Sour Grapes: One Missionary’s Lesson in Futility


It’s been just over more than a year since I debated CL Edwards on the topic, “Jesus the Christ: Man, God or Both?“, however for my opponent it would seem as if the debate is fresh out of the oven – given his constant attempts at trying to right his wrongs during that debate. CL Edwards is at it again. The debate did not go well for him – in fact, if he’s willing to let me post what he said to me in private after the debate to me about his performance, it’d pretty much explain to the public why he has a fixation on constantly referring to our now more than a year old debate. The post I’m responding to was published last month – fortunately (?) it wasn’t brought to my attention until today, simply because no one I know, or no one in our community of inter-religious debate and dialogue frequents his website. So for this, I apologize for my late response. He says and I quote:

Also I think it is relevant since the person who helped Ahmad form his argument in the debate…

See, CL is still trying to find excuses for why my arguments caught him off guard, so his obvious theory is that someone helped me formulate my arguments for my debate with him. That however, is not the case. As the person who CL is attempting to appeal to, cc-2013-cledwardswould gladly agree that he did not help me formulate any of my arguments, he simply did a review after my debate with CL Edwards and assessed both of our performances. In fact, there is essentially no one who can lay credence to the claim that they have formulated any of my arguments for a debate for me. I do my own study, my own research and write my own arguments. I’ve actually made it a personal goal of mine to approach each debate without using another person’s methodology or approach. This is why, when persons view my debates from last year, especially between that of the one with Edwards and the other with Green, my scope of argumentation is vast in their disparity. I can’t speak for my opponent, yet from what I do recall of the debate with Edwards is that nothing he presented was new and he did not approach the topic as I did. In answering the question of whether Christ was man, God or both, he simply referred to New Testament verses to propagate his argument.

I chose a completely different route. My methodology involved using the socio-historical method while referencing contemporary cultural and exegetical approaches to the literature and events of that time period. Clearly one route is overdone, while the other is a great bit more advanced and objective, something my opponent did not know how to react to. So yes, I do understand why Edwards is so eager to imagine that someone decades younger than him, can approach a debate with a more academic foundation, as opposed to merely parroting arguments which are hundreds of years old. What is touching however, is his prayer for me:

we pray for Ijaz to be spiritually reborn and come to the knowledge of the Gospel of Christ like millions of other Muslims have.

It is my wish to express to Edwards a sincere thank you for his prayer. I’d like to inform him though, that because I have come to the knowledge of the Gospel of Christ, it is for that precise reason that I and those millions of other Muslims – knowingly and openly reject his Graeco-Roman Syncretic Jewish faith. He went on to pose a question to me:

Note about this debate: to this day Ijaz has never given an answer to the question I asked him in the Q&A part towards the end. That question was does he know of any earlier source for the life, and teachings of Jesus and his disciples from the first century that predates the NT Bible?

At this point, I’m gladly willing to entertain his question and respond to it. His question presumes that the New Testament Gospels (can’t be Pastorials or Epistles since they don’t recall the life of Christ) are first century documents. This however is wrong, the New Testament Gospels are empirically speaking, wholly second century. The oldest extant MS is that of P52 which is from 125 CE and is not radio-carbon dated, it is paleologically dated and it is because of this very reason that it can date anywhere from 125 CE to the latter period of the second century. Of course, I do not expect a first year seminary pupil to know the ins and outs of textual critic debates on paleological and philological dating disputes. It is therefore without a doubt, that I can safely respond to his question by saying that there are no currently known extant sources about Jesus’ life and teachings within the first century. He goes on to state:

I asked that because the bases of my argument was the New Testament accounts of Jesus are the earliest most attested sources on his life and doctrine from his own followers.

I do believe he meant “basis” and not bases, it should also go without saying that the basis of his argument is a presumption, an assumption. In order for his argument to be foundationally sound, he needs to first prove that these assumptions are valid. We know for a fact that the Gospel accounts are not the earliest sources on his life – the informal oral Jesus tradition is. We also know that they are not from his own followers, but from later authors. Again, his argument reads as if he’s opened up an Evangelical booklet positing century old assumptions and presenting them to be indisputable facts – the evidence completely disagrees. He continues:

Why would be discard it for the Qurans account of Jesus that came 600 plus years after the fact? If you take Ijaz’s argument in this debate and apply it to the Quran and hadith we wouldn’t accept what the Quran says about Jesus.

