Jonathon E. S. Talkington, M.D.
Gina A. Scherzo, Ph.D.
Hilary E. Eusley, M.F.A.
Helmut Anton Witz, B.Sc.
Farsa Ulisses Niña Noughton Ypres, Psy.D.
G. A. Goufaugh, M.D.
Janice Ophelia Kinsington-Erestus, R.N.
[Note from the book’s author: This brief article, which fits as a kind of interlude into the other chapters of Autistic Symphony, was of course not written by my hand. In many ways, I wish mightily I could claim it as my work—it seems as though it has always been a cherished dream of mine to storm the bastions of scholarship and research by way of producing something both controversial and stunning in its immediate impact, and indeed it seems as though the present article could very well serve just such a purpose. However, for anyone who knows me well, it will appear immediately obvious I lack the education, training, funds and adequate number of colleagues even to begin to undertake such an effort as is about to be demonstrated here. And as I imagine the reader will soon be able to appreciate for himself, scholarship such as this is always best left in the capable hands of acknowledged experts.
With the kindly permissions of Talkington, et al. (indeed almost at their insistence, once they discovered I had publishable space), I have inserted their article at this point in my volume so as to provide some contrast and relief from what has gone before, and what will soon follow, and also because—although I myself have found their argument somewhat difficult to follow at its more dizzying heights—I am almost certain somewhere inside the following sets of words, there must surely be a significant idea attempting to get out. With profound gratitude to all experts who have ever written learnedly on the complex subject of autism, I present this article to the worthy care of the dear reader, and urge him to take the gist of its thesis as seriously as he can.]
For more than two decades now—ever since that fortune-blessed trio of researchers Simon Baron-Cohen, Alan M. Leslie and Uta Frith stumbled into widespread acclaim and local academic success with their research paper introducing the Sally-Anne test and autistic theory of mind deficit1—the incidence of scholarly articles dealing with the subject of autism has been increasing at an alarming pace.2 Of particular interest to the present authors is a subcategory of works in which famous historical figures are openly speculated upon to have been afflicted with some kind of autistic spectrum condition, the smear upon their legacies apparently notwithstanding. In these works, the biographical details and writings of notable men3 such as Isaac Newton, Albert Einstein, Ludwig Wittgenstein and others are treated to a kind of retrospective diagnostic analysis, with emphasis placed upon the documentable traits consistent with the symptoms now commonly associated with autism. Nearly all these studies lead to a similar, mind-numbingly tragic conclusion: the famous person in question is assessed to have been sadly autistic, at least within acceptable margins of error.
The present authors, however, wish to respectfully take issue with the majority of these findings. It is not their tragic conclusion, of course, that is being objected to here; instead it is the methodology used in support of this published research that is being called into question. As noted, the vast preponderance of evidence given for backing findings of autism in historical figures has betrayed an extreme over-reliance upon accurate biographical information and the subject’s own written words—material shown time and again within the academic journals of highest repute to be of marginal significance for the purpose of modern scholarship. Any retrospective diagnosis applied to a deceased personality would ideally do a much better job of following the well-established psychiatric guidelines for analyzing moribund patients, especially as set forth in some of the larger manuals, and any attempt to slap the embarrassing label of autism upon a long-gone historical figure would in nearly every instance be better served by following the best practices procedures as recognized in the standards of necromedical research, including insistence upon an exhumation whenever feasible, in order to dig up the really good dirt.
The essential requirement here, above all else, is of course expert opinion—properly cited, authentically credentialed and, space permitting, augmented by a brief discussion vaguely tying the opinion to autism’s well-known triad of impairments: the pronounced difficulties with social interaction, the quantifiable language delays and peculiarities, and the observable tendencies towards obsessive or unusual interests.4 It goes without saying that such expert opinion can only be rendered by acknowledged experts—and the more the better. In the exciting, fast-growing, but relatively new discipline of anthropological autism, this requirement calls for a heavy reliance upon one’s own degreed colleagues, chosen from a manageable cohort of those having co-authored at least two major—or perhaps in a pinch, three minor—peer-reviewed articles published within the last ten years in recognized or recognizable psychiatric and medical journals. During an informal review of the previously published material supporting findings of autism in historical figures, the present authors have found the adequate employment of such collegial resources to be woefully lacking.
To rectify this dearth of rigor in the current research, the present authors have resolved themselves to submit an article within the genre worthy of the lofty standards they have just now proposed, an article virtually assured to be filled with the numbers and types of citations editors and referee committees must now come to expect. The authors say virtually assured because they have just discovered, somewhat to their collective amazement, that there remains one historical figure as yet unspeculated upon for having had autism (at least within the respectable journals), but also blessed with having had far more expert opinion published about him than anyone else, so much so that remaining historical figures seem merely mortal by way of comparison. Admittedly, a good portion of the material written about this man carries about it a type of “mysterious” air that would render it wholly unsuitable for scientific research, but separated from the chaff can still be found some pearls touching upon topics such as healing, introspection, leprosy and the like, making it little more than child’s play to submit this man to a proper psychiatric and medical analysis. Acting with God’s speed5 to claim first priority over this virgin find, the authors have scrambled together enough supporting material to pen the present article, and are now prepared to answer that crucial question set forth at its very beginning: did Jesus Christ have autism?
An exhaustive research into the existing literature reveals that the biography of Jesus has been written several times—at least four that the present authors are aware of—but despite these numerous attempts at historical revision, the essential fact has remained essentially unaltered that Jesus was nearly always pissing off someone within his immediate vicinity. Reliable first-hand information from the boy’s childhood is rather scarce, but at least one source would indicate he was an early burden6 to his long-suffering parents, and goes on to relate how the authorities, no doubt prompted by frequent calls from the neighbors, were forced on at least one occasion to make the family pack up and find residence elsewhere.
In another telling incident, the twelve-year-old Jesus is described as having ruined a sumptuous dinner party by wandering off and getting lost, just what one might expect from an overly full child struggling with autism.7 Although the boy happened upon a group of wise old elders who might have helped him to find his way back, Jesus uncloaked instead the significant signs of his anti-social nature by arguing directions with them ad infinitum, and betrayed his complete and utter obliviousness to the proper forms of lost-and-found behavior by giving out an incorrect name and address for his father, rendering it problematic for his parents to be paged. Indeed, the elders were moved on this occasion to remark upon the boy’s “unusual” intelligence, aware no doubt that 75 percent of autistic children are judged to be mentally deficient. When at long last his parents’ patience-of-Job efforts to find him were successful, Jesus was heard to further exacerbate the situation by chastising them for having looked in the wrong places, apparently suffering from a false belief that he could still be found in Sally-Anne’s basket.
This ungrateful tendency for Jesus to deny his own parents and attempt to have nothing whatsoever to do with them would crop up again from time to time throughout the remainder of his days (usually whenever there were fish or bread baskets at stake), and was extended to treatment of his brothers and sisters as well, and perhaps to other family relations. In one unfortunate tirade, Jesus was actually caught on record expressing his desire to pit brother against brother, father against son, mother against daughter—in effect, trying to divide his entire household against itself, attempting to make everyone else fall down and worship the ground he walked on.8 It seems reasonably clear after hearing all these harrowing tales of Jesus’ disruptive boyhood behaviors, that during the long, torturous days of his unruly upbringing, life in the home of Mary and Joseph must have been a living hell.
All might have been forgiven, of course, if upon reaching the age of majority Jesus had been able to hold on to a steady job, found himself a nice apartment somewhere—or at least a clean stable—maybe even married a good Jewish girl or two, and settled down. Alas, these glad tidings could never have come to pass, not with autism looming as a specter on the horizon. As sadly happens all too often in these lands where adult services and long-term care institutions are in all too short supply,9 Jesus soon found himself cast out onto the dusty streets of Judea, and between the long stretches of transcendental meditation and perhaps some short mental-and-nervous visits at the local clinic, he began falling in with some of the country’s more criminal and swinish elements. At one point he is registered as having joined a gang of river squatters, led by a man named John, reputedly a Southern Baptist by birth. It is conjectured Jesus might have formed there a first friendship or two while sharing a towel amongst the gang’s members, but the only authentic and non-pornographic information available to scholars from this critical time period shows that upon the gang leader being framed and executed on a trumped up charge of having made off with a silver platter, Jesus—unable to share his grief by attending the funeral services and burying the dead—chose instead to sink back into his prior existence of complete and utter isolation, suffering devilish bouts of depression and deprivation, and not answering the phone for at least forty days and forty nights.
In the following years, this never-ending saga of Jesus’ social misadventures would begin to fill a good book. A small sampling might include such awkward moments as the time Jesus went fishing for his dinner in the middle of a nearby regatta and managed to get a total of twelve competitors tangled up inside his nets, their predicament so dire only one would ever manage to cut himself loose and go on to win the thirty dollar top prize. And then there were the many occasions Jesus got caught red-handed in some kind of transgression or another: not paying his income taxes, sneaking bites of some good Samaritan corn, casting lots on the Sabbath, sewing sackcloth during the reaping season, and culminating finally in that most mortifying police report of them all, the night he was walked in on during the middle of a foot fetish game being played with a woman of, shall we say, loose and unsandaled comportment, and a somewhat oily complexion.
These frequent reoccurrences of public ineptitude are entirely consistent with a diagnosis of autism, as is Jesus’ unimaginative and standoffish strategy for avoiding still more episodes of interactive clumsiness—that is to say, his stealthy habit of keeping to himself for tryingly long stretches of time, leaving his companions always to wonder why he would never deign to join them for happy hour, when water could be turned to wine for half price.10 Near the end of his days, this obsession with solitude would result sadly in Jesus spending so much time alone in a tree-secluded garden at the edge of town (doing Lord knows what) his colleagues would finally have to resort to summoning the local militia to come track him down and haul him back into the real world.
