Wednesday, April 25, 2012

David Wood vs. Robert Spencer: "Did Muhammad Exist?"

The debate is set. Robert and I will be debating this Sunday night on ABN, shortly after the live broadcast of the Jessica Mokdad Human Rights Conference in Dearborn. If you don't get ABN via satellite, be sure to watch it live at www.ABNsat.com.


Also, if you haven't ordered Robert's new book, you can get it here.

27 comments:

WhatsUpDoc said...

LOL it would be a great debate looking forward for it. Poor Pamela.

Derek Adams said...

David you are going to lose this one. If you claim the same Muhammad that the Muslims accept as a prophet existed, then you will have to prove the moon was split asthunder dear fellow.

Robert Spencer Akbaaaaaar.

Derek Adams
www.AnsweringAbraham.com

David Wood said...

Derek,

So you think that Spencer is simply claiming that Muhammad has been embellished?

Hezekiah Ahaz said...

Well, we know Muhammad did have an imaginative nature. So, that won't be a problem. I think that's at least one thing everybody could agree on.

Derek Adams said...

David,

Yeah I haven't read the book yet. But my understanding is that Spencer is claiming there may or probably was a historical core to Mohammad, but the Islamic Mohammed had nothing to do with that original person most of the tales were crafted later. The post-warfare (633 C.E and above) was probably not attributed to Mohammed in the beginning until the tale was crafted, or Mohammed was embellished later.

Guess we will find out.

David Wood said...

Where are you getting the idea that Robert claims there was a historical core to Muhammad? I just started reading the book, but from what I've gathered, Robert holds that "Muhammad" was originally a title for Jesus, and that a heretical Christian sect proclaimed their belief in this Muhammad (i.e. Jesus). Later, Muhammad was rewritten as an Arab prophet distinct from Jesus. This can hardly be viewed as a mere embellishment of a historical figure. According to what I've read so far, there was no historical Muhammad.

Derek Adams said...

David watch the first two minutes (or the whole thing if you have the time)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bRZtUHUifas

"Ah he probably did but everything we know about him is legend, he's kinda like robin hood, he probably existed, but probably didn't steal from the poor" etc ~ Spencer

This is an interview he had after completing his book.

David Wood said...

Now compare that with this video, where he says that he used to believe in Muhammad, but now doesn't:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=24DE4nQGbLA

According to his book, when he says that "he probably existed," he's saying that there may have been some Arabian prophet who preached monotheism. But this figure had nothing to do with the Qur'an or anything else we associate with Muhammad, and wasn't even named Muhammad. So did the historical figure Muhammad exist? Not according to Robert.

Derek Adams said...

David even if you read the Islamic sources "Muhammad" was probably a title given to him later. I read a few authentic hadith referring to him as "Abdul Qusem". I don't think the name is to important.

The question for Spencer, Did Muhammad Exist as defined by Islam or described by Islamic sources then the definite answer is no.

But the "probably existed" answer as in an arabian prophet teaching monotheism, then the answer is yes.

Of course, this might be a major embellishment, but still obviously the man existed. (though he had nothing to do with the Quran etc)

Anyway David, I highly recommend checking out this link:

http://www.islamic-awareness.org/History/Islam/Inscriptions/earlysaw.html

Hope that is useful in your debate.

As Spencer specifically states nothing referencing Muhammad in the first 60 years, so I would like to see what he does with these sources?

Good Luck.
-Dk

Derek Adams said...

This also might help:

Seeing Islam As Others Saw It: A Survey and Evaluation of Christian, Jewish and Zoroastrian Writings on Early Islam from the Studies in Late Antiquity and Early Islam series is a book by scholar of the Middle East Robert G. Hoyland.
The book contains an extensive collection of Greek, Syrian, Coptic, Armenian, Latin, Jewish, Persian, and Chinese primary sources written between 620 and 780 AD in the Middle East, which provides a survey of eyewitness accounts of historical events during the formative period of Islam.

The book presents the evidentiary text of over 120 seventh century manuscripts, one of which (the manuscript of Thomas the Presbyter) contains what Hoyland believes is the "first explicit reference to Muhammad in a non-Muslim source:"[1]

In the year 945, indiction 7, on Friday 7 February (634) at the ninth hour, there was a battle between the Romans and the Arabs of Muhammad (tayyaye d-Mhmt) in Palestine twelve miles east of Gaza. The Romans fled, leaving behind the patrician Bryrdn[2], whom the Arabs killed. Some 4000 poor villagers of Palestine were killed there, Christians, Jews and Samaritans. The Arabs ravaged the whole region.

According to Michael G. Morony, Hoyland emphasizes the parallels between Muslim and non-Muslim accounts of history emphasizing that non-Muslim texts often explain the same history as the Muslim ones even though they were recorded earlier. He concludes "Hoyland's treatment of the materials is judicious, honest, complex, and extremely useful." [3]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seeing_Islam_as_Others_Saw_It

David Wood said...

I don't see the connection. Saying "there may have been an Arabian prophet who preached monotheism who otherwise had nothing to do with anything we associate with Muhammad; therefore, Muhammad existed" would be like saying, "there was a mighty Greek warrior who fought at Troy but who otherwise had nothing to do with anything we associate with Achilles; therefore, Achilles existed."

On a different note, my case for Muhammad's existence isn't based on any 7th century artifacts or writings (Robert addresses these claims in his book). My case is based on the application of historical principles to Qur'an, the Sira, and the Hadith.

Zack_Tiang said...

Really look forward to the debate. =D

Youssef said...

A domestic altercation one afternoon and a subsequent revelation about faith conversion changed the lives of Christian couple Amin Masih and Shehnaz. While the couple decided to stick with each other, they were shunned by their hometown and the kindness once shown by their Muslim neighbours soon turned into disapproval and threats

Read more: http://www.maghrebchristians.com/2012/04/26/christian-couples-on-the-run-in-pakistan/#ixzz1t8oruo6H

Youssef

TAREK said...

Dear Dr. Wood and Mr. Spencer,
I would like t5o use this opportunity to thank your organisations for all the hard works you are doing for the truth to be known.
I would also like to wish you both all the best and MAY JESUS CHRIST THE SON OF GOD OUR SAVIOR BE THE WINNER of this historical debate.
MAY GOD BLESS YOU.

Radical Moderate said...

Im sure a lot of Mohamed was embelished some of it i'm sure was in his own lifetime and even encouraged by him.

To be honest if it wasnt Mohamed it would of been someone else. Remember there where other arab prophets at the same time.

The arabs where ready to bust out of the desert. Rome and Persia where in rapid decline. Troops and resources had been pulled from the frontier lands.

Someone had to unify the tribes and it would take a Character of the same stature of other greats like Alexander, Julius Ceaser, Genghis Khan, and even Adulf Hitler.

Traeh said...

Gonna be a lolapalooza! The heavyweight champion squares off against a dangerous young newcomer! Get your ringside seats!

Traeh said...

I hope Spencer and Wood will have formal debate rules -- clear rules about time for each to speak. They should not make the mistake of thinking that, because they are allies and class acts, that they can forgo formal rules and proceed any which way. Despite trust and class among participants, informality in debate rules can become a shipwreck sometimes. It can sometimes be very painful or annoying to watch if the moderator or debate don't have clear moderation rules, or if each speaker doesn't have clear time boundaries and an equal number of turns to speak. (I'm no doubt being way too paranoid about things going wrong. But that's only because I'm so looking forward to this debate between my two favorite Islam analysts that I can't bear the thought of having the promised gift somehow snatched away. I remember seeing a debate on frontpage once where the moderator made the mistake of "sort of" having rules -- it was an infuriating disaster.)

Or if formal time boundaries are not going to be used for the whole debate, they should at least be used for a substantial part of it. Two cents.

Cristo Te Ama said...

Can't wait to see it, plz upload it asap. Peace

WhatsUpDoc said...

@David how is your book project going? Give us an update.

crujjy said...

I know it may sound bad that records corroborating Muhammad's existence mostly come decades after his death, but bare in mind it took us a very long time to decide that quickly writing down someone's existence was a good idea. No one wrote down Siddhartha Gautama's existence until 400 years after his death, and only in one source thats almost certainly exaggerated, but thats enough to state that he probably existed. Muhammad and Jesus have much earlier, much more numerous sources(especially Jesus), and we must therefore conclude taht they existed whether we like it or not. I'm getting quite annoyed at this, "I hate religion so I'll say that the figures never existed" phase we're going through, its ignorant. David, whoop Spencer's butt, and make sure you two make up the day afterwards and get back to praising Jesus and exposing Muhammad!

crujjy said...

@David I almost entirely forgot about the book. How much money do you need to finish it?

raheel majeed said...

BROTHER DAVID I AM RAHEEL FROM PAKISTAN GOD BLESS YOU AND USE U FOR HIS GLORY

David Wood said...

WhatsUpDoc said: "David how is your book project going? Give us an update."

We've got all the material together, but we got sidetracked by an even more important project (more on this later). We're going to try to finish up the books over the next two weeks.

kiwimac said...

David- This is a news item from the New Zealand herald this morning.
"One of the World's largest Bible translators face an independent review after critics said language in some translations intended for Muslim Countries missed the idea of the Trinity: Father,Son and Holy Spirit. Wycliffe Bible translators,which is involved in more than 1500 Bible translation programmes in roughly 90 Countries, say's some concepts relating God to family members do not make sense in some cultures, so the language needs to reflect that"
Chrislam?

Luke Martin said...

David - I can't make it Sunday. I really wanted to come by the 2.5 hour drive after 10pm on a Sunday with work the next morning puts a damper on my attending. I'll be watching live though and cheering you on. :)

dannyboy said...

www.muslimbrotherhoodinamerica.com

A very important course for all Americans to view....

Dave Online said...

Did this debate take place? I can't seem to find it via the ABN link. Could you post a link to the debate? Thanks, and keep up the good work.