Given that the only complete extant MSS of the Gospels are during the 4th and 5th centuries, through the 4 great Uncial codices, if time is a factor, then the argument of time also gives us a reason to reject the testimony of the extant vorlage Gospel texts. I can even be a bit menacing and state that the New Testament of today was published only recently, an eclectic account based on conjectural emendation by Biblical societies – see the NA 28 and UBS 4, both from the 21st century and the likes of which are non-existent in any MS tradition from the time of the Qur’aan or before it. Given what I’ve stated , my argument doesn’t affect the accounts about Christ in the Muslim scripture and hadeeth collections.

In closing, it’s been one year later and despite Edwards attending a seminary – he’s still unable to discuss the topic of Jesus’ historicity in the Gospels in an educated and academic manner. Sure, his Evangelical reasoning may impress the feeble minded individuals he surrounds himself with, but here in the real world – his inability to grow out of that intellectually stunting mold is quite distasteful and most certainly worrying.

and God knows best.

 

24 comments

  • So after all that ….your answer is “no” …… you can not provide us a earlier, better attested source for the life and doctrine of Jesus. #dawahbyanymeansnecessary

  • ” We know for a fact that the Gospel accounts are not the earliest sources on his life – the informal oral Jesus tradition is. ”

    1. Does it(oral gospel) agree with the life and doctrine of Muhammad’s “Islamic Jesus”?
    2. When you say ” I’d like to inform him though, that because I have come to the knowledge of the Gospel of Christ ” where did you get your knowledge from? Source/reference please, I would like to be educated about this knowledge of Christ also.

  • My answer is clear – there is no early source which attests to the life and doctrine of Jesus. Define your delimitations, and prove your foundational thesis before arguing your position.

    #worshipManByAnyMeansNecessary

  • Thank you for your questions.

    1. The informal oral traditions about Christ no longer exist, so there is no extant data on what it may or may not have contained.

    2. Paul, the Law and the Jewish People by EP Sanders, along with Lion Vaganay’s “An Intro to NT TC”.

    Where did you get your knowledge of Christ from?

  • Interesting you get your knowledge of Jesus and his doctrine not from a earlier source(which you admit there is none earlier then the Bible), not from the Quran or sunnah(lack of confidence? Liberal Islam?)..but from books giving commentary about the Bible(can’t escape using it as a reference).

    My knowledge of Christ comes from revelation.

  • You forgot this question…..

    “Does it(oral gospel) agree with the life and doctrine of Muhammad’s “Islamic Jesus”?”

  • Please correct yourself. I’ve clearly said the extant complete MSS of the current Bible are not the earliest source.

    I have my knowledge from the Qur’aan and Sunnah, it isn’t my only source on the Christian beliefs.

    You may not know this, but studies about the NT documents, aren’t from the NT itself – we have to look at exegetical works. I’m sure your seminary teaches you from works of the ancients and works from the scholars.

    I’m very certain your knowledge of Christ does not come from revelation, if it did, you wouldn’t follow a Graeco-Roman Syncretic Jewish faith.

  • I replied to it already. The informal oral traditions about Christ do not exist. Just like the authograph archetype MSS of the NT, they don’t exist, so we can’t compare something which exists with something that does not exist.

  • Actually, Ijaz, there are still traces of the oral tradition found within the pages of the NT. Erhman, if you have read his latest work, depends heavily on these traditions to formulate his argument. Jimmy Dunn traces the oral creed in 1 Cor 15 to within months after the resurrection of Christ.

    What they all have in common is this: they affirm certain Christian doctrine. They do not affirm Islamic doctrine vis-a-vis Isa al masih, which is what CL seems to be hinting at and which you keep running from.

  • I know what you said I don’t see anything that needs correction. You said there was an oral gospel that currently doesn’t exist and can not be referenced, you do not fully trust the Quran or sunnah early source about Jesus, so you are left to reference the Bible. You may disagree in word that the NT is the earliest most attest source but you agree in action. I already know from experience that Muslims(before and after Islam) have to play mental gymnastics in-order to cling to their inconsistent presuppositions.

    I also find it interesting you say that I wouldn’t follow the supposed “Graeco-Roman Syncretic Jewish faith” if I held to revelation, I am curious what this mystery revelation is that would give me another faith? Would this faith be in “Islamic Jesus” the one who spoke as a baby and had another man crucified as a substitute for him?

