Tag Archives: new testament textual criticism

The Inscriptio of the Gospel Attributed to Matthew

For many Christians the authorial identity behind the first Gospel (as per the Augustinian order), commonly attributed to Matthew usually appears to be a matter of little or no concern. This is in part due to the inscriptio of the Gospel itself as is found in most modern translations of the New Testament. Without this inscriptio, the first mention of the name Matthew appears in Matthew 9:9. While at first this may not seem like an issue of note, a critical examination of the inscriptio with respect to its inception, and eventual adoption and evolution can give us deep insight into the perception of this document by those contemporaneous to its creation and development.

Who was authorship ascribed to, if anyone at all in the manuscript tradition? Was it considered to be scripture from inception? How has the use of the inscriptio in today’s modern translations affected the belief that an individual identified as Matthew did indeed write the first Gospel?

For those who would prefer to download the document or access it through other means, here are some alternative options:

This is the first article in a series of articles that will cover the New Testament and the Qur’an in light of textual criticism.

and Allah knows best.


Missionary Mishap: Made Up Sources

This Missionary Mishap is quite hilarious. A polemicist became quite angry at one of my posts on Facebook regarding New Testament Textual Criticism. In my dialogue with Dr. White (1, 2, 3) I mentioned several sources for my research and arguments regarding the variant units of John 9:38 and John 20:28. One polemicist, a Kelly Melissa Mullen however, found me on Facebook and for some reason or the other, felt the need to tell me what sources I used, that I had copied my arguments from Dr. Ehrman and from some obscure book written more than a decade ago:


After having made it clear over 20 times that neither Dr. Ehrman nor the aforementioned author in her comment were my sources, she continued to insist that they must have been. Why is that? Well she explains herself as follows:


She thinks because my argument is similar and found elsewhere, despite earlier claiming it was an argument no other textual critic had used, she insisted that it must have come from Dr. Ehrman who is a textual critic. So in her mind, her logic flows as follows:

  • Ijaz has made claims that no other textual critic has made.
  • Dr. Ehrman who is a textual critic made a similar claim.
  • Therefore Ijaz made a claim that no other textual critic made, even though she argues my source was a textual critic, that of Dr. Ehrman.

The cognitive dissonance is palpable to the point that the Chinese government would warn you from going stepping into her home. To her, I made a claim no other textual critic would make, but my alleged source is a textual critic. Quite brilliant. She then had the audacity to tell me over 13 times that Dr. Ehrman must have been my source. Must have. I simply told her to watch my videos on the topic, I named several sources, none of which were Dr. Ehrman. So why did she claim him to be the source? Oh, because he may have said something similar to what I said. Unfortunately for her she was not familiar with the concept that correlation does not imply causation. I actually pointed this out to her:


I ended the conversation with her, because she continued to insist that she knows better than I do, what sources I did use. A dialogue by definition involves two or more people (that’s what the di in dialogue implies), but to her, my own words about my own sources did not matter. What she assumed my sources to have been, must necessarily have been my sources. She was in effect having a soliloquy, something I mentioned to her.

She argued that she wanted to continue the “dialogue” with me, but the question begs itself, if you reject what the other person says, with your imagined conclusions, then where is the di in dialogue?

and God knows best.

Clarification by Wallace on Using Patristic Witnesses to Re-Construct the New Testament

Many evangelical Christian apologists use an argument attributed to the Executive Director of the Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts, which goes as follows:

We can almost completely restore the New Testament off of the early church fathers alone.

This argument posits that based on the writings of the early Church Fathers (Patristics), in their quotations, we can use those quotations of the New Testament to reconstruct the entire New Testament. However, as Dr. Dan Wallace clarifies, this is not a claim he makes, and he specifically qualifies that although such a reconstruction can be done, it cannot be done using the early Patristics:


As Dr. Ehrman points out, this cannot be done using the early Patristic writings (1st to 3rd centuries). Unfortunately, this is quite a popular argument used by Christian apologists, and it’s long overdue that either Dr. Wallace or Dr. Ehrman corrected lay Christians on their use and abuse of alleged arguments by scholars.

and God knows best.