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NYPL RESEARCH LIBRARIES



3 3433 06824780 2



THE

NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY

PRESENTED BY

S ad ak.i ch i . K ar tm finn

October 8,1921.




PHOTO BY RUDOLF EICKEMEYER. JR.



The Last Thirty Days of
Christ



SADAKICHI HARTMANN



PRIVATELY PRINTED
NEW YORK, 1920



293 10 \



THIS EDITION

Printed by Egmont H. Arens, 17 West 8th
SL, New York City, Sign of the Flying
Stag, is limited to 3000 copies, of which
this is Number



Copyright 1920
by Sadakichi Hartmann



To AILEEN PRINGLE
In Appreciation and Friendship



THE DIARY OF LEBBEUS

A trustworthy Narrative of the last
Lecturing Campaign of the Great
Prophet, telling of his Journey through
Galilee, Samaria, and East of Jordan,
previous to his untimely Death at
Emmaus, three days after the Cruci-
fixion.



INTRODUCTION

During my Munich student days I enjoyed
for a short while the hospitality of a distant rela-
tive of mine, a professor of philology. Herr
Professor Heinrich Sorgenloch had one of those
scrupulously exact and analytical minds, as are
granted exclusively to German professors, a
veritable storehouse of data and futile specula-
tions, dry and w^ell camphored as the showcases
of an entomology department. He was a recog-
nized scholar of Coptic and Chaldean, of Hebrew
and Samarian, and all the Canaanite languages.
Subsidized by one of my uncles he had spent ten
years in Palestine to write — the muses forbid — a
twelve volume history of Commerce of the town
of Tiberias under the Roman Empire.

Although the soup in the professor's household
ladled out thinly and the slices of meat were frail
as wafers, I liked the companionship of the sniv-
eling shortsighted old gentleman and appreci-
ated his learning. We discussed together such
delicate themes as the peculiarity of the word
"else" in Anglo-Saxon, the absolute isolation of
the Bask dialect showing no trace of "root" rela-
tions, and the importance of universally em-
ployed interjections as "ha ha" or imitative ut-
terances of children as "baa baa" in the origin
and development of languages, all matters of

[V]



INTRODUCTION

keen interest to an onomatopoetic mind. The
old gentleman professed to be very fond of me,
and when he died, he actually bequeathed to me —
he had not much else to leave but his funeral ex-
penses — a manuscript labeled "The Diary of
Lebbeus."

The manuscript was not one of those neatly
rolled-up and ribbon-tied calligraphic triumphs,
as come down to us from the hands of poets. Its
appearance was of a shocking, demoralizing
character. Scribbled down hastily, with endless
corrections, some passages in pencil, on sheets
unnumbered and of uneven sizes, spotted
throughout liberally with coffee rings, grease
spots and fly dirt, nibbled at the corners by mice
so that here and there a word had lost its vowel,
the manuscript did not inspire me to quick ac-
tion. Besides it was a word for word translation
from — I do not know whether from Hebrew,
Greek, or Aramaic — into German, and the dic-
tion consequently was hoj)elessly awkward and
unliterary. Having never seen the original
manuscript, and being ignorant whether it was
found in the dusty cell of some ruined monas-
tery or whether the monks of Athos used it orft:e
upon a time as a seat, as they are reported to
have done with other priceless volumes, I can
not vouch for the authenticity of the diary.

Still the contents seemed to me to possess
a sufficient amount of observation and imagina-
tion as well as local color and descriptive charm
to warrant an adaptation into English. It im-

[vi]



INTRODUCTION

pressed me as being a sort of prototype to
Strauss and Renan, treating Christ as a man, sub-
ject to human aihnents and shortcomings, and as
a great preacher, indefatigable and indomitable
like John Wesley who must have preached day
and night to have fifty thousand discourses to
his credit. All this happened quite a number of
years ago. I have never cultivated the habit of
rushing into print, and surely would not do so
with a priceless document like this one. If it
be genuine, well, then it should have been pub-
lished centuries ago, and its date of publication
now, a few years earlier or later would mean but
little to its ultimate significance. And if not
genuine, but the invention of a modern brain, not
necessarily an imposition, forgery or collusion,
its fate will be like all other books of fiction. It
will make its appearance, either to live or die, on
the strength of its imaginative qualities.

