Secret societies and Subversive Movements

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Nesta H. Webster

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Title: Secret Societies And Subversive Movements

Author: Nesta H. Webster

Release Date: August 23, 2006 [EBook #19104]

Language: English

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_The Chevalier de Boufflers_
_The French Revolution_
_World Revolution_
_The Socialist Network_
_The Surrender of an Empire_
_Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette: Before the Revolution_
_Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette: During the Revolution_
_Spacious Days_

* * * * *

"There is in Italy a power which we seldom mention in this House ... I
mean the secret societies.... It is useless to deny, because it is
impossible to conceal, that a great part of Europe--the whole of Italy
and France and a great portion of Germany, to say nothing of other
countries--is covered with a network of these secret societies, just as
the superficies of the earth is now being covered with railroads. And
what are their objects? They do not attempt to conceal them. They do not
want constitutional government; they do not want ameliorated
institutions ... they want to change the tenure of land, to drive out
the present owners of the soil and to put an end to ecclesiastical
establishments. Some of them may go further...." (DISRAELI in the House
of Commons, July 14, 1856.)


It is a matter of some regret to me that I have been so far unable to
continue the series of studies on the French Revolution of which _The
Chevalier de Boufflers_ and _The French Revolution, a Study in
Democracy_ formed the first two volumes. But the state of the world at
the end of the Great War seemed to demand an enquiry into the present
phase of the revolutionary movement, hence my attempt to follow its
course up to modern times in _World Revolution_. And now before
returning to that first cataclysm I have felt impelled to devote one
more book to the Revolution as a whole by going this time further back
into the past and attempting to trace its origins from the first century
of the Christian era. For it is only by taking a general survey of the
movement that it is possible to understand the causes of any particular
phase of its existence. The French Revolution did not arise merely out
of conditions or ideas peculiar to the eighteenth century, nor the
Bolshevist Revolution out of political and social conditions in Russia
or the teaching of Karl Marx. Both these explosions were produced by
forces which, making use of popular suffering and discontent, had long
been gathering strength for an onslaught not only on Christianity, but
on all social and moral order.

It is of immense significance to notice with what resentment this point
of view is met in certain quarters. When I first began to write on
revolution a well-known London publisher said to me, "Remember that if
you take an anti-revolutionary line you will have the whole literary
world against you." This appeared to me extraordinary.

Why should the literary world sympathize with a movement which from the French
Revolution onwards has always been directed against literature, art, and
science, and has openly proclaimed its aim to exalt the manual workers
over the intelligentsia? "Writers must be proscribed as the most
dangerous enemies of the people," said Robespierre; his colleague Dumas
said all clever men should be guillotined. "The system of persecution
against men of talents was organized.... They cried out in the sections
of Paris, 'Beware of that man for he has written a book!
'"[1] Precisely
the same policy has been followed in Russia. Under Moderate Socialism in
Germany the professors, not the "people," are starving in garrets. Yet
the whole press of our country is permeated with subversive influences.
Not merely in partisan works, but in manuals of history or literature
for use in Schools, Burke is reproached for warning us against the
French Revolution and Carlyle's panegyric is applauded. And whilst every
slip on the part of an anti-revolutionary writer is seized on by the
critics and held up as an example of the whole, the most glaring errors
not only of conclusions but of facts pass unchallenged if they happen to
be committed by a partisan of the movement. The principle laid down by
Collot d'Herbois still holds good: "Tout est permis pour quiconque agit
dans le sens de la révolution."

All this was unknown to me when I first embarked on my work. I knew that
French writers of the past had distorted facts to suit their own
political views, that a conspiracy of history is still directed by
certain influences in the masonic lodges and the Sorbonne; I did not
know that this conspiracy was being carried on in this country.
Therefore the publisher's warning did not daunt me. If I was wrong
either in my conclusions or facts I was prepared to be challenged.
Should not years of laborious historical research meet either with
recognition or with reasoned and scholarly refutation? But although my
book received a great many generous and appreciative reviews in the
press, criticisms which were hostile took a form which I had never
anticipated. Not a single honest attempt was made to refute either my
_French Revolution_ or _World Revolution_ by the usual methods of
controversy; statements founded on documentary evidence were met with
flat contradiction unsupported by a shred of counter evidence. In
general the plan adopted was not to disprove, but to discredit by means
of flagrant misquotations, by attributing to me views I had never
expressed, or even by means of offensive personalities. It will surely
be admitted that this method of attack is unparalleled in any other
sphere of literary controversy.

It is interesting to notice that precisely the same line was adopted a
hundred years ago with regard to Professor Robison and the Abbé Barruel,
whose works on the secret causes of the French Revolution created an
immense sensation in their day. The legitimate criticisms that might
have been made on their work find no place in the diatribes levelled
against them; their enemies content themselves merely with calumnies and
abuse. A contemporary American writer, Seth Payson, thus describes the
methods employed to discredit them:

The testimony of Professor Robison and Abbé Barruel would doubtless
have been considered as ample in any case which did not interest
the prejudices and passions of men against them. The scurrility and
odium with which they have been loaded is perfectly natural, and
what the nature of their testimony would have led one to expect.
Men will endeavour to invalidate that evidence which tends to
unveil their dark designs: and it cannot be expected that those who
believe that "the end sanctifies the means" will be very scrupulous
as to their measures. Certainly he was not who invented the
following character and arbitrarily applied it to Dr. Robison,
which might have been applied with as much propriety to any other
person in Europe or America. The character here referred to, is
taken from the American _Mercury_, printed at Hartford, September
26, 1799, by E. Babcock. In this paper, on the pretended authority
of Professor Ebeling, we are told "that Robison had lived too fast
for his income, and to supply deficiencies had undertaken to alter
a bank bill, that he was detected and fled to France; that having
been expelled the Lodge in Edinburgh, he applied in France for the
second grade, but was refused; that he made the same attempt in
Germany and afterwards in Russia, but never succeeded; and from
this entertained the bitterest hatred to masonry; and after
wandering about Europe for two years, by writing to Secretary
Dundas, and presenting a copy of his book, which, it was judged,
would answer certain purposes of the ministry, the prosecution
against him was stopped, the Professor returned in triumph to his
country, and now lives upon a handsome pension, instead of
suffering the fate of his predecessor Dodd."[2]

