Wednesday, 6 April 2016



‘Your Christianity is a heresy of Judaism…Christians, you ruined us but we got our revenge on you…’ Rabbi K. grinned, staring at me. ‘And what would your revenge be?’ I asked, just to humour the old fellow, whom I thought a little cracked. ‘Islam! We created it. Our instrument to punish you! Haha!’

Rabbi K. went on to explain, all agog. Bit convoluted but, stripped down to essentials, here it goes. Mostly old hat, a rehash of well-known bits and pieces, but a dish served up spiced with a certain fascinating malevolence.

Jerusalem, AD 70. After the Jewish revolt the Romans take it by storm, burn down the Temple and sack the holy city. Among the fleeing Jews are the Ebionites. A bizarre Jewish sect who accepts Jesus as Messiah but not as divine. Judeo-Christians you may call them. People who don’t fit, because neither fully Christians nor real Jews. Yet the Ebionites consider themselves the authentic followers of the Messiah and despise all others. They eagerly await Christ’s return to rebuild the Temple and give them glory and power. Fanatically messianic, their descendants will migrate to Syria and eventually use gullible Queen Zaynab (Zenobia) of Palmira as a cat’s paw to attack the hated Romans. Emperor Aurelian, however, defeats Zaynab and carries her off captive to adorn his triumph in Rome. But the Ebionites still dream of revenge…

Fast forward to late 6^th century Arabia. This time the Arabs are the chosen suckers to fulfil the messianic project. There are undercover Ebionite agents about. Judeo-Christians like the monk Bahira, who preternaturally recognises the boy Muhammad as a Prophet. Or like the monk Waraqa, kinsman of Khadijah, the Prophet’s first wife. Ebionite ideas percolate into the Qur’an… So, the Ebionites are the hidden spiders spinning the devilish web of deception that will ensnare Jews, Christians and Muslims alike. Jews because they will refuse to recognise Muhammad as a Prophet and suffer the consequences, Christians because Islam will become a tremendous rival and Islam itself because…despite what Muslims believe, the Ebionites invented it. Got it?

Smart but not too smart. Because after the Prophet’s death Caliph Omar refuses to play the part. The spiders had outlasted their usefulness. So Omar tells the pesky Ebionites where to get off. Bitter and ultimately beaten the conspirators then vanish from history.

Bahira and Waraqa of course are mentioned in Muslim sources. And there were plenty of heterodox Christians wandering around or near Arabia at the time of the rise of Islam. Maybe some of their views are reflected in Islamic texts. But who wove them together into a wild conspiracy theory?

Rabbi K. suggested I looked up a French website which in detail recounts the fantastic plot, Le Grand Secret de l’Islam. Despite some scholarly material and references, the stuff struck me as science fiction. Or like another Da Vinci Code, maybe. Well, it had to happen. Picturesque, as the French say, but it is not history. It will not please Muslims, that’s for sure!

I wonder whether the gleeful Rabbi K. realised this sort of narrative is pure anti-Semitism. Comparable indeed to that notorious forgery, much printed and admired in Nazi Germany, The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. As the latter purports to expose a secret conspiracy by all-powerful Jews to subvert and take over the Gentile world, so The Great Secret claims that one of the world’s great religions – 1.6 billion adherents - owes its existence to an elaborate fraud, a lie and an imposture. Indeed, my Rabbi implied that even the villains of the piece, the messianic Judeo-Christians, were actually operating, unbeknownst to them, on behalf of Zion! How masochistically anti-Semitic and crazy can you get?

Nor should Christians particularly rejoice. Because those who seek to deconstruct Islam are often the same people who have long sought to besmirch and undermine the Christian faith. Lunatics like John Allegro, a ‘scholar’ who wrote a book contending that the early Church was based on a ‘Sacred Mushroom’ drug, a sort of hallucinogenic cult. Or like the pestilent Irish Catholic priest J.D. Crossan. A learned idiot for whom Jesus Christ, the towering figure of the Gospels, was a simple ‘Mediterranean peasant’. Compared with such feeble nincompoops even Nietzsche’s memorable ‘Roman Caesar with the soul of Christ’ is a genius-like insight.

Dr Freud ludicrously argued in Moses and Monotheism that the Jews in the wilderness actually murdered Moses and then repented and made up their religion to atone for that. But attempts to shake the foundations of revealed religions are old.   They go back at least to the Middle Ages. Consider the anonymous treatise ‘The Three Impostors’. A scurrilous libel that targeted Moses, Christ and Muhammad. Fountainheads of monotheism brought together under a rubric of infamy. (They all feigned being what they were not, apparently.) Of course, the book became a favourite underground Bible of atheists and sceptics, people of that ilk. If the authors had been caught... Today would anybody care? Maybe the Vatican would invite them to a religious dialogue debate and Pope Francis would give them his blessing – quite possible.

‘Nothing is more readily believed than what – regardless of the truth – meets our wishes and illusions.’ The words of a great psychologist. Rabbi K. should meditate on them.

Revd Frank Julian Gelli


** follow on Twitter (Twitter Account not yet Authorized)
| ** friend on Facebook (#)
| ** forward to a friend (

Copyright © Fr Frank Gelli
Email Marketing Powered by MailChimp
** unsubscribe from this list (
| ** update subscription preferences (

No comments: