The First Chain Letter?

Corinthians-Quentin-background-maybe!3-flat-300dpiA newly discovered parchment fragment from the caves in Nag Sunislope near the Dead Salt River in Phoenixia reveals what may be the first documented chain letter.

(click image to enlarge)

This fragment, written in Greek, appears to be authored by Paul, a famous epistoler of the first century, with help from a certain Sosthenes.

Εγώ Παυλ,απποιντεδ με Γοδ το βε αν αποστλε
I Paul, appointed by God to be an apostle

It is addressed primarily to a community in Kórinthos, a city-state in ancient Greece, near Athens. Notably, it is copied en masse to communities of Galaxians, Effusians and Fallopians in the Peloponnesus.

The chain epistle offers a number of warnings, eerily similar to modern warnings about the dangers of vaccination, GMOs, Halloween candy, gluten and “chemicals” including the dire admonition, “Be thou not a fool but take care to send copies to at least five brethren.”

While authentication is still underway by experts from the Words In Action Linguistics Unit, the style of “humble brag” employed throughout is characteristic of Paul’s style:

“I may have all the eloquence of Angels, but without love, a stout Quill and plenty of Parchment, I am simply a gong booming.”

Fortunately, Sosthenes, or perhaps Crispus, created an anglicized version with proper headers.Corinthians-papyrus-epistle headers-fs(300-sm)


Faux Greek and distressed parchment treatment by the author.
The text of Paul’s First Chain Letter to the Corinthians upon which I based my version can be found at the Rainier United Methodist Church website under “Random Humor,” as collected by Steve Frantz. Mr. Frantz admits to having no idea who the original authors are. Thus, claiming both the hallowed biblical and Internet traditions of adding to seemingly apocryphal works, I feel no compunction about proffering my own version. Although I believe I have substantially increased the “yoks-per-line” count of the piece, and corrected a few minor theological problems as might be expected from handed-down material, I have to confess that the foundation I started with is quite worthy in its own right and if the original author ever steps forward I will be happy to provide due honor. In the meantime, students of I Corinthians may find it amusing to pick out the genuine verbiage from the folderol.

 

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2 comments on “The First Chain Letter?

  1. charleycrews says:

    When did you learn Aramaic?

    • jveeds says:

      It’s Greek, my friend, which you would know if you hadn’t spent most of your sophomore year in college TP’ing the Frat “mother house.”

      But seriously, it’s simply a transliteration of the English text in the second version into Greek characters. So it’s sort of faux Greek.

      interestingly, I believe there are still pockets of Aramaic speakers in the Middle East.

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