Pan Viadomsky, an anti-Semitic Catholic scholar living in the 1930’s. Old and irascible, he is both brilliant and fraudulent as a researcher of the Holy Land during the first century. He is the reincarnation of the Roman soldier, Cornelius, who apprehended and arrested Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. In his twentieth century incarnation, Viadomsky is still tortured by his memories of Jesus. He is fascinated with Jews as well as with anyone he perceives to be reincarnated from Jerusalem during the time of Jesus. At the same time, he is filled with hatred of Jews, an attitude that increases his prestige as Nazi Socialism becomes increasingly popular. He depends on the ability of the narrator, a young Jewish scholar, to translate Hebrew and to recall things from ancient Jerusalem.
Cornelius, a professional soldier who has cast his lot with Pontius Pilate, lives in Jerusalem, and observes the various aspects of Hebrew culture as he continues his service under the Roman governor. He believes in power as the answer to all ethical problems, and maintaining Roman power is in his interest. Although he is intrigued with Jesus, he must decide to view the “Rabbi of Nazareth” as a serious threat.
Jesus of Nazareth
Jesus of Nazareth, the Rabbi from K’far Nahum, known to some, toward the end, as the Messiah ben David. He is the focus of Cornelius (speaking in his reincarnated form, that of Pan Viadomsky), of Judas Ish-Kiriot (Iscariot, who speaks through a manuscript found by...
(The entire section is 644 words.)