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Billy Meier, The Talmud of Jmmanuel

Reviewed by Robert M. Price


Delving with the Devil

This awful book fully merits the epithets used by Edgar J. Goodspeed (in his great book Famous Biblical Hoaxes) for another modern apocryphon, The Archko Volume, namely “disgusting and ridiculous.” Indeed, it takes the prize. There is the usual pack of lies about an underlying Aramaic document being discovered in 1963, imbedded, somehow, in resin since the first century when Jesus’ loyal disciple, a guy named Judas Iscariot, wrote it down. Seems that an improbably named Greek Orthodox priest bearing the moniker “Isa [= Jesus!] Rashid” discovered Jesus’ burial cave, and Eduard Albert “Billy” Meier spelunked further, finding the present gospel. What we are reading represents, we are told with forked tongue in cheek, only the first quarter of the very long text, the rest being destroyed, or so Father Rachid figured, by Israeli troops who were violently pursuing him. (You will recognize the implicit element of uncertainty as a rat-hole through which Billy Meier may eventually squeeze the rest of the text if this portion sells well enough. At least if he can come up with that much baloney.)

Meier anticipates that the orthodox and the obscurantists will alike denounce his discovery as a hoax (p. xv). Well, let me tell you, you don’t have to be particularly orthodox to denounce this thing as what we theologians like to call Bullgeschichte.

What does the title mean? “Talmud” is just a Hebrew word referring to a deposit of learning. We are more familiar with its use referring to the massive collection of Rabbinical law, lore, and commentary, the Talmud of Jerusalem and the Talmud of Babylon. So here it just denotes “the teaching of Jmmanuel.” Of whom? Have you ever noticed something strange in Matthew’s Nativity story in which Matthew says Isaiah 7:14 was fulfilled by the advent of baby Jesus, and that though Isaiah says the child will be called “Emmanuel,” in Matthew’s story Jesus is called, well, “Jesus.” That is pretty odd. I’ve never heard a good explanation. But Meier tries to harmonize the two names, producing the weird hybrid “Jmmanuel.” (Why do I keep thinking of pancakes?) Meier says “Jmmanuel” means “man of godly wisdom,” but any Bible reader knows it does not. It means “God with us.” At least “Emmanuel” does, but then I guess if you’re making up a name, you can say it means whatever the hell you want. (For the record, Epiphanius of Salamis did the same thing back in the fourth century, pretending that one spells “Essenes” with a J, too: “Jessenes,” so he could connect Jesus with them.)

Another improbability about the frame story: how, pray tell, did the mythical Father Rachid “discover” the cave-tomb of Jesus since the book tells us Jesus was buried in the now-notorious tomb in Srinagar, Kashmir? This old structure has been promoted since the nineteenth century as Jesus’ tomb by the Ahmadiyya sect of Islam. Orthodox Muslims believe Jesus was raptured to heaven before the crucifixion, with someone else put to death in Jesus’ place. But the Ahmadiyya believe he was crucified and survived, then left the Holy Land to preach for decades longer, eventually winding up in Kashmir, where he died at a ripe, old age (110 or 120, Jmmanuel says). This site, though fraudulent, is well known. What was there for Rachid to discover?

And did I really say the book is supposed to be the work of Judas Iscariot? The disciple who betrayed Jesus? No, dear reader, as we soon find out, it was not Judas Iscariot who turned Jesus over to the G-men, but rather the similarly named “Juda Ihariot”! You see, it’s pretty easy to mix up a couple of guys with names that close. This is just unintentionally hilarious!


