Why Muslims Reject the Bible as Scripture


Islam acknowledges that scripture was given to the Christians and Jews, we call such people, “Ahlul Kitab” or the “People of the Book”. However, where we disagree,  begins with the very understanding of what the Bible is. To the Muslim, the Torah was given to Moses and the Gospel to Christ. This is, as the Qur’an says in Surah 5, Verse 44 and Verse 46. The Qur’an explicitly states that the Injeel was a scripture given to Jesus from God. No Christian today believes that the New Testament was given by Jesus to his disciples. These are therefore, distinct books. The New Testament is not the Injeel. As Muslims, we believe that both Christians and Jews today both do not have in their possession the original Torah or the original Gospel.

We don’t make this claim simply because we can, but we make this claim due to the evidences we possess. To begin with, the Qur’an states in Surah 2, Ayah 79 and in Surah 5, Ayah 13 that both the Jews and the Christians corrupted their “scripture” which they wrote of themselves and then claimed those writings to be from God. This might seem odd to some Christians that the Bible is a corrupted, and manufactured “scripture”. You may be asking if the Muslim is able to defend such a claim. We can and it’s simple. One example I am fond of using is the following argument, it goes a little something like this:-

Can you tell me which Old Testament you believe in?

  • Greek Septuagint.
  • Hebrew Vorlage based on the Septuagint.
  • Masoretic Text.
  • Samaritan Pentateuch.
  • DSS/ Qumran Scrolls.
  • Mystery Source of the Greek Septuagint.

Can you tell me which New Testament you believe in?

  • Marcion’s Canon.
  • Tatian’s Diatesseron.
  • Codex Sinaiticus.
  • Textus Receptus.
  • Codex Vaticanus.
  • Codex Alexandrius.
  • Codex Bezae.
  • Codex Syriac.
  • Codex Washingtonesis.
  • Nestle Aland Greek New Testament Codices through to the 28th Edition..
  • UBS 1 through 5 Greek New Testament Editions.
  • John Mill’s 1707 Greek New Testament Codex.
  • Codex Ephraemi-Rescriptus.
  • Westcott and Hort Greek New Testament (1881).

The problem is, there is no “one Biblical text” that all Christians agree on. What you call the Bible today is a translated text based on Greek, Arabic, Syriac and even Ethiopian writings. All collected and pieced together. What you call the Bible in 2014, is not what the first Christians called it some 2000 years ago. Namely because the New Testament didn’t exist until the writings of Paul began some 14 years after Christ ascended. At the earliest, the Bible was decided upon by what was called an Ecumenical Council or a “Unity Council”, today known as the Councils of Carthage in 393 and 397 AD. Yet, every Bible since that time, has varied, with no two remaining the same. Thus, what the Bible exists as today, is not considered to be the Bible which Christians in any previous century have believed in. The Bible is still evolving to this day, with both conservative and liberal Christian scholars attempting to define what the Bible “could” have looked like according to what each textual critic’s understanding of the text could have or should have looked like.

A new critical edition of the New Testament, means that textual critics examine the manuscript variants which occur in words and passages. They examine these variants and then through a select criteria, they attempt to ascertain which variant is the most authentic. In some cases, as in the Westcott and Hort Greek New Testament, when scholars do not find any of the variants to be accurate, authentic or valid they invent their own reading which has no manuscript basis. This is known as “conjectural emendation”. In the Westcott and Hort New Testament, this was done some 65 times. As such, this would mean that as variant words and passages continue to be argued over, the New Testament text continues to evolve every few years as the critical editions are released, as with the latest Nestle Aland and United Bible Societies’ Greek New Testaments. This is due to the textual critics employing what we know as the “eclectic method”. As a consequence of this method, there is not a single codex on the face of the earth that has existed with in the form of the New Testament we have today. The New Testament we have today is based on variants from hundreds of differing manuscripts and variant codices. The truth is, if the Christian scholars of today and those of the past still cannot decide on what the Bible is or what it was or what it will be, why should Muslims accept it as their scripture?

This case begets another problem, as the God of the Old Testament, proclaims that there is one eternal word of God, in Psalms 119:89, it reads:

“Your word, LORD, is eternal; it stands firm in the heavens.”

Which word is it referring to? There are so many canons and codices to choose from, none being the same from the first complete codices in the third century to those of today. How can you ask the Muslim to accept, what the Christian faith itself cannot decide upon?

wa Allaahu ‘Alam,

First Published: 6/ 8/ 12. Error noted by the missionary Paulus in which I wrote KJV Codex. I’m not sure on which basis I made that error, but it has since been corrected.