  • maybe chezi would like to explain why the gospel of john omits “love thy enemy” and also explain if john thought that the statement really came out of his jesus’ mouth.

    i will quote the following:

    John weeds out all the parables and exorcisms, but still comes out longer than Mark because of new dialogues, long ones, as well as new miracles and tales added to the Jesus story. John probably eschewed exorcisms and talk of a temptation or struggle or binding of Satan because his Jesus was viewed as incomparable with no possible rival entities and the Logos is above temptation, regally in control even during his garden prayer before his execution, and during his arrest where he simply says “I am” and the soldiers fall down. Neither does this Jesus need to speak in parables, since the message by John’s time is believe who we say Jesus is, or you are “condemned already.” It’s the “believe such and such about Jesus” or be damned Gospel. He who does not acknowledge Jesus is “the vine” will be cut off and burned. Neither does the fourth Gospel’s Jesus command love of neighbor or enemy compared with the earlier synoptics. See this essay that include insights from a social science examination of the fourth Gospel…

    The Gospel of John consists of “anti-language” say Social Scientists

    There is no command in the fourth Gospel [the Gospel of John] to love neighbors or enemies. Instead, it states, “He who believes not is condemned already” (John 3). The fourth Gospel more so than the earlier three teaches that one is either God’s friend or God’s enemy, one must “believe” rightly, or, be “damned.” “Eat the flesh and drink the blood,” or you “have no life within you.” It does not say people will be judged according to their “works” as in Matthew. Additional passages in the fourth Gospel state…

    No one is able to come to Me unless the Father Who sent Me attracts and draws him and gives him the desire to come to Me, and [then] I will raise him up [from the dead] at the last day.
    John 6:44

    You do not believe because you are not of my sheep.
    John 10:26

    My command is this [spoken to his sheep, not spoken to “the world”]: Love EACH OTHER as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. [not for one’s neighbor or enemy]… You are my friends if you do what I command [love EACH OTHER]… You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you… This is my command: Love EACH OTHER.
    John 15:14,16-17

    This is “in-group” speech as Malina and Rohrbaugh point out in their Social Science Commentary on the Gospel of John. Love other members of one’s in-group. The discourse even states it is being spoken to the in-group, not to a crowd, since it explains in John 13: “[Now] before the Passover Feast began, Jesus knew the time had come for Him to leave this world and return to the Father. And as He had loved THOSE WHO WERE HIS OWN in the world, He loved them to the last and to the highest degree.” The in-group speech begins there and runs several chapters. God gives certain people to Jesus, even before Jesus has died on the cross: “To all whom Thou [God] has given him (Jesus), He may give eternal life” (John 17:2). Those are the ones Jesus loves, the true believers, and they are commanded to love one another. Nonbelievers are “already condemned,” or they do not abide in the True Vine and their “branches will be cut off and thrown into the fire.”

    Jesus’ discourse to his true-believing followers winds down with John 17:22-23 where Jesus prays, “That they may be one [even] as We are one: I in them and You in Me, in order that they may become one and perfectly united, that the world may know and [definitely] recognize that You sent Me.” (But if it takes Christians loving one another in “perfect unity,” so that the world can “know” that “God sent Jesus,” then doesn’t that mean the world has little chance of “knowing” for sure that “God sent Jesus,” because churches, sects, denominations have continued to splinter ever since Jesus’ day just as they have in other major religions?)

    A passage in the fourth Gospel that universalists cite is John 12:32, “And I, if and when I am lifted up from the earth [on the cross], will draw and attract all men [Gentiles as well as Jews] to Myself.” The Amplified Bible editors added the statement in brackets, suggesting that this passage is not about universalism. Whether the bracketed interpretation is correct or not, it does appear like the author of the fourth Gospel has made it clear that God has only given Jesus “some” but not all of “man”kind. The rest are “damned already” because they “do not believe” (John 3) or, “You do not believe because you are not of my sheep” (John 10).

    Malina and Rohrbaugh in their Social Science Commentary on the Gospel of John “show that the Christian community of John’s Gospel was an ‘anti-society,’ which in social science speak is a consciously alternative society consisting of exiles, rebels, or ostracized deviants. They note parallels between different anti-societies, such as reform-school students in Poland, members of the underworld in India, and vagabonds in Elizabethan England. Like other anti-societies, the folks who penned the fourth Gospel had acquired their own unique ‘anti-language,’, that is, a resistance language used to maintain their anti-society’s highly sectarian religious reality. This accounts for many of the strange expressions found in the fourth gospel. For instance, the Christians refer to outsiders as people of ‘this world,’ or, ‘the world.’ They believed that members of wider society — especially ‘the Jews’ — lay outside the scope of redemption and were completely beyond the pale if they didn’t “believe” rightly. Like all anti-societies, they overlexicalized their language, which basically means that they used redundant euphemisms. Thus, ‘believing into Jesus,’, ‘abiding in him,’ ‘loving him,’ ‘keeping his word,’ ‘receiving him,’ ‘having him,’ and ‘seeing him’ all meant the same thing. Likewise, ‘bread,’ ‘light,’ ‘door,’ ‘life,’ ‘way,’ and ‘vine’ were all redundant metaphors for Jesus himself. These redundant euphemisms formed an anti-language outside of “the world’s,” and served to maintain inner solidarity in the face of pressures (or perhaps even persecutions) from society. Unlike the religious language found in the Synoptic Gospels or Paul’s letters, John’s language would have been meaningless in the context of wider Judeo-Christian society (‘this world’). Understanding this social background is crucial for interpreting the gospel as a whole and controversial passages in particular.” In short, the fourth Gospel a greater number of specialized theological terms not seen in any of the earlier Gospels, all terms that would be meaningful particularly to an in-group seeking to maintain a strong cohesion including condemnation of outsiders, like members of an exclusive gang with loads of code words, shibboleths, etc.

    So the reason the fourth Gospel does not include Jesus’ teaching that one must love one’s neighbor (and even one’s enemy) and that loving one’s neighbor is “the law and the prophets” (as in Matthew’s Sermon on the Mount) is that your neighbor might not share your “beliefs” about Jesus, and the most important thing according to the author(s) of the fourth Gospel is to “believe” the right things about who Jesus was… or else. It is a lesson the author of the fourth Gospel repeats ad nauseum, “Anyone who does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire and they are burned.” (a verse that came in handy during the Inquisition). “Those who do not believe are condemned already, because they have not believed in the name of the only Son of God.” You must even believe the right liturgical things concerning the Lord’s Supper, because “Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you.” Speaking of right belief, the Gospel says it was composed “that ye may believe,” and starts off telling everyone what to believe about Jesus, and has the disciples call Jesus the messiah and much more the instant they meet him, and even has John the Baptist declare what one must believe about Jesus right from the start (a line of the Baptists’ found in no other Gospel), namely that Jesus is “The lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world,” something one “must” believe per John 3.

    end quote

    that’s interesting stuff isn’t it?

  • “Does it(oral gospel) agree with the life and doctrine of Muhammad’s “Islamic Jesus”?”

    when i read these words i ask myself what are you people reading? how can you read the synoptics and assume that john’s jesus and synoptics jesus AGREED ?

  • Thanks for your comment Paulus. Many scholars affirm their are traces of the early informal oral traditions about Christ, but it’s going to be difficult to prove that. We can speculate and we are allowed to speculate on what they are, but the truth is we have no actual evidence to work with.

    The oral tradition died a quick death when writing became more prominent, so as it stands, we can assume certain statements were or are probably from the informal oral silent period – or not.

    I’m not running from anything, I’m responding to his comments and yours. Please have some form of dignity before trying to insult others, thanks.

  • Please quote me where I said I did not trust the Qur’aan or Sunnah about Jesus. Listen, I get it, you’re trying to argue with me on something you’re unfamiliar with so you’re trying to save face. There is no need to lie to promote your own brand of missionary work. I sympathize with your inability to understand certain things. It’s okay, there is still time for you to learn.

    The NT is not the earliest source by any means, and my actions definitely demonstrate that I do not hold it to be either reliable or trustworthy.

    There is no mystery to what this revelation is. Clearly it isn’t the New Testament as you can agree it was not inspired by God, but elevated to the level of scripture by the two Carthaginian Councils.

    Christ speaking as a baby shouldn’t be difficult to believe in, God can give anyone the ability to speak, unless the Christian God you are inviting me to, can’t?

    Perhaps someone was crucified in the place of Christ, for as we both acknowledge, the man on the cross claimed to be forsaken by God, whereas in Psalm 37:28, God does not forsake his loved ones, or his faithful ones. We are therefore a a dilemma, either YHWH lied, the man on the cross did or your beliefs are wrong. Have your pick.