For the prelude which I could not refrain from
introducing, I beg indulgence from my readers.
It is meant for nothing else but a Vorspiel to the
following events. It is written in the spirit of
the diary, with the same realism, humor and oc-
casional moods of irreverence, which if kno^vn to
christology at the time of Meletius might have
changed history and given to the twenty-eighth
of October a different saint's name than that of
Lebbeus.

Sadakichi Hartmann,
Farallone, Cal., 1917.

[vii]



PRELUDE

The lake of Galilee lay like a precious stone
of peacock blue in a setting of purplish sand and
the dark gi'een vegetation of wild rocky heights.
Its placid surface was streaked only here and
there with long stripes of mauve, and there was
a sheen of silvery white far away on the horizon.
On the eastern sky rose a vague wall of blue
mist — or was it the opposite shore! and grey
formations of vapor dragged along the sky ob-
scuring the sun and showing the sky only in dis-
connected patches of cerulean blue. Gusts of
wind, a cool wholesome breeze, occasionally
startled up the ultramarine surface into glitter-
ing foamcaps, but they disappeared as quickly as
they came and only at the very edge of the shore-
line gathered sufficient strength to roll over and
stir up the brown mud.

The shore was dotted with black boats shoved
high upon the pebbly sand, which with their
masts and flapping main sails, resembled large
lettering set up in a landscape. On the stern of
one of the boats with his legs dangling over sat
an old whitebearded man, chewing a piece of
aloe. A sturdy middle aged fellow clad only in
short trousers, who had just hung up the last

[ix]



PRELUDE

net to dry on willow poles, approached the old
man and leaning against the bulging form of
the boat opposite addressed him.

"Well, father, I fear that's the last time I
cleaned the nets — for a while at least."

"We can get along without you, Thad, no
fear," grumbled the old man, "I surely do not
want to be in your way. You are old enough to
choose for yourself. Still, I hold my opinion, it
is not exactly wise to give up a comfortable liveli-
hood for something so precarious as is your
choice."

"I surely do not take it up for any gain,"
answered Lebbeus, also called Thaddeus, toying
with the row-lock. "There is not so much in fish-
ing either, here at Capernaum," and he glanced
about smilingly. "You are aware, father, that
Jesus does not charge for his services."

"But how do you know that you have the
power to heal? Furthermore, would he not be
foolish to give away his secrets to the firstcomer?
None of his disciples have become kno^vn as
healers."

"Their time no doubt has not come. You
know it is not so much that I want to become a
healer and miracle worker. I want to be with
him. I know I will enjoy it and profit in many
ways. I want to see how he manages to hold
these big crowds. They flock to hear him by the
thousands."

"There are not as many as that around here.
Given in that he is a powerful speaker, how do



PRELUDE

you know that you have any gift for it? Jesus,
why I remember him; he sometimes came out
here with his father, Joseph, the woodcarver who
did some figure heads for us. He was a slick
worker too. Was Jesus not a kind of wonder
child, did he not preach as a twelve year old boy
in the temple at Jerusalem and caused a sensa-
tion? And he has done nothing else since. No
wonder he can talk! Well, son, are you sure at
least that he wants you?"

"I met James, last night at the Zebedees; he
assured me that he is glad to have anybody who
is willing to come. You can come and go as j^ou
please."

"A wise way to keep up a retinue of free la-
bor," the old man spat and chuckled. Then a
scowl of doubt or displeasure seemed to pass
over his forehead.

The young man noticed it. "What is on your
mind, father?"

"There is one thing I do not like about your
going. You see what Herod has done with John
the Baptist. These are bad times for prophets.
You do not know what might happen in the next
few weeks. He is going to Jerusalem and he is
hated there."

"You think he might come to harm — with all
his following?"

"Do you really think they care for him? A
few, yes. The crowd, they go out of curiosity,
they want to hear him, to see him, that is all.
What is the use of all this talking anyway? It

[xi]



PRELUDE

does nobod}^ any good. Only gets one into
trouble if one takes it too seriously. Is it not
bad enough that we have to support all these
synagogues? What earthly good do they do!"

"Father, he does not approve of them as they
are conducted now."

"No, of course not. He may have the best of
ideas and bring about a temporary change. Will
that make his disciples any better than the scribes
and rabbis now, not to speak of the Pharisees?"
and the old man spat vigorously. "Do not for-
get, we are all human, and the crowd does not
care. They want to be guided merely to feel no
responsibility."

"Jesus is different."