27 comments

  • Christians might not be confirmed about their Scriptures; they might still need thousand more “councils” to confirm yet Muslims have to accept the so-called Scriptures any way, since,they have the superman argument: isn’t your “K-O-R-A-N” written by that man “M-A-H-O-M-E-T” (peace be upon the noblest of all men) claims the “Christians to judge by their book”, and “ask them if in doubt” so on and so forth – how desparate can you get than this…LOL

  • The christians come up with a new version of the bible every year. If the bible was to be the word of God then how is it that we as humans have the audacity to ‘edit’ it. The Quran is in its original form and has not been edited or changed in any way. it is also understood that translated copies of the Quran into other languages only contain a translated meaning of the original text. It is not another version, they are merely translations into other languages. The bible cannot claim this. Also, Muslims do not deny that there are parts of the bible that are true words of God. However, the Quran came to correct our religion with a warning that it is the last of its kind and no more will follow it. The bible also cannot claim this.

  • Hi Ijaz.
    Is the virgin birth, the baptism of Jesus, The crucifixion the death and resurrection in all of them

  • Hey!

    Quick question back at ya, if you don’t mind. If all the above is what is needed for you, then why don’t you rip all the other pages out of your Bible then!?

  • Hi Ijaz
    Why don’t you answer me on the so called dirty scriptures in the bible first! Then we can talk about why the rest of the bible is necessary to us.

  • Pingback: The Problem of Psalm 8:5 (or Psalm 8:6 – Hebrew Bible) | Calling Christians

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  • 1. The accuracy of the OT is testified via the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls at Qumran, which demonstrate the accuracy of Jewish scribal practices (since our oldest copy before the discovery agrees with the scrolls).

    It is also testified by Jesus, who taught the reliability of the texts that existed in his day and whose resurrection validates his testimony.

    2. The accuracy of the NT is testified via early documentation, the immense number of copies, secular textual criticism, and the citations of the early church fathers.

    3. Christianity, unlike Islam, does not rise and fall with the inerrancy and infallibility of Scripture. All that is required for Christianity to be true is the core Gospel, the facts of which are among the most well-attested historical facts in ancient history.

  • 1. The DSS vastly differs with the MST and the SMS. This is why Christians accuse the Jews of altering their Tanakh to hide prophecies about Jesus the Christ. If they are the same, how do you discern which version of Yeshayahu 9:5/6 is the true version? The DSS are some 1600 years after Jesus and thus do not testify to the accuracy of the Tanakh.

    We have no testimony of Jesus contemporary to his time and therefore this is an anachronistic and dogmatic claim. His resurrection has been and can continue to be dismissed as mere myth.

    2. The earliest complete documentation is some 400 years after Jesus in the presence of the 4 Uncials. For example P45 is the earliest Markan papyri, but it’s variant is not used in favour of the variants in 01, B and W. To understand this, please see the three false principles listed by Leon Vaganay on the mistakes unlearned Christians make in regard to the age of witnesses as being more evidential as opposed to later witnesses. The Patristic citations are in a worse state and as such the latest critical editions rarely use them in determining variant usage. Case in point, UBS 4 only referenced a Patristic quote twice in the entirety of the NT as evidence for the selection of a particular variant.

    3. The Ecumenical Councils would wholly disagree, and so would the groups born out of word difference studies as documented in the Panarion.

  • now think about this. between the time of authorship and first available manuscript there have been competing christian sects. none of them fiddled with mark ?

  • 1. Yes, there are differences between the DSS and the MST and SMS. However, none of these differences affects any essential doctrines. Also, your claim that Yeshayahu 9:5/6 differs from one text to the other is simply false. The original text is the same across all versions. The translation into English by the various religions is what differs. But, of course, that’s to be expected since it is the originals that are considered inspired, not the translations.

    The DSS are dated to as early as the 400s BC, so I’m not sure why you think “The DSS are some 1600 years after Jesus.” They predate Jesus by 200-400 years.

    It is true that we do not have any first-hand testimony of Jesus. He didn’t write anything. But, of course, neither did Muhammad. I don’t think you want to say that a lack of first-hand testimony is grounds for rejection, since then even the revelation to Muhammad would have to be rejected (he received revelation second hand through Gabriel, right?).

    When looking at the historical record for the core facts surrounding the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus, the evidence is overwhelmingly supportive. As several secular scholars have noted, the crucifixion of Jesus is one of the most well-established facts of ancient history. In fact, the creedal information found in 1 Corinthians 15 is now confidently dated to within the first six months of Jesus’ death – virtually on top of the event itself.

    For Islam to be false, one does not even need to demonstrate the truth of the resurrection. One simply has to show that Jesus was crucified. Anyone who looks at the historical data objectively will reject the crucifixion only on pain of irrationality.

    2. I look forward to reading what Leon Vaganay has said. Regardless, the large number of New Testament historians (credentialed scholars, both religious and non-religious) say that we have recovered the text of the original autographs to within 96-99% accuracy. The remaining 1-3% does not appear to affect any major doctrines.

