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The Two Babylons A Case Study In Poor Methodology Research

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 PresbyterianFree Church of ScotlandtheologianAlexander Hislop (1807–65).

Its central theme is its allegation that the Catholic Church is a veiled continuation of the pagan religion of ancient Babylon, the product of a millennia-old secret conspiracy founded by the Biblical king Nimrod and the Assyrian queen Semiramis, whom Hislop claimed was Nimrod's wife.[1] It claims that modern Catholic holidays, including Christmas and Easter are actually pagan festivals established by Semiramis and that the customs associated with them are pagan rituals. Modern scholars have unanimously rejected the book's arguments as erroneous and based on a flawed understanding of Babylonian religion,[1][2] but variations of them are accepted among some groups of evangelicalProtestants.[1][2]

Publication History[edit]

It was expanded in 1858, going through many editions. A 3rd edition was published in 1862,[3] a 7th in 1871,[4] a popular edition in 1903.[5] It has been claimed on many websites that The Two Babylons was only finally published as a book in 1919, even though the third edition had already reached 500 pages in length.

The book has been published by various Protestant publishing houses over the years, one being Chick Publications, which is still publishing the book today.


Hislop builds on the Panbabylonian school of Hyperdiffusionism, which was common in the 19th century, to argue that Classical and Ancient Near Eastern civilization took its inspiration from Babylon. From this, he derives the argument that the mystery religions of Late Antiquity were actually offshoots of one ancient religion founded at the Tower of Babel. Panbabylonism has since been relegated to pseudohistory by some 20th-century scholars.[6]

Much of Hislop's work centers on his association of the legendary Ninus and his semi-historical wife Semiramis with the Biblical Nimrod as her husband and her son, with their incestuous male offering being Tammuz. Hellenistic histories of the Ancient Near East tended to conflate their faint recollections of the deeds of ancient kings into legendary figures who exerted far more power than any ancient king ever did. In Assyria, they invented an eponymous founder of Nineveh named Ninus, who supposedly ruled 52 years over an empire comparable to the Persian Empire at its greatest extent. Ninus's wife Semiramis was in turn a corruption of the historical figure Shammuramat, regent of the Neo-Assyrian Empire from 811 BC.[7] Hislop takes Ninus as a historical figure, and associates him with the Biblical figure Nimrod, though he was not the first to do so. The Clementine literature made the association in the 4th Century AD. An influential belief throughout the Middle Ages was that Ninus was the inventor of Idolatry,[8] a concept that Hislop clearly drew upon. However, Hislop wrote before the historical records of the ancient near east had been thoroughly decoded and studied, that cast doubt in the decades after he wrote whether there was any such figure as Ninus, and the Greek authors whom he quoted lacked credibility on the subject.[9]

The Two Babylons heavily relies on Austen Henry Layard's publications of his excavations at Nineveh, which had only been just discovered in 1851. This gave his work an appearance of being well-researched at the time of its publication. For example, Hislop linked the name of Easter with Astarte, the Phoenician fertility goddess by citing Layard's recent discovery of Astarte's Assyrian name, Ishtar, which Hislop took to be "identical" to Easter.

What means the term Easter itself? It is not a Christian name. It bears its Chaldean origin on its very forehead. Easter is nothing else than Astarte, one of the titles of Beltis, the queen of heaven, whose name, as pronounced by the people Nineveh, was evidently identical with that now in common use in this country. That name, as found by Layard on the Assyrian monuments, is Ishtar.

— Hislop, The Two Babylons, Chapter 3, Section 2, Easter

The claim that Easter is derived from Ishtar has been questioned.[10] Modern etymologists derive the word Easter from the Proto-Indo-European root *aus-, meaning "dawn,"[11] potentially by way of *h₂ewsṓs.[12]Ishtar is a Semitic name of uncertain etymology, possibly taken from the same root as Assyria, or from a semitic word meaning "to irrigate."[13]

Hislop ultimately traced papist doctrines back to the worship of Nimrod, asserting that the Roman Catholic Church represented Whore of Babylon of the Book of Revelation and that "the Pope himself is truly and properly the lineal representative of Belshazzar". He claimed that the Christogram IHS, the first three Greek letters in the name of Jesus, represented Latin characters standing for Isis, Horus and 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. For example, Lester L. Grabbe has highlighted the fact that Hislop's entire argument, particularly his association of Ninus with Nimrod, is based on a misunderstanding of historical Babylon and its religion.[1] Grabbe also criticizes Hislop for portraying the mythological queen Semiramis as Nimrod's consort,[1] despite the fact that she is never even mentioned in a single text associated with him,[1] and for portraying her as the "mother of harlots",[1] even though this is not how she is depicted in any of the texts where she is mentioned.[1]

In 2011, a critical edition was published.[14] Although Hislop's work is extensively footnoted, some commentators (in particular Ralph Woodrow) have stated that the document contains numerous misconceptions, fabrications, logical fallacies, unsubstantiated conspiracy theories, and grave factual errors.[15]


Some fundamentalist Protestants still regard Hislop's book as proof that the Roman Catholic Church is, in fact, the continuation of ancient Babylonian religion.[1][2]Jehovah's Witnesses periodical The Watchtower frequently published excerpts from it until the 1980s.[16] 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[17] and other fringe groups.[18] Author and conspiracy theoristDavid Icke incorporates Hislop's claims about Semiramis into his book The Biggest Secret, claiming that Semiramis played a key role in the establishment of a global conspiracy run by Reptilian aliens, whom he asserts is secretly controlling humanity.[19]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ abcdefghiGrabbe, Lester L. (1997). Mein, Andrew; Camp, Claudia V., eds. Can a 'History of Israel' Be Written?. London, England: Continuum International Publishing Group. pp. 27–28. ISBN 978-0567043207. 
  2. ^ abcMcllhenny, Albert M. (2011). This Is the Sun?: Zeitgeist and Religion (Volume I: Comparative Religion). p. 60. ISBN 978-1-105-33967-7. Retrieved 1 June 2017. 
  3. ^"The Two Babylons Third Edition". 
  4. ^"The Two Babylons Seventh Edition". 
  5. ^"The Two Babylons Popular Edition". 
  6. ^Brown, Peter Lancaster. Megaliths, Myths and Men: An Introduction to Astro-Archaeology p. 268. Dover Publications, New York, 1976.
  7. ^Georges Roux - Ancient Iraq
  8. ^Michael Camille, The Gothic Idol: Ideology and Image-Making in Medieval Art, Cambridge,1991: 50-51.
  9. ^Johnson, Sarah Raup (2004). Historical Fictions and Hellenistic Jewish Identity: Third Maccabbees in its Cultural Context. Berkeley, California: University of California Press. pp. 112–113. ISBN 0-520-23307-7. Retrieved 2 June 2017. 
  10. ^D'Costa, Krystal. "Beyond Ishtar: The Tradition of Eggs at Easter: Don't believe every meme you encounter". Scientific American. Nature America, Inc. Retrieved 8 July 2017. [unreliable source?]
  11. ^Watkins, Calvert (2006 [2000]). The American Heritage Dictionary of Indo-European Roots. p. 2021. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. ISBN 0-618-08250-6
  12. ^Mallory, J. P.; Adams, Douglas Q. (1997). Encyclopedia of Indo-European Culture. Taylor & Francis. ISBN 1-884964-98-2.  p. 148-149.
  13. ^Barton, George A. On the Etymology of Ishtar. Journal of the American Oriental Society Vol. 31, No. 4 (1911), pp. 355-358
  14. ^which also contains the English book by Ralph Woodrow Von Babylon nach Rom? – The Two Babylons?, 2011; ISBN 978-3-9811529-5-1, as well as the papers by Ralph Woodrow and Dr. Eddy Lanz
  15. ^Woodrow, Ralph BOOK REVIEW - The Two Babylons: A Case Study in Poor Methodology Christian Research Institute, Vol. 22, No. 2, 2000
  16. ^"Lent and Ash Wednesday are NOT pagan relics". 
  17. ^Michael Barkun Religion and the Racist Right, pp. 192-193, UNC Press 1997
  18. ^Michael Barkun A Culture of Conspiracy, p. 210, Univ. of California Press 1997
  19. ^David Icke, The Biggest Secret, 52-54


External links[edit]

Cover of the 7th edition of The Two Babylons (1871), which claims that Catholic doctrines and ceremonies are a veiled continuation of Babylonian paganism.
Relief of the Babylonian goddess Ishtar, whose name Hislop claimed to be the root behind the English word Easter
Reviewer:jesuitnomore - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - February 13, 2013
Subject: Those who worship ishtar and those who worship Mary...is there really a difference ??? How much have you PERSONALLY studied ???

