Thursday, January 15, 2009

The Bible, the Qur'an, and the Impact of Textual Change

As we've seen in recent posts, the text of the New Testament is on much firmer ground than the text of the Qur'an. While Christians in the third century had temporary disagreements on minor books of the New Testament (e.g. 3 John), we find disagreements among Muhammad's closest followers as to which books should be included in the Qur'an. Moreover, we find that individual verses, sections of Surahs, and entire Surahs are missing from the Qur'an. Beyond this, when Christians are confronted with textual variants, we are able to investigate these variants using the principles of textual criticism, along with our manuscript tradition. Muslims, on the other hand, systematically destroyed their manuscript tradition, which means that textual critics can't investigate the significant variants at all. Further, as Nabeel pointed out, universal corruption of the Qur'an was possible, since all copies of the Qur'an were at one point in the hands of Uthman. That is, at one point in Islamic history, a human being had the power to make changes in all future editions of the Qur'an. Universal corruption was never possible in Christianity, however, since no Christian ever had all manuscripts of the New Testament.

Thus, Muslims who claim that the textual transmission of the New Testament is somehow inferior to that of the Qur'an simply don't know what they're talking about. Nevertheless, there is an even more important point here, which Nabeel alluded to in his last post. Textual variants don't have the same implications in Christianity as they do in Islam. Allow me to explain.

The core of the Christian message is the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The Gospel is primarily a message about Jesus' death, resurrection, and deity. Notice, however, that all three of these issues are a matter of historical investigation. Jesus' death by crucifixion was a historical event. His resurrection from the dead was a historical event. His claims to divinity were historical events. The core of Christianity, then, is open to historical investigation. Even more significant is the fact that this core of Christianity is independent of whether the New Testament was perfectly preserved or even inspired. To put the matter differently, Christianity is true if certain historical events occurred. To know that these events occurred, we need reliable records of what happened in the first century. To know that Christianity is true, then, we simply need to know that the New Testament is historically reliable when it reports Jesus' death, resurrection appearances, and claims to deity. While Christians still believe in inspiration, it is important that we recognize that inspiration is not essential to this historical core.

So what's the significance of textual variants in Christianity? These variants are only significant if they cast doubt on Jesus' death, resurrection, and deity. Do any textual variants do this? Not at all. I challenge Muslims to find a manuscript that does not present Jesus as the risen Lord. Our manuscripts are completely consistent on the core of Christianity, and we have numerous early witnesses who testify to the historical core of the Christian message. (Note that our belief does not rest on the word of a single person, as in Islam). We may conclude that textual variants do not affect the truth of Christianity.

Is the situation the same in Islam? Hardly. Muhammad claimed that he received the Qur'an from the angel Gabriel. According to Surah 15:9 (supposedly given to Muhammad by Gabriel), God would perfectly preserve the Qur'an. Do Muslim records of missing verses, missing sections of Surahs, and missing Surahs affect the truth of this claim? Absolutely. Does the fact that Muhammad's most reliable followers couldn't even agree on the correct number of Surahs affect this claim? Absolutely. Does the fact that Aisha's goat ate the Verse of Stoning and the Verse of Suckling affect this claim? Absolutely.

Thus, textual variants falsify Surah 15:9, and this shows that Muhammad did not receive this verse from God. And if Muhammad did not receive this verse from God, why should we believe that he received any of the Qur'an from God? When we add to all of this the fact that Muhammad claimed, on at least one occasion, that he had delivered a revelation from the devil, that his first impression of his revelations was that they were demonic in origin, and that he was admittedly the victim of black magic, do we have a problem here? Undoubtedly.

To show that Christianity is false, Muslims need to show that the core of the Christian Gospel was completely corrupted, and they just can't do this. To show that Islam is false, Christians simply need to show that Allah didn't perfectly preserve the Qur'an, and what could be easier than this? Of course, Muslims will continue, in spite of the evidence, to proclaim that the Qur'an has been perfectly preserved, just as they will continue, in spite of the evidence, to proclaim that Jesus never died on the cross, rose from the dead, or claimed to be divine. But this simply shows that Muslims have very little concern for truth. The facts speak for themselves.

57 comments:

Nabeel Qureshi said...

This was a major issue for me when I was still a Muslim and investigating Christianity. I realized that the core of Christianity was comprised of historical claims that were investigable. If these claims were true, then Christianity would be true. On the flip side, Islam had a core that was based on the testimony of one man and his book. The best I could do to investigate it was to determine if that man was from God and if his book was divinely inspired.

Though neither of those two measures to investigate Islam can be considered entirely historical or objective, it takes serious entrenchment in circular reasoning and poor historical investigation to conclude in favor of Islam. Thus, the case for Christianity towers over the case for Islam.

Hogan Elijah Hagbard said...

This has been one of the most revolutionary discoveries in my studies as well.

Anonymous said...

(1) All variances in NT-manuscripts are due to dialect (some dialects are subjects to abstract objects, they differ in spelling of certain words) or additional revelations from God.
(2) When a scribe made an interpolation, it was because it was revealed to him that way, when it was removed, it was abrogated.
(3) God can play stupid games with scripture.
(3) Therefore, all so-called "variance" in the bible are superficial.

Exchange "NT" for "Quran" and you get islamic apologetics. If muslims don't allow me to use this argument, they are commiting special pleading.

Anonymous said...

Now honestly. When muslims say that God can give new revelations and abrogate verses, why do they complain about the NT?
We can use the same stupid excuse. I can go on to say that Jesus accepts infinitely many dialects to teach his gospel, which differ in spelling and grammar, the message is always the same. If someone disagrees, he's is incorrect.

Sunil said...

>> Islam had a core that was based on the testimony of one man and his book.

God has sent many prophets spread out over hundreds/thousands of years and the people of God staunchly held to God's scriptures. If there is anything wrong with the scriptures so staunchly held, one would expect the prophets to tell that and yet, there is no trace of any people of God ever holding that the scriptures were broken. From all available evidence, prophets and Jesus have affirmed the scriptures and held out the same testimony. While the forward looking element for the Messiah is there for the thousands of years, there is none for Muhammad. To believe in Islam, one has to discard the testimony of all the prophets, all the scriptures of God, all available evidences from history and all moral commandments of God given through history. This is really a impossible belief to hold (both theologically and from evidences).
The continuity of God's witness/message/scriptures is gone with Islam and the combined testimony of the prophets/Jesus is violated. It is his motivated army and the threat of the sword that did it for Muhammad/Islam and even to this day, many muslims are not allowed to listen to criticism and about Jesus and the threat of the sword hangs if anyone wants to even consider better sense to prevail.

Islam2009 said...

David!!!

The prodigal son finally returns..

Welcome back to your own blog, my friend!!

Firstly, thanks for ignoring all the refutations and simply making me chase you round your own blog by starting up the FOURTH thread on this topic in less than a week!

Clearly your failure as a debater on this topic is none more evident than in that fact alone.

Now to dispose of your latest plea, that, unfortunately, was hardly worth the wait...

<< As we've seen in recent posts, the text of the New Testament is on much firmer ground than the text of the Qur'an. >>

lol. Dream on.

<< While Christians in the third century had temporary disagreements on minor books of the New Testament (e.g. 3 John)... >>

Actually it was the 1st century, 2nd century, 3rd century and 4th... But who’s counting?

And what do you mean by a ‘minor book’ when the Bible says that “ALL SCRIPTURE is God breathed”? Where some books only breathed out by a “minor breath” and others by a “big breath”, making them more divine?

And wasnt the Book of Hebrews disputed by your own church fathers? Is that a minor book too?

<< ... when Christians are confronted with textual variants, we are able to investigate these variants using the principles of textual criticism, along with our manuscript tradition. >>

“Investigate” LOL!

And what is the outcome of this “investigation” David?

The outcome is that you Christians have ALWAYS hopelessly disagreed on the words and deeds of Jesus as stated in your so-called ‘word of God’, owing to the fact that every time you trip over an earlier manuscript you are forced to revise and update the so called “Word of God!”.


<< Muslims, on the other hand, systematically destroyed their manuscript tradition, which means that textual critics can't investigate the significant variants at all. Further, as Nabeel pointed out, universal corruption of the Qur'an was possible, since all copies of the Qur'an were at one point in the hands of Uthman. >>>


Its copy/paste time again form the other threads you keep running away from:

<< 1) What did Uthman Burn?? READ THAT SAME HADITH. He burned any MSS that was not in the DIALECT of Qurash to united Muslims on ONE DIALECT.

Now are the other non-Qurashi manuscripts (like Ibn Masuuds) more the word of God than the Qurashi version??? No, because the hadith that your buddy Nabeel posted PROVES from the prophet himself that ALL seven dialects are equally from God.

