Adonis Diaries

Archive for December 16th, 2008

The Nazarene: An unpublished coherent biography (December 16, 2008)

Preamble: Over a hundred of different manuscripts (Bibles) have been written on Jesus and his message in the early days of Christianity and before the four New Testaments (that were written by Matthew, Luc, Mark and John) that the Council of Nicea (Turkey) in 325 decided to select as the official representatives of the story of Jesus. (Ironically, the selected Bibles were written in Greek; maybe the language was one of the main factors for retaining them).  There are evidences that the Bible of Mathew was originally written in Aramaic before being translated into Greek. Many of these early manuscripts were written by the disciples of Jesus and close companions like Barnaby (the spiritual guide of Paul and who accompanied Paul in his first apostolic trip in the interior of Turkey), Thomas (not necessarily the twin brother of Jesus who established the first Christian community in the port of Deb on the Indus River), Philip, Bartholomew, and others. There are many folk tales that are to be considered as more valid than the canonical “truths or facts”.

What we know is that Jesus had his Bar Mitzvah in Jerusalem and he sat among the priests and had a discussed with them.  In between this event and his preaching adventure (over 25 years) the Church has nothing to offer but that Jesus obeyed his parents.  Even the story of his birth until his Bar Mitzvah is not reliable and could be considered as one of the acceptable version.

It is said that Jesus was 33-year old when he was crucified; that is the minimum age because Jesus was older and probably close to be forty.  How Jesus spent the time in between (a span of at least 20 years) and where did he live and grew to maturity?  As is the custom in Judaism, boys were married at 13 and Jesus was not to be an exception but he had an outlet to tradition:  Nazareth was a hotbed for the Essenien Jewish sect located in Qumran (not far from the western side of the Dead Sea).

The Essene sect (cabala) lived in a closed community; women were not included, and the members vowed celibacy; they were vegetarians, ate together, distributed their wealth to the whole community, and each member worked according to his skills.  The members wore a unique white dress code in summer and another outfit in winter. The members of this community were known to be excellent healers. This sect was also labeled the “Baptist”, the “Nazoreen” and “Ossene” (the Strong). The teachings of Buddhism had reached this community two centuries ago because King Ashoka of India had dispatched Buddhist monks to this region. It is very plausible that Jesus opted to join the Qumran community to avoid being wed. The Essenien caste had branches in Alexandria (Egypt) called Therapeutic or healers and also in Syria.

John the Baptist was Essenien.  The fact that the canonic testaments reveal that John the Baptist didn’t recognize Jesus at the first sight might suggests that the two men didn’t meet in the community of Qumran at the same periods or that Jesus had left the community long time ago: Jesus was a traveler and not a community dweller.  There are evidences that Jesus was a wide traveler, knew many languages and was highly versed in religions and other legal aspects of the land.  It is very plausible that Jesus visited Alexandria, Syria, and even reached India; he lingered in India and Persia before returning to Syria and Galilee.

A manuscript named “Himis” was discovered in Kashmir, close to the city of Leh, which described the “Lost years of Jesus”. In that manuscript it is referred to Jesus as Issa (an Aramaic name that the Arabs adopted) who traveled to most of the Holy Cities in India such as Djagguernat, Rajagriha, and Benares, and was frequently chased out by the clergies (sacerdotal officers).  The manuscript relates multitudes of pronouncements and teachings by Issa that are compatible to the canonic Bibles. Issa fled to Kashmir, Afghanistan, and Persia.  It is plausible that a Christian sect in the vicinities of Kashmir wrote that narrative. It is also plausible that Jesus survived his wounds and headed eastward: the shroud of Milan have marks of a body still hot and not of a cadaver.  I frankly cannot see why this story should be thrown out; countless adolescents tour the world nowadays; it was even more common in those times for young people trekking to learn and attend renowned schools.

Jesus knew more than three language; Aramaic, Hebrew, Greek (the language of the educated of the time) and Latin since he spoke to Roman centurions and Pontus Pilate. It is also narrated that Jesus lived for a time in Sidon (a Lebanese port) teaching in its famous law school.  His mother Mary and part of her family moved to a town nearby when Jesus was a lecturer in the law school. It is no fluke incident that Jesus and Mary attended a wedding in Qana (a town close to Sidon); it is also very rational that Jesus decided to start his message after Qana when his mother removed the cover of secrecy and exposed his supernatural gifts of turning water to wine. Jesus was a high priest in the Essen sect and preached a message based in symbolism and fables and was highly spiritual and staunchly anti-Pharisee.  The Jewish cabala sect is a branch of the Essen sect and is founded on the Sumerian theology and myths.

Albert Schweitzer, a theologian, physician, thinker, organ player and Nobel Peace laureate offered his version on Jesus.  Schweitzer said, based on the first two Bibles of Mathew and Marc, that Jesus preached his message to the general public in the last year before his crucifixion.  Six months, all in all, was the period that Jesus was accompanied by the public; the remaining months he spent them among his close disciple around Caesarea of Philippi.

In the beginning, Jesus accepted the label of a prophet among the prophets but then he reached the belief that he is the Messiah of the Jews.  Thus, he sent his disciples two by two to preach the message of the end of time.  Jesus was very surprised when all his disciples returned safe and sound; he expected his disciples to suffer terribly and be put to death if the “prophesy of end of time” was to be accomplished.  Jesus then decided that God would accept his sacrifice and save his close disciples from atrocious deaths before the first coming of the Messiah.  The version of what happened in Jerusalem and Jesus crucifixion can be followed in my article “Judas Iscariot”.

Note 1:  Jesus had a large extended family; he had many brothers and sisters and his grandmother Ann married a second time and had many boys and girls.  Matthew made a valiant attempt through 42 generations to link Jesus to David. If we have no records of Jesus own family then how could we go that far back in genealogy?

The Christian Jews wanted a Jewish King very badly.  Actually, several early Christian communities unified the New Testament into one coherent book and had eliminated Matthew’s ridiculous endeavor.

Note 2: The first Christian communities emulated the monastic and ascetic life of the Essene sect. A few early Christian sects went beyond the ascetic of the Essenians; for example, the author Amine Maalouf, in his book on Mani, mentions a community called in Aramaic “Halle Haware” or white garment clad people; this caste did not eat meat or drink wine or leavened bread; the disciples wore white garments from top to bottom, were scared of fire (symbol of evil), and thus would eat only raw fruits and vegetables grown by the community.  Outside food was prohibited and considered “female” food because women were banished from the community and the female names in the scriptures were not mentioned unless the names represented calamities and bad augurs.  Travelers of this community carried with them the unleavened bread and produce of their home grown community because outside food was not pure.

Many monophysist Christian sects (Jesus is only divine) like the Jacobite and Nastourian (a name originated from the name Nazareth) had reached China before Islam (around 600 AC); they translated their Bible into Chinese and were permitted to preach their brand of religion and build churches.  The Nastourians built churches all along the Silk Road and many of these edifices can still be found in Tibet, Mongolia, China, Afghanistan, and Persia. It is also believed that the Prophet Muhammad learned about Christianity from these sects that were marginalized by the official Byzantine Church.

Something about the origins of my grand parents

Antoun (my father’s dad)

Antoun (Antony) is the name of dad’s father.  I have the impression that I saw him once and very briefly. He is sitting on a tiny balcony; he looked rotund with a jovial face. I never saw a photograph or a picture of Antoun.

By the way, my Christian name or patron saint name is Antoine since my first name is derived from an Antique “pagan” God Adonis. Mother told me that she was the one who insisted on calling me Adonis because she liked a girl at school named Adonis! And I was under the impression that this name was plainly a male name referring to the Phoenician male God of beauty Adonis.

I lately discovered that my name in my birth certificate is typed Adouis, most probably because the typist in the Capital Bamako (Mali, west Africa) confused the hand written n with u and nobody deigned to double-check for correction.

Antoun died in 1958 while on a brief visit to Lebanon. He succumbed from infection after the surgical removal of his gall bladder.

This minor surgery has harvested many victims, even in the best hospitals at the time.

Abou George, as Antoun should have been nicknamed, was born in Beit-Chabab and immigrated with a bunch of other young people to Africa as it was the custom in our locality.

George Tannous, husband of aunt Marie, recalls grand dad sitting most of the day outside his small shop in Segou and fingering his worry beads.

There is a custom to nickname the father after his eldest son by affixing Bou or Abou to the first name of the eldest son.

Thus, Antoun or Abou George started work in Guinee and then moved to Segou (Mali) where he ended up working in commerce and barely visited Lebanon.

I never heard anyone calling my father Bou Adonis; I figure you cannot have a father for God!

Fact is my father barely saw his dad: He lived in Beit Chabab with his grandparents (his mother side). The first time he met Antoun was when he joined him in Segou around 1947, a year before he got married with my mother Julie.

Dad’s mother: Saesta or Sabat (Elizabeth) on the birth certificate

Saesta is the name of dad’s mother.  She was short with a jovial face that dad inherited.

She is acerbic.  A story goes around during Lebanon’s civil war that the representative of the Phalanges “kataeb” militia in town came over to collect the monthly kickback on ground that this militia is a State within the State in the Metn district.

Saesta told the representative that she has no money, which was the case from her rundown home that dad had restored 10 years ago after vacating the long-standing tenants at the expense of a protracted legal battle that stretched for years.

The representative of the “kataeb” asked Saesta not to mention that she would be absolved from any kickback and  she replied that she would not be silenced “moush rah eskout“; he then begged her not to propagate the story and she again refused saying that she will talk “baddi ehki“.

In 1939, Saesta traveled to Segou to stay with her husband and took her eldest daughter Millia with he.

Saesta had the Lebanese passport, although Lebanon was under French protectorate.  Dad was left to live at his grand parents’, from his mother’s side, and the house was rented out to the Je3ara family.

