A friend of mine at the British Museum has recently come across a series of manuscripts from two thousand years ago that make startling reading. They are a series of intelligence reports sent back to the Roman authorities in Jerusalem about the activities of Jesus, and my friend worries whether they may be too controversial to release, even now. Well, here is a small selection. See what you think...
To Intelligence HQ, Jerusalem, Tuesday. I have made contact with the training camp of the man called Jesus, the dissident and supposed terrorist you have instructed me to shadow. There seems to be no hostile activity at the moment, as most of their time is taken up in discussion groups.
Perhaps it would be more honest to say lectures, as the man called Jesus seems to take charge of these meetings, telling the others what has to be done. He is very charismatic and his close followers, who seem to average 12 at any given time, listen fanatically to what he says and would obviously do anything for him.
They live very simply in their training camp and seem to prefer a diet of fish. I have seen no sign of weapons. From what little evidence I have gleaned, they are not short of money and the man called Jesus is occasionally heard to say that "His Father" will provide. This may be code for some wealthy backer, perhaps among the Samaritans.
To Intelligence HQ, Jerusalem, the following Tuesday. I am still following the man called Jesus and his fanatical dissident followers. They move very silently and swiftly round the country, as only a well-trained small group can, and they could obviously strike almost anywhere. Everywhere they go they make converts, whom they leave behind as "sleepers" who can be reactivated when the moment comes for the big operation, which they have code-named "Doomsday" or "End of the World".
Yesterday he gathered a large crowd to hear his views, and I finally heard him talking openly about taking over the world. He is a man to be feared.
To Intelligence HQ, Jerusalem, two days later. In what way will he take over the world? Very oddly, if you ask me. He is very clever and makes no mention of violence. He told the crowd the other day that the meek will inherit the earth. Imperative that you please check out these "meek" and find out their location and motivation.
To Intelligence HQ, Jerusalem, another two days later. It is all very well asking me to infiltrate the organisation and get it from the horse's mouth. How do you think it is possible to infiltrate a group of 12? If they suddenly turned into 13, do you not think they might suspect something? These are not idiots.
Meanwhile, I have some background data on the man called Jesus. He is ostensibly of working-class origin – father a carpenter – but there have always been persistent rumours that his real father was someone much more important and powerful, no-one knows who. Suspect we have here the classic picture of the ambitious intelligent boy who feels he has been cut out of his birthright and, instead of succeeding in the mainstream, decides to win power through rebellion. Only my opinion.
To Intelligence HQ, Jerusalem, two days later. Finally, in the guise of a convert ,I have managed to get close to the man called Jesus. I challenged his sense of loyalty to the Roman authority by asking how we reconciled our duty to God and our duty to the state. "Ye cannot serve two masters," he said. This sounds to me like a clear appeal to disloyalty to the state.
To Intelligence HQ, Jerusalem, day after the Sabbath. Well, for heaven's sake, I don't know why he says "Ye cannot serve two masters" instead of "You cannot serve two masters"! Maybe it's because he's a country boy. Maybe that's the way they talk in Galilee.
Today he expanded on this and said: "Ye cannot serve God and Mammon." All his disciples nodded, so I didn't have the courage to ask what Mammon was, and blow my cover. Please urgent check out Mammon and let me know what it is asap. Incidentally, still no profile cover of "meek" as requested.
More of this fascinating stuff some other time, perhapsReuse content