    Your observation that patristic citations are not generally used to determine variant usage is simply irrelevant, since we’re discussing evidence for the autographs. The patristic citations have been a helpful part of the textual criticism that has yielded that information.

    3. The Ecumenical Councils, while helpful in spelling out certain orthodox positions, were not inspired, inerrant, or infallible. We are not bound by their decisions. Therefore, when the evidence contradicts their conclusions, one is rationally (and I would say divinely obliged) to reject them.

  • Ijaz, what is the difference between the Textus Receptus and the KJV Codex in your mind?

  • Hi Ijaz
    Is there any way we can get back all the korans that were burnt by Uthman so we can compare them with what you guys have now?

    Who gave him the authority? Did the Angel Gabriel speak to him? The prophet Muhammad wasn’t around so who knew what should be burnt?

    You are here trying to pull the bible apart in regards to versions and what does and doesn’t agree, you should be answering the above questions we Christians would really like to know who gave Uthman the authority to burn scriptures.

    How you know that the koran you have is correct?

  • @Mansubzero,

    Textual Critics accept that there was fiddling with the manuscripts for doctrinal purposes, under purposeful alterations, Phillip Comfort gives some categories as:

    – Conflated Readings.
    – Interpolations.
    – Insertions from Oral and Extrabiblical Traditions.
    – Insertions from Ecclesiastical Practises.
    – Lectoral Expansions.
    – Narrative Gap Fillings.
    – Gospel Harmonizations.
    – Harmonization of the OT Passages Cited in the NT to the LXX.
    – Theological Alterations.
    – Christological Changes.
    – Inclusion and Exclusion of NT Verses and Passages.

    He proves examples for all cases and cites them, I can provide a few screenshots if the need be.

  • @Mark/ Paul,

    KJV Codex? Do you mean the KJV translation? TR is a “critical” text based on limited Greek MSS and use of the Vulgate. KJV is an adapted translation from the TR with use of the Vulgate in some areas of difference. One is a “critical” mostly Greek based text and the other is a translation into English mostly based on it.

  • @Tyson James,

    Yes, there are differences between the DSS and the MST and SMS. However, none of these differences affects any essential doctrines.

    6000 differences of note, especially in regard to the Mitzvot and the Shali’ah, and you don’t think they affect any doctrines? I’m surprised a Christian dismisses the Mitzvot differences so easily or the differences in the language used towards God. I guess those are minor differences if laws and doctrines about God don’t matter. To each his own.

    Also, your claim that Yeshayahu 9:5/6 differs from one text to the other is simply false. The original text is the same across all versions.

    Really? Both the Jews and Christians agree on using “El” as referring to mighty God, but the LXX specifies Angel, “ἄγγελος” or more appropriately with “ἐγώ”, “my angel”. So if we want to play, “they’re all the same”, when in the Greek there’s a marked difference between Theos and Angelos, which is conflated in the Hebrew, then we can play this game. So is it my angel or mighty God?

    The translation into English by the various religions is what differs. But, of course, that’s to be expected since it is the originals that are considered inspired, not the translations.

    If we’re going by the primary text then Yeshayahu 9:5/6 clearly uses “has been born” and “has been given”. Both are in past tense. What does that say? As opposed to the English rendition of future perfect, “will be born” and “will be forgiven”. The points of inflection which qualify the passage demonstrate this event has already happened. Pursuant to your suggestions, we read from, “The Israelite Samaritan Version of the Torah: First English Translation Compared with Masoretic Version”:

    “(1) Additions in Exodus and Numbers on the Basis of Deuteronomy 1:3-9:
    The Torah provides many opportunities for comparing parallel texts, and apparent “disagreements” between such parallel narratives in the books of the Torah were sometimes removed at the last stage of literary growth. – p. viii.”

    “b. Small Harmonizing Alterations on the Basis of the Context:
    The term harmonizing alteration or harmonization involves alterations made in accordance with another element in the text. The harmonizations in the SP reflect a tendency to remove internal contradictions or irregularities from the Pentateuchal text that were considered harmful to its sanctity. The feature, which scholars often describe as characteristic of SP, was actually already found in all the pre-Samaritan texts (see III below). By the same token, small harmonizations are also evidenced in the LXX to the same extent, if not more frequently. In other words, these harmonizing changes, often described as typical of SP, should no longer be considered typical of that version only. – p.ix”

    I’d say your claim differs greatly with a detailed study of the scrolls by scholarship. So either you’re lying on the manuscripts or the manuscripts do contain marked and important differences, when you’ve made a decision on who you think is wrong, let me know. In relation to your statement:

    The DSS are dated to as early as the 400s BC, so I’m not sure why you think “The DSS are some 1600 years after Jesus.” They predate Jesus by 200-400 years.

    That’s my mistake, I meant Moses.