As damaging as any of these episodes might have been to the reputation of a would-be prophet hoping to cut a good figure about town, they were as nothing compared to the incident that took place one dark, foreboding and reasonably sunny afternoon outside a Jerusalem marketplace and delicatessen, which at that time, due to an extended period of hyperinflation and a reasonably sweet interest rate deal, was leasing up some retail space in the back rooms of the main street temple. By all accounts, Jesus had become embroiled there in a banking dispute of some sort, and as is generally known to most psychologists and nearly all checkout line cashiers, autistics can experience great difficulty comprehending the true value and purpose of money, this despite possessing a sometimes exceptional mathematical aptitude, the kind that enables them to accurately carve out pie to over hundreds of place settings. Jesus too was not immune to some befuddlement over a coined phrase, and on this particular day the moneychangers simply could not get through to him that his offer would not be adequate for meeting the goals of the annual rebuild-the-church-in-three-days fund drive,11 and finally were forced to tell him point blank he did not have the talent for shekels. The eruption that then followed would be talked about outside synagogues for years to come, and indeed it was often said of the temple walls themselves they became so embarrassed by the subsequent notoriety they were literally torn up with shame during the weeks that followed. Jesus in effect responded to his short-term fiscal crisis by having a monumental meltdown, one of nearly biblical proportions. This article itself need not go into all the particulars here, and can table the messy details for another day, but it should be noted this was not a tantrum that might have been thrown by just any old human wandering in from the far distant fields, but indeed fits precisely to the profile of an inherently autistic outburst. This can be seen in the reports that Jesus, despite being blinded by rage and overwhelmed with emotion, was still able to engage in a perseverative effort to rearrange all the temple furniture into exactly the same position he had left it during his previous visit to Jerusalem, when he had thrown a similar tizzy fit.12
That Jesus was no crowd pleaser is evident also in his story’s end. Much has been written about the many political gaffes committed during that final week, miscues that might easily have been avoided if only Jesus had had the prescience to hire a marketing firm or at least a teacher’s aide. Who can forget that hapless election campaign in the race against Barabbas, in which Jesus must have mistakenly assumed he already had the goods in the bag, for there is absolutely no evidence Jesus ever engaged in any last minute campaigning, fundraising or even exit polling, he and his advisors choosing to spend their final, precious prime-time hours enjoying themselves in the theater district, taking in an overly passionate play and a late supper.13 Is there any wonder that with the votes being tabulated and just one hundred and forty-four of the tribal precincts having reported, Jesus already found himself buried in a landslide. Still, not even this debacle seems to have cured Jesus of his ingrained political naiveté, for during the long, grueling post-election pre mortem he was given to remark that the voters should be forgiven for not knowing what they were doing, a clear effrontery to that one civics lesson no eighth-grade dropout ever forgets—the majority rules, and therefore by definition cannot be wrong.14
The unusually extreme degree of Jesus’ lifelong social difficulties warrants perhaps one further comment from the present authors, who possessing acknowledged expertise on this very subject, are willing to venture that if a general survey were taken in the general population, asking which historical figure stricken with autism (none of whom were ever destined to be the life of any party) was indeed the most socially hopeless of them all, the present authors are convinced it would have to be Jesus who would be named the chosen one.15
The present authors are also convinced it would be a cardinal sin—not to mention a dubious rhetorical technique—to underestimate the variety and severity of language difficulties Jesus must have experienced throughout his actuarially brief but otherwise birthday-festive lifetime. First, there is the fundamental question of whether Jesus spoke in Hebrew, Greek or Aramaic, and since scholars to this very day still find themselves fiercely debating the topic, it seems abundantly clear Jesus must have been very difficult to understand. Also, there are the mounds of evidence still being uncovered in the field, where researchers digging deeply into the original and authentic form of Jesus’ exact spoken words usually report that his sentences and paragraphs are found to be fractured, gap-filled, jumbled together in just about any which way—patterns entirely consistent with the characteristics of a significant verbal impairment.16 Finally, one dare not overlook the tantalizingly tempting results arising from that hot new and inconceivably expensive technology known as Linguistically Interactive Statistical Parameterization, Lisp for short, in which such well-known Jesus quotations as “So say you,” and “Man is made in God’s image,” can be given the once over by a powerful supercomputer replete with three eighty-something processor and a twenty-five inch flat screen monitor, which doubles nicely as a TV between experiments. Employing this powerful technique during the news hour,17 the first quotation is shown of course to be a pristine example of pronoun reversal, a speech peculiarity common in the talk of young autistic children, and the second example is more frighteningly revealed as a case of actual noun reversal, an impediment so rare and so phonetically hideous its genesis is taken strictly from the more pathetic cases.
Although nearly all of Jesus’ pediatric records were accidentally destroyed at some later date—probably during that ill-advised file cleansing crusade launched by the European Union and farmed out without adequate supervision to a pool of underaged temps—considerable evidence still has come down to us over the years of Jesus’ quantifiable language delays. Today’s researchers, employing sophisticated and painstakingly precise textual analysis, have ascertained that Jesus must have been mute for the entire first decade of his life, because the only book claiming to be the word on Jesus’ words contains no Jesus words from this early developmental period. (His persistent humming and high-pitched moaning, however, can be assumed from the spacing of the margins.) When Jesus does manage to speak at the age of adolescence it is recognized by nearly everyone with halfway decent eyesight as a red-letter day, highlighting the rarity of the event, and furthermore those present were said to have been utterly amazed by the boy’s words, quite likely his first ever.