Jesus as Ventriloquist Dummy

The Talmud of Jmmanuel is structurally just the same as other long-winded gospels like The Aquarian Gospel. It builds on a harmony of the four canonical gospels, picking and choosing favorite episodes and elements from them, then adding new bits of its own. The result is a glaring unevenness if quality. Grant me a seeming digression. Scholars have noted a pattern in ancient apocalypses, in which some ancient worthy is depicted as predicting the history of his people from ancient times down to the end of the age. The “predictions” match up with known historical events very well indeed till right near the end, at which point the train leaps from the tracks and careens wildly into the ditch. What happened? Well, of course, the actual author of the document lived at a historical position very close to the end-time his book anticipates. The preceding history matches up because the author knows it as history. He is only pretending to be the ancient character whose name he borrows (Daniel, Enoch, Baruch, whomever). So he has perfect 20-20 hindsight, but when he starts venturing real predictions, it is clear blue sky, and he plummets like Icarus. Well, it’s the same with these gospels: as long as they stay close to their source material, they sound pretty authentic, even if their authors do a bit of embellishing. But as soon as they kick away the training wheels, as soon as they stop using the tracing paper, the result is awful. And it is in the new material, obviously, that we have to look to find the main reason for writing the new gospel. What is the new teaching that this gospel wants to ascribe to its Jesus?

First, I think it is pathetic that people resort to such a gimmick. It plainly means the writer knows his ideas would carry no particular conviction if set forth under his own, utterly insignificant name, so maybe hanging them on Jesus will lend the ideas a degree of gravity they would otherwise lack. But he fails to see that the only reason we take seriously the words attributed to Jesus in the traditional Gospels is that they carry their own weight. By far the most of it has the ring of truth to it, whoever said it. In fact, that’s how some of it came to be in the gospel in the first place! Someone heard some good saying and said, “Wow! That’s good stuff! Worthy of Jesus!” as when we say, “It ain’t in the Bible but it ought to be!” Believe me, no one is going to find himself saying that of the soporific gibberish (and worse) in this book, which “Billy” dares to equate with the real, true, original teaching of Jesus before the fiendish churchmen, beginning with the nefarious fisherman himself, distorted the living daylights out of it.

The teaching here is warmed-over Theosophy, but very poorly expressed. We learn that there is a “god” who rules the earth but is essentially a long-lived mortal much like ourselves (16:55-56; 28:59). Above him is the “supreme” entity, called “Creation” (16:52) which sounds something like unchanging Brahman (18:44). But then we are told that it, too, is incomplete and changing (18:43; 21:28) and defers to a still superior being (25:56). It is one without division (21:27), and yet it possesses parts (34:39). But while Billy/Jmmanuel is calling it infinite, he says we are part of it, so that what is true of it is ipso facto true of us, too. And if we tap into that fact by enlightened knowledge, we can do pretty much anything (16:44). That is a prime case of the Division Fallacy in logic: what is true of an entity as a whole is not necessary true in the same way of its parts. I may understand the Theory of General Relativity, but it does not follow from this that my little finger understands Relativity. Anyway, when Peter succeeded momentarily in walking on water it was because he had a fleeting grasp of this “knowledge” and was able to suspend/defy gravity. But what sort of “knowledge” is it that refuses to reckon with elementary physics? It is substituting fantasy and wishful thinking for knowledge. This is all the more ironic since Jmmanuel is always talking about the “laws” of the Creation, which, I guess, do not happen to include gravity!

So what are we supposed to be doing about it? Well, it is our mission to realize our potential by efforts at self-perfection over the course of many lifetimes. Even Creation (a him? Her? It?) experiences a kind of reincarnation, a series of eons-long periods of dormancy alternating with equal periods of life and activity (34:27-34), all the coin of Theosophy, borrowed from Hinduism. As Pogo once said about nuclear energy, “It ain’t so new, and it ain’t so clear.”



I’ve borrowed Goodspeed’s put-down of another modern gospel, calling this one “disgusting and ridiculous.” Let’s look first at the “ridiculous” part, because we may be quite out of patience or of any residual sympathy if we look at the “disgusting” aspect first. What’s most ridiculous about The Talmud of Jmmanuel is its espousal of Flying Saucer religion. To get things straight here: I consider it plausible that extra-terrestrials have visited the earth. But the possibility, even the plausibility, of it does not entitle us forthwith to believe it is true. There does not yet appear to be compelling evidence for contact with Flying Saucers. But there sure is plenty of evidence that people who claim to be in regular contact with space men are a bunch of delusional nuts. Nor is it their belief in extra-terrestrial visitors what makes them nuts. No, no, there’s way more than that. Some of these people make wild and extravagant claims that can only proceed from their imagination, at least because they sound like very bad science fiction. And all of this stuff does, from the Black Muslim “Mother Plane” orbiting the earth with Elijah Muhammad in the captain’s chair (so help me, I wish I were making this up), to the Raelian belief that aliens mutated apes to produce the first humans, to Heaven’s Gate lemmings believing a spaceship hidden in a comet’s tail was telling them to castrate themselves, to the Aetherius Society, to Unaria, etc.