    It is true that we do not have any first-hand testimony of Jesus. He didn’t write anything. But, of course, neither did Muhammad.

    By first hand we mean people who were contemporary to and who were companions of the primary source. In this case, it would be silly to claim Muhammad ﷺ had to write anything down, as he was unlettered, that would be a weird demand. Fortunately, we do have manuscripts of the Qur’an from his time and from his companions with the revelation he brought which is a far cry from anything remotely complete with the Gospels which takes 400 years after Jesus to manifest themselves completely.

    I don’t think you want to say that a lack of first-hand testimony is grounds for rejection, since then even the revelation to Muhammad would have to be rejected (he received revelation second hand through Gabriel, right?).

    I’m not sure you know what first hand testimony would mean, given that Muhammad ﷺ would be the primary earthly source in this case. Sometimes through Gabriel, other times directly. When humans refer to primary source, we mean a historical primary source and we refer to humans, not supernatural sources, I’m a bit amazed I had to clarify this for you.

    When looking at the historical record for the core facts surrounding the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus, the evidence is overwhelmingly supportive. As several secular scholars have noted, the crucifixion of Jesus is one of the most well-established facts of ancient history. In fact, the creedal information found in 1 Corinthians 15 is now confidently dated to within the first six months of Jesus’ death – virtually on top of the event itself.

    I’m uncertain as to what “overwhelmingly supportive” evidence you possess, you’d have to qualify that information for us. As several secular scholars today, and then also argue, many don’t believe Jesus existed, or that the Virgin Birth even occurred, if you’re going to appeal to them as an authority you need to qualify your standards. Any “creedal” information dated to that early is not based on any physical or extant evidence which can be objectively studied, these are theoretical datings based on theoretical analyses. Most tend to appeal to a kerygma we frankly know nothing about and which we have literally no evidence of and is known in scholarship as the “quiet or silent period”.

    For Islam to be false, one does not even need to demonstrate the truth of the resurrection. One simply has to show that Jesus was crucified. Anyone who looks at the historical data objectively will reject the crucifixion only on pain of irrationality.

    Islam makes the claim that Jesus appeared to be crucified, therefore if anyone shows that Jesus was crucified, then it qualifies the Islamic claim that it indeed appear so. Historically speaking, and objectively speaking, we have testimony from the Panarion of Epiphanius, through Basilides that the disciple Mattew informed him that Jesus himself was not crucified, the Nag Hammadi scrolls record that a “Didymus/ Twin” who resembled Christ was crucified. There are lots of historical sources that qualify the Islamic belief from early Christian sources, moreso than we have of what the proto-orthodox account you promote states.

    2. I look forward to reading what Leon Vaganay has said. Regardless, the large number of New Testament historians (credentialed scholars, both religious and non-religious) say that we have recovered the text of the original autographs to within 96-99% accuracy. The remaining 1-3% does not appear to affect any major doctrines.

    We have no autographs and we can’t know what the autographs look like unless we have an…………authograph. What we possess are vorlage archetypal texts with which we today can decide which variants between them with a 90% accuracy or so is more preferable than other variants. If not, we use conjectural emendation when the variants seem at odds and can’t be ascertained. The variants in the text to apply to major doctrines, in a previous comment to @Mansubzero, I’ve listed several forms of them and I can explain a few. For example, one such variant is the addition of John 1 by a later scribe according to Rudolf Bultmann in his philological analysis of the text, qualified in the Continental/ Hermeneia Commentary Series via Logos which I’ve published on this site, which you are free to consult if the need be. As such, given that John 1 is of major Christological importance, it’s place as an interpolation to the Johannine work is a significant variant which actively affects doctrine.

    Your observation that patristic citations are not generally used to determine variant usage is simply irrelevant, since we’re discussing evidence for the autographs. The patristic citations have been a helpful part of the textual criticism that has yielded that information.

    This statement of yours makes absolutely no sense. Variant usage through stemmatics allows us to determine what the vorlage archetypal text would have looked like or which variant was more preferable, by arguing and dismissing this, you’re essentially saying you have no idea what you’re talking about. Please explain your final sentence, how are they helpful, if they are not generally used to determine variant usage? That’s a contradiction and hilariously inane, inept and insipid statement to make.

    3. The Ecumenical Councils, while helpful in spelling out certain orthodox positions, were not inspired, inerrant, or infallible. We are not bound by their decisions. Therefore, when the evidence contradicts their conclusions, one is rationally (and I would say divinely obliged) to reject them.

    That is awesome, Nicaea in favour of Rimini Seleucia which had 500 more Bishops and deemed the Athanasian Creed heretical, leading to his exile or not?

  • @DefendChrist,

    We have Qur’anic manuscripts which pre-date Uthman and as such the myth of the Uthmanic rescension has been duly dismissed. What was burnt were manuscripts which could not be rubbed or washed to be rewritten using the orthography of that time.

