Post #12.6, Thursday, September 10, 2020

Historical setting: 563 C.E. Bragda

Nic sees no need to question my remembrances any further. He is sure I am recalling the Council of Bragda in 561. But I fear my glimpses of remembering may be reaching back one hundred years. I will know if there is any truth to this concern when I see if the very old copy of this gospel they have here is the same codex I repaired after the shipwreck and delivered to them in whatever year I was here before.”

         Nic questions my search. “Why would you think any old gospel would be one you brought here?”

         “I will surely know it when I see it, Nic. Each letter of it was by my own hand. And furthermore, all those details I happen to know that were twisted into the Roman gloss, fixing the ancient words to speak a popular second century propaganda — I wrote those letters smaller, and in caps so that they would look exactly like the patchwork of changes that they are. Subtle, I was, but no less intentional than probably was that second century Roman editor of John.”

         Again this morning we sign-in on the visitor’s list and we are escorted amid the eternal forest of marble pillars back to the apse where books are kept. The keeper of the books meets us for our appointment to view the Gospel of John. And we are told the bishop might be available later to meet with us to answer my questions about the particular villa I visited when I was here before. The Gospel of John is already out on the table.  “This is the volume you asked to see, is it not?”

         It still has the same cover. “Yes, thank you Brother, it is indeed the gospel we are seeking.”

         He explains it to us in more detail, “You will see it is in Latin, but it is very old and it might represent a translation from the Greek before the work of St. Jerome was completed. It is St. Jerome’s translation that is approved to become the orthodox translation. Every translator will make slight differences. Since this is the only copy of this gospel we have we will just have to make due.”

         “Of course.” I wonder if I need to apologize for my translation or should I pretend the flaws were by another hand. I ask specifically to see John 1:19.

(What will they see in John 1:19? Continues Tuesday, Sept. 15.)

Published by J.K. Marlin

Retired church playwright learning new art forms-- fiction writing, in historical context and now blogging these stories. The Lazarus Pages have a recurring character -- best friend of Jesus -- repeatedly waking to life in various periods of church history and spirituality.

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