2) Now Do we KNOW what type of variants uthman destroyed??? YES! From palimpset manuscripts (also courtesy of your Friend Nabeel! He’s so helpful you know... sometimes i wonder whose side he’s on!), that PROVE there were merely paraphrases of the same verse- just as the hadith said they were!

[ hence the fact that none of you have the guts to translate the Fogg variant, because you KNOW how minor it is ]

3) Did all the other companions agree with uthman on this?? YES!...according to David’s and Nabeels favourite source of Ibn Dawood!

4) As Myself and JeeIJoo point out... You seriously want to believe that an eyewitness disciple of Muhammad stabbed him in the back? Then give me a single reason as to why i should not belive that the gospel authors did the same to Jesus. Dont the gospels themselves say they already did many times before?? >>

Perhaps a response this time? Or are you just going to flee to your sixth thread on this topic?

<<< The core of the Christian message is the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The Gospel is primarily a message about Jesus' death, resurrection, and deity. Notice, however, that all three of these issues are a matter of historical investigation. Jesus' death by crucifixion was a historical event. His resurrection from the dead was a historical event. His claims to divinity were historical events. The core of Christianity, then, is open to historical investigation. >>>


And how do we investigate history?

By looking at sources.

What are your sources for the above events? The New Testament manuscripts.

Have the New Testament MSS been preserved? No.

Have they been corrupted to the point where whole verse/passages/books are added deleted? Yes.

Do such variants affect the integrity of what the NT ITSELF says it should be? YES.

Can we therefore take the NT as divine testimony on the above events? NO.

<< So what's the significance of textual variants in Christianity? These variants are only significant if they cast doubt on Jesus' death, resurrection, and deity. >>

Here is where we come to the most desperate piece of concocted salvation theology i have ever seen.

Rather than manufacture your own home-made theology as to how you think the NT text should be regarded David, why don’t you just take it from the lips of your Lord and saviour, and from the breath of the Holy Sprit?

What does the Bible- as opposed to David Wood- actually say about scripture?

It says :

“ALL SCRIPTURE is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness “
(2 Tim 3:16)

Now what does “ALL SCRIPTURE” mean, David? Does it mean “only the bits that talk about the divinity and the resurrection”. Or does it mean “ALL SCRIPURE”?

So your distinction is both bogus and unbiblical.

Secondly, how did JESUS regard scripture?

He said:

“Heaven and earth will pass away,
but my words will never pass away.” (Mrk 13:31)

How do Christians know that Jesus words have ‘never passed away’ when you cant even agree on what his words were? Did Jesus speak the Words in Mark 16? For centuries Christians like you believed he did, but then some Russian guy accidently bumped into Codex Sinaticus that some monks in Egypt were hiding, and you found out he never actually said that after all! So Jesus’ Words ended up “passing away” into a footnote at the bottom of the page, and Chrstians STILL cant make up their minds as to whether that’s the right decision or not!

“not one jot or tittle will pass from the law until fulfilment” (Matt 5:18)

Now did Jesus think the NT text to be inferior to the text of the Torah so that the latter has such a high standard of preservation , but the former does not? Besides, we know from the Dead Sea Scrolls that many a “jot and tittle” disappeared from the law before its supposed ‘fulfilment’. Thus Jesus’ prophesy is wrong in the scripture, so he can’t really be divine now can he?

“Scripture cannot be broken” (John 10:35)

See that David? SCRIPTURE cannot be broken.

Not “only the main juicy bits of my message cannot be broken, but the rest I’m not bothered about!”

In fact Jesus said that in reference to Psalm 82:6.

Now is Psalm 82:6 citing any “core
Jewish/ Old testament doctrine”?

No. Its a small insignificant verse that’s even more “minor” than 3 John (on your scale), yet Jesus STILL affirmed its infallibility.

Obviously Jesus understood something that you don’t, David.

That ALL SCRIPTURE is from God, thus ALL SCRIPTURE must be unbreakable, or else the integrity of that ‘god’ is disproved.

Now if Jesus was so wrong about the preservation of ALL SCRIPTURE- according to HIS OWN STANDARDS- that he himself prophesied, then how can he be divine?

Regards.

OumAmir said...

Ibn said:

"lol. Dream on."

Wow, powerful refutation.

David Wood said...

ISLAM2009 SAID: "David!!! The prodigal son finally returns.. Welcome back to your own blog, my friend!! Firstly, thanks for ignoring all the refutations and simply making me chase you round your own blog by starting up the FOURTH thread on this topic in less than a week! Clearly your failure as a debater on this topic is none more evident than in that fact alone."

Hmmm. David was on a plane on Monday. David then had to prepare his Philosophy of Human Nature lesson for Tuesday, since classes started this week. David was also preparing for a debate this weekend. And yet he returns to find that, since he hasn't responded to the arrogant ramblings and insults of Islam2009, he must be scared of Islam2009's awesome refutations. Does anyone else notice the symptoms of Nadir Ahmed Syndrome? (If your spelling and grammar were worse, someone would accuse you of being Nadir.)

DAVID SAID: "As we've seen in recent posts, the text of the New Testament is on much firmer ground than the text of the Qur'an."

ISLAM2009 SAID: "lol. Dream on."

Hmmm. I'm not sure how to answer such an unimaginably brilliant, incisive, and sophisticated response, so I'll move on to your next one.

DAVID SAID: "While Christians in the third century had temporary disagreements on minor books of the New Testament (e.g. 3 John)..."

ISLAM2009 SAID: "Actually it was the 1st century, 2nd century, 3rd century and 4th... But who’s counting?"

All right, before we move on, we're going to have to deal with this one first. (I know that if I respond to other things, you'll ignore what you've said here.) It's show-and-tell time, Islam2009 (if that is your real name). Show me your evidence for a first century dispute over the books of the New Testament. Don't change the subject. We're sticking to this one until you bring forth your proof or admit that you've lied. (I have to call you out on this one, since you're so fond of calling people liars.)

David Wood said...

Bryant,

Since you live in NYC, do you want to come to a debate on Saturday?

OumAmir said...

David-

That previous post reminds me of the debates that are going to happing in March w/ various Muslim apologists from England. Are there any specifics on that? I'm seriously considering visiting NYC for that reason.

gsan said...

David,

I live in NYC and I would love to attend your debate on Saturday.

David Wood said...

This debate isn't in front of an audience. It's just to get a recording. However, I don't see any reason I can't bring a few people with me. Contact me at wood_apologetics@hotmail.com.

Anonymous said...

That ALL SCRIPTURE is from God, thus ALL SCRIPTURE must be unbreakable, or else the integrity of that ‘god’ is disproved.

But don't you see? It's ok it God makes me fart out an elephant who eats all of the NT manuscripts. It's perfectly fine.

Allow me to explain how this thing looks to me:

A muslim makes an argument and get's a response from a christian, which is followed by a dialogue between the muslim and the christian. They usually go like this:

"The Quran says it's perfectly preserved. And that is true. So you should believe it's from God."
"But there are hadiths which talk about abrogated verses and other things like that."
"Yes, the Quran has abrogated verses, stupid. It's fine for God to abrogate verses. And there are interpolations in the NT."
"But you said it's perfectly preserved. And now you say that there are verses which are abrogated?"
"Yes, makes perfect sense to me. And by the way, you did not answer me on the NT."
"The NT is of no relevance when it comes to the preservation of the Quran. But interpolations in manuscripts do not pose a problem to it's integrity, we can do textual criticism you know."
"How desperate you are. Scripture can not be broken!"
"Interpolations do not break scripture. And for the last time: YOU made the argument that YOUR scripture is PERFECTLY preserved, but say that it has abrogated verses. So the Quran has changed."
"Lol, see how desperate you are?"

Bryant said...

David,

I would love to attend your debate. Thanks for the invite. I look forward to the series in March as well. Who will you be debating?

David Wood said...

Bryant,

Shoot me an email at the address above.

Bryant said...

David,

I sent the E-mail.

victor said...

Greetings!
David,
Muslims can understand why you are doing the running. But where to hide- it’s your own blog! You’re smart enough to dodge & create another thread on the same topic; why not be smart enough to answer the refutations made of your thesis?

**As we've seen in recent posts, the text of the New Testament is on much firmer ground than the text of the Qur'an. **

No, we have seen the contrary. You would also conveniently ignore here the manuscript tradition of your OT. Is it because the earliest surviving text happens to be around 1400years late?

**While Christians in the third century had temporary disagreements on minor books of the New Testament (e.g. 3 John), **

You’re implying that there weren’t any disagreements before the third century for the NT. The question rather is was there any AGREEMENT over what texts makes the NT, pre-third century? Do you have any first century manuscripts to back up your response?