It was a period when Maronite families married close cousins.

For example, my mother’s grand father and his brother married two sisters.

Families conceived almost yearly, and many children died still-born or shortly after, and still ended up with over six living offspring.

For example, Saesta got pregnant a dozen times and seven lived. My mother’s mother also conceived a dozen times and seven survived.

Toufic (Father of Saesta)

The father of Saesta, Toufic Bouhatab, lived in the USA in his youth and was considered “zeer nissa2” for chasing after girls. He was rich at one time and had several shops on the main street of Beit-Chabab (7aret ta7ta) and was a member of the municipal council for ever.

He ploughed and worked the vast garden till an old age (over 90). He suffered from an acute pneumonia and I said farewell to him while in bed before I left for the USA for graduate studies in 1975.  Toufic died within a month of my departure.

Dad used to aid in his grand father’s Toufic shop when a youth; the shop sold almost all kinds of items.

I recall when in boarding school I used to pass by on Sundays and Toufic would give me a handful of sweets.

Toufic hand-wrote in Arabic a voluminous manuscript, his diary in the USA, and I have to get hold of it to translate a few of his opinions.

Once, father gave Toufic money to purchase a piece of land adjacent to our house and Toufic went around and registered the deed in his son’s name Tanios (Tony).

Dad was never “lucky” in his dealing with his relatives and compatriots, but he was loved by the blacks of Mali in the town of Sikasso for his decency and largess.

Tanios (mother’s father)

The father of my mother, Tanios Gebrael, died in Lebanon at the age of 48 of a heart stoke, as his unique son Michel did later at the same age.

Tanios died one year before I was born.

Tanios also worked in Segou and he did well after many years of toil, but was robbed by his brother when he died in his brother’s Beirut home in Gemaizeh, Beirut, Lebanon: Tanios had a fortune in cash and had plans.

His wife Eugenia, six daughters and son never saw a nickel of cash inheritance.

Mother used to say that her father was irascible, strict, and conservative.

In his youth, Tanios used to chase away with stones any male contender to Eugenia, his potential sweet heart and later his wife. No boy or adult would dare talk or approach Eugenia.

The four sisters Josephine, Julie, Marie, and Montaha lived in Lebanon, alone and across their aunt’s who kept a watchful eyes on any male approaching them. The girls didn’t see their father until they also immigrated to Segou.

Mother told me that her father was pretty angry when the eldest Josephine eloped married (khatifeh) and in punishment forced the other 3 girls to study in a nun’s boarding school.

Tanios knew that mother and dad were in love, and when dad joined his father in Segou, Tanios refused that his girls in Lebanon (particularly mother) join him in Africa, as it was planned.

His only surviving son Michel was bright in school but the psychiatric system in Lebanon diagnosed him as emotionally “not normal” and ended up taking high dozes of tranquilizers and anti-depressant that reduced Michael to a dependent person and spent his short life on medications.

Michael was living with his married sister Therese, and filled many hand-written notebooks that disapeared. Why?

Michel used to hand write abundantly and somehow the extended family has decided to make his scattered booklets disappear; I never can forgive them for that act of insensitivity that prove their ignorance and small mindedness.

I am not sure if Therese (one of my aunts with whom Michael lived) read any of his writing because he lived with her. I once asked Therese of what happened to Michel’s writing and she refused to answer me.

Eugenia (mother’s mother)

Eugenia suffered many stillbirth and ended up with five living daughters (Josephine, Julia, Marie, Montaha, Therese) and a unique son (Michael).

She joined her husband in Africa in 1938 and left her four girls in Lebanon at the guard of Adel, one of her many sisters, living across the street. Actually, Adel was married with Tanios’ brother (okhte selfteh)

She lost her husband Tanios at the age of 48.

Eugenia lived mostly with her married daughter Marie and could never forget the mental state of her unique son Michael who lived close by with his married sister Therese, when not confined in the psychiatric ward Deir al Saleeb.

Eugenia lent her wealth to one of her nephew lawyer who was supposed to invest the money by lending it.  This lawyer made plenty of money working other people’s money, including my dad and many of our relatives.

For example, when my dad and one of my relatives were shown deals to purchase lands, this lawyer would fake to have re-invested the money and then ask one of his brothers to purchase the lands.

Eugenia died the day mother was getting ready to fly to Paris to attend to William’s (first grandson) heart surgery.  William is my eldest nephew and he was barely 16 months when he had the surgery.

Why about this wave of immigration to Africa?

There are evidences that most of the immigrants at the turn of the century paid dear money to go to “America” (read the USA).

Many scoundrels of ship Captains tried to increase their turnover rates of customers; thus, they dropped many travelers in Africa and told them “Here is America“.

These Captains did the same things and many Lebanese, Syrians, and Palestinians ended in Cuba, Mexico, Brazil and elsewhere.

Then those established immigrants sent for their relatives.




December 2008

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