Response to Paulus

Paulus seems to have missed the mark once more, let’s quickly look at what he’s said:

Second, Ijaz said nothing regarding the fact that approximately 75%, or roughly 300,000 of the Bible’s variants are due to unintentional spelling errors. Again, I can only assume he agrees that this is true. This is important, since it means that this discussion really only boils down to (at most) 25% of the New Testament text.

Which is corruption because it has gone from being an error made by one scribe, or various scribes, to the error becoming part and parcel of the mainstream text of editions of his scripture. If they were one off incidents, regarded as scribal mistakes without having become part of his scripture, then it wouldn’t be a problem. Yet the fact remains that these changes (emendations and interpolations) became populous enough that they became part of his scripture. That for all intents and purposes remains to be known as corruption, something he is unwilling to admit.

He makes the claim that I attacked him via several ad hominem, for which I do apologize if he did feel offended, but if you are preaching to me, yet don’t know where your own name comes from in the Bible, the same Bible you are preaching to me, how am I to trust your study? He then makes a self contradictory point:

 I also do not believe the Quran is “corrupt”. I simply believe that the Quran’s transmission has not been perfectly preserved, and this is demonstrably true.

One cannot accept the first premise without the latter being false. If the Qur’aan has been reliably transmitted, then the evidence demonstrates that we are able to assess what is not mainstream from what is standard, what is scribal mistake from what is a feature of a text. So if it is that the Qur’aan is not corrupt, then it must follow, logically speaking that it’s transmission history is valid. As for his inane claim on whether I was referring to Sh. Al ‘Azami (alayhi rahma) or the Mushaf Attributed to Uthman [may Allaah be pleased with him] (2007), please re-read what I said as your ‘disagreement’ seems to be a fault of your own reading. I am saying the quote from the book in 2007 was in relation to the study of the MSS itself (which bares its name) and that your quote, hastily taken from Sh. Azami’s book which was provided to you a day earlier via our Facebook page was also out of context and I selected the related portion from his text. You’ve misconstrued two distinct issues/ quotes and arguments.

Rebuttal to his Closing Thoughts

1. Whereas these codices have transcription rules which were not mainstream or of which eventually became standard, your Bible’s errors have manifested themselves from known scribal mistakes and then these mistakes became normalized to the extent they were present in the extant MSS. This is the crux of the matter and is not difficult to grasp. We can identify was is ahad, gharib, aziz, but you can’t because it’s part and parcel of your very text today, we Muslims can clearly say this is not part of our canon, you on the other hand have known errors still present in your text and regard them as scripture.

2. You’ve again missed the mark on the transcription issue. The spelling of words comes down to a scribes invention of how to convert audible sounds to textual representations. I gave quite an easy example for any basic reader of the Qur’aan in the usage of taa marbuta. An even easier example would be cake and clap. Whereas for cake the double a sound, in the Arabic language I can spell it with a maddah and fattah, a fattah sukoon and alif or in some MSS just stand alone alif(s) with a maddah, these are three variations in spelling, which would give us orthographic differences. This is easy to grasp, which is why I find you useless to speak to, not because you already conceded the Qur’aan has not been corrupted (in which case there is no need to further this discussion), but the mere fact that you don’t understand that there can be 6000+ differences simply due to orthographic differences is astounding. Once the text reads the authenticated recitations, then the spelling does not matter, as it fits any of the known (or unknown – as some scribes may not have lived long enough for their method to become popular or to teach the rules of their transcription) writing styles.

Closing Points

1. You fail to grasp that in orthography, there can be differences for each word, as each word’s spelling is dependent upon a scribes method of rendering that word via conversion from audible sound to text.

2. The Bible’s errors aren’t merely scribal as they’ve manifested themselves into your current text today and are regarded as scripture, whereas scribal errors can be regarded as ahad, gharib and aziz by any reader of Arabic. Those errors did not become part of our scripture, we don’t have chapters missing, or in your case entire books. We don’t have Surah Fatihah belonging to twelve different places in the Qur’aan, missing in 20 others and then popping up in a few texts which then became mainstream (as is the case with the floating chapters and passages of your New Testament). We don’t have entire words missing, verses changed, what we do have are words spelt according to their orthographic differences (transcription wise) and it’s perfectly normal. To qualify my point, go do some study on whether maddah damma or damma sukoon waw is a ‘corruption’ of the long oo sound, they are literally the same, just a variation in rendition, but since this to you proves ‘unreliable’ transmission, then I refuse to waste any more time on you discussing a text and book you cannot read.

3. Remind us again if you own either of the books you referenced from the 2007 editions by those Turkish authors? Thanks.

wa Allaahu ‘Alam.

One comment

  • why is it so hard for christians to agree on the FACTS that holy ghost guided christian scribes CHANGED one gospel to make it AGREE with another?

    when christians have political power, the christian scribes are STILL at it and changing WORDS in matthew to make him agree with john.

    what changes were taking place BEFORE the small papyrus’s WERE copied?
    scholars today argue that john is harmonizing the gospel of marks ENDINGS.

    john boy IS CHANGING mark

    the people who CREATED LONGER AND SHORTER endings for mark CHANGED MARK TO harmonize him with thier beliefs.

    “The women were saying to one another, “Who will roll
    away the stone for us from the entrance of the tomb?”
    Then all of a sudden, at the third hour of the day, there
    was darkness over the whole earth, and angels descended
    from heaven and as he rose up in the splendor of the
    living God they ascended with him, and immediately it
    was light.”

    this was PART of christian scripture and christians were adding to text in a time christians had power.

    other problems:

    The problem with having no complete manuscript of any NT book until the end of the 2nd / start of the 3rd century is that standard rates of scribal error and alteration, known from the subsequent centuries, entail the text we have will not agree with what was originally written in several places, and we cannot know what was originally written since those manuscript traditions have become lost. It’s worse since usually rates of distortion in scribal transmission are higher in the first decades or century of a text (due to there being fewer mss. and thus the success rate of distortion is higher and correction rate lower). I discussed this whole problem in detail in my debate with J.P. Holding on the textual reliability of the NT (see here for links).

    The other question pertains to the material before anyone wrote it down. All historical precedents demonstrate that errors and distortions and alterations occur at a vastly greater rate orally than scribally (that was in fact the reason humankind started relying on books to record texts in the first place), unless there is an extreme system in place to prevent that (basically you need an institutionalized and policed school system in charge of it or an assisting technology like meter and rhyme…and even then you can’t prevent distortion; a number of scholars don’t even trust the Mishnah–which was orally transmitted until around the same time the Gospels were written–to be completely reliable record of what was taught in Jewish law schools in the early first century, and that had one of the most effective and policed school systems for memorizing a text then known), and there is not only no evidence of any such system in early Christianity, all the evidence we have tells us there wasn’t one (e.g. the Gospels are wildly contradictory, proving no policed tradition existed, and are contradictory precisely on points reflecting doctrinal disagreement and lack of policed control over innovation and speculation; the Epistles show no awareness of any memorizable tradition in the Gospels or indeed any interest in the kinds of stories that are in the Gospels, even the quoted words of Jesus there do not agree with the Gospels; and the Epistles explicitly attest to a lack of any control over the gospel at all, as numerous competing churches and sects diverged from each other beyond any centralized control; and where one would expect references in the Epistles to systems maintained to ensure memorization of an agreed dogma tradition, like funded schools or the constructing of ballads in meter and rhyme, we find none).

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