**we find disagreements among Muhammad's closest followers as to which books should be included in the Qur'an.**

Has the Muslim responses been so devastating to you that it made you sleepless and sloppy? Since when did Qur’an become a collection of ‘books’ where there was disagreement over it? If you meant surah’s (and we have accepted your apology) then I personally would like to see some evidence for a start. Do you have under your sleeves any first hand report from Ibn Mas’ud himself who DENIED surah 1 being part of Qur’an? It is ironic isn’t it- that he denied surah 1 as part of the Qur’an and yet had significant number of variants within this very surah! (as indicated by Arthur Jeffrey himself in his Materials..)

**Moreover, we find that individual verses, sections of Surahs, and entire Surahs are missing from the Qur'an. **

Response has already been repeated by islam2009 and jeeijoe.

**Beyond this, when Christians are confronted with textual variants, we are able to investigate these variants using the principles of textual criticism, along with our manuscript tradition. Muslims, on the other hand, systematically destroyed their manuscript tradition, which means that textual critics can't investigate the significant variants at all. **

This is plain ignorance. How on earth was Arthur Jeffrey able to ‘investigate’ these variants? From physical ‘codices’ which are non-existent? What value then Jeffery’s investigation could have? As David says, 'textual critics can't investigate the significant variants at all'. Poor Jeffrey.

**Further, as Nabeel pointed out, universal corruption of the Qur'an was possible, since all copies of the Qur'an were at one point in the hands of Uthman.**

Only by conveniently ignoring the HARD REALITY of Qur’ans transmission through memorization or oral form. Is it rational to postulate such a scenario when the Qur’an has been transmitted through the collective memory of the companions of the Prophet and their students? NO. The Qur’an had been memorized before Uthman and after and the memorized Qur’an has been transmitted in such a way that it is IMPOSSIBLE for it to be universally corrupted. Of course, unless you believe the hearts/memory centres of those thousands of Muslims were in the hands of Uthman.

**That is, at one point in Islamic history, a human being had the power to make changes in all future editions of the Qur'an. **

Again, conveniently ignoring the fact that it wasn’t a human, a ONE man Uthman who has responsible for any so-called change to the Qura’n. What Uthman did as the head of state was to ensure the opposite to what you are suggesting. Uthman did not impose his own, personal mushaf on the ummah, which he could have done. The Qur’an he COMPILED is nothing other than the Qur’an which was transcribed by those faithful companions of the Prophet using primary sources, and which was AGREED UPON by collective CONCENSUS of the same. The same believers /witnesses who received the Qur’an from the Prophet are the same believers/witnesses who AGREED upon this compilation to be the Qur’an taught by the Prophet himself. So, not by one man but rather the whole Muslim community who were primary witnesses to revelation transmitted the current form of the Qur’an. So much for the pathetic one-man,one-witness conspiracy.

**Universal corruption was never possible in Christianity, however, since no Christian ever had all manuscripts of the New Testament.**

On the contrary, corruption occurred universally everywhere the NT was transcribed/copied by the scribes. There are no indications that the scribes had memorized the text, thereby introducing errors after errors and quite frankly freely editing the text as it suited them. Just compare the Byzantine with the Alexandrian type of text, or compare the NT texts compiled in different geographical areas.

**Thus, Muslims who claim that the textual transmission of the New Testament is somehow inferior to that of the Qur'an simply don't know what they're talking about.**

It is becoming obvious who does or who doesn’t.

More to follow later as time permits, God-willing….

THE STUDENT said...

What concerns me iam wondering why David didn't answer Islam2009?

David Wood said...

Victor, I'd love to respond to your exceptionally biased interpretations of the evidence, but I'm not budging until Islam2009 responds. I suspect he's searching for some kind of evidence to support his patently false claim. We'll see what he comes up with. (I also suspect you're trying to bail him out by complaining about a bunch of other issues. It won't work.)

David Wood said...

THE STUDENT,

If you'd bother reading my comments above, you'd see where I answered this. Apart from my comments above, Islam2009 lost all respect when he started calling people a liar, even though he was proven wrong. I haven't even read the comments I'm supposed to respond to.

THE STUDENT said...

But what about the point he made about the Bible?

THE STUDENT said...

See David, because of your debates you have brought me closer to Christ and if some makes a claim about the Bible and it seems that you are not responding it kinda bothers me

David Wood said...

If you think he made a valid point, you'll have to be more specific. What point are you referring to?

As things stand, I've asked him to respond to an obviously false claim he made, because he has a habit of making false claims. If I move on and start addressing numerous points, he's going to pretend he never said it. Thus, feel free to raise any point you're concerned about, and I'll try to answer you. As for Islam2009, he needs to respond before I'm going to take his claims seriously.

THE STUDENT said...

This is what it is: Islam2008 writes
:He said:

“Heaven and earth will pass away,
but my words will never pass away.” (Mrk 13:31)

How do Christians know that Jesus words have ‘never passed away’ when you cant even agree on what his words were? Did Jesus speak the Words in Mark 16? For centuries Christians like you believed he did, but then some Russian guy accidently bumped into Codex Sinaticus that some monks in Egypt were hiding, and you found out he never actually said that after all! So Jesus’ Words ended up “passing away” into a footnote at the bottom of the page, and Chrstians STILL cant make up their minds as to whether that’s the right decision or not!

“not one jot or tittle will pass from the law until fulfilment” (Matt 5:18)

Now did Jesus think the NT text to be inferior to the text of the Torah so that the latter has such a high standard of preservation , but the former does not? Besides, we know from the Dead Sea Scrolls that many a “jot and tittle” disappeared from the law before its supposed ‘fulfilment’. Thus Jesus’ prophesy is wrong in the scripture, so he can’t really be divine now can he?

“Scripture cannot be broken” (John 10:35)

See that David? SCRIPTURE cannot be broken.

Not “only the main juicy bits of my message cannot be broken, but the rest I’m not bothered about!”

In fact Jesus said that in reference to Psalm 82:6.

Now is Psalm 82:6 citing any “core
Jewish/ Old testament doctrine”?

No. Its a small insignificant verse that’s even more “minor” than 3 John (on your scale), yet Jesus STILL affirmed its infallibility.

Obviously Jesus understood something that you don’t, David.

That ALL SCRIPTURE is from God, thus ALL SCRIPTURE must be unbreakable, or else the integrity of that ‘god’ is disproved.

Now if Jesus was so wrong about the preservation of ALL SCRIPTURE- according to HIS OWN STANDARDS- that he himself prophesied, then how can he be divine?

Thats what he wanted you to respond to David

Bryant said...

Islam2009,

Your argumentation is the reason why James White says repeatedly that he has never found a consistent Muslim.

You said:

"Secondly, how did JESUS regard scripture?

He said:

“Heaven and earth will pass away,
but my words will never pass away.” (Mrk 13:31)"

I assume that because you are quoting this verse, you accept it as authentic. However, you fail to realize that this refutes your position as a Muslim. If Jesus predicted that His words would never pass away, but, Muslims believe it did, then doesn't that make Jesus a false prophet? However, I know no Muslim would readily say that Jesus failed His mission as you are saying here.


You said:

“not one jot or tittle will pass from the law until fulfilment” (Matt 5:18)

Now did Jesus think the NT text to be inferior to the text of the Torah so that the latter has such a high standard of preservation , but the former does not?"


I implore all Muslims to please let the ENTIRE New Testament speak for itself. When Jesus spoke those words he was talking about fulfilling the law for believers. What Christians believe is that we in our own sinfulness could never fulfill the requirement of the law(which is perfection), so the Godhead devised a plan from eternity past to fulfill it for us. By dying on the cross. So no "jot or tittle" passing away means that Jesus will fulfill God's standard perfectly.

You said:

“Scripture cannot be broken” (John 10:35)

See that David? SCRIPTURE cannot be broken."

Scripture has NEVER been broken.
Scripture is not a bunch of words on a piece of paper. Scripture is God's message to mankind. What is God's message? Jesus is God, and he died on the cross for your sins.

Jesus Himself said to the Jews "You pour over the scriptures because you think you have eternal life in them, yet they testify of me" (John 5:39)

Scripture is unbroken because God will fulfill His salvific work. Again, the Bible's words may be imperfect, but God's message remains clear. Today is the day of salvation.

THE STUDENT said...

Bryan you wrote :"Scripture is not a bunch of words on a piece of paper. Scripture is God's message to mankind".

So what does ALL SCRIPTURE is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness
(2 Tim 3:16)

So what does this mean ALL SCRIPTURE GOD BREATHED? Doesn't this mean the actual physical Scriptures ?

