The Original Version Restored and Translated With Introduction and Commentaries by James David Audlin
This is the only narrative about Jesus by eyewitnesses: the Beloved Disciple and the gifted scholar John the Presbyter. It is also one of the world’s greatest literary works, modelled on classical Greek theatre and philosophy, but soaring above them in its own new genre.
The original work was never completed before the author was arrested and sent into exile. For safekeeping, his friends sent the unfinished manuscript to the city of Sinope, in far-away Pontus. But, even there, the hand of Rome nearly destroyed it. A foolish young man named Marcion rescued it, yet had the sense to put it into the hands of the Presbyter’s spiritual heirs, and they published it. While in Sinope some pages had gotten lost or disordered, with the damage never repaired. After publication various editors changed the manuscript repeatedly to suit the changing doctrines of early Christianity, even adding spurious new material. Thus the standard text is an inspiring mess, but still a mess.
This translation undoes the damage to restore – not the unfinished original text, but the masterpiece the Beloved Disciple and his amanuensis sought to compose. By so doing, we gain a sharply drawn first-hand account of Jesus of Nazareth. Here we encounter a vividly real man sent by God to urge humanity to accept God’s will – described in a narrative set down before creeds and doctrines repackaged him as an incarnate deity in the Roman style.
For a world that has replaced truth with lies, spirituality with commerce, wisdom with hatred, this is a work that gives us pure, undiluted sacred wisdom as shared with us by a man many call the greatest who has ever lived.
Volume One contains the carefully restored text in English and Greek, and a history of how the gospel was written, nearly lost to the world several times, and finally published. Volume Two includes detailed commentaries that burnish this masterpiece for the modern reader.
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The Original Versions in Greek and English
John the Presbyter was a high-ranking priest in the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem when for the first time he heard Jesus speak. The encounter changed his life: he became a follower of Jesus and for the rest of his years he wrote books about his spiritual master — one of the few of Jesus’s eyewitnesses to even try to do so.The world is familiar with John’s two great masterworks, the Gospel of John and the Revelation to John, available as other books in this series. But, except for New Testament specialists, few are aware of his other writings.This book presents all of the Presbyter’s shorter works that have survived. They were written over a turbulent thirty-year period during which John strove to spread and preserve the truth about Jesus, in a time when others — none more than Paul of Tarsus, who had never even met Jesus — fought for control over who got to define Jesus’s nature and teachings. During these years John escaped from Jerusalem before its destruction by the Roman military and later was arrested and exiled for treason, probably turned in to the authorities by none other than Paul.
The common theme in these shorter writings is John’s determination to conter Paul’s efforts to recast Jesus as a Roman godling inhabiting a spiritual body, not one of flesh. The Christian religion was to adopt Paul’s views, not John’s, but we can still read today these books by a man who, unlike Paul, personally knew and studied under the Master.The works herein include four well-known writings: the final chapter of the gospel (originally a separate work) and the three letters also included in the New Testament, all carefully retranslated from the original Greek. But also included are several virtually unknown works: John’s instruction manual for local congregations, some rare teachings of Jesus, an account of Jesus dancing and singing just before his execution, and the Presbyter’s critical comments about the Gospel of Mark.
Not one of these works deserves to be forgotten by history, for they are the precious writings of a man who knew Jesus. What is more, they were composed in the Presbyter’s fine style, one that deserves comparison to the greatest of classical Greek and Roman authors. And today’s Christians — and indeed anyone interested in the real historical Jesus behind the distortions of dogma and doctrine — should come to know them.
A Writer in Panamá
Life and Travels in a Vanishing Frontier World
An American who cannot afford to live in his own house escapes to Panamá. Finds himself in Heaven – a beautiful land with wonderful people – but finds corrosive civilization coming ever nearer this fragile alien world.
In this travel memoir, novelist James David Audlin tells of his adventures in one of the world’s last frontier lands. Here one still sees Ngäbe Buglé people, in their bare feet and traditional finery, walking through the village as if they are visiting from another planet. Here descendants of the Conquistadores still ride horseback on dirt roads far too rutted for the new arrivals, the gringos, to negotiate in their big SUVs. Here in the temblor-shaken Tierras Altas, in the shadow of the great Barú volcano at the center of the world – here, for a while yet, there is a respite from the worldwide flood of commercialism, bigotry, arrogation, and greed. But it will not last much longer.
For more about Panamá as a potential retirement haven, featuring some quotations and paraphrases from this book, be sure to visit Best Places in the World to Retire
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The Circle of Life
A Memoir of Traditional Native American Teachings
In a manner accessible to the general reader, this treasury of traditional Native American sac
red teachings offers the results of a lifetime of study of oral traditions involving spirituality, ceremonies, visions, healings, everyday life, and the warrior’s way.
This is the COMPLETE EDITION, three times the length of the previously published version.
“The Circle of Life” presents, in written form, traditional oral Native American sacred teachings from the Iroquois, Lakota, and other traditions. The author, James David Audlin (Distant Eagle), has been receiving these teachings orally from elders since he was a youth. The wisdom includes Native American views on cosmology, ethics, epistemology, metaphysics, sociology, psychology, healing, dream interpretation, and vision quests.