    We know what was burnt due to Islamic tradition, which I’ve explained above.

    Burning uncontrolled orthographic and vernacular transcriptions is well within the control and authorized dispersion of scripture, as opposed to uncontrolled dissemination in which any variant can then become part of the official scripture, as is the case with the New Testament.

    We know it’s correct given Dr. Atikulac’s recent analysis and Dr. Sadeghi’s, Dr. Goudarzi’s, Dr. Bergmann’s, and Dr. Cook’s analysis, my paper on this should be out soon, God willing.

  • “When looking at the historical record for the core facts surrounding the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus, the evidence is overwhelmingly supportive. As several secular scholars have noted, the crucifixion of Jesus is one of the most well-established facts of ancient history. In fact, the creedal information found in 1 Corinthians 15 is now confi
    dently dated to within the first six months of Jesus’ death – virtually on top of the event itself.

    I’m uncertain as to what “overwhelmingly supportive” evidence you possess, you’d have to qualify that information for us. As several secular scholars today, and then also argue, many don’t believe Jesus existed, or that the Virgin Birth even occurred, if you’re going to appeal to them as an authority you need to qualify your standards. Any “creedal” information dated to that early is not based on any physical or extant evidence which can be objectively studied, these are theoretical datings based on theoretical analyses. Most tend to appeal to a kerygma we frankly know nothing about and which we have literally no evidence of and is known in scholarship as the “quiet or silent period”.

    i don’t know ijaz if you have read this article

    https://adversusapologetica.wordpress.com/2014/04/20/review-of-doubting-jesus-resurrection-what-happened-in-the-black-box/

    the creedal information is available some 100 + years later in writing form, how much did it change orally before it was written? note that the information available supports visions WITHOUT time and location , these all seem like ghostly visions. maybe this was the spirit of the devil ? note how a wounded flesh god and empty tomb is missing from christianities main foundation?

  • “KJV Codex? Do you mean the KJV translation?”

    That is very revealing and my assumption was correct. If you see the original post you will notice the rhetorical question you asked, “Can you tell me which New Testament you believe in?” One of your own answers was the KJV Codex (your words). You also referenced the TR. Hence i asked what the difference was because there is no such thing as a KJV Codex! Clealry you understand this now.

    You original argument confounded canon, codex and translation into one. That must have been while you were still at high school, right? Time for an update i think.

  • That was quite a while ago, a bit over two years. I’m not sure what I was thinking when I wrote that. I suppose I meant translation, but my mind must have been elsewhere at the time, I usually throw a few canons and codices into the mix and KJV must have crept in somewhere along the line.

    Seems like a pretty stupid mistake to me, I’m laughing at how dumb I must’ve been to write that. Thanks for pointing it out, I’ll correct it and credit you with bringing awareness to the error.

    Good night.

  • “6000 differences of note, especially in regard to the Mitzvot and the Shali’ah, and you don’t think they affect any doctrines?”

    I think we all know that out of those “6000 differences of note”, only a tiny percentage actually pertains to doctrine. If you would like to cite a particular one, then we might have an interesting conversation. Regarding the Mitzvot and the Shali’ah, you remain very ambiguous, so I’ll wait to respond until you specify why you think essential doctrines have been affected (By “essential,” I mean doctrines necessary for salvation).

    “If we’re going by the primary text then Yeshayahu 9:5/6 clearly uses “has been born” and “has been given”. Both are in past tense. What does that say? As opposed to the English rendition of future perfect, “will be born” and “will be forgiven”.”

    This illustrates my point perfectly. You note that in the primary text, the phrase is in the past tense, but that it has been incorrectly translated into the future perfect. So, what’s the problem? The primary text on this passage agrees in the original language across more than 1000 years of transmission. This renders your point regarding English translation irrelevant, since it’s the originals in Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic with which we are concerned, not the English.

    But, of course, even the English translation can be reconciled. The past tense can be used figuratively to refer retrospectively when used in prophecy – as if that which has already been predicted has come to pass, since God’s proclaiming it assures its accomplishment. And the chapter is obviously looking forward to a future event, as indicated in the first verse and the context of the rest of the passage. Solid hermeneutics resolves any perceived ambiguity, at least as far as Yeshayahu 9:5/6 is concerned.

    Have the Judeo-Christian scriptures gone through the normal process of transmission as all other books? Yes. There have been all sorts of scribal errors, interpolations, mistranslations, and perhaps even factual errors. What does all of this mean? Does it mean that everything in the Bible is untrustworthy? No. Does it mean that Jesus was not crucified, buried, and raised again? No.

