Novelist Count Leo Tolstoy was so moved by Jesus that he learned Greek and enough Aramaic to translate the gospels for himself. Years ago I searched for these translations but they were only available from a private printing for hundreds of dollars. Thankfully that is no longer true. Multiple hardcover copies are available and his work is even available, in English, online. Tolstoy combined the traditional four gospels into one, as described at the end of his Preface:
“The source of Christian teaching is the Gospels, and in them I found the explanation of the spirit which guides the life of all who really live.
“But together with this source of the pure water of life I found, wrongfully united with it, mud and slime which had hidden its purity from me: by the side of and bound up with the lofty Christian teaching I found a Hebrew and a Church teaching alien to it. I was in the position of a man who receives a bag of stinking dirt, and only after long struggle and much labor finds that amid that dirt lie priceless pearls; and he understands that he was not to blame for disliking the stinking dirt, and that those who have collected and preserved these pearls together with the dirt are also not to blame but deserve love and respect.
“I did not know the light and had thought there was no light of truth to be found in life, but having convinced myself that men live by that light alone, I began to look for its source and found it in the Gospels, despite the false Church interpretations. And on reaching that source of light I was dazzled by it, and found full replies to my questions as to the meaning of my own life and that of others-answers in full agreement with those I knew of from other nations, but which in my opinion were superior to them all.
“I was looking for an answer to the question of life and not to theological or historical questions, and so for me the chief question was not whether Jesus was or was not God, or from whom the Holy Ghost proceeded and so forth, and equally unimportant and unnecessary was it for me to know when and by whom each Gospel was written and whether such and such a parable may, or may not, be ascribed to Christ. What was important to me was this light which has enlightened mankind for eighteen hundred years and which enlightened and still enlightens me; but how to name the source of that light, and what materials he or someone else had kindled, did not concern me.”
See this work, compliments of Biblical Proportions, at: http://www.biblicalproportions.com/modules/wfsection/article.php?articleid=56
Causes Kevin Arnold Supports
Poetry Center San Jose, East Palo Alto Police Activities League (EPA PAL), Squaw Valley Community of Writers, Yale Writing Conference, Gold Rush Writers