Payson goes on to quote a writer in _The National Intelligencer_ of
January 1801, who styles himself a "friend to truth" and speaks of
Professor Robison as "a man distinguished by abject dependence on a
party, by the base crimes of forgery and adultery, and by frequent
paroxysms of insanity." Mounier goes further still, and in his pamphlet
_De l'influence attribuée aux Philosophes, ... Francs-maçons et ...
Illuminés_, etc., inspired by the Illuminatus Bode, quotes a story that
Robison suffered from a form of insanity which consisted in his
believing that the posterior portion of his body was made of glass![3]

In support of all this farrago of nonsense there is of course no
foundation of truth; Robison was a well-known savant who lived sane and
respected to the end of his days. On his death Watt wrote of him: "He
was a man of the clearest head and the most science of anybody I have
ever known."[4] John Playfair, in a paper read before the Royal Society
of Edinburgh in 1815, whilst criticizing his _Proofs of a
Conspiracy_--though at the same time admitting he had himself never had
access to the documents Robison had consulted!--paid the following
tribute to his character and erudition:

His range in science was most extensive; he was familiar with the
whole circle of the accurate sciences.... Nothing can add to the
esteem which they [i.e. "those who were personally acquainted with
him"] felt for his talents and worth or to the respect in which
they now hold his memory.[5]

Nevertheless, the lies circulated against both Robison and Barruel were
not without effect. Thirteen years later we find another American, this
time a Freemason, confessing "with shame and grief and indignation" that
he had been carried away by "the flood of vituperation poured upon
Barruel and Robison during the past thirty years," that the title pages
of their works "were fearful to him," and that although "wishing calmly
and candidly to investigate the character of Freemasonry he refused for
months to open their books." Yet when in 1827 he read them for the first
time he was astonished to find that they showed "a manifest tendency
towards Freemasonry." Both Barruel and Robison, he now realized, were
"learned men, candid men, lovers of their country, who had a reverence
for truth and religion. They give the reasons for their opinions, they
quote their authorities, naming the author and page, like honest people;
they both had a wish to rescue British Masonry from the condemnation and
fellowship of continental Masonry and appear to be sincerely actuated by
the desire of doing good by giving their labours to the public."[6]

That the author was right here in his description of Barruel's attitude
to Freemasonry is shown by Barruel's own words on the subject:

England above all is full of those upright men, excellent citizens,
men of every kind and in every condition of life, who count it an
honour to be masons, and who are distinguished from other men only
by ties which seem to strengthen those of benevolence and fraternal
charity. It is not the fear of offending a nation amongst which I
have found a refuge which prompts me to make this exception.
Gratitude would prevail with me over all such terrors and I should
say in the midst of London: "England is lost, she will not escape
the French Revolution if the masonic lodges resemble those I have
to unveil. I would even say more: government and all Christianity
would long ago have been lost in England if one could suppose its
Freemasons to be initiated into the last mysteries of the sect."[7]

In another passage Barruel observes that Masonry in England is "a
society composed of good citizens in general whose chief object is to
help each other by principles of equality which for them is nothing else
but universal fraternity."[8] And again: "Let us admire it [the wisdom
of England] for having known how to make a real source of benefit to the
State out of those same mysteries which elsewhere conceal a profound
conspiracy against the State and religion."[9]

The only criticism British Freemasons may make on this verdict is that
Barruel regards Masonry as a system which originally contained an
element of danger that has been eliminated in England whilst they regard
it as a system originally innocuous into which a dangerous element was
inserted on the Continent. Thus according to the former conception
Freemasonry might be compared to one of the brass shell-cases brought
back from the battle-fields of France and converted into a flower-pot
holder, whilst according to the latter it resembles an innocent brass
flower-pot holder which has been used as a receptacle for explosives. The
fact is that, as I shall endeavour to show in the course of this book,
Freemasonry being a composite system there is some justification for
both these theories. In either case it will be seen that Continental
Masonry alone stands condemned.

The plan of representing Robison and Barruel as the enemies of British
Masonry can therefore only be regarded as a method for discrediting them
in the eyes of British Freemasons, and consequently for bringing the
latter over to the side of their antagonists. Exactly the same method of
attack has been directed against those of us who during the last few
years have attempted to warn the world of the secret forces working to
destroy civilization; in my own case even the plan of accusing me of
having attacked British Masonry has been adopted without the shadow of a
foundation. From the beginning I have always differentiated between
British and Grand Orient Masonry, and have numbered high British Masons
amongst my friends.

But what is the main charge brought against us? Like Robison and
Barruel, we are accused of raising a false alarm, of creating a bogey,
or of being the victims of an obsession. Up to a point this is
comprehensible. Whilst on the Continent the importance of secret
societies is taken as a matter of course and the libraries of foreign
capitals teem with books on the question, people in this country really
imagine that secret societies are things of the past--articles to this
effect appeared quite recently in two leading London newspapers--whilst
practically nothing of any value has been written about them in our
language during the last hundred years. Hence ideas that are
commonplaces on the Continent here appear sensational and extravagant.
The mind of the Englishman does not readily accept anything he cannot
see or even sometimes anything he can see which is unprecedented in his
experience, so that like the West American farmer, confronted for the
first time by the sight of a giraffe, his impulse is to cry out angrily:
"I don't believe it!"

But whilst making all allowance for honest ignorance and incredulity, it
is impossible not to recognize a certain method in the manner in which
the cry of "obsession" or "bogey" is raised. For it will be noticed that
people who specialize on other subjects are not described as "obsessed."
We did not hear, for example, that the late Professor Einstein had
Relativity "on the brain" because he wrote and lectured exclusively on
this question, nor do we hear it suggested that Mr. Howard Carter is
obsessed with the idea of Tutankhamen and that it would be well if he
were to set out for the South Pole by way of a change. Again, all those
who warn the world concerning eventualities they conceive to be a danger
are not accused of creating bogeys. Thus although Lord Roberts was
denounced as a scaremonger for urging the country to prepare for
defence against a design openly avowed by Germany both in speech and
print, and in 1921 the Duke of Northumberland was declared the victim of
a delusion for believing in the existence of a plot against the British
Empire which had been proclaimed in a thousand revolutionary harangues
and pamphlets. People who, without bothering to produce a shred of
documentary evidence, had sounded the alarm on the menace of "French
Imperialism" and asserted that our former Allies were engaged in
building a vast fleet of aeroplanes in order to attack our coasts. They
were not held to be either scaremongers or insane. On the contrary,
although some of these same people were proved by events to have been
completely wrong in their prognostications at the beginning of the Great
War, they are still regarded as oracles and sometimes even described as
"thinking for half Europe."

