, Hyacinth, prefers this
world to the world to come, and Silk rushes forth to save her at all costs.
A moving finale, and a picture once again of the abiding sinfulness of the
Bride of Christ.

	25. Auk-Peter becomes the captain of the new church that goes forth into
the new land. Note: Wolfe combines the ideas of the second coming of Christ
with the movement of the Church into the New Creation at His ascension. 

	26. In the old world, Silk fought mainly against political and human
"enemies." In the new world, the enemies are ghostly vampires. Just so, in
the Old Testament the enemies were human, while the Church now must fight
against "principalities and powers" that come from the "other world"
(green) and descend upon us to devour us.

	Okay, this is just the beginning. Who wants to add to the list? I'll start
us out:

	27. (?) The Church is like a lion, image of Aslan. Compare Hyacinth's
little lion, protected by the Night Chuff.

	28. The long conversations in Exodus are Wolfe's idea of good evangelism,
as various persons are gradually persuaded to switch sides and follow Silk.
This is the Church's work, which comes into play after the resurrection of
Christ (Silk).

	29. It turns out that the usurpers of Viron are all already dead; they
sustain their power artificially, by force and fear instead of by love and
affection. This is another New Testament theme.

James B. Jordan

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