Further argument for Prophet Mohammed’s likely non-existence

Image result for r spencer muhammad


“As Spencer observes, “it would entirely reasonable to expect that seventh-century chroniclers … would note the remarkable influence and achievement of this man”, but no, “there is nothing dating from the time of Muhammad’s activities or for a considerable time thereafter that actually tells us anything about what he was like or what he did”.”


Mervyn F. Bendle



Mervyn F. Bendle has written a handy review of Robert Spencer’s provocative 2012 book, Did Muhammad Exist?: https://quadrant.org.au/magazine/2012/07-08/the-revisionist-case-that-muhammad-did-not-exist/

I [Damien F. Mackey] would query only the concluding quote from Spencer, that “as a prophet of the Arabs who taught a vaguely defined monotheism, [Mohammed] … may have existed”, based upon my view that Mohammed, a composite biblical character, was based – especially for the first part of his supposed life – largely on Tobias of the Book of Tobit.

For more on this, see e.g. my:


Prophet Jonah, Nineveh, and Mohammed



The Revisionist Case That Muhammad Did Not Exist

Robert Spencer, Did Muhammad Exist? An Inquiry into Islam’s Obscure Origins (Intercollegiate Studies Institute, 2012), 272 pages, $39.95


Did Muhammad exist? No. And neither did the Koran for that matter, at least not in the form or with the status ascribed to it by Muslims. These are the two major conclusions of a vigorous stream of revisionist scholarship that has struggled for many decades to gain a hearing within the critically indolent field of Islamic Studies.

It is a primary virtue of a new book by Robert Spencer, Did Muhammad Exist?, that it summarises and explores this important work in a balanced, lucid and compelling fashion. It shows that the vast presence that Muhammad enjoys in global history rests on flimsy foundations, which Spencer’s new book systematically dismantles, leaving few stones standing, synthesising the findings of revisionist scholars into a devastating demolition of the traditional accounts of Muhammad and the origins of Islam in all their aspects.


As Spencer acknowledges, he builds on the work of earlier dissenting scholars, including Aloys Sprenger (1813–93), Ignaz Goldziher (1850–1921), Henri Lammens (1862–1937) and Joseph Schacht (1902–69), as well as more contemporary figures whose work is discussed below. His book also complements several recent sets of related essays and readings, including those edited by Karl-Heinz Ohlig and Gerd R. Puin on The Hidden Origins of Islam (2010), and by the pseudonymous Ibn Warraq on The Quest for the Historical Muhammad (2000), Which Koran? (2007), and Virgins? What Virgins? (2010). These have sought to raise the profile of the revisionist perspective and to challenge the rather inertial state of scholarship in this vital field.


The critical torpor that afflicts Islamic Studies is understandable of course, especially when Western scholars of Islam (and their universities) are dependent on petro-dollar funding from Muslim benefactors, and the goodwill of Muslim countries in which they carry out their research. Moreover, as Ibn Warraq observes in Virgins? What Virgins?, scholars have been “crushed into silence out of respect for the tender sensibilities of Muslims, by political correctness, postcolonial feelings of guilt, and dogmatic Islamophilia”. Indeed, Edward Said’s massively influential polemic Orientalism (1978) imposed a virtual prohibition on the objective study of Islam, asserting that even the most innocuous commentary is actually a form of Eurocentric oppression. Scholars are also aware of the apparently limitless wrath of Muslims eager to react violently to any suggestion that the fundamental tenets of their religion are being questioned or shown insufficient respect. And, of course, the role of Muhammad as the “Seal of the Prophets” and the status of the Koran as the pre-existing, eternal word of God are foundational beliefs of Islam, and are at least as central to that religion as Jesus Christ is to Christianity.


On the other hand, this timidity cannot be completely excused, as other religions have faced scholarly assaults upon their foundations. Christians have had to deal with relentless challenges to key elements of their faith by increasingly outspoken scholars for nearly 300 years. As long ago as the early eighteenth century Thomas Chubb initiated “the search for the historical Jesus”, which was taken up by a later Enlightenment intellectual, Hermann Reimarius, and promoted by Gotthold Lessing, who disingenuously justified the systematic deconstruction of the Christian faith on the basis that “the contingent truths of history can have no impact upon the eternal truths of reason”, with which he identified Christian theology. This deconstructive effort gathered pace through the nineteenth century, culminating in Albert Schweitzer’s (in)famous book, The Quest of the Historical Jesus (1906), and the subsequent work of Rudolf Bultmann, who set out systematically to “demythologise” the New Testament, ridding it of supernatural content, and conjuring up a Jesus who propounded an existentialist philosophy that, predictably, mirrored that of Bultmann. Subsequent biblical scholarship formulated increasingly powerful forms of historical and critical analysis, and the historicity of Jesus became highly problematic, inspiring the “death of God” school of theology in the 1960s.

More recently, Christians have had to accommodate the influential iconoclasm of the Jesus Seminar, made up of scholars and laypersons who regularly vote with coloured beads in a ballot on the historicity of the accounts of the activities and teachings of Jesus. Consequently, they portray him in a counter-culture or New Age guise, as an itinerant Hellenised Jewish wise man and faith healer who challenged religious dogmas and repressive social conventions, preached a theology of liberation, and championed the cause of the marginalised and oppressed. And, of course, according to the seminar, Jesus was not divine, but just an ordinary mortal of normal parentage who was executed by a frightened establishment, and not as a substitutionary atonement for the sins of the world, and who is also certainly not the Second Person of the Trinity. Adding to such intellectual assaults, Judaism and Christianity have to engage with two of the most exciting archaeological discoveries in history—the Dead Sea Scrolls, and the Nag-Hammadi Library—both of which have the capacity to overturn and re-constitute the earliest history of both religions.

Contemporary Christianity has been able to accommodate this relentless historical-critical activity, not without discord and division, but certainly without systematic intimidation and acts of violence and assassination against those who voice reservations about the truth claims being made. Indeed, many indubitably Christian scholars have embraced the challenge of these new discoveries and explored new insights generated by critical analysis of their source material.


Nothing comparable has occurred in Islamic Studies, even though the tools of historical and critical analysis are very applicable to that field of scholarship. Several tragic cases can be cited concerning those who’ve tried. Professor Suliman Bashear was a leading Arab scholar (Studies in Early Islamic Tradition, 2004) who was badly injured after being thrown out of a classroom window by fundamentalist students enraged by his revisionist argument that Islam evolved as a religion within the matrix of Judeo-Christian monotheistic thought that prevailed in the Middle East in Late Antiquity, rather than appearing abruptly as the result of a prophetic revelation. Professor Nasr Hamid Abu Zayd also ventured too far into this type of inquiry (Rethinking the Qur’an: Towards a Humanistic Hermeneutics, 2004). He was one of Egypt’s leading Koranic scholars and a very rare liberal Islam theologian who developed a humanistic form of Koranic hermeneutics that he used to argue that Islam could accommodate itself to modernity. Consequently, and despite his exemplary scholarly achievements, he was refused promotion at his university, declared an apostate from Islam, forcibly divorced from his wife, sentenced to death by Egyptian Islamic Jihad, and driven into exile. Mention might also be made of Professor Muhammad Sven Kalisch, a German convert to Islam who taught Muslim theology at the University of Munster, but saw his career and his faith evaporate when he announced that his research had convinced him that Muhammad never existed.


It doesn’t require much imagination to envisage the bloody consequences of any “Muhammad Seminar” or ballot on the reliability of the Koran conducted in a Muslim country, or indeed in Western countries, paralysed as they are not only by threats of violence and the withdrawal of financial and other support, but also by the ever-tightening constraints of political correctness and proliferating laws on “hate speech” and discrimination. Not surprisingly, at least two of the most important Western scholars challenging the received account of the origins of Islam publish under pseudonyms, and travel and appear in public in disguise and with substantial security, wary of the fate suffered not only by Bashear and Abu Zayd, but also by Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Theo van Gogh, Salman Rushdie and Naguib Mahfouz, amongst many other intellectuals victimised by Muslim authorities and fanatics.


The scholarly insurgency in Islamic Studies challenging the traditional orthodoxy made its breakthrough about four decades ago, after an extended period of intellectual stagnation amongst traditionalists, in a classic example of a paradigm revolution. As Harald Motzki notes in his review of “Alternative Accounts of the Qur’an’s Formation” in The Cambridge Companion to the Qur’an (2006), there was very little development in Western scholarship concerning Islam until 1970 when some very important work emerged to challenge the accepted wisdom about the early history of the religion. A revolutionary paradigm had emerged suddenly to challenge the dominant one.


According to the dominant account, the Koran appeared in the first decades of the seventh century AD in Mecca and Medina as a result of a series of divine revelations to a charismatic religious and political leader, Muhammad, who had these recorded, and who then edited and re-arranged them during his prophetic career. They were later collected during the reign of the second caliph, ‘Umar, with the canonical version being finalised under the third caliph, ‘Uthmān, some twenty years after Muhammad’s death in 632. This was published as the official version of the Koran and has prevailed to the present day; attempts to produce a critical edition dealing with troublesome textual variations have been resisted.


