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From: "Alice Turner" <al@interport.net>
Subject: (urth) Dr. Talos's play
Date: Thu, 20 Nov 1997 12:23:50 

[Posted from URTH, a mailing list about Gene Wolfe's New Sun and other works]


> The names Meschia and Meschiane... I have an idea that these are the
> names of Adam and Eve in another (Hebrew?) genesis myth. Any ideas?

They are the Persian (Zoroastrian) Adam and Eve, under various spellings,
i.e. Mashya and Mashyaga. The figure Talos conflates with Nod the Nephilim
(Baldanders) is Gayomart, a giant created before them (together with a
Bull), by God, Ahura Mazda, by means of Spenta Manyu, the Holy Spirit.
Gayomart and the Bull were slain, and from their bones and seed the
features of the earth were made. The intriguing figure in this creation
myth is that of Jahi or Jeh, the Great Whore. (It is she to whom John of
Patmos refers in Revelation when excoriating Babylon, just as the dragon
with the seven heads refers to Rome, or Rahab the sea monster in the OT
refers to Egypt, another enemy.) I can't swear to it, but I think Jahi may
have been created by Ahriman, the Evil One. At any rate, she plays somewhat
the same role as Lilith does in Hebrew myth.

Mantis is quite right about the gnostic flavor, but then most of the
gnostic ideas, and certainly those of Mani, came from the East, which is
where the idea of the resurrection of the body after death came from in the
first place. (Jews weren't supposed to believe in any kind of immortality,
though the Pharisees were beginning to lean that way.) Note how Matthew
invents three Persian mages to call on Baby Jesus with supplies for the
afterlife: gold (hey, it's always useful!) frankincense to perfume the
corpse and myrrh to preserve it. Then he also trundles the family off for a
fanciful trip to Egypt so that they can share in the Egyptian ideas of
immortality. Covered his bases, Matthew did!


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