(urth) Re: Increate on trial

Adam Stephanides adamsteph at earthlink.net
Mon Mar 28 08:02:42 PST 2005

on 3/26/05 2:11 AM, Roy C. Lackey at rclackey at stic.net wrote:

> Adam quoted and wrote:
>> on 3/25/05 3:05 AM, Roy C. Lackey at rclackey at stic.net wrote:
>>> The H's are archangels who have the ear of the Increate, and
>>> who do his bidding.
>> Do you have a quote for this? You certainly know the text better than I do;
>> but my vague recollection had been that while the H's believe they are
> doing
>> the will of the Increate, they have no privileged access to this will.
> As with much else in Wolfe, it is largely inferred. The quote about "The
> death agonies of the world you know will be offered to the Increate" implies
> that the Hierogrammates have, at the least, the Increate's attention. And
> Urth, as Man's planet of origin, has a unique place in the eyes of the
> Increate, from a Christian perspective.

True; but, if the universe of the Sun cycle is our universe, then the
Incarnation has already taken place; whereas if it's a previous universe, as
Wolfe once said in an interview, then it won't take place on Sev's Urth at
all. Either way, there seems no particular reason for the Increate to
concern himself with the Urth of Sev's day.

> Probably the best quote I can give is the one from pages 137-138 of URTH:
> ------------------------------------------------
> "Severian, do you know the meaning of that word you used? Of
> Hierogrammate?"
> I told her that someone had once told me it designated those who
> recorded the rescripts of the Increate.
> "So much is correct."
> -----------------------------------------------
> My old _Webster's New World Dictionary Of The American Language_, College
> Edition, 1966, defines rescript this way: "1. an order or decree issued by a
> Roman emperor or by the Pope in answer to some difficulty or point of law
> presented to him, and having the force of law; hence, 2. any official decree
> or order. 3. a) a rewriting. b) something rewritten; copy. 4. in _law_, an
> order, as from a court to its clerk, or from an appellate court to a trial
> court, giving the disposition of a case."
> I gave all of the definitions because I didn't want to be accused of picking
> the ones that suited my case, or twisting them to fit my fancy. (I could
> have used my compact edition of the OED, but the type is a hell of a lot
> smaller than it was twenty years ago, and it says much the same thing,
> anyway.[g])  Definitions 1, 2 and 4 each involve some sort of communication
> between a higher and lower power, any of which suffice to support my
> assertion that the H's receive their orders from a higher authority, and
> what authority is higher than an archangel but the Increate? But even #3
> requires an author, and the above quote specifies that the Increate was the
> author of the rescripts, the H's merely the recorder. All in all, I don't
> see any way around it; the Increate was calling the shots.

This is an important quote, but it doesn't seem to me to be as
straightforward as you imply. It could just as easily mean that the
Hierogrammates are keepers of sacred writings, rather than that they receive
a continuous stream of orders from the Increate. If the latter were the
case, one would expect to see the Hierogrammates described as carrying out
the orders, rather than just recording them.

I'm also dubious about your identification of the Hierogrammates with
archangels. For one thing, they were created by the men of the previous
universe. For another, they can die, or at least their children can
(Tzadkiel's son).


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