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91.7 % of the Qur’an in First Century AH vs 0 % of the Bible in First Century AD

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Keeping aside the oral tradition of the Qur’an of which the Bible does not have in Greek , let alone in Aramaic ( the language which Jesus spoke); how does the textual integrity of the surviving manuscripts of each respective book compare?

Just considering the first hundred years of each respective calendar (the Islamic Calendar vs the Christian Calendar), we find that within the early first century the Muslims can boast a 91.7 % completion rate . As for the Christians they do not have a Biblical fragment until the second century, and even then it is the size of a credit card. Moreover just based on manuscripts, it would take more than 300 years to get a complete Bible.

References

http://www.islamic-awareness.org/Quran/Text/Mss/hijazi.html

http://www.islamic-awareness.org/Quran/Text/Mss/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biblical_manuscript

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_New_Testament_papyri

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32 Comments

  1. Waghlis says:

    Thank you for your efforts.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you for your invitation to continue our conversation. I’ve read quite a few of your posts and this one was the one I most wanted to comment on because of the content itself and because it relates to our previous conversation on Dan Wallace’s website.

    Before continuing, I must ask what your purpose is and do you care about truth or do you just want to go to any lengths to tear down Christianity? I ask this because to have a worthwhile conversation, we must get beyond popular talking points and superficial understandings. I don’t want to waste your time or my time if there is no willingness to submit to what is reasonable.

    As for this article, I am curious as to what it is supposed to prove. The Quran was written about 600 years after the Bible on more durable material so of course there are more early manuscripts of it. On top of that, the early copies of the Bible were passed around and copied over and over, across a large area, so we wouldn’t expect them to have survived. Moreover, the earliest manuscript, although written in the second century, could be within 100 years of the resurrection and almost certainly within 100 years of when it was written. So by your own dating practices for the Quran, this would count as a first century fragment. There is also a recently found fragment of Mark that likely dates to the 80s or 90s AD (Dan Wallace has released some info on this). More information on it should be published this year.

    Regardless, how does this impact the reliability of the NT? We have several reasons to believe that what was recorded was written within 60 years of the resurrection and is reliable such as writings of the early church leaders and archaeological evidence. Even if we take the position that the whole of the NT wasn’t completed until than 300 years later, that is still 300 years more reliable than what the Quran says about the events of the NT.

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    • Thank you for continuing the conversation.

      I pray to God, that He guides us to the Truth, whatever it might be, inshAllah !’

      Hopefully that statement will dispel any suspicion you have, that I may be debating for the ‘sake of winning’. Rather I am trying to come to a conclusion about the truth as it says in Isaiah 1:18 “Come let us reason together”.

      Just to address a few points you have made:

      (1) “As for this article, I am curious as to what it is supposed to prove. ”

      Trying to compare the textual integrity of the Qur’an vs the Bible.
      For a religious tradition that (from my understanding) has been transmitted solely through written statements and not oral traditions(which the Qur’an has), we really need to investigate this and reflect on it.

      (2) “The Quran was written about 600 years after the Bible on more durable material so of course there are more early manuscripts of it. ”

      For whatever reasons, the fact remains the textual integrity of the Qur’an is far superior. There may be “excuses” as to why that is, but the fact does remain.

      (3) On top of that, the early copies of the Bible were passed around and copied over and over, across a large area, so we wouldn’t expect them to have survived.

      You make it seem there was a printing press in existence at that time. Also very few Christians were literate at that time as well as after , that is a fact. So having copies and copies of the text would be a moot point.

      Moreover the POINT you are making, would imply that there SHOULD be manuscripts in the first century because there are copies and copies of them across a large area. Therefore, shouldn’t it be easier to find more manuscripts? Perhaps I have totally misunderstood the point you are making?

      (4) Moreover, the earliest manuscript, although written in the second century, could be within 100 years of the resurrection and almost certainly within 100 years of when it was written.