SO doesn't ISLAM2009 have a point?

THE STUDENT said...

That is why i was hoping that David or somebody could give a good respond to Islam2009, Bryan tried but it seems like he kinda fell short

Even though I'm Christian if a Muslim gives a good point i don't mind admitting

Bryant said...

The student,

You don't understand the Christian doctrine of inspiration. The belief is that God the Holy spirit superintended the works of men without overruling their specific styles. The scriptures are the work of God and men to transmit God's message. The scripture is the message of God in different contexts.

In order for Islam2009 to have a point he must provide us with a manuscript that has a corruption of God's MESSAGE. There is no manuscript variant which takes away from any meaning doctrine. All of God's message has been preserved.

THE STUDENT said...

Bryan you wrote: "Again, the Bible's words may be imperfect, but God's message remains clear".

what did you mean by that?, were you saying that statement cause Islam2009 had a good point to regards the physical scriptures?

Bryant said...

THE STUDENT said:

"what did you mean by that?, were you saying that statement cause Islam2009 had a good point to regards the physical scriptures?"

No. What I meant was that the literal words of the bible may have not been perfectly preserved, but the message of God has. The message is what is important. Again, there is no textual variant which causes us to doubt any doctrine. God's message remains preserved.

David Wood said...

Ah well, here we go. I'm going to respond to Islam2009, and he's going to ignore the fact that he deliberately misrepresented the facts (despite the fact that he calls other people "liar"). It seems there's nothing I can do when a Muslim makes things up, and Muslims certainly aren't going to call him to account. So here goes.

ISLAM2009 SAID: “Heaven and earth will pass away,
but my words will never pass away.” (Mrk 13:31)

How do Christians know that Jesus words have ‘never passed away’ when you cant even agree on what his words were? Did Jesus speak the Words in Mark 16? For centuries Christians like you believed he did, but then some Russian guy accidently bumped into Codex Sinaticus that some monks in Egypt were hiding, and you found out he never actually said that after all! So Jesus’ Words ended up “passing away” into a footnote at the bottom of the page, and Chrstians STILL cant make up their minds as to whether that’s the right decision or not!


It's clear that Islam2009 is totally misinterpreting Jesus' words here. Did Jesus mean that everything He ever said would be written down, and that these words would all be perfectly preserved? Certainly not. If that were the case, we would need to have every single word He ever spoke (beginning with the Words which, according to the Qur'an, He spoke in the cradle!). So I ask again, did Jesus mean that all of His words would be recorded and perfectly preserved? Muslims would have to be quite desperate to answer yes. So what did Jesus mean here? He meant that when he says something is going to happen, it's going to happen. One can see this quite clearly by reading the passage in context:

"At that time men will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory. And he will send his angels and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of the heavens. Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near. Even so, when you see these things happening, you know that it is near, right at the door. I tell you the truth, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away." (Mark 13:26-31)

If Islam2009 wants to prove his point, distorting Jesus' words isn't the best way to go.

ISLAM2009 SAID: “not one jot or tittle will pass from the law until fulfilment” (Matt 5:18)

Now did Jesus think the NT text to be inferior to the text of the Torah so that the latter has such a high standard of preservation , but the former does not? Besides, we know from the Dead Sea Scrolls that many a “jot and tittle” disappeared from the law before its supposed ‘fulfilment’. Thus Jesus’ prophesy is wrong in the scripture, so he can’t really be divine now can he?


So here (according to Islam2009), Jesus means that there will be no textual variants. I can't believe I'm even responding to such an absurd interpretation. Here Jesus means the same thing as in Mark 13. When God delivers a message, His purpose is going to be fulfilled. Read the rest of the chapter if you want to know what Jesus is talking about. In Matthew 5, Jesus tells people that they are to follow certain new teachings. The natural response of His listeners would have been: "He's abolishing the Law!" Jesus preempts this response by saying that none of God's law would pass away without being fulfilled. The Gospel was the fulfillment of the Law. This has nothing to do with textual transmission.

To put the matter differently, let Islam2009 show me where a jot or tittle of the law passed away without being fulfilled, and I will think he has a point (though it would have nothing to do with my argument in this post). What's clear here is that Jesus isn't talking about textual variants.

ISLAM2009 SAID: “Scripture cannot be broken” (John 10:35)

See that David? SCRIPTURE cannot be broken.

Not “only the main juicy bits of my message cannot be broken, but the rest I’m not bothered about!”

In fact Jesus said that in reference to Psalm 82:6.

Now is Psalm 82:6 citing any “core
Jewish/ Old testament doctrine”?

No. Its a small insignificant verse that’s even more “minor” than 3 John (on your scale), yet Jesus STILL affirmed its infallibility.

Obviously Jesus understood something that you don’t, David.

That ALL SCRIPTURE is from God, thus ALL SCRIPTURE must be unbreakable, or else the integrity of that ‘god’ is disproved.

Now if Jesus was so wrong about the preservation of ALL SCRIPTURE- according to HIS OWN STANDARDS- that he himself prophesied, then how can he be divine?


I'm noticing a pattern here. It seems the Muslim method is: Misrepresent what Jesus says, then build an argument on the misrepresentation. In this passage, Jesus obviously isn't referring to textual variants. He's saying that Psalm 82:6 is the Word of God, and that the Word of God is true. If I were to say, "John 3:16 says that God loves everyone, and the Scripture can't be broken," would Islam2009 interpret this to mean that I am denying the existence of textual variants in the New Testament? This would be a long way from what I would mean.

Just to review, whatever Jesus said will come to pass will come to pass. His words will never pass away. When God gives a revelation, the purpose of that revelation will be fulfilled. Psalm 82:6 is the Word of God, and the Word of God cannot be broken. I'm not sure how anyone could ever read any of this as claims about textual variants.

I find it interesting, however, that Islam2009 is so desperate to attack Christianity that he doesn't mind attacking Islam in the process. He says: "That ALL SCRIPTURE is from God, thus ALL SCRIPTURE must be unbreakable, or else the integrity of that ‘god’ is disproved."

Hence, according to Islam2009, if a god delivers a revelation, and that revelation is corrupted in any way, the god is false. According to Muslims, Allah delivered the Torah and the Injeel, and the Torah and the Injeel have been corrupted. Hence, according to Islam2009, Allah is a false god.

Now that Islam has been refuted by Islam2009, we may ask whether his argument refutes Christianity. Do I believe that the scripture has been corrupted (as Muslims believe)? Not at all. God delivered His message (the Gospel) and He has protected it. God inspired the New Testament, and the New Testament has been accurately preserved. Are there textual variants? Of course, but this has nothing to do with inspiration or with the Gospel. To claim otherwise is to exhibit pure, unadulterated desperation.

On a completely different note, the Muslims here have completely missed my point. Suppose Jesus never even spoke the words in Mark 13. Suppose He never spoke the words about Psalm 82:6. Suppose those parts of the New Testament have been corrupted. (They haven't been corrupted, but I'm trying to make my point more clear.) Suppose Jesus never spoke the words in Matthew 5. Would this mean that Christianity is false? No. The only way Christianity could be false is if Jesus never died, never rose from the dead, or never claimed to be divine. So my point still stands: Neither textual corruption nor textual variants falsify Christianity, unless the textual corruption is so great that the Gospel has been completely obliterated. There's no evidence, anywhere, ever, that the Gospel has been so radically altered.

Now, Islam2009, please show me the 1st century dispute about the New Testament.

THE STUDENT said...

Bryant writes: "There is no manuscript variant which takes away from any meaning doctrine"

But yes there is,
What about the passage addition in Mark? If 2Timothy3:16 says: ALL SCRIPTURE is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness than that statement is false because of the addition to Mark so all scripture isn't God breathe right?

THE STUDENT said...

GOOD JOB DAVID!!!!, THAT THE DAVID WOOD I AM USE TO!!! GOOD RESPOND!!!!! YOU THE BEST DAVID AND MAY GOD BLESS EVERYTHING YOU DO!!!!!!!!!!!

David Wood said...

I really don't see what's not clear about my claim. It seems to be clear to everyone accept the Muslims. It's a very simple point. But let's consider THE STUDENT'S comment:

THE STUDENT SAID: So what does ALL SCRIPTURE is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness (2 Tim 3:16) So what does this mean ALL SCRIPTURE GOD BREATHED? Doesn't this mean the actual physical Scriptures?

Let's review here. I believe that the New Testament was inspired by God. I believe that Paul wrote these words in 2 Timothy. The question I raised in this post is whether textual variants, disagreements over books of the NT, etc., pose problems for the Gospel, and my answer is no.

Here's a completely new explanation of my point. Before a single word of the New Testament had ever been written, Christianity was being preached. What were Christians preaching? They obviously weren't preaching the New Testament, since not a word of it had been written yet.

Before the New Testament was ever written, the early Christians were proclaiming a message about Jesus' death, resurrection, and deity. Their claims weren't based on the text of the New Testament, but on certain events that had happened in history.

Now, these events either happened or they didn't happen. If they didn't happen, then Christianity is false. If they did happen, then Christianity is true. Hence, if Jesus died on the cross, rose from the dead, and claimed to be divine, Christianity is true. And, like it or not, it's true regardless of what happened when the New Testament was written. Thus, no matter what happened when the books of the New Testament were written, copied, or compiled, Christianity is true so long as the core events of the Gospel actually occurred.

It only makes sense, then, to say that the truth of Christianity is independent of textual variants, disputes over books, etc.

So what do Paul's words have to do with whether variants are relevant to the truth of Christianity? One could conclude that Paul never even wrote 2 Timothy and yet still believe the Gospel. (And this comes from one of Paul's all-time biggest fans.)

Please explain to me what here isn't clear, because the point seems completely clear to me.

David Wood said...

THE STUDENT,

I didn't see your most recent response when I was writing my last response. It seems my point is clear to you now.

Bryant said...

The Student said:

But yes there is,
What about the passage addition in Mark? If 2Timothy3:16 says: ALL SCRIPTURE is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness than that statement is false because of the addition to Mark so all scripture isn't God breathe right?"

No. All scripture is God breathed in its ORIGINAL MANUSCRIPTS. So textual variants in later manuscripts don't take away from the inspiration that God had in the original autograph.

Bryant said...

Wow David. That was a great response to Islam2009. I suspect that it won't be enough tho. No matter how cogent your arguments are, his bias will automatically cause him to think you are wrong without really trying to understand your claims.

THE STUDENT said...

Yea that was a great response, David just slaughtered!!!!!!!! Islam2009 there is no way Islam2009 could refute that!!!!! It just seem that David was filled with the Holy Spirit when he wrote that

David Wood said...

I'm still hoping Islam2009 will enlighten us as to the great first century disputes over canonicity.

Nabeel Qureshi said...

THE STUDENT--

You gotta calm down, friend :-) Since you're a Christian (as you have said) you should refrain from swinging from extreme to extreme. First you said David's not answering anything, then you say he "slaughtered" Islam2009, affirming that must have been filled with the holy spirit. To the casual observer, this sounds so flamboyant that I'd have to wonder at your level of sincerity (and if I'm wondering that, imagine what a Muslim would think about such behavior from a Christian.)

I'm glad you finally understand David's point, but I would urge you to react more calmly and more thoughtfully in the future. An attitude of peace is the fruit of God - let it shine through you since you are a believer :-)

Your friend,
-Nabeel

Nakdimon said...

David Wood: “Ah well, here we go. I'm going to respond to Islam2009, and he's going to ignore the fact that he deliberately misrepresented the facts (despite the fact that he calls other people "liar").”

David, this is a very familiar phenomenon and it really bothers me too. Muslims will make you out for a liar when they either misunderstand what you are saying or you have just made a mistake. I believe that they are forced to do this in order to make the Christian argument unappealing to themselves and others, by making the Christian out to be deceivers.

For example, when I was in the Muslim Paltalk room the other day, I misread a reference and made an argument based on my misreading of the text. When the mod pointed out that I was wrong, I looked at the correct reference and re-read the text and admitted that I made a mistake and subsequently responded to the correct reference. Immediately the mod accused me of being a liar and a deceiver and kept hammering on the fact that I was wrong, although I admitted to the mistake and corrected it when he pointed it out. However, a few minutes later he made a claim that we could find some teaching in the Qur’an. I knew that this teaching was not in the Qur’an but in the Hadith. So I corrected him and he apologized for making the mistake. But when I asked him if he also was a liar and a deceiver he said that he just “made a mistake” and all of a sudden wasn’t to be called a liar and a deceiver.

But this is what Muslims do. They call Christians in general liars and deceivers, but they don’t consider themselves as such when they make the same errors and even worse at times.

I remember that right after my debate about Ishmael on Paltalk, the Muslims were declaring my opponent victorious. Even the Muslims that didn’t know what the debate was about! But after I made the assessment that is now online, proving that my opponent made claims based on false premises, wrong translations and even made stuff up, they were accusing me of slandering my opponent and being a coward for even making the assessment. And again, they had no clue what the assessment looked like. They hadn’t even seen it! Yet, because they heard of my assessment, which by the way destroyed any case that can be brought up for Ishmael being important to the Covenant God made with Abraham, they decided to slam me! Never seen it, never heard a word of what was said in that video. But truth of the matter is, that I never called my opponent any names or accused him of committing falsehoods, although I could have easily done so. (I mean, when you are going to claim that the Moabites are descendants of Ishmael, then it’s obviously just made up out of thin air) But instead I simply took his arguments and dealt with them, pointing out what was wrong with the arguments, instead of calling him all kinds of names. But for some reason, I didn’t even have the right to examine his claims and point out the errors without being slandered myself.

So, again, Muslims accuse others of the very thing that they are most guilty of! We see that in the Qur’an, and therefore we see that in the behaviour of Muslims throughout history up till today.

Nakdimon

Ibn said...

Nakdimon, as an honest debater, why do you

(1) refuse to post our last exchange on the main site as a new topic?

(2) refuse to admit that your contentions about the relationship between Muhammad(saw) and Zaynab(ra) are false?

and

(3) that you made a mistake in asserting that the Quran speaks about mountains being thrown down, rather than erected?

David Wood said...

Ibn,

Would you like me to do a post on Zaynab, so that the topic can be explored?

Nakdimon said...

Nakdimon, as an honest debater, why do you

(1) refuse to post our last exchange on the main site as a new topic?

(2) refuse to admit that your contentions about the relationship between Muhammad(saw) and Zaynab(ra) are false?


Ibn, I see no necessity to post that exchange on the main site as a new topic because all you have shown is reluctance to address my points based on the Qur’an and scholars such as Qurtubi, Tabari, Jalalayn, Ibn Abbas and Al-Zamakhshari. All you have done is feed your scholars to the lions and cry fabrication, which is all you Muslims do when it comes to stories from your own sources, which your scholars of old have found sound enough to reference to them as a means of proper exegesis, instead of dealing with the Qur’anic text. Rejecting your scholars based on the argument of “plausibility” is only valid if concede your plausibility also, which I don’t, because your argument isn’t plausible at all.


Second I am not part of this blog and thus can’t post things anywhere except my own comments.

Third, since your last response was nothing new than you have already said before and considering you are reluctant to go into the matters as they stand, I see no reason to start a new topic when you fail to respond to my arguments anyway.

and

(3) that you made a mistake in asserting that the Quran speaks about mountains being thrown down, rather than erected?


Ibn, let’s say that I concede 1 out of 5 verses, that Surah 88:19 says that mountains are erected, you still have your prophet wrong on 4 out of 5 occasions! Because there are only 2 options: either they are erected from the earth or they are put on the earth. Having 1 out of 5 tries correct is no success mind you. For someone of whom you claim that he is the last and greatest prophet, 20% accuracy is rather pathetic. And they are not stabilizers either! So me conceding this point will just not happen.

Nakdimon

Ibn said...

Wood:Would you like me to do a post on Zaynab, so that the topic can be explored?

You can add your comments to the exchange I had with Nakdimon which I would like you to post as a new topic on the homepage.

Ibn said...

Wood, can you open a new discussion about William Lane Craig's critique of the Islamic conception of God?

Islam2009 said...

Hi David! (if that is your real name).

You wrote:

<< Hmmm. David was on a plane on Monday. David then had to prepare his Philosophy of Human Nature lesson for Tuesday, since classes started this week. David was also preparing for a debate this weekend. And yet he returns to find that, since he hasn't responded to the arrogant ramblings and insults of Islam2009, he must be scared of Islam2009's awesome refutations. >>>

I don’t believe I ever accused you of being scared on the basis of your absence.

I simply stated the fact that you had mysteriously disappeared for a few days, and then welcomed you back with open armed once you had returned. Maybe you’re just not used to warm welcomes?

Personally, I don’t think the fact that you disappeared means that you were scared of my arguments.
It’s the fact that you can’t respond to them when you are actually here which is what does that.

And isn’t funny how you and your apprentices all attack my ‘insults’, yet never attack the insults directed at me?

Didn’t Jesus once say: “let he who is without sin cast the first stone?”

Oh, wait a minute!!..

I guess that depends on which manuscript of John you like best, hey David?! ;-)


<<< ISLAM2009 SAID: "lol. Dream on."

Hmmm. I'm not sure how to answer such an unimaginably brilliant, incisive, and sophisticated response, so I'll move on to your next one. >>>


Well, the rebuttal had to be that brilliant to match the brilliance and scholarly, academic depth of your original claim, David:

<< As we've seen in recent posts, the text of the New Testament is on much firmer ground than the text of the Qur'an. >>

Sheer genius..

So I refuse to take all the credit here David. The honour is all yours for initially upping the standard of this debate.

And, by the way, here’s a crazy idea for you..

A good way to answer would be to actually respond to he arguments I made on those THREE other threads, rather than fleeing the scene to recycle your already refuted nonsense on a band new one.

No offence, but that reminds me of one of those counterfeit good street traders who constantly keep moving to a different street corner every time the police shuts them down on one.

<< All right, before we move on, we're going to have to deal with this one first. (I know that if I respond to other things, you'll ignore what you've said here.) It's show-and-tell time, Islam2009 (if that is your real name). Show me your evidence for a first century dispute over the books of the New Testament. Don't change the subject. We're sticking to this one until you bring forth your proof or admit that you've lied. (I have to call you out on this one, since you're so fond of calling people liars.) >>

My, my the gauntlet HAS been thrown down, hasn’t it David!

How do we know there were disputes over different books in the 1st century?

A couple very telling verses come to mind:

“I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— which is really no gospel at all.”

(Galatians 1:6-7)

Now that’s sounds like a dispute to me!

Now where is that early 1st century Gospel of the Galatians that Paul so hated, David?

I woud just LOVE to read about what they had to say.

In fact its remarkable that you even ask for proof of major 1st century disputes given that many of Pauls letters- such as that to the Galatians- are written in the very face of them.

Paul isn’t exactly writing to all these churches to say “Hey guys, your all doing great! Keep up the good work!” Is he? Its just one big apologetic effort to try and convince his fellow Christians to accept “MY GOSEPEL” as he says in 2 Tim 2:8.

And what about this:

“Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us, just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word. Therefore, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, it seemed good also to me to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus,
(Luke 1:1-3)

Now where are those "many" 1st century "accounts" that Luke spoke of and used, and do they all agree with your Gospel? How do you know?

One of them is almost certainly Mark’s Gospel. What about the others?

Many NT scholars say Q, that Mathew also used, which doesn’t mention the Crucifixion or resurrection.

Regardless of whether you believe in Q David, where are these ‘many’ pre-Lukan accounts and please sure me how you know they all agree with your ‘gospel’?

On Mark 13:

<< Did Jesus mean that everything He ever said would be written down, and that these words would all be perfectly preserved? >>


My argument doesn’t assume you have to have EVERYTHING he ever said for a moment.

You see David the whole point of this is to compare the integrity of our respective scriptures by the standards that they have set themselves- not by the standard that YOU have set the Quran (i.e no verse can ever be cancelled), or by the standard that you think I have set the Bible (you must have all that Jesus ever said).

The Bible says at the end of John that Jesus said and did many other things that are not recorded in this book, so I understand that Christians don’t CLAIM they have all his words, nor since I believe it is necessary to have all the words of any prophet, I don’t have problem with this.

However, you do claim to have all the words that Jesus spoke IN THE NEW TESTAMENT. Just as we claim to have all the words God spoke in his final revelation of the Quran.
So do you have all the words that Jesus spoke in the NT?

You will never know my friend- because of textual variants. That’s my point.


<< Psalm 82:6 is the Word of God, and the Word of God cannot be broken. I'm not sure how anyone could ever read any of this as claims about textual variants. >>

It’s really very simple.

‘Scripture cannot be broken’ means, in the context in which Jesus and yourself use it, means that scripture cannot be contradicted.

But the issue of whether scripture can or cannot be contradicted depends on what scripture is in the first place.

Can this scripture be contradicted, David?:

“And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.”

(Mark 16:17-18)

Yes or no?

Please give me a straight and full answer to that simple question, just I did for your “1st century disputed books” question.

See the problem now? You cannot answer that simple question unless you FIRST ascertain whether that passage is actually scripture or not.

Now how do you do that? By looking or “investigating” textual variants in manuscripts.

So I hope you can see the link now between “scripture cannot be broken” and textual variants.

You know, David, if that were the only reply I gave you it would be enough to refute your entire post, but I like to be thorough.

<< Just to review, whatever Jesus said will come to pass will come to pass. His words will never pass away. When God gives a revelation, the purpose of that revelation will be fulfilled. >>

Once more, you are missing the forest for all the trees.
How can you JUDGE if what Jesus said will come to pass if you cant be sure what Jesus actually said because of textual variants?

That’s the point.

Perhaps another example (for your benefit) will help you see this more clearly.

Jesus (as god) said that this will come to pass:

So that no-one could buy or sell unless he had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of his name. This calls for wisdom. If anyone has insight, let him calculate the number of the beast, for it is man's number. His number is 666.

(Revelations 13:17-18)


Now will those words of Jesus come to pass?

Will the number of the beast really be 666, just as Jesus said? Depends whether he said that or not!

Most MSS say 666, but your earliest manuscript of this verse says 616.

Now if the number of the beast turns out to be 616, have Jesus words come to pass or not, David?

Please return the same courtesy of giving me another direct answer please.


<< Before the New Testament was ever written, the early Christians were proclaiming a message about Jesus' death, resurrection, and deity. Their claims weren't based on the text of the New Testament, but on certain events that had happened in history. >>

Here we go again with this circler argument:

Christian: The New Testament isn’t important, only the Resurrection of Christ is!

Muslim: So where can I find out about the resurrection?

Christian: It’s in the New Testament.

Muslim: But didn’t you just say the New Testament isn’t important?

Christian: That’s right! Only the resurrection is!

Muslim: But how do you know the resurrection happened?

Christian: Because it’s in the New Testament!

With all due respect friend, it’s rather like a dog chasing its tail.

< Hence, according to Islam2009, if a god delivers a revelation, and that revelation is corrupted in any way, the god is false. According to Muslims, Allah delivered the Torah and the Injeel, and the Torah and the Injeel have been corrupted. Hence, according to Islam2009, Allah is a false god. >>

Yeh, nice try David.

Remember what I said above. You need to judge each revelation by its own claims. Only the Quran is promised to be preserved by God in Sura 15:9. It offers no such promise of previous scriptures.

In fact don’t you also believe that previous scriptures can perish?

If not, then can you please show me where this verse that Jesus quotes in the OT “scripture” is:

“Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘streams of living water will flow from within him’.”

(John 7:38)

Well David, there it is..

I hope you get the picture now. Please try answering my questions fully.

And by the way, since we are so into “show-and-tell” and about the veracity of our respective claims, can you substantiate this earlier statement of yours for me please:

“How is it possible that neither of our Muslim friends are familiar with the fact that Arthur Jeffery translated the entire text of the Kitab al-Masahif all the way back in 1933, and that the entire text is available online in English translation”

Best Regards David.

P.s. PLEASE stay on this thread!:-)

Claude said...

Islam2009, let admit that Gospels are all bulshit, all contrive, that the original Gospels are lost, that Jesus’s teachings are lost forever and that what was confirmed by Muhammad are not the Gospels Christians believe in now, that Gospels are so corrupted that it is impossible to reconstitute them., that all the spirit of the Gospels and christian faith are evil, ok?
Now, let come back to the Quran. Your task is much more easy now. You don’t have to make long research on Gospels and Bible. Write down simply, briefly and clearly the prooves that Quran is Words of God well preserved. Don’t bother with ill-intentioned Christians we may be. I would like you to resume your prooves briefly.
Write down one proof, the more overwhelming one and we will comment closely on it. Say : “The proof or prooves that the Quran is Words of God-Allah well preserved is this or these one.” I know that you are sure that Quran is well preserved . Is it a blind faitht ? Just tell us as it is. Do you have prooves? Just give them.
I must tell you, personnally, that I believe that all prooves are against your claim. Even YOUR OWN SCRIPTURES prove me that Quran is not well preserved and accordingly, is not Words of God. It is not because I don’t want to believe you. I can’t. There are proofs, real proofs, ovewhelming proofs that Quran is a desorderly collection, that parts of the Quran were lost or burned, or forgoten or forged and even eaten by a goat. No? You do not agree ? Tell us why, simply.
We are not very clever and we ask you to repeat and explain, again and again, slowly and clearly. Maybe, we will, at last, understand. We certainly will. After all, “apart from trutht, what (remains) but error?” 10:32. By the way,this is a deep philosophic thought from the Quran which feeds my meditations since I discovered it. It is certainly a good point for the Quran…. And remember, grasp all, lose all. Stick to the matter. If necessary, ask jeeijoe and Victor, for help. Give your proof. These are not surnatural facts, these are historical facts. There are written testimonies. It is easier to prove or disprove. Just think intensively and deeply this way : “Quran is well preserved Words of Allah BECAUSE…Quran says so and it is words of Allah. No! No! This does not work. Quran is well preserved because…..because… because…” Because what? I thank you beforehand for your answer.
Ask me any question you want, on any subject, I will answer you directly and honestly, without stealing away. Those who are afraid, are those who are not free. You can’t see something clearly and deeply if you are afraid to investigate freely inwardly and outwardly; if you are afraid to think what you believe is forbidden to think. Think about this. This is far from arguing on the letters, commas and dots. This is spirituality. Widen your mind. You are enchained to the letter of the Quran. Christians , at least, can rely on the beautiful spirituality of the Gospels. Not as perfect as you believe Quran is? Maybe. But at least, there is love, there is trust, there is hope, there is respect for individual person, there is free will, there is God-Father and no despot, no predestination, no hate, no fatalism, no call to kill and submit, no “he grants you mercy, or if he please, punishment” (17:54), No “He set a seal on their heart” (Q2:6) and because they don’t believe,I will fuel Hell with them.. Ad nauseam ! What insanity !!!!You undesrtand?

