Saturday, March 26, 2016

How to Refute the Qur'an According to Paul Williams and Bart Ehrman

In a post titled "Today is Good Friday," Paul Williams shared a response he gave to someone who quoted the Testimonium Flavianum, which refers to a famous, and much disputed, statement about Jesus in the writings of Flavius Josephus, a first-century Jewish historian and eyewitness to the destruction of Jerusalem. The statement as it currently appears in Josephus is as follows:
"At this time there appeared Jesus, a wise man, if indeed one ought to call him a man. For he was a doer of amazing deeds, a teacher of persons who receive the truth with pleasure. He won over many Jews and many of the Greeks. He was the Messiah. And when Pilate condemned him to the cross, the leading men among us having accused him, those who loved him from the first did not cease to do so. For he appeared to them the third day alive again, the divine prophets having spoken these things and a myriad of other marvels concerning him. And to the present the tribe of Christians, named after this person, has not disappeared." (Ant. 18.3.3)
Here is what Paul Williams said in response:

After making this comment, Williams then cited Bart Ehrman on the reasons why many scholars believe something has been interpolated into what Josephus originally wrote about Jesus:

The reasoning offered above by Ehrman, which Williams appealed to, is of no consequence for Christianity; however, the same can't be said for Islam. Just as this reference in Josephus must be seen as a corruption of what he said since he would not have referred to Jesus as "the Christ," so it also shows either that the Qur'an was corrupted or that the author of the Qur'an simply didn't know what he was talking about. According to the Qur'an, Josephus' co-religionists made the following boast: 

“Surely we have killed THE MESSIAH [al-Masih], Isa the Son of Marium, THE MESSENGER of Allah” (S. 4:157). 

If, as Ehrman pointed out, Josephus would not have identified Jesus as the Christ, for which reason the Testimonium Flavianum must be seen as a corruption, then it follows that the Qur'an is either wrong when it puts such words in the mouth of the Jews or the Qur'an has been corrupted. QED.

Happy Resurrection Day, Paul!


Unknown said...

Happy Easter to you all!
Sorry to ask , but is PW still a muslim? I've lost track.
Funny how anything in a document that sounds in any way Christian must be a de facto later interpolation....

Unknown said...

Let's assume that this wasn't an interpolation by Christians (which just about every major scholar including Christian scholars does think it was) was difference does it make?

A man born around 37CE who around about activities which Christians claims to have occured around 33CE and the writings were made around 92 or 93CE . They are NOT eye witness accounts . They are not written about an observable event of the character , Jesus. If it were true , all it is , is the stating of a non-christian of what he was observing 60 years after an event he was not a witness to. In a court of law it would not stand up as evidence.

Andrew said...

Thank you Anthony. It seems to me that it does not end there. Josephus confirms the crucifixion of Jesus which proves the writer of the koran was a liar or ignoramus.

Unknown said...

Why misrepresent what main stream scholars believe .
Only a handful of conservative evangelicals believe this piece to have any element of legitimacy to it.

More importantly , 3 extremely well known scribes who should have written about Jesus didn't , seeing that they were contemporaries to Jesus.

- Pliny the elder
- Philo
- Seneca

In fact if you do you homework you will realise that Philo , a Jewish philosopher influenced Christianity between 20CE and 30CE .
Philo thought that God created and governed the world through mediators. Logos is the chief among them, the next to God, demiurge of the world. Logos is immaterial, an adequate image of God, his shadow, his firstborn son.[17] Being the mind of the Eternal, Logos is imperishable.[18] He is neither uncreated as God is, nor created as men are, but occupies a middle position. He has no autarkic power, only an entrusted one.[19]--- SOURCE WIKIPEDIA

When you type in the word logos Christianity meaning on Google you get this definition :In Christology, Logos (Greek: Λόγος logos, that is, "word", "discourse" or "reason" i.e., rationality or reasoning) is a name or title of Jesus Christ, seen as the pre-existent Second Person of God according to the doctrine of the Trinity.

It takes more effort to extract what the potential true meaning behind Testimonium Flavianum than it does to see the connection between Philo's writing and the Christian doctrine of who Jesus is.

Michelle Qureshi said...

Hey, that's actually pretty solid reasoning. Cheers!

Samuel Green said...


Samuel Green said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nazam said...

In the Gospels the Jews call Jesus the King of the Jews since Jews don't believe this then the Gospels must be wrong and these words must been put into the mouths of the Jews. These are not my standard but if you are going to be consistent then you would have to say the same thing about the Gospels.

Anthony Rogers said...

Nice try, Nazam. I already answered this specious attempt to save the Qur'an in the following post:

A Muslim Dawagandist Refutes the Qur'an

Anthony Rogers said...

BTW, scroll down to part II for the relevant section.