      I think we should define this manuscript as a fragment, it gives the false impression that you have pages upon pages. P52 is the size of a credit card.

      https://islamicarchives.wordpress.com/2017/05/22/25000-new-testament-manuscripts-big-deal/

      (5) . There is also a recently found fragment of Mark that likely dates to the 80s or 90s AD (Dan Wallace has released some info on this). More information on it should be published this year.

      The ‘Mummy” fragment has yet to be published, and it has been more than 5 years. So bringing up that point would be null and void. Not to mention, “every year” it is claimed that it will be published, but that is a side point.

      (6) We have several reasons to believe that what was recorded was written within 60 years of the resurrection and is reliable such as writings of the early church leaders and archaeological evidence.

      “is reliable such as writings of the early church leaders”

      The writings of the Church leaders are not that reliable in the first place.

      https://islamicarchives.wordpress.com/2017/05/25/can-the-new-testament-be-reconstructed-from-the-writings-of-the-church-fathers-muslims-answer/#comment-513

      Moreover I would be curious if you could elaborate on that statement, or perhaps refer me to some reference material.

      (7) Even if we take the position that the whole of the NT wasn’t completed until than 300 years later, that is still 300 years more reliable than what the Quran says about the events of the NT.

      With all due respect, your line of reasoning is flawed. Both accounts have come after the fact. Admittedly, way after the fact.

      However, where the Qur’an and the NT differ is that the Qur’an claims the account is being set-straight from God . And we know we have this revelation from God, both orally and textually from the time of the Prophet.

      NOW, if the Bible claimed to be a revelation from the year 300 setting the record straight from God, then you would have a point, because both are claiming essentially the same thing, but in different centuries.

      HOWEVER, that is not being claimed with the NT in year 300. What is being claimed is that this is a DIRECT account from Day 1.
      Then we have to question whether that account can be trusted in the first place?

      ———————————————————————-

      That concludes my “analysis of your arguments”. If i have made a mistake or misunderstood your point, please bring it up. I don’t intend to make this a rebuttal , counter-rebuttal , counter -counter rebuttal….you know what i mean. So maybe after two rebuttals , we will agree to disagree? lol.

      That being said, I wanted to have an agreement on one point , if you don’t mind. Would you agree with me that you don”t have a NT until the 4th century even if you took all the manuscripts and/or Church Father quotations from the first to third century. Would you agree with that statement?

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  3. lol Sorry Jay, it seemed i replied to the general and not to you, sorry if it seemed like i neglected your reply.

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    • Sorry for the delayed response and thank you for the reminder. Life kind of got in the way these past few days. By the way, do you have a name I can use to refer to you. Archivesislam just doesn’t seem very personal.

      I can tell that you are quite knowledgeable in this area so I am very much looking forward to having this discussion with you. I’ve never had a chance to talk religion with a Muslim. I want this to be a valuable experience, so I think it’s best to go slowly, and try to keep our responses short and direct.

      To begin, I agree with you that we don’t have a complete NT from the manuscripts until the 300s. There are other things I would like to respond to, but I am curious to know what you believe about a few things so I can respond appropriately.

      When do you believe the NT was written and do you accept traditional Christian views regarding authorship? Who do you think Jesus was and what do you believe about the resurrection? Do you believe oral tradition is more reliable than written statements?

      Thanks again.

      Like

      • Hey Jay ,

        Thanks again for continuing the conversation. As for my name, I don’t really share it with people online. But if you would like to call me something, my pen name would be AbdurRahman.

        I am happy that we are able to come to an agreement on a point. Not for the sake of ego, but for the truth.

        As one of our wise sages says :

        “Never do I debate a man with a desire to hear him err in his speech, or to expose the flaws in his argument, and thus vanquish him. Whenever I face an opponent in debate I silently supplicate, ‘O Lord, help him so that truth may manifest itself in his heart and on his tongue. If it be that the truth is on my side, may he follow me; and if the truth be on his side, may I follow him.’”

        As for the rest of points I have made, I await your responses at your earliest convenience.

