Talk:Ahatallah

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Recent removal[edit]

Recently, Keralaxx tried to remove some material from this article. The material is cited to Stephen Neill's very well regarded A History of Christianity in India, published by Cambridge. Both this and the other source cited, Eric Frykenberg's Christianity in India, are reliable sources, written by noted scholars and published by highly regarded university presses. We can discuss article improvements, but cited material should not be removed because someone doesn't like it.--Cúchullain t/c 12:13, 20 May 2010 (UTC)

Almost all blunders quoted here are from one particular source. I can bring a third class book and dump everything in wikipedia. Agree Frykenberg is authentic, what about Neill, all blunders are from Niel Keralaxx (talk) 13:10, 20 May 2010 (UTC)
"The material is cited to Stephen Neill's very well regarded A History of Christianity in India, published by Cambridge.". havent heard anyone talking on earth about stephen niel, and almost all crap in his book is not in any other book. People generations before him have written books about Kerala Christian History, none of them have talked anything of such crap.. the whole content of the book is very imaginative. No valid reference is also provided for any blunders mentioned in the book. Purely someones imagination. Is wikipedia an encyclopedia, or cut copy paste from yellow papers? !!!! Keralaxx (talk) 13:16, 20 May 2010 (UTC)
Havent heard any church of kerala mentioning about any forged document and even a document. Marthoma was made Bishop, by the public and not thru any document passed by ahathulla. Is that anywhere in history?Keralaxx (talk) 13:18, 20 May 2010 (UTC)
And what on earth is certainly forged ???Keralaxx (talk) 13:20, 20 May 2010 (UTC)
Stephen Neill is certainly a reliable source. He spent many years as an Anglican churchman in India, then returned to Britain where he served as a scholar and lecturer at Cambridge. His book A History of Christianity in India is very well regarded. If you have access to JSTOR, here is a very positive review of it, by Fryckenberg no less, from the Journal of Asiatic Studies.[1]. Here's another review from the Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London.[2]. Both the author and the work are reliable sources; it goes without saying that the publisher (Cambridge) is as well.--Cúchullain t/c 13:27, 20 May 2010 (UTC)
By the way Neill's book also includes footnotes for all the sources he cites.--Cúchullain t/c 13:31, 20 May 2010 (UTC)

No source is cited, where he has mentioned about forgery? Keralaxx (talk) 13:44, 20 May 2010 (UTC)

And I am talking about Neill, his book is more of imagination and no credibility. Akbar and Jesuits??? huh??? Where did Akbar operate and where did jesuits???? Keralaxx (talk) 13:46, 20 May 2010 (UTC)

The books seems to be written by someone so frustrated, who is nothing but bashing the Catholics and other christians apart from protestants Keralaxx (talk) 13:47, 20 May 2010 (UTC)

That the letters were forgeries is Neill's own conclusion based on the evidence. We are allowed to cite the conclusions of reliable experts. I've revised the wording to indicate specifically that this is Neill's finding. I think you are wrong in your opinion of the book; I think it's extremely even-handed and even handed, and I sincerely doubt the author had any ill will towards other Christians. But if you still doubt that Neill's book is a reliable source, you can ask for additional input at the reliable sources noticeboard.--Cúchullain t/c 13:59, 20 May 2010 (UTC)
The reason why, I have mentioed that all is fiction, is because, non of the kerala christians know anything about Arch deacon thomas, all books quote that he was the first bishop. Nothing much about a popular figure is known,aprt from his place of birth, death and family, however stephen Neill goes on claiming that ittithomen was very well versed in syriac.Huh ???. People of kerala, know the name Ittithomen, thats it. And remember the east syriac and west syriac.. ahathulla was probably an west syriac... and how will ittithommen know west syriac, when all the syrian christians in kerala belonged to east syrian church? I found many exaggerations here. What many authors have never mentioned are found in THIS ONE boook alone. Am sure, I can find a whole lot of crap here.By the letter, they could have identified, whether ahatulla was east or west. If he is a west syrian, will all the kerela christians jump into a fray. Since the church has relation witH East and not west. What I have read is, 2 pilgrims from kerala saw ahatualla in mylapore near Madras, and informed the kerala christains. Thats it and no talk about any letter anywhere.Keralaxx (talk) 14:13, 20 May 2010 (UTC)
You are of course entitled to your opinion. However, Neill spent many years of his life compiling sources in several languages, visiting archives, and drawing measured conclusions based on it to produce this book. Again, if you want to get some additional input, please go ahead and post at the reliable sources noticeboard, but please understand that if your major complaint is that you haven't heard of it, or just don't like it, it is unlikely to get you very far. I've shown that Neill is a reliable expert in the field, that the book is highly regarded by other scholars, and that the publisher is about as prestigious as it gets.--Cúchullain t/c 14:32, 20 May 2010 (UTC)

Entire article is STUPID[edit]

All of it cut copy pasted from one stupid source. Never did see, these stories in any other book.Did the author write a Novel or a history book? Teutonick (talk) 03:31, 23 June 2010 (UTC)

First off, the material here is NOT "copy pasted" from anywhere, it is adapted and paraphrased from two very reputable and reliable books, and cited properly. "Copy pasting" implies plagiarism, a very serious charge. Second, as I showed above, the source you are presumably complaining about, Stephen Neill's A History of Christianity in India, is the definition of a reliable source. It is written by a noted scholar in the field and published by Cambridge, a "highly regarded university press" by any standard. You not having heard of something, or just not liking it, is not a reason to remove it.--Cúchullain t/c 12:24, 23 June 2010 (UTC)
I've added another source which says much the same as Neill. Both sources cite further sources on several of their points.--Cúchullain t/c 14:28, 23 June 2010 (UTC)




Yuck, this article is more biased than the catholic encyclopaedia. Seems like somebody is obsessed with romanising the history of eastern churches in wikipedia. The stories of Ahatallah's origin tied to Roman Church can all but be good imagination by Stephen Neill.
This book clearly mentions that Ahatallah was Syriac Orthodox- http://books.google.co.in/books?id=sOrglHSX6rsC&pg=PA367&lpg=PA367&dq=ahatallah&source=bl&ots=fBRdnjF-mq&sig=4R-jBtqCujLnqlathPp9aJTILeo&hl=en&ei=EE8jTMH8CcawrAfEibX2Cg&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=5&ved=0CCgQ6AEwBA#v=onepage&q=ahatallah&f=false Ahatallah's claims if any of being from the "Pope" should be taken with reference to the Coptic Orthodox Patriarch who was known as the Pope in eastern christendom.

Mathenkozhencherry (talk) 12:34, 24 June 2010 (UTC)


Cuchullian has copy pasted the some pages of two books into wikipedia. I found the exact same material being plagiarised into more than two other low quality websites. The entire article needs to be re-written, and not just be exact copy pastes of materials from one book.

Mathenkozhencherry (talk) 12:40, 24 June 2010 (UTC)


From Catholic Encylopaeda: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/14678a.htm#XVI
After the schism had broken out the intruder Ahatalla, a Mesopotamian prelate, was deported by the Portuguese, who took him by ship off Cochin and there lay at anchor. The Christians, coming to know of the fact, threatened to storm the fort, which the governor had to man with his soldiers, while the ship sailed away to Goa during the night.
Catholic Encylopaedia fails to mention Ahatallah as one of his bishops, but simply calls him a "mesopotamian prelate". It also says he was deported to Goa, keep in mind that Goa was notorious for the Catholic Inqusitions. Most probably he was burned alive in one of the inquisition chambers along with other "heretics"(read hindus, muslims and st. thomas christians). This is what almost every non-catholic history book in kerala says regarding this. I can give an inexhaustible list of book sources and references for the same in our local languages, books written as early as 19th century(of which catholics like cuchullian are contemptous of). This romanisation attempt against eastern churches, to erase their culture and history is nothing new, now wikipedia is also being a playground for fanatics who want to erase us entirely from history.

Mathenkozhencherry (talk) 12:50, 24 June 2010 (UTC)

Excuse me, I did NOT copy paste anything from any other source. If you have evidence of the wording being too close to one of the sources - I only used these three sources listed here - bring it up so it can be corrected. But do not make such a serious allegation without providing any evidence whatsoever.--Cúchullain t/c 12:59, 24 June 2010 (UTC)