As happens frequently with autistics who have at long last overcome a significant speech delay, rapid catch up can soon follow, and in the case of Jesus his rapid catch up seems to have overshot its mark, and splattered all the way past Luke and gone straight on to John, for by the time Jesus had reached adulthood he was talking up a veritable red streak, his words flowing on for page after crimson page, little narrative relief at any turn. This prolix habit of his is entirely consistent with that of latter-day verbal autistics, who are painfully well known to be capable of holding forth at interminable length on any subject sure to be of interest to them, oh boy, but guaranteed to be pretty damned dull for the rest of us—arcane topics such as dinosaur eggs, Star Wars trading cards and the latest vineyard pruning techniques. Indeed, Jesus was widely recognized for having taken perseverative speech to a new height, delivering a mountain of a sermon one torrid afternoon while holding his audience captive under a spell of famishment and thirst, a nearly jaw-dropping calamity in the making until an unseen and prayer-answering culinary wizard finally whipped up some food and drink out of thin air.18
Despite having overcome some admittedly grave verbal challenges—and all without the benefit this day of our daily speech therapy—for the most part Jesus still remained baffling and obtuse to anyone coming within earshot of his many rambling words. This was no auditory hallucination, mind you: the present authors, despite having taken out loans for more than a century’s worth of combined post-secondary classical education, can confirm they too have been unable to make heads or tails out of anything Jesus might have been trying to say. Perhaps his career would have taken a widely different path had he not shown such favor to that unfashionable literary technique known as the parable—which must be Latin for pointless and roundabout story. This inexplicable preference of his goes a long ways towards explaining why Jesus was never published during his lifetime, for what goat-hungry editor was ever going to foist onto his Canaanite readership such wretched plot lines as, tax-gathering centurions render unto Caesar a genetically engineered mustard seed, or, ten uninvited dinner guests pose as anorexic camels in order to corner the lamp oil market. (The bits about the prodigal bridesmaids, however, might have been turned into a good mini-series or a tasty romance.) Add to these the countless coin-denominated word problems that apparently cannot be solved with a four-function calculator, and is there any wonder the disciples were always having to ask for more hints on the quizzes and a little more time before the final. To be fair, it was not just the beloved ones who were suffering from Jesus’ stammering ways; he too was their innocent victim. Consider for instance that bitter moment at the very end, when Jesus, certain he was ordering a nice half bottle of some bracing French wine—le vin à guerre19—was actually calling out for plain old vinegar instead, a slip of the tongue far too easily made when stretching out one’s vowels and syllables a little more than they were meant to bear.20
As it turns out, however, not every aspect of Jesus’ language difficulties worked against him to cross up his overall prospects. Although Jesus was undeniably incomprehensible while attempting to teach his classes or order Chinese takeout, he did have a few scintillating moments of humorous clarity while loosening up the multitudes for the following acts, and perhaps he should have given some serious consideration to headlining for the Hebron nightclub scene. As is not uncommon among autistics who have learned how to speak without the aid of a seeing eye dog, Jesus enjoyed letting down his hair with puns, riddles, double entendres and just a good verbal twist with lemon now and then. Two particularly clever examples from his warm-up bit might include, “Blessed are those who are dirt poor, for they shall inherit the earth,” and, “Rid yourself of all possessions, or the devil take you.” These examples demonstrate that Jesus, when sufficiently inspired and worked up by an inebriated audience, had an incredibly dexterous facility for whittling almost any vaguely recognizable phrase into an ironic, multi-layered, self-referencing play on words—a handy talent the present authors have often wished they possessed.
A common feature of autism is a tendency for the poor soul to display an overly obsessive focus on inanimate objects and meaningless activities—such as ceiling fans,21 light switches and learning nuclear physics—and all this to the exclusion of more socially appropriate interests and goals—such as chocolate desserts, late-model luxury cars and getting into the best fraternity. Although the present authors have been unable to uncover any evidence that Jesus was fixated on ceiling fans,22 light switches or nuclear physics—and this despite having researched the matter thoroughly with some Shriners at the local pub—it has been suggested to them by a panicking literary agent that Jesus might be described as having engaged in other repetitive interests that could qualify, perhaps with a wink, nod and a few bucks slipped to the reviewers, as obsessions.