    Here, I think we must address the meta-issue with your post, which is your concept of “scripture.” For a Muslim, Scripture is direct revelation (not inspired) from God that is perfectly preserved, inerrant, infallible. Of course, the word “Scripture” just means “writing.” For the Christian, this does not necessarily mean dictated by God, but rather implies a more synergistic process in which God sometimes places men in a position in which he knows they will freely write the information that he wants transmitted and at other times gives them words directly.

    As you probably know, Christian salvation relies on certain essential doctrines, of which the inerrancy and infallibility of scripture is not one. It was not taught by Jesus. It was not taught by the apostles. It was not taught by the early church fathers. It was not even taught by the Reformers.

    So, the question for Christians is not whether the Bible is inerrant, infallible, or uncorrupted. For us, Scripture is merely that which was inspired through either direct revelation or through the synergistic process mentioned above. Some believe it is inerrant and infallible. Some do not. The question is whether our essential doctrines for salvation are grounded on sufficiently reliable historical evidence. The answer to that question is “Yes.” This is a much more modest conception of Scripture than the unfortunately impossible one borne by the Muslim.

    You asked what the “overwhelmingly supportive” evidence is for the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus (notice I never argued that the virgin birth is supportable via historical investigation). The crucifixion is supported by the majority of the criterion of authenticity used by professional New Testament historians:
    1. Multiple, independent, early attestation
    2. Embarrassment
    3. Historical congruence
    4. Semitisms

    Unfortunately, Muslims are forced theologically to deny the overwhelming evidence and conclude that the best historical sources are simply wrong regarding the crucifixion. But, then, they have left the realm of academia.

    You also insist that several secular scholars insist that Jesus never existed. Since we both reject the claim that Jesus never existed, their claims are irrelevant. Additionally, 99.99% of historians at accredited institutions do believe that Jesus existed based on application of the standard criteria of authenticity to the best sources.

    Your requirement that we have “physical or extant evidence” for the dating of creedal information is strange. Historical studies yield conclusions all the time based on secondary, tertiary, and even further removed sources based on the criteria of authenticity. That is one of the great benefits of textual criticism – high degrees of confidence can be reached without having the autographs. Unfortunately, these same standards make confirmation of the original written Qur’an very difficult, since few pre-Uthmanic manuscripts remain and the ones that do show variation. At best, I think you should be willing to admit that, at least via textual criticism, it is not possible at the moment to conclude with a high degree of confidence that the Qur’an has been perfectly preserved.

    Finally, you ask, “How can you ask the Muslim to accept, what the Christian faith itself cannot decide upon?”

    As a Christian, I do not ask you to decide your faith in Jesus Christ based on agreement of issues of canon, inerrancy, infallibility, etc. Rather, your salvation according to Christianity is based on your belief in the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ, your trust that he died for your sins and that eternal life is through him alone, and your repentance of sins – all of which are teachings supported as reliably historical through application of the standard criteria of authenticity.

  • @Tyson,

    I think we all know that out of those “6000 differences of note”, only a tiny percentage actually pertains to doctrine. If you would like to cite a particular one, then we might have an interesting conversation. Regarding the Mitzvot and the Shali’ah, you remain very ambiguous, so I’ll wait to respond until you specify why you think essential doctrines have been affected (By “essential,” I mean doctrines necessary for salvation).

    I did, see my question to you on LXX’s “Angelos” and DSS’s/ MST’s “El”. I assume you must’ve missed it as you haven’t commented or mentioned it at all in your response.

    This illustrates my point perfectly. You note that in the primary text, the phrase is in the past tense, but that it has been incorrectly translated into the future perfect. So, what’s the problem? The primary text on this passage agrees in the original language across more than 1000 years of transmission. This renders your point regarding English translation irrelevant, since it’s the originals in Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic with which we are concerned, not the English.

    They aren’t originals, they are copies. It’s indeed quite troubling that you agree the primary text has remained the same, but yet find no problem with the emended translation. We must be concerned with the English as you take it as your scripture, unless you relegate them to simply translations? We must remember that a translation is based on one’s understanding of the text, as such if we read into the passage something which is not there, then that’s corruption, no?

    But, of course, even the English translation can be reconciled. The past tense can be used figuratively to refer retrospectively when used in prophecy – as if that which has already been predicted has come to pass, since God’s proclaiming it assures its accomplishment. And the chapter is obviously looking forward to a future event, as indicated in the first verse and the context of the rest of the passage. Solid hermeneutics resolves any perceived ambiguity, at least as far as Yeshayahu 9:5/6 is concerned.

    Taken word for word from the NET Bible’s commentary. It’s not a prophecy given that the Hebrew mentions “but now he brings honor”, in the present tense, which in the Christians translations is rendered as “he will bring power”, along with the emended translations of, “will be born” and “will be given”. The text is in the present in verse 1, then past tense in verse 6. Therefore “retrospective prophecy” is a figment of imagination based on an emended English rendition for prophetic purposes and is not based on the text in and of themselves.