Well, “Billy” Meier belongs in the same ranks. That’s for damn sure. Nursing classic delusions of grandeur, including the persecution complex, Billy predicts his own eventual assassination: “the editor is even more endangered because he is the contact man for extraterrestrial intelligences and very highly developed spiritual entities on exalted planes who transmit to him true spiritual teachings that he disseminates without modification, thereby exposing the lies of the cult religions, which will lead to their slow but certain eradication” (p. xix). The “cult religions” are the major faiths. If this isn’t classic Freudian “projection,” I don’t know what is. Personally, I don’t think the Islamo-fascist mullahs are going to be wasting a fatwah on this guy any time soon, much less the Catholic Church.

Not surprisingly, The Talmud of Jmmanuel embodies UFO theology. Its Jesus (“Jmmanuel”) is the result of Mary’s impregnation by the angel Gabriel who is an alien arriving in a space ship for their date. Jesus is eventually taken aboard the same craft, much like Brian of Nazareth in the Monty Python movie. When he “ascends” he is stepping aboard the spacecraft, though only for a couple of stops down the line, getting off in Damascus. Why bother with Spielbergianism? Simply because Bill wants to combine the usual props of UFO-Jesus-ism (beam-up ascension) with the Asian travels/Srinagar tomb scenario. He likes ‘em both.

All science fiction reinterpretation of Christianity, the stock in trade of Flying Saucer religions, entails a dusting off of old eighteenth-century Rationalism: what looked like miracles to the ancients must have been advanced technology, at least as we, their far-superior pseudo-intellectual descendents, imagine it. Such science fiction, too, becomes dated and laughable after a while. And thus UFO theology starts looking even more ridiculous than the supernaturalism it hopes to replace. In this case, the resurrection of Jesus is treated with a technique borrowed from old-time Rationalism rather than its twentieth-century sci-fi counterpart, though. Jesus does not die on the cross, but is taken down in a coma, then placed in Joseph of Arimathea’s tomb, where he is given medical care and recovers. Usually the eighteenth-century Rationalists had Joseph call upon the Essenes to nurse Jesus back to health, but for some reason they are not good enough this time around. The “risen” Jesus actually meets some Essenes later in the story, and they invite him to join their group, but he refuses. (Why does Billy not allow them a more positive role? You’ll see in the next section: the trouble is that they’re Jews.)

Joseph even somehow contacts Jesus’ colleagues in India and summons them to come and treat him! Would there really have been time for this? I guess Gabriel could have picked them up in his space ship and rushed them into the OR, but then we’d have to wonder why the aliens didn’t just revivify Jmmanuel like Gort did Klaatu in The Day the Earth Stood Still. Well, anyway, Joseph gets away with the scheme, despite Jewish and Roman guards at the tomb because he had taken the precaution of designing his tomb with a hidden back entrance! Why? How could he have known this day would come? It’s all just so stupid.

Plus, The Talmud of Jmmanuel has its own theory to offer for the Shroud of Turin. It is a shroud on which Joseph of Arimathea had a likeness of Jesus’ bloody body painted! But this nonsense clashes with the Carbon 14 dating test of the Shroud just as much as the Catholic belief in its genuineness: it goes back no earlier than the fourteenth century.

By the way, the book includes a pen sketch of Jmmanuel that is supposed to be based on an ancient portrait rendered by “Semjase, the pilot of a beamship, whose home planet, Erra in the Pleiades, is about 500 light years from our solar system” (p. viii). Actually, it appears to be based on an ancient Chinese Manichean painting of Jesus, an artist’s conception. “Semjase” is the name of the leader of the fallen angels in the apocryphal Book of Jubilees.