Water, for instance, as simple as it looks in the glass, seems to have held an unusual fascination for Jesus. This may have started one humid and august afternoon when Jesus waded into the River Jordan looking for some relief, and had so much of his childhood grime washed off him at that one moment, he was buoyed straight up out of the water and came down to make a big splash. This must have been a great giddy joy to Jesus, for when he realized the water park was open only on Sundays, he began spending the remainder of his week holed up inside a cavernous laboratory near the sea, trying out his hand at liquid alchemy and fluid mechanics. His bubbly experiments with the periodic table proved to be mostly a failure, in large part because the cruddy old beakers Jesus was using to hold his new concoctions kept bursting upon being filled. But the aquatic engineering efforts nearly paid off, for they resulted in Jesus perfecting a kind of swimming technique which allowed him to glide effortlessly over a pool’s surface, not having to kick his feet or flap his arms any more than is customary for a spastic autistic. If only the Olympic Games were not still being held at Athens during those days, if only they might have been bid out to a venue that could have provided a better home field advantage—say the West Bank or Salt Lake City—Jesus might have found himself enjoying an easy walkover in the fifty fathom freestyle.23
H2O was not the only thing on Jesus’ brain during his adult years: autistics are well known to switch around their interests from time to time, and Jesus too passed through a series of stages in which he became deeply engrossed in a revolving set of esoteric avocations—diversions such as fig tree husbandry, the latest in sheep’s clothing, and several inapplicable forays into ancient Hebrew law.24 The one hobby, however, that seems to have grabbed his attention the most as he began to near retirement age and was finding himself facing an eternity of time on his hands, was medicine. Not proper medicine, of course, not the type of professional practice several of the present authors have built up through frequent late night cramming, an unproven gurney racing incident during residency, and finally the requisite junior partnerships spent mostly on a golf course sucking up to senior partners—no, this was Jesus as amateur stethoscope-for-hire, a set of ten filthy fingernails poking themselves into just about anybody sporting a scab and pleading for divine intervention. Such unlicensed doctoring, had there been more oversight in place and a few more snitches afoot in the promised land, should have gotten Jesus hauled up before the Nazarene medical board for a contentious disciplinary hearing, or at least a stern talking to before free drinks at the open bar.
This compulsion to render treatment seems to have started humbly enough for Jesus, with a simple laying on of hands here and there, which indeed almost any anesthesiologist can admit to having tried at least once when no nurse was looking. But once having tasted the admittedly heady power of playing God, Jesus just could not let go the idea of pretending25 to be a physician, and this without the benefit of rapacious billing practices. Indeed, before any poor devil of a psychiatrist could cry out malpractice, Jesus was casting out mental health demons without prescribing a single overpriced little green pill, setting off a severe recession, depression and just a general down feeling in the Middle Eastern pharmaceutical industry. Next there were the episodes of helping the lame to walk without the aid of chrome-rimmed wheelchairs, the blind to see without the help of wire-rimmed bifocals, and the deaf to hear without the benefit of thorn-rimmed hearing aids—all knocking out the crutches from beneath the local medical supply services. Finally, Jesus started subtracting insult from injury by raising the dead themselves, sending both coroners and undertakers scurrying for the unemployment lines and removing from medical practitioners everywhere the only known effective treatment for handling their more cantankerous patients. You want to speak of a divine injustice? Well, let’s be blunt here. The playing field was medically unleveled, not made straight, set unsmooth when Jesus brought his tongue depressors to town. Real doctors, as well as the actors who play them in the movies, are obliged to take an impressive if somewhat in vain oath that first and foremost they will do no harm. But Jesus, not at risk for losing any privileges at the Mount Sinai Country Club (well, thank God for that), was never under any such restraint. Autistically focused and hell-bent on redemption, Jesus could devote all his time, energy and attention to those struggling to gain a more healthy understanding of themselves, utterly oblivious to how much he was making everyone else to suffer.26
The present authors, having taken at least a cursory glance at all peer-reviewed articles produced by means of an Internet search performed on June 6, 2006, and filtered by means of the keywords “Christ+autism+disability+burden+tragedy,” have reached the unanimous and infallible conclusion that the man once known as Jesus of Nazareth, sometimes also as Jesus of Galilee, sometimes also as the Messiah, sometimes finally as Jesus the Christ (ambiguous self-identity is another well-known symptom of autism27), did indeed suffer the debilitating consequences of a form of autistic spectrum disorder, sometimes known as ASD. Were it not for some unfortunate and slightly annoying editorial space limitations, the authors would be happy to provide abundantly more evidence backing their claim. Nonetheless, adequate support has been provided in this article for all the basic diagnostic criteria in the case of Jesus—the social awkwardness, the language difficulties, the obsessive interests, and not to mention, a sickening disregard for the medical profession. These characteristics have been thoroughly documented here and matched to all the appropriate citations, meeting the strict and demanding standards of modern academic research, and thus it is with clear conscience the authors can now wash their hands of any lingering scholarly uncertainty towards this character named Jesus—he was definitely autistic.
