“My first, my incomparable love! Mary! What can existence mean to me now? You were dearer and more precious to me than the very breath of my nostrils. My life was ecstasy. I had found the perfect friendship of John, and—you! I was happy beyond all mortals! I dreamed of a love untouched by jealousy, cruelty, selfishness. I dreamed of a Paradise infinitely more beautiful than Eden. And now—both of you are bewitched by this pseudo-prophet!”
Jesus dragged his feet slowly. The cross, toppling to one side, beat lightly against his side. Suddenly he fell. I bent to lift him. He looked at me, but beckoned to one of the soldiers, saying in faulty Latin: “Help me, Roman!”
I was white with anger. Jesus staggered to his feet. Tauntingly I muttered: “Where are your followers? Where is your father in Heaven, you fool? All have forsaken you. Go on! Go faster! Go to your self-chosen doom!”
Jesus turned around and looked at me. All meekness had vanished from his face, now ablaze with anger. “I will go, but thou shalt tarry until I return.”
As Isaac, or Cartaphilus, as he preferred to be known, watched family and friends grow old and die while he retained his youth, he came to understand the meaning and full import of Jesus’ pronouncement. Wandering through different lands and down the centuries, he met and influenced the people, and witnessed the events that would shape the modern world. And his wandering soon became the pursuit of the elusive and incomparable Salome, and the secret of Unendurable Pleasure Indefinitely Prolonged…
“My First Two Thousand Years” is not for the faint of heart. The authors take no prisoners; repeatedly demonstrate that they hold absolutely nothing sacred; and constantly drive home the point that all of our historical figures and grand institutions are first, foremost, and above all else—human.
Note: The cover shown is from the 1956 abridged paperback edition, but the text is full and unabridged (from a clothbound edition).