Friday, July 5, 2013

The Autobiography Of God

by Stephen J. Gertz

Chicago: Willett, Clark and Company, 1937.
"The vast sweep of history from the days of Abraham down to Hitler and the coronation of George VI of England in 1937 is portrayed as seen by Yahweh himself, the chief actor in the episodes that have shaped the modern world...a novel of great audacity" (Dust jacket blurb).

Ai, ai, ai, I, Yahweh! Great audacity, indeed.

Now, you can call me Yah or you can call me El; you can call me Elah or you can call me Eloah; you can call me HaShem or you can call me Adoshem; you can call me Jah or you can call me Jehovah but you doesn't have to call me Yahweh! In fact, I find it annoying. Adonai will do just fine. Like James Baldwin, nobody knows my name. In my case let's keep it that way.

Addressing me by my first name is simply rude. Maybe it's an American thing, breaking down class distinctions by leveling the playing field with informality. But if you were introduced to George Washington would you say, "Hey, George, nice t'meet'cha. Waz happ'nin?'" followed by a fist-bump? Of course not; you'd be awestruck. But you don't hesitate to dis me, treating me like we're old pals. Jumpin' Jehosephat! Did anybody - besides his wife, in private - dare to call Don Corleone "Vito?"  So, what am I, chopped liver?

It's Mr. Yahweh to you. Better yet, I Am That I Am (אהיה אשר אהיה), but if you insist upon being a boor call me Big Daddy. Or, since we're in the 21st century, Big Data: the invisible know-it-all in the cloud with a host of servers to do my bidding.

First of all, I did not "write" this book nor did I will it into existence. It's a case of identity theft. The first paragraph is a dead giveaway.

"I know not whose prayer gave rise to my being. Who, indeed, can remember the circumstances of his begetting? I recall only the mighty solitude of the world wherein first I found myself There was a great plain which lay round about the city of Ur in ancient Chaldea. Thither do my earliest memories return."

What? Thither doth my displeasure begin, and, please, begone the stilted language. I needed mankind to pray me into existence? Gimme a break. I was here before, I'm here now, I'll be here later, long after humanity bites the dust and returns to it. And, what, I have no memories before humanity came on the scene? Skip the ontology; I AM, that's all you need to know, and I remember more than Sammy "the Bull" Gravano testifying against John "the Dapper Don" Gotti.

Check this out, from chapter seven: "From that time forth, forasmuch as I had entered somewhat into the temporal province, Constantine entered more freely into the spiritual. And I took it it not amiss until that day when he said unto me, 'Yahweh, it is made increasingly plain that we must have thee defined.'

"'Defined, sayest thou?' I queried." The nerveth of this guy! I refuse to be pigeonholed. Everybody says I'm unknowable, beyond comprehension - and I am - but that hasn't stopped anyone from determining what they think I want. I'm a mystery without a solution, a Raymond Chandler novel with plot that makes no sense. My challenge to mankind is not to feel secure but to be able to live with insecurity without going insane.

What do I want? I'm not talking; gotta keep you flesh and blood folks on your toes.

I'm pleased to report that this book, a  turkey in the form of an autobiography, has not received a single review on Library Thing, Good Reads, or Amazon. It is, apparently, considered to be one of the ten plagues of Egypt and something to avoid, a toss-up between boils and pestilence. It is forgotten and for good reason. "Friends will find much to ponder on in this book, which is told in the first person by no less than Jehovah, Yahweh, God of the Hebrews. The idea is more startling than the book." So sayeth T. Morris Longstreet in 1939, reviewing the book (two years after its publication, yet!) for the Bulletin of Friends' Historical Association. It needs all the friends it can get, Quaker or otherwise.

Need I add that I have nothing to do with, the online House of Me? Talk about chutzpah! My Domain is mine and mine alone but try telling that to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). I complained. I said, "I'm Yahweh." Guy says to me, "Right, and I'm Dagon, don't bust my chops." Philistines.

So, enough of this phoney-baloney autobiography of Me. Oy, Yahweh! It's a hoax.

So say I, Clifford Irving.

GREY, Robert Munson. I, Yahweh. Chicago: Willett, Clark & Company, 1937. First edition. Octavo. [8], 352 pp. Cloth.. Dust jacket.

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