As united as the present authors are in their firm conviction that the tragedies described in the New Testament can be traced to the neurological abnormalities underlying autism, the authors admit to being a good deal less certain about the exact form and degree of this diagnosis, with 57.1% of the authors concluding Jesus experienced the symptoms consistent with a designation of Asperger syndrome, 28.6% opting for a diagnosis of high-functioning autism (HFA), and one author (14.3%) holding out for a finding of full-blown Autistic Disorder accompanied by Tourette syndrome and a leaky gut—conditions induced no doubt by the effects of mercury poisoning.28 Because of the continuing uncertainty and budding academic acrimony in this critical area of research, the authors are calling for further in-depth studies and increased governmental funding.29
On one final note, the authors would be remiss in not pointing out what a pity it was Jesus lived at the time he did and not in the modern age. Our medical and psychiatric understanding of autism has advanced greatly in recent years; we are armed now with a plethora of diagnostic tools, effective medications and interventive techniques. Applied early, often and professionally—and covered in most instances by group insurance plans or state aid—these strategies have often proved nearly miraculous in their ability to deliver great gains to those associated with this terrible affliction. The authors cannot help but reflect in the sad case of Jesus on what might have been had he and his family had access to the wonders of modern medical science. For instance, instead of relying upon schizophrenic tendencies to hear voices and see visions, a Mary with the aid of today’s prenatal technologies could have been provided with a comprehensive genetic analysis, alerting both her and her husband to the dangers ahead and providing each with a more informed choice on how best to continue.30 If during the flight into Egypt, the holy family had happened upon a network of pediatricians and developmental specialists, all trained in and alert to the early signs of infantile autism, there would have been no need to wait until the troubling appearances of confused speech and argumentative behaviors before starting the baby Jesus on a regimen of Ritalin and other psychotropic medication. Finally, although still controversial in some drawn-out quarters, applied behavioral analysis (ABA) almost certainly would have been therapeutic in the case of the young Jesus, its firm and repetitive discipline helpful for driving out the rebelliousness and delusions of grandeur, making it more likely the young man would have remained satisfied with his vocational training in woodworking, thereby enabling him to lead a more productive adult life.31
In any case, the tragic story of Jesus serves as both a medical and societal warning that autism remains onerous not just to the individual directly affected, the dangers of this disorder can have woeful consequences for us all. The angelic facial features and youthful expressions some autistics evince,32 combined with the occasionally deceptive charm of their odd mannerisms and quirky speech, far too often can draw in the unsuspecting and medically untrained bystander, an easy prey to the trouble lurking just behind the shroud. The present article has attempted to provide thorough and convincing evidence that the diagnosis of autism in Jesus should have been obvious to anyone within a stone’s throw of him. Nonetheless, the authors must dutifully conclude their report with a chilling reminder. It was only the accurate thinking of the scholars of that day, combined with the swift, decisive action of the Roman and Jewish authorities that in the end opened the eyes of an alarmingly expanding and much-deceived crowd. Only at the last dread hour were the majority of men finally persuaded to see Jesus as he truly was—a man sick with the scourge known as autism. The present authors collectively shudder to think what might have happened in that faraway land and on that fateful day should the crowd have been allowed to persist in its burgeoning folly, and gone on to actually listen to and follow the man.33
1. The original paper by Baron-Cohen, et al. is now considered to be too stale to cite directly in last-minute research. However, in a recent retrospective, authors Oldie, Talkington, et al. note it continues to make nearly everyone’s top ten list of publications considered most likely to induce a fit of envy. (“The Eighties Turn Twenty”; Journal of Academic Nostalgia, Vol. 1, 2000, pp. 80–89.)
2. While engaged in prior work on a related project, authors Scherzo, Witz, et al. have happened upon findings showing that autism is the fastest growing area of academic research in both Europe and North America, with salaries and grants surging at rates significantly greater than the statistical norm. (“Notes for a Dissertation on the Trigonometric Ratios of Shell Spirals in the Bivalve Mollusks”; unpublished.)
3. Although scandalously little page space has been given over to the topic of famous female autistics, at the climax of a stream-of-consciousness monologue from a tag-team short story penned by authors Crane, Eusley, et al., a madwoman in the attic does manage to reenact the mental states of Jane Austen, Emily Dickinson, Marie Curie, Ayn Rand and several others. Scandalously, the technique is not taken up again during the remainder of the story. (“Black Death Comes to My Boyfriend Skye”; Indiana Fictional Review, Special Collaborative Edition, Winter/Summer 2005/2006.)
4. Mathematicians Dada, Dada Jr., Gausst, Ypres, et al. are the second, third, fifth, seventh and so on, to remark upon the probabilistic anomaly that the most widely cited research paper on the subject of autism was written by a trio of researchers, that autism is marked by a triad of impairments, and that Jesus was purportedly a member of the Trinitarian Church. By argument reductio ad absurdum, the odds are shown to be really spooky. (“Hat Trick”; The Prime Number Triennial, Vol. II, 5/17/1997, pp. 23,131–37,409.)
5. Award-winning scientists Hackings, Witz, et al. illuminate the controversies surrounding Albert Einstein’s placing of a theoretical limit on God’s speed, arguing this boundary is a reflection of Einstein’s own social and cognitive limitations as an alleged autistic, and further pointing out that Einstein’s work could serve as the model demonstration for how autistic scholarship can be both too specialized and too general. (“E Equals an Eccentric Square”; Handbook of Physical Disabilities, the Metric Edition, p. 300,000,000 or thereabouts.)