This is getting stupid. The exact some wordings found in the book by stephen neil are copy pasted into not just wikipedia but a couple of other low quality websites such as this: http://www.museumstuff.com/learn/topics/Ahatallah::sub::Biography
This article is too important and complex to be sourced(copy pasted) almost entirely from just two books and trusting only the judgement of these two authors. Even the notion that ahatallah claimed to be "send by the Pope" is an eyewash and propaganda found only in romanist publications in India. Wikipedia is not for copypasting books printed in "oxford" and "cambridge". Most of these authors source their ideas from writings of 18th and 19th century romanist and anglican missionaries who always saw with their biased vision. Keralite readers find these wiki pages almost amusing and sometimes preposterous.
Very important history books written by indigenous authors like ZM Parett are not even considered while writing such an important article simply because his books are in the indian language. I think this is why we need more keralite(indian) editors with knowledge of the background (who are aware of the historical records in our manuscripts and also books written in 19th century), for this particular topic, atleast the article wont end up being good examples of creative story writing by westerners with absolutely no idea of what they are doing.

Mathenkozhencherry (talk) 13:21, 24 June 2010 (UTC)

This is just insane. The website you link to is obviously a Wikipedia mirror; it was copied directly from this article, not the other way around. I did not plagiarize from Neill or anyone, everything is properly cited to the listed sources books. Please apologize immediately.--Cúchullain t/c 13:28, 24 June 2010 (UTC)


I think the definition of plagiarisation fits what you just did. And like i said, two recent books printed in oxford or cambridge stating controversial stuff cannot be used as sole references for an entire article, especially such as this one which is very important for St. Thomas Christians. Its like quoting Salman Rushdies "Satanic Verses" as sole reference on an article about Islam.
Profile Cuchullian has been active in wiki a few months now, plagiarising from romanist sources publications and adding romanist imperialist twist to every eastern christian article. Is it a case of "victor writing the history books". In case you didnt know, the portuguese colonials were not completely victorios in india, a few us did survive the Goan Inquisitions and yet managed to fend off the jesuits and the portuguese armadas and preserve our independence.

Mathenkozhencherry (talk) 13:35, 24 June 2010 (UTC)

You obviously have no conception of what plagiarism is, and no interest in seeing this article follow anything but your own preconceived understanding of the subject. Your ad hominem attacks on me do you no credit. Good day.--Cúchullain t/c 13:43, 24 June 2010 (UTC)

Goan Inquisition's version of Ahatallah: Defamatory article.[edit]

The version of Ahatallah given in the article is extremely biased and insulting to even the Roman Catholic St. Thomas Christians, not to mention the non-catholic ones.This is the faulty premise/statement on which the entire article of lies and propaganda is based upon: "However, later research by Joseph Thekedathu, relying on additional documents found in the archives in the Vatican and Goa, has established further details of his life"
First of all the "researcher" Joseph Thekedathu is known for his extreme anti-St. Thomas Christian views. He can hardly be considered a historian or researcher in the proper sense. He is a fanatic roman catholic, and all his articles(some additional websites which he maintains online) are full of hate material against the Protestants, Orthodox and Nestorian christians of India. Most of this article is based upon his "research".
Also how can anyone rely on "Vatican and Goa" archives to make up the history of Ahatallah? Goa is where Mor Ahatallah was martyred at the hands of the Jesuits. Goa is notorious as the place of the horrible catholic inquisitions in India where hundreds of saint Thomas christians, nestorian prelates, jews, muslims and hindus were burned alive at the stake. It was a former portuguese colony. There are no Saint Thomas Christians in Goa, all are Roman Catholics of the Latin rite, and Goa got independence and merged with India only in 1956, 9 years after Independence of India. Until then it was a portuguese colony.
Vatican archives or journals made in 16th, 17th and 18th centuries, midst the horrible Inquisitions cannot be considered proper hisotrical manuals to present the history of their traditional enemies- the Saint Thomas Christians of Kerala. This article is highly insulting to every Saint Thomas Christians for this reason- it is history made by its enemies and by people with an agenda to convert them.

122.172.118.114 (talk) 07:59, 25 June 2010 (UTC)

The second book quoted by cuchullian, ie Frykenbergs book clearly mentions that Ahatallah was a Syriac Orthodox. However Cuchullian copy pasted only the parts in stephen neills books and those quotes of Joseph Thekkedathu and presented a manipulated, concocted jesuit tale of the man Ahatallah, who is being ridiculed and mocked here as a roman catholic and agent of the Pope. His killers are presented as his masters. There is no greater way in which anyone can trample upon an indigenous community and spit upon the face of their Saint.

122.172.118.114 (talk) 08:01, 25 June 2010 (UTC)

Roman Catholic Fanatics taking over christian articles in wikipedia?[edit]

There has been a very alarming trend in wikipedia of recent. An organised gang of roman catholic extremists based in several western countries are editing and manipulating almost every article related to Christianity. Many of them build up credibility stealthily, gained administratorship in wikipedia and then started working on their agenda. The renaming of the article "Roman Catholic Church" as the "Catholic Church" is one example. All apostolic churches consider themselves the "one holy catholic and apostolic church", not just the Roman.
Cuchullian is only part of a small group in this wider trend, he has been focusing on Romanising the articles related to Syriac Christianity in particular. The article related to Nestorian christians(Church of the East), Syriac Orthodox, Saint Thomas Christians of India etc have been attacked and manipulated. Assyrian Christians who were more or less Iconoclasts and abhorred themselves from extreme forms of marian devotion, are presented in these newly edited articles as adhering to the Roman Pope. How is it possible when Roman christians were at the opposite end of the theological spectrum?
The Catholic Encyclopaedia made in 1914, is at present a more sane and less virulent form of Vaticanised history than found in wikipedia. Wikipedia is becoming more pro-vatican and filled with roman propaganda, compared to the Catholic encyclopaedia! If we do not check this trend now, wikipedia will be transformed into a battleground of religious fanatics. People like cuchullian are destroying the ethic and defeating the purpose of wikipedia.

122.172.118.114 (talk) 08:10, 25 June 2010 (UTC)

Agree with User talk:122.172.118.114, Went through the contributions of Cuchullian, he is merely polishing the history of catholic church. Adamantly disagrees with other christian editiors and and puts in his version of history in wiki. He should understand that, that in wikipedia dictatorship will not work. Fanatic Handler (talk)

Expert needed to evaluate weight for two sources[edit]

Can an expert please evaluate the opinion expressed in this edit? [3] Thanks!

It's an obvious attempt to slant the article. It makes some claims that are patently false, such as Stephen Neill saying that the letters to Ahatallah are "almost certainly authentic". If you read Neill's book, page 320-321, he in fact makes the opposite claim. A lot of the other stuff contradicts what appears in the sources. For example it is not true that it's "beyond doubt" that he was a Jacobite; a lot of earlier scholars assumed this, but more recent research, as cited in Neill's highly respected A History of Christianity in India, indicates that he may have been a Syriac Orthodox bishop who converted to Catholicism. And the idea that he was burned at the stake does not appear to be true, as he turned up in Europe later.
The real question is, are these sources reliable, and are we reproducing what they say accurately? I inquired about Neill's book at the reliable sources noticeboard, and it was pretty strongly found that it was.[4]. The current edit demonstrably misquotes it, so it needs to be reverted.--Cúchullain t/c 00:08, 26 June 2010 (UTC)
You should not cling to your version of the story, which you want to propagate through wiki. Their are many editors who do not share your views. You are bringing just one source and relying solely on it. Their are more than 100 books about Indian christainity. You are considering just 2 books and writing an article from those sources. Can you prove the same from Frykenberg's, Cladius Buchanun, Mackenzies, ZM Parest etc book, the same version which you are tying to propagate. Stephen Neill is a never heard historian in India, the more famous ones are the ones mentioned above. Stephen Neill, has not done any research, he is merely quoting from Joseph Thekkedathu's book, so is vadakkekara. So both the sources your have quoted, Neill and Vadekkekara relies on the research done by Joseph Thekkedathu. Please dont make wikipedia a battle ground. Learn to take in other editors views. Teutonick (talk) 04:47, 26 June 2010 (UTC)
That's not how it works. If you're introducing new material, you need to defend it. And you can not totally alter citations to make it appear sources say something they don't say, as your preferred version does. On top of this, edit warring and sock-/meatpuppetry are not acceptable.
Stephen Neill is probably the single best source we have here. Frykenberg doesn't get into the debate on Ahatallah's background. Vadakkekara describes the debate but doesn't take a side. Neill's very well regarded book goes so far as to say that the basic details of Ahatallah's life are fairly "well established", speaking to a scholarly consensus. It doesn't matter what anyone here thinks of Neill's conclusions, unless they have also published an academic work in a reliable press that finds something different. Of course there is always room for additional sources to be added, assuming they're reliable and sourced properly. We can work that out here on the talk page without all the personal attacks and other disruptive behavior.--Cúchullain t/c 13:19, 26 June 2010 (UTC)
I have asked User:Djwilms, a published scholar of the Church of the East who also does a lot of work here on the Syriac Orthodox Church. His input will be valuable.--Cúchullain t/c 14:07, 26 June 2010 (UTC)

Unreliable and Erratic Source used ?[edit]

Having gone through the books of Stephen Neill and Vadekkekara, it leads me to the understanding that, both are quoting from a particular source. The source is again by a Catholic author (JosephThekkedathu), who claims to have unearthed the 16th century Inquistion documents of Goa.