Another instance of this kind may be cited in the case of Mr. John
Spargo, author of a small book entitled _The Jew and American Ideals_.
On page 37 of this work Mr. Spargo in refuting the accusations brought
against the Jews observes:

Belief in widespread conspiracies directed against individuals or
the state is probably the commonest form assumed by the human mind
when it loses its balance and its sense of proportion.

Yet on page 6 Mr. Spargo declares that when visiting this country in
September and October 1920:

I found in England great nation-wide organizations, obviously well
financed, devoted to the sinister purpose of creating anti-Jewish
feeling and sentiment. I found special articles in influential
newspapers devoted to the same evil purpose. I found at at least
one journal, obviously well financed again, exclusively devoted to
the fostering of suspicion, fear, and hatred against the Jew ...
and in the bookstores I discovered a whole library of books devoted
to the same end.

It will be seen then that a belief in widespread conspiracies is not
always to be regarded as a sign of loss of mental balance, even when
these conspiracies remain completely invisible to the general public.
For those of us who were in London during the period of Mr. Spargo's
visit saw nothing of the things he here describes. Where, we ask, were
these "great nation-wide organizations" striving to create anti-Jewish
sentiments? What were their names? By whom were they led? It is true,
however, that there were nation-wide organizations in existence here at
this date instituted for the purpose of combating Bolshevism. Is
anti-Bolshevism then synonymous with "anti-Semitism"?[10] This is the
conclusion to which one is inevitably led. For it will be noticed that
anyone who attempts to expose the secret forces behind the revolutionary
movement, whether he mentions Jews in this connexion or even if he goes
out of his way to exonerate them, will incur the hostility of the Jews
and their friends and will still be described as "anti-Semite." The
realization of this fact has led me particularly to include the Jews in
the study of secret societies.

The object of the present book is therefore to carry further the enquiry
I began in _World Revolution_, by tracing the course of revolutionary
ideas through secret societies from the earliest times, indicating the
rôle of the Jews only where it is to be clearly detected, but not
seeking to implicate them where good evidence is not forthcoming. For
this reason I shall not base assertions on merely "anti-Semite" works,
but principally on the writings of the Jews themselves. In the same way
with regard to secret societies I shall rely as far as possible on the
documents and admissions of their members, on which point I have been
able to collect a great deal of fresh data entirely corroborating my
former thesis. It should be understood that I do not propose to give a
complete history of secret societies, but only of secret societies in
their relation to the revolutionary movement. I shall therefore not
attempt to describe the theories of occultism nor to enquire into the
secrets of Freemasonry, but simply to relate the history of these
systems in order to show the manner in which they have been utilized for
a subversive purpose. If I then fail to convince the incredulous that
secret forces of revolution exist, it will not be for want of evidence.

Nesta H. Webster.














The East is the cradle of secret societies. For whatever end they may
have been employed, the inspiration and methods of most of those
mysterious associations which have played so important a part behind the
scenes of the world's history will be found to have emanated from the
lands where the first recorded acts of the great human drama were played
out--Egypt, Babylon, Syria, and Persia. On the one hand Eastern
mysticism, on the other Oriental love of intrigue, framed the systems
later on to be transported to the West with results so tremendous and

In the study of secret societies we have then a double line to
follow--the course of associations enveloping themselves in secrecy for
the pursuit of esoteric knowledge, and those using mystery and secrecy
for an ulterior and, usually, a political purpose.

But esotericism again presents a dual aspect. Here, as in every phase of
earthly life, there is the _revers de la médaille_--white and black,
light and darkness, the Heaven and Hell of the human mind. The quest for
hidden knowledge may end with initiation into divine truths or into dark
and abominable cults. Who knows with what forces he may be brought in
contact beyond the veil? Initiation which leads to making use of
spiritual forces, whether good or evil, is therefore capable of raising
man to greater heights or of degrading him to lower depths than he could
ever have reached by remaining on the purely physical plane. And when
men thus unite themselves in associations, a collective force is
generated which may exercise immense influence over the world around.
Hence the importance of secret societies.

Let it be said once and for all, secret societies have not always been
formed for evil purposes. On the contrary, many have arisen from the
highest aspirations of the human mind--the desire for a knowledge of
eternal verities. The evil arising from such systems has usually
consisted in the perversion of principles that once were pure and holy.
If I do not insist further on this point, it is because a vast
literature has already been devoted to the subject, so that it need only
be touched on briefly here.

Now, from the earliest times groups of Initiates or "Wise Men" have
existed, claiming to be in possession of esoteric doctrines known as the
"Mysteries," incapable of apprehension by the vulgar, and relating to
the origin and end of man, the life of the soul after death, and the
nature of God or the gods. It is this exclusive attitude which
constitutes the essential difference between the Initiates of the
ancient world and the great Teachers of religion with whom modern
occultists seek to confound them. For whilst religious leaders such as
Buddha and Mohammed sought for divine knowledge in order that they might
impart it to the world, the Initiates believed that sacred mysteries
should not be revealed to the profane but should remain exclusively in
their own keeping, although the desire for initiation might spring from
the highest aspiration, the gratification, whether real or imaginary, of
this desire often led to spiritual arrogance and abominable tyranny,
resulting in the fearful trials, the tortures physical and mental,
ending even at times in death, to which the neophyte was subjected by
his superiors.

The Mysteries

According to a theory current in occult and masonic circles, certain
ideas were common to all the more important "Mysteries," thus forming a
continuous tradition handed down through succeeding groups of Initiates
of different ages and countries. Amongst these ideas is said to have
been the conception of the unity of God. Whilst to the multitude it was
deemed advisable to preach polytheism, since only in this manner could
the plural aspects of the Divine be apprehended by the multitude, the
Initiates themselves believed in the existence of one Supreme Being, the
Creator of the Universe, pervading and governing all things, Le
Plongeon, whose object is to show an affinity between the sacred
Mysteries of the Mayas and of the Egyptians, Chaldeans, and Greeks,
asserts that "The idea of a sole and omnipotent Deity, who created all
things, seems to have been the universal belief in early ages, amongst
all the nations that had reached a high degree of civilization. This was
the doctrine of the Egyptian priests."[11] The same writer goes on to
say that the "doctrine of a Supreme Deity composed of three parts
distinct from each other, yet forming one, was universally prevalent
among the civilized nations of America, Asia, and the Egyptians," and
that the priests and learned men of Egypt, Chaldea, India, or China
"...kept it a profound secret and imparted it only to a few select among
those initiated in the sacred mysteries."[12] This view has been
expressed by many other writers, yet lacks historical proof.