This traditional account of the origins of the Koran is based on what is asserted to be the stylistic uniformity of the text, and (in a methodologically circular move) on evidence believed to be found in the Koran itself, with the latter interpreted in the light of other traditional Muslim accounts (hadith) about the life of Muhammad and the compilation of the Koran. It is not based on external documentary, archaeological or numismatic evidence. (Note that the apparently Koranic verses inscribed in the Dome of the Rock, although early, contain variations that raise more questions than they answer about the formation of the Koran, as Spencer and other revisionists point out. For example, it appears that the verses record a dissident Christian critique of mainstream Christology, predate the Koran, and were incorporated into, rather than derived from it.)


The alternative paradigm emerged in response to a range of unavoidable difficulties about the evidence that scholars ultimately could no longer evade. The decisive step was taken by John Wansbrough, an American-born historian at the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London. As Motzki notes, “all the elements of [the official] account have been challenged by John Wansbrough in his Quranic Studies: Sources and Methods of Scriptural Interpretation (1977) and The Sectarian Milieu: Content and Composition of Islamic Salvation History (1978)”, two works whose legendary difficulty unfortunately (or deliberately?) limited their impact on a wide audience. At any rate, Wansbrough tackled head-on the fundamental problem in the historiography of early Islam, the absence of any original source material from the first century in the religion’s history, and concluded that this was because such material existed (if at all) only as an oral tradition or traditions, and relevant documentary or other sources from the period, including any early forms of the Koran, therefore never existed. Indeed, he dated the formation of the canonical version of the Koran to no earlier than the third Muslim century (the ninth century AD), some 200 years after Muhammad was said to have received his revelations.


This solution, although traumatic and resisted by those who adhered to the previous paradigm, could not be avoided. As F.E. Peters observed in “The Quest of the Historical Muhammad” (1991), in terms of any extant historical evidence illuminating its sudden appearance in the mid-seventh century, the Koran “stands isolated like an immense rock jutting forth from a desolate sea, a stony eminence with few marks on it to suggest how or why it appeared in this watery desert”. As Daniel Brown concluded in A New Introduction to Islam (2004): “Wansbrough’s arguments, given the state of the evidence, are substantially irrefutable”; and consequently,

students of Islam are faced with a set of contrasting paradigms for the formation of the Qur’an. Proponents of one paradigm accept the traditional Muslim view, sometimes with superficial revision. The other paradigm places the canonization of the Qur’an in a Near Eastern environment during the two centuries following the conquest.


These paradigms are quite incompatible, the implications of the new one being devastating for Islam’s traditional self-understanding of its history and the foundations of its faith.


Wansbrough’s re-interpretation did not stop there. He also rejected the basic assumption of the standard source analysis of the Koran—that it was possible to identify facts in the text that anchored it in history and provided reliable insights into “what really happened” in the formative years of both the text itself and Islam. Instead, he applied form criticism derived from the work of Bultmann and others in biblical studies, where it had been honed to a sharp critical edge, and which approached the Koran and the traditional accounts surrounding it as literature, that is, as fictional accounts derived from various sources, including oral traditions, woven together in a creative and collective fashion over an extended period.

He also noted that the Koran and early Muslim documents made considerable reference to concepts, images and theological issues associated with various forms of the Judeo-Christian tradition that played a dominant role within a broader monotheistic matrix prevailing throughout the Middle East at the time. He surmised that the religious movement that eventually evolved into Islam had begun as a Judeo-Christian sect in the western Arabian region, and that material derived from this sectarian source was adapted to an Arab perspective over centuries to ultimately become the Koran.


Consequently, in Wansbrough’s interpretation, the official account of Islam’s origins is best seen as a “salvation history”, constructed from various sources and projected back onto the past by later generations as the Arab people sought to establish their own religious identity and acquire a special status as the recipients of God’s “final” revelation. Muhammad emerges as a similarly constructed mythical figure, who served to provide the Arab people with their own prophet. Moreover, he was also granted a special status, as the Seal of the Prophets, ranking above all previous prophets of the Judeo-Christian tradition and disqualifying any that might appear in the future. In summary, according to this analysis, neither Muhammad, the Koran, nor Islam appeared miraculously in the seventh century, as the traditional account maintains, but evolved instead over centuries, as have other world religions.


The new paradigm had other champions. In 1977, Patricia Crone and Michael Cook published what Spencer describes as “the wildly controversial book” Hagarism: The Making of the Islamic World. This book propounded a controversial re-interpretation of the early history of Islam that “unleashed an avalanche of work on Islam’s origins”, as Fred Donner reflected in “The Historical Context” in The Cambridge Companion to the Qur’an. Like Wansbrough, Crone and Cook rejected outright the basic axiom of most previous accounts of the early formation of Islam—that it is possible to derive an historically reliable framework from Islamic sources:

It is … well-known that these sources are not demonstrably early. There is no hard evidence for the existence of the Koran in any form before the last decade of the seventh century, and the tradition which places this rather opaque revelation in its historical context is not attested before the middle of the eighth. The historicity of the Islamic tradition is thus to some degree problematic.


At most, “what purport to be accounts of religious events in the seventh century are utilizable only for the study of religious ideas in the eighth”, and consequently, for historical purposes, “the only way out of the dilemma is thus to step outside the Islamic tradition altogether and start again”.


The best external point of departure for reconstructing the early history of Islam, Crone explained in Slaves on Horses: The Evolution of the Islamic Polity (1980), was a mass of documentary material that has been systematically ignored because of its non-Muslim provenance and implications:

All the while that Islamic historians have been struggling with their inert tradition, they have had available to them the Greek, Armenian, Hebrew, Aramaic, Syriac and Coptic literatures of non-Muslim neighbors and subjects of the Arab conquerors, to a large extent edited and translated [over a century ago, but] left to collect dust in the libraries ever since.


While this dismissive attitude towards these sources was “striking testimony to the suppression” of historical scholarship concerning the non-Islamic Middle East, this material was invaluable, “because there is agreement between the independent and contemporary witnesses of the non-Muslim world [and] they leave no doubt that Islam was, like other religions, the product of a religious evolution”, and not a sudden revelatory event of epochal significance that left, inexplicably, no contemporary historical evidence to support subsequent traditional Muslim claims about it.


Wansbrough had been a mentor of Crone and Cook, although they diverged from his account in several areas, accepting an earlier date for the final recension of the Koran, seen as a compilation of material derived from Judaic forms of Christianity and Middle Eastern pagan sources. In their view Islam, the caliphate, and the Arab conquests were the ultimate results of a rebellion against the Byzantine and Persian empires as they slid into crisis, initially involving a coalition of Arabs and Jews inspired by Jewish messianism, and known in non-Muslim contemporary sources as “Hagarenes”, because of their decision to claim descent from Abraham through his slave wife Hagar as distinct from the Jewish claim of descent from Abraham through his wife Sarah. At some point in the early eighth century the coalition dissolved and the “Hagarenes” began to evolve a specifically Arab version of monotheism as they recognised the need to establish their own religious identity. In this fashion Crone and Cook reach the same basic conclusion as Wansbrough, although they proceeded along a slightly different route in a more combative fashion.


Another central figure amongst the revisionists must be noted. This is the pseudonymous scholar Christoph Luxenberg, who argued in The Syro-Aramaic Reading of the Koran: A Contribution to the Decoding of the Language of the Koran (German edition 2000, English translation 2007) that the emergence of Islam is best understood in terms of the evangelising activities of Syrian Christians who were active in Arabia at the time. Their teachings were, of necessity, expressed in concepts derived from their own Syro-Aramaic language, and those Arabs who responded adopted many of these terms and incorporated them as loan words into an oral tradition that eventually evolved into a central component of the Koran.

This theory allowed Luxenberg to resolve many apparent inconsistencies and incoherencies of the Koran by considering certain obscure words, phrases and sentences as originally Aramaic loan words rather that Arabic. This procedure involved exploring ancient Aramaic for relevant or plausible homonyms for terms found in the Koran on the assumption that these had been imported into the oral tradition that later found written Arabic form in the Koran after copyists and editors had guessed at their meaning, thereby producing the difficulties that characterise the text. A famous example of this is the rendering of one term as “virgins” instead of “raisins”. According to Luxenberg, the word usually translated as “virgins” or “dark-eyed maidens” is best understood as referring to “white raisins” of “crystal clarity”, meaning that the promised delights awaiting martyrs in Paradise are more culinary that carnal—a finding that may be deflating for prospective suicide bombers.


Another scholar drawn into the revisionist camp was Gerd R. Puin, a German authority on ancient Koranic manuscripts. Puin was the head of a restoration project commissioned by the Yemeni government to examine and catalogue a vast hoard of Koranic and non-Koranic fragments discovered in Sana’a in 1972. Amongst the material was a palimpsest which appears to contain the oldest Koranic texts in existence. Significantly, the older of the texts can be radio-carbon-dated to no later than 660 AD. This was after the canonical Koran was supposedly settled, and yet it exhibits significant textual variations that suggest a process of formation of the Koran that differs markedly from the traditional account, and is especially challenging for Muslims who believe that the Koran is the eternal word of God and arrived in this world perfect and fully formed. Based on this and evidence derived from the other material, Puin and his associates concluded that the proto-Islamic religious movement must have been in constant flux in its early years and that the Koran is an amalgam of texts from various sources that were apparently not fully intellectually assimilated even at the time of Muhammad, and may date from at least a century before. In particular, Puin detected a Christian substrate in the material from which may be derived an entire “anti-history” of the origins of Islam.


In summary, what Ibn Warraq identifies in Virgins? What Virgins? as “the Wansbrough/Cook/Crone line” lies at the centre of the revisionist paradigm, supported, supplemented and developed by the work of other scholars. Instead of the traditional view that Islam appeared miraculously, as “a breach in cultural continuity unparalleled among the great civilisations”, as Marshall Hodgson asserted in The Venture of Islam (1974), the revisionists offer a more prosaic scenario. As Warraq says:

Islam, far from being born fully fledged with a watertight creed, rites, rituals, holy places, shrines, and a holy scripture, was a late literary creation, as the early Arab warriors spilled out of the Hijaz [the Western region of Arabia containing Jeddah, Mecca and Medina] in dramatic fashion and encountered sophisticated civilizations—encounters that forced them to forge their own religious identity out of the already available materials, which were then reworked to fit into a mythical Hijazi framework.


This included a holy scripture to supplant those of the Jews and the Christians, and a prophetic figure to supersede Jesus Christ. The profound implications of this paradigm shift have been summed up by one leading proponent of the traditional position as follows: “If the hypothesis of Wansbrough and others in his group turns out to be true, it would serve to destroy the very basis of Islamic civilization” (Massimo Campanini, The Qur’an: The Basics, 2007).


Robert Spencer’s new book appears to signal a growing confidence amongst the revisionists. He published a biographical study, The Truth about Muhammad, in 2006, based on the earliest sources, and although he remarked then that “from a strictly historical standpoint, it is impossible to state with certainty even that a man named Muhammad actually existed”, he nevertheless felt compelled to concede that “in all likelihood he did exist”. Now he believes that “may have been an overly optimistic assessment”, as

even the pillars used to support the traditional account begin to crumble upon close scrutiny … The available historical records contain a surprising number of puzzles and anomalies that strongly suggest that the standard Muslim story about Muhammad is more legend than fact.


This is not surprising, as the extant material concerning the historical figure of Muhammad is scant indeed, as we have seen. And even in the Koran, Spencer reminds us, “the name Muhammad actually appears … only four times, and in three of those instances it could be used as a title—the ‘praised one’ or ‘chosen one’—rather than as a proper name”, and no information is disclosed about his life. (By contrast, Jesus is mentioned twenty-five times, eleven as the Messiah.) Elsewhere, the sources fall into two categories. First, there is the biography by Ibn Ishaq and related works composed in the ninth and tenth centuries; and, second, the canonical collections of hadith from the same era. As Ohlig observes in The Hidden Origins of Islam, “following the canons of historical-critical research, these reports, written approximately two hundred years after the fact, should be taken into consideration only with great reservations”; while Brown confirms in A New Introduction to Islam that “all accounts of Muhammad’s life lead back to Ibn Ishaq, an otherwise minor Medinian scholar who secured a place in history by compiling the first full biography of Muhammad”. Moreover, the work of Ibn Ishaq is itself not even extant, but is known only via the work of a ninth-century Muslim writer, Ibn Hisham, who explained that he heavily edited Ibn Ishaq’s work to remove “things which it is disgraceful to discuss [and] matters which would distress certain people” or otherwise scandalise the devout. Nevertheless, Ibn Ishaq’s version remains the dominant source of all later biographies of Muhammad, so much so that, in Brown’s view, anyone who reads a modern biography, such as Montgomery Watt’s major two-volume study, “is essentially reading Watt’s commentary on Ibn Ishaq”, and this stricture applies to similar biographies and textbooks based on them, which together shape much of what is accepted knowledge about Muhammad and the origins of Islam.


Nor are external contemporary sources of any assistance in establishing a reliable picture of the historical Muhammad, despite the literally awesome impact he was alleged to have had on the world at the time. As Spencer observes, “it would entirely reasonable to expect that seventh-century chroniclers … would note the remarkable influence and achievement of this man”, but no, “there is nothing dating from the time of Muhammad’s activities or for a considerable time thereafter that actually tells us anything about what he was like or what he did”. Moreover, what records do exist produce more questions than answers. For example, there exists a Christian account from around 635 of the conquest of Jerusalem by “the godless Saracens … who give themselves up to prostitution, massacre and lead into captivity the sons of men”, but it makes “no mention, even in the heat of the fiercest polemic, of the conquerors’ god, their prophet, or their holy book”. A similar account, the Doctrina Jacobi, written around 635 to 640, speaks of an unnamed Saracen prophet emerging in the region, but this was in 635, after Muhammad’s supposed death, and this prophet (if he existed) was proclaiming not a new religion but “the advent of the anointed one, the Christ who was to come”: a Jewish or Christian Messiah.

Notably, nowhere amongst such accounts is there mention of “Muhammad”, “Islam”, the “Koran”, or “Muslims”, with reference only to “Saracens”, or “Hagarenes”, and so on, and no indication that a major new religion has emerged, led by a new prophet and supreme political and military leader. Even more significantly, the Arab conquerors themselves didn’t mention these terms, with the few references to “Muhammad” as likely to be an honorific as a proper name, and in several instances these are accompanied by the symbol of the cross, suggesting a Christian association. It was only at the very end of the seventh century, sixty years after the traditional date of Muhammad’s death, that any mention of him begins to appear, and it was another sixty years before Ibn Ishaq’s biography was apparently published.


Ultimately, it is only through the wilful suppression and avoidance of historical evidence and the implications that flow from it that the traditional accounts can be maintained, and it is difficult to dissent from what Spencer calls “A Revisionist Scenario” that offers a synthesis of what is known (and not known) about the appearance of the Koran, Muhammad, and the origins of Islam. In his own attempt to provide an evidence-based account, Spencer begins with the “immutable fact” of the Arab empire that emerged at the time and quickly found itself requiring the ideological legitimation that could only be provided by a political theology similar to that exercised over their subject people by the Roman, Byzantine and Persian states. The Arab rulers appear initially to have been adherents of Hagarism, and rejected the mainstream Christian doctrines of the Trinity and the divinity of Christ, with the latter seen instead as a messenger of God. Around the beginning of the eighth century this allegiance began to fade in favour of an embryonic version of Islam that nevertheless retained many elements of the original religion.


This new faith emphasised an extremely rigorous form of monotheism, within which “the ‘praised one’, Muhammad, an Arabian prophet who may have lived decades before”, took centre stage. This prophetic figure had to be not only an Arab, a warrior, and a political leader, but also an inhabitant of central Arabia, to avert any suggestion that the new divine dispensation was anything other than purely Arabian in origins and nature. Similar considerations surrounded the advent of the Koran, which was fashioned from various sources, including the inscription from the Dome of the Rock, and other material that originally had a Judeo-Christian provenance, resulting in the “numerous non-Arabic elements and outright incoherencies” that came to characterise it. In summary, the imperatives of “empire came first and the theology came later … the spiritual propositions that Islam offers were elaborated in order to justify and perpetuate the political entity that generated them”.

So, did Muhammad exist? In Spencer’s view, “as a prophet of the Arabs who taught a vaguely defined monotheism, he may have existed. But beyond that, his life story is lost in the mists of legend.” Ultimately, “as the prophet of Islam, who received (or even claimed to receive) the perfect copy of the perfect eternal book from the supreme God, Muhammad almost certainly did not exist”.


Dr Mervyn F. Bendle is Senior Lecturer, History and Communication, at James Cook University. He wrote on “How Civilisations Die” in the April issue.

How Robert Spencer came to his view


“In 2003, Walter Williams, in his The Historical Origin of Islam, asserted that Muhammad is the brainchild of Arabian scholar Ibn Arabi (1165-1240) …who was the main individual involved in the morphing and mythologizing …of the making of the prophet Muhammad; he also shows that the the Koran is a mixture of Jewish literature, put together by Jewish scholars to include the Torah and the New Testament Gospels”.


The anonymous author of the following article, “Muhammad never existed”, does not miss out on anyone, moving on from getting rid of Mohammed to concluding also that Noah; Abraham and Sarah; Joshua; John the Baptist; Jesus, Mary and Joseph; did not have any real existence.


Firstly, we read here (my comments added):



Muhammad never existed

American Robert Spencer’s 2012 Did Muhammad Exist?, in which he recounts how he unlearned his previously held 2007 belief that Muhammad was a real historical figure. [6]

In religio-mythology, Muhammad never existed is the view, opinion, or reasoned belief that Muhammad (569 to 632), the supposed-to-have-existed prophet or figurehead of Islam, said to have penned the Quran, never existed as a real person, but rather is a mythical character sold as an historical figure.

In 1239, Frederick II published a treatise that denied the divinity of Jesus, Moses, and Muhammad, declaring each of them imposters.

