THE GREAT GOSPEL OF JOHN
VOLUME 4

Jesus' Precepts and Deeds through His Three Years of Teaching

Jesus near Caesarea Philippi (cont.)

- Chapter 65 -
Zorel's excuses.


 
H
ere Zorel is completely dump-founded and dismayed, and only after quite a long pause he says: "Friend, if at that time I have recognized and known, what I recognize now, you can think for yourself, that I would have done anything else rather than becoming a slave trader! I am a citizen of Rome and to my knowledge no law ever prohibited the slave trade; it is and was always permitted, and what hundreds were lawfully allowed to do, why should I have been prohibited from doing so?! Even the Jews are allowed to buy children, especially if they are childless, why not any other educated nation, to whom the Egyptians belonged since human memory without any doubt, and in the same measure also the Persians. The girls were therefore not sold to any wild and uneducated nations, but in every respect civilised people on this our known, wide earth, where one can rightfully expect, not to aggravate the homely sad lot of such children, but apparently only to improve their lot!
 
2
Go to the lands of Asia Minor, and you will find there such masses of people and especially children, that you as a wise man in the end have to ask yourself, from what these people are going to feed and maintain themselves without starting to eat each other! I can assure you, each time when coming to the lands of Asia Minor, I have been stormed by the citizens with children. For a few loafs of bread I could get girls and boys in abundance; and the children came cheering me and would not leave me alone anymore. Many were bought by the Essenes, nearly all the boys, irrespective of age; often also girls were taken. The Egyptians only bought the more adult girls, partly to work, but partly probably also for pleasure. That there were some randy he-goats among them who torments the slave girls for lust, I do not doubt, but surely there not that many.
 
3
According to my knowledge not many have gone to Persia, which were mainly bought from Persian merchants and all kinds of artists, where they have been used for all kinds of useful and good work. In addition there exists in Persia already for a long time a quite wise law, by which every slave and slave-girl after ten years can attain full freedom, if they behaved well and finally can do what they want. They can remain there, start a craft or can go home. Therefore those going to Persia truly can not speak of being unlucky! Now then, that some of them in Egypt are not treated too well, I will not deny; but let us just go to their fatherland, and we will meet many, who are as free persons are not one hair better off than those unlucky ones in Egypt! Since firstly they have nothing to eat and many eat raw roots which they collect in the woods, and there are many, who in summer and winter are walking around completely naked because of the lack of clothes, and beg, steal and tell fortune. Some of them obtain some rags by begging or stealing; however, most of them do not succeed with that, and therefore walk around completely naked, always with a lot children attached to them.
 
4
From those moving around, I and my companion have always bought the largest number of supernumerary children and in such a way looked after them. The permanent inhabitants of the Pontus are calling them 'Zagani', which means 'the expelled'. There are swarms of those people; in great hordes they are moving around and do not have any roof or work, nor any land or field. Caves, holes in the ground and hollow trees are normally there homes; and now I ask you, does one not already show these people some relief, if you take their children for nothing and look after them, not to mention buying them from the naked and exceedingly hungry parents for money, for clothes and for good bread?
 
5
If one weighs this according to my previous way of thinking, how some of these people previously were the most tiresome slaves of the biggest poverty and later brought by me to people who properly looked after them as slaves, one easily will find that the misfortune , which I have brought according to your account over these people, is not so enormous large, as you image it to be. But also this I would not have done to them, if I earlier would be thinking like now.
 
6
By the way, I can tell you confidentially, although I am astonished about your pious and God-devoted wisdom, that it is a little strange of an all-good God, if he intervenes with the destinations of mankind, to let crawl such a large number of quite well formed people around the earth like wild animals! An almighty God could least do so much, that such people find a somewhat better lodging on this dear earth!
 
7
For a thinking person it is a little strange, if he sees hundreds of thousands of otherwise quite well formed people moving around in the highest degree unkept, hungry and naked and with the best will of the world not be able to help them! Would it be a surprise, friend, if one starts to doubt the existence of an all-wise and extremely gentle God, when seeing such people?! And my former assertion against a at least to serious property protection law, might become in the end some validity when looking at so many wretched people!
 
8
Now, friend, you have my responsibility and justification of the heaviest reproach you have made against me; do now what you like, but never forget, that a very world-wise Zorel is standing in front of you with a tensed bow, despite the rags covering him now, who is not exceedingly afraid of any wisdom! But give me now better reasons for that, that everything what there is, must be like it according to the wisdom of God, and with easier breathing I will be very thankful to you! Because this you must recognize just like I am, that on this earth according to my human insight, there is a lot of unnecessary misery in this world, alongside the occurrence of too many well-off individuals! Why does one have everything - and hundred thousands next to him nothing? In short, explain to me the misery of all the Zaganians in Asia Minor! Who are they, where do they come from, and why must they endure such everlasting misery?"