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From: Peter Cash <cash@rsn.hp.com>
Subject: (whorl) Severian's Christianity
Date: Mon, 23 Jun 1997 10:29:17 

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

Jim Jordan <jbjordan@gnt.net> (Nutria) wrote:

>        I don't want to get into an Alga-Nutria war, but once again I need to
>bring in Gene's own statement, to me, that Severian is not a Christ figure
>but a Christian figure. That's from the horse's (pardon, wolf's) mouth. 

With respect, I flat-out don't understand how it can be so. A Christian
is, by definition, a follower of Jesus Christ. (This is the minimum
criterion, you can pile on as much theological baggage as you wish.)
Christ is unknown in Severian's universe, so Severian cannot follow him.
Therefore, Severian is not a Christian.

There is, perhaps, some ambiguity in what Wolfe told you. Perhaps he
meant that though Severian is in no way meant to _be_ Christ or someone
like Christ (this would make the New Sun books heretical, afteer all),
he is trying to live a Christ-like life. You don't have to be a
Christian to do this--you don't even have to know who Christ is. But if
you are doing it, then you may be said to have a "Christian characer". 

Like Scripture, an author's words may require exegesis...


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