When Did Dr. Alexander Hislops Become A Pariah to the Watchtower Society?

by ÁrbolesdeArabia 17 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • ÁrbolesdeArabia

    I am going to be speaking to the 45-55 years old plus generation here. Do you remember the older Witnesses in your congregations who had the book "The Two Babylons" by Alexander Hislops? I bought my first copy around 1980, it was the thing to do because it proved most of Christendom's believes came from Nimrod, and by the end of the 1980s the book and the name faded away into oblivion.

    The Watchtower use to print that book or distribute it, am I correct or has my memory gotten bad? What was Robert Woodward's relationship to the great pushing of old Alexander Hislops book? I remember the brothers getting together and getting all chilled up about those books, and when it disappeared I figured it must have been unscrupulous or fiction from a priest who did not like the Catholic Church.

    Is there anyone here old enough to remember when many JWs had "The Two Babylons" by Hislops in their house?

    2. Did you come across the works of Robert Woodward and what was his relationship and agenda using Hislop's embellished history?

  • fiddler

    I do remember reading very carefully and precisely the societies book about "Babylon the Great Has Fallen God's Kingdom Rules"............I was slightly obsessed with that book. I think now it was because it really set in the 'cognitive dissonance' roots that later grew to fruition ............well............at least it was part of it. I also remember feeling good that it had the backing of a 'worldly writer' Hyslop's 'Two Babylons'. Although I never took the book in hand I do know that the book was acceptable reading material in the JW approved library and many of the elders and old timers had it.

  • prologos

    No, Hislop was not a must read among the full time workers back then, BUT

    while we are at B the Great Dualities, who remembers the

    Circuit Overseers' presentation of the babylonish PHALLIC connection,

    Minarets near bra-shaped domes, Onion shape topped Spires in Soviet land now mother Russia, --the works in Thailand, on and on,

    poor Cos, audience squirming.

    A F&DS master piece. This needs to be revived. for goodness sake.

  • ÁrbolesdeArabia

    Did you two come across Ralph Woodrow's use of Hislop's works?

    While looking up Ralph Woodrows background, I see "Prisonplanet" has information on him too. I wonder if the Society was backing Woodrow?



  • EdenOne

    I've got "The Two Babylons", and I remember that, until certain time, the book could be ordered as a "special item" through the literature counter of the congregation. Then it faded into oblivion. I believe Fred Franz loved that book because it pushed the idea that the roman cahtolic church was full of Babylon-originated doctrines and practises, and therefore, was the "scientific evidence" that backed him to identify "corrupted Christianity" with "Babylon the Great" of Revelation.


  • EdenOne

    sorry, double post

  • moggy lover
    moggy lover

    You are probably referring to RALPH Woodrow a famous Evangelical preacher who once espoused the opinions of Hislop from his book the "Two Babylons" but who later retracted his statements. As far as I know he has no connection to the Watchtower.

    I was around in the 50s, 60s and 70s when the Watchtower regularly quoted Hislop's book, but only selectively and with scant regard for Hislop's thesis. It was obvious that the writers of Watchtower material had not actually taken the trouble to read the work. This is not unusual since it is weighty, often contradictory, mixing fact with opinion, and largely bigotted in its conclusions.

    As far as I can recall, the only occasions when the Watchtower quoted Hislop were to prove:

    1. That the Cross was pagan

    [Which is something that Hislop did not conclude. His stated opinion was that the CRUCIFIX of the RCs was. The RCs, like the Watchtower, still depict Christ on his instrument of death, revealing a theology that subscribes to the RC position that the redemptive work of Christ is still operative and that devotees must somehow accomplish works to acquire the distinctive formula for salvation.

    His point, now considered more opinionated than factual, was that the RC Crucifix was derived from the Egyptian Crux Ansata, which was portrayed as a a T form with a round top, evidently depicting someone's head. It did not. It was merely a handle. The Egyptian crux also showed two lines extending from the upright post to the arms of the T thus showing someoine's arms. This to Hislop was a picture of Christ still on the cross.

    Evangelicals on the other hand believe explicitly that when Jesus said "It is finished" that His work was complete. Thus they always display an EMPTY Cross. Hislop's point was that the RCs, and not Christians wholesale were "pagan".

    The inability to distinguish the two was a point of ignorance on the part of Watchtower writers and not one of agreement]

    2. That the Trinity was "pagan"

    [Again, this is not true, since Hislop was himself a Trinitarian. His point, when carefully read, would show that he was arguing that the DEPICTIONS of the Trinity such as triangles, three headed gods, arcs, curlicues, and so on, were Egyptian in Origin, although Hislop was probably rather far fetched in his conclusions. ]

    3. That Christmas Day was "pagan":

    [Oddly enough Hislop did not use the Roman Saturnalia to prove this point, which would have had more historical value as a point of argument. He chose rather to stress the point that Nimrod, the great bogey man of Watchtower myth, was born on this day. As later scholars would show this is an idiosyncratic opinion which has no historical basis whatever.]

    The Watchtower pulled any further reference to Hislop sometime in the late 70s, probably because someone may have pointed out that their references to him, and their quotes of him were ill considered.