Goa was notorious place for Inquistion and forced conversion. Critics of Catholic Church, were deported and murdered in Goa. The subservient documents forged by the Jesuits during the time of forced conversions and Inquistion, is what Joseph Thekkedathu considers as his source. Stephen Neill is merely quoting all his points from such sources.

Details for Goan Inquisition

Goa Inquisition http://www.christianaggression.org/item_display.php?type=articles&id=1111142225 http://www.blogs.ivarta.com/Inquisition-Goa-Atrocities-Hindus-missionaries/blog-179.htm http://www.goaholidayhomes.com/info/250/inquisition-horrors-in-goa/

Other source, provided here is , Frykenberg, and that varies to a large extend from the versions of Neill and Vadakkekara. One of the fine examples of research done, which is also highly acclaimed in India, is done by István Perczel. His book has high esteem among scholars, and they too do not, conceive , the idea, that Ahathulla had any connections to the Pope. So honestly speaking, a wide array of scholarly books, contradicts, with the version of Neill and Vadakkekara.

What we need here is a honest debate, and not mud slinging. Both the parties should be open to others views. Mere shunning of criticism and steadfastly holding to two sources, will not yield positive results.

The major Point as already mentioned above, the catholic enclycopedia, do not claim, that Ahathulla was a catholic. They do no even mention, that , Ahathualla, had any ties with the catholic church.

What is mentioned in catholic encyclopaedia is

“After the schism had broken out the intruder Ahatalla, a Mesopotamian prelate, was deported by the Portuguese, who took him by ship off Cochin and there lay at anchor.”

This article claims that, Ahathulla has ties with Pope and the same Catholic Enclyopedia calls him an Intruder. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Fyodor7 (talkcontribs) 09:14, 26 June 2010 (UTC)

Again, it doesn't really matter what you personally think about Neill's conclusions, it only matters that he is (a) a reliable source and (b) that we reproduce his information correctly. There is of course room for other sources, including Frykenberg (who I added), who doesn't get into the debate at all, Vadakkekara, who discusses both sides and doesn't take one, and perhaps some of the others you mention if they are reliable. Obviously the self-published websites and blogs you quote are not useable, nor is the nearly century-old Catholic Encyclopedia.--Cúchullain t/c 13:24, 26 June 2010 (UTC)
First of all an expert intervention is required in this matter. Second your point, that the catholic enclycodpedia is centuries old is irrational. Ahatalla didnt live a century ago, but more than 3 centuries before. When their are more than 100 authentic books on Indian christainity, taking details, from one particular book without consensous, do not meet the standards of wiki. I dont want you to believe the self published blogs, do you believe wiki???, I have quoted wiki too. Again please dont make irrational statements about catholic enclyipedia and so on. Native editors do have a better grip on the issue. Once more, an expert intervention, is necessary. Fyodor7 (talk) 14:13, 26 June 2010 (UTC)
The Catholic Encylopedia shouldn't be used, as it's really out of date. Wikipedia articles can't be used to source other Wikipedia articles.--Cúchullain t/c 14:38, 26 June 2010 (UTC)


The problem here is that cuchullian is extraordinarily eager to base this article just on the work of Stephen Neil. Stephen Neil on the other hand bases his version of Ahatallah mostly on the works of Joseph Thekkedathu, who in turn quotes from Inquisition era archives of the Roman Catholic Church in Goa. One problem with Vatican sources is their secrecy, and secondly their unwillingness to share archives when any historical research based on them can put their church in bad light. Most Lisbon archives of RC church are unpublished and still off limits for even Syrian Catholic priests from kerala for this reason. Can an entire wiki article be just based on the work of just one author who is one of the latest to write a book on the subject, among many others? This topic is too important, complex and touchy subject to be edited that way.
Robert Frykenbergs book(quoted as the second reference here) contradicts the first reference. Page 367 of Frykenbergs Christianity in India from beginnings to present mentions that Ahatallah is from the West Syrian Church of Antioch and arrived at the behest of the Coptic Patriarch of Alexandria. It also says that the Portuguese accused him of being a Nestorian. If he was taken to be a foreign nestorian bishop, the greatest possibility is that he was killed in the Goan Inquisition. Cardinal Tisserant another familiar author on this subject says Ahatallah was killed in Goa.
Clearly, this article needs to be based on more than just one source(Neil quoting Thekkedathu).

