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Clarion Review (2 Stars)

A dozen pages into A Messiah Called Winnie, readers are confronted by the first of many unsupported statements that challenge accepted perceptions of Western theology, world history, and the ethical foundations of the world’s three major religions. “This is one of the reasons why Christians wish to kill Jews,” the author writes, indicating that this book may not be a sophisticated, well-researched discussion of modern religion.

Morris Timanoff identifies as a Jew by ethnicity. His thesis is that there has been a conspiracy to eradicate the Jewish people from the earth since the beginning of the Christian religion. He contends that the effort may come to fruition when oil interests and a growing Muslim population (especially in the US) begin to outweigh support for Israel. The outcome? A doomsday bacterial-viral weapon released into the jet stream by the Israelis as their nation is destroyed by an Arab nuclear attack.

There are few references to the “Winnie” of the title—Winston Churchill, the prime minister of Great Britain who stood firm in the face of Nazi aggression. Timanoff’s book is rather a dissection of prejudice against the Jewish people. The author sees Churchill as a secular Messiah, one foretold in the Old Testament by a race of people who may have developed extra-sensory perception through a genetic anomaly. Having been identified as the savior of the Jews by leading the fight against Hitler and preventing Nazi world conquest, Churchill figures little otherwise into the narrative.

The author believes the Old Testament reveals that Elihom, god the creator, is nothing more than an allegory for the Big Bang theory. He then contends that the god identified as Yaweh was a series of tricksters, co-opted by various characters in the Old Testament. For example, Moses’ brother Aaron was the person who spoke from the burning bush, and he did so in order to gain power over the Jewish nation. Timanoff also takes on the New Testament, offering the theory that Jesus was simply a secular reformer, a man intent on simplifying Jewish laws rather than proclaiming himself as the Son of God and the founder of a new religion. That thesis is complicated by the author’s contention that the miracles described in the Gospels may have been illusions.

The book is laced with other hypotheses presented as definitive statements. Timanoff argues that the Jewish people are more intelligent than other humans because of a fortuitous genetic mutation, a collective intelligence which has been enhanced by the selective Darwinism of pogroms and genocide. In fact, the author contends that this intellectual superiority is one reason that non-Jews hate Jews. The others? Christian dogma, Arab nationalism, and the ever-present “Zionist plot to take over the world.”

Timanoff contends that the Jewish people remain in danger of wholesale extermination, and he paints the Christian religion—which he identifies as the Church without differentiating between its various manifestations—as “determined to do away with Judaism.”

With its lack of cited sources, footnotes, or endnotes, A Messiah Called Winnie cannot be considered an unbiased analysis of the place of the Jewish people in the world. Readers with a knowledge of history cannot help but recognize that the Jewish people have faced both casual discrimination and outright genocide, but the reasons for ugly saga are more complex than Timanoff allows, and the roots cannot be discovered by a blanket condemnation of nearly every other world religion.

Readers should approach this book as a manifestation of a radical opinion. Its value lies in it being an example of free speech.