The Disgusting

The Talmud of Jmmanuel is blood-curdlingly anti-Semitic. Its appropriation of the familiar Jewish title Talmud is offensive, but that is the least of it. Here are a few choice passages:

 “Do not go into the streets of Israel, and do not go to the scribes and Pharisees, but go to the cities of the Samaritans and to the ignorant in all parts of the world. Go to the unenlightened, the idol worshippers and the ignorant after I have left you, because they do not belong to the house of Israel, which will bring death and bloodshed into the world.” (10:5-6)

“Truly, I say to you: the nation of Israel was never one distinct people and has at all times lived with murder, robbery and fire. They have acquired this land through ruse and murder in abominable, predatory wars, slaughtering their best friends like wild animals. May the nation of Israel be cursed until the end of the world and never find its peace.” (10:26-27)

“Therefore, beware of Israel, because it is like an abscess.” (10:38)

“For the people of Israel are unfaithful to the laws of Creation and are accursed and will never find peace. Their blood will be shed, because they constantly commit outrages against the laws of Creation. They presume themselves above all the human races as a chosen nation and thus as a separate race. What an evil error and what evil presumption, for inasmuch as Israel never was a nation or a race, so it was never a chosen race. Unfaithful to the laws of Creation, Israel is a mass of people with an inglorious past, characterized by murder and arson.” (15:22-26)

“You will be outcast among the human races, and then you will alternately lose your occupied land, regain it and lose it again until the distant future. Truly, I say to you: your existence will be continual struggle and war, and so the human races will strike you with their hostile thinking and enmity. You will find neither rest nor peace in the country stolen by your ancestors by means of falsehood and deceit, because you will be haunted by your inherited burden of murder with which your forefathers killed the ancient inhabitants of this continent and deprived them of life and property.” (24:45-47)

“… just like the Israelites who plundered this land and have dominated and oppressed the legitimate owners of the land.” (27:12b)

“I am the true prophet of all human races on earth: but in all truth I am not the prophet of those confused Israelites who call themselves sons and daughters of Zion.” (30:8b)

“And the time will come in five times 100 years when you will have to atone for this, when the legitimate owners of the land enslaved by you will begin to rise against you into the distant future. A new man will rise up in this land as a prophet and will rightfully condemn and persecute you and you will have to pay with your blood. […] Even though, according to your claim, he will be a false prophet and you will revile him, he will nevertheless be a true prophet, and he will have great power, and he will have your race persecuted throughout all time in the future. His name will be Mohammed, and his name will bring horror, misery and death to your kind, which you deserve. Truly, truly, I say to you: His name will be written for you with blood, and his hatred against your kind will be endless.” (30:10-11, 13-15)

What is this? Propaganda for Hamas? Okay, it’s not as bad as the abhorred Theozoologie of the mad monk Jörg Lanz von Liebenfels, but it’s still pretty revolting if you ask me. It appears to be Jew-hating, pro-Palestinian propaganda. What we have here is like the Gentile Jesus of the Third Reich theologians.


Random Observations

It seems anticlimactic to scrutinize this miserable travesty further. But it may be worth it after all, in case anything else is needful to discourage any adolescents who may still be interested in it. There are historical errors that would just not b possible in a writing from someone who lived in the period. Jesus is said to be born in the reign of Herod Antipas (2:1). Actually it was Herod the Great. Talmud Jmmanuel 16:9 repeats Mark’s mistake (Mark 6:17), confusing Herod Antipas’ brothers Philip and Herod. (That was an easy mistake to make, even for a contemporary, as Herod Antipas actually had brothers named Herod Philip and just plain Philip). Obviously Jmmanuel is dependent on the canon, hence by no means an ancient document.

Humble fellow that he is, Billy the Evangelist has Jesus predict him: “Not until two thousand years will an insignificant man come who will recognize my teaching as truth and spread it with great courage” (14:18). See also 15:75-81. But Jesus seems to underestimate just how insignificant the man will prove to be.