In 1930, Soviet Marxist theoretician Liutsian I. Klimovich, in his lecture “Did Muhammad Exist?”, argued the time gap between Muhammad’s alleged lifetime and the first written sources was so huge that we cannot suppose that any of the information given in these sources is authentic; that nothing is known for sure about the historical Muhammad, and that it is even likely that he never existed. Quite consequently, Klimovich assumed that the Koran was not Muhammad’s work but the product of a whole group of authors. Muhammad was created by later historians as a myth, designed to explain the emergence of the Islamic community out of the Hanif movement. The prophet was an invention to cover up early Islam’s character as a social protest movement. [1]


Mackey’s comment: I would generally agree with Klimovich’s observations.

Though, as I have argued in many places now, Mohammed is a composite biblical character and was unlikely “created” for the purpose as outlined here by Klimovich. Whether or not the latter explanation accounts for the emergence of Islam is, however, a separate matter.

The article continues:

In 2003, Walter Williams, in his The Historical Origin of Islam, asserted that Muhammad is the brainchild of Arabian scholar Ibn Arabi (1165-1240) … who was the main individual involved in the morphing and mythologizing … of the making of the prophet Muhammad; he also shows that the … Koran is a mixture of Jewish literature, put together by Jewish scholars to include the Torah and the New Testament Gospels. [2]

Mackey’s comment: Based on my view (above) of the origins of the non-historical character, “the Prophet Mohammed”, the Koran is largely an Arabic appropriation of the Bible, including both Old and New Testaments.

The article continues:


In 2007, Robert Spencer, founder of Jihad Watch (2003), author of The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (2005) and The Truth About Muhammad: Founder of the World’s Most Intolerant Religion (2006), was at a conference with Ibn Warraq, author of Why I Am Not a Muslim (1995), during the course of which they [went] for [a] walk together, discussing Islam, during which time Warraq made the following comment:

I don’t think Muhammad ever existed at all.”

Ibn Warraq (2007), comment to Robert Spencer during walk [3]

Spencer, who at the time believed that Muhammad was a “real person”, who actually existed as an historical figure, i.e. he believed Muhammad was a “false prophet”, someone who sold his own opinions off to people as divine revelations, and Warraq engaged into debated on issue. Warraq’s reasoning and answers paused Spencer into reflection. In the next five years, Spencer came to reevaluate his position:

Ibn Warraq is responsible for the fact that I no longer believe in Muhammad. I no longer believe Muhammad existed as an historical figure.”

— Robert Spencer (2013), “Interview with Ibn Warraq” [3]


Mackey’s comment: Ibn Warraq is, according to the following, an “ex-Muslim secular humanist (1995) turned atheist (2009)”: http://www.eoht.info/page/Ibn+Warraq


Ibn Warraq

In existographies, Ibn Warraq (1946-) (FA:170) is an Pakistani-born English ex-Muslim secular humanist (1995) turned atheist (2009), pseudonymously named after Arabian god skeptic Abu Isa al-Warraq (c.815-870), noted for his 1995 Why I Am Not a Muslim, stylized as an Islamic version of Bertrand Russell‘s 1927 Why I Am Not a Christian, characterized as the “first Muslim history of doubt” (Hecht, 2003).

Warraq was influenced, in respect to existive thinkers, by Salman Rushdie and the “Rushdie affair” and articles by pseudo Ibn al-Rawandi (see: Ibn al-Rawandi) in the New Humanist, into going public with his work in attempting to “sow a drop of doubt in a sea of dogmatic certainty. [5]

Warraq, in his 1995 book, cites: Xenophanes, Michel Montaigne, Galileo, Benedict Spinoza, Isaac La Peyrere, Thomas Hobbes, Edward Gibbon, Pierre Bayle, Voltaire, Immanuel Kant, Arthur Schopenhauer, Thomas Paine, Carlyle, Averroes, Avicenna, Charles Darwin, Thomas Huxley, Robert Ingersoll, Jean-Paul Sartre, Albert Einstein, Reynold Nicholson, Christopher Luxenberg. (Ѻ) [5] ….


The article continues:


In 2008, German jurist and former Islamic theologian Sven Kalisch, whose doctoral thesis (1997) was on “common sense and flexibility in Islamic legal methodology” (see also: Goethe‘s jurisprudence issues and student reactions), completed at the Faculty of Law and Economics at the Technical University of Darmstadt—a Protestant-to-Muslim convert (age 15) turned Muslim-to-nonbeliever convert (age 44)—made controversial headlines by stating, in an article entitled “Islamic Theology Without the Historic Muhammad: Comments on the Challenges of the Historical-Critical Method for Islamic Thinking”,

Muhammad probably never existed.”

— Sven Kalish (2008) (Ѻ)

Kalisch’s researched opinion is that Muhammad never existed; at the time, he was said to be in the middle of completing a book on this subject. [4]

In 2011, Hans Jansen, in his “The Historicity of Muhammad, Aisha and Who Knows Who Else”, argued the position that Muhammad is a fictional character. [5]

“It may sound crazy but it is not as crazy as it sounds: a number of scholars consequently suspect that Muhammad is not a historical figure, but a literary character that was created by ancient Arab storytellers, perhaps early in the eighth century of our era.”

— Hans Jansen (2011), “The Historicity of Muhammad” [3]

In 2012, Robert Spencer, in his Did Muhammad Exist?: An Inquiry into Islam’s Obscure Origins, asserted, per reason that there is no mention of a person named “Muhammad” in Arab literature until 692, a full sixty years … AFTER the purported death of Muhammad in 632, that what is Islamic revelation was an afterthought, a narrative created after the Arab conquests of the Near East, to give the new ruling elite an ideological pretext for power. [6] ….

Mackey’s comment: The writer of the article now proceeds to ‘throw out the baby with the bathwater’, by generalising the non-existence of the mainstays of Judaïsm, Christianity and Islam:


The general issue, to summarize this general Muhammad did not exist view, is that all of the main figures, characters, and prophets of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, each of which progressively building on the other, are human character re-writes, aka “god reduction” morphs, of what were primarily original Egyptian mythological gods and stories, as the works of the 100+ religio-mythology scholars have shown, e.g. Noah is the god Nu (Noah never existed), Abraham is the god Ra (Abraham never existed), Sarah is the star Sirius, Virgin Mary is the goddess Isis, Jesus is the god Osiris (see: Jesus never existed), Joshua is the god Shu (see: Joshua 10:13), John the Baptist is the god Anubis, Joseph is the god Geb, and so on (see: Egyptian-to-Christian transliteration); hence, if the Islamic figure Muhammad claimed to have “spoken” to all of these so-called prophets, e.g. during his famous “night journey”, then he too is a mythological figure, sold to people, over time, as a real person, as a way to found Islam on the historical religions, aka ancient mythologies.

1. (a) Existence of Muhammad (section) – Wikipedia.
(b) Klimovich, Liutsian. (1931). “Did Mohammed exist? The debate in the Communist Academy in anti-religious section of the Institute 12/1930 CI philosophy. on the report of LI Klimovich” (“Sushchestvoval li Mokhammed? Diskussiia v Kommunisticheskoi akademii v antireligioznoi sektsii instituta filosofii 12/XI 1930g. po dokladu L.I. Klimovicha”), in: Voinstvuiushchii ateizm, No. 2-3, (1931), 189-218.
2. Williams, Walter. (2003). The Historical Origin of Islam (abs). Maathian Press.
3. (a) Spencer, Robert. (2013). “Ibn Warraq Exposes Islam on ABN” (Ѻ), Betsy Ross, Jan 31.
(b) Robert Spencer (author) – Wikipedia.
4. (a) Kalisch, Sven. (2008). “Islamic Theology Without the Historic Muhammad: Comments on the Challenges of the Historical-Critical Method for Islamic Thinking”, (in German), Publication.
(b) Anon. (2008). “Excerpt: Muslim Academic Questions Muhammad’s Existence”, The Wall Street Journal, Nov. 15.
(c) Higgins, Andrew. (2008). “Professor Hired for Outreach to Muslims Delivers a Jolt” (Ѻ), The Wall Street Journal, Nov. 15.
(e) Historicity of Muhammad – Wikipedia.
(f) Thims, Libb. (2011). Purpose? (in a Godless universe). (94-pg manuscript) (unfinished); Online as 105-page unfinished manuscript (14 Apr 2013). IoHT publications.
(g) Sven Kalisch – WikiIslam.net.
(h) Sven Kalisch (German → English) – Wikipedia.
5. Jansen, Hans. (2011). “The Historicity of Muhammad, Aisha and Who Knows Who Else” (Ѻ), Trykkefrihed.dk, May 16.
6. (a) Spencer, Robert. (2007). The Truth About Muhammad (Ѻ). Publisher.
(b) Spencer, Robert. (2012). Did Muhammad Exist?: An Inquiry into Islam’s Obscure Origins (foreword: Ibn Warraq). Open Road Media.
(c) Zmirack, John. (2012). “Amazon Review” (Ѻ), Apr 9.


Mackey’s comment: Given the incident of which we read in Acts 14:11-13 – far more recent than Abraham – the attempted apotheosis by the Lycaonians of Paul and Barnabas:


When the crowds saw what Paul had done, they lifted up their voices in the Lycaonian language: ‘The gods have come down to us in human form!’ Barnabas they called Zeus, and Paul they called Hermes, because he was the chief speaker. The priest of Zeus, whose temple was just outside the city, brought bulls and wreaths to the city gates, hoping to offer a sacrifice along with the crowds [,]


then it would not be surprising if some of the great biblical characters were to have been assimilated to certain of the pagan gods.

This is most especially applicable to the antediluvian patriarchs. See e.g. my:

 Cain and Osiris


which article includes mention of the likely divinization of Noah as well.

Regarding the above observation: “Noah is the god Nu (Noah never existed)”, I would readily agree at least with Noah’s identification by the Egyptians as Nu. See e.g. my:

Noachic Flood in Egyptian Legend


As for: “Abraham is the god Ra (Abraham never existed), Sarah is the star Sirius”, the god Ra was anciently established in Egyptian religion long before the emergence of Abram (Abraham), whose historical reality has been greatly strengthened by Dr. John Osgood’s determination of a most suitable archaeology for the patriarch and his era (not to mention the Bible’s naming Abraham’s contemporaries over a vast section of the then-known world). See e.g. my:


Narmer a Contemporary of Patriarch Abraham



But Abraham and Sarah may indeed have entered into ancient mythologies. See e.g. my:


Abraham and Sarah in Greek Mythology?





Convert to Islam doubts the historicity of the Prophet Mohammed

Image result for mohammed kalisch


Damien F. Mackey


“It is a strange and indirect way of validating the dictum of the great German-Jewish theologian Franz Rosenzweig: Islam is a parody of Judaism and Christianity”.





As far as I am concerned, “the dictum” of Franz Rosenzweig – as presented above by “Spengler” – is perfectly correct.


Moreover, that I believe that the Prophet Mohammed (Muhammad) had no real historical existence (qua Mohammed), is apparent from my series:


Biography of the Prophet Mohammed (Muhammad) Seriously Mangles History

Scholars have long pointed out the historical problems associated with the life of the Prophet Mohammed and the history of Islam, with some going even so far as to cast doubt upon Mohammed’s actual existence. Biblico-historical events,… more


Biography of the Prophet Mohammed (Muhammad) Seriously Mangles History. Part One (b, ii): Mohammed and Nineveh

Nineveh, which was destroyed by the Medes in c. 612 BC, and not re-discovered until the C19th AD – “Before that, Nineveh, unlike the clearly visible remains of other well-known sites such as Palmyra, Persepolis, and Thebes, was invisible,… more


Biography of the Prophet Mohammed (Muhammad) Seriously Mangles History. Part Two: From Birth to Marriage

The ‘life’ of Mohammed will be shown to consist of, to a large extent, a string of biblical episodes (relating to, for instance, Moses; David; Job/Tobias; Jeremiah; Jesus Christ), but altered and/or greatly embellished, and re-cast into… more


Biography of the Prophet Mohammed (Muhammad) Seriously Mangles History. Part Three: Adding Montuemhat

The name Montuemhat itself may have great significance following on from my argument, albeit most controversial, that Tobias/Job was the ‘matrix’ for the Prophet Mohammad.



In the following article, “Spengler” tells of the interesting case of “Muhammad Sven Kalisch, a German convert to Islam” who likewise has disputed the very existence of Mohammed: http://www.virtueonline.org/scandal-exposes-islams-weakness

Scandal exposes Islam’s weakness


“Did you hear about the German Gnostic?” “He couldn’t keep a secret.”


Just such a Teutonic mystic is Professor Muhammad Sven Kalisch, a German convert to Islam who teaches Muslim theology at the University of Munster. Kalisch recently laid a Gnostic egg in the nest of Islam, declaring that the Prophet Mohammed never existed, not at least in the way that the received version of Islamic tradition claims he did. Given that Kalisch holds an academic chair specifically funded to instruct teachers of Islam in Germany’s school system, a scandal ensued, first reported in the mainstream English-language press by Andrew Higgins in the November 15 edition of the Wall Street Journal [2008].


On closer reading, Kalisch offers a far greater challenge to Islam than the secular critics who reject its claims. The headline that a Muslim academic has doubts over the existence of the Prophet Mohammed is less interesting than why he has such doubts. Kalisch does not want to harm Islam, but rather to expose what he believes to be its true nature. Islam, he argues, really is a Gnostic spiritual teaching masquerading as myth. Kalisch’s heretical variant of Islam may be close enough to the religion’s original intent as to provoke a re-evaluation of the original sources.


A labor of love from inside the fortress of Islamic theology may accomplish what all the ballistas of the critics never could from outside the walls. Koranic criticism, I have argued for years (here and elsewhere – You say you want a reformation? Asia Times Online, August 5, 2003) is the Achilles’ heel of the religion. That argument has been made about Christianity for years by Elaine Pagels and other promoters of “Gnostic Gospels”, and it is dead wrong. In the case of Islam, though, it might be dead accurate.


Kalisch is a Gnostic, a believer in secret spiritual truths that undergird the myths manufactured for the edification of the peasantry. But he is a German Gnostic, and therefore feels it necessary to lay out his secrets in thorough academic papers with extensive footnotes and bibliography. It is a strange and indirect way of validating the dictum of the great German-Jewish theologian Franz Rosenzweig: Islam is a parody of Judaism and Christianity.


It is in weird little byways of academia such as Kalisch wanders that the great battles of religion will be fought out, not at academic conferences and photo opportunities with the pope. For example: the Catholic Islamologists who organized the November 4-7 meeting of Catholic and Muslim scholars in Rome envision incremental reforms inside Islam through a more relaxed Turkish version (see A Pyrrhic propaganda victory in Rome Asia Times Online, November 12, 2008 and Tin-opener theology from Turkey Asia Times Online, June 3, 2008). Despite their best efforts at an orderly encounter with Islam, events have a way of overtaking them. Last March, Pope Benedict personally received into the Catholic faith the Egyptian-born Italian journalist Magdi Allam at the Easter Vigil. In September, Kalisch dropped his own bombshell. In a way, it is longer-acting and more deadly.


A small group of Koran scholars, to be sure, has long doubted Mohammed’s existence. Their scholarship is sufficiently interesting, though, to question whether it is worthwhile exposing the alleged misdeeds of the Prophet Mohammed, who may not have existed in the first place (The Koranic quotations trap Asia Times Online, May 15, 2007). Earlier this year, I reported on the progress of the critics, as well as belated emergence of a treasure-trove of photocopies of Koranic manuscripts hidden away by Nazi Islamologists (Indiana Jones meets the Da Vinci Code Asia Times Online, January 18, 2008). The Nazis had a Gnostic interest in Islam (call them “Gnazis”). The manuscripts and copies are now under the control of mainstream scholars at the University of Berlin, with deep ties to Arab countries.



Kalisch is the first Muslim scholar to dispute the Prophet’s existence, while continuing to profess Muslim. If the Prophet did not exist, or in any case did not dictate the Koran, “then it might be that the Koran was truly inspired by God, a great narration from God, but it was not dictated word for word from Allah to the Prophet”, he told a German newspaper.

A German Protestant who converted to Islam as a teenager in search of a religion of reason, Kalisch can live with an alternative of reading of Islam. Very few of the world’s billion and a half Muslims can.


Islam cannot abide historical criticism of the sort that Judaism and Christianity have sustained for centuries. “Abie, if you’re here, then who is that there in my bed?,” responds the Jewish wife in the old joke when her husband catches her in delicto flagrante. No one can offer an alternative explanation for the unique persistence of the Jewish people after 30 documented centuries of Jewish life. “If Moses didn’t exist,” the Jews respond to skeptics, “then who brought us out of Egypt?” Told that perhaps they didn’t come out of Egypt, the Jews will respond, “Then what are we doing here today?”


Christians, by the same token, read the writings of numerous individuals who either met Jesus of Nazareth or took down the accounts of people who did, and who believed that he was the only begotten Son of God. Proof of Jesus’ divinity, though, is entirely beside the point. If the Christian God wanted to rule by majesty and power, he would not have come to earth as a mortal to die on the cross. The Christian God asks for love and faith, not submission before majesty. The Christian is not asked to prove the unprovable, but to love and believe. Muslims have a different problem: if Mohammed did not receive the Koran from God, then what are they doing there to begin with? Kalisch has the sort of answer that only a German academic could love.


“We hardly have original Islamic sources from the first two centuries of Islam,” Kalisch observes in a German-language paper available on the Muenster University (website). It is fascinating reading, and since it is not yet available in English I take the liberty of translating or summarizing a few salient points. Responsibility for any errors of translation of interpretation is my own.


Kalisch continues, “And even when a source appears to come from this period, caution is required. The mere assertion that a source stems from the first or second century of the Islamic calendar means nothing. And even when a source actually was written in the first or second century, the question always remains of later manipulation. We do not tread on firm ground in the sources until the third Islamic century.”


This, Kalisch observes, is extremely suspicious: how can a world religion have erupted in a virtual literary vacuum? A great religion, moreover, inevitably throws off heresies: where are the early Islamic heretics and Gnostics? Later Islamic theologians knew the titles of some of their works, but the content itself was lost. “The only explanation for the disappearance is that it had long since become unusable theologically,” he alleges of certain Shi’ite sources.


