Talk:A Canticle for Leibowitz

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Good article A Canticle for Leibowitz has been listed as one of the Language and literature good articles under the good article criteria. If you can improve it further, please do so. If it no longer meets these criteria, you can reassess it.
Article milestones
Date Process Result
January 10, 2008 Good article nominee Listed
February 27, 2011 Peer review Reviewed
Current status: Good article

It has been compared favorably with the works of Evelyn Waugh[edit]

Oh, dear. So what? So 'it has been'. By whom? And why is their opinion important? And why is Waugh important? And how he is even remotely relevant to a dystopic novel? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:28, 5 March 2017 (UTC)

Discussion of other languages used in the book?[edit]

I think a fair number of people will come to this article looking for assistance with the Latin/Hebrew/German in the book. How much (if any) of that should be covered here? Can anybody take a stab at

Leibowitz hebrew.png

for example? Thanks,

Tarheelcoxn 09:03, 23 October 2006 (UTC)
It says "Shema Yisrael, Adonai Eloheinu, Adonai Echad" which means "Hear, O Israel, the Lord is our God, the Lord is One." Briangotts (Talk) (Contrib) 05:49, 5 December 2006 (UTC)
Ergo, the single most famous sentence in Judaism. (talk) 04:44, 9 May 2009 (UTC)
Interesting rendition of the Name, though. A daled and a slashed line? (talk) 02:21, 1 October 2009 (UTC)

Not Your Father's Shemah[edit]

One would think so (see above). I don't have my copy here, but the Hebrew graphic does not quite say SHEMA YISROEL ADONAI ELOHEINU ADONAI ECHOD.

It says SEMAH [sin for shin] YISDOEL [daleth for resh] then the daleth+apostrophe ["chupchik"] in lieu of the usual letters for the ineffable name (said, when said, as the circumlocution "adonai" or "adonoi," "lord" ("adon")--I think, "their lord" or to the orthodox, except during legal prayer, "adeshem," not unrelated to "hashem," "the name"), which I don't know to comment on; then ELOKAINU, which would be the orthodox circumlocution for "eloheinu," "our God" ["el," god, as in beth-el, etc.]; then the daleth+chupchik again for the ineffable name/adonai, then ESOD [sof for ches].

the daleth+apostrophe is a standard way of referring to the ineffable name in writing, as is a hey+apostrophe. Mezukak (talk) 23:19, 5 June 2017 (UTC)mezukak 6/5/17

The mistaken letters, sin for shin, daleth for resh, and sof for ches are copying "mistakes," "typos"; the wrong letters resemble the right ones that they replace.

The qof (had to look up) for the heh (k for h) in "elokeinu" is not a "typo" but a transcription of someone saying the common circumlocution in a recitation outside of prayer; the transcriber misses the point or has some other reason that I can't fathom. The orthodox don't write "God" in magazine articles or correspondence; they write "G-d." Elokeinu with a quf is also a standard way of writing; see previous comment--Mezukak (talk) 23:19, 5 June 2017 (UTC)mezukak 6/5/17

[Which is utterly silly. God in an English word, not the Hebrew name of the Jewish deity.] — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:30, 5 March 2017 (UTC)

The Brothers' of St. Liebowitz mission is to preserve sacred documents, not unlike Torah scribes, but they have to work with what they have; the story is about the destruction of culture and its loss for lack of maintenance. In my day, you would get xerographic copies unto the tenth generation, speckled and decayed; in this generation (2009), the copying machines are digital perfectionists, but we get viral emails unto the hundredth, yea ten-thousandth generation, whose intellectual content is speckled and decayed. Stuart Filler (talk) 12:35, 18 March 2009 (UTC)

Um, the Hebrew is written by the Wandering (or Old) Jew, not the Brothers of St. Leibowitz. Then again, Hebrew letters may themselves change, as they have. I notice the "tav" in the word representing "echad"; that's supposed to be a "heh" (as it is in the 1997 edition of A Canticle for Leibowitz) That edition also gets the "resh" in Yisrael right. (talk) 02:33, 1 October 2009 (UTC)

Rachel alive?[edit]

In the Analysis section, it talks about the Rachel interaction with Zerchi possibly being in his mind. I think that the article needs to note the fact that Brother Joshua thought he saw Rachel smile (or was it nod?) well before this incident. Not sure where it fits in, though.