        To answer your questions:

        (1) When do you believe the NT was written and do you accept traditional Christian views regarding authorship?

        I am sure there was an Injil/Gospel from Day 1 , most probably in Aramaic. And it wasn’t an account of the life of Jesus, but rather the verbatim words of God revealed to him.

        As for authorship, that is a good question. When you say accept ‘traditional Christian views’, do you mean views derived from the Church Fathers writings?

        (2) Who do you think Jesus was and what do you believe about the resurrection?

        We believe that he is a Prophet of God, who was born of a miraculous virgin birth. So just to reiterate , he is a prophet of God, a man, not the son of God, or God or part of a triune godhead.

        As for his Crucifixion, we do not believe that he suffered that punishment but instead was saved by God. And he will return in the end of times.

        (3) Do you believe oral tradition is more reliable than written statements?

        In Islam we have two sources of religious knowledge: Qur’an and hadith. Qur’an is the verbatim word of God, transmitted both orally and in written form. And we have chains of transmission, SOMETHING very important to consider.

        Then there is hadith, which is a historical account of what the Prophet did and said, preserved in oral and written forms and finally compiled in books. This again has its chains of transmission.

        So when you ask about oral traditions, you have to ask yourself, are we talking about oral traditions generally or in Islam.

        A professor had the following to say about our oral tradition regarding hadith:

        “Hadith science is an amazing accomplishment, that stands as one of the most impressive intellectual feats and edifices in human history…”- Prof. Jonathan Brown
        (https://islamicarchives.wordpress.com/2016/09/05/hadith-collection-and-criticism/)

        So as Muslims we take pride in the fact that our religious traditions have been preserved.

        I have a question for you, is that in Christianity do you have chains of transmission, what we call Isnads in Arabic?

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        • AbdurRahman, thanks for you response.

          What do you mean by chain of transmission? I think I have an idea, but I want to be sure. I’m not sure it’s the same thing you are talking about, but we do have a chain of transmission in some regard. The apostle John taught Ignatius and Polycarp, who taught Irenaeus, who taught Hippolytus. Similarly, Paul taught Linus and Clement of Rome, Clement taught Evaristus and Pius I, Pius I taught Justin Martyr, Justin taught Tatian. Also, Peter taught and communicated through Mark, who taught Justus, who taught, Pantaenus, who taught Clement of Alexander, who taught Origen. Is that what you were referring to?

          I would greatly enjoy speaking with you back and forth as long as you are interested, but I would also like to respect that you “don’t intend to make this a rebuttal , counter-rebuttal , counter -counter rebuttal.” As I mentioned before, I have not had the opportunity to have this kind of conversation with a Muslim so I am uncertain of how to have the most beneficial conversation, so I am sorry if I seem a little disorganized in what I respond to. If you think I am dodging any questions that you would like me to answer, please let me know and I will give you a direct response. After thinking about our conversation so far, I think the best place to focus would be the core issue, which is what we believe about Jesus. If you disagree, please let me know.

          I can see from your response that you do not believe the following statements about Jesus, but would you agree that the NT claims Jesus is the Messiah (the Christ), the only way to salvation, and He was resurrected from the dead?

          Thank you.

          Liked by 1 person

  4. In regards to the chains which you have brought , that is pretty much what I am talking about. But there are a few differences. For example, if someone had a dream about Prophet Muhammad, we would not consider that to be a reliable source of knowledge. So Paul having a ‘vision’ on the road to Damascus, from the onset wouldn’t be considered part of our religious tradition ( on a side note John 18:20 would refute such an idea, anyway).

    Moreover you have to look at the reliability of the chains, do you know who the people are in the chain, are there any breaks in the chain, do you have biographers of people in the chain. You don’t really have that in Christianity.

    Take for example the missing verses of the Bible which are not found in EITHER biblical manuscripts or Church father Quotations, but makes it way into the Bible in the 4th century. Where did these verses come from? Can you provide a chain? Or did they just ‘appear” This is the type of stuff I am talking about.

    As for continuing the conversation, I don’t mind I just didn’t want to offend you or waste your time. However If you could comment on another post, so we can have it more structured , as opposed to having a long withdrawn comment section here. But its your prerogative.

    No need to apologize, I appreciate the discourse.

    As for what YOU consider to be the NT or the Gospel, I would say that it definitely does not teach the Trinity or the divinity of Christ. As for the messiaship, I would say that it does teach that Jesus is the messiah, but a lot of people are called messiah. As for salvation, I agree that you have to accept Jesus as the representative of God, the same way you have to accept Moses as the representative of God during his time. As for the Crucifixion, I would say the Bible teaches a confused, ambiguous narrative leaving much to be desired.

    Perhaps we can continue the conversation here:

    https://islamicarchives.wordpress.com/2016/09/05/garry-miller-on-islam-and-christianity/

    Please start from time index 48:05, However if you don’t want to watch that, just pick another post and we can continue on that. Or we can continue on your blog. Whatever you like.

    I would highly suggest watching the video, its the reason i got into learning more about the Bible.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. If you don’t mind, I would prefer to continue the conversation here so that all we say is located in one place. It seems to make more sense that way to me, but if you insist, I don’t mind moving it elsewhere.

    I am not aware of any place in the NT that someone other than Jesus is called the Messiah. Can you please tell me where this is?

    Although it seems we may have some disagreements about what the NT teaches, we seem to agree that it is different than what the Qur’an teaches. I suppose this is a given since you believe the Qur’an is sets the record straight.

    What I am wondering, is what evidence do you have that Jesus did no rise from the dead? Even if there are textual variants and minor disagreements (which can arguably be harmonized if you are willing to search for the answers), that doesn’t disprove the resurrection. There is no disagreement anywhere in the NT that Jesus actually rose from the dead.

    Similarly, what evidence is there that the Qur’an actually sets the record straight? Joseph Smith claimed to do the same thing with the Book of Mormon. What reasons are there for trusting the Qur’an rather than the Book of Mormon? Why trust what the Qur’an says about Jesus rather than what the NT says about Him?

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  6. No problem, as you wish.

    As for messiah , I was talking about other Prophets being called Messiah. For example David(2 Samuel 23:1-7).

    As for your question, about what evidence do i have (from what you consider to be the NT) that Jesus did not get crucified and did not rise from the dead? I am just saying that if properly viewed, the narrative could easily show that Simon of Cyrene died on the cross. Not saying that happened, there is just confusion on the matter. Keeping all that aside, the real question and point I am making throughout our discourse is that can we trust the Biblical account?

    (https://islamicarchives.wordpress.com/2017/04/26/simon-of-cyrene-died-on-the-cross/)

    In response to comparing Mormonism to Islam. I would have to say that Christianity is in the same boat. The Jews of the Old Testament did not worship God with the understanding that they worshiped a trinity. But then in the NT (according to you) , the trinity is being taught. Is the NT setting the record straight about the godhead?

    I was hoping you could address one point I brought up in the previous comment I made. I apologize if I phrased it in a rhetorical way:

    “Take for example the missing verses of the Bible which are not found in EITHER biblical manuscripts or Church father Quotations, but makes it way into the Bible in the 4th century. Where did these verses come from? Can you provide a chain? Or did they just ‘appear”?”

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  7. Sorry for not answering the question. I was merely trying to stay focused on what I think is most important and I don’t see the chain as a primary issue for several reasons. So to answer your question directly, the NT verses you speak of were written down in the original letters. They were always there. Just because they weren’t quoted or don’t appear in the oldest fragments and manuscripts doesn’t mean they weren’t originally written, unless they are missing from the oldest fragments and manuscripts from where they should be. There is evidence of a handful of verses being absent in the oldest manuscripts, such as Mark 16:9-20 and John 7:53-8:11, but this doesn’t affect the core of Christianity, which is that Jesus rose from the dead. Each verse would have to be evaluated case by case, but for the most part, the writing style throughout each individual letter is quite consistent, so to maintain these verses are late additions would be very improbably. On top of all that, about half of the NT is quoted by the church fathers, plus what is in the oldest manuscripts. From my understanding, within those verses that have a chain, Jesus still did miracles, rose from the dead, and claimed to be the only way to salvation. Absence of evidence for something is not evidence against it.