That monotheism existed in Egypt before the days of Moses is, however,
certain. Adolf Erman asserts that "even in early times the educated
class" believed all the deities of the Egyptian religion to be identical
and that "the priests did not shut their eyes to this doctrine, but
strove to grasp the idea of the one God, divided into different persons
by poesy and myth.... The priesthood, however, had not the courage to
take the final step, to do away with those distinctions which they
declared to be immaterial, and to adore the one God under the one
name."[13] It was left to Amenhotep IV, later known as Ikhnaton, to
proclaim this doctrine openly to the people. Professor Breasted has
described the hymns of praise to the Sun God which Ikhnaton himself
wrote on the walls of the Amarna tomb-chapels:

They show us the simplicity and beauty of the young king's faith in
the sole God. He had gained the belief that one God created not
only all the lower creatures but also all races of men, both
Egyptians and foreigners. Moreover, the king saw in his God a
kindly Father, who maintained all his creatures by his goodness....
In all the progress of men which we have followed through thousands
of years, no one had ever before caught such a vision of the great
Father of all.[14]

May not the reason why Ikhnaton was later described as a "heretic" be
that he violated the code of the priestly hierarchy by revealing this
secret doctrine to the profane? Hence, too, perhaps the necessity in
which the King found himself of suppressing the priesthood, which by
persisting in its exclusive attitude kept what he perceived to be the
truth from the minds of the people.

The earliest European centre of the Mysteries appears to have been
Greece, where the Eleusinian Mysteries existed at a very early date.
Pythagoras, who was born in Samos about 582 B.C., spent some years in
Egypt, where he was initiated into the Mysteries of Isis. After his
return to Greece, Pythagoras is said to have been initiated into the
Eleusinian Mysteries and attempted to found a secret society in Samos;
but this proving unsuccessful, he journeyed on to Crotona in Italy,
where he collected around him a great number of disciples and finally
established his sect. This was divided into two classes of
Initiates--the first admitted only into the exoteric doctrines of the
master, with whom they were not allowed to speak until after a period of
five years' probation; the second consisting of the real Initiates, to
whom all the mysteries of the esoteric doctrines of Pythagoras were
unfolded. This course of instruction, given, after the manner of the
Egyptians, by means of images and symbols, began with geometrical
science, in which Pythagoras during his stay in Egypt had become an
adept, and led up finally to abstruse speculations concerning the
transmigration of the soul and the nature of God, who was represented
under the conception of a Universal Mind diffused through all things. It
is, however, as the precursor of secret societies formed later in the
West of Europe that the sect of Pythagoras enters into the scope of this
book. Early masonic tradition traces Freemasonry partly to Pythagoras,
who is said to have travelled in England, and there is certainly some
reason to believe that his geometrical ideas entered into the system of
the operative guilds of masons.

The Jewish Cabala[15]

According to Fabre d'Olivet, Moses, who "was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians," drew from the Egyptian Mysteries a part of the oral tradition which was handed down through the leaders of the Israelites.[16] That such an oral tradition, distinct from the written word embodied in the Pentateuch, did descend from Moses and that it was later committed to writing in the Talmud and the Cabala is the opinion of many Jewish writers.[17]

The first form of the Talmud, called the Mischna, appeared in about the
second or third century A.D.;
a little later a commentary was added
under the name of the Gemara. These two works compose the Jerusalem
Talmud, which was revised in the third to the fifth centry[A]. This
later edition was named the Babylonian Talmud and is the one now in use.

The Talmud relates mainly to the affairs of everyday life--the laws of
buying and selling, of making contracts--also to external religious
observances, on all of which the most meticulous details are given. As a
Jewish writer has expressed it:

... the oddest rabbinical conceits are elaborated through many
volumes with the finest dialectic, and the most absurd questions
are discussed with the highest efforts of intellectual power; for
example, how many white hairs may a red cow have, and yet remain a
_red_ cow; what sort of scabs require this or that purification;
whether a louse or a flea may be killed on the Sabbath--the first
being allowed, while the second is a deadly sin; whether the
slaughter of an animal ought to be executed at the neck or the
tail; whether the high priest put on his shirt or his hose first;
whether the _Jabam_, that is, the brother of a man who died
childless, being required by law to marry the widow, is relieved
from his obligation if he falls off a roof and sticks in the

But it is in the Cabala, a Hebrew word signifying "reception," that is
to say "a doctrine orally received," that the speculative and
philosophical or rather the theosophical doctrines of Israel are to be
found. These are contained in two books, the _Sepher Yetzirah_ and the

The _Sepher Yetzirah_, or Book of the Creation, is described by
Edersheim as "a monologue on the part of Abraham, in which, by the
contemplation of all that is around him, he ultimately arrives at the
conclusion of the unity of God"[19]; but since this process is
accomplished by an arrangement of the Divine Emanations under the name
of the Ten Sephiroths, and in the permutation of numerals and of the
letters of the Hebrew alphabet, it would certainly convey no such
idea--nor probably indeed any idea at all--to the mind uninitiated into
Cabalistic systems. The Sepher Yetzirah is in fact admittedly a work of
extraordinary obscurity[20] and almost certainly of extreme antiquity.
Monsieur Paul Vulliaud, in his exhaustive work on the Cabala recently
published,[21] says that its date has been placed as early as the sixth
century before Christ and as late as the tenth century A.D., but that it
is at any rate older than the Talmud is shown by the fact that in the
Talmud the Rabbis are described as studying it for magical purposes.[22]
The Sepher Yetzirah is also said to be the work referred to in the Koran
under the name of the "Book of Abraham."[23]

The immense compilation known as the _Sepher-Ha-Zohar_, or Book of
Light, is, however, of greater importance to the study of Cabalistic
According to the Zohar itself, the "Mysteries of Wisdom"
were imparted to Adam by God whilst he was still in the Garden of Eden,
in the form of a book delivered by the angel Razael. From Adam the book
passed on to Seth, then to Enoch, to Noah, to Abraham, and later to
Moses, one of its principal exponents.[24] Other Jewish writers declare,
however, that Moses received it for the first time on Mount Sinai and
communicated it to the Seventy Elders, by whom it was handed down to
David and Solomon, then to Ezra and Nehemiah, and finally to the Rabbis
of the early Christian era.[25]