Kalisch draws on the well-known work of Patricia Crone and Martin Hinds, whose criticism of the received version have a distinctly minority position in Koranic scholarship:


It is a striking fact that such documentary evidence as survives from the Sufnayid period makes no mention of the messenger of god at all. The papyri do not refer to him. The Arabic inscriptions of the Arab-Sasanian coins only invoke Allah, not his rasul [messenger]; and the Arab-Byzantine bronze coins on which Muhammad appears as rasul Allah, previously dated to the Sufyanid period, have not been placed in that of the Marwanids. Even the two surviving pre-Marwanid tombstones fail to mention the rasul.




The great scandal of Islamic tradition is the absence of Islamic formulations from coins and monuments dating from … its first two centuries, as well as the presence of material obviously incompatible with Islam. “Coins and inscriptions are incompatible with the Islamic writing of history,” Kalisch concludes on the strength of older work, including Yehuda Nevo and [Judith] Koren’s Crossroads to Islam.


The oldest inscription with the formulation “Mohammed Messenger of Allah” is to found in the 66th year of Islamic reckoning, and after that used continuously. But there also exist coins found in Palestine, probably minted in Amman, on which the word “Muhammed” is found in Arabic script on one side, and a picture of a man holding a cross on the other. Kalisch cites this and a dozen other examples. Citing Nevo/Koren and other sources, Kalisch also accepts the evidence that no Islamic conquest occurred as presented in much later Islamic sources, but rather a peaceful transfer of power from the Byzantine empire to its local Arab allies.


“To be sure,” Kalisch continues, “various explanations are possible for the lack of mention of the Prophet in the early period, and it is no proof for the non-existence of an historical Mohammed. But it is most astonishing, and begs the question of the significance of Mohammed for the original Muslim congregation in the case that he did exist.”


The numismatic, archeological, source-critical and other evidence against acceptance of the received version of Islamic history was well developed by other scholars. But it was never accepted by mainstream Orientalists. Cynics might point to the fact that most Middle Eastern studies programs in the West today are funded by Islamic governments, or depend on the good will of Middle Eastern governments for access to source material. Academia is not only corrupt, however, but credulous: the question arises: if Mohammed never existed, or did not exist as he is portrayed, why was so much effort devoted in later years to manufacturing thousands of pages of phony documentation in the Hadith and elsewhere?


Why, indeed, was the Mohammed story invented, by whom, and to what end? The story of the Hegira, Mohammed’s flight from Mecca to Medina allegedly in 622, provides a clue, according to Kalisch. “No prophet is mentioned in the Koran as often as Moses, and Muslim tradition always emphasized the great similarly between Moses and Mohammed,” he writes. “The central event in the life of Moses, though, is the Exodus of the oppressed Children of Israel out of Egypt, and the central event in the life of Mohammed is the Exodus of his oppressed congregation out of Mecca to Medina … The suspicion is great that the Hegira appears only for this reason in the story of the Prophet, because his image should emulate the image of Moses.”


Something very ancient and entirely genuine long buried within Islam may be struggling to the surface, a cuckoo’s egg, as it were, waiting to hatch. It is noteworthy that Germany’s Alevi community (immigrants from Turkey’s 5-to-15 million strong Alevi population) expressed solidarity with Kalisch when he came under attack from other Muslim organizations.

Coming from a minority within a minority, Kalisch has offered a new and credible explanation of the motive behind the great reshuffling of Islamic sources during the second and third centuries of the religion. I cannot evaluate Kalisch’s handling of the sources, but the principle he advances makes sense. It is another crack in the edifice of Islam, but a most dangerous one, because it came from the inside. ….

Same-sex marriage: Why have Muslims been so quiet in the debate?

Ali Kadri

Ignis de Caelo, Velikovsky and Sennacherib’s 185,000

Image result


 Damien F. Mackey


A reader has written to me: “I understand the skepticism regarding “Worlds in Collision”. Many of Velikovsky ideas are outdated, with the exception of the electrical aspects. “The angel of the Lord went forth, and smote the camp of the Assyrians, . . , they were all dead corpses”. (Isaiah 37:36, King James).


Hello Damien,


I came across [your] thesis on “A Revised History of the Era of King Hezekiah of Judah” regarding your explanation of the demise of Sennacherib’s army. However the story on the heroine Judith is completely different from Jno Cook’s clarification by the event of an Ignis Coeli. [Recovering the Lost World, A Saturnian Cosmology].

Read: http://saturniancosmology.org/quet.php. Chapter “A Blast From Heaven”.
It is all about the electrical characteristics of the universe. It is quite an e-book to read and study, but most interesting.

…. [an electrical engineer from the Netherlands].


My reply:


…. If you read Isaiah (likely also the Book of Joel) on events surrounding the Assyrian invasion, and the demise of the army, it was clearly a rout. No mention of the planet Mars.


Nor is there any mention of Venus playing a rogue rôle (as according to Velikovsky) during the Plagues of Egypt and Exodus.

I personally think that it is all science fiction – but it makes for interesting reading.

Sydney, Australia.


Second message:


…. Thanks for your quick response.


Regarding the demise of Sennacherib’s army, the Ignis Coeli was generated by the inner planet Mercurius [Mercury].


I understand the skepticism regarding “Worlds in Collison”. Many of Velikovsky ideas are outdated, with the exception of the electrical aspects. “The angel of the Lord went forth, and smote the camp of the Assyrians, . . , they were all dead corpses”. (Isaiah 37:36, King James).


The events before and during the Exodus (1492 BC) can be explained by a line-up of the Sun, Venus and Earth, causing electrical, not gravitational, events.



Also the “10 degrees backward” event (Isaiah 38:8) can be explained by electrical forces between planets. See chapter 26 of Jno Cook’s book.


[In] my view one has to examine such events by various disciplines: history, geophysics, cosmogony, physics, linguistics, etc.



My second reply:


How clever of that electrical event of yours (of Jno Cook’s) to have been able to zap, in just one perfect hit, “all” (as you suggest from Isaiah 37:36) 185,000 men of Sennacherib’s Assyrian army!

And yet apparently doing no harm whatsoever to the nearby people of Israel, nor causing any other massive natural devastations.

That Hebrew word, kol (כֹּל), “all” (here kulam, כֻלָּם), has been the downfall of many (perhaps more than 185,000) would-be interpreters, leading Creationists, for instance, to posit a global Flood – and vastly to over-extend other biblical incidents whose context clearly indicates these to have been purely localised.


There is much confusion surrounding what happened to Sennacherib’s army.

Herodotus, for one, managed to mangle it completely, and re-locate it to Pelusium in Egypt (http://www.varchive.org/tac/lastcamp.htm):


“Herodotus (II. 141) relates this event and gives a version he heard from the Egyptians when he visited their land two and a half centuries after it happened. When Sennacherib invaded Pelusium, the priest-king Sethos went with a weak army to defend the frontier. In a single night hordes of field mice overran the Assyrian camp, devoured quivers, bowstrings and shield handles, and put the Assyrian army to flight”.


The agent of the disaster for Assyria here are “field mice”, not electrical zapping, and rightly does Herodotus mention “flight”. Cf. Judith 14:12 (Douay version): ‘Go in, and awake [“Holofernes”], for the mice coming out of their holes, have presumed to challenge us to fight’.

Perhaps the swarm of field mice, suddenly attracted to electricity, quickly completed the job on the spot!

The Chaldean historian, Berosus, as quoted by Josephus, tells of “a pestilential distemper”:


“Now when Sennacherib was returning from his Egyptian war to Jerusalem, he found his army under Rabshakeh his general in danger [by a plague], for God had sent a pestilential distemper upon his army; and on the very night of the siege, a hundred fourscore and five thousand, with their captains and generals, were destroyed” (Antiquities 10.1.5).


In a retrospective Assyrian record we read the peculiar entry:



“‘In the sixth year the troops of Assyria went to Egypt; they fled before a storm’. This laconic item in the short “Esarhaddon Chronicle” was written more than one hundred years after his death; if it does not refer to the debacle of Sennacherib, one may conjecture that at certain ominous signs in the sky the persistent recollection of the disaster which only a few years earlier had overtaken Sennacherib’s army, threw the army of his son into a panic”.


Further confusion (apart from the misinterpretation of the Hebrew kol) has arisen due to the fact that, as some commentators have correctly suspected, the Bible has telescoped two separate campaigns of Sennacherib.

The first of these, narrated in Isaiah 36:1-37:13, was completely successful for Sennacherib (his Third Campaign). The second, anticipated, and summarised in Isaiah 37:21-38, was when the Assyrian king lost a large part of his army.

All the things that Isaiah had foretold in the second instance that the king of Assyria would not manage to do (37:33-35):


“Therefore this is what the Lord says concerning the king of Assyria:

‘He will not enter this city
or shoot an arrow here.
He will not come before it with shield
or build a siege ramp against it.
By the way that he came he will return;
he will not enter this city’,
declares the Lord.
 “I will defend this city and save it,
for my sake and for the sake of David my servant!”


the Assyrian king had actually done in his cruel siege of Jerusalem during his Third Campaign!

Isaiah was here describing a last campaign (after Sennacherib had destroyed Babylon), soon after which the king of Assyria was assassinated by his sons.