    Here’s the article you cited in your post about the misconception that all but 11 verses are quoted by the church fathers. It points out that 46% of the NT is quoted by the church fathers (more than just al but 11 verses of John). https://theosophical.wordpress.com/2012/01/17/modern-myth-all-but-11-verses-of-the-nt-could-be-constructed-from-the-writings-of-the-early-church-fathers/

    The Christian view of the NT is that it is progressive or additional revelation added on to the OT. The reason I am willing to trust it, as opposed to other books that claim to be from God, is because Jesus and the apostles backed up their claims with signs and miracles from God. Jesus fulfilled prophecy from the OT, He performed miracles, empowered the apostles to perform miracles, and He rose from the dead. Several tests of authenticity show the NT to be reliable in what it claims about these things and the best explanation for how Christianity grew, despite persecution, is that the resurrection really happened. What evidence is there that the Qur’an is from God or that Muhammad was a prophet of God?

    Liked by 1 person

  8. P.S. Can you please clarify how 2 Samuel 23:1-7 claims David is the Messiah? I didn’t see it in those verses. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Thanks for your reply.

    I will start from the latter point first:

    2 Samuel 23:1 Now these be the last words of David. David the son of Jesse said, and the man who was raised up on high, the anointed of the God of Jacob, and the sweet psalmist of Israel, said,

    The Hebrew word for “anointed” is mashiyach.

    Translators can be very deceptive. ( I learned that from the Gary Miller video, again you should check it out if you get the chance, and perhaps move our conversation there)

    —————
    “Absence of evidence for something is not evidence against it.”

    True, but absence of evidence for something does not prove that assertion to be true either. If you hold on to this position then your committing a Logical Fallacy.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Argument_from_ignorance

    This is a logical fallacy referred to as Argument from ignorance (from Latin: argumentum ad ignorantiam), also known as appeal to ignorance (in which ignorance represents “a lack of contrary evidence”), is a fallacy in informal logic. It asserts that a proposition is true because it has not yet been proven false (or vice versa). This represents a type of false dichotomy in that it excludes a third option, which is that there may have been an insufficient investigation, and therefore there is insufficient information to prove the proposition be either true or false

    ———
    As for miracles, they are restricted to time and place. The parting of the Red Sea, Jesus walking on water, and other prophetic miracles you can find; you and I weren’t present there, so how can we rely on such events as a basis for faith. We believe in them because of our faith, but we can’t basis our faith off of them , since we weren’t present.

    On the other hand, Muslims have the greatest miracle which is the Qur’an, the verbatim word of God, preserved for all mankind and for all time.

    However if you do want ‘regular miracles’, we have those as well in Islam. But I don’t think I would need to resort to bringing that up, as the point has been made.
    ——-

    I have another question, do Christians have an oral tradition like the Muslims? I.E. Was the Bible memorized verbatim, or what is all passed down from writings? And if there are so many writings circulating around at that time, how come we have only a few manuscripts available to us now? You sort of answered this before, but the point remains that we don’ have these manuscripts so we cant say with certainty what is being said. I don’t want to dwell too much on this topic, unless if you want to. Or we can agree to disagree? Your call.

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  10. Thank you AbdurRahman for your response. I must say, I completely agree with you regarding the argument from ignorance. As you have probably experienced, many Christians rely on this type of argument to support their views and it is extremely frustrating.

    The reason I believe the whole NT we have today is part of the original is because of textual criticism, literary analysis, and archaeology. I believe because of evidence, not because there is no evidence to disprove it. If you want more details, let me know, but just a few of the reasons for my view is because the