Until this date the Zohar had remained a purely oral tradition, but now
for the first time it is said to have been written down by the disciples
of Simon ben Jochai. The Talmud relates that for twelve years the Rabbi
Simon and his son Eliezer concealed themselves in a cavern, where,
sitting in the sand up to their necks, they meditated on the sacred law
and were frequently visited by the prophet Elias.[26] In this way,
Jewish legend adds, the great book of the Zohar was composed and
committed to writing by the Rabbi's son Eliezer and his secretary the
Rabbi Abba.[27]

The first date at which the Zohar is definitely known to have appeared
is the end of the thirteenth century, when it was committed to writing
by a Spanish Jew, Moses de Leon, who, according to Dr. Ginsburg, said he
had discovered and reproduced the original document of Simon ben Jochai;

his wife and daughter, however, declared that he had composed it all
himself.[28] Which is the truth? Jewish opinion is strongly divided on
this question, one body maintaining that the Zohar is the comparatively
modern work of Moses de Leon, the other declaring it to be of extreme
antiquity. M. Vulliaud, who has collated all these views in the course
of some fifty pages, shows that although the name Zohar might have
originated with Moses de Leon, the ideas it embodied were far older than
the thirteenth century. How, he asks pertinently, would it have been
possible for the Rabbis of the Middle Ages to have been deceived into
accepting as an ancient document a work that was of completely modern
origin?[29] Obviously the Zohar was not the composition of Moses de
Leon, but a compilation made by him from various documents dating from
very early times. Moreover, as M. Vulliaud goes on to explain, those who
deny its antiquity are the anti-Cabalists, headed by Graetz, whose
object is to prove the Cabala to be at variance with orthodox Judaism.
Theodore Reinach goes so far as to declare the Cabala to be "a subtle
poison which enters into the veins of Judaism and wholly infests it";
Salomon Reinach calls it "one of the worst aberrations of the human
mind."[30] This view, many a student of the Cabala will hardly dispute,
but to say that it is foreign to Judaism is another matter. The fact is
that the main ideas of the Zohar find confirmation in the Talmud. As the
_Jewish Encyclopædia_ observes, "the Cabala is not really in opposition
to the Talmud," and "many Talmudic Jews have supported and contributed
to it."[31] Adolphe Franck does not hesitate to describe it as "the
heart and life of Judaism."[32] "The greater number of the most eminent
Rabbis of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries believed firmly in
the sacredness of the Zohar and the infallibility of its teaching."[33]

The question of the antiquity of the Cabala is therefore in reality
largely a matter of names. That a mystical tradition existed amongst the
Jews from remote antiquity will hardly be denied by anyone[34]; it is
therefore, as M. Vulliaud observes, "only a matter of knowing at what
moment Jewish mysticism took the name of Cabala."[35] Edersheim asserts

It is undeniable that, already at the time of Jesus Christ, there
existed an assemblage of doctrines and speculations that were
carefully concealed from the multitude. They were not even revealed
to ordinary scholars, for fear of leading them towards heretical
ideas. This kind bore the name of Kabbalah, and as the term (of
Kabbalah, to receive, transmit) indicates, it represented the
spiritual traditions transmitted from the earliest ages, although
mingled in the course of time with impure or foreign elements.[36]

Is the Cabala, then, as Gougenot des Mousseaux asserts, older than the
Jewish race, a legacy handed down from the first patriarchs of the
world?[37] We must admit this hypothesis to be incapable of proof, yet
it is one that has found so much favour with students of occult
traditions that it cannot be ignored. The Jewish Cabala itself supports
it by tracing its descent from the patriarchs--Adam, Noah, Enoch, and
Abraham--who lived before the Jews as a separate race came into
existence. Eliphas Lévi accepts this genealogy, and relates that "the
Holy Cabala" was the tradition of the children of Seth carried out of
Chaldea by Abraham, who was "the inheritor of the secrets of Enoch and
the father of initiation in Israel."[38]

According to this theory, which we find again propounded by the American
Freemason, Dr. Mackey,[39] there was, besides the divine Cabala of the
children of Seth, the magical Cabala of the children of Cain, which
descended to the Sabeists, or star-worshippers, of Chaldea, adepts in astrology and necromancy. Sorcery, as we know, had been practised by the Canaanites before the occupation of Palestine by the Israelites; Egypt
India, and Greece also had their soothsayers and diviners. In spite of
the imprecations against sorcery contained in the law of Moses, the
Jews, disregarding these warnings, caught the contagion and mingled the
sacred tradition they had inherited with magical ideas partly borrowed
from other races and partly of their own devising. At the same time the
speculative side of the Jewish Cabala borrowed from the philosophy of
the Persian Magi, of the Neo-Platonists,[40] and of the
Neo-Pythagoreans. There is, then, some justification for the
anti-Cabalists' contention that what we know to-day as the Cabala is not
of purely Jewish origin.

Gougenot des Mousseaux, who had made a profound study of occultism,
asserts that there were therefore two Cabalas: the ancient sacred
tradition handed down from the first patriarchs of the human race; and
the evil Cabala, wherein this sacred tradition was mingled by the Rabbis
with barbaric superstitions, combined with their own imaginings and
henceforth marked with their seal.[41] This view also finds expression
in the remarkable work of the converted Jew Drach, who refers to--

The ancient and true Cabala, which ... we distinguish from the
modern Cabala, false, condemnable, and condemned by the Holy See,
the work of the Rabbis, who have also falsified and perverted the
Talmudic tradition. The doctors of the Synagogue trace it back to
Moses, whilst at the same time admitting that the principal truths
it contains were those known by revelation to the first patriarchs
of the world.[42]

Further on Drach quotes the statement of Sixtus of Sienna, another
converted Jew and a Dominican, protected by Pius V:

Since by the decree of the Holy Roman Inquisition all books
appertaining to the Cabala have lately been condemned, one must
know that the Cabala is double; that one is true, the other false.
The true and pious one is that which ... elucidates the secret
mysteries of the holy law according to the principle of anagogy
(i.e. figurative interpretation). This Cabala therefore the Church
has never condemned. The false and impious Cabala is a certain
mendacious kind of Jewish tradition, full of innumerable vanities
and falsehoods, differing but little from necromancy. This kind of
superstition, therefore, improperly called Cabala, the Church
within the last few years has deservedly condemned.[43]