It's sad that any analysis section has been deleted, along with the very major element of Rachel. This is a great example of that quote: "Wikipedia isn't attempting to get better; it's attempting to get smaller. The ultimate goal is to make it a site that nobody ever has to visit because all it will contain are things everybody already knows." (talk) 02:45, 8 August 2008 (UTC)


I have seen the sequel even translated in bookshops. It should be mentioned that it was continued or published. -- Error 02:22 1 Jul 2003 (UTC)

Done. If you know who finished it, please add this info to the article.

Oh, Christ, that's a future tense. Gah! Meelar 05:28, 7 Apr 2004 (UTC)

Black comedy[edit]

Ahoy everyone I silently dropped the "black comedy" link, on the grounds that I thought that calling ACfL a "black comedy" was such a bizarre statement that it had been made in error. I see it's been restored, which means that someone disagreed.

In support of my position, I'd like to cite the blurb text on my copy, which calls ACfL "shocking", "powerful", and "striking", with nary a word about humor, black or otherwise. I think that ACfL is a very important work in the canon of SF--one, I think, of the very first post-apocalyptic novels--but that it is not funny nor intended to be funny.

What do you all think? Nightsky 11:11, 10 May 2004

It's not a ha-ha comedy, but there is a lot of humor in Canticle. E.g. the shopping list as sacred relic, the circuit diagram of "doohickii, squiggles, quids, laminulae, and thingumbob", the Poet, the Abominable Autoscribe, etc.
"Their philosophers demonstrated by unaided reason alone that the Supreme Cathartes aura regnans had created the world especially for buzzards. They worshipped him with hearty appetites for many centuries."
--wwoods 18:28, 10 May 2004 (UTC)
Nightsky, have you read the book? It *is* a dark comedy - think Dr. Strangelove. (yes, several parts did make me laugh out loud :]). On the back of my copy, the review from the Chicago Tribune describes it as "richly comic". On Amazon, several other top reviewers said the same thing. →Raul654 19:49, May 10, 2004 (UTC)
Not all works that contains comic elements are comedies. (talk) 02:36, 8 August 2008 (UTC)
From memory, "Forgive me Father, I ate a lizard". I laughed out loud. HairyWombat 01:49, 25 August 2010 (UTC)
I am currently re-reading this, last when it was 1st published. I am only 80 pages in and have laughed out loud a number of times at the obvious humor and the sarcasm. It is funny and all the humor is not dark.

Kernos (talk) 16:23, 8 July 2012 (UTC)

The case for canonization[edit]

"Eventually, approximately a decade after the discovery of the shelter, Leibowitz is canonized, based mostly on the evidence discovered in the shelter."

I disagree about the "based mostly". The positive case for sainthood was based on Leibowitz's post-conversion career as a knowledge-saver (and post-mortem career as a miracle-worker). The evidence of the shelter addressed an argument that he hadn't adequately established that his wife was dead before taking holy orders. The evidence didn't actually add anything to what was known about what he knew and what he did, but at least it showed reasonably convincingly that his wife had died in the war.
--wwoods 06:41, 8 Jun 2004 (UTC)
Right, but his candidacy would not have gone forward without the evidence discovered there. →Raul654 06:44, Jun 8, 2004 (UTC)
Sure it would. The case for canonization had gotten stuck and buried in the files, but apparently all the opposition had was a lame-ass argument about Mrs. Leibowitz. The discovery of the shelter gave the Leibowitzians a way of getting the heirarchy to take some action on the case, by presenting it with something that had to be investigated immediately. Inertia works both ways -- having gotten the case reactivated, they could keep it moving forward to a final decision. But sooner or later that would have happened, with, presumably the same result.
The actual evidence didn't figure in the decision. The first advocate let go of "miracle number seven" without much regret, and the second dismissed it as "so trivial it's silly".
--wwoods 22:34, 8 Jun 2004 (UTC)