The Book of Tobit gives the correct historical sequence of events: (i) Defeat and flight of the Assyrian army; (ii) Sennacherib soon killed; (iii) Esarhaddon succeeds.

However Tobit, in its current form, also telescopes Sennacherib’s Third Campaign, in Judah, when he blasphemed, by linking it immediately with the significantly later campaign, when his commander-in-chief was killed and the Assyrian army fled. Tobit 1:18-21:


“I also buried anyone whom Sennacherib slew when he returned as a fugitive from Judea during the days of judgment decreed against him by the heavenly King because of the blasphemies he had uttered. In his rage he killed many Israelites, but I used to take their bodies by stealth and bury them; so when Sennacherib looked for them, he could not find them. But a certain citizen of Nineveh informed the king that it was I who buried the dead. When I found out that the king knew all about me and wanted to put me to death, I went into hiding; then in my fear I took to flight. 20. Afterward, all my property was confiscated; I was left with nothing. All that I had was taken to the king’s palace, except for my wife Anna and my son Tobiah. But less than forty days later the king was assassinated by two of his sons, who then escaped into the mountains of Ararat. His son Esarhaddon, who succeeded him as king, placed Ahiqar, my brother Anael’s son, in charge of all the accounts of his kingdom, so that he took control over the entire administration“.


Now, if the kingdom of Assyria had really lost, in one big hit, all 185,000 of its best troops, how was Esarhaddon able, shortly afterwards, to become the potent military commander that he did, threatening the mighty city of Tyre; defeating the Cimmerians; then Urartu; then – of all things – invading Egypt?


“Esarhaddon’s first campaign against Egypt in 673 BCE failed. He had rushed his troops into battle and was repulsed by Pharaoh Tirhakah and Egyptian forces in the eastern delta. But according to the Ancient History Encyclopedia:


Esarhaddon learned from his mistake and, in 671 BCE, took his time and brought a much larger army slowly down through Assyrian territory and up to the Egyptian borders; then he ordered the attack. The Egyptian cities fell quickly to the Assyrians and Esarhaddon drove the army forward down the Nile Delta and captured the capital city of Memphis. Although Tirhakah escaped, Esarhaddon captured his son, wife, family, and most of the royal court and sent them, along with much of the population of Memphis, back to Assyria. He then placed officials loyal to him in key posts to govern his new territory [Lower Egypt] and returned to Nineveh.


By the following year Tirhakah had retaken Memphis, and the local officials came over to his side. Esarhaddon mounted a return but died enroute, leaving it to his son, Ashurbanipal, to secure Egypt for the Assyrian empire”.


There are other echoes of the great biblical incident in the Islamic account of the non-historical Prophet Mohammed, and in Judith’s strange c. 900 AD reflection in Queen Gudit (var. Judith).

I have previously written of these:


Abraha (Abrahas)


This is the one that really grabbed my attention. It is chronologically important because it is (unlike (a) and (b)) dated contemporaneously with Mohammed. In fact, it is dated to the very year of his birth, supposedly c. 570 AD. It is the account of a potentate’s march on Mecca, with the intention of destroying the Ka’aba. The whole thing, however, is entirely fictional, though it is based upon a real event: namely, the famous march upon Jerusalem by the forces of king Sennacherib of Assyria (c. 700 BC). The reference to “elephants” is irrelevant (or irrelephant) in the neo-Assyrian era.


As noted in (a), Mecca and Ka’aba ought to be re-read, in the context of Mohammed, as, respectively, Jerusalem and the Holy of Holies.


The legendary account is as follows (http://www.dacb.org/stories/ethiopia/_abraha.html):


‘Abraha (Ge’ez: ‘Abreha) also known as ‘Abraha al-Asram or Abraha b. as-Saba’h, was an Aksumite Christian ruler of Yemen.


A number of legends of popular origin have been woven around ‘Abraha’s name in Arab tradition which have not yet been substantiated. Of these traditions, the best-known concern the expedition against Mecca. At this period Mecca was the thriving center of the pagan cult of the Ka’aba and the pilgrim traffic was in the hands of the powerful Qurays family. Fired with Christian zeal, ‘Abraha set out to build a magnificent church at Sana’a to serve as a counter-attraction to the surrounding pagan peoples. This aroused the hostility of the Qurays who feared that the pilgrim traffic with its lucrative offerings would be diverted to Sana’a. It is sometimes said that one of their adherents succeeded in defiling the church and this led ‘Abraha to embark upon a campaign against Mecca. This event is associated in Islamic tradition with the year of the Prophet’s birth, c. 570 A.D. ‘Abraha is said to have used elephants in the campaign and the date is celebrated as the Year of the Elephant, ‘am al fil.’ An indirect reference to the event is found in Surah 105 of the Quran. ‘Abraha’s expedition probably failed due to the successful delaying tactics of the Qurays and pestilence broke out in the camp, which decimated his army and forced him to withdraw. Another tradition relates the expedition to an unsuccessful economic mission to the Qurays by ‘Abraha’s son.


No reliable information exists about the date of ‘Abraha’s death although tradition places it immediately after his expedition to Mecca. He was succeeded on the throne by two of his sons, Yaksum and Masruq, born to him by Raihäna, a Yemenite noblewoman whom ‘Abraha had abducted from her husband.


This is just one of many later versions, more or less accurate, of the invasion of Israel by the almost 200,000-strong army of Sennacherib. E.g., Sirach refers to it accurately in 14:18-25, as did Judas Maccabeus in 2 Maccabees 8:19. Herodotus managed to mangle it and re-locate it to Pelusium in Egypt.

…. “Pestilence”, or was it “field mice” [or was it an electrical ‘fault’]?

Actually, it was none of these.

The real story can be read in the Hebrew Book of Judith, a simplified account of which I have provided in my article:


“Nadin went into everlasting darkness”



As with the story of Mohammed, this wonderful victory for ancient Israel has been projected into AD time, now with the (possibly Jewish) heroine, “Gudit” (read Judith), defeating the Aksumites [Axumites] (read Assyrians), the Axumites being the same nation as ‘Abraha’s  (http://www.africaspeaks.com/reasoning/index.php?topic=1103.0;wap2):


Historian J.A. Rogers in the early 1900s identified Gudit as one in the
same with a black Hebrew Queen named Esther and associated her with the
“Falasha” Jewish dynasty that reigned from 950 to 1260AD. Many Falashas
today proudly claim her as one of their own.

Yet it is of dispute that Gudit was of the Jewish faith. And many in
fact believe she probably adhered to indigenous African-Ethiopian based
religion, hence her seemingly strong resentment towards a then
encroaching Judeo-Christian Axum.

Whatever her origins or real name, Gudit’s conquering of Axum put an end
to that nation-state’s reign of power. Her attack came so swift and
efficiently, that the Axumite forces were scattered in her army’s wake.


That sounds like the culmination of the Book of Judith!


There may be some true glimpses of Sennacherib in the account of the invasion by the forces of ‘Abraha. It was actually Sennacherib’s son (the “Nadin” above) who was killed by Judith, and we read above: “Another tradition relates the expedition to an unsuccessful economic mission … by ‘Abraha’s son”. And, as Sennacherib died shortly after his army’s demise, so: “No reliable information exists about the date of ‘Abraha’s death although tradition places it immediately after his expedition to Mecca”. And Sennacherib’s death occurred at the hands of two of his sons, whilst: “[‘Abraha] was succeeded on the throne by two of his sons …”. (http://www.the-faith.com/featured/abrahas-elephant-destruction-kabah/)


Moreover, Sennacherib had formerly sent up to Jerusalem his official, Rabshakeh (Isaiah 36:2): “Then the king of Assyria sent his field commander with a large army from Lachish to King Hezekiah at Jerusalem”. Similarly: “From Al-Maghmas [Michmash?], Abraha sent a man named Al-Aswad ibn Maqsud to the forefront of his army”. Now, the sarcastic Rabshakeh had taunted the officials of king Hezekiah with these words (v. 8): ‘Come now, make a bargain with my master, the king of Assyria: I will give you two thousand horses—if you can put riders on them!’ In a dim reflection of this powerful incident, whilst reversing it, we find ‘Abraha’s man saying: “I have come to the House that is your religion and the religion of your fathers and that is your sanctuary and protection – for the purpose of destroying it. You do not speak to me about that, yet you speak to me about (a meager) 200 camels that belong to you!”

2000 horses reduced to a tenth and becoming 200 camels.


In a further connection with Assyria, with Nineveh, Mohammed is said to have encountered a young Christian from that famous city. One wonders, therefore, if Mohammed ought to be re-dated closer to c. 612 BC (when Nineveh was irrevocably destroyed), or, say (for symmetry), to c. 612 AD.

The Christian servant ‘Addas was greatly impressed by these words and said: “These are words which people in this land do not generally use.” The prophet (s) asked: “What land are you from, and what is your religion?” ‘Addas replied: “I am Christian by faith and come from Nineveh.” The prophet Muhammad (s) then said: “You belong to the city of the righteous Yunus (Jonah), son of Matta.”

