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Subject: RE: (urth) finally - a mechanism: baptism
Date: Tue, 3 Dec 2002 16:28:08 -0700
From: "Dan'l Danehy-Oakes" 

Nutria wrote:

> I suggest we think more about the Outsider here, since=20
> Severian's baptism is clearly Outsider stuff.

Well ... Increate stuff. ;*)

> Like Silk's enlightenment, it is his=20
> point of initiation into his "messianic calling."
>          Silk has been Enlightened when the Holy Spirit falls=20
> upon him. This is clearly like Jesus' baptism, and thus like
> all baptisms.=20

Well, all "valid" baptisms ... I wouldn't care to make the
argument that, say, John's baptisms (at least prior to Jesus'
showing up) necessarily brought the HS to the baptisee ... but
that's one of those theological details what bore so many of
our participants ...

> Later, Silk himself undergoes death, burial, and resurrection.=20

Goodness. And can it have happened that none of us has thought
of Horn's experience in the pit that way? I know I haven't, but
now suddenly it smashes me in the face as one of those "too
obvious to notice" things Wolfe purloinedlettricly scatters all
over his texts.

> Now the Narrator arrives on Urth right at the time of Severian's
> baptism, death, and first resurrection. That seems a better link,
> IMO: that one specially baptized man is drawn to the moment of
> another special man's baptism.

Ummm. _Three_ specially baptised men, counting whatever is left=20
of Horn, and counting Pas, who has also died and been resurrected=20
at this point ... But with all due respect, that seems more like=20
a thematic reason (akin to the gun-waiting-to-be-fired) than an=20
in-story mechanism; why, in plot-logic rather than thematics, does
the Narrator appear at _that_ time? It remains simpler (imho) to
presume that there's no time-travel involved.

(Indeed, you recognize the thematic value when you say:

>          This SEEMS the right moment in Severian's young life=20
> for Silk to arrive and pass on his wisdom to him.

>          Now, either this is a coincidence in the overall=20
> historical "plan" of the Outsider,

With God there are no coincidences...

> If this does not seem like "good SF," remember that Silk's
> enlightenment was a "purely spiritual event" not paralleled
> by anything "scientific."

I have trouble accepting that ... Wolfe, throughout the Sun
books, goes to a great deal of trouble to maintain a sort of
ambiguity where the events that seem supernatural also have a
naturalistic explanation (though those explanations often feel
quite unsatisfying when stated baldly). In the case of Silk's
enlightenment, he tosses us Crane's theory of a cererbral=20
accident -- as a herring _so_ red that nobody in their right
mind will believe it; leaving us wondering where the "real"
naturalistic explanation lies. I have never found it, but
remain convinced, because Wolfe has otherwise kept his method
so consistent, that he must have planted it somewhere: possibly
someplace where Crane's theory hides it from us...?

> In this narrative the Outsider is a player, though only
> openly an occasional one.

With the exception of Silk's enlightenment, does the=20
Outsider make any other interventions that don't have
alternate, "naturalistic" explanations?

> In defense of the Blushas thesis, I can point out that "looping
> in time" is a theme in the Severian books, and that introducing=20
> this event might hint at another loop: Silk, living much later in=20
> history, goes back in time to help initiate the Conciliator's
> work.

While remaining firmly dubious about the "later in history/goes
back in time" part, the rest, I find quite delightful ... one=20
might even see the Narrator's appearance in Severian's life as
somewhat akin to the way John the B plays the Elijah role in=20
Jesus' life. (While Silk stands very much as a Moses figure,=20
he seems to have aspects of many of the major prophets, notably

> At present, I'm satisfied with the notion that Silk precedes=20
> Severian in time, and that Severian is partly a disciple of Silk.

I agree completely.



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