Mathenkozhencherry (talk) 06:37, 28 June 2010 (UTC)

Page Fully Protected[edit]

Dear all,

Per a recent request at WP:RFPP, this page has been fully protected for 1 month as it is clear that there is an edit war going on. Please discuss the issues and come to an agreement, and then you can request for the protection to be lifted, by me or another admin at WP:RFPP.

Kind Regards,

The Helpful One 14:41, 26 June 2010 (UTC)

The references given is this article is unreliable.The article quotes from the works of Neil and Joseph Thekkedathu. Neil has merely quoted from the works of joseph thekkedathu in his book.So his book cannot be considered as a seperate refernce source. More over,Joseph Thekkadethu, who is a Roman Catholic ,has written his book based on the archives of the Roman Catholic church in Goa and Rome. This is just like writing the history of Israel(Jewish History) based on the information from the Nazi Archives. According to Joseph Chazhikkadan,a Church Historian, no one is certain about the church to which Ahatallah belonged to. According to another church historian Cardinal Tisserant; Ahathallah was caught by the Portuguese,and taken to Goa, where he was burnt alive for tyranny against the Church after inquisition.

Another anomaly in the article is that Frykenberg has stated that Ahatallah was a Syrian Orthodox church member.The article should be corrected in time. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Arunvroy (talkcontribs) 14:46, 26 June 2010 (UTC)

Actually, Neill, a very reliable source, used the research of Thekkedathu in his own book, A History of Christianity in India, which is what we're citing here. Neill is not a Catholic, so the laughable ad hominem argument against him falls apart entirely. It wouldn't matter if he was Catholic; it only matters that he is reliable, and that we are citing him correctly. Using material found in archives does not mean that whoever is should be discredited. That's how real historians do their job. Sorry, but all indications are that Neill is clearly reliable here. Other material can be included as well as long as it can be shown to be reliable.--Cúchullain t/c 15:09, 26 June 2010 (UTC)
I agree with Cuchullain that Neill is a perfectly appropriate source for the article. However, if Arunvroy can point me to where to get the Frykenberg or Chazhikkadan, I'd be happy to take their view of the situation into account. Claritas § 10:46, 27 June 2010 (UTC)


Neil maybe a good source(since his book was published in the UK and not in India?) or not, but he is not the only source. This person has hardly done any original research- but simply put into english and oxford print a few kerala roman catholic authors views, with reference; and also made some background comments. Why is there a compulsion to base this entire topic on just one author which contradicts even the only other reference given here(Frykenberg)? Is this how wiki articles are usually edited?
Is "Vatican archives" a good source or the sole source to base the history of Saint Thomas Christians upon? In 17th century Vatican and Saint Thomas Christians were at loggerheads and the former was conducting an Inquisition in Goa. Like someone asked before, are Jewish history pages in wikipedia based mostly on Nazi archives?
Two books on this subject which give some of the so called "Vatican sources" are Jesuits of Malabar by Dominico Ferolly and the St. Thomas Christian's Revolution of 1653 by Kollaparambil. The former contains letters by the Jesuits, Francis Garcia and will help us get a direct insight into the happenings of 1652-1653.