Even more worryingly, perhaps, Mohammed claimed to be the very “brother” of the prophet Jonah: “’Addas asked him anxiously if he knew anything about Jonah. The prophet (s) significantly remarked: “He is my brother. He was a prophet and so am I.” Thereupon ‘Addas paid homage to Muhammad (s) and kissed his head, his hands and his feet”.


The angel mentioned by Judith (13:20, Douay version): ‘But as the same Lord liveth, his angel hath been my keeper both going hence [into the camp of the Assyrians], and abiding there, and returning from thence hither …’, is presumably the same one as referred to in Isaiah 37:36, who slew the Assyrians by the power of ‘… the Lord [who] will destroy them under your feet’ (Judith 14:5, Douay). But Judith herself was the courageous human instrument who set in motion the whole chain of events – and without having any recourse to electricity!

Enemies of Christianity declaring new war on religion

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Andrew Bolt, Herald Sun

CHRISTIANS, prepare for persecution. Open your eyes and choose stronger leaders for the dark days.

I am not a Christian, but I am amazed that your bishops and ministers are not warning you of what is already breaking over your heads.

How mad that Queensland’s Education Department can now warn schools against letting students praise Jesus in the playground.



The department has put out reports telling state schools “to take appropriate action if aware that students participating in (religious instruction) are evangelising to students who do not participate”.

It gives examples of what students must not say in the playground — such as “knowing about Jesus is a very important thing”, or “God, please help us to use our knowledge to help others”.

Nor may students hand out Christmas cards or decorations.

What do these bureaucrats fear from children inspired by Christ?

Is it that stuff about loving your neighbour? Or that instruction to respect the dignity of every human life that makes Christians the enemy of totalitarians?

But this ban on playground talk of Jesus is only the most shocking salvo of the new war on Christians.

Pastor Campbell Markham is facing an anti-discrimination complaint arising from blog posts he wrote relating to the marriage debate. Picture: Peter Mathew

Last week, two Christian preachers were summoned to Tasmania’s Anti-Discrimination Tribunal for preaching their faith’s stand on traditional marriage and homosexuality.Hobart pastor Campbell Mark­ham and street preacher David Gee, from Hobart’s Cornerstone Church, were denounced by an atheist offended by, among other things, Markham quoting a verse from the Bible.We’ve seen this before. Hobart’s Catholic Archbishop, Julian Porteous, was two years ago ordered by this tribunal to tell by what right he spoke against same-sex marriage.

How cowed the churches have been before this looming persecution, now picking off vocal Christians, one by one.

Just this year, Sydney University’s Student Union threatened to deregister the university’s Evangelical Union unless it stopped insisting members declare their faith in Christ.

Meanwhile, same-sex marriage extremists bullied Coopers Brewery into taking down a video of a Christian MP Andrew Hastie debating same-sex marriage, and lobbied IBM, PwC and Sydney University to punish staff belonging to a Christian group opposed to gay marriage.

Last week, 70 pro-Safe Schools activists picketed a church to abuse people at an Australian Christian Lobby meeting as “bigots”.

A sign explaining why Coopers Beer is not being served at a hotel earlier this year. Picture: Ryan Pierse/Getty Images

Last year, an ACL meeting was cancelled after the hotel venue was bombarded with threats.The state-funded SBS joined in by banning an ad by Christians defending traditional marriage, yet ran one for an Ashley Madison dating service for adulterers.The Greens are the political wing of this attack on Christianity, and are demanding churches lose their legal freedom to hire only people who live by their faith.

The media, too, often cheer this war, using as their excuse the sexual abuse of children by some priests and ministers decades ago.

Rarely do they admit the average gap between the alleged offences by Catholic priests and the lodging of complaints is 33 years. That suggests the churches did crack down on paedophiles decades ago.

But this vilification has had its effect. The Census shows the proportion of Australians calling themselves Christian has dropped from 74 per cent in 1991 to 52 per cent now.

No wonder, when the weaker churches cower before the persecution.

Last week, some even licked the boots of the anti-Christian ABC when it launched yet another attack, smearing churches as the haven of wife-beaters.

Christians are more inclined to volunteer, donate and keep families together, surveys show. Picture: Brendan Radke.

This ABC series led off with a ludicrously false claim: “The men most likely to abuse their wives are evangelical Christians who attend church sporadically.”A week after I proved this untrue, the ABC edited its reports to replace that false claim with another: “Overall, the international studies indicate that intimate partner violence is just as serious a problem in Christian communities, as it is in the general community.”Wrong again. Professor Bradford Wilcox, author of the American study the ABC cited as proof, complained “the (ABC’s) story … does not square with the evidence that church­going couples, in America at least, appear to be less likely to suffer domestic violence”.

In fact, Christianity produce better citizens in many ways.

Surveys show Christians are more inclined to volunteer, donate and keep families together.

So what do the enemies of Christianity wish to achieve by smearing, silencing and destroying this civilising faith? What would they replace it with?

With the atheism that preaches every man for himself? With Islam?

Or with the green faith that has not inspired a single hospital, hospice, school, or even soup kitchen?

Yet the persecution is starting. Are the churches ready?




Taken from: http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/opinion/andrew-bolt/enemies-of-christianity-declaring-new-war-on-religion/news-story/043ebd5d04cf40934e983d391d5658bd

Pope Francis: Suicide bombers are not ‘martyrs’

Yadda yan kunar bakin wake ta rungumi wani mutum kafin tada bam (Karanta)

The pontiff says true martyrs do not harm others as he addresses frequent attacks against Christian minorities.

28 Jun 2017 13:44 GMT

Pope has demanded Muslim leaders reject committing violence in God’s name [Vincenzo Pinto/AFP]

Pope Francis has repudiated the idea that suicide bombers can be considered “martyrs”, saying true martyrs do not harm others but rather are meek, honest and persecuted for their faith as true children of God.
“Christians are repelled by the idea that suicide bombers can be called ‘martyrs’. They are not martyrs. There’s nothing in them that can be even close to the attitude of children of God,” he said on Wednesday during his weekly catechism lesson in the Vatican.

Thousands of displaced Iraqi Christians afraid to return

The pontiff has frequently raised the issue amid attacks against Christian minorities in the Middle East and elsewhere.
Francis has lamented that there are more Christian martyrs today than in the times of the early church.
The latest attack against Christians took place in Egypt’s Tanta and Alexandria cities in April when two churches were blown up, killing at least 45 people.
The responsibility for the attacks against the country’s Coptic Christians were claimed by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) group.
ISIL also said it was behind a Cairo church bombing in December that killed 29 people.

Taken from: http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/06/pope-francis-suicide-bombers-martyrs-170628131631576.html

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Gunmen kill 28 Coptic Christians on buses bound for Egyptian monastery

Three bodies lie covered in the desert in front of ambulances and bystanders.

Related Story: Egypt declares state of emergency after church bombings kill 44

Related Story: Who are Egypt’s Coptic Christians and why are they persecuted?
Related Story: Trump welcomes Egypt’s Sisi despite human rights concerns
Masked gunmen have attacked a group of Coptic Christians in southern Egypt, killing at least 28 people and wounding 25 others as they were driving to a monastery, the country’s Health Ministry said.

Key points:

  • 26 killed, 25 wounded as militants attacked buses
  • Group of Coptic Christians was travelling to a monastery
  • Muslim leaders including Hamas have condemned the attacks

The group was travelling in two buses and a small truck on Friday in Minya province, which is home to a sizeable Christian minority, medical sources and eyewitnesses said.

Eyewitnesses said the Copts were attacked as they were going to pray at the monastery of Saint Samuel the Confessor in the western part of the province.
They said masked men stopped the vehicles on a road leading to the monastery and opened fire.
One of the vehicles attacked was taking men to carry out maintenance work at the monastery while another was carrying children, officials said.
The Health Ministry said among those injured were two children aged two.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack.
However it bore the hallmarks of the Islamic State, which has been spearheading an insurgency that has carried out deadly attacks in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula and, increasingly, on the country’s mainland.

Egypt launches airstrikes

Egypt responded by launching airstrikes against what it said were militant training bases in Libya.
President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi announced the retaliatory action hours after the bus was riddled with machine-gun fire on a remote desert road by suspected Islamic State militants riding in three SUVs.
“What you’ve seen today will not go unpunished. An extremely painful strike has been dealt to the bases. Egypt will never hesitate to strike terror bases anywhere,” Mr el-Sissi said.
He also appealed to US President Donald Trump to lead the global war against terror.
Muslim leaders, including the militant Palestinian group Hamas, which is seeking to improve relations with neighbouring Egypt, condemned the attack.
Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum in a statement called the shooting “an ugly crime,” of which “the enemies of Egypt” were the only beneficiaries.
The grand imam of al-Azhar, Egypt’s 1,000-year-old centre of Islamic learning, said the attack was intended to destabilise the country.

Targeting of Coptic Christians continues

The Coptic church said it had received news of the killing of its “martyrs” with pain and sorrow.
Coptic Christians, who make up about 10 per cent of Egypt’s population of 92 million, have been the subject of a series of deadly attacks in recent months.
About 70 have been killed in bomb attacks on churches in the cities of Cairo, Alexandria and Tanta since December.
Those attacks were claimed by Islamic State.


Taken from: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-05-26/gunmen-kill-26-coptic-christians-in-egypt/8564934