"The Books of the Church of Joy" is the title given to an ancient manuscript found by Diego Delizia in the desert of Syria (see Note for the Dumbfounded), and representing the only extant documentation of the existence of the Church of Joy.
According to the manuscript, the Church of Joy was founded around 300 A.D. by a splinter group of the Syrian (Antiochian) Christian Church, which had rejected the Hebrew origins of Christianity and adopted some of the principles of mysteric religion and of gnosticism.
The sect, of which no other records remain, apparently dwindled to nothingness after less than 100 years. It appears that its founder named himself (or herself?) "The Third Spirit of Joy" and proceeded to preach his/her own version of the origins and of the moral necessities of humankind.
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From what is apparent in the manuscript, the Church of Joy preaches the freedom of the Soul from the strictures of society. But rather than being an "anarchistic" sect, which actually suggests that the optimum state of humanity is in primordial, unsocialised bliss, the CoJ preaches the necessity of social union as a necessary evil.
Joy, according to the manuscript, is not unhindered bliss: it is bliss in chains, the capacity of enjoying life while at the same time respecting the structure of society as imposed by the Evil God, "Wą".
Wą, which means "truth" in the Syriac dialect in which the manuscript was composed, is the first fallen Soul, who gives up the primordial freedom for fear (see G.II). Thus the desire for truth is what first corrupted humankind.
Joy is thus "bliss in Wą-ness", bliss inside society. It is the song of the condemned man, the vibration and the quirks of the machine's parts. It is not total freedom, as total freedom is unattainable in this world: humans are so imbued with Wą-ness, with fear, with the desire for truth (we are "ill of Wą", see G.VII), that it would be impossible for them to attain their true nature by refusing it.
The novelty of the ideology of the CoJ is that for the first time, although two "sides" are clearly recognized as existing in humans (and although the preacher clearly propends for one of them), the message is not that humans should let one side prevail, but that they should find a balance between the two, by accepting Wą-ness but never desiring it.
Unhealthy behaviour, according to the CoJ, stems from the humans actually desiring Wą-ness. Because Wą-ness is fear and morality and enmity and violence and attachment to worldly possessions, which are all part of ourselves, but not the best parts. They are there, and we must reckon with them, but we should never allow ourselves to be attracted by them or to consider them, as Judaism does (according to the CoJ), the desirable and proper feelings of humans.
The Church of Joy is decidedly atheistic. The only individuals mentioned in the manuscripts are Wą, which is an evil figure, and the Spirits of Joy, which are however impermanent. According to the CoJ, there is no God, and the God of Jews is Wą (see T.VII).
The Anthropogony was edited, translated and annotated by Diego Delizia. Its title, given by the editor, means "The [History of the] Birth of Humans". Unlike the beginnings of other sacred texts, the Anthropogony does not include the narration of the origins of the Universe (Cosmogony). The title was thus chosen to underline the humanistic, atheistic approach of the CoJ.
In structure, the Anthropogony resembles other cabbalistic and mystic texts. In the manuscript, it is divided into three parts, each divided into 7 verses.
The individual verses' titles were given by the editor. Also, only the Genesis is visibly divided into 7 verses: the subdivision of the Confrontation and Transformation was also made by Delizia.
The language of the Anthropogony is Aramaic, with strong lexical influences from Greek. This would seem to indicate that the CoJ was mostly active and widespread within the higher stratum of society, possibly within the local representatives of the Imperial power.
The CoJ's "50 oppositions" are a list of items found on the first page of the manuscript. They may have served as reminder of the opposed nature of Wą and of the pure Soul, of Fear and of Bliss, and might have been used in ritual by reading them aloud.
Unfortunately, some of the terms employed are not perfectly clear, and have partially been interpreted by the translator.
As you may well have imagined, there is no such thing as an ancient manuscript. Diego Delizia wrote everything himself. He's a poet, not a philologist. This is Fiction, OK? Fiction!