"Eventually, approximately a decade after the discovery of the shelter, Leibowitz is canonized, based mostly on the evidence discovered in the shelter." - this could only have been written by someone who didn't read the book. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:32, 5 March 2017 (UTC)

Black comedy reprise[edit]

I read the article and was also struck by "dark comedy" as being inappropriate -- but obviously it's been discussed here. I have inserted a proposed compromise, that acknowledges the book's dark comedy while not confining it to that genre (I would argue that much of the final third, especially the interactions of the abbot with Mrs. Grales and the woman who is eventually euthanized, is far too serious for it to have been intended as satire or comedy by Miller). I think dark comedy is appropriate in describing many scenes in the book, but saying it is a dark comedy is an inadequate description of the book. If my compromise is insufficient, can we agree on another wording that at least removes the bald assertion that the novel fits perfectly into that category? Jwrosenzweig 19:13, 30 Jul 2004 (UTC)

  • I think your edit is perfect. I've read the book several times over the years, beginning 40 years ago, I suppose, and although it has some *moments* of dark comedy in it, it certainly was not conceived as such, ie, an Evelyn Waugh or Thomas Pynchon-type book. I was bothered by this term in the introduction a couple of weeks ago when I read it but was too lazy to try to come up with the perfect edit for it. You've done a great job.Hayford Peirce 19:28, 30 Jul 2004 (UTC)
    • In general, I like the changes to the intro, but not some of the phrasing. I have reworked it, both for phrasing and to add a much-needed plot information (setting/location). →Raul654 19:43, Jul 30, 2004 (UTC)
      • Actually, Raul, the phrasing you object to has been there a while -- you didn't change anything I'd added. :-) I prefer your intro to the one left after my edit, of course: it's a much nicer structure. Thanks for taking the time to put it in tip-top shape. Jwrosenzweig 22:05, 30 Jul 2004 (UTC)

Quotation duplicate?[edit]

One of the quotations includes this line: "Sending at least three Bishops, at least." Is the duplication in the original, or did it get added when the quotation was imported to the article? My copy of the book isnt' readily accessible so I can't volunteer to check it. JamesMLane 07:46, 16 Sep 2004 (UTC)

The Abbey was not in Utah.[edit]

Brother Francis was from Utah, but that actually implies that the Abbey is not. Other points about the location, it's within striking distance of Denver, which puts it east of the Rocky Mountains (not Utah), and close enough to the plains that the nomads aren't travelling through other individuals territories much. My suspicion is that it’s actually near Albuquerque, but somewhere in New Mexico is probably all we can definitively say.

The map in St. Leibowitz and the Wild Horse Woman, I believe, clearly places the monastary in Utah. Briangotts (Talk) (Contrib) 19:14, 5 June 2006 (UTC)
This is incorrect. The map places it just west of the Rio Grande, in northern New Mexico.Minguo 04:20, 31 January 2007 (UTC)
The textual clues in the book seem to indicate that it is near somewhere like Los Alamos or White Sands, and that it is near a Junction of two major highways one of which would eventually (maybe via another highway) take you to Salt Lake City, but not on what would be considered a straight line. IIRC, the book made a comment along the lines that for some reason the route was the easiest way to get to Salt Lake City. Plbogen (talk) 04:42, 26 January 2010 (UTC)
The abbey is clearly in New Mexico. It's on a major ancient highway leading from El Paso north toward Utah, and the third book indicates that it's within audible distance of a missile range -- to all appearances, a revival of the White Sands Proving Ground. The implication is that it's not far from Las Cruces. RandomCritic (talk) 20:47, 20 December 2012 (UTC)

White Sands has nada to do with it. This is 1000s of years later. However, the geography clearly places it in NM. Anyone who places it in UT hasn't read the book. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:35, 5 March 2017 (UTC)


"The third section, Fiat Voluntas Tua, takes a strong stance against euthanasia (assisted suicide)" - is this really true? The main character (the abbot) certainly does, but the book itself seems to be rather objective.