  • ÁrbolesdeArabia

    They use to qoute Hislop's selectively until the book was considered religious quackery and they dropped him like a lead balloon. I was told by some at Bethel when more scholars looked into the merits of "The Two Babylons" Hislop's material was not historical as he claimed and it turned out to be fantasy, like the "Revelation, the Final Climax" book. Franz and Hislops had two things in common, they both had great minds to write religious fiction with limited facts or no facts at all.

    How much of Hislops book was discredited? Good night everyone, I got to get some sleep now! See you in the PM!

  • Rob Crompton
    Rob Crompton

    I remember as a kid in the 50s and 60 that Hislop's book was held in high regard. It "proved" that "real" scholars (glossing over the fact that Hislop was a Christdelphian) knew that JWs had the truth. It was finally sidelined - especially by the Society's release of Babylon the Great Has Fallen, a book that was regarded with equal measures of awe and bafflement. This was Fred Franz at his finest, attempting to display superior scholarship and failing miserably.

  • Satanus

    Sweet dreams about babylonian wine, women and songs, arbo.


  • AnnOMaly

    We have both Two Babylons (which we ordered from the Literature Desk, I think, in the '80s) and Woodrow's Babylon Connection? (which we got in the early 2000s). The last direct reference to Hislop's work was in the 1989 Reasoning book, which is still used despite it being woefully out-of-date, and so his ideas persist, unfortunately, in the collective JW consciousness - especially the older generations.

    In addition to moggylover's list, the WTS also quoted him to 'prove' that Easter (along with its hot cross buns and colored eggs) and priestly celibacy was pagan.

    Here is a good article on where Ralph Woodrow was coming from when he published his first, pro-Hislop book, and then when he realized he'd been had - http://newprotestants.com/2babylons.htm

  • EdenOne


    I've read the retraction article you indicated about Ralph Woodrow. Very informative and clear, and intellectually honest. Thank you.


  • dropoffyourkeylee

    I had the 'Two Babylon' book also, and even quoted it in a high school essay I wrote for history class. My recollection is that the Society distributed it but did not actually print it. There were a number of books like that which were available at the congregation literature counter, but the only two I remember were The Tow Babylons and Strong's Concordance. You had to pay for them of course. When they went to donations these types of things were no longer distributed at the counter.

  • BluesBrother

    Oh yes, back in the day "The Two Babylons" was THE book to quote if you wanted to score points at the WT study. The "Babylon book" was based on it.

    As you say, over the years it has faded from use in WT land

  • Nambo

    Around 1989, I called on a house where the householder had a Witness relative in Australia, it became an RV of mine then one day the householder presented me with a tape his Sister had sent over from Oz of a Public Talk.

    Now that talk in hindsight, was just a condensed version of The Two Babylons, it was called, "Satan, the Master Craftsman", you could hear by the background sounds it was a genuine JW Public talk.

    That Public talk was the best Public Talk I ever heard, and it wasnt just me, pretty much the whole of the Congregation was copying and distributing that talk amongst themselves.

    I expect I still have it somewhere.

  • Freeof1914

    Funny thing you mention this book. I was giving the Bible tours in the MET museum and so much of the information that I had to present was based on this book or watchtower literature that was clearly based on Hislop's work. As I began to delve deeper into the information I was presented and realized how much disinformation the Society presents to adherents I was shocked, I already had my doubts but this compounded those doubts. The witnesses that would take the tour would be spellbound by the information I presented. Looking back I feel horrible and saddened that I added to the lies they already believed, but it also taught me how easily one can believe any gibberish when you are within a community that does not value critical thinking skills. Very sad!

  • Shador

    I do believe this book still sits in our KH library.

  • ÁrbolesdeArabia

    "freeof1914" We have to forgive ourselves and move on, I feel horrible I taught from the "Tower's books" instead of the Bible they way all good Witnesses were told to do.

    Babylon the Great Has Fallen, I read the book and thought "Oh my, how grand our writers at Bethel and the Slave are!" and now how much of that book is considered valid or cogent?

    Satanus I had some strange Moon Dreams, maybe it's something to do with the Babylon book, or my fried Moonpie recipe or this weekend's upcoming "Super Moon"? The last time I bought the "Two Babylons" book was for $35 through a book store in the late 1980s or early 1990s so I could be sooo sharp with theocratic knowledge.

    Side note, who has the best match to Revelation's prophecy? We currently are in a period of time it's possible of time it's being done, the Prophecy "to be unable to buy and sell unless you have a mark". When I first started following ADSX in the 1990s under a concept-company like (IWSY) is currently (Biometric tech via your cell phone, chips for pills you take, facial rapid recog, ect..) I thought the Born-Againers were correct because ADSX's goal was to put all your information on a chip into your body. They would eventually win the right to put it inside your pet, was it ethical to make 20x my money thinking I was betting against Born-again theology?

    The Society was teaching the "mark" was rejecting the Nazi symbol in Germany, Cartilla in Mexico, Political Card in Malawia, NGO affliation World Wide would be guilty of receiving the "Mark of the Beast 666", the Born-Againers are correct in my opinion of how Revelation has been unraveling itself.

    I heard on the radio tonight in UK, the biggest Grocer is going to unload all ther "Club Card" data into the Ministry of Health's computer system to help create a menu and track healthy habits.

    Venezuela is using "cards" to deny people certain goods that are scarce, you slide your "club card" and if you bought a gallon of milk you during a certain time frame, if it's too soon, the system will reject you purchase! Late night radio is my source on these two goodies!

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