''The Two Babylons''
The Two Babylons, subtitled The Papal Worship Proved to Be the Worship of Nimrod and His Wife, is a famous treatise written by a Scottish Presbyterian minister, the Reverend Alexander Hislop, first printed in 1853 as a pamphlet and greatly expanded in 1858. The Two Babylons was first published as a book in 1916. The full title is The Two Babylons or The Papal Worship Proved to be the Worship of Nimrod and His Wife.
The author claims that the Catholic Church, with its Popes and Sacraments was founded by the Roman Emperor Constantine in A.D. 325 as a blend of paganism and Christianity. He says the cross is a Pagan symbol, that it "was the unequivocal symbol of Bacchus", and "This Pagan symbol seems first to have crept into the Christian Church in Egypt, and generally into Africa." The book became widely circulated as being a reliable refutation of the Catholic religion. Hislop presented Catholicism as the Whore of Babylon, and this argument has been taken up by mostly conservative Evangelical Protestants such as the Reformed Churches, Baptists, the Church of Christ, Herbert W. Armstrong and his Worldwide Church of God, and the King James Only movement. In the 20th century it has been promoted mainly by Christian Fundamentalists, and has been a standard source for children's and adult Sunday School education, and its arguments have been widely promulgated in publications, religious dictionaries and encyclopedias, and comic books, and most recently on a multitude of popular internet sites. It has influenced countless multitudes of Christians and non-Christians, and has been a source (but not the only source) of polemical invective against Catholics, particularly against those involved in government and politics. For more than a century (1853-1955) it was among the top best-sellers in England and America, and is still being published.
A sharp critique of common Roman Catholic practices and traditions, the book looks at the historical elements having similar appearance to those elements involved in various rites and positions held by the Church. The result claims to be a revealing of how non-scriptural practices were fused with the teachings of Christ. The work is complete with over 61 woodcut illustrations and liberal use of scholarly works dating from 1506 AD to 1858 including Milner's Church History (1712), Pontificale Romanum (1543, 1572), Justinus Martyr (1777), and Missale Romanum (1506, 1677).
The topics include:
- Objects of Worship
- Trinity in Unity
- The Mother and Child
- The Mother of the Child
- The Nativity of St. John
- The Feast of the Assumption
- Doctrine and Discipline
- Baptismal Regeneration
- Justification by Works
- The Sacrifice of the Mass
- Extreme Unction
- Purgatory and Prayers for the Dead
- Rites and Ceremonies
- Idol Processions
- Relic Worship
- The Clothing and Crowning of Images
- The Rosary and the Worship of the Sacred Heart
- Lamps and Wax-Candles
- The Sign of the Cross
- Religious Orders
- The Sovereign Pontiff
- Priests, Monks, and Nuns
In the United States it was published by the Loizeaux Brothers, Inc., a non-profit organization, in 1949 and 1959. It was published again in 2007 by Standard Publications, Incorporated (ISBN 9781604244861).
The work has been completely discredited by painstaking professional historical research, and thoroughly rebutted and refuted by strongly evangelical former supporters who did follow-up research of their own.
Historians who have carefully researched the historical claims made in this book, and the source materials that author Hislop relied on, have determined that he is unreliable as an historian. Almost all of his "facts" are shown to be false, and his reasoning from superficial similarities of appearances and ritual actions is demonstrated to be completely unsound and without merit as "proofs" of pagan origins. This has demolished his credibility. 16th–19th century anthropologists who were contemporaries of the authors of his source materials have also shown that even among historians in the 16th–19th centuries most of his sources had no reliable historical credibility as researchers.
Impartial and objective evaluations by non-Catholic reviewers of this book have also determined that it is simply a calumny against the Catholic religion. This has refuted his Christian integrity as a writer. This does not prove that Alexander Hislop was a liar, but only that his book is full of falsehoods. There is a difference. He may indeed have been sincere in his belief. His methology was entirely wrong. His conclusions are errors.
Individual Christians who have enthusiastically read The Two Babylons, and dismissed all criticism against it as negative propaganda, and made the effort to diligently research its claims in order to defend it, have been profoundly disappointed in the book and its author, whom they assumed was telling the truth. Many of them have been astonished that a book so fully discredited should still be sold in Christian bookstores and recommended by online internet Christian sites. It is still being promoted as factual truth.
- The Two Babylons Alexander Hislop - Chapter V, Section VI The Sign of the Cross, third and fifth paragraphs.
- online text: The Two Babylons or The Papal Worship Proved to be the Worship of Nimrod and His Wife, By the Late Rev. Alexander Hislop, First published as a pamphlet in 1853--greatly expanded in 1858 (biblebelievers.com)
- Christian Research Institute Book Review. The Two Babylons: A Case Study in Poor Methodology. —review by Ralph Woodrow (equip.org) pdf
- Christian Research Institute. The Two Babylons, by Ralph Woodrow (equip.org) a critique and rebuttal of anti-Catholic arguments used by Alexander Hislop, the 19th century author of "The Two Babylons", written by a former supporter
- Catholicism and Paganism – Is the Catholic Church the New Babylon? Introductory Critique of Hislop's The Two Babylons (homepages.paradise.net.nz)
- The Two Babylons (godfire.net) analysis and critique
- Christadelphian Info. The Two Babylons - Hislop's hypothesis debunked, by D. Burke (google.com/site/christadelphianinfo)
- Fundamental Baptist Christian Apologetics Ministry. "Alexander Hislop's The Two Babylons is Not Reliable" (fundamentalbaptistchristian.blogspot.com)
- Hislop's 'Babylonian Mystery Religion' Teaching Exposed and Overturned. The Commendable Intellectual Honesty of Ralph Woodrow..., by Robin A. Brace (2005) (ukapologetics.net) he is astonished that Hislop's discredited book is still for sale by Christian bookstores
- Escaping Armstrongism (xhwa.blogspot.com) "The Babylon Connection" by Ralph Woodrow and the biblical errors of Herbert W. Armstrong and the Worldwide Church of God
- The Bible Truth Discussion Forum. The Two Babylons (btdf.org/forums/topic/1006-the-two-babylons) lists Hislop's mistakes—explicit point by point analysis
- Ralph Woodrow Evangelistic Association. Message from Ralph Woodrow regarding the book BABYLON MYSTERY RELIGION (ralphwoodrow.org)
- TEXT: Babylon Mystery Religion, Ancient and Modern, by Ralph Woodrow (biblicallifestyleseminars.org) pdf
- A Profile in Integrity: Ralph Woodrow, by David Kowalski how research changed Ralph Woodrow's mind and prompted him to refute his book "Babylon Mystery Religion" with another book "The Babylon Connection?"