Archaeologists have uncovered in a rubbish pit outside Jerusalem what may well be the find of the century outstripping even the discovery of Tutankhamen's tomb in 1922. It is a parchment believed to have been distributed weekly among the intelligentsia of Jerusalem during and after the time of Christ. It gives details of the lately deceased, newly elected officials, births, marriages, criminal sentencing, decrees from Rome; and surprisingly,... an occasional transcribed interview with celebrities now gone.
The Acta Aelia or "Jerusalem Chronicle" was in fact the first Jewish newspaper ever published, inspired albeit by the Acta Diurna of Rome. The Jewish Acta Aelia however was more detailed and fact-oriented and strictly for the informed minority who could afford to buy it.
More astonishingly, in the copy unearthed by archaeologists digging in the area, there is what could well be the find of the century... an exclusive interview with no less a person than the eternally infamous Judas Iscariot, presented as an adulatory postscript to his obituary.
The text reveals that Judas Iscariot apparently did not kill himself as everyone believes. Reminiscent of modern day pre-election propaganda it was a story deliberately put about by paid-up functionaries of the city council. The news of his 'suicide' had been sent around Jerusalem as a 'rumour' to pave the way for victory in the forthcoming elections.
So, a posse went 'searching' for him because Judas was very popular indeed, a 'character' as we say, especially among the drinking class of Jerusalem's poorer quarters; and there was much rejoicing in his eventual discovery, fast asleep, under a bush on the Mount of Olives, cradling a flagon of wine. He claimed at the time to have been drunk, before, during, and after Jesus's arrest. Only much later, as the article makes clear and when it was safe to do so, did he change his story.
In actual fact, Judas Iscariot, it transpires, died contentedly of old age, leaving behind a considerable estate to his many wives and offspring. What then did Judas say as he prepared to meet his Maker?
Here is a verbatim transcript from the Acta Aelia 34AD; although it has to be stressed much may have been lost in the translation:
"Jesus was as soft as camel shit,... seriously, Peter was tired of fighting his fights for him; Jesus was a little guy, couldn't slug his way out of a wet gourd if his life depended on it. Couldn't scare a fly away from a rotten fig. I kid thee not. Barabbas was my man. I mean, Barabbas was a real man... big, bushy black beard, ... not like Jesus's little goose-arse whispy effort. Barabbas could bend horse shoes with his teeth. Birds could nest in his chest. When Barabbas spoke you listened, by Jehovah! The mountains trembled. When Jesus spoke it was ... "What eye...whatta? What did he say? Did anybody get that? Camel? Eye of a needle? Whose camel? Anybody know what that means?"
That sort of thing; it never stopped. Jesus had a serious communication problem, believe me. Barabbas was a man of the people... but Jesus... and I only knew him for three years... Barabbas I knew all my life.
We played as kids together, were taught by the same Scribes, later hung around the same taverns, got arrested for throwing stones at the Roman soldiers. We were close as only real men can get close. As for Jesus, suddenly he's there and I'm unemployed... so... to hell with it... I take whatever's offered don't I? You have to live in the real world, don't you?
But, to tell you the truth, Jesus... hmmmm... I don't take to dudes grabbing my face and staring into my eyes and making like they know me and that shit. My wife used to do that until I slapped it out of her. Jesus was always doing that; so I kinda avoided him. I'm a very private person as it happens.
The Rabbi had his favourites as well...too fond of John in my view, if you get my drift. And he was not as smart as people think he was. I mean he put me in charge of the money, and good money it was too in those days. How dumb was that do you think? I mean... if you were God as you claimed to be.....Come on! Duh? Enlightened? Don't know what that means frankly and care even less. He liked to party, for sure; and we had some great times with the shakers and movers around town and so on... but, needless to say, Jesus could not hold his drink.
Not a lot of people know that 'cos they had him figured for a drunk and stuffed cheap plonk into his face on the cross and so on just to make the point. Take it from me... two glasses and he was a goner. Now Barabbas... that man could drink like a fish all night and be the last man standing at dawn. Whatta guy, eh? God, how I miss Barabbas!
I mean Jesus no disrespect by the way; and I hope he rests in peace... wherever he is, but that is a fact. Sure, he performed miracles. Big deal! There's a whole slew of magicians do tricks all over Judea. And they pull in the crowds like nothing. But, he didn't tell me how to do any of them or I wouldn't have shopped him in the first place, would I? I had a wife and six kids to feed and two expensive mistresses, not including Mary Magdalene who was a freebie. I mean dat broad was anybody's for a wet fish. And you have to think of your community for crying out loud, don't you? What is a man to do?
The Sanhedrin made me an offer I simply could not refuse. Pulled me out of a hole, I can tell you. And shortly after the Rabbi got stiffed I got elected to the Jerusalem city council and stayed there for nearly thirty years.
After I took up my new post, I wasted no time getting my buddy Barabbas elected to office and we ran a neat little racket on new civic construction road works around Jerusalem until some two-faced bastard ratted on us. We got it sorted with Roman help... but it taught me a lot. Never trust "your own", as my old man used to say shortly before they hanged him for stealing horses. Thankfully, shit always blows over. That is the first and last maxim in political life. And, of course, you have to take care of your women. That, above all.
Sorriest day of my life I ran into Jesus, frankly. He got too big for his own sandals, in my view. If somebody had taken him down a peg things might have been different because we were dragging damned good money in the days when a single shekel could get you a flagon and two Persian hookers. And yet, I have to say, without Jesus I wouldn't have got to where I am today."
When Councillor Judas finally passed away there was a bronze statue made of him and erected outside Solomon's temple. A national day of mourning was declared and a sacrificial burnt goat offering made at the foot of his statue. The inscription read "To the memory of Judas Iscariot, true servant of the people and their beloved spokesman. Always loyal and true who fought our battles for us to the bitter end. A man who always knew the right thing to do and did it with great courage and conviction. He will be dearly missed. We are forever in his debt."
Judas, in fact, did write his memoirs in seven volumes; but alas, no trace of them has been found. However, we do know from the text that Tiberius Caesar made him an honorary proconsul and invited him regularly to Rome to address the Senate on provincial Jewish matters.
The article ended by stating that "Councillor Judas Iscariot helped greatly in winning respect for the Sanhedrin and for Jewish intellectuals and Scribes in Jerusalem of whom he proudly declared he was one. He will be sorely missed".