Jesus’ audience in the Nazareth synagogue asks, “Is he not the son of the carpenter, Joseph, whose wife became pregnant by the son of a guardian angel?” “From where does he get all this wisdom and the power for his mighty works?” (15:18, 72). Oh, I don’t know… could it have anything to do with his being the son of an angel?!

“A prophet is never esteemed less than in his own country and in his own house, which will prove true for all the future, as long as humanity has little knowledge and is enslaved by the false teachings of the scribes and the distorters of true scripture” (15:74). This nonsensical inflation of Mark 6:4 sounds like the rambling, bogus Ezekiel quote Samuel L. Jackson repeats again and again in Pulp Fiction!

We get a bit of invented soap opera in chapter 16, where it develops that Salome, dancing daughter of Herodias, was in love with the imprisoned John the Baptist and wistfully smooched his severed head.


Corrections of Canonical Gospel Teachings

The New Testament gospels set the ethical bar pretty high. From any standopoint, that’s a good thing: set them lower and you are too easy on yourself. If your reach not only does not exceed your grasp, but does not even extend that far, you are just a lazy slob. But The Talmud of Jmmanuel doesn’t mind taking Christian morality down a peg.

“Give to them who ask of you, if they make their requests in honesty, and turn away from them who want to borrow from you in a deceitful way” (5:42). In accord with the Rabbis, Jesus seems uncritical in his counsel to give to any beggar. The Rabbis were fully aware that there were cheats. In one of their tales, a man passes a hovel of beggars and overhears them deliberating on whether to fest that night on gold or silver dishes! But the sages said that didn’t matter: you could never be sure if someone’s professed need were real. It was up to you to be generous, period. Any other strategy would freeze out the genuine poor for the sake of stopping the cheats. But Jmmanuel seems to think you can tell the sincere sheep from the grafter goats. Good luck.

Everybody recognizes that, if it comes right down to it, it is noble to give your life for your country and what it stands for. Religious martyrdom is the same, as long as one does not seek it out as some kind of fanatic. In the last analysis, you have to preserve your integrity at whatever price. But not according to this gospel: “Flee from the unbelieving, because you should not lose your life for the sake of truth and knowledge. No law requires that of you, nor is there one that admits to such recklessness” (10:21).

“No Sabbath is holy and no law dictates that on the sabbath no work may be done” (13:10)—or at least no law that an anti-Semite would take seriously, I guess.

“You are Peter, and I cannot build my teachings on your rock… I cannot give you the key of the spiritual kingdom, otherwise you would open false locks [=?] and wrong portals with it” (18:23-24). Take that, Papists!

Jmmanuel saith: “Do not suppose that prayer is necessary, because you will also receive without prayer if your spirit is trained through wisdom” (21:15). And yet Jmmanuel prescribes a prayer:


“My spirit, you are omnipotent.
Your name be holy.
Let your kingdom incarnate itself in me.
Let your power unfold itself within me, on Earth and in the heavens.
Give me today my daily bread, so that I may recognize my guilt and the truth.
And lead me not into temptation and confusion, but deliver me from error.
For yours is the kingdom within me and the power and the knowledge forever. Amen” (6:12-18)  

But what’s the difference, I guess, since you’d be praying to your own self?

At first, one might be tempted to think this Talamud of Jmmanuel is a progressive, with-it kind of gospel for the new age: “Do away with the enforcement of the old law that woman should be subject to man, since she is a person like a man, with equal rights and obligations” (12:25). But, Liberals, you may want to shield your eyes from this one. It looks like grief for Gays, though leniency for Lesbians: “And if two men bed down with each other, they should also be punished, because the fallible are unworthy of life and its laws and behave heretically; thus they should be castrated, expelled and banished before the people. If, however, two women bed down with one another, they should not be punished, because they do not violate life and its laws, since they are not inseminating, but are bearing” (12:6-7). How’s that again?


The Talmud of Jmmanuel, alas, seems to have plenty of fans. It deserves none. But then, on the other hand, maybe people get the gospel they deserve. Maybe there are some devout UFO skinheads who are ecumenical haters of Jews, Christians, and Muslims. This gospel is just right for them. But even so, a visit to a psychiatrist might be better.



Copyright©2009 by Robert M Price
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