  • ” Jimmy Dunn traces the oral creed in 1 Cor 15 to within months after the resurrection of Christ.”
    hector avalos :
    My claim is not that there is no creed anywhere in the NT. My claim is that such creeds cannot be securely dated to within 5-6 years of the supposed resurrection. The manuscripts of Corinthians date from about the early third century or later, and so how would we know that what is in 1 Corinthians 15:3-4 in the third-fourth century manuscripts was there around 30-40 CE without some corroborating evidence from 30-40 CE? The fact is that we have nothing that actually comes from 30-40 CE regarding any such creed.
    LUKE and the creed “within MONTHS”
    1 Inasmuch as many have taken in hand to set in order a narrative of those things which have been fulfilled[a] among us, 2 just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word delivered them to us, 3 it seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write to you an orderly account, most excellent Theophilus, 4 that you may know the certainty of those things in which you were instructed.
    if THE CREED was WITHIN MONTHS after jesus’ ALLEDGED ressurection and luke done his investigations “from the VERY FIRST…” (we don’t know the METHOD he used to include and exclude stories he thought were made up) , why is the early CREED missing from his research?
    MORE:
    > > 1) Regarding the 1 Cor. 15 creed, did Matthew and Luke:
    > > a) Know it;
    > > b) Not know it;
    > > c) We don’t know; or
    > > d) ____________ [another option]
    > > I don’t want to limit your choices to only the first three.
    > > , I am not sure how one gets around the problem the Gospels freely
    > > utilize other sources (you even include more than I do with John)
    > > without explaining why they would not utilize this supposed source.
    Even more problematic (and what should be addressed) is why every single appearance in the 1 Cor. 15 creed is NOT addressed in the Gospels with one inferred exception. The Gospels don’t include a first appearance to Peter (except referred to in Luke), nothing about the Twelve, the 500, all the apostles or James.
    Luke happily uses the appearance to the eleven from his source Matthew, but ignores the appearance to the Twelve, while knowing the 1 Cor. 15 creed?
    Luke changes his sources’ statement of the angels from “Go to Galilee” to “Remember what he said in Galilee” and completely ignores the appearances in 1 Cor. 15? Does not say much for his
    considering them history!
    MORE:
    If Luke willingly used earlier Matthew and earlier Mark—why not use the earlier creed too? If Matthew willingly used earlier Mark—why not use earlier 1 Cor. 15? (The additional conflicts between the gospel accounts further reduce credibility.)
    WHO CHECKED ?
    > who checked pauls claims??
    > People could haved checked the details of the appearances that Paul
    > mentioned.
    > What you did NOT spell out is the rest of the argument :
    > (2. people DID check the details)
    > (3. and they found them correct)
    > Let’s have a look at the various writings which COULD have CHECKED
    > Paul’s claims and found them correct :
    > G.Luke.
    > Luke was allegedly Paul’s companion, so he clearly could have
    > checked.
    > Does he mention the appearance of the 500?
    > NO.
    > Luke did NOT confirm Paul’s claim about appearing to the 500.
    > Luke’s list of appearances is different to Paul’s.
    > James.
    > Paul met James who was allegedly Jesus brother, and who supposedly
    > Jesus appeared to.
    > Does he support the appearance to 500?
    > No.
    > Does he say anything about appearances?
    > No.
    > Peter.
    > 1 Forged writing from 2nd century mentions seeing Jesus’ “majesty”.
    > Does he support the appearance to 500?
    > No.
    > Does he say anything about other appearances?
    > No.
    > Jude.
    > Jude was allegedly Jesus brother.
    > Does he support the appearance to 500?
    > No.
    > Does he say anything about appearances?
    > No.
    > John.
    > Does he support the appearance to 500?
    > No.
    > Does he say anything about appearances?
    > Yes, he has his own vision – but says nothing about others.
    > What about the Gospel writers?
    > Do ANY of them mention the appearance to the 500?
    > G.Mark – No.
    > G.Matthew – No.
    > G.John – No.
    > You made a fuss that Paul could not have made this claim if it dodn’t
    > happen – yet NOT ONE of the other Christians agrees that it happened !
    > Either –
    >
    they DID check the facts – and found Paul was WRONG about the 500.
    >
    or :
    > they didn’t check at all, and wrote whatever they wanted.
    paul REPEATS the “CREED within MONTHS” BUT fails to MENTION the EMPTY tomb?