I think you can tell that the author himself is against euthanasia, as the abbot wins the intellectual debate with the girl. She only does the act because of the police officer's intervention. Lord Rama 04:15, 27 July 2007 (UTC)
He did not win anything -- he bullies the poor girl to get his way. (talk) 21:09, 24 November 2010 (UTC)
Indeed. She clearly wanted to get out of the car repeatedly, and it was only when the police stopped the abbot from preventing her from getting out that she was allowed to. From the writing, it seemed like the author was *for* euthanasia, as he did not present any strong arguments against it, and many arguments for it -- and then used the one single character that was not only unlikable, but actually detestable to present the anti-euthanasia case. (talk) 03:45, 29 November 2010 (UTC)

I think you miss the point either way by calling Miller pro-euthanasia or anti-eutanasia; he simply isn't engaging in that debate. I think it's very clear that he believes that euthanasia is a sin or perhaps rather that someone who 'offers up their pain to God' is admirable in their courage and devotion. But he isn't interested in condemning those who practice it. He is doing something more like recording his sorrow over the fallen condition of human beings, sorrow both over the woman who takes her child to be killed and sorrow over the abbot and his folly and his impotent rage. In any case, you cheapen what is going on by reducing it to a position in the contemporary legal debate. TheLambtonWorm (talk) 11:45, 11 November 2016 (UTC)

"I think it's very clear that he believes that euthanasia is a sin" - there is nothing 'clear' about it, whether 'very' or not. The issue is not resolved in terms of the author's position. (Not that his positions matters one iota, either way.)

Plot summary[edit]

The Plot summary section is way too long. Despite what appears to have become a common practice in WP synopses for novel and film articles, WikiProject Novels explicitly states that plot summaries "should be short and an integral part of the article" and "should be no more than three or four paragraphs." A good example of this per the Project is seen in Atlas Shrugged. Consequently, I propose CfL's summary be similarly condensed.
 Jim Dunning  talk  :  03:30, 3 June 2007 (UTC)

I finally get around to it. The plot background and Lux Fiat have been streamlined. I'm working on the other two parts.
Jim Dunning | talk 02:45, 1 December 2007 (UTC)

I really think the Poet should be mentioned in both the summarary and character list. He was in two of the three sections of the book, and a major driving force of Fiat Lux. Czolgolz 22:05, 1 December 2007 (UTC)

I was trying to think of a way to insert the Poet, but it was tough keeping the treatment relatively small. I've got an idea on how to do it concisely, though. By the way, two of the three parts? I recall only Lux Fiat (although his eye is mentioned in Voluntas). Glad there's someone else out there interested in this article.
Jim Dunning | talk 22:19, 1 December 2007 (UTC)
In the third part, the monks read the works of the fabeled 'St. Poet' and ponder on whether he was a real person or just a legend. Nice work on the summaries. Czolgolz 07:39, 2 December 2007 (UTC)

Article restructuring[edit]

This article has some of good material in it, but suffers significantly from disorganization (it reads as a hodge-podge of random thoughts). WikiProject Novels has some excellent ideas for article content and structure at WikiProject Novels/Style guidelines that may help us out in improving the article further.

Here's some of the relevant structure suggested by the guidelines and comments vis-a-vis the article as it stands now:

  • Lead section — seems fine given the article's current content, although not everything in the current Lead is supported by the content of the Body of the article. This will expand as more content is added to the Body (reference to Saint Leibowitz and the Wild Horse Woman should be added for example).
  • Publication historyshould be added since this is significant. Started 12/2/07.
  • Plot introduction & summaryas mentioned above, this should be drastically condensed. Done 12/1/2007.
  • Characterscould be added. Added 12/02/2007.
  • Major themessome of this exists already in the Literary significance & criticism section, but the existing copy appears to be WP:OR. Although interesting to read it is virtually unsourced. It would be great to expand this to cover a discussion of themes. OR removed and sourced material added. 12/2/07
  • Style — there's little reference to this area now.
  • Film, TV or theatrical adaptationsI don't know if there are any, but this should be checked out and added if appropriate.Added!
  • Receptionobviously this is a key area since CfL's won a few awards, including the Hugo. Perhaps the Allusions/references from other works section could be merged into this, but that section is completely unsourced and looks like OR. Most of Allusions removed and Reception section started 12/2/07.
  • Footnotes and/or Referencesreformat cites so they are consistent with those of other articles, like so —
References All set.
Footnotes and citations All set.
1. ^ Bisson, Terry (1997). "A Canticle for Miller; or How I Met Saint Leibowitz and the Wild Horse Woman but not Walter M. Miller, Jr.".
Also, much of this article is unsourced and that needs to be fixed as soon as possible. Most unsourced material either reffed or removed. 12/2/07.

Finally, the current Quotations section should go. It is unencyclopedic and is just a form of trivia. It might be of interest if CfL had famous quotes that had migrated into mainstream culture (like "grok" from Stranger in a Strange Land), but there is nothing. — Removed!

As I review this some more, isn't this whole section WP:OR? The contributor decided what to put in — it doesn't reference third-party sources for selection of the quotes as noteworthy. This whole section should be removed unless someone can come up with a source.  Jim Dunning  talk  :  04:05, 4 June 2007 (UTC)

I'm going to start working on this, but others please jump in with changes and thoughts.
 Jim Dunning  talk  :  04:58, 3 June 2007 (UTC)

The Plot summary has been drastically streamlined, cutting the word count almost in half. Not every plot twist and turn is needed, per Novel Style Guidelines, leaving only the higher level events and characters. Ideally, the story line should be condensed further, however, material can be added if it's needed to support copy in other sections, such as Major Themes, Style and Reception.
Jim Dunning | talk 19:11, 1 December 2007 (UTC)

GA Nomination[edit]

I think this article is ready to move to GA status and am soliciting help from any skilled editors. A number of revisions have been made in the past few weeks to position it for a successful nomination process. Any assistance in making changes and/or suggestions will be appreciated. Thank you.
Jim Dunning | talk 03:17, 12 December 2007 (UTC)

GA Review[edit]

Hi, I will be GA reviewing A Canticle for Leibowitz . I have not read the article yet so expect about two days before I write my review. Cheers! Wassupwestcoast (talk) 15:56, 8 January 2008 (UTC)

GA Pass[edit]

I really enjoyed reading this - so much so that I'm going to hunt down the novel. Unless I'm missing something, this article meets Wikipedia:Good article criteria, Wikipedia:Manual of Style (writing about fiction), and Wikipedia:Writing better articles. I suggest trying to take it to Wikipedia:Featured articles as I think it would stand a chance; of course, I could be wrong on that. Really good job. Cheers! Wassupwestcoast (talk) 02:46, 10 January 2008 (UTC)

Comments and suggestions[edit]

This sounds like a fascinating article; Science Fiction isn't really my thing, so when I mentioned it to my boyfriend he threw his hands up and said "I can't believe you've never heard of it!" Sigh. :) Anyway, in preparation for PR and possibly FAC, here are some suggestions to think on:

  • I'm not a big fan of mentioning the novel's reception ("Since then A Canticle for Leibowitz has had new editions and reprints issued in paperback and hardcover more than 40 times..." etc) and its sequel before the plot summary. I would rather see it go straight from background/inspiration (including minor, initial publication history) to the plot summary.
  • The plot summary is huge. Ideally, each "section" of the novel would only be two or three paragraphs long. The first paragraph of "Fiat Homo" could be cut down drastically, for example. Not much would be lost in the narrative if it were to say something like "In the 26th century, Brother Francis Gerard discovers the entrance to an ancient fallout shelter containing "relics", such as handwritten notes on crumbling memo pads bearing cryptic texts resembling a 20th century shopping list. He soon realizes that these notes appear to have been written by Leibowitz, his order's founder." The how isn't as important as the what. This way the wanderer, mentioned in the last sentence of the section, doesn't need to be mentioned at all, and the irony that today's shopping list = tomorrow's relic is stated rather than implied. Leibowitz's canonization and its process also takes a long time to describe; that it was delayed by the discovery of the relics but eventually completed is all that is needed.
  • The second section of the plot is okay, but it's the third section that tries to stuff too much in. Is the "mercy camp" and the "battle of wills" integral to the plot? It's mentioned later on in "Themes", after all. What about the long description of Zerchi's death -- working free the skull, etc? It's fascinating and beautifully recounted, but can it be cut down?
  • I'd be interested in seeing a more comprehensive and fleshed out "Themes" section. I'd move this bit: "Scholars and critics have explored the many themes encompassed in the novel, frequently focusing on its motifs of religion, recurrence, and church versus state" to the Themes section and work from those examples, especially in regards to religion.
  • Expansion and/or integration of the "Latin phrases in the text" could be interesting. Would this work in a "Symbolism" section, perhaps? I'd leave "Adaptations" and info about the sequel for last since it is of less importance than Themes, Literary Significance, etc.

I think that's it for now. As for picky MOS-ness, everything seems to be formatted quickly from what I can see, including the refs. The images all contain proper documentation. The lead section will need updating when more thematic elements are added to the article, and you should also consider adding the sequel and adaptation there to satisfy WP:LEAD. Thanks for the interesting read! Let me know if you need any clarifications or further comments. María (habla conmigo) 17:35, 7 April 2008 (UTC)

There is already a (rather silly) article on the Latin: List of Latin phrases in A Canticle for Leibowitz dbw (talk) 19:26, 16 January 2009 (UTC)
Good suggestions, Maria. Bear with me as I editorialize. Canticle is the greatest American novel to come out of the Cold War. (Its British counterpart is Nineteen Eighty Four.) It is very curious that it has yet to be filmed. You under 40s out there, it is very important that your generation educate itself on how the USA and the USSR were armed to the teeth for 50 consecutive years, with enough firepower to extinguish civilisation everywhere. Walter Miller served on bomber crews in WWII, and was revolted by what he was a part of. Part of his revulsion led him to convert to Roman Catholicism, but that did provided no solace. He could not complete another novel, and committed suicide last decade. (talk) 04:42, 9 May 2009 (UTC)

WikiProject Texas[edit]

I've removed this article from inclusion in WikiProject Texas since none of the story's events takes place in Texas. The question was raised on the project's Talk page about a month ago, and although there has been only a single response since then, it appeared to be in agreement.
Jim Dunning | talk 10:31, 9 May 2008 (UTC)

"none of the story's events takes place in Texas" - LOL. Have you read the book?

An image on this page may be deleted[edit]

This is an automated message regarding an image used on this page. The image File:A Canticle For Lebowitz.jpg, found on A Canticle for Leibowitz, has been nominated for deletion because it does not meet Wikipedia image policy. Please see the image description page for more details. If this message was sent in error (that is, the image is not up for deletion, or was left on the wrong talk page), please contact this bot's operator. STBotI (talk) 14:46, 28 December 2008 (UTC)

editing reference[edit]

the link to Terry Bisson's article (reference 18) is a dead link. I tried editing it - but couldn't find the right place (sorry, a bit of a wiki novice). If someone could enter the new link it would be great. Here it is: —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:36, 20 March 2009 (UTC)

Major Themes[edit]

No one has mentioned one of the most intriguing themes, that the story parables the bible. Leibowitz is the false prophet while Mrs. Grales is Mary (mother of Christ) and Rachel is Christ returned to earth for the apocalypse. (talk) 22:42, 1 August 2009 (UTC)

Sources? That strikes me as a possible reading, but certainly not the only one. I certainly wouldn't say Leibowitz is the false prophet. Anyway, you need reliable sources to back such a claim up. TallNapoleon (talk) 00:43, 2 August 2009 (UTC)