6. Upkeep, Ypres, et al. calculate that the average annual cost for a turn-of-the-calendar Jewish family raising an autistic child, to be two goats, one sheep, four Caesar’s coins and a partridge in a pear tree. Accounting for inflation, this works out to be more than $75,000 per year in modern currency. (“The Wages of Being Born Without Sin”; The Journal of Childhood Disease and Finance, December 2000, pp. 1,000,000+.)
7. Starvin, Kinsington-Erestus, et al. claim that researchers often pass over the dietary impacts on autistic prognosis. Gluten-free, casein-free and calorie-free diets have frequently been shown to be effective in alleviating the more severe symptoms of autism, with only a few minor side effects—such as persistent lethargy—generally noted. (“Take from Us This Day Our Daily Bread”; The Neurological Gourmet, Thanksgiving 2005, pp. 1845–1849.)
8. In a down-to-earth etymological analysis by Supine, Scherzo, et al., the word prostration is shown to have originated from the ancient Greek terminology for floortime therapy. (“Getting Down on Your Knees for Jesus”; The Rug Annals, Spring Cleaning Edition, 2002.)
9. According to some ancient maps discovered by Saul, Ypres, et al., the nearest state institution would have been well along the road to Damascus, much too far for an epileptic autistic to travel without succumbing to blinding attacks. (“A Cuckoo’s Nest Too Far”; Jane’s Cartography & Catalepsy, April 1997, p. X marks the spot.)
10. In a widely repeated study conducted by Kinsington-Erestus, Kinsington-Erestus, et al., five out of five autistic subjects with known histories of drinking problems were shown to have consumed on average more alcohol than a control group of non-autistic teetotalers. (“Hmmmm”; Journal of Redundant Research, Vol. XVIII, January 18, 2000, pp. 18,118–18,118.)
11. During an interview written up by Flushing, Goufaugh, et al., Roberto and Susanna Wrightoff, co-founders of the charitable organization Autism Speakeasies, describe their massively successful fund-raising campaigns. “The martini marathons have been the biggest smash so far,” bubbles Susanna. “And the cocktail cotillions too,” spouts Roberto. “By strategically channeling our donations back into the organization and its well-attended events, we have been making significant progress in filling up our reserves, and we fully expect to be showering our gains upon autistic kids sometime within the next decade.” (“The Wrightoffs Speak Cash Flow”; Town, Country, Society & Bath, August 2006.)
12. While the search for the hysterical Jesus has occupied many scholars over the years, Renan, Ypres, et al. point out that mass hysteria can be found readily enough at any nearby cloister. (“Get Thee to a Punnery”; Journal of Bad Humors, January 2001.)
13. Poets Blyandby, Eusley, et al. celebrate two thousand years of the Holy Grail by re-enacting its last known use in a roundtable villainelle produced spontaneously one evening at a fine Chicago dining establishment. This experimental work contains the refrain still considered by many to be the most representative example yet of early twenty-first century American free verse: Urp, excuse me. (“Owed to All of Us”; Pottery and Poetry Magazine, November 2002.)
14. In a write-in study conducted by Chad, Goufaugh, et al., a statistically significant number of election campaigns are found to have been won by the party receiving the most votes. (“Hmmmm Recounted”; Journal of the Paradoxically Tautological, November 7, 2000, pp. 266–271 and 4–5.)
16. See, feel and touch the critical review of Thomas, the Rock Gospel, by Hoo, Ypres, et al. (“If This Doesn’t Sound Autistic, What Does?”; Rolling Stones Back Magazine, September 2003, pp. 1–114.)
17. In another impressively over-the-top study with huge implications, Foxy, Witz, et al. report that detailed CAT-scan imaging reveals that when asked to concentrate intensely on television news broadcasts, autistics are found to process the anchorwoman’s cleavage with entirely different parts of their brain than non-autistics do. (“Well, Look at That”; Postmodern Perspectives on the New Journalism, October 1996, pp. 34C–36D.)
18. The paradoxical Jesus is illustrated in perhaps no better way than with his impact on food fetishes, as pointed out in a tasteful article by Child, Kinsington-Erestus, et al. Whereas many autistics are known for consuming the same food and drink over and over again, Jesus was the first to become the same food and drink to be consumed over and over again. (“Do You Want Fries with That Wafer?”; Journal of Culinary History and Science, March 2000, pp. over 99 billion served.)
19. The grape for le vin à guerre is grown exclusively in the Alsace-Lorraine region, where incidentally Das Kriegsbier is no longer produced. Travel authors Boozer, Goufaugh, et al. rate the wine a sour 81 out of 100, a far cry from its heyday during The Thirty Years War. (“The Red Quaff of Courage”; Wine of Fortune Magazine, July 1998, pp. 1940–1945.)