"WTij^ Thad, you are still a child. You surely
do not believe in all those miracles ! Agreed, that
he knows more than the ordinary bonesetter and
herb doctor hereabouts. Naturally he learnt
something in Egypt and all the out-of-the-way
places. They say he has been in India. He heals
as many as he can, and as he knows better meth-
ods, he heals more than others. That is all there
is to it."

"How about his immediate cures?"

"You can rest assured that they were not seri-
ously sick. They got frightened and imagined
something. He makes his patients get up and
gives them some simple remedy, a wet rag for
those who have headache or a sore throat ; a dose
of oil for those who are slow of bowel and a hot
bath to those who are sluggish of limb."

[xii]



PRELUDE

"Has he not made lame men work!"

"Also our bonesetters have done so. He has
a more scientific method of handstrokes over the
body, of rubbing, kneading, pounding and no
doubt achieves at times astonishing results. And
as for the story of changing water into wine.
How can people be so credulous. The bride-
groom at Cana happened to have no wine or his
guests had drunk it all by the tune Jesus arrived,
for one can hardly imagine that a man invites
friends to a feast of this kind, happening only
once or twice in a lifetime, without being pro-
vided in some way. Given in that he had no
vv^ine, well, Jesus brought some with him, and
consequently was much made of. Imagine they
were just ready to drink water, the host felt wor-
ried, and then his surprise when he took up the
water pot and tasted wine, not knowing from
where it came. So they laughed and said he
changed our water into wine, which assuredly he
did. People naturally talked about, exaggerated
it, each one adding something of his own wit
to the happenings, and so finally the story went
abroad that he had performed a miracle."

"That is one way of explanation, not neces-
sarily mine. There can not be so much fuss
about nothing. Furthermore, the miraculous
draught of fishes, it even converted James and
John, how do you account for that?"

"Luck, my boy, nothing but luck. You know
yourself, sometimes they run this way and other
times they run that way. We have had miracu-

[xiii]



PRELUDE

lous light catches, too many alas, this morning
for instance; and then again nights when they
worked our strip of the bay to madness so that
they rocked the keels of the boats, and after-
wards lay waistdeep right here on the strand.
And so it came to pass "

At that moment a procession of men appeared
in the bend of the road. Two men, one in blue,
the other in red, preceded. Next came all alone
a stately white figure with long black hair and
beard, his robe blowing freely about his figure.
After him followed a second division of about
fifty or sixty in two columns three and four
abreast. A few walked with staves or carried
sticks, others all manner of burdens as baskets,
wine jugs, kneading troughs, leather water
sacks, bags and bales, on their heads, in their
hands, slung over their shoulders, or carried by
two on poles, and the rear was brought up by a
motley throng of men, women and children, fill-
ing the entire road.

"That's him!" shouted Lebbeus, for sheer joy
jumping high into the air. In great excitement
he seized his cloak and a bell net, waved a hasty
farewell to his father, who had turned his head
without shifting his position, and ran off whirling
the net around his head to meet the men in blue
and red, James and John, the general managers
of the lecturing campaign.

"Do not forget, you are always welcome home.
Tad," called the old man after him, shoving a
new piece of aloe into his mouth. "No prodigal
muchado about it either!"

[xiv]



THE DIARY OF LEBBEUS

During the Seventh Year of Emperor Nero's
Reign
My Name is Lebbeus, also known as Thad-
deus, of no particular parentage, just the son
of an ordinary six boat fisherman on the lake of
Galilee. I was born in Capernaum and grew
up in the lake region. I was apprenticed for
several years to Zebedee on the inflow of the
Jordan and worked in the boat of James, one
of the disci]3les of Jesus of Nazareth. I am now
living in the town of Tiberias, not doing much
of anything. I have constant pains in the arms
and legs and although I cured many of the same
ailments, can not cure my own. It is now more
than thirty years hence since my short associa-
tion with the Master. But the events are as vivid
in my memory as if they had happened yester-
day. They are as burnt into my memory. They
were the most wonderful days of my life and
hardly a day passes that I do not find myself in
deep meditation over some of the occurrences.
Some months ago I came across the notes that
I had jotted down during that eventful journey,
and it occurred to me that it would not only be
a great joy to get them into reading shape and
to relive the olden days, but that my experience

[1]



THE DIARY OF LEBBEUS

might interest others who share my adoration of
the Master.

