Sunday, December 4, 2016

Morton Edgar Letter - Click image to view it entire.


Donald Jacobs said...

Interesting, Any information on the provenance? Interesting to see the address, as I pass West Regent Street every week.

jerome said...

Morton Edgar published his Pyramidology books from West Regent Street. Later in life he moved to 27 Aytoun Road, and later printings of his booklets etc. were from this address. He died in 1950.

Andrew Martin said...

Interesting that towards the end of page 2 Edgar mentions Alexander Hislop's book "The Two Babylons". Had Russell, et al, referred to this book previously, or is Morton Edgar the connection by which it entered the mainstream of WT thought?

jerome said...

I did a search of the ZWT database 1879-1916 and it is interesting that the only mention of Hislop's work that I could find was in connection with a talk Morton Edgar gave. This might be a very interesting subject for research in the years following 1916, although of course strays outside the time frame on which this blog concentrates.

Chris G. said...

Hello Jerome,
thanks for the info on Morton Edgar, I have seen his books and items selling or advertised after the change in thought concerning the significance of the Pyramids thru bible student papers (c. late 1920s into the 30s). Is there any evidence of where he stationed himself (officially) after leaving the WTB&TS? And did he remain in one specific organization or ever come back to the WTB&TS after leaving? Thanks for any info you may be able to share.

jerome said...

Hi Chris
After leaving the WTB&T Society Morton Edgar gave a talk at the first reunion convention of non-WT Bible Students in 1929. He never returned to the Society. Clayton Woodworth wrote some amusing sarcastic stuff about Edgar in Golden Age magazine at the time. He was mainly linked with the British Bible Students Committee (which became The Bible Fellowship Union) which was run along the same lines as the P.B.I. that started in America in 1918. The history of Bible Students in Britain (written by Albert Hudson) mentions Edgar's death in 1950.
There was also another pyramid group in Britain led by one Adam Rutherford. (No relation to JFR). AR had originally been in the same class in Glasgow as Morton, but his pyramid writing was more linked with the religious group, The British Israelites with their ten lost tribes and the British Empire - but no connection with Bible Students. Morton Edgar was not connected with this group, and in fact criticized Adam Rutherford in his writings.

Anonymous said...

Many thanks to those you have contributed to this discussion regarding Morton Edgar/Adam Rutherford and Hislop's Two Babylons.

A few years ago I stumbled across one of Adam Rutherford's Pyramid books which was in excellent condition and being sold cheaply in a local second hand book shop. This would have been unremarkable in itself had it not been for the fact that inside the book was a letter by the author to a certain FF Bruce. I mentioned it to the bookkeeper and suggested, given the provenance (letter from the author to a renowned Bible scholar) it had been under priced. He was most grateful. In retrospect I realised I had been a fool as I could have bought it and flocked it on eBay!

As regards the link between Morton Edgar and Hislop, George Chryssides has already made this connection and hints at its introduction into Bible Student thought at the time in his 'Continuity and Change' book (Chapter 9). ME's 'Mythology and the Bible' (published, I think in 1923) draws heavily on Hislop's work while Nimrod, it should be noted, was rarely mentioned in the earlier Watch Towers of Russell's time.

I started to read Hislop in the late 1980s when I was living in London but I’m afraid it beat me. As I recall, Hislop makes some fine deductions, but other conclusions appeared overly stretched and some appeared plainly wrong. I do not doubt that some aspects of the book had an impact on Witness teachings (it was quoted at length in the 1960s I recall) but is rarely used by the Society today. As far as I can see, knowledgeable Jehovah’s Witnesses today use the ‘The Two Babylons’ with caution. When quoting a source outlining the pagan connections of a particular holiday or practice, Watchtower articles tend to use more authoritative and reliable sources in support their understanding.

Son of Ton

jerome said...

If you want a cultural reference to Adam Rutherford, try reading Nevil Shute's No Highway in the Sky. The main character is convinced (rightly) that metal fatigue will destroy an aircraft in which is he is a passenger, unless he disables it when it makes a stop. He has great difficulty in getting believed, because he is a Pyramidologist and quotes Adam Rutherford. Leaving aside his pyramidology theology, his scientific views on metal fatigue are vindicated eventually. A good film too, with James Stewart, Jack Hawkins, Glynis Johns and Marlene Dietrich. But I am probably straying into the wrong blog with this comment.

jerome said...

I would agree with Son of Ton's evaluation of The Two Babylons. While there is a wealth of material there, which the reader can interpret as he or she chooses, Hislop did have a tendency to shout "IT'S BABYLONIAN" at the slightest provocation. The general premise - that many religions have similar doctrines that must have started from a common source - can be established from more recent research. And if those doctrines conflict with the reader's understanding of scripture, then that becomes part of the biggest picture too.