20. The original cure-seeking organization Crucify Autism Now (CAN) has chapters remaining in various parts of the world, but Reaper, Talkington, et al. note the organization has mostly been supplanted by newer groups such as Disintegrate Autism Now (DAN), Pulverize Autism Now (PAN) and Massacre Autism Now (MAN), whose methods are felt by many to be more effective and less barbaric. (“Finally! A Solution!”; Autism Today Yesterday and Hopefully Not Next Week, February 1998, p. 0.)
21. Andretti, Scherzo, et al. trace the roots of all major religions back to circular sources, including Buddha’s wheel of the dharma, Ezekiel’s wheel in the sky, and Islam’s breath of fresh air into the ancient city of Tyre. (“Spin Out”; Studies in Autistic Drivers, May 2001, pp. 33–500.)
23. Circumstantial evidence has been published suggesting that Jesus’ miracles were aided by the use of performance-enhancing drugs, and although these theories have been discredited to some degree by the Shroud of Turin testing negative for anabolic steroids, Juice, Ypres, et al. have pointed out that Jesus might still have been using a masking agent. (“The Great Cover-up”; Sports Medicine Illustrated, Annual Deathsuit Edition, September 1998, pp. 61–73.)
24. Jurisdictional questions still surround the Good Friday trials and continue to engage legal scholars to this very day. Jarndyce, Eusley, et al. have been arguing before various appellate courts that due to his autism, Jesus should have been sentenced by a jury of twelve social workers instead of by the general rabble, and have been seeking damages for Jesus’ heirs running into the billions of dollars, just enough to cover the lawyers’ fees. (“All Cloaks Go to the Attorneys”, Law Review of the Harvard Correspondence School, Spring me 2002.)
25. Lack of pretend play is a hallmark feature of autism, as borne out in an explosive Los Alamos study conducted by Patton, Talkington, et al., in which all autistic children presented with a full-scale G. I. Joe rocket grenade launcher were found to have used the object inappropriately in a pacifist manner. “Actually, our results were in doubt for a few scary moments there,” recalls the project’s lead technician, “because one of the brats figured out how to load the unit with his feces and kept launching all-out assaults on the research team. Fortunately, we were able to have him declared cured and moved to the control group.” (“Pretend This”, Journal of Abnormal Psychological Warfare, March 2003.)
26. Bannister, Witz, et al. theorize that Jesus’ Empathy Quotient score of –15 must set an all-time historical low, offset to some degree by his Epiphany Quotient results, which continue to break all known barriers. (“The Miracle Misanthrope”; Almanac of Autistic Records, pp. 3–59.4.)
27. “You have to be out of your mind!” is an oft-repeated phrase from the staged debate Griswold v. Talkington, et al., in which one side argues the human self can only be understood by exploring the spatial and temporal environment surrounding the individual, and the other side asserts one would have to be certifiably nuts to go looking outside the boundaries of the human skull. The contest ends with agreement that all the relevant territory has been covered. (“You have to be out of your mind!”; Autistic Symphony note, p. nearby.)
28. The dubious claim that childhood vaccines were the source of Jesus’ mercury poisoning has been thoroughly refuted in a 2003 CDC report entitled “It Was Something in the Water.” Authors Needles, Goufaugh, et al. conclude that the terrible state of Palestine’s health care system during the Roman era would have precluded Jesus and his siblings from receiving any of the recommended inoculations and follow-up boosters. A far more likely source of the mercury poisoning would have been the eating of too much fish.
29. Researchers Talkington, Scherzo, et al. collectively and individually report application for all the relevant health and welfare grants, although most are still awaiting word. (“Requests 1–224–AD–323 through 1–224–AD–834”; submitted through Spam Grant: Software for the Hungry Scholar, results and patent pending.)
30. Swab, Kinsington-Erestus, et al. argue that had a prenatal test to detect autism been available at the Bethlehem clinic, it would have held only limited benefit for Mary. As a devout Catholic, she would have been obligated under the papal prohibition against abortion to carry the child to term. For Joseph, on the other hand, genetic analysis would have been a complete godsend, proving once and for all he was not the boy’s father and thereby relieving him of the thirty plus year burden of raising an invalid. (“What a Little DNA Can Do for You”; Genetics Now and Then, Vol. 2, 2002, pp. 23–46.)
31. That the ABA therapy administered to Jesus on his final day would appear to have produced no measurable impact is taken by Lardvaas, Witz, et al. as convincing evidence for the need to apply such therapies early on in life and with greater regularity. (“A Switch in Time Saves Nine”; The ABA Weekly Reader, April 10, 1998, pp. 1–40.)
32. In de Leon, Talkington, et al., the results of a scientifically conducted telephone survey reveal that 34.3% of diagnosed autistics are considered to look younger than their actual age, 51.9% of all Renaissance paintings are said to show Jesus with facial features described as cherubic, and a further 18.8% of such paintings are said to depict Jesus as surrounded by a flock of angels. Additive statistical analysis applied directly to this data proves beyond absolute certainty (with a 5 percent margin of error) that Jesus was indeed autistic. (“Painting by Numbers Don’t Lie”; Statistical Perspectives on Italian Art, Vol. 10, 1997, pp. K–12.)
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