Nazam said...

Answers to Hogan;

Critical analysis of the fourth Gospel has made it difficult for scholars to accept the view that the Gospel of John was written by one person. Scholars have concluded that this Gospel was originally written in a simple form. But this Gospel was later on, as the New Jerusalem Bible says, “amplified and developed in several stages during the second half of the first century”, pg. 1742.

Examples of homogeneous material being added to a shorter original are John 7:21-24 where the impression is given of continuing the conversation of chapter five, in spite of the intervention of chapter six; 14:31 which does not lead, as one might expect, to any departure from the house; Chapter 21 seems to have been added because like the prologue of John, it to exhibits different vocabularies and literacy style to the rest of John.

It is these reasons and others that have led scholars to believe that the fourth Gospel underwent a complex development before it reached its final form. It is possible that John 1:1-18 could have been written by the same author using two different literacy styles but the opposite can also be true. However based on the above stated reasons and others, scholars believe that this seems improbable and it would appear that the prologue of was added to an original.

On the source of Mark’s Gospel, could this have been the apostle Peter?
This seems to be improbable as this Gospel lacks important details about Peter, such as; Peter walking on water or Jesus declaring Peter as the rock to whom he will build his church. In discussing Mark’s version of Jesus walking on water, the Abingdon Bible commentary says, “In view of the tradition that Peter is Mark’s source, and that in this Gospel Peter usually appears in an unfavourable light it is curious that Matthew and not Mark should tell of Peter’s failure to walk to Jesus”, pg 1008.

In addition the author of Mark, like the other three Gospels, does not claim to be an eye witness or base his Gospel on the preaching of Peter. If anything it seems to have been written to downplay the importance of Peter’s role which he occupied during Jesus’ ministry (St Paul vs St Peter: A Tale of Two Missions by Michael Goulder.

You seem to disagree with David Wood regarding the ending of Mark’s Gospel and believe that it is possibly original to Mark? And I agree with you that not all Christians believe that the ending of Mark was added. But this goes against David’s original point which was we can actually investigate and know whether the ending is original or not. Some Christian believes that Jesus spoke those words other believe that he did not.

Hogan Elijah Hagbard said...

Thanks for your reply Nazam. I wish I had time to engage in a proper dialogue with you on the matter, but at the moment I am far stretched by my studies; so this will be short reply.

Nazam wrote:

Critical analysis of the fourth Gospel has made it difficult for scholars to accept the view that the Gospel of John was written by one person. Scholars have concluded that this Gospel was originally written in a simple form. But this Gospel was later on, as the New Jerusalem Bible says, “amplified and developed in several stages during the second half of the first century”, pg. 1742.

Elijah replies:

You need to be careful when you deal with this sort of study. I am not sure how much you have engaged yourself in this sort of methodology. But what you are presenting here is sort of a mixture of source-literary criticism and redaction criticism which both are fairly speculative by nature. They basically assume that 20 century scholars know more and better than those who were closer or present in proximity.

For example there is really no way of telling whether John was written in a simple form and then redacted--that remains speculation never mind which scholar you quote, whether Raymond Brown, Bruce or Ehrman. It remains a matter of speculation; no one has seen John or anyone write and no one has seen anyone redact it. Hence the only witness we have is through oral history, which according to Richard Bauckham is information transmitted by the 'living and abiding word', namely an eyewitness, in this case information passed on from John to Polycarp to Irenaeus.

As to redaction criticims however, your theory may also serve to support the reliability of the Christian faith, for example a critical author by the name Kummel in his 'Introduction to the New Testament' suggests that oral tradition might be much more reliable and preferred than the written books and the author or community of a written work would often redact the writing as they recalled the oral tradition. I cannot say I agree with that in a strict sense, even though there is evidence that the Gospel authors based their gospels on a rather fixed oral tradition of chreiai that included both narrative and sayings, indeed Matthew may have improved Matthew with by recalling the oral tradition. Now that would not prove to be a problem to the reliability of the Gospel account, yet such a theory cannot be proven anyway. I am just saying that redaction criticism and source or literary criticism can equally be used to prove the reliability of the Gospel text.

Nazam wrote:

Examples of homogeneous material being added to a shorter original are John 7:21-24 where the impression is given of continuing the conversation of chapter five, in spite of the intervention of chapter six; 14:31 which does not lead, as one might expect, to any departure from the house;

Elijah replies:

But 7: 21-24 does not give the impression to continue from chapter 5. If you read chapter seven verse 21 simply continues from the verses preceding it. And there is no real reason to assume that chapter six intervenes. Chapter five, chapter 6 and chapter seven are all separate events and separate sermons. Again this is just pure speculation!

The same with 14: 31, it does not suffice to imply that John is composed of several sources just because the text does not refer to where they are going. Obviously, if you read chapter 17 Jesus is praying, which obviously assumes that they left to the next place where he gave them the chapter 15-16 speech and then prayed as 17: 1 clarifies. Also when you read 18: 1 they leave to the Kidon Valley but from where? This is not a matter of various sources since (as you mentioned) the style of this wording is the same, but a matter writing.

This is the problem with redaction criticism, it is highly speculative, and after studying for a few years it bores you to death; as was my experience when I read Ludemann on the historical Jesus; he went verse by verse through the gospels applying these methods. Most of these theories originate from PhD's in which a future prospective scholar has to present a new detailed theory of a text to become a professor.

Nazam wrote:

Chapter 21 seems to have been added because like the prologue of John, it to exhibits different vocabularies and literacy style to the rest of John.

It is these reasons and others that have led scholars to believe that the fourth Gospel underwent a complex development before it reached its final form. It is possible that John 1:1-18 could have been written by the same author using two different literacy styles but the opposite can also be true. However based on the above stated reasons and others, scholars believe that this seems improbable and it would appear that the prologue of was added to an original.

Elijah replies:

Again as I said, it is impossible for a 20 century scholar to make such a statement with absolute certainty.

Yeah so, I realise these ideas, but none of these suggests that a simple form was redacted or expanded.

Nazam wrote:

On the source of Mark’s Gospel, could this have been the apostle Peter?
This seems to be improbable as this Gospel lacks important details about Peter, such as; Peter walking on water or Jesus declaring Peter as the rock to whom he will build his church.

Elijah replies:

I think the scholars you apply fail to realise that Peter is not writing his own biography. Also notice that Mark is a Chreiai work, not a literary work like Matthew and Luke. To your disadvantage here many scholars assume based on this method you use that Peter must be the source since Peter comes first in the apostolic list; I don't think personally that this is an evidence but it serves as good as an evidence as the issues you brought up.

On other hand, when we come to history, Peter is by historical transmission described as the source, as witnessed by both Papias, Justin Martyr and Irenaeus, and all these apply oral history as a means of attestation; this suggests that Peter is historically the source of Mark's Gospel.

Internally it is interesting that Mark seems to be the main person, the first one Jesus calls, the first one in the apostle list, he represents the others, and the others are simply his companions. These last points are in fact better internal evidences for Peter's source than the lack of issue you claimed ought to be included into Mark.

Nazam wrote:

In discussing Mark’s version of Jesus walking on water, the Abingdon Bible commentary says, “In view of the tradition that Peter is Mark’s source, and that in this Gospel Peter usually appears in an unfavourable light it is curious that Matthew and not Mark should tell of Peter’s failure to walk to Jesus”, pg 1008.

Elijah replies:

But this is only a quote Nazam, that does not mean anything and certainly what the quote implies is not an impression you get when you read the historical sources. The theory you bring up here derives from a extreme fringe within critical scholarship that applies extremely speculative ideas, for a good reading on this matter read Burton L Mack in his book 'Who wrote the NEw Testament'.


Nazam wrote:

In addition the author of Mark, like the other three Gospels, does not claim to be an eye witness or base his Gospel on the preaching of Peter. If anything it seems to have been written to downplay the importance of Peter’s role which he occupied during Jesus’ ministry (St Paul vs St Peter: A Tale of Two Missions by Michael Goulder.

Elijah replies:

But none of them expect John actually claims to be an eyewitness. However that they are eyewitness accounts is testified externally by oral history, from the apostles to the next two stages of successors.

If you read Mark's Gospel in Greek it is not a literary Gospel but a speech. That is significant since it confirms that this sermon was worth recording and preserving even though many others probably could write a better literary work. The reason is simply that the speaker was an eyewitness.

Again you seem to suggest that the author of Mark donwplays Peter. Personally I don't see that, and I only read that in very speculative literature. It is generally attested that Jesus is harsh to the apostles in Mark, however, the entire gospel of Mark is harsh, it is the style of the speaker.

Nazam wrote:

You seem to disagree with David Wood regarding the ending of Mark’s Gospel and believe that it is possibly original to Mark? And I agree with you that not all Christians believe that the ending of Mark was added. But this goes against David’s original point which was we can actually investigate and know whether the ending is original or not. Some Christian believes that Jesus spoke those words other believe that he did not.

Elijah replies:

I think you misunderstand me here. I mentioned that I was pretty sure that the Gospel of Mark when sent to Alexandria did not contain the ending. I said that the Gospel of Mark when it was sent toward Asia Minor may have contained the ending; I don't think I said I was sure about this, but I am open to this possibility. So yeah I agree with Wood that the end of Mark 16 was not part of Peter's account, it probably came from the chreiai that flourished in Rome via successors, which Luke also refers to.

I also agree with Wood that the passage was not part of Mark when sent to Alexandria, which is why we don't have it in Sinaiticus, but which is why the Western text contained it and why Irenaeus refers to it.

Anonymous said...

But yes there is,

THe ending of Mark is rather irrelevant, since there are 3 other gospels and Paul's letters.

Anonymous said...

Critical analysis of the fourth Gospel has made it difficult for scholars to accept the view that the Gospel of John was written by one person. Scholars have concluded that this Gospel was originally written in a simple form. But this Gospel was later on, as the New Jerusalem Bible says, “amplified and developed in several stages during the second half of the first century”, pg. 1742.

Some scholar have theorized based on a theory that ...

Now tell us what scholars say about redaction criticism of the Quran. You don't like it do you?

Hogan Elijah Hagbard said...

I would not say that any of Mark is irrelevant. But in 60 AD the Christians followed the living and abiding word, that is the oral transmission of the apostles. Within that era a written Gospel (if written by an apostolic eyewitness or under the guidance of an apostolic eyewitness) would not be irrelevant or worthless but secondary, at least until the last apostle was dead. For example Mathetes who probably writes his epistle in AD 130, claims to have had the apostolic teaching handed on to him from them; this was the highest form of Christian information within the first century.

Ibn said...

Matthew:Now tell us what scholars say about redaction criticism of the Quran. You don't like it do you?

Sure. This is what Angelika Neuwirth says:

In most current critical scholarship the pre-canonical Qur’an – regarded as no longer reconstructable – is equally discarded. There have been some attempts, however, to restore to the Qur’an a textual history. 28 years after Gunter Luling, Cristoph Luxenberg has renewed the hypothesis of a linguistically and spiritually Syriac–Christian imprinted pre-canonical text. Luxenberg’s reading with its far-reaching conclusions has – though in itself little convincing since largely relying on circular argument – revived the debate about the role of Syriac, as the most vigorous linguistic medium in the transmission of knowledge in Near Eastern late Antiquity, in the emergence of the Qur’an. The present paper advocates a search for historical evidence in the text itself trying to show that the complex relationship between Qur’an and history cannot be tackled appropriately without a micro-structural reading of the Qur’an itself. The history of the Qur’an does not start with canonisation but is inherent in the text itself, where not only contents but also form and structure can be read as traces of a historical process.

Hogan Elijah Hagbard said...

Let me give you an idea about redaction criticism.

As I have already pointed out it is highly specualtive and tends to follow the opinion of a person who has the authority of degree to make such assumption.

Say I postulated that any given topic or issue would only be described in any given piece of writing; and redaction critics do imply this.

Now if we turn to the Qur'an and say I want to reply redaction criticism on say prayer (and this is just an example of how it works). I would (if being speculative) suggest that the author of the Qur'an would only mention prayer ones. The question then remains which reference to prayer is the most original. According to the mind of this redactional scholar it would probably be the shortest and most primitive reference to prayer. When this passage in the Qur'an has been found, the remaining passages on prayer have to be categorized as later redaction of later redactors to expand the topic of prayer in the Qur'an.

Hence according to this topic, whether you like it or not, if applied and you accept the approach, then the Qur'an has been corrupted by later redactors. I am not saying that is the case, but if you accept the approach you have to accept it.

Obviously you have yet not many scholars who apply redaction criticism to the Qur'an, with people like Muhammad Sven Kalisch it is probably on the way.

Redactionsts on the Bible, for example Ludemann, would consider anything a redaction that is supernatural, anything which expands a earlier topic, anything which is too Jewish or too Greek, etc. Based upon these presumptions he would strip the Bible off layer by layer to find the most simple form.

I don't call that being objective, and you can imagine of such subjective approaches are used upon the Qur'an.

For example you say that the Qur'an is a revelation, that does not hold in redactionism, hence they would probably assume that Muhammad if he existed was a only a Jewish rabbi, his teachings were after his death glorified and rewritten to look like a revelation; hence the goal of a redactionist would be to find the teachings of a Jewish rabbi within the Qur'an and strip the layers of presupposed revelation away bit by bit.

A redactionist may equally say that Muhammad was probably a Jew, others may say he was a pure arab, hence whether whatever view you support, you would have to strip the Jewish or Arabic notion of the Qur'an away.

On so we could go on into hundreds of similar points, until only a few scrabs remain of what you believe is the word of God.

I am not saying that these methods are correct, in fact they are not, all I am saying is, if Muslims agree upon these being used upon the Bible, they will have to welcome these approaches when they initially will be used upon the Qur'an.

salahuddin said...

Hi Mr David Wood (wherever you are),

A good friend of mine writing on your blog brought to my attention the ^^translation^^ of Kitab Al-Masahif by Mr Arthur Jeffery which you have been reading online and possibly have a copy of it in your good library. Not only that, you have apparently expressed your surprise as follows:

"How is it possible that neither of our Muslim friends are familiar with the fact that Arthur Jeffery translated the entire text of the Kitab al-Masahif all the way back in 1933, and that the entire text is available online in English translation (not to mention in any good library?” (http://www.answeringmuslims.com/2009/01/seven-ahruf-quranic-escape-clause.html)

You express this in such a confidence. The following therefore can be deduced:

Your own personal reading and research on this book has been very shallow, superficial and thereby have understandably misled yourself. Armed with such a superficial reading or misreading of an important book like this one in the subject of Koranic Mss etc., you are in a very weak position to argue with Moslems (or Christians) on the subject of the Koran.

And this deduction is based on a simple fact: Mr Jeffery did not translate Kitab Al-Masahif of Ibn Abi Dawud but rather edited it from the manuscript and included it in his well known work ‘Materials For The History Of The Text Of The Qur'an: The Old Codices’, in 1937, in its original Arabic language, UNTRANSLATED.

Sorry if I have written in the wrong sections of your blog, I was warned that you may not notice this in the right section of your blog. Once you and your respected readers have noticed this you may delete my humble comments from the wrong sections and just leave a copy in its relevant section.
Thanks and Regards

Salahuddin

Claude said...

Ibn,
(Or anyone who can answer me, Muslims or not.

I would like to ask you a question. Maybe you can enlighten me. Muhammad came to confirm the Gospels and the Torah, isn’t it ? But he says that the Christians had falsified their Scriptures by all means. So, what, in the Gospels did he confirmed? If the Death and Resurrection are imagination and falsification, almost all the Gospels are abrogated. Epistles are unintelligible. Paul is completely abrogated too.Christianism is also abrogated because deprived of the core of his faitht.

Here is my question again : When Muhammad confirmed the Gospels, what did he confirmed ? When he used the Word “Gospels” what he was refering to, exactly ? Closely related to this is Q 10:94. T o what Book Muhammad was making reference to?