This I have accomplished — the manuscript lies
liere on the table with a nail from the cruci-
fixion as paperweight. I am too well aware
that I am not a talented chronicleer like John,
who always carried a notebook of small parch-
ment sheets about him, scribbling at all times,
during lectures, while walking on the road, even
at meals, and who is now — if hearsay can be
trusted — writing a life of the Saviour somewhere
in far Ephesus. Also Mattheus is writing, and
so is his brother. Phillip is writing too. Andrew
is writing. They are all writing. Notwith-
standing I have faithfully endeavored to set
forth my impressions as I originally received
them, young in thought as I was, and not with
my eyesight of today that has grown a trifle dini
by a too zealous analysis of events. My vocabu-
lary and general knowledge no doubt have in-
creased and I can just as well state as not, that
the discussion of parables and Christ's humor as
well as casual philosophical remarks are of a
more recent date.

When I joined the Master I was thirty-two
years old and knew but little of the world except
what I had learnt during a two years' stay in
Tiberias. My first ambition was to become a
follower of Aesculap, not for any disdain for my
father's profession; I always liked wet, creeping
things, the touch of spray on naked legs and
chest, and the riot of wind and water. Still I

[2]



THE DIARY OF LEBBEUS

wanted to do something else with my life than
catching things that other men eat. My kins-
folk's reduced circmnstances prevented me from
going to Alexandria. So, I helped my father,
fished and dreamt, feeling at times a vague desire
to become a preacher, or at least a reader at some
synagogue.

When I heard the Master preach at Caper-
naum, the desire became irresistible. For a year
or two more, I hauled in my nets rather languidly
causing my father to make many an angry re-
proof, but when Jesus came again — alas, on his
last journey — I left trailers and nets and went
with him. There my report begins, to end with
his actual death three days after the crucifixion.

At that time I did not comprehend the full
meaning of his teachings. Who ever did ! I still
looked at it too much from the viewpoint of speech-
making. Little did I anticipate then that his
doctrines would spread all over the West, or
rather be actually adhered to. Why there are
little associations everywhere. It is almost like
a new religion. Even where I go every Sabbath
evening to drink a jug of wine, to throw dice and
discuss timely topics, we all believe in living
close to our fellow men, in the futility of riches
and power, and in another life to come. Alas,
the world has grown so suspicious of this in itself
so harmless belief, that we have to keep our
thoughts in secret. Poor James was killed with
the sword. Bartholomew shared a similar fate
in India. The Jews hate us, the Buddhists hate

[3]



THE DIARY OF LEBBEUS

us, and the Romans hate us. Emperor Nero has
nursed a fiendisli antipathy against the so called
Christians, and has ordered to persecute them
wherever they assert themselves in public. So I
may after all, not publish this little manuscript.
Not that I am a coward and not true to my con-
victions, but I think it hardly to be of sufficient
import to be the cause of any public perturbation.

After the Master's death, like so many of us,
I did not loiow what to do. We had gone
through too much that was grand and horrible
to be able to endure mere human moderation.
Was I ordained to follow in his footsteps ! Was
I chosen to shepherd wandering souls ! Would the
mob not laugh at me, and in my case righteously?
I went back wearily pljdng a fisherman's trade
until my father died. Then I gave up the busi-
ness and the spirit moved me once more.

I went to Persia to preach and baptize. But
so many Jews had emigrated to Persia, who
mocked at this new belief, that it was difficult to
convert any natives. After a few years of futile
endeavor, many hardships and humiliations, I
returned to the lake region, grateful that I had
escaped martyrdom, for as little as a man might
hold himself in esteem, it is hardly reasonable to
endure the death of a martyr without having ac-
complished anything. With Peter in Rome, that
is a different matter, but I do not come from such
high a lineage.

I fear I was not bom to be a martyr. Either
I lack devotion to the cause, or I have insuffi-

[4]



FIRST BAY

cient belief in humanity. As long as people have
the crude nature they have, they will not do right
and can not be compelled to do so. It seems to
me to be a slow growth that can be forced in no
manner, even if a legion of disciples worked with
constant zeal for a thousand years. There can
never be one kind of salvation for all. It refuses
to be brought about, yea, even by a world
prophet like the INI aster, who was not only a
sweet comrade, a great sage and brave teacher,
but the most powerful exponent of the spoken
word that ever lived.

