When Did Dr. Alexander Hislops Become A Pariah to the Watchtower Society?
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?
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.
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.
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?
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.
sorry, double post
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.
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!
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.
Sweet dreams about babylonian wine, women and songs, arbo.