by Lon Milo DuQuette
Heretical Visions of the Life of Jesus
Lon Milo DuQuette
What if Jesus was just an ordinary man with an extraordinary pedigree? What if the new “kingdom” he preached was not a heavenly abstraction but a united theocratic Palestine?
What if the “miracles of Jesus” were nothing more than series of bizarre accidents?
A Few Words from the Author:
Today a growing number of people are examining what is known and what is not known about the man who was called the Christ. For the better part of two thousand years the only “historic” documents recognized by the great institutions of Christendom were the Gospels themselves. These texts offer to the intelligent mind more questions than answers. They abound with contradictions, inconsistencies, omissions and errors in geography. So many and so serious are the irregularities in the Gospels that only those individuals who are prepared to sacrifice their better judgment on the altar of blind faith can still in good conscience embrace them as viable history.
What might have really happened to give rise to the myth of Jesus Christ? Modern scholarship, aided by the discoveries of the so-called Gnostic Gospels and the Dead Sea Scrolls, has provided us with a vivid picture of the historic milieu of first century Palestine -- the politics, the cults, the temple establishment, and the movements. Most importantly, it has shed light upon the activities of at least one sect of highborn Jews who for generations engaged in a complex marriage and breeding program instituted for the purpose of bringing forth an hybrid “child” -- a child whose unique pedigree would make him the unquestioned heir to the mythological throne of David - King of the Jews.
I think it safe to predict that devout Christians will find ACCIDENTAL CHRIST offensive and blasphemous. I did not, however, write it in order to offend to anyone. I assure you that had it been my goal to merely to be offensive I could have done a much better job of it than ACCIDENTAL CHRIST (and probably would have had a lot more fun doing it!). ACCIDENTAL CHRIST is a novel. It was written to entertain and amuse open minded individuals. But it was also written to broaden the reader’s spiritual world view by introducing into the story many provocative new bits of information that have come to light in the last fifty years -- tiny bits, like the names of Jesus’ relatives -- huge bits, like the nature of baptism, or the fallacy of the story of the Egyptian captivity -- bits that bring into serious question historical validity of both the Old and New Testaments.
After reading this little book I encourage the reader to re-read Matthew, Mark, Luke and John and consider the possibility that many of the incidents described in those texts could have unfolded as outlined in ACCIDENTAL CHRIST.
Wherever possible I have drawn the dialogue directly from the texts. Please pay especial attention to BOOK FOUR, Chapter 2, where Jesus has an erotic encounter with the woman at the well. Every word spoken by Jesus and the woman was taken directly from John, Chapter 4. Thank you for your interest. I hope you enjoy reading it, as much as I have enjoyed bringing it to you.
Joseph Ben Heli is a prosperous Judean nobleman and a direct descendant of King David. His second wife, Mary, is a hybrid aristocrat of the house of Benjamin. Their marriage consummates the union of two long estranged Jewish royal families. The grafting of their complex bloodlines means their first born son, Jesus, is in actuality the hereditary "King of the Jews."
Clopas, the exiled uncle of Jesus, writing 33 years after the crucifixion, introduces the story. He reveals that he is not the author and that tale was written by a well-meaning disciple who had for years listened to Clopas tell and retell the story. The story begins with Jesus' boyhood spent at a hermetic academy in Alexandria, Egypt. At the age of eleven he is informed of the details of his future responsibilities and returned to Palestine. After spending only a few weeks with his family he is enrolled at the Essene monastery on Mount Carmel where he is groomed for his future responsibilities and trained in medicine. He undergoes the strict disciplines of the sect and at the age of eighteen is raised to Perfect Master, the highest initiatory degree of Carmelite adeptship.
Since childhood Jesus Ben Joseph has been secretly groomed by his family and wealthy Judean nationalists to serve as the symbolic figurehead for an inevitable political coup. Trained as a master physician at an Essene monastery on Mount Carmel, the young messiah is a reluctant participant in the plot until the momentum of the times and a series of accidental "miracles" thrust him into the uncomfortable and dangerous position of "Savior of the world."
Each of the five “Books” is introduced with a short vignette of the crucifixion. Through these vignettes we progressively learn about this elaborate conspiracy.
(Book Reviews coming soon!)
by Lon Milo DuQuette
BOOK ONE - LAMB OF GOD
Now there was a garden in the place where Jesus was crucified; and in the garden a new tomb, in which no man was yet laid.
-St. John 19: v. 41
Lazar rushed to the large clay basin that rested upon the ground to the left of the crosses and soaked the sponge in the vinegar and gall.
"Try to get him to take two or three swallows," whispered Brother Apollonius as he handed Lazar a spiked reed." It will work very quickly on a man of his weight. He should be asleep in only a few moments."
These words did not comfort Lazar who knew that death by crucifixion resulted from suffocation. Once his master was unconscious he would be unable to push his body up and away from the cross to breathe. If he was not removed quickly he would die. If he was taken down too soon the mob would suspect. Lazar speared the dripping sponge upon the sharpened stalk of hyssop and lifted it toward the bleeding lips. "Master, drink."
Jesus opened his swollen eyes, then dropped his head to take the venom-soaked sponge between his teeth. One more duty. He swallowed more than he imagined possible before coughing up the last mouthful. His mouth and gums became immediately numb and the burning in his muscles began to disappear. He lifted his head and reckoned it was an hour to sunset and the start of the Great Sabbath.
He squinted to see the crowd of onlookers. Earlier in the day they watched him scourged by soldiers, now they gathered at the top of the hill to see him die. Pilate’s men were holding them at a safe distance. At least that was going as planned. Would they really believe he would die after only six hours on the cross? After all, it often takes a crucified man four or five days to die. Could they see that he was only secured to the beams by ropes, and not nailed to the planks like the two poor souls hanging on either side of him? Death would come to them when their legs were broken. His own death must be the public humiliation of a nation; the crucifixion of a dream. He envied his companions.
It became impossible to keep his eyes open. Determined to master even the conditions of his unconsciousness he began to silently recite his genealogy -- the litany of his fathers -- the mantra of his duty;
Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Judah;
Perez and Herzon, Aram, Aminadab;
Nahshon and Salmon, Boaz and Obed;
The Father of Jesse, Sire of Great David.
He could not remember a time when these names did not dominate his life. As an infant, they were his lullaby..
Nathan, Mattatha, Menna and Melea;
Eliakim, Jonam, Joseph and Judah;
Simeion, Levi, Matthat and Jorim;
Eliezer, Joshua, Er and Elmadam.
. . . as a child in Egypt they were the prelude to his daily lessons. . .
Cosam, Addi, Melki and Neri;
Shealtiel, Zerubbabel, Rhesa and Joanan;
Joda, Josech, Semein and Mattithias;
Maath, Naggai, Esli and Nahum.
. . .as a man, they embodied the hopes of his family, his people, his nation.
Amos, Mattathias, Joseph and Jannai;
Melki, Levi, Matthat and Heli;
The Sire of wise Joseph, Scion of King David;
The husband of Mary the Benjamite Maid.
Wise Joseph. Jesus tried to picture the face of his father. It was difficult. He dimly remembered a tall, frail old man who each year visited him at the academy in Alexandria. He was well respected by the Egyptian class masters who seemed quite eager to follow his unique requests concerning his son's education. Joseph was a direct descendant of King David and one of the richest men in Judea. His father, Heli, had been extremely influential during the reign of Herod the Great, and was, next to King David himself, the family’s most revered ancestor.
As Jesus grew older it became increasingly clear to him that his mother's marriage to Joseph was a most singularly important event of Jewish culture. Mary was a purebred Benjamite and nearly thirty years younger than Joseph.
Since the time of the Judges, the tribe of Benjamin had been cut off from the other tribes by a terrible curse. Tradition held that the Benjamites triggered a bitter feud with the priestly tribe of Levi by refusing to turn over certain infidels suspected of assaulting a Levite and his concubine who sojourned through Benjamite territory. In their capacity as the spiritual leaders of the chosen people, the Levites promptly pronounced an irrevocable curse upon the Benjamites, causing the remaining tribes to vow, "None of us shall give his daughter in marriage to the Benjamites."
In the ensuing battles, the tribe of Benjamin was nearly exterminated. Only six hundred Benjamite men remained when peace was finally restored. The other tribes lamented the fact that one of their own should be so cut off and feared that an entire tribe might become extinct. Nevertheless, the curse upon that generation could not be undone.
To remedy the predicament, the priestly Levites agreed to allow the surviving Benjamite men to steal wives from among the daughters of Shiloh, in Bethel. (The men of Shiloh, because of their cautious neutrality during the conflict, were obviously too unmanly to deserve control of their women.) From that day forward the Benjamites remained relatively few in number. However, they were to grow mighty in power and influence, even presenting Israel with its first king, Saul.
This paradox sprang from the fact that the choicest real estate in all the Promised Land remained by tradition the birthright of the tribe of Benjamin; allotted to them by Joshua when the children of Israel first slaughtered the original inhabitants. The holy city of Jerusalem was the crown of Benjamin’s inheritance and the great Temple of God was its jewel.
