Our friend Bosco is fond of writing about Catholicism as the ‘religion of Nimrod’ and calling Catholics worshippers of Semiramis. He seems not to know that such stuff, which nowadays tends to be spread by Jack Chick and his devotees, derives from an early nineteenth century Scottish clergyman, Alexander Hislop, who wrote an anti-Catholic book called ‘The Two Babylons’. Whilst seldom recommending Wikipedia as a source to my students, I did ask Bosco to look it up, as it contains helpful comments and links which, essentially, show that the book is based on out-dated ‘scholarship’ that was not strong when it was written, and which has been comprehensively debunked since. To take one example, key to Bosco’s views:
Lester L. Grabbe [an expert of Judaisim and ancient history] 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. Grabbe also criticizes Hislop for portraying the mythological queen Semiramis as Nimrod’s consort, despite the fact that she is never even mentioned in a single text associated with him, and for portraying her as the “mother of harlots”, even though this is not how she is depicted in any of the texts where she is mentioned.
In 2011 a critical edition was published. 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.
Woodrow is an interesting case, as his Christianity occupies the same end of the spectrum as Bosco’s, and he published a book based on Hislop. He, however, had the grace and the guts to (at some cost to himself as the book sold well) to withdraw the book when he realised how baseless its claims were. I wonder if Bosco has the same intelligence, humility and honesty? After 5 years of experiencing him, I am, sadly, betting that he will simply ignore all of this and then repeat the same of script. He has no argument left, just an immovable prejudice against the Catholic Church, which only a miracle can shift; but miracles happen.
As Wiki puts it in relation to the nonsense about Nimrod and Semiramis:
Much of Hislop’s work centers on his association of the legendary Ninus and his semi-historical wife Semiramis with the Biblical Nimrod. 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. 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, 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, and it became apparent in the decades after he wrote that there never was any such figure as Ninus, and that the Greek authors whom he quotes were without credibility on the subject.
And yet it is on such stuff Bosco relies. Why, you might ask, waste time on such poor stuff? The answer is simple. If you look on Amazon, which is still selling the book, you will see hordes of people praising it to the skies. some even saying that if it were not true, why has the Catholic Church not responded to it? That is a bit like saying why has it not responded to David Icke’s claims that the world is ruled by reptiles? Incidentally, and coincidentally, Wiki adds this:
Author and conspiracy theorist David 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.
There is something heartbreaking about the thought of human beings so adrift from the real message of Christ’s Gospel, and the truth about His Church, that they find refuge and a truth they can believe in such sources. St Paul’s verdict applies:
22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,
The good news, for Bosco and for all who are misled by such toxins, is that the Church is there, opening its arms, which are the arms of God, and has the power of Christ to forgive all our sins and to help guide us on the road to Heaven.