'TRANSLATIONS' OF BOOKS WHICH NEVER EXISTED
by Mark Newbrook
Edmond Szekely (1905-1979) was a Hungarian philologist/ linguist, philosopher, psychologist and vegetarian (note 1). One of his works is The Essene Gospel of Peace, which he claimed to be a translation (by him) of an ancient text which he supposedly discovered in the 1920s in the Vatican Library along with other obscure texts in Hebrew and Aramaic, the ancient languages of Palestine. He interpreted this text as endorsing vegetarianism and as seriously modifying the story of Jesus. Later he claimed that he had found an earlier (original?) version of part of the Essene Gospel of Peace at Monte Cassino. He drew connections between these texts and the 'Essene' Dead Sea Scrolls (once these were published), and also connections with the Zoroastrian sacred text, the Avesta. (On links between Zoroastrianism and Judaism, see Language On The Fringe 56 in the last issue.)
The mainstream response to Szekely has been to the effect that there is no proof that the documents in question ever existed. The Monte Cassino library was destroyed during World War II, but there is apparently no trace of such documents in the Vatican or in other libraries which Szekely claimed to have used, or indeed evidence of his presence there. Of course, supporters of Szekely can argue that the truth has been suppressed (as has also been claimed in the case of the apocryphal Gospel of Barnabas which was allegedly stolen from the Vatican Library before being published in Italian and Spanish around 1600 and which appears to support an Islamic interpretation of the ministry of Jesus). It is difficult to prove that a given document is not to be found in a large library, still more difficult to prove that it was never there! You cannot normally show that there are no lions in the wood, only that despite your best efforts you have not found one!
Szekely was a serious scholar, but it certainly looks as if he was tempted by his enthusiasms into the outright invention of texts - a truly extreme and plainly immoral type of distortion! But at least the Hebrew and Aramaic languages themselves obviously exist! In contrast, H.P. Blavatsky's Senzar, even if it did exist (unlikely), has left no veridical trace (again, see the last issue)!