Mathenkozhencherry (talk) 06:28, 28 June 2010 (UTC)

It will be of interest to editors here that a lot of the accounts that had been fomenting the edit war and producing the talk page vitriol were discovered to be abusive sockpuppets of Fyodor7 by a CheckUser, and were blocked accordingly.[5] Hopefully this will allow us to progress in a more amicable manner.
Mathenkozhencherry, Neill is a reliable source since he's an expert on the topic, his book is widely respected in the field, and was published by one of the most respected publishers in the world (Cambridge, not Oxford). Not because the book was published in Britain.
No one ever said we should use only one source. I added the only other two sources that are included here! Please drop the accusations.
The idea that Neill's book should be discounted because he used research done by Catholic authors, or documents found in certain archives, doesn't wash. Neill (who was NOT Catholic) and the University of Cambridge vetted all the material in the book appropriately, much more so than individual Wikipedia editors will be able to do, so the line that it was inherently inaccurate based on some conjecture about sources really needs to be dropped. That doesn't mean there are no errors, but rejecting it as a source will take more than ad hominem attack on all "Catholic" sources.--Cúchullain t/c 13:40, 28 June 2010 (UTC)

Okay, as I said above I contacted Djwilms for his input the matter. As luck would have it, he is writing about Ahatallah in his upcoming book on the history of the Church of the East. He reproduced the passage on my talk page:User_talk:Cuchullain#Ahatallah. Djwilms agrees with most of the details of Ahatallah's biography here, with one important exception. He says that Ahatallah appears to have been a Jacobite (Syriac Orthodox) bishop who converted to Catholicism, was eventually pushed out of the Middle East, and ended up in Egypt. From there he was told about Archdeacon Thomas' letter by the Coptic Patriarch and went to India. However, Djwilms says that he was consecrated by one of the two Nestorian patriarchs, Eliya IX, as Metropolitan of China and India; I've asked for clarification on this point. He agrees with Neill that Ahatallah was not killed, but was instead sent to Europe, where he died in Paris before reaching Rome.
Robert Frykenberg's book is being presented as "contradicting" Neill. It doesn't really, it just doesn't go into as much detail about Ahatallah, as it's a much briefer survey. He talks about Ahatallah for only three paragraphs, and devotes exactly one sentence to his background. All he says regarding his background is this: "Ahatallah, hailing from the West Syrian Church of Antioch [the Syriac Orthodox Church ] and claiming to be the 'Patriarch of All India and China', arrived in Mylapore at the behest of the Coptic Patriarch." (p. 367) This agrees with Neill in everything except the implication about the West Syrian Church (there is no doubt that Ahatallah was originally Jacobite). In reality Frykenberg's just not getting into the discussion of whether Ahatallah was Jacobite or Catholic. Vadakkekara does describe the discussion but doesn't take a side.--Cúchullain t/c 15:37, 28 June 2010 (UTC)


Frykenberg doesnt write much on Ahatallah except what is certain and could be supported by evidence. Thats why he cleverly keeps it short. Neil on the other hand admits that any further opinion on Ahatallah would be mere conjecture, yet goes on to project one of the several possibilities or versions. And this version is nothing new- its all too familiar to kerala christians as the Latin version among several other popular ones. No original research- just reiterating an old conjecture, and Neil doesnt deny it.
So ofcourse they contradict each other in the approach chosen. I find frykenberg more reliable because of this.

User Cuchullain went one step ahead in his romanist zeal and states this admitted conjecture in neils book as fact in the article.

175.40.209.16 (talk) 03:26, 29 June 2010 (UTC)

Please stop trying to avoid your block, Fyodor.--Cúchullain t/c 12:59, 29 June 2010 (UTC)
Djwilms help would be invaluable. This is getting interesting. I just contacted Mr Kurien Thomas- a well known historian in kerala who is at present doing a Phd thesis on a related history topic. He was the editor of the republished Niranam Grandhavary- the oldest indigenous history book in kerala. It too talks of Mor Ahatallah. Mar Aprem- head bishop of the CoE in kerala seems to be one of his close aquaintances. He agreed to meet with me in the weekend and give some insight on the topic.

SuperNasrani (talk) 16:38, 29 June 2010 (UTC)