    Have the Judeo-Christian scriptures gone through the normal process of transmission as all other books? Yes. There have been all sorts of scribal errors, interpolations, mistranslations, and perhaps even factual errors. What does all of this mean? Does it mean that everything in the Bible is untrustworthy? No. Does it mean that Jesus was not crucified, buried, and raised again? No.

    You’re reducing the changes to lapsus calami, we’re not. I mentioned a variety of categories of intentional changes, one of which was doctrinal changes. Does it mean everything in the Bible is not trustworthy? No, that would be being overly pedantic, but it does mean we need to be skeptical of what it says. Does it means Jesus’ crucifixion, burying and rising is fake? No, but it does not add to it’s authenticity of those accounts, it detracts from them and weakens them, renders them unreliable.

    Here, I think we must address the meta-issue with your post, which is your concept of “scripture.” For a Muslim, Scripture is direct revelation (not inspired) from God that is perfectly preserved, inerrant, infallible. Of course, the word “Scripture” just means “writing.” For the Christian, this does not necessarily mean dictated by God, but rather implies a more synergistic process in which God sometimes places men in a position in which he knows they will freely write the information that he wants transmitted and at other times gives them words directly.

    Nothing in my post suggests the Christian doctrine of inspiration is misunderstood by me. This is more a strawman than anything else. It’s difficult to call these writings inspired given 2 Corinthians 12:7.

    As you probably know, Christian salvation relies on certain essential doctrines, of which the inerrancy and infallibility of scripture is not one. It was not taught by Jesus. It was not taught by the apostles. It was not taught by the early church fathers. It was not even taught by the Reformers.

    Neither was a New Testament taught by Jesus or his disciples. If scripture is errant and fallible, how can we trust what it says or believe them to be reliable?

    So, the question for Christians is not whether the Bible is inerrant, infallible, or uncorrupted. For us, Scripture is merely that which was inspired through either direct revelation or through the synergistic process mentioned above. Some believe it is inerrant and infallible. Some do not. The question is whether our essential doctrines for salvation are grounded on sufficiently reliable historical evidence. The answer to that question is “Yes.” This is a much more modest conception of Scripture than the unfortunately impossible one borne by the Muslim.

    You’re saying to us that we should trust the witness of a book on doctrines developed from it, when the source itself is errant and fallible, that isn’t a very good argument. If your doctrines are based on errant and fallible works, regardless of what doctrines you promote, they as you admit are not based on an authentic, valid, consistent source which makes those doctrines errant and fallible.

    You asked what the “overwhelmingly supportive” evidence is for the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus (notice I never argued that the virgin birth is supportable via historical investigation). The crucifixion is supported by the majority of the criterion of authenticity used by professional New Testament historians:

    1. Multiple, independent, early attestation
    2. Embarrassment
    3. Historical congruence
    4. Semitisms

    How is any of this overwhelming support? We don’t have any early attestation. We have conflicting witnesses, none of which are independent. Heck, many historians have related that Josephus’ account was emended by Christians. The criteria of embarrassment by evangelical inerrantists does not negate the lack of evidences and is a construct developed to minimize the blatant lack of witnesses. There is no congruence given the contradicting reports and differences.

    Unfortunately, Muslims are forced theologically to deny the overwhelming evidence and conclude that the best historical sources are simply wrong regarding the crucifixion. But, then, they have left the realm of academia.

    We deny them based on their lack of historicity. Nothing you have provided is evidential of your claims, they are categorizations of the evidences, not evidence in and of themselves. We have no historical sources on the crucifixion, if you do, please present them for me. Simply because they disagree with your theological constructs, it does not mean they’ve left the real of academia, that’s just dishonest argumentation and cognitive bias on your part if anything.

    You also insist that several secular scholars insist that Jesus never existed. Since we both reject the claim that Jesus never existed, their claims are irrelevant. Additionally, 99.99% of historians at accredited institutions do believe that Jesus existed based on application of the standard criteria of authenticity to the best sources.

    It does not matter what I reject or accept, what matters is, if you’re going to appeal to them, then it means their claims are relevant. Can you cite your claim that the figure is 99%, or is that merely an exaggeration which you cannot qualify nor substantiate?

    Your requirement that we have “physical or extant evidence” for the dating of creedal information is strange. Historical studies yield conclusions all the time based on secondary, tertiary, and even further removed sources based on the criteria of authenticity. That is one of the great benefits of textual criticism – high degrees of confidence can be reached without having the autographs.

    One of those criterias to establish authenticity is to find the resources contemporary to that time, before harmonizations, emendations and doctrinal developments. So, on what basis is that strange? Second, tertiary evidences are extant evidences, this your argument is counter-intuitive if not self defeating. Degrees of confidence in the copies, not in the absent archetypes or autographs. You can’t know what the original looked like if we don’t have the originals, other than that it is guesswork.

