© Copyright Arthur Hagopian 2016

Prolog

It is done.

         He   is   dead   and   buried,   mourned   by   the   few   who   had   come   to revere    him,    reviled    and    ridiculed    by    those    who    could    not understand   his   message,   and   hated   by   those   who   feared   his growing influence and power.             Like   the   one   who   had   come   before   him,   the   wild   man   of   the wilderness,   Yohanan   of   the   locusts   and   wild   honey,   this   one   too has been put to death to silence him.             We   have   wrapped   him   in   a   white   shroud,   and   placed   him   in the   tomb   Yosef   of   Arimathea   made   available   to   us,   watched   all the   time   by   the   Roman   cohort   lounging   suspiciously   outside, their   coarse   jokes   and   jarring   laughter   creating   a   discordant aura of vexation in the ominous air .              Panting   with   exhaustion,   and   soggy   under   the   drizzling   rain, we   put   our   shoulders   to   the   round   stone   and   heave.      There   are only   three   of   us,   two   of   the   less   fearful   of   his   Jewish   followers, and myself, the Armeni, always a stranger.     They push me away.             "Go   home,   old   man,"   hisses   Yonathan.   But   I   ignore   him.   I may   be   old   and   decrepit,   but   I   have   made   a   promise,   and   I intend to keep it.     "This is not for you, Yonathan," I respond.             " Tembel ,"   he      growls.   It's   not   the   first   time   I   have   been called   a   fool.   Crippled   and   half   blind,   my   walk   the   posture   of   a headless   chicken   or   a   drunken   duck,   I   cut   a   pathetic   figure.   To the    eternal    delight    of    the    street    urchins.    Ever    since    the accident   that   deprived   me   of   my   wife   and   shattered   my   body,   I have   become   the   butt   of   their   pranks.      They   shout   abuse,   and sometimes    pelt    me    with    stones    or    pull    at    my    robe,    but scattered    among    the    occasional    onlookers    are    the    odd compassionate ones who try to stop them.             More   than   once,   ironically,   I   was   rescued   by   a   passing Roman   patrol.      Like   this   one.   But   none   of   these   will   lend   a hand. Leaning on their spears, they jeer and watch.             At   last,   the   stone   is   in   place.   No   one   will   be   able   to   get   in. Or out.             The   two   disciples   embrace   furtively,   and   make   their   escape, without exchanging so much as a word with me.

A million books

Probabably not that many, but pretty close: the number of books written about Jesus of Nazareth. Some bordering on the phantasmagoric. Some pure conjecture: the possibilities are endless. Who was this man, who some aver has two natures, the human and divine. Where did he spend those lost years of his childhood? Did he work all those miracles? Was he resurrected? Did he marry Mary Magdalene and have a family? We will never know - but we certainly will continue to be delighted and intrigued by the possibilities.
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