[Interview through impenetrable rails in purportedly pearly gates, somewhere outside of time and space]
Sooo, is it “άκωβος” now, or “Iacobus”? I’m not sure what they speak in there. For some reason a lot of people over the years assumed it was Greek and then, Latin, but perhaps its Aramaic, or Hebrew, or perhaps Enochian. Enochian makes the most sense, but no one understands it where I’m from. You know, there are a lot of strange, maybe even weird rumors about you down below, and definitely weird rumors in the deepest of basements. Thanks for granting me this exclusive interview to clear things up. It is exclusive, … right? I mean, you haven’t really done this before have you. Given all the stuff written over the years back home, it’s a bit confusing where they got their material.
Here’s a list of questions, I assume you’ll be able to read them.
יעקב, James, or Jacob, or Santiago, or ….:
Okay, well, not exactly in any order, I have no recollection of ever having granted interviews before, actually, I’d never heard of the concept until you showed up, but I did know quite a few people back in Yerushalayim, and even more people apparently claim to have known me. Maybe they did, I didn’t really keep records. You can call me יעקב (Yaʿaqov), but if you can’t pronounce that, then James will do, although I’m sort of partial to “Santiago” although, for the life of me, I can’t fathom how the Spanish got “Santiago” out of Yaʿaqov, or for that matter, where “James” came from. Is “Yaʿaqov” really that confusing for you English speakers? It must have had something to do with an ancestor of one of those clowns who worked at the entry desk at Ellis Island.
Don’t look so surprised, we get a lot of news up here, well, at least sometimes. When the airwaves aren’t clogged up with incessant prayers.
Still, … I can’t really read the list of questions you gave me, I never learned to read in English, we didn’t have it back then, my family only spoke Aramaic most of the time, and we read Hebrew, and understood Greek, and even some Latin. But I only really read Hebrew. And anyway, I’m not Joe Biden you know. I don’t need to have someone prepare cheat sheets for my interviews.
So, if you don’t mind, I’ll just rattle off what we up here refer to as a stream of consciousness, sort of anticipating what I think you probably want to know. You know, to share with those down there. Actually, according to my brother, we were expecting a bunch of you up here a while ago. Maybe you can enlighten as to why the hold up.
During my lifetime I was sometimes referred to as “James (יעקב, Yaʿaqov) the Just”, to which I invariably replied, “just James please”. Well, in your language. In mine, at the time, it was “Yaʿaqov”. But after I’d journeyed beyond the veil, “James the Just” seems to have stuck, … As well as exaggerated rumors concerning my hygiene, or lack thereof, (for the purported sake of piety). Neither really made sense. I had to submerge myself in water not infrequently, in conjunction with ritual cleansing required by my Hebrew religious rituals, although it’s true that I rarely cut my hair. Most of us Jews didn’t, at the time, and never my facial fair, which after a certain length stopped growing of its own volition. Damned Hegesippus didn’t know anything about the real me, he just made stuff up. Yeah; I know it was him! Damned rumor mongering gentile! And please, don’t think I’m using inappropriate verbiage. “Damned” is exactly the correct adjective when I use it, … especially up here.
It’s not true that I never drank either. My brother Yeshua, as you know, insisted that we drink in his remembrance, but even as a child, who in Palestine would ever permit their children to drink our water without being treated with wine to avoid disease? I was a confirmed bachelor though, that part is accurate; Miriam of nearby Magdala was the only woman I was ever drawn to, but she only had eyes, or anything else, for my brother, the prophet, or rabbi, or whatever. That was for the best anyway.
Bishop? Me? We had no priests even, let alone bishops. We were communists for Heaven’s sake. Yeshua had made it perfectly clear how he felt about that, although that creep, Saul, seems to have befuddled Simon on that and other points while the two of them were carousing in the Imperial capital. That damned Saul (and as you know, I mean it literally) perverted everything he touched. Money, money, money, but it worked. Simon should have stayed home.
As for my skydiving off of the Temple roof, well, I can’t really recall doing that but I understand that I was stoned around that time, so, who’s to say. I understand that being “stoned” has several different connotations nowadays though.
Oh!!! And yes, Miriam was our mother!!!
Anyway, that’s about it for this interview. Hope I clarified a few misconceptions, and obviously, I do have a sense of humor.
Wow! You pegged the questions, although the answers are a bit unexpected.
You know, lots of us expected your brother to return an awfully long time ago, and to take us up with him. Any idea where he is now? A lot of people would like to know. The delay really caused a lot of confusion, and then, a lot of us sort of lost faith. But the “Adventists” are great at rationalization, even if not great at math, but even they’re starting to look a bit put off.
יעקב, James, or Jacob, or Santiago, or ….:
Hmmm, well, errr, … time doesn’t really run here, at all, so maybe Yeshua just sort of got carried away, the angels tend to put him to sleep with all those constant hymns and harping, and Dad’s preaching is pretty drawn out. His Dad I mean. Mine was Yosef.
But I’ll be sure to tell him you stopped by and asked after him. If I see him that is. This place has no dimensions or space, so things can get confusing.
Ahhhh! Hmmm, well, I guess that’s it then. But, well, could I ask a huge favor? Would you please give your brother my regards, and his Dad too, and my mom, please let her now I really miss her, and my grandparents, and ….
© Guillermo Calvo Mahé; Manizales, 2023; all rights reserved. Please feel free to share with appropriate attribution. Guillermo (“Bill”) Calvo Mahé (a sometime poet) is a writer, political commentator and academic currently residing in the Republic of Colombia (although he has primarily lived in the United States of America of which he is also a citizen). Until 2017 he chaired the political science, government and international relations programs at the Universidad Autónoma de Manizales. He is currently the publisher of the Inannite Review, available at Substack.com. He has academic degrees in political science (the Citadel), law (St. John’s University), international legal studies (New York University) and translation and linguistic studies (the University of Florida’s Center for Latin American Studies). However, he is also fascinated by mythology, religion, physics, astronomy and mathematics, especially with matters related to quanta and cosmogony. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org and much of his writing is available through his blog at https://guillermocalvo.com/.