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Main Page The great Gospel of John Volume 4 GGJ04-65 Chapter

Chapter 65 - Zorel's excuses.

65,1. At this, Zorel is completely dumb-founded and dismayed and after quite a long pause he says: “My friend, if at that time I had recognized and understood what I know now, you could well think that I would have done anything rather than become a slave trader! I am a citizen of Rome and I know of no law prohibiting the slave trade. It is and always was permitted, and a trade that hundreds could lawfully carry on should not be barred to me! Even the Jews are allowed to buy children, especially if they are childless, so why not any other educated nation, as the Egyptians have undoubtedly been since time immemorial and equally the Persians too. The girls were therefore not sold to any wild or uncivilised peoples, only to well-known, well-educated communities in this wide world, where one could have a right to expect that the sad home life of these children would not deteriorate, but that their lot would clearly be improved!

65,2. Go to Asia Minor, and you will find there so many people, especially children, that you as a wise man must ask yourself, how will these people be fed and maintained without eating each other! I can assure you that each time I went there, I was besieged by parents with children. For a few bread loaves I could satisfy all my needs for girls and even boys, the children coming to cheer me and unable to leave me in peace. Many were bought by the Essenes, nearly all boys, no matter what their age, and often girls as well. The Egyptians only bought the more mature girls, partly to work, but partly probably also for pleasure. That there were some satyrs among them who tormented the slave girls in their lust, I do not doubt, but surely there were not so many of them.

65,3. To my knowledge only a small number of them went to Persia, mainly bought by Persian merchants and all kinds of artists, and there they were employed in all kinds of useful and worthwhile jobs. For a long time there has also been quite a sensible law in Persia under which every slave or slave-girl can aspire to full freedom after ten years, if they have behaved well, they can then do whatever they will. They can remain there, start a craft or return home. Those sold to Persia can truly not consider they have been unlucky! I will not deny that some of those in Egypt are not treated too well, but if we go to their homeland we will meet many more of them who, as free persons, are not one hair’s breadth better off than the unfortunate ones in Egypt! Firstly they have almost nothing to eat and many survive on raw roots which they collect in the woods. Also there are many who are walking around completely naked in summer and even in winter because they have no clothes, begging, stealing and telling fortunes. Some of them beg or steal a few rags but mostly they do not succeed and they therefore walk around completely naked, always with several children clinging to them.

65,4. I and my companion have always bought large numbers of superfluous children from these nomads and in this way helped them. The permanent inhabitants of the Pontus call them ‘Zagani’, which means ‘the displaced’. There are swarms of them and they move around in large packs and do not have any roof over them or work, no land, no home. Caves, holes in the ground and hollow trees are normally their dwellings. Just consider this; Are these people not being given positive help, if you take their children away for nothing and look after them, even if you were not in all cases to buy them from their naked, starving parents in return for money, clothes or good bread?

65,5. If you weighs this up according to my previous way of thinking, how some of these people earlier lived in the utmost poverty and how I later brought them to people who properly cared for them as slaves, it is easy to conclude that the bad fortune inflicted on them by me according to you, was not so grievous as you image it to be. However, even this I would not have done if I had previously thought as I now do.

65,6. I will however add in confidence, although I am astonished by your pious wisdom centred on God, that it is a little strange for a benevolent God who is influencing man’s destiny, to allow such a large number of mature people to slink round the earth like wild animals! An almighty God could least do enough to ensure that these people would find somewhat better provision for themselves on this dear earth!

65,7. For a thinking person it is a little strange, if he sees hundreds of thousands of people who are otherwise in good shape, going around extremely uncared for, hungry and naked, especially if with the best will in the world is not able to help them! Would it be a surprise, my friend, if, seeing them, one began to doubt the existence of an all-knowing, extremely kind God? My earlier comment on excessively rigid property law might in the end be valid if these wretched people were to be taken into account!

65,8. Now, my friend, you have my reply and my justification for your most serious reproach against me. Do as you wish, but never forget that a very worldly-wise Zorel stands before you with his bow at the ready. Despite his ragged clothes, he is not afraid to confront any wisdom! Please give me better reasons why everything there is, must be as it is according to God’s wisdom, and I will breathe easily and thank you! You must see as well as I, that on this earth in my opinion as a human being, there is much unnecessary misery together with too many excessively rich individuals! Why does one person have everything - and hundreds of thousands next to him have nothing? In a word, explain to me the misery of all the Zagani in Asia Minor! Who are they, where do they come from, and why must they endure such eternal deprivation?”

Main Page The great Gospel of John Volume 4 GGJ04-65 Chapter