Thursday, August 20, 2009

Two minutes and fifty-eight seconds

Last Christmas, one of Melancholicus’ close relatives, familiar with his interest in matters religious (but unfamiliar with matters religious herself), gave to him a CD-recording of Desmond Tutu (!) reading Jeffrey Archer’s improbable piece of alternative history masquerading as fiction, namely The Gospel of Judas.

Melancholicus had to feign delight in order not to give offence by rejecting this gift in horror (as it was obviously chosen with some thought), but regular readers of Infelix Ego will know what passed inwardly in his soul when he realized what he had been given.

The gift was well meant, the giver desiring to please but without knowing what it was she was giving.

The CDs were later thrust into a seldom-used drawer containing various oddments, and there they reposed until Melancholicus, preparing for his imminent emigration to the Land of the Free by emptying his rooms and boxing up all his possessions, discovered them afresh as the oddments drawer was being cleared out. With a moue of distaste he almost consigned them to the trash, but as it was a personal gift from someone close he decided at least to give Archer’s Gospel of Judas a chance and not to pass judgement until he had subjected himself to the contents thereof. After all, as the text was read by a Christian archbishop considered by many to be a veritable pattern of holiness (yes, I know...), The Gospel of Judas really couldn’t be that bad.

Could it?

In went the first CD (there were three of them). First there was a short preface, which was innocent enough. The reading of this lasted for about a minute. Then we were into the story, narrated from the viewpoint of one “Benjamin Iscariot”, putatively Judas’ son.

Almost immediately Melancholicus was confronted with a string of obnoxious Christological heresies and nauseating attacks on the early Church and on the testimony of the canonical gospels.

Whereat the CD was removed, replaced in its case and the whole dumped unceremoniously in the wheelie bin outside the front door.

It had taken only two minutes and fifty-eight seconds of listening for the nature of the beast to out. Is that a record?

Even Dan Brown takes longer than that to really get going.