    But as JP admits, even in high-context societies “repeat of detail would … occur if some need were present to repeat.” This just leads us back to the question above. If Paul is trying to defend Jesus’ resurrection, he definitely has a need to repeat information. And in fact that is exactly what we see Paul do. He repeats the basic community creed that Jesus was raised and that this has been confirmed in the scriptures (1 Cor 15:4). He lists those who Jesus appeared to (1 Cor 15:5-8) which, being an already established Christian community, the Corinthians must have heard about before. Drawing on the authority of these witnesses, Paul then challenges the Corinthians, “Now if Christ is proclaimed [by all of these people] as raised from the dead, how can some of you say there is no resurrection of the dead?” (1 Cor 15:12). Paul finishes off by pointing out to the Corinthians the obvious consequences if Jesus did not resurrect–their preaching is useless, their faith is useless, they are false witnesses, they are still in their sins, those dead are lost, and they should be pitied (1 Cor 15:14-19).Given all of the arguments that Paul marshals here in support of Jesus’ bodily resurrection (I do think Paul has in mind a “corpse-gone” bodily resurrection belief), it is hard to imagine why Paul does not also mention the fact that Jesus’ burial location was discovered empty. Such a discovery would have been a solid piece of objective evidence in favor of Jesus’ bodily resurrection and it is the only piece of major evidence missing from Paul’s argument. As Dr. Tony Burke said of Jake O’Connell’s recent debate attempt to explain Paul’s silence on the discovered empty tomb: “It is one of O’Connell’s weaknesses that he cannot effectively respond to the silences of the texts. No one can. So, why did he even try?”
    CROSS EXAMINATION NON- EXISTANT:
    At most, Festus could have inquired as to why Paul’s unnamed companions fell, or indeed who they even were. But Festus doesn’t even do that. So though Paul says some nameless “those who journeyed with me” fell to the ground with Paul when he saw the vision (26:13-14), they are not there to testify, nor is Agrippa even told who they were, nor does Agrippa even ask to interrogate them, much less actually do so. Nor does Festus. Indeed, Paul carefully avoids saying those with him saw or heard anything–even though Luke says this on other occasions (Acts 9:3-8 & 22:6-11). That’s a slick move. On the legal record, if Luke has it right, Paul claimed nothing miraculous whatsoever except a personal experience that no one could confirm or refute, even in principle. Paul never says “why” those with him fell (and indeed, Luke says elsewhere that Paul claimed they remained standing: Acts 9:7
    More
    Festus says outright that he does not know how to investigate the charge (25:20) and has nothing relevant to tell Caesar about it (25:26)–a funny thing to say, if there were all these incredible “facts” that he could “check,” as Holding insists. Ultimately, through all this, Paul’s only evidence at trial that Jesus was still “alive” is a private, unverifiable “vision from Heaven” (26:19) and a voice claiming to be Jesus. That’s it. That’s all Paul has to offer, and that’s all Agrippa needs to hear to acquit him. Paul would have been free had he not appealed to Caesar. No other investigation is conducted, no other evidence is even mentioned.[10]
    PAUL’S 5000
    pauls 500
    As for Paul’s 500, Paul says that they (also Peter) saw him the same way Paul saw Jesus. That was not “in the flesh”. Of course, this little detail was completely unknown to the evangelists. This hardly suggests a “socially bonded community” of eyewitnesses available for the “recorders” of the events to draw on. Even if we take the passage as original to 1 Corinthians (there are good reasons for disputing its authenticity but we’ll leave those aside for now) — how could the average reader really follow up the implied challenge to go and first find, then interview, any of those supposed 500? Especially in the context of a letter that is aimed at making them feel spiritual failures if they even doubt the resurrection and teaching of Paul. It’s a rhetorical device. “You don’t believe in alien abductions? Just ask any of the thousands who are alive today who have experienced it!”
    As a “historical detail” it is unknown to anyone else. And Paul himself does not need the testimony of any of these witnesses, as he abundantly makes clear — and that is his point. He argues at length from poetic analogies, and for some reason fails to try to convince any of the opponents of the resurrection by urging them to actually go and check with any of those supposed 500 witnesses. He makes no appeal at all to his readers or opponents to go and consult with a 500 strong community of eyewitnesses. He forgets them as soon as he mentions them. They are not treated by Paul like a genuine core body of verifying eyewitnesses.
    MORE:
    In the NT I only know of Paul stating briefly that “Jesus appeared to me,” in 1 Cor and Galatians with no details at all.
    1 Peter also has a first person statement but many scholars rank that letter as late and apocryphal.
    http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/1peter.html
    So the only FIRST-person statement we have is from Paul with no details.
    MORE:
    Note that in 1 Cor. Paul uses the word “appeared” with no distinctions. But according to Luke-Acts the raised Jesus had ascended bodily into heaven never to return in the body until the day of judgment, before Paul became an apostle, so whatever appeared to Paul was not the bodily raised Jesus, yet Paul implies in 1 Cor that he was blessed with the same sort of appearance as everyone else. And since none of the appearances in 1 Cor are told first hand, but being told second hand or more, and since 1 Cor includes no descriptions of each appearance to compare one with the other, we know very little about any of them. Who was among the “over 500 brethren?” Where did each appearance take place? When? What time of day? How light or bright was it? How near or far away from Jesus were each of these people? How certain were they concerning what they were seeing? Did Jesus say or do anything, or nothing, during each appearance? We don’t know. There are also discrepancies between the 1 Cor. list and later tales in the Gospels.

