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Date Posted:16/04/2008 7:30 AMCopy HTML

British Israel

Tea-Tephi - The fall of a princess

While many Revivalists would have difficulty recounting some of the finer points of the British Israel (BI) message, most would recognise the name of Tea-Tephi (Tamar-Tephi), the princess that supposedly took the throne from Israel to Ireland. Her name has a kind of poetic ring about it and has been used in many RCI articles, publications and talks, as well as many non-RCI books openly sold in the Revivalist bookshops. 1
The one small but significant problem with this aspect of BI is that she never existed. The ancient Irish annals where she is supposed to exist, contain no record of her. This is a fact that the British Israel World Federation (BIWF) now admit to. The scanned article at the following link, is from the Spring 2001 edition of the Crown and Commonwealth magazine (sourced from the BIWF) and admits the Tea-Tephi story was incorrect. It also goes into some brief detail as to why.

For further references on this topic, the following is from article entitled "an Afterword on British Israelism" 2 :-
"they all seem to draw from previous British-Israel writings. They speak so confidently it sounds like there must be something in the annals to which they refer. The names mentioned in the Tea-Tephi legend appear in the annals, true enough, but I have discovered they are totally different persons in the annals than the British-Israel legend makes them out to be.

The annals simply don't say what the British-Israel literature, or the Worldwide Church of God, SAY they say. It is a legend that someone somewhere within British-Israel circles began, stated it as fact, and it has been repeated as fact within British-Israel circles ever since, down to the present day in which the Worldwide Church of God repeats it to millions. It may make an interesting story, but it is completely fabricated. It would be as if I were to take any random writing of primeval origins from anywhere in the world which had a few names in it, and in total disregard for what the document said about those names, I arbitrarily said, "This one was Abraham. That one was Isaac. That one was Rebekah. They sailed halfway round the world and showed up in this legend. The Jeremiah/Tea-Tephi legend of the Irish annals has no more basis to it than this.......... What the originators of the legend did was simply combine famous, known figures in the annals, many centuries apart, and splice them together in a totally imaginary reconstruction."

It would seem that the Tea-Tephi myth was initiated by a BI scholar named F.R.A Glover 1861 3. Glover combined the totally unrelated names of 'Tea' and 'Tephi' (known people with known ancestries) into one mythical person. This error was then adopted unchecked by other British-Israelites, including C.A.L. Totten's first five volumes of Our Race (1890-92), followed by W.M.H. Milner, The Royal House of Britain an Enduring Dynasty (1902), J.H. Allen (1902) and Herbert W. Armstrong 2 . It was also adopted, by most, if not all, Revivalist BI scholars.

Many of us from the RCI and RF grew up with Tea-Tephi. The funny thing is, probably the most easily remembered and well known part of Revivalist BI is completely false. I would hope the RCI & RF take the responsible position in upcoming magazines to let their people know of the mistake, especially as it is in a number of RCI publications and various talk notes. Her name also continues to remain in the BI articles of both the official RCI & RF sites 4. It would seem that neither the RCI or RF have given serious attention to checking the source documentation.

In the BIWF article admitting Tea-Tephi does not exist, the writer unfortunately then tries to put forward an equally erroneous theory that it was actually Scota that took the throne to Ireland. I shall discuss this further error in another article dealing with Scota.

Time to close the chapter on Tea-Tephi and may she rest in peace.

[1]    "Jacob vs. Esau" by J.F. Nankivell.
"British-Israel - The Story You Should Know" A compilation of articles from Voice of Revival between October, 1991 and April 1997.

"Today, Tomorrow and the Great Beyond" John S. Fox.

[2]    "Showdown at Big Sandy: Youthful creativity confronts bureaucratic inertia at an unconventional bible college in east Texas" by Greg Doudna. Greg was heavily involved in the World Wide Church of God back in the 70's when the group was heavily into BI. The quotes in this article are used with his permission.

[3]    "Showdown at Big Sandy: Youthful creativity confronts bureaucratic inertia at an unconventional bible college in east Texas" - Greg Doudna.

[4]    At the following link on the official RCI site,, we can find the following information:-
"The Bible records that Zedekiah's daughters escaped with Jeremiah the prophet into Egypt (Jeremiah 43:5-7). The reappearance of this royal line in Ireland and the marriage of the princess Tea Tephi (a daughter of Zedekiah) to Eochaidh the Heremon, himself a descendant of Judah is recorded in Irish history."
At the following link on the official Revival Fellowship official site, we can read:-
"Princess Tephi (a direct descendant of King David of the Bible) was the daughter of Zedekiah (the last King of Judah in Jerusalem) who was taken captive to Babylon. It is believed that after she made her escape to Ireland with Jeremiah (famous prophet of the Old Testament), she married Eochaid the Heremon, a prince of Israelite descent and closely allied with the tribe of Dan."
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