Err, "to back up such a claim". — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:40, 5 March 2017 (UTC)

Age of the Wandering Jew "Lazarus" or "Benjamin"[edit]

I notice that the Wandering Jew claims (in the year 3174) to be 3209 years old (well, via the Leibowitzian monastery's abbot, anyhow). 3209-3174= 35: that dates this Wanderer's birth to 34 BCE, well before Jesus was born and well before the Second Temple was destroyed. (See 1997 edition, page 139). In another paragraph, a couple of pages later, the Old Jew's age is boosted by another 2199 years, kicking his birth back to 2233 BCE. That suggests that the Old Jew is not just the Wandering Jew of Christian lore, but a personification of the Jewish people, perhaps all the way back to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Unfortunately, Miller sees the Jew from a Christian point of view, and he has him mentioning his seeing of the Messiah once before (a Christian interpretation of the Messiah!) (see page 174, 1997 edition), and thus fails to quite grok Judaism. An actual Jewish wanderer would probably have insisted that he had not seen "Him" just yet. But other than that, interesting dialogue between representatives of Christianity and Judaism in Fiat Lux. (talk) 02:52, 1 October 2009 (UTC)

Some folks appear to have dated the births of Noah's children to the 23rd century BCE using the Bible, which is before Abraham. (talk) 02:55, 1 October 2009 (UTC)

Time scale[edit]

Long time scale scenarios are worth comparison and contrast with other works that exist in long time scales. Such works have a unique sensitivity to fine energy gradients, in the time and energy trade-off under the action. It is probably no coincidence that Miller set "A Canticle for Leibowitz" 600 years after 20th century destruction. After all, the Koran devolved to the Islamic prophet Mohammed 600 years after Rome fell. That number of centuries is distinct: it is the atomic number of carbon, six. It implies the Koran is in a sense an update of the religions that emerged from Rome, including the Christian. At a shrewd guess, the Koran brought the revelation, now understood in depth, that even tiny molecular interactions take place in the stellar cosmology, which we call the electrodynamics, and the long-run penalties for ignoring that can be extinction.

Going backward, earlier works exist dating back to the Papyri of Ani, the Dead Sea Scrolls, and others. Subsequent works too, fit into such analysis. Magna Charta is an example. Since the printing press, though, such works are too numerous to count.SyntheticET (talk) 00:11, 25 January 2010 (UTC)

I would strongly advise reading WP:TALK and WP:NOR. TallNapoleon (talk) 00:23, 25 January 2010 (UTC)

600 years after Rome fell - on which planet? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:43, 5 March 2017 (UTC)


Looking at articles about novels that attained FA on this list, I notice that Uncle Tom's Cabin separates out info about its major characters from the plot summary. I think doing that here would improve this article. Sub-sections about Leibowitz, Benjamin, and Mrs. Grales/Rachel would be particularly useful. Sharktopustalk 19:18, 30 January 2011 (UTC)

Agreed. I'm in the process of doing this for two other articles at the moment, one of which is a novel. I'm hoping we can all work together on this. Viriditas (talk) 08:33, 21 February 2011 (UTC)

Early edition dates and covers[edit]

We should confirm or correct some first edition data including the cover image. If we confirm then ISFDB needs correction for it displays a different cover image (whose own description does not adequately ID it) and gives pub date October 1959 with some support. (See the Notes field of A Canticle for Leibowitz (first paperback ed.) publication contents at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database.) --P64 (talk) 22:01, 11 June 2012 (UTC)

Hebrew errors?[edit]

Years after having heard bits of the story on NPR, I finally read the book. It is a good book, and the truth is I'm probably more prepared to understand it than I would have been thirty years ago. But right from the start I came across an intriguing error--or not--that has me thinking. The characters that the wandering "pilgrim" makes on the rock are (in the library edition I've read) clearly a "lamedh" and an "ayin." Later the Abbot identifies them as a "lamedh" and a "sadhe." Neither one of these interpretations would lead one to anything like "Liebowitz," which would have to end in a "tsamekh." The visual difference between "ayin" and "tsamekh" are enough to drive me nuts--but the Abbot's definitely wrong.

Which leads to a weird question: Whose error is this? Miller's? It's possible: these could be amateur Hebrew mistakes, and he makes another one later when he puts a definite "tsamekh" in the middle of the name Eleazar (which I'm guessing would be a "zayin"--confused yet?). Ah, but what if it's deliberate? What if the Abbot's mistake is intentional in the author? The monks of the order don't know everything about the texts in their keeping and misunderstand much of it. Witness Francis' discovery regarding blueprints! Maybe the Abbot is perpetuating an error about Hebrew orthography. Maybe the order would have made more progress faster if they had gotten their pronunciation correct!

Or maybe I just have better lighting. Without access to a monk-powered arc lamp, I had to hold the book up to the sunlight (horrors!) to make sure I was seeing what I thought I saw. Or perhaps the best explanation is the simplest one: the editor got it wrong in this edition.

I haven't found anybody dealing with this discrepancy. Any comments? KJPurscell (talk) 15:13, 1 September 2012 (UTC)

There's no such letter as "tsamekh". The letter ס is called samekh, and -- at least in relatively recent centuries -- has been pronounced [s]. The letter צ (finally ץ) is transcribed by modern scholars ṣađe, but it is in Ashkenazic style pronounced [ts] and pronounced tsade. The name Leibowitz would be transcribed לייבאוויץ. RandomCritic (talk) 20:56, 20 December 2012 (UTC)
How are you pronouncing Leibowitz? /liboʊwɪt͡s/ – ליבוויץ‎. (talk) 17:25, 5 July 2013 (UTC)
Yiddish pronunciation, Yiddish spelling: [leibɔvɪts]. RandomCritic (talk) 17:21, 17 July 2014 (UTC)
They must be Miller's mistakes, because the errors are different in my edition than in yours (and others who've talked on this page). (talk) 17:25, 5 July 2013 (UTC)

Definition and etymology of "Thon"[edit]

The hyperlinked note #15 displays a definition of "Thon" as equivalent to "professor". I never got that out of the text of the novel, so I was curious about the source of that definition. I had always imagined that "Thon" was rather a corruption of or derivative of the Spanish "Don", some thing that seemed reasonable, given the centuries that had passed and the Spanish cultural influence on the Southwest. Miller includes an anecdote that illustrates a similar etymological development, in the story about the catfish "B'dollos" inhabiting a lake where another monk was martyred.

TheBaron0530 (talk) 03:47, 15 October 2012 (UTC)TheBaron0530 23:46 ET 14Oct12

Dons are academics in English. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:45, 5 March 2017 (UTC)

Link to Albertus_Magnus?[edit]

I have noticed that the reference to the "Albertian Order" includes a link to the Albertus_Magnus article, but I don't see the connection between this person who happened to be called Albertus (there is a disambiguation page including several other notable people of that name) and this book - I had imagined that, perhaps, the "Albertian Order" was a reference to Albert Einstein, whose name may have been preserved in the 26th century as a figure of importance PaulHammond (talk) 15:37, 30 November 2012 (UTC)

According to this site it's his connection with science and learning. It sounds like original research (even if Albertus Magnus was the allusion, and the Einstein theory sounds more likely; aren't monastic orders technically named after their founders rather than a patron saint too?) so I'd say tag it with {{fact}} and unlink it if there's been no response in a week or two. --xensyriaT 18:14, 30 November 2012 (UTC)

I added the Category Category:1960s science fiction novels Transcendentalist01 (talk) 16:42, 2 March 2014 (UTC)

Description of "Pope's Children"[edit]

Two things: Firstly, what is the difference between being subhuman in capacity for reason and intelligence? Couldn't we just say, "capacity for reason" and leave it at that? Secondly, were the mutants also physically very different than regular humans? Looked very different?--Jrm2007 (talk) 12:46, 3 April 2016 (UTC)

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