  • “The NT is not the earliest source by any means, ”

    OK what is the earliest source available to us?

    “there is no mystery to what this revelation is.”

    Maybe for you not for me and others why don’t you plainly tell us?

    ” Clearly it isn’t the New Testament as you can agree it was not inspired by God, but elevated to the level of scripture by the two Carthaginian Councils.”

    No I don’t agree.

    “Christ speaking as a baby shouldn’t be difficult to believe in, God can give anyone the ability to speak, unless the Christian God you are inviting me to, can’t?”

    That wouldn’t be the issue, the writer of the Quran employing syncretism to create the innovation Islam is.

    “Perhaps someone was crucified in the place of Christ,”

    Perhaps not?

    “for as we both acknowledge, the man on the cross claimed to be forsaken by God, whereas in Psalm 37:28, God does not forsake his loved ones, or his faithful ones.”

    We both acknowledge this? This all sound like references from the Bible, you claim you have another earlier source that predates the NT Bible. Funny how you keep referencing the Bible every time you want to speck about what Jesus did or said…almost like its the best earliest source to reference….ha ha funny.

    “We are therefore a a dilemma, either YHWH lied, the man on the cross did or your beliefs are wrong. Have your pick.”

    I would suggest a 3rd option; you have like every other Muslim simply performed eisegesis and read your prejudice into a small speck of text taken out of its context. The same source you referenced the NT, that for some reason you have to keep referencing everything you speak about the life of Jesus says(despite all this jazz about it not being worthy of being referenced) clearly it was Jesus who was arrested and crucified…there is no logical way you can miss that if you claim to have read the quote “eli eli sabachthani”. In fact Matt 27:46 says ” Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?”. There seems to be a liar its not YHWH maybe its you?

    Also careful reading in context negates your proposed ” dilemma ” Jesus was not forsaken with those who were forsaken, he was resurrected and ascended to the right hand of the Father…Happy Easter !!!! : )

  • Earliest source would be the DSS, contemporary to 1st century Christianity.

    As for your claim of syncretism, you’d have to justify that. Making a claim isn’t evidential. Islam can be hardly called an innovation in comparison to Christianity in lieu of monotheism in the Tanakh. You may be forgetting that you believe in “progressive revelation” to explain how your theft of the Jewish God, evolved into Three Persons United in One. That’s clear innovation post-syncretism.

    Perhaps he was, see the Nag Hammadi traditions on Didymus Thomas, who was said to be the twin of Christ.

    I reference the Bible because you believe in it. If it is the earliest source on Christ’s life, you’d have to prove that. Clearly it isn’t as your source indicates other Gospels of Christ contemporary to the heretic Paul in Galatians 2.

    Clearly YHWH did lie, Jesus your God said, or confessed that he was forsaken by YHWH. CL Edwards some 1990+ years later says Jesus was not forsaken. So as of now, it’s CL vs Jesus. But let’s make it interesting. You say Jesus was resurrected, but YHWH says those who are forsaken will perish and will be completely destroyed. So our dilemma is, either you lied, you and Jesus lied, you and YHWH lied or the Bible is a lie. Have your pick and let me know which one of you has lied.

  • So if the Dead sea scrolls are the earliest source have fun using them. I am sure the Jesus of Islam who is coming back to descend in Syria, kill Jews hiding behind talking rocks and establish the Islamic state shines through every sentence in it.

    Proof of syncretism? You mean like combining Arab paganism, Judaism, and Christianity into one new religion and then converting the Arab population to it by the sword? My “proof” would be Muhammad’s sira.

    I like how you presume ancient 2nd temple Jews were unitarians and brethren of Muslims.. I don’t ..so since I don’t hold your presumptions I don’t worry about your perceived conflicts.

    Yes I believe in a form of “progressive revelation” i.e God revealing his will to man over long periods of time. The same way I believed in it as a Muslim. What? Come now are you telling me Deobandi’s don’t hold that Allah has progressively revealed his will over time…kind of how he revealing revelation to 124,000 messengers at different periods, abrogating them one after the other.

    Whatever “progressive revelation” you are referring to that involves God’s personhood evolving wouldn’t be my beliefs, I bow down and worship the same YHWH who manifested in time and space just as Adam, Abraham, and Moses did, and will celebrate when the Son of Man the Word rules along side the Ancient of days like Daniel or Philo.

    “I reference the Bible because you believe in it.”

    I don’t believe you, you reference it for the opposite reason you don’t reference the Quran and Islamic Jesus.

    Oh are the Nag Hammadi a better reference then the Quran?

    You can discuss the lies of YHWH in your after life, the rest of your rant presumes your interpretation of the text is accurate.. I don’t as I already said. As far as who has truly lied well we both know who that is:

    John 8:44
    You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.