The modern Jewish Cabala presents a dual aspect--theoretical and
practical; the former concerned with theosophical speculations, the
latter with magical practices. It would be impossible here to give an
idea of Cabalistic theosophy with its extraordinary imaginings on the
Sephiroths, the attributes and functions of good and bad angels,
dissertations on the nature of demons, and minute details on the
appearance of God under the name of the Ancient of Ancients, from whose
head 400,000 worlds receive the light. "The length of this face from the
top of the head is three hundred and seventy times ten thousand worlds.
It is called the 'Long Face,' for such is the name of the Ancient of
Ancients."[44] The description of the hair and beard alone belonging to
this gigantic countenance occupies a large place in the Zoharic
treatise, Idra Raba.[45]

According to the Cabala, every letter in the Scriptures contains a
mystery only to be solved by the initiated
.[46] By means of this system
of interpretation passages of the Old Testament are shown to bear
meanings totally unapparent to the ordinary reader. Thus the Zohar
explains that Noah was lamed for life by the bite of a lion whilst he
was in the ark,[47] the adventures of Jonah inside the whale are related
with an extraordinary wealth of imagination,[48] whilst the beautiful
story of Elisha and the Shunnamite woman is travestied in the most
grotesque manner.[49]

In the practical Cabala this method of "decoding" is reduced to a
theurgic or magical system in which the healing of diseases plays an
important part and is effected by means of the mystical arrangement of
numbers and letters, by the pronunciation of the Ineffable Name, by the use of amulets and talismans, or by compounds supposed to contain
certain occult properties.

All these ideas derived from very ancient cults; even the art of working
miracles by the use of the Divine Name, which after the appropriation of the Cabala by the Jews became the particular practice of Jewish
miracle-workers, appears to have originated in Chaldea.[50] Nor can the
insistence on the Chosen People theory, which forms the basis of all
Talmudic and Cabalistic writings, be regarded as of purely Jewish
origin; the ancient Egyptians likewise believed themselves to be "the
peculiar people specially loved by the gods."[51] But in the hands of
the Jews this belief became a pretension to the exclusive enjoyment of
divine favour. According to the Zohar, "all Israelites will have a part
in the future world,"[52] and on arrival there will not be handed over
like the _goyim_ (or non-Jewish races) to the hands of the angel Douma
and sent down to Hell.[53] Indeed the _goyim_ are even denied human
attributes. Thus the Zohar again explains that the words of the
Scripture "Jehovah Elohim made man" mean that He made Israel.[54] The
seventeenth-century Rabbinical treatise Emek ha Melek observes: "Our
Rabbis of blessed memory have said: 'Ye Jews are men because of the soul
ye have from the Supreme Man (i.e. God). But the nations of the world
are not styled men because they have not, from the Holy and Supreme Man,
the Neschama (or glorious soul), but they have the Nephesch (soul) from
Adam Belial, that is the malicious and unnecessary man, called Sammael,
the Supreme Devil.'"[55]

In conformity with this exclusive attitude towards the rest of the human
race, the Messianic idea which forms the dominating theme of the Cabala
is made to serve purely Jewish interests. Yet in its origins this idea
was possibly not Jewish. It is said by believers in an ancient secret
tradition common to other races besides the Jews, that a part of this
tradition related to a past Golden Age when man was free from care and
evil non-existent, to the subsequent fall of Man and the loss of this
primitive felicity, and finally to a revelation received from Heaven
foretelling the reparation of this loss and the coming of a Redeemer who
should save the world and restore the Golden Age. According to Drach:

The tradition of a Man-God who should present Himself as the
teacher and liberator of the fallen human race was constantly
taught amongst all the enlightened nations of the globe. _Vetus et
constans opinio_, as Suetonius says. It is of all times and of all

And Drach goes on to quote the evidence of Volney, who had travelled in
the East and declared that--

The sacred and mythological traditions of earlier times had spread
throughout all Asia the belief in a great Mediator who was to come,
of a future Saviour, King, God, Conqueror, and Legislator who would
bring back the Golden Age to earth and deliver men from the empire
of evil.[57]

All that can be said with any degree of certainty with regard to this
belief is that it did exist amongst the Zoroastrians of Persia as well
as amongst the Jews. D'Herbelot, quoting Abulfaraj, shows that five
hundred years before Christ, Zerdascht, the leader of the Zoroastrians,
predicted the coming of the Messiah, at whose birth a star would appear.
He also told his disciples that the Messiah would be born of a virgin,
that they would be the first to hear of Him, and that they should bring
Him gifts.[58]

Drach believes that this tradition was taught in the ancient
synagogue,[59] thus explaining the words of St. Paul that unto the Jews
"were committed the oracles of God"[60]:

This oral doctrine, which is the Cabala, had for its object the
most sublime truths of the Faith which it brought back incessantly
to the promised Redeemer, the foundation of the whole system of the
ancient tradition.[61]

Drach further asserts that the doctrine of the Trinity formed a part of
this tradition:

Whoever has familiarized himself with that which was taught by the
ancient doctors of the Synagogue, particularly those who lived
before the coming of the Saviour, knows that the Trinity in one God
was a truth admitted amongst them from the earliest times.[62]

M. Vulliaud points out that Graetz admits the existence of this idea in
the Zohar: "It even taught certain doctrines which appeared favourable
to the Christian dogma of the Trinity!" And again: "It is incontestable
that the Zohar makes allusions to the beliefs in the Trinity and the
Incarnation."[63] M. Vulliaud adds: "The idea of the Trinity must
therefore play an important part in the Cabala, since it has been
possible to affirm that 'the characteristic of the Zohar and its
particular conception is its attachment to the principle of the
Trinity,'"[64] and further quotes Edersheim as saying that "a great
part of the explanation given in the writings of the Cabalists resembles
in a surprising manner the highest truths of Christianity."[65] It
would appear, then, that certain remnants of the ancient secret
tradition lingered on in the Cabala. The _Jewish Encyclopædia_, perhaps
unintentionally, endorses this opinion, since in deriding the
sixteenth-century Christian Cabalists for asserting that the Cabala
contained traces of Christianity, it goes on to say that what appears to
be Christian in the Cabala is only ancient esoteric doctrine.[66] Here,
then, we have it on the authority of modern Jewish scholars that the
ancient secret tradition was in harmony with Christian teaching. But in
the teaching of the later synagogue the philosophy of the earlier sages
was narrowed down to suit the exclusive system of the Jewish hierarchy,
and the ancient hope of a Redeemer who should restore Man to the state
of felicity he had lost at the Fall was transformed into the idea of
salvation for the Jews alone[67] under the ægis of a triumphant and even
an avenging Messiah.[68] It is this Messianic dream perpetuated in the
modern Cabala which nineteen hundred years ago the advent of Christ on
earth came to disturb.

The Coming of the Redeemer

The fact that many Christian doctrines, such as the conception of a
Trinity, the miraculous birth and murder of a Deity, had found a place
in earlier religions has frequently been used as an argument to show
that the story of Christ was merely a new version of various ancient
legends, those of Attis, Adonis, or of Osiris, and that consequently the
Christian religion is founded on a myth. The answer to this is that the
existence of Christ on earth is an historic fact which no serious
authority has ever denied. The attempts of such writers as Drews and
J.M. Robertson to establish the theory of the "Christ-Myth," which find
an echo in the utterances of Socialist orators,[69] have been met with
so much able criticism as to need no further refutation. Sir James
Frazer, who will certainly not be accused of bigoted orthodoxy, observes
in this connexion:

The doubts which have been cast on the historical reality of Jesus
are, in my judgement, unworthy of serious attention.... To dissolve
the founder of Christianity into a myth, as some would do, is
hardly less absurd than it would be to do the same for Mohammed,
Luther, and Calvin.[70]

May not the fact that certain circumstances in the life of Christ were
foreshadowed by earlier religions indicate, as Eliphas Lévi observes,
that the ancients had an intuition of Christian mysteries?[71]

To those therefore who had adhered to the ancient tradition, Christ
appeared as the fulfilment of a prophecy as old as the world. Thus the
wise men came from afar to worship the Babe of Bethlehem, and when they
saw His star in the East they rejoiced with exceeding great joy. In
Christ they hailed not only Him who was born King of the Jews, but the
Saviour of the whole human race.[72]

In the light of this great hope, that wondrous night in Bethlehem is
seen in all its sublimity. Throughout the ages the seers had looked for
the coming of the Redeemer, and lo! He was here; but it was not to the
mighty in Israel, to the High Priests and the Scribes, that His birth
was announced, but to humble shepherds watching their flocks by night.
And these men of simple faith, hearing from the angels "the good tidings
of great joy" that a Saviour, "Christ the Lord" was born, went with
haste to see the babe lying in the manger, and returned "glorifying and
praising God." So also to the devout in Israel, to Simeon and to Anna
the prophetess, the great event appeared in its universal significance,
and Simeon, departing in peace, knew that his eyes had seen the
salvation that was to be "a light to lighten the Gentiles" as well as
the glory of the people of Israel.

But to the Jews, in whose hands the ancient tradition had been turned to
the exclusive advantage of the Jewish race, to the Rabbis, who had,
moreover, constituted themselves the sole guardians within this nation
of the said tradition, the manner of its fulfilment was necessarily
abhorrent. Instead of a resplendent Messiah who should be presented by
them to the people, a Saviour was born amongst the people themselves and
brought to Jerusalem to be presented to the Lord; a Saviour moreover
who, as time went on, imparted His divine message to the poor and humble
and declared that His Kingdom was not of this world. This was clearly
what Mary meant when she said that God had "scattered the proud in the
imagination of their hearts," that He had "put down the mighty from
their seats, and exalted them of low degree." Christ was therefore
doubly hateful to the Jewish hierarchy in that He attacked the
privilege of the race to which they belonged by throwing open the door
to all mankind, and the privilege of the caste to which they belonged by
revealing sacred doctrines to the profane and destroying their claim to
exclusive knowledge.

Unless viewed from this aspect, neither the antagonism displayed by the
Scribes and Pharisees towards our Lord nor the denunciations He uttered
against them can be properly understood. "Woe unto you, Lawyers! for ye
have taken away the key of knowledge: ye entered not in yourselves, and
them that were entering in ye hindered.... Woe unto you, Scribes and
Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men:
tor ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are
entering to go in." What did Christ mean by the key of knowledge?
Clearly the sacred tradition which, as Drach explains, foreshadowed the
doctrines of Christianity.[73] It was the Rabbis who perverted that
tradition, and thus "the guilt of these perfidious Doctors consisted in
their concealing from the people the traditional explanation of the
sacred books by means of which they would have been able to recognize
the Messiah in the person of Jesus Christ."[74] Many of the people,
however, did recognize Him; indeed, the multitude acclaimed Him,
spreading their garments before Him and crying, "Hosanna to the Son of
David! Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord!" Writers who
have cited the choice of Barabbas in the place of Christ as an instance
of misguided popular judgement, overlook the fact that this choice was
not spontaneous; it was the Chief Priests who delivered Christ "from
envy" and who "moved the people that Pilate should rather release unto
them Barabbas." _Then_ the people obediently cried out, "Crucify Him!"

So also it was the Rabbis who, after hiding from the people the meaning
of the sacred tradition at the moment of its fulfilment, afterwards
poisoned that same stream for future generations. Abominable calumnies
on Christ and Christianity occur not only in the Cabala but in the
earlier editions of the Talmud. In these, says Barclay--

Our Lord and Saviour is "that one," "such a one," "a fool," "the
leper," "the deceiver of Israel," etc. Efforts are made to prove
that He is the son of Joseph Pandira before his marriage with Mary.
His miracles are attributed to sorcery, the secret of which He
brought in a slit in His flesh out of Egypt. He is said to have
been first stoned and then hanged on the eve of the Passover. His
disciples are called heretics and opprobrious names. They are
accused of immoral practices, and the New Testament is called a
sinful book. The references to these subjects manifest the most
bitter aversion and hatred.[75]

One might look in vain for passages such as these in English or French
translations of the Talmud, for the reason that no complete translation
exists in these languages. This fact is of great significance. Whilst
the sacred books of every other important religion have been rendered
into our own tongue and are open to everyone to study, the book that
forms the foundation of modern Judaism is closed to the general public.
We can read English translations of the Koran, of the Dhammapada, of the
Sutta Nipata, of the Zend Avesta, of the Shu King, of the Laws of Manu,
of the Bhagavadgita, but we cannot read the Talmud. In the long series
of Sacred Books of the East the Talmud finds no place. All that is
accessible to the ordinary reader consists, on one hand, in expurgated
versions or judicious selections by Jewish and pro-Jewish compilers,
and, on the other hand, in "anti-Semitic" publications on which it would
be dangerous to place reliance. The principal English translation by
Rodkinson is very incomplete, and the folios are nowhere indicated, so
that it is impossible to look up a passage.[76] The French translation
by Jean de Pauly[B] professes to present the entire text of the Venetian
Talmud of 1520, but it does nothing of the kind.[77] The translator, in
the Preface, in fact admits that he has left out "sterile discussions"
and has throughout attempted to tone down "the brutality of certain
expressions which offend our ears." This of course affords him infinite
latitude, so that all passages likely to prove displeasing to the
"Hébraisants," to whom his work is particularly dedicated, are
discreetly expunged. Jean de Pauly's translation of the Cabala appears,
however, to be complete.[78] But a fair and honest rendering of the
whole Talmud into English or French still remains to be made.

