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Chapter 118 - Occasion of the Centurion with the Templers.
118,1. Here the Centurion takes the floor, saying: 'The man you enquire about I know most intimately, and know about all His deeds, and also those accomplished by Him a few weeks ago in the location of Kis, where through His divinely prop hectic spirit he revealed to the Court master Faustus that the imperial taxation moneys and other treasures, being transmitted from the Pontus and Asia Minor were taken over from the Roman transportation caravan by the likes of you in the most despicably brazen manner, causing the Chief Governor Cyrenius the most acute embarrassment and putting all of Galilee and indeed the entire Jewish state at grave risk.
118,2. It is exclusively this very same Jesus Whom the entire Jewish nation as well as yourselves have to thank that you are still alive now! For had the said imperial moneys robbed by your ilk not surfaced, the entire land would have been laid waste by fire, whilst all the treasures of Judea would not have sufficed to expiate the crime! That this has quietly passed over for you and your likes yu have only Jesus, the greatest and wisest and mightiest prophet to thank; and it is therefore disastrous and unjust of you to the highest degree to go out persecuting a man Whom you have to thank for everything, - your life and existence.
118,3. But that which you have just spoken, that you went to Nazareth to catch and examine Jesus like a supreme criminal; - that He is least of all! He stirs up no man either against yourselves or against the emperor, or Cyrenius would not be his friend, as I well know!-
118,4. But now to something else, my Temple lords! You surely are aware of the fact that a Roman military camp has been established here in Genezarethe for several years; wherefore every person irrespective of standing or nationality must carry an authentic passport sealed by Roman authority, if he wants to have safe passage through the place of occupation with his hide intact. Hence as Chief Commander over this place and indeed the entire area I beseech you for such document, even more so for coming here at night-time; in the absence of which I shall have to arrest you, publicly having you flogged tomorrow, and in the end send you back to Jerusalem as captives. Hence have the goodness and present your proper travelling documents!'
118,5. Says the chief of the Pharisees: 'Lord, I am as a Chief of Jerusalem the living travel certificate for all, and we have need of no other! For just as you are a chief, so am I, and with imperial privilege am able to travel by day or night in all of Israel! We are ordinaire of God, and beware all who would lay hand on us!'
118,6. Says the Centurion: 'The imperial privilege extends only to unoccupied places and not to places where an open military camp is established!
118,7. Says the Chief: ' Such law has never been made known to us and hence we could not observe such for we are not so stupid as not to furnish ourselves on a journey with all things necessary for our security. But if such is required here then we shall at once despatch couriers to Jerusalem, and at this time tomorrow you can have necessary travel documents in your hands.'
118,8. Says the Centurion: 'There shall be no need of that, for it is up to me to believe your testimony or not. But I shall observe you closely; should I detect anything in the least suspicious then you are instantly my prisoners! For the present and the duration or your stay nonetheless, you shall be under heavy guard, who shall escort you to the border of this area for a payment of a hundred pieces of silver. Had you the necessary passport with you however, you would be free of all charge!'
118,9. Says the Chief: 'This the lord of the inn shall fix up for us, because we are not on a journey allowed to take money with us; for the earth is God‘s and we are His servants, and from God have the right to call the entire earth our own, and to reap wherever we have not sowed! For every Jew knows that whatever he has is only on loan to him from ourselves, which we can take back from him at any time. For this simple reason we cannot go anywhere in Israel as strangers but only as lords and sole proprietors, entitled by God to every house, plot and soil, money and other treasure; and hence we can very well order Ebahl to pay the hundred pieces on our behalf, for he has taken them from our plot and soil! And were he not to do so, then we would give all these his possessions to someone else who is not going to worry about the hundred pieces of silver!'
118,10. Since this concerns Ebahl quite directly, he finally opens his mouth, saying: 'My lords, there you are somewhat mistaken. Because firstly this place has been a free territory from old times, on which no one other than God Emperor can make demands; and secondly I have acquired this place as dowry through my second wife, who is a Greek by birth and converted to a Jewess through myself, since she was the only daughter of the house, and hence all this large property belongs no to myself but my second wife, and after her to her daughters. Hence I possess nothing, and nothing can therefore be taken from me. And you shall therefore have to pay the hundred pieces yourselves! If you don‘t believe it then ask the Centurion here, who is my superior, and he shall tell you!'
118,11. Says the centurion at once: 'Yes indeed, so it is ! You shall yourselves pay the hundred pieces! No pleading or further retort shall help, for here I myself am the only one to give orders and make demands!'
118,12. Says the Chief: 'But what if we despatch our messenger, a good horseman, to Jerusalem straight away, so that he is bach her with the required document by noon tomorrow!'
118,13. Says the Centurion: 'That makes no difference! Because the one hundred pieces you must pay already by virtue of coming here without such document: hence no further talk about this matter!'