    Happy Easter!

  • Oh, we are using them to our benefit, as many now former Christians will gladly attest to. I’m not sure you should have a problem with Christ fighting his enemies, something that early Christianity did quite proudly for hundreds of years, see Justinian the 1st, or the massacres in Jerusalem, the genocides in Iberia etc. Christianity began with blood being spilled and Christians celebrate blood spilling every year for easter, eat and drinking a dead man’s blood and flesh, quite the medieval experience one expects it to be. It might also be helpful to read your Bible, with Christ’s second coming being full of genocide, torture and mass murder for the people he once committed suicide for:

    https://callingchristians.com/2012/08/02/christs-second-coming-according-to-the-bible/

    Your proof would mean you haven’t read his Seerah, name dropping isn’t proof CL, it may work in a Church, but in the real world, name dropping doesn’t work. Sorry, we tend to operate on actual evidences, which like early Messianic Jews being influenced by Greek mythology, such as the drinking and consumption of human blood and flesh, God being more than one, humans being deified, etc. Sound familiar? It should, it’s called Christianity.

    I think that seminary you’re attending for three years now needs to refund you your money ASAP. Progressive revelation deals with God and His nature. Revealing information outside of His nature is normal, e.g. that the Korban Pesach can be a Jewish man versus a Lamb. So in reference to your God’s nature versus Islam’s, the Islamic and Jewish God is one and only one, absolutely one. That being at odds with the Graeco-Roman Syncretic Jewish 3 in 1 god. Or that God can die, or that God can suffer, or that God cries, or that God need mommy to feed him etc etc. That’s the Christian God, a God that can be killed by his own creation, cry about it and then hopes his father saves him.

    Have you tried reading the Tanakh as a first century Jew would? I’m very certain they don’t believe in a God of flesh and bones, a dead God or crying God. They believe in a God who is not a man, a God whose sovereignty is supreme, not the Christian God that kills itself. I don’t recall Adam, Moses or Abraham worshipping such a God.

    It’s okay if you don’t believe, what matters is what I believe and I like using sources that can whip your faith into submission that Christian apologists would like to use, but can’t. Just as how someone we both know (hint, if it’s not me, it may be you), uses the Qur’aan to prove his religious beliefs when the going gets tough with that door stopper you call a Bible.

    I like those verses, John 8:44-48, if you bothered to read your own scripture it would gladly inform you that he was speaking to the Jews, the people who got him killed. So thank you for using that verse, I greatly appreciate that you agree with that Jews were a violent problem for your God.

    Yes, indeed, I am having a happy Easter, I enjoy seeing people being surprised that an all powerful God, didn’t die. It makes me enjoy knowing I’m not so infantile to think that lowly of God.

  • “Oh, we are using them to our benefit, as many now former Christians will gladly attest to.”

    Well of course I expect the atheist and agonistic apostates to use arguments rooted in their worldview..what else would they do? Its the flip floppish epistemology of Muslims using arguments rooted in Scepticism,/Pyrrhonism, Relativism(and other ism’s) derived from Hellenistic philosophy for dawah that defies logic. Thats why I invented the hash tag #dawahbyanymeansnecessary

  • Thanks for the reply(!?), but you are lost in a sea of post-modern criticism that has gone beyond the realms of what Christianity deems acceptable.

    I’m pretty sure you’ve never studied one epistemological work from among the Mutakallameen. So your charges of “skepticism, relativism” seems really absurd to me. I mean, look at how you embarrassed yourself about progressive revelation in one of the earlier comments and you didn’t have the common sense or the academic credibility to acknowledge your error and correct yourself.

    So yes, I do agree that you do dawah by any means necessary. You call to the religion of absurdism and you’re doing so by any means necessary. For goodness sake, what kind of 3rd year seminary student doesn’t know what progressive revelation entails? Do I have to teach you everything about your religion?

  • Is that ol CL? still pushing that triune god?-three distinct and individually worshiped gods?
    The father: one distinct and individual not the son, not the spirit worship
    The son: another distinct and individual not the father not the spirit worship.
    The spirit, another distinct, individual not the father not the son worship.
    Three distinct and individual worships, three gods dude!
    Lots of worships dude. Plural god? plural worships!
    How do you satisfy all those gods, do you divide the worship into three equal worships?
    You say the same prayer to the son as you say to the father, or you put in *our son who art in heaven* then *our spirit who art in heaven*?
    How do you manage dude?
    Come back to the one God worship.

  • Wow, doesn’t your religion teach you to stave off the ad hominem? Have some self respect mate, such behaviour is really uncalled for.

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