The union of the houses of David and Saul had long been the dream of the orthodox nationalists. Such a symbol could serve to heal the thousand festering wounds of regional and religious factionalism that crippled the region. Under the right circumstances, a son from this union could be held up as the hereditary "King of the Jews." Such a star could capture the imagination of the people; perhaps even lead the revolt against an occupation army of gentiles and rule a united Palestine from upon the mythical throne of David.
The branches are grafted to the root of the tree.
Shunned Benjamin's womb carries great David's seed.
The tribes are united, the word is restored
A King for all Israel, Messiah, and Lord.
On Jesus’ eleventh birthday the headmaster of the Alexandrian academy called him into his chambers. A stranger was seated near the window, a man robed in white linen.
“Jesus, I present Theudas, the patriarch of the Egyptian order of the Therapeutæ. During your stay with us he has served as your father’s agent. He brings exciting news. In a few days you will be leaving us and returning to Palestine. It saddens me to think we will be losing you, but a great adventure lies before you. I am confident that your years with us have prepared you for what is to come.”
“Master, what is this about? I have not completed my classes. Surely my father would prefer that I . . .”
Theudas stood up and gently pushed Jesus down into a chair. “Sit down, my boy, sit-sit.”
Theudas was obviously very nervous. He paced back and forth across the room cracking his knuckles one by one. When he finally spoke his words tumbled from his mouth so fast that Jesus had great difficulty following his thoughts.
“Your father and I are . . . are colleagues. He has written to ask me to tell you certain important things. I would prefer you heard these things from him, but he has insisted. . .and as we are old friends. . .I hardly know where to begin. . .to begin. Do you know who Heli was?”
“Heli, your father’s father, was a David. . .by that. . .by that I mean a direct and unpolluted descendent of the great king. For centuries it has been the dream of our order and the Essenes and, indeed, all throughout the world who piously worship the one God. . .the one God. . .whose name may not be spoken. . .”
The poor man was so flustered he stopped to take a deep breath and swallow.
“. . .been our dream to restore David to the throne of a united kingdom and install the family of Zadok permanently to the high priesthood. Heli, your grandfather, was the first David in centuries to nearly recapture the throne. Sadly, he was convinced. . .some say convinced. . .others say. . .well, it does not matter. . .he was convinced by Herod the Great to temporarily be satisfied with the patriarchy of Ephesus and all the Diaspora of the five provinces of Asia Minor.”
Young Jesus could not follow what was being said.
“Master, please, patriarch of who in Ephesus? What is Diaspora?”
“Jews, lad. Jews! The Diaspora are the Jews of the outside world. Oh, there are so many more Jews outside Palestine than within her borders, and unlike the natives, the Diaspora have great wealth. How do you think Herod the Great paid for all his monumental building? Not with local funds, I assure you. Herod’s wealth came from the Diaspora who live in Rome and Greece and Asia Minor who gladly gave of their wealth to feel like Jews. Heli was their leader in Asia Minor. He swelled their ranks by converting thousands of Gentiles. If they were not born Jews he made them Jews by baptizing them. He was really quite amazing. . .then he taxed them. . .well. . .collected from them yearly tithes. . .and each year brought this treasure to Great Herod and delivered the Essenes and the other cults into alliance with him.
“For a while it appeared that he would. . .that he could. . .with the help of a Zadokite high priest. . .the family of Zadok are pledged to the Davids. . .but the time was not right. . .no. . .not for Heli. . .then. . .not for your father. Great Herod is of course now dead. His son, Antipas, is weak. . .a fool. . .he has lost the good will of the local cults and the Diaspora. . .Heli’s old alliance has crumbled. . .but now a Zadok is high priest. . .the time could be right. . .but your father is now too old. . .too old don’t you see?”
Jesus stood up and stamped his foot. “I do not see! Sir, you must forgive me. I do not understand a word you are saying.” Jesus turned to the headmaster. “Master, what has all this to do with me? It is my birthday and I wish to rejoin my friends. Perhaps my father can better explain these things to me when he. . .”
“You!” Theudas shouted. “You, my young friend, are the David of your generation. For all intents and purposes. . .you are the king of the Jews!”
Jesus sat down. This is absurd, he thought. King of the Jews? -- feuding shepherds and merchants whose only talent seemed to be a historic predisposition for disenfranchisement? He certainly did not want to be king of the Jews. He was not particularly ashamed of being a Jew, but in his mind he was an Egyptian; a student; a very good student. He was going to be a physician. He loved Egypt, the grandeur of its past and the wonders of its sciences. Contrasted to the colorful tradesmen and calm philosophers of Hellenized Alexandria young Jesus saw the Israelites as a collection of superstitious and primitive tribesmen who worshipped a violent and sadistic desert demon whom they believed must be fed by an endless flood of animal blood.
For the first time in his life he wished he were someone else.
by Lon Milo DuQuette
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