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From: maa32 <maa32@dana.ucc.nau.edu>
Subject: (whorl) hello! and a little on religious orthodoxy
Date: Tue, 27 Feb 2001 12:09:52 

I normally only post to the Urth list, but due to the minimal amount of 
congress there in recent weeks I have decided to subscribe to the whorl list 
as well. The recent trend in religious discussion is very interesting to me, 
and as a practicing Catholic I think that Wolfe's creations are more 
effectively interpreted with an orthodox perspective in mind (I don't buy into 
the "death of the author" very much, or even the somewhat New Critical concept 
of a text as something completely independent of the author's intentions).  
Positing Lombard's quaternity for Quadrifons is, I agree, extremely unlikely 
from the most precursory examination of the creeds Wolfe must recite 
incessantly (one in being with the Father, etc).  These creeds reaffirm the 
denial of heresies (homo- vs. hetero- ousious)  All of Wolfe's novels play 
with religious symbolism to a greater or lesser extent (the apples before the 
fall down the stairs at the beginning of Peace, for example, or the title of 
the same novel, which I believe comes from the plea: Lamb of God, you take 
away the sins of the world; Lamb of God, grant us peace).
 I think the most interesting question one can ask is whether or not Wolfe 
seriously considers the doctrine that at the true resurrection the body and 
the spirit are reunited in perfection.  In this orthodox understanding of the 
resurection, the body cannot be seen as an evil and flawed temporal construct, 
but as a necessary component of perfection.  How should we consider 
disembodied "souls" like Horn or even (at times) Mucor?  Are they the total 
being? Is the soul enough? For a fascinating discussion of the relation 
between the "real" identity of a man and the parts of his body, Ultan's 
lecture to Severian at the beginning of Shadow is an ideal place to start. 
(can the smallest finger of a man contains his whole essence, etc).  At the 
end of The Urth of the New Sun, it is very clear that Severian's soul has been 
hoisted from one body to another.  Is he the same Severian in essence without 
that body, or are they inextricably linked?  I think the same kinds of ideas 
are being thrown around when we consider "Horn" in Silk.
Marc Aramini

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