Nov 8, 2015

The Trojan Horse (1) Jerusalem - JJ Benítez

Before starting I should make clear that this Trojan Horse is not the extremely well-known horse that the Achaeans used to hide from their enemies during the war in Troy; according to the Greek author in his Iliad. Indeed, there is no relation at all except that the main characters of this Trojan Horse also hid for a period of three years while living in Palestine year 30; for that purpose they resorted to a time machine.

The saga has been published from 1984 till 2012 (and counting) by Spanish writer J.J. Benítez (who assures not to be the direct author of the books) and consists of 9 books and one extra named The Day of the Lightning.

The plot is about two American military members of the US Air Force who travel to Jesus'  time with the object of getting to know him personally and thus confirm or deny everything that has been said and written about him through history. The first book takes place in the preceding days of the passion and death of the rabbi of Galilea.
My score:

In my opinion, the title The Trojan Horse does not fit the book very well; this is because this work is focused on a very different topic from the one we traditionally know as The War of Troy. The name Trojan Horse had been already used and made famous by the mentioned Homer in the Ancient Greece and afterwards around the world, hence we all sometime fall into the misunderstanding of confusing one thing with the other.

Speaking about confusions…, another one that is quiet recurrent is the main character’s personality: Jesus of Nazareth. Always cited in Christian and Catholic texts, has been turned into a tormented and disciplinarian figure tightly linked to creeds and religious dogmas. In this work otherwise, a jovial, optimist and above all, free of religious precepts of all kinds is introduced to us.

In the same way, events whose outcomes differ in a great measure from the ones referred to in texts such as the Bible are frequently described. The author then, considers convenient to warn those readers whose religious beliefs are so deeply rooted to accept new concepts or at least not to let themselves be negatively affected.

The best part begins when the travellers arrive to Palestine year 30 and start out with the search of Jesus, having to keep track of Lazarus in order to get close to the rabbi. Though Lazarus is reluctant to unexpected strangers irruptions who attempt to get near to his Lord in such a moment when he is fiercely chased by the Pharisees.

This episode introduces the passage of Lazarus resurrection; one of the most exciting with no doubt, the writer provides a rich description full of details that definitely hook the reader. It is frankly interesting to make a comparison between this version and the one from the Bible, since it offers a lot of differences that make you reflect.

The so waited first meeting between Jesus and Jason (fictitious name taken by one of the traveller) comes next; a very highly trained individual tested and experimented in the Military Forces of the United States, simply runs out of words and does not know how to react when Jesus makes his path through the crowd to get close to him and welcome him. It is a tragicomic scene where Jesus has to break the ice and push Jason out of his astonishment. Once he snaps out of his shock Jason decides to stay close to him wherever he goes, this includes being besides him during the difficult hours of his passion and death.

This would be the historical part of the story, let’s say purely circumstantial narrative. Nevertheless, parallel to this, another story develops, perhaps a more transcendental one, and I mean Jesus’ teachings.

The long conversations between Jason and Jesus are up to the reader’s interpretation and they constitute per se an endless source of reflection and learning. This reading makes clear that Jesus did not come to this world to pay off anybody’s debts, nor to die for anybody’s sins, but rather to let us know the existence of his Father (The Blue Father as he calls him).
We all are the Creator’s children and consequently we become creators too. His message is not subject to, whatsoever, nor restricted to any social group, race or religion, since we all are called upon to assume the new gospel as a lifestyle.

I should add that Jesus turns out to be an individual... perhaps too modern for many, not only in his time but in ours too. He never went along with the so-called women’s inferior status (for instance), he was a very feminist person (read: Feminism as equality between genders), and his mother Mary proclaimed it even more than him; in fact, she was not someone you mess around with at all, and she never hesitated to stand up for her rights and her relatives’. This woman completely differs from the submissive and simpleton woman introduced by the Bible (more details in the third book of this saga).

According to the author Jesus was an intelligent being, evolved and just, capable to see that prostitution (for example) is an infinitely smaller foul than hypocrisy, and if it is a fault is due to different reasons to the ones we socially conceive. We normally accept, with no much fuss, a hypocrite in our circle, but a prostitute has no chance.

Jesus persistently insists on leaving out erroneous beliefs we were taught while growing up and propose to embrace the new life lesson: trust, keep the faith that moves mountains and know that there is a Father who is love and is willing to give us everything for free, with no sacrifices that, not even us (human parents) would impose to our children. This Father has nothing to do with fear but faith. At this point it seems that the only thing that makes us different from Jesus is his absolute trust in his Father, and that He actually does not possess any supernatural powers we cannot count on if we only believed. It is us with our endless doubts who put limits to our dreams.

“Do not judge by appearance. Live your faith when everything seems to fade.”
“Do not give in by outward appearance. Stand firm in your faith and soon you’ll know the reality of what you believe”
“It does not matter how difficult it could be: now you should walk by faith not by sight”

Even though the saga is cataloged as a novel, the author assures he owns the original manuscript given to him by one of the travellers before his passing. Anyway, be it truth or fiction is a piece of work that is worth reading, leaving the veracity of its content up to the reader’s judgment. I personally think if someone can believe in the Bible, why not give some credit to the Trojan Horse? It’s a lot healthier and practical since it is not necessary to subject yourself to anything: not rites, no ceremonies, no groups, no initiations, no nothing… and if you’re not convinced by its message, nothing happens; there’s no revenge, no Yahweh into a rage; and you won’t have to burn in hell. Even if you take this content as merely fictional, the reader will find it difficult not to conclude the reading because you will be glued to your chair for hours.

Caution: There is a long spying introduction capable of dissuading an incautious reader and not experienced in the noble task of waiting patiently to an exciting event storm into the scene and make him desist of leaving the task before the true adventure starts. Therefore, a good dose of patience will result in a good compensation; however you can always skip the prologue and start from “The Major’s Diary” (you won’t miss much). I decided to read the whole book, though this part is sort of monotonous it provides a lot of info on how all this material came to Benítez and how the time travel was possible to carry out.

You’re warned.

Note: This book hasn't been translated into English yet.

The Trojan Horse (2) Masada 

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