By C. Michael Forsyth
CANTERBURY, England — Missing for 800 years, a bookshelf built by Jesus Christ in His father’s carpentry shop has resurfaced in an elderly English woman’s home!
The Holy Bookshelf of Nazareth has been authenticated by a leading expert, who used radiocarbon dating to confirm that it was built approximately 2,000 years ago.
“The cedar from which the shelves are made is genetically identical to trees in a grove less than half a mile outside the ancient town of Nazareth,” says Dr. Lionel Getting. “Hebrew lettering engraved on a small plaque on the back indicates that it was made by ‘Joseph and Sons,’ believed to be the name of the shop owned by Our Lord’s earthly father.
“There is no doubt in my mind that this is indeed the genuine article.”
The bookshelf is considered one of the most sacred pieces of furniture in Christendom, second only to the Holy End Tables of Antioch, which are said to be hewn from the cross on which Jesus was crucified, and which are now housed in the Vatican.
According to legend, the bookcase was spirited out of the Holy Land after Crusaders sacked Constantinople in 1204 A.D. It resurfaced last December in the basement of Mrs. Helen Goldbolt of Canterbury, who was using it to store jars of preserves and odds and ends.
“It had been in our family for many generations,” she told a newspaper. “I had no idea it might be valuable until a plumber working in the basement saw it and suggested I have it appraised.”
The appraiser immediately recognized the object’s antiquity and contacted Dr. Getting, a university expert who was struck by its resemblance to medieval drawings of the shelves. Thrilled, he promptly launched an investigation.
“When I realized what it was, I was dumbstruck,” Dr. Getting remembers.
Despite its incredible age, the bookshelf is in extraordinary condition, having miraculously survived through the eons when most wooden furniture made at the time has long since fallen apart. What’s more, it appears to have strange paranormal properties. Mrs. Goldbolt claims that food placed on the shelves never decays.
“Once I accidentally left a carton of milk on the top shelf,” the 78-year-old widow recalls. “Three months later it wasn’t spoiled.”
Profane objects don’t fare as well.
“The bookshelf was in my son’s bedroom when he was in his teens and he stored his collection of girlie magazines on the bottom shelf,” Mrs. Goldbolt says. “One day they burst into flames. They were reduced to ashes, but the shelves weren’t even singed.”
The nails used in the shelves’ construction match those employed by Hebrew carpenters in the 1st Century A.D. and recovered from archaeological digs. However, astonishingly, there is no sign of rust.
How the bookshelf survived two millennia is especially baffling because there is nothing out of the ordinary in how it is put together.
“Though by no means shoddily constructed, the Holy Bookshelf was made with no frills. For example only the minimal possible number of nails were used to adhere the vertical back cleats,” the expert notes. “This is entirely consistent with the Bible, which suggests that while Jesus was a smashing success as the Savior of mankind, He was a mediocre carpenter. Unlike His younger brother James, He had little interest in following His earthly father’s footsteps in the family business.
“As we now know, He had bigger fish to fry.”
Copyright C. Michael Forsyth
MORE FROM THE AUTHOR OF THIS STORY …
ON THE HOUR OF THE BEAST FRONT…
Had a great time as a vendor hawking my horror novel Hour of the Beast at the Mad Monster Party convention in Charlotte, N.C. the weekend of March 23rd. I scared the pants off guest Traci Lords, the famed former porn princess. Oops, bad choice of words. What I mean is that when she took a gander at the werewolf hand in a jar I keep as a prop on my table, she leapt back in horror and almost shrieked. BTW, she looks fantastic – you’d swear she was 25.
I saw two awesome screenings. One was the pilot for a TV show called “Ghost Trek.” A hilarious faux reality show, it’s like “Reno 911” with ghost hunters. The other is an indie film titled “Nail Biter.” One of the best horror films I’ve seen in years, putting most big studio fare to shame. Look for my review in my next post.
A highlight was getting to meet one of my favorite actors of all time, the great Chris Sarandon – a star who was a better vampire than Christopher Lee and a better Jesus than Max von Sydow! If you only know Sarandon from the original “Fright Night” you know how charismatic he is – managing to be sexier in the role of bloodsucker Jerry Dandridge than hunk Colin Farrell was in the remake. But check him out in other roles, from Al Pacino’s transsexual mate in “Dog Day Afternoon” to a macho cop in “Child’s Play” – and you’ll have a sense of his range. His acting choices are fascinating. There’s a scene in “The Day Christ Died” when Jesus is slapped, illustrating the turn the other cheek lesson. Chris, as Jesus, slowly turns the other cheek – AFTER he looks like he wants to slug the other guy. A Jesus who’s truly human and for once, a Jesus who’s actually interesting.