Moreover, even the Hebrew scholar is obliged to exercise some
discrimination if he desires to consult the Talmud in its original
form. For by the sixteenth century, when the study of Hebrew became
general amongst Christians, the antisocial and anti-Christian tendencies
of the Talmud attracted the attention of the Censor, and in the Bâle
Talmud of 1581 the most obnoxious passages and the entire treatise
Abodah Zara were suppressed.[79]

In the Cracow edition of 1604 that followed, these passages were
restored by the Jews, a proceeding which aroused so much indignation
amongst Christian students of Hebrew that the Jews became alarmed.
Accordingly a Jewish synod, assembled in Poland in 1631, ordered the
offending passages to be expunged again, but--according to Drach--to be
replaced by circles which the Rabbis were to fill in orally when giving
instruction to young Jews.[80] After that date the Talmud was for a time
carefully bowdlerized, so that in order to discover its original form it
is advisable to go back to the Venetian Talmud of 1520 before any
omissions were made, or to consult a modern edition. For now that the
Jews no longer fear the Christians, these passages are all said to have
been replaced and no attempt is made, as in the Middle Ages, to prove
that they do not refer to the Founder of Christianity.[81]

Thus the _Jewish Encyclopædia_ admits that Jewish legends concerning
Jesus are found in the Talmud and Midrash and in "the life of Jesus
(Toledot Yeshu) that originated in the Middle Ages. It is the tendency
of all these sources to belittle the person of Jesus by ascribing to Him
illegitimate birth, magic, and a shameful death."[82]

The last work mentioned, the _Toledot Yeshu_, or the _Sepher Toldos
Jeschu_, described here as originating in the Middle Ages, probably
belongs in reality to a much earlier period. Eliphas Lévi asserts that
"the Sepher Toldos, to which the Jews attribute a great antiquity and
which they hid from the Christians with such precautions that this book
was for a long while unfindable, is quoted for the first time by
Raymond Martin of the Order of the Preaching Brothers towards the end
of the thirteenth century.... This book was evidently written by a Rabbi
initiated into the mysteries of the Cabala."[83] Whether then the
Toledot Yeshu had existed for many centuries before it was first brought
to light or whether it was a collection of Jewish traditions woven into
a coherent narrative by a thirteenth-century Rabbi, the ideas it
contains can be traced back at least as far as the second century of the
Christian era. Origen, who in the middle of the third century wrote his
reply to the attack of Celsus on Christianity, refers to a scandalous
story closely resembling the Toledot Yeshu, which Celsus, who lived
towards the end of the second century, had quoted on the authority of a
Jew.[84] It is evident, therefore, that the legend it contains had long
been current in Jewish circles, but the book itself did not come into
the hands of Christians until it was translated into Latin by Raymond
Martin. Later on Luther summarized it in German under the name of _Schem
Hamphorasch_; Wagenseil in 1681 and Huldrich in 1705 published Latin
translations.[85] It is also to be found in French in Gustave Brunei's
_Evangiles Apocryphes_.

However repugnant it is to transcribe any portion of this blasphemous
work, its main outline must be given here in order to trace the
subsequent course of the anti-Christian secret tradition in which, as we
shall see, it has been perpetuated up to our own day. Briefly, then, the
Toledot Yeshu relates with the most indecent details that Miriam, a
hairdresser of Bethlehem,[86] affianced to a young man named Jochanan,
was seduced by a libertine, Joseph Panther or Pandira, and gave birth to
a son whom she named Johosuah or Jeschu. According to the Talmudic
authors of the Sota and the Sanhedrim, Jeschu was taken during his
boyhood to Egypt, where he was initiated into the secret doctrines of
the priests, and on his return to Palestine gave himself up to the
practice of magic.[87] The Toledot Yeshu, however, goes on to say that
on reaching manhood Jeschu learnt the secret of his illegitimacy, on
account of which he was driven out of the Synagogue and took refuge for
a time in Galilee. Now, there was in the Temple a stone on which was
engraved the Tetragrammaton or Schem Hamphorasch, that is to say, the
Ineffable Name of God; this stone had been found by King David when the
foundations of the Temple were being prepared and was deposited by him
in the Holy of Holies. Jeschu, knowing this, came from Galilee and,
penetrating into the Holy of Holies, read the Ineffable Name, which he
transcribed on to a piece of parchment and concealed in an incision
under his skin. By this means he was able to work miracles and to
persuade the people that he was the son of God foretold by Isaiah. With
the aid of Judas, the Sages of the Synagogue succeeded in capturing
Jeschu, who was then led before the Great and Little Sanhedrim, by whom
he was condemned to be stoned to death and finally hanged.

Such is the story of Christ according to the Jewish Cabalists, which
should be compared not only with the Christian tradition but with that
of the Moslems. It is perhaps not sufficiently known that the Koran,
whilst denying the divinity of Christ and also the fact of His
crucifixion,[88] nevertheless indignantly denounces the infamous legends
concerning Him perpetuated by the Jews, and confirms in beautiful
language the story of the Annunciation and the doctrine of the
Miraculous Conception.[89] "Remember when the angels said, 'O Mary!
verily hath God chosen thee and purified thee, and chosen thee above the
women of the worlds.' ... Remember when the angels said, 'O Mary! verily
God announceth to thee the Word from Him: His name shall be Messiah,
Jesus the son of Mary, illustrious in this world, and in the next, and
one of those who have near access to God.'"

The Mother of Jesus is shown to have been pure and to have "kept her
maidenhood"[90]; it was the Jews who spoke against Mary "a grievous
calumny."[91] Jesus Himself is described as "strengthened with the Holy
Spirit," and the Jews are reproached for rejecting "the Apostle of
God,"[92] to whom was given "the Evangel with its guidance and light
confirmatory of the preceding Law."[93]

Thus during the centuries that saw the birth of Christianity, although
other non-Christian forces arrayed themselves against the new faith, it
was left to the Jews to inaugurate a campaign of vilification against
the person of its Founder, whom Moslems to this day revere as one of the
great teachers of the world.[94