    Unfortunately, these same standards make confirmation of the original written Qur’an very difficult, since few pre-Uthmanic manuscripts remain and the ones that do show variation. At best, I think you should be willing to admit that, at least via textual criticism, it is not possible at the moment to conclude with a high degree of confidence that the Qur’an has been perfectly preserved.

    These same standards are what we’ve used to validate and authenticate the Qur’an. The Sana’aa palimpsest is pre-Uthmanic and is not a “few”, it’s actually quite a lot of leaves. They show variation in orthography, which is natural given that the Qur’an was the first Arabic book to be transcribed throughout all of Arabia. Using textual criticism, it is possible and we do accept that the Qur’an has been perfectly preserved. Atleast Dr. Cook, Dr. Sadeghi, Dr. Atikulac and Dr. Deroche believe so.

    Finally, you ask, “How can you ask the Muslim to accept, what the Christian faith itself cannot decide upon?”

    As a Christian, I do not ask you to decide your faith in Jesus Christ based on agreement of issues of canon, inerrancy, infallibility, etc. Rather, your salvation according to Christianity is based on your belief in the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ, your trust that he died for your sins and that eternal life is through him alone, and your repentance of sins – all of which are teachings supported as reliably historical through application of the standard criteria of authenticity.

    You say we don’t need to rely our faith in Christ upon scripture. Yet you appeal to the claims in the New Testament and the information extracted from them to qualify your beliefs. That’s a contradiction, non-sequitur thinking. None of those teachings are supported by any historical evidences, none of which can be validated through a standard criteria of authenticity. You keep mentioning you have all of these evidences, but you haven’t mentioned any of them. Hope you can provide them in your next reply. You also keep claiming you have a sustainable historical criteria to authenticate your beliefs about Christ, can you elaborate and give evidences in regard to your claims? Thanks.

  • quote:

    “דבר”. Look up these three consonants in a Hebrew lexicon and count the different meanings this word has with vowel pointing. Then consider reading the text un-pointed as with Paleo-Hebrew. “דבר” has at least five different meaning; three in one etymology group and two in another.

    late translations:

    John W. Wevers in his Notes on the Greek Text of
    Numbers Society of Biblical Literature, 1998:

    “The Greek translation of Number is without a doubt by far the weakest volume of the Greek Pentateuch. What makes work on the book so frustrating is that side by side one can find gross failures to follow ordinary rules of grammar, i.e. of apparent incompetence, as well as acute and even subtle distinctions betraying an active mind engaged in the interpretation of sacred scripture, ready not only to clarify obscure passages, but even to correct what might appear to be factual errors or contradiction within the text.” (p.ix)

    the christian wrote:

    “This illustrates my point perfectly. You note that in the primary text, the phrase is in the past tense, but that it has been incorrectly translated into the future perfect. So, what’s the problem? The primary text on this passage agrees in the original language across more than 1000 years of transmission. This renders your point regarding English translation irrelevant, since it’s the originals in Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic with which we are concerned, not the English.”

    you wrote:

    We must remember that a translation is based on one’s understanding of the text, as such if we read into the passage something which is not there, then that’s corruption, no?

    how do we know the qere (makrooun) is not corrupting the ketiv (maktoobun) ?

    i quote:

    quote:

    “דבר”. Look up these three consonants in a Hebrew lexicon and count the different meanings this word has with vowel pointing. Then consider reading the text un-pointed as with Paleo-Hebrew. “דבר” has at least five different meaning; three in one etymology group and two in another.

    we don’t have any chains of transmission going back to the time isaiah was written
    we don’t have jewish works written in the time of isaiah to tell us how words in isaiah were used.
    so we have a problem.

  • Narrated Ubaidullah bin Abdullah bin Utba: Ibn Abbas said, “O Muslims? How do you ask the people of the scriptures, though your Book (i.e. the Quran) which was revealed to His Prophet is the most recent information from Allah and you recite it, the Book that has not been distorted? Allah has revealed to you that the people of the scriptures have changed with their own hands what was revealed to them and they have said (as regards their changed scriptures): This is from Allah, in order to get some worldly benefit thereby.” Ibn Abbas added: “Isn’t the knowledge revealed to you sufficient to prevent you from asking them? By Allah I have never seen any one of them asking (Muslims) about what has been revealed to you.” (Sahih Bukhari Book #48, Hadith #850)
    .

  • After the new edition of any book,the previous edition is not usually considered.

  • http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/questionsmary.html first of all it doesn’t seem that Paul or mark were embarrassed writing about murdered messiah. Secondly if criteria of embarrassment is a good way to know that something physically took place , then christians presevered a story where Jesus eat his own ejaculate. Story to be found in the link.