The Two Babylons

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Cover of the 7th edition of The Two Babylons (1871), which claims that Catholic doctrines and ceremonies are a veiled continuation of Babylonian paganism.

The Two Babylons, subtitled The Papal Worship Proved to Be the Worship of Nimrod and His Wife is a religious pamphlet published in 1853 by the Presbyterian Free Church of Scotland theologian Alexander Hislop (1807–65). It was expanded in 1858, going through many editions. A 3rd edition was published in 1862,[1] a 7th in 1871,[2] a popular edition in 1903.[3] It has been claimed on many websites that The Two Babylons was only finally published as a book in 1919 though as can be seen the third edition is a substantial 500 pages in length. A book by anyone's standards. Also the cover that is used to support this idea mentions 1916, not 1919. By at least the 3rd edition it contained all 61 illustrations that have been included in every major edition since.

Its central theme is its allegation that the Catholic Church is a veiled continuation of the pagan religion of Babylon, a product of a millennia-old conspiracy.[4]

Hislop ultimately traces Catholic doctrines back to the worship of Nimrod, claiming that the Roman Catholic Church is the Whore of Babylon in the Bible Book of Revelation 17:5, and that "the Pope himself is truly and properly the lineal representative of Belshazzar". He claims that the Christogram IHS really stands for Isis, Horus, Seth.

In the note by the editor of the 7th edition, which was published in 1871, it was claimed, "that no one, so far as we are aware, has ventured to challenge the accuracy of the historical proofs adduced in support of the startling announcement on the title page." Since then however there have been many who have challenged the accuracy of Hislop's claims. Scholar Lester L. Grabbe has highlighted the picture presented by Hislop, that Nimrod is equated with Ninus is based on a misunderstanding of historical Babylon and its religion, however his book remains popular among some fundamentalist Protestant Christians[4] and among Jehovah's Witnesses, with The Watchtower frequently publishing excerpts from Hislop until the 1980s.[5]

Although extensively footnoted, some commentators (in particular Ralph Woodrow) have stated that there are numerous misconceptions, fabrications and grave factual errors in the document.[6]

In 2011 a critical edition was published which also contains the English book by Ralph Woodrow[7] as well as the papers by Ralph Woodrow and Dr. Eddy Lanz.

The book's thesis has also featured prominently in the conspiracy theories of racist groups such as The Covenant, The Sword, and the Arm of the Lord[8] and other conspiracy theorists.[9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "The Two Babylons Third Edition". 
  2. ^ "The Two Babylons Seventh Edition". 
  3. ^ "The Two Babylons Popular Edition". 
  4. ^ a b Grabbe, Lester L. Can a 'history of Israel' be Written? p. 28, 1997, Continuum International Publishing Group
  5. ^ "Lent and Ash Wednesday are NOT pagan relics". 
  6. ^ Woodrow, Ralph BOOK REVIEW - The Two Babylons: A Case Study in Poor Methodology Christian Research Institute, Vol. 22, No. 2, 2000
  7. ^ Von Babylon nach Rom? – The Two Babylons?, 2011; ISBN 978-3-9811529-5-1. A critical edition, which includes the German book by Hislop
  8. ^ Michael Barkun Religion and the Racist Right, pp. 192-193, UNC Press 1997
  9. ^ Michael Barkun A Culture of Conspiracy, p. 210, Univ. of California Press 1997

External links[edit]