FIRST DAY

When I saw Jesus of Nazareth approaching
I straightway seized coat and net, and ran to
meet him as fast as my legs would carry me,
almost colliding in my enthusiasm with James
who held me at armlength, laughing heartily,
"Verily, an ardent disciple." Then he intro-
duced me to the Master without any ceremony
of handshaking and beard kissing. The Master
scrutinized me— I shall never forget that glance
through halfclosed eyes, like some strange light
breaking through dark water. He nodded and
motioned vv^ith his head backwards "Join the rest
and follow me!" Turning to Peter he remarked
smilingly "Am I so wrong in calling Capernaum
my native city? Those little boat talks of mine
on the lake have turned quite a number of net-
haulers into real fishers of men, have they not?"

[6]



FIRST DAY

I fell back and we marched along. It was a
weird crowd that surrounded nie. There were
men from Decapolis, from Trachonitis and Abi-
lene, from Phoenicia and Syria, from Judea and
Jerusalem. They represented all possible shades
of skm color from pale olive to dark brown, even
to an Ethiopian son of the desert with a regular
turban, our cook when provisions permitted the
exercise of such an occupation.

Many of them went barefoot, and apparently
claimed no earthly possessions except those they
had on their backs. Some lacked trowsers and
others shirts. An old clothes dealer in Jerusa-
lem would not have given more than a silver piece
for the whole outfit. A young Egyptian boy in
gay colors and tinsel tights, lithe like a young
girl, a juggler by profession, joined me by link-
ing his arm into mine and volunteered informa-
tion.

"They are not all disciples?" I asked.

"Not on your life; the favorite ones, right be-
fore us, you will soon get to know. That old
chap with a nightcap on and all bundled up like
a nmmmy is Bartholomew. The clean shaven
fellow with the clasi)s and buckles is Phillip.
And that tall fellow with the battered silver
trumpet on his hip is Doubting Thomas, 'Uncle
Gabriel' we call him. The other fifty or sixty
hobbling behind us are the minor disciples. The
rest are loafing swains and maidens. They just
follow us from one meeting place to another and
then slouch home again. We have just finished

[6]



FIRST DAY

a tour through Syria and along the coast of
Sidon and Tyre, and the following has steadily
increased. Everywhere they turned out by
thousands, to listen and to bring out their sick
to him."

Having lived most of my life as the captain
of a fishing crew where one man has to do this
and another that, I wondered how all these men
were fed, for there seemed to be hardly enough
provisions within the limited baggage they car-
ried.

"It is very much like a traveling circus, only
simpler," explained my young friend with a
twinkle of mirth in his liquid brown eyes. "The
Master tells us to take no thought for our life,
what we shall eat, wherewithall we shall clothe
ourselves, 'as the morrow,' so he says, 'will take
care of the morrow. Ye will be clothed and you
will sit down to meat. For ask,' so he says, 'and
it shall be given you, seek and ye shall find, knock
and doors will be opened unto you.' The rules
are not to go from house to house, but make
friends with somebody, say 'peace be to your
house,' do them a service, clean the cistern or
mend the fence, speak about the Master and be
satisfied to eat and drink such things as they
serve you and take what they give. Each man
forages the best he can and contributes for the
general welfare. It Avorks fairly well as you will
see. We always take supper together, and the
rest of the day we shift for ourselves. Of course,
it is a hard pinch at times, but we generally man-

[7]



FIRST DAY

age to get one square meal a day. And then
sometimes we are invited quite unexpectedly by
some rich sympathiser."

I listened to all this absentmindedly. I was
fascinated by the looks of the Master, his long
swinging stride as if he would never tire. He
was unusually tall and of muscular build, not
muscles acquired by toil, just well developed and
well proportioned, his skin light brown like old
ivory, smooth without any hair on the chest or
arms. He wore a white gown long and wide, pic-
turesquely gathered up at the hips with a red
belt of goat's leather, so that it would not trail in
the dust of the road. The sleeves were full and
the garment open at the chest. His black beard
was trimmed but his hair held with a band around
his forehead was allowed to fall in long unruly
curls upon his shoulders. The sun shone through
the white garment revealing glimpses of his
sturdy legs, and a highlight of flickering gold
appearing on the thigh at every step, gave to his
walk a radiance as of liquid fire and flame.

"When does the Master speak?" I queried.

"Generally before supper time, when we can
make a big town or village, but really he is ready
whenever there is a crowd or he is asked to per-
form, sometimes half a dozen times during a
day."

Two disciples generally went in advance to se-


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