Audlin is not a spiritual teacher nor does he even consider himself an authority — he sees himself as a conduit through which the oral traditions handed down to him by elders from various tribes can be presented in a meaningful manner to peoples in today’s modern world. He outlines universal principles common to all the Native peoples of “Turtle Island” – and, in fact, to many traditional peoples the world over. We are all a part of the Sacred Hoop, he explains, and the traditional ways of the Native Americans differ only in relatively less essential outer characteristics from the traditional ways of other peoples.
The Red Road is available to everyone —regardless of religion or ethnicity — who is willing to follow its paths. These paths, however, are often not easy and require deep personal and spiritual commitment. “The Circle of Life” can be used as a guide on this journey. As Audlin says in his introduction, “If this book serves any purpose, let it be to help us bring the Sacred Hoop of All the Nations back together again, so we and all that lives may stand as one in silent awe before that Great Mystery.
Grandfather Sings-Alone, of the Eastern Cherokee Nation, author of “Sprinting Backwards to God”, says this book “is a must read for all who want to know the Native ways of worship and honor.”
The Rev. Nickolas M. Miles, Powhatan Nation says: “James David Audlin’s book Circle of Life offers the reader a glimpse into Native American traditional teachings that will help to eliminate preconceived notions and lead one to a deeper understanding of what it means to live in harmony with all of life. A bonus to reading this book is that your life will change.
Tim Giago, Oglala Lakota Nation, a nationally syndicated columnist, says: “James David Audlin draws from his own experiences with Indian spirituality and blends them with the traditional Indian spirituality that is becoming more important in America with each passing decade. In blending his points of view with those of the indigenous people, he has created a mixture of Western values and Indian values. Some readers may think that the subject matter touches on traditional values some Indians would rather not reveal, and others will embrace his thoughts and his vibrant storytelling about something that has long been on the backburner of history. Audlin is not bashful in presenting an entirely new conception of Indian spirituality and values.”
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The following older, much shorter version, still in print, remains popular with many readers.
CLICK HERE FOR THE OLDER VERSION of The Circle of Life
James David Audlin, restorer and translator of the Presbyter’s complete works, wrote this book in response to the common statement by scholars that supposedly nothing is known about John’s life. In fact, much can be learned from the ancient manuscripts, and it is a life both exciting and inspiring.
Even though scant support was given by early Christian leaders to inclusion of the Book of Revelation in the New Testament, it is today one of the most popular texts therein: much read, much discussed, and much misunderstood. This book restores the original structure of the work, and through meticulous commentaries opens up its actual intent, as a kind of continuation of the narrative in the Gospel of John: describing what happened to Jesus and Mary after the resurrection in the context of a newly developing religion.
This is the last major work of John the Presbyter, author of the Gospel of John and the Revelation. It comprises forty-two interconnected poems of exquisite beauty, considerable profundity, and vivid imagery. The theme is the reunion of Jesus and Mary Magdalene following his resurrection from death, and the images are often highly erotic. For those who deny Jesus could possibly have been married, this book is a strong witness to the contrary by the only disciple of Jesus who was a university-trained scholar and an author of books.
Essays on clocks, Gothic architecture, Edgar Rice Burroughs, the art and craft of writing, philosophy, politics, and much more.
“Since this is not an autobiography the story does not center on me, and therefore though I am telling the story, the story is not about me. It begins with ancestors, with place, with time. Nor does it end with me. This story embraces all. It doesn’t look at me but outward from me. This story is written by the world, and only recorded by me.
“A heterobiography is not an autobiography, not the organized, synthesized memories of self-as-actor in the context of community, but the raw memories of community in the context of self-as-observer. An autobiography is necessarily narcissistic, dwelling on the self recounting the memories of self. An autobiography is deliberately selective, like a history, choosing certain memories for inclusion and others for exclusion in order to present a certain desired simulacrum of the past. Memories, however, are primarily not of self but of the world around us – for we do not observe ourselves; we remember far more the world around us, and the words and actions of others. What we think of as memories of ourselves are really only mental reconstructions not true to life. Therefore a heterobiography is truer to memory, and tells the story more faithfully, giving only indirectly a sense of the individual telling the story.
“Besides that it can more faithfully portray the past, a heterobiography seems to me the right medium for a deeper reason. I do not believe one can ever know with certainty why one was given the gift of life; Creator neither confides in us a raison d’être nor gives us a list of instructions or projects that we are expected to complete before death. But I do believe that Creator provides us with hints as to what we are to do with our life, and that these hints may be found in the people we meet, the experiences we have, the particular abilities we find within ourselves, the books we read, and so on. I have, for instance, had the opportunity to meet wise exponents of the world’s great faiths; there is general consensus that within me is a facility for learning languages and writing well, and composing and performing music. Others have taught me the importance of thinking clearly and deeply relatively free from the subtly instilled strictures of society; and of doing what one can to leave some goodness behind when one is gone from this life – and, since these aspects of my nature are ultimately the residue of direct experience, they seem to point clearly to why I exist. This book, I hope, will bear out this unprovable belief.”
–from the opening pages