118,14. Says the Chief: ' We nevertheless have no money on us, for we never carry money when travelling, because this is our law! Whence should we therefore take the money now?'
118,15. Says the Centurion: 'That shall be my concern! Where the money is lacking, there right of distraint steps in. Your effects, which I hear you carry in large quantity, shall surely be worth the hundred pieces!'
118,16. Says the Chief: 'They are indeed worth a thousand times that much, but these are all divinely consecrated things, and God would cause the death of whoever laid his hands upon them! Hence you shall not be able to touch such things, far less take them!'
118,17. Says the Centurion: 'It is not going to be so bad! We shall see whether this is really the case with your God-consecrated effects!'
118,18. Yell all the Pharisees: 'No, no, no,! We shall yet manage to find the one hundred pieces; our people are certain to have money on them!'
118,19. Here a Pharisee steps out, bringing in a satchel with a hundred pieces, handing them over to the Centurion, who hands them to the deputy, the latter having to count the money. As it is the right sum, the Centurion commands the deputy to place the money into the sinners‘ poor-box, and the deputy does so at once.
118,20. The Chief says however: 'It is rather strange practice here to place consecrated money into sinners‘ poor- box, since we are servant of God Are you not aware of offending God by offending a servant of God?'
118,21. Says the Centurion: 'What has your God to do with me!? I am a Roman and know what I know and believe! Your God Whom you now serve however shall never be my God! To me you are therefore the greatest sinner and hence your god-consecrated money belongs in the sinners‘ poor-box! - Do you understand this?
118,22. Says the Chief: 'Yes lord, we understand that we are dealing with a staunch pagan who, like all staunch Romans deeply despises us together with our divine doctrine!'
118,23. Says the Centurion: 'Not as deeply as you think, for we too acknowledge the old, authentic Jewry; only your new statutes, your own faithlessness and your outrageous of every kind we despise three times more than death itself. Because ther is no trace in you of the Jewry of old except for the names. But where are the select works of those from who you are descended and who gave the wise doctrine and laws? I know very well how it once stood with your Ark of the covenant. But what does it look like now? Where is God‘s spirit moving above it?'
118,24. Says the Chief: 'That is still as it was in Aaron‘s times!'
118,25. Says the Centurion: 'Or perhaps otherwise! Hearken! Hardly three years ago I was myself in your so-called Holy of Holies, and to that for a fee of seven hundred pieces of silver. But what did I see and smell? An iron case on a rack, from whose middle a lively naphthalene flame flickered whose repulsive smell did not affect my nose too pleasantly! The ingredients in question in the so-called Ark of the Covenant were certain to be younger than Moses and Aaron, and my puse was rather sad for my emptying it is so mightily for the sake of your foolery and deceptions! Say not another syllable about it to me, for I am one that sees sky-high through your cheating! Listen, knowing what I do and if I were the emperor would have your entire Temple leap over the sward! Your luck is just that I am not the emperor; but what the emperor hasn‘t done to you his seddessor will do.
118,26. Says the Chief: 'Lord, if you know this, then I beg you to keep silent about it on account of the people, because if the people found out then we would have to fear the most unbridled rebellion!'
118,27. Says the Centurion: 'Never fear! Because such is known by nearly every Gallilean, and yet there is not the remotest talk about a peoples‘ rebellion! Because we Romans are around, and mighty enough to quell any revolt at the roots!'
118,28. Says the Chief: 'Well, lord, we have made payment and are therefore squared off; hence let us leave this matter! But if you have any knowledge about the notorious magician Jesus then be so kind and tell us what there is to him and his questionable doctrine and deeds, so we can report back to the Temple about it!'
118,29. Says the Centurion: 'I have already told you thst I know Him very well, and I would have had Him seized a long time ago, had there been the least sign of a rebellion; but the way things are I am persuaded of the exact opposite, and hence can give Him only the most favourable testimony. If you were like Him then Jerusalem would be the eternal and foremost city of God for all time to come, and God‘s spirit would still b moving above the Ark of the Covenant as in Aaron‘s time! But you are the extremist opposite to Him, wherefore you city and your Temple shall not endure much longer! Report this to your colleagues, that they may know the sandy soil on which their city and Temple are built! - But tomorrow you shall find out more with your eyes and ears, and so you can now go and take your rest!'
118,30. Says the Chief: 'We shall remain here at table; for your portentous words shall rob us of our sleep for days! Whoever can slumber, let him do so; I for one shall be over-wakeful! - Over there at the corner of the table a guest is seated with a maiden!? Who actually is he? Do we have to take note of him or is he a prisoner of yours, together with the maiden? Is perhaps without travel documents as well?
118,31. Says the Centurion: 'About this one you have no business to enquire; He is under my protection! I hope nonetheless that you shall get to know more closely tomorrow.'
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