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British Israelism or Anglo Israelism

Modern "Christian Identity" concerns the rise of white Christian nations. It seeks to discover a national as well as a racial identity for white Christians by telling them who they are and where they come from. Many Identity beliefs are rooted in a 19th Century British movement - British Israelism or Anglo Israelism. This concept claims that Anglo-Saxons and others are the descendants of the Biblical Israelites and that England is the true Israel.

The chief sources of this view were E. Hine, The British Nation Identified with Lost Israel, London, 1871, and W. H. Poole, Anglo-Israel, or the Saxon Race Proved to be the Lost Tribes of Israel, Detroit, 1889. Other sources were P. Cassel, Ueber die Abstammung der Englischen Nation, Berlin, 1880, and S. Beruatto, Britannia-Israel ossia gli Ebrei nella Questione d'Oriente, Rome, 1880.

Its adherents, who claimed that the promises given to Israel will be fulfilled with regard to England and America, wre said int he late 19th Century to number 2,000,000 in England and the United States; and at one time they included in their ranks a member of the English House of Lords and a colonial bishop of the Church of England. They issued several weeklies in defense of their views; and there,is one publisher in London whose publications are devoted entirely to the cause. Strictly speaking, the believers in Anglo-Israelism did not form a sect, as most of its members retained communion with the Church of England, and they only held their views as a supplementary pious opinion.

The first person who seems to have broached these views was the eccentric Richard Brothers (1757-1824), who styled himself "Nephew of History of the Almighty," and, in his "Revealed Movement. Knowledge" (1794), claimed to be descended from David and prophesied that he would be revealed as prince of the Hebrews on Nov. 19, 1795. In 1822 Brothers published his "Correct Account of the Invasion of England by the Saxons, Showing the English Nation to be Descendants of the Lost Ten Tribes," which may be regarded as the foundation of the movement.

He was followed by J. Wilson ("Our Israelitish Origin," 1845), who placed the theory upon its present basis; by W. Carpenter (" Israelites Found "), and by F. R. A. Glover (" England the Remnant of Judah "); and the movement obtained a somewhat distinguished adherent in C. Piazzi Smith, astronomer royal for Scotland. In America the chief leaders of the movement appear to have been G. W. Greenwood, who published a monthly journal, "Heir of the World," New York, 1880, and Rev. W. H. Poole, of Detroit, Mich.

At the start, distinction is made between the ultimate fates of Israel and Judah. For the former all the blessings of the Bible are reserved; whereas the latter, represented in modern times by the Jews, are to experience all the curses threatened to the backsliding people in the prophecies. It is pointed out that while in the prophecies Israel will change his name (Hosea, i. 9), be numberless (ibid. ii. 1), dwell in islands (Isa. xxiv. 15) with colonies and be the chief of the nations (Micah, v. 8), Judah will be a byword (Jer. xv. 4). The "isles" (Isa. xli. 1, xlii. 4), to which Israel was banished, were to be north (Jer. iii. 12) and west (Isa. xxiv. 15) of Palestine, and to be in a cold climate, since it is said: "Heat nor sun will smite them " (Isa. xlix. 10). It was further prophesied that the isles would become too small for Israel (Isa. xlix. 19) and that Israel should be a nation and company of nations (Gen. xxxv. 11). It would, therefore, have colonies (Isa. xlix. 20, liv. 3), so that it might surround the nations (Deut. xxxii. 7-9) and be above them all (Deut. vii. 6, xiv. 2, xxviii. 1).

The historical connection of the ancestors of the English with the Lost Ten Tribes is deduced as follows: The Ten Tribes were transferred to Babylon about 720 B.C.; and simultaneously, according to Herodotus, the Scythians, including the tribe of the Saccae, appeared in the same district; the progenitors of the Saxons afterward passed over into Denmark the "mark" or country of the tribe of Dan and thence to England.

The whole theory rests upon an identification of the word "isles" in the English version of the Bible unjustified by modern philology, which identifies the original word with "coasts" or "distant lands" without any implication of their being surrounded by the sea. Modern ethnography does not confirm in any way the identification of the Irish with a Semitic people; while the English can be traced back to the Scandinavians, of whom there is no trace in Mesopotamia at any period of history.

Altogether, by the application of wild guesswork about historical origins and philological analogies, and by a slavishly literal interpretation of selected phrases of prophecy, a case was made out for the identification of the British race with the Lost Ten Tribes of Israel sufficient to satisfy uncritical persons desirous of finding their pride of race confirmed by Holy Scripture.

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Page last modified: 24-09-2017 18:53:27 ZULU