Post #12.8, Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Historical setting: 563 C.E. Bragda

         I meet with the bishop alone, because Nic doesn’t want to hear about my unusual circumstance of having lived in other times. And now he has seen my transcription of The Gospel of John and now he knows it’s true. Nic can’t dismiss my personal weirdness with the possibility that my story is simply a product of a scrambled mind. Yet at this time he has only imagination enough to accept me as a normal human friend. But isn’t that also the whole problem of Christian resurrection?  Was it only Jesus and one other man, Jesus’ Bethany friend, raised from the dead, or is every living person taken by the hand from death by Jesus? Where are the boundaries of sign and symbol in an earth of flesh and stone? I choose not to ask these questions of the bishop. [Blogger’s note]

         “Thank you, Your Excellency, for meeting with me. My friend and patron Nic has chosen to stay with the horses and give us this meeting in private.”

         “I was told you have an interest in the particular copy of the Gospel of John in our collection?”

         “I was wondering about the source of that old codex. My patron and I are searching the history of the Suebi Christian faith, as it was a century ago.”

         The bishop answers, “Apparently that is soon to be a history of little consequence, as the Visigoths seem always to encroach deeper and deeper into Galleacia. We were fortunate to save that gospel from the invasion in 462. We had newly acquired the codex, and it was still in the hands of the missionary who brought it here when the wars first ignited. It was told he was preaching against the heresy at a villa near Zaragosa, the hub of Priscillianism at that time.  We still suffer the ravages of the heresy, though I hope now, since the Council met we have enough structure in place that we won’t be celebrating anymore religious suicides by starvation then mistaking suicide for martyrdom.”

         I have to ask, “Is that villa still the possession of the Suebi family who owned it at the time?”

          “I would have thought that was the stone of history you were turning first and the very thing that brought you here to find the gospel. Have you not visited it yet?”

         “I was only certain of where we would find the Gospel of John. We are still seeking the villa.”

(Come back tomorrow.)

[Blogger’s note] This is a fictional blog – not intending to probe the depths of actual scholarly studies but I have a recommendation. One of my favorite bible scholars (and possibly the whole world’s favorite) does take these questions head-on in the art history book Resurrecting Easter: How the West lost and the East kept the original Easter vision. By John Dominic Crossan & Sarah Sexton Crossan, Harper One, 2018.

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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