Essene Gospel of Peace Book 2: The Unknown Books of the Essenes
by Edmond Bordeaux Szekely
I have to begin this preface with a great confession: this is not my first translation of Book Two of the Essene Gospel of Peace; it is my second. The first effort took many years to complete, and it was composed painstakingly and literally, with hundreds of cross references and abundant philological and exegetical footnotes. When it was finished, I was very proud of it, and in a glow of selfsatisfied accomplishment, I gave it to my friend, Aldous Huxley, to read. Two weeks later, I asked him what he thought of my monumental translation. "It is very, very bad, he answered. "It is even worse than the most boring treatises of the patristics and scholastics, which nobody reads today. it is so dry and uninteresting, in fact, that I have no desire to read Book Three."
I was speechless, so he continued. "You should rewrite it, and give it some of the vitality of your other books-make it literary, readable and attractive for twentieth century readers. I'm sure the Essenes did not speak to each other in footnotes! In the form it is in now, the only readers you will have for it may be a few dogmatists in theological seminaries, who seem to take masochistic pleasure in reading this sort of thing. However," he added with a smile, "you might find some value in it as a cure for insomnia; each time I tried to read it I fell asleep in a few minutes. You might try to sell a few copies that way by advertising a new sleep remedy in the health magazines-no harmful chemicals, and all that." It took me a long time to recuperate from his criticism-. I put aside the manuscript for years.
Meanwhile, I continued to receive thousands of letters from many readers from all parts of the world of my translation of Book One of the Essene Gospel of Peace, asking for the second and third books promised in the preface. Finally, I got the courage to start again.