Alright, some do not wish that others would read the book, and make up their own mind.

So attack the messenger, right ?

After all, Hislop had to be wrong because you want him to be ??

Of course he did use more than 200 sources, in his book ? and you have personally read each and every single one of those sources, like Hislop had to ?

And you question his facts and his reasonings, because you know both Latin and ANcient Greek like Hislop did, is that ALSO true about you ?

And so you can dispute with Hislop because your knowledge, experience and credibility are greater than his, is that right ?

The fact is that hislop quotes from traditional and historic works, written by classic Greek and Roman authors. He is only relaying to you, what they first said themselves.

But I will admit, it can hurt.

It is painful to admit the possibility that the Bible can STILL be real, authentic and true, but those who run the Vatican have motives of leisure, comfort, luxury, power and spiritual corruption.

Of course that would never happen in this day and age, never never never in the Roman Catholic Church ?

So each and every single one of those child-molesting events occuring by the THOUSANDS, in all lands and
nations currently where the Vatican has its own local franchise, those NEVER occured then did they ?

Because there is never corruption in THAT church ?

And so when they torched other Christ-followers, but who who refused to bow to the Vatican, then that was alright also ?

ANd when they confiscated the goods of those people, threw them into the street, and then forced them to pay
for the costs of the emprisonment of the father of that little house, on a trumped-up charge of heresy, that
was alright also, was it ? That was justice ? That was how Jesus would do things, is it ?

Those practices are consistent with the New Testament, are they ?

And the books that before the 1500s were NOT considered Scripture that the Vatican council suddenly decided to
ADD 12 or 14 books in the middle of the Old and New Testament, to avoid dealing with the intellectual arguments
of Calvin and Martin Luther, altering the contents of the New Testament, THAT is NOT a sign of Vatican Corruption,
then is it ?

So when the one in charge of the child-molesting scandal in Boston, was transfered to the Vatican (who was
archbishop Laud), so that he would no longer be subject to American jurisdiction, making him beyond the reach of
those who were vicimized, THAT did not occur then, did it ?

And it was not Ratzinger who made that happen then, the transfer of Laud to Vatican space, was it ? (Actually it was).

Christianity is much bigger, and God is much bigger than the Vatican and the Roman Catholic political Christianity
that still exists, even today.

But that is not to be confused with the simple and actual Christianity found in the New Testament.

Truth may be painful sometimes, but far LESS painful than trying to defend falsehoods, and doctrines that
clearly were absent at the beginning. Do your own research. The Vatican did not even exist for the first 300 years of Christianity. Wanting it to be true will not make it true. Wait until you find out about lines of succession, that contradict each other, and they are each separately issued by different popes. And those lines of succession contradict each other, about which early Pope supposedly succeeded a different early pope. Those are just invented histories.

It is important to make a difference between historic Christianity, and the teachings of Rome, invented and developed either by Pagan rituals, or invented by the Vatican. Christianity stands OUTSIDE of the Vatican and its bureaucrats.

Constantine died a pagan emperor and worshipper of sol invictus (clarified in the work of Hislop).

Every hear of someone called Malachi Martin ? Did you read what he wrote about the truth of conclaves ?

At the very least the vatican is a horrible testimony to the power of God to change lives. In its current state,
the Vatican remains a badly corrupted institution, as it has been ever since it made its alliance with imperial Rome.

No one wants you to know the truth.

No one wants you to read the facts for yourself.

There is far more material, than what Hislop included in one book.

What many Catholics of Rome want is to be able to place their trust blindly into their church and hope that this will carry them to Eternal Life. That however contradicts what the New Testament teaches. Priests do not have the power
to remit sins. They never have, unless that was found in pagan systems of ancient religions.

