(urth) The poor dragons

Roy C. Lackey rclackey at stic.net
Wed Oct 3 22:46:40 PDT 2007

Stanislaus wrote:
>Pelagians taught that men DO NOT need grace at all, and that they can save
themselves by their own effort.<<

I know that. That's why (partly) the RC Church declared it was heresy. The
other part was that the Pelagians denied the idea of Original Sin. I'll
state the basic idea of the heresy, because I want to use it as a possible
logical explanation of the religious problems I've been harping about in
TWK. (There is also a NEW SUN angle, but I'll save that for another time.)

The Pelagians held that Adam's progeny were not contaminated by his sin.
Without Original Sin, there was no need for a universal redeemer. Jesus was
seen as a good role model, but was not necessary for individual salvation.
(It's easy to see why the Church frowned on these ideas.) Man could put
himself in good standing with God by leading a good life, leading to

Didn't Wolfe say, somewhere, that in TWK he wanted to show a society where
knights existed but where that society was not underpinned by Christianity?
Anyway, that seems to be the de facto situation in TWK. If the description
of the origins of the Seven Worlds given in the fourth chapter of WIZARD is
valid, then there was no Creation (at least not the Genesis variety; we are
told that men were raised up from animals), no Garden, no Adam, no Original
Sin. There is no evidence that Jesus ever existed in Mythgarthr, or ever
would. It's the Pelagian heresy brought to life in fiction.

Everything and everyone below Elysion has something wrong with it, in
varying degrees, simply because they are something apart from God. Beings
are bad, evil, wrong or whatever because they are imperfect. Beings are
judged on the basis of their own actions, not what someone else did.

My problem, and I think many other readers have the same problem, is reading
the book with certain Judeo-Christian preconceptions getting in the way of
comprehending what Wolfe actually wrote. If you look at it this way, if you
can dismiss those preconceptions and accept Wolfe's Seven Worlds at face
value, then a lot of the religious questions simply go away.

I don't know why he wrote the story this way, but I think he did.


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