I'll do my best to dig out my own sources for Ahatallah in the next couple of days. For the moment, I will merely observe that there is no reason to suppose that the sources of the Saint Thomas Christians are any less likely to be biased than Portuguese sources. The art of being a good historian is knowing how to interpret and discount these biases in the search for truth. I also strongly disagree with some of the remarks that have been made by a number of contributors about Catholic historians. I myself am British, and a member of the (Protestant) Church of England, so have no particular reason to defend Catholic historians. Nevertheless, I consulted numerous Catholic sources for my book The Ecclesiastical Organisation of the Church of the East, and was in general impressed by their quality. Yes, they sometimes spun things if they could (as did the Protestant sources, as did the Nestorian and Chaldean sources), but they very rarely lied outright. The greatest scholar of the Church of the East in the twentieth century, in my humble view, was Jean-Maurice Fiey, a French Catholic priest who worked in Iraq for many years. Fiey freely admitted interpretations that reflected badly on the Catholic church because he was a lover of the truth, as were most of the European missionaries who worked among the Christians of Iraq in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. It distresses me to see 'Catholic historians' dismissed en bloc as a bunch of liars.
Djwilms (talk) 01:37, 30 June 2010 (UTC)
Note: I've consulted Fiey's list of Syrian Orthodox bishops of Damascus (POCN, 188) to see if he sheds any light on Ahatallah's background. He doesn't give the date he was appointed to Damascus, and says merely 'Gregory Atallah, deposed around 1650, went to Malabar'. The bishop Dioscorus of Damascus, last attested in 1583, may have been Ahatallah's immediate predecessor.
Djwilms (talk) 01:25, 7 July 2010 (UTC)
But that would fall under original research and would not be permisible article content. Active Banana (talk) 03:32, 7 July 2010 (UTC)
I don't think so. Any contribution I make to this article would derive from a published source. I don't have time at present to do original research on Ahatallah, though I have long wanted to write something on the Jacobites.
Djwilms (talk) 08:26, 7 July 2010 (UTC)

Who was Ahatallah?[edit]

In view of the bewildering diversity of particulars about Ahatallah (or is it Ahthulla), furnished from different quarters, I wish to mention that it is almost impossible to establish the true identity of this prelate, who set out to help the Saint Thomas Christians of Malabar (Kerala). As far as I know, there are six different beliefs about him.

The Wikipedia article Ahatallah expresses only one view, that of the Roman Catholic missionaries. Many of the information given in that opinion are questionable.Neduvelilmathew (talk) 16:50, 28 June 2010 (UTC)

The article expresses only what appears in the given sources, which are clearly reliable by Wikipedia's standards. There is an attempt here by some editors to paint all sources they don't personally agree with as "Catholic", and therefore "wrong". This is untenable, as the sources are not all Catholic, nor do they promote the view of "Roman Catholic missionaries". There has been no refutation of any of the sources that doesn't devolve into ad hominem arguments about their alleged "Catholic" connections.--Cúchullain t/c 17:10, 28 June 2010 (UTC)


I think the source is not reliable in the sense cuchullain puts it. Stephen Neil himself says in the book that there is great difficulty in establishing anything about Ahatallah accurately. However this matter of inclarity is not properly conveyed in the article.

175.40.158.55 (talk) 21:32, 28 June 2010 (UTC)

There are multiple versions of the Ahatallah story among kerala christians. Even among the romanists there were three versions- the jesuit, carmelite and latin ones. Neils source the virtually unknown "joseph thekkedathu" just requotes the old latin version per se without any change. It is not the result of any new research as the article claims.

175.40.158.55 (talk) 21:53, 28 June 2010 (UTC)

Once again, we would need more to discredit Neill than ad hominem arguments about "Catholic" connections. Please stop trying to avoid your block, Fyodor.--Cúchullain t/c 12:59, 29 June 2010 (UTC)


Cuchullain, the ip above is mine. Please dont deviate the discussion by making unsubstantiated allegations against fellow users.
You cant' cite something which the author admits to be conjectural, as factual ' in wikipedia.

There is an element of misreprentation in the article.

SuperNasrani (talk) 16:24, 29 June 2010 (UTC)

We have had major problems with abusive sockpuppetry here, which is far and away the biggest problem the article has been facing. It is always a red flag when a number of newly-registered accounts show up at an obscure article such as this one. If you really are not Fyodor7, then I do apologize. However, everyone involved should be very careful to only edit under one account to avoid any further problems.
What Neill actually says is this: "Ahatallah remains a somewhat mysterious figure. But the main outlines of his story have been built up from materials in the archives in Rome and Goa, and can be regarded as somewhat reliably established" (p. 317, emphasis mine) This speaks directly to a scholarly consensus that there are some things that can be said about Ahatallah. The only details being presented here are those that Neill calls "somewhat reliably established", and the wording is full of caveats such as "evidently" and "apparently" that make it clear all details are not 100% certain. Once again, there is plenty of room for other sources, but attempting to discredit Neill with ad hominem attacks on "Catholic" connections doesn't wash.--Cúchullain t/c 17:28, 29 June 2010 (UTC)