Seek Truth.

And Reading works like those of Griesinger, or Sarpi or Dollinger, or Malachi Martin will tell you much more than you will ever learn, by believing Vatican myths.


Reviewer:Jerald Franklin Archer - - September 22, 2011
Subject: What the Church is NOT.

The study of error fosters the successful promotion of the truth. Hislop's work in a model in and of itself, which stands purely as an example of what, if truly inspired by the Holy Ghost, one should look out for in their search for the truth. It stands alone as the classic example of the anti-Catholic sentiment that raged in the time it was written as a pamphlet in 1853, full of great historical errors and bigotry that pass for genuine scholarship. If that was not enough, it was later expanded in 1858 and finally published as a book in 1919. He uses all of the old professorial stand-bys in order to be convincing as possible, Latin phrases and erroneous self-interpretation of Holy Scripture being the most blatant. His understanding of the religion of Babylon is altogether wrong, as is his use of scripture out of context. One who truly understands history and the Bible (and where and how it came about) clearly sees these errors, which make for a strange interest in seeing how far he will go to prove his conjectures. As the Catholic Church has, or never will be, disproved, it is safe to say, as it is promised by Christ, that the gate of Hell have not prevailed by Hislop's efforts. The enemy confuses, but is never totally victorious. Satan himself could not have done a better job of it, although I suspect he had much to do with it in co-authorship. Satan's commission will be fulfilled in payments not of coin, but of souls lost by believing that the very Church Christ Himself founded is evil in and of itself.

As to the real reason for such a production, I am not going to judge as too many factors that could be involved, but do rest assured that the effort was not a divinely inspired one. To make the Church out to be what Hislop proposes would make Christ out to be a liar and deceiver Himself. I pray that is not what he was suggesting in his theories, but rather he was simply ignorant of the truth. He is what may be considered as invincibly ignorant, and we must give him the benefit of the doubt as to his actual motives. No valid reason seems to offer a logical explanation, except that the author was certifiably mad, demonically possessed or just your typical heretic with little to do and a great deal to say.

As even manure has value in certain applications, I actually use this work as an example to those whom I evangelize in order to point out where the truth can be really found--and salvation may be truly secured. Ones own eternal salvation is too precious, so I urge a serious research effort on their part to always be cautious where they get their information. Bear in mind that Hislop was engaged in the work of helping others to attain eternal salvation and, given the beliefs that he promotes, one can see why the promotion of truth, through the correction of error is so important today.

As Hislop's sloppy scholarship and poor methodology of proving his case is much more evident today, it would be safe to say that few would believe it in today's mindset. It remains as a testimony of just how little we have changed as a society and how men think in any given time in history. The sad fact does remain that there are some who believe the work is truth, and the general argument of his suppositious conspiracy theories are still alive and well in some fundamentalist Protestant mindsets today. This is due solely to ignorance, which is actually an unacceptable excuse today, given the available information we have at any given time. It is not strange that most, if not all of those who hate or distrust the Church always know nothing about Her and the little they do "know" is so filled with error it is amazing that it could happen today.

Ignorance of the Scriptures is ignorance of Christ. As this would certainly be the case, given the evidence that all anti-Catholic individuals present, then one may deduce that they really know nothing of Christ, for the Catholic Church is His Church, and He founded only ONE TRUE CHURCH---the Roman Catholic Church.

Other interesting historical writings in this manner include, but are not limited to :Martin Luther - On the Babylonian Captivity of the Church (1520), Titus Oates - An Exact Discovery of the Mystery of Iniquity as it is now in Practice amongst the Jesuits (1679), Conyers Middleton - Letter from Rome (1729). Jack Chick stands alone today as being so ridiculous as to not even warrent any serious attention, but in order to defeat the enemy, one must study their plans and philosophies as well.

Reviewer:Gardentree - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - April 30, 2011
Subject: 2 Babylons as it would be today

The Two Babylons offers some interesting insights.

The culmination of the Two Babylon system can be found in the book Hidden Dangers

[Here] . ;

The other work of that same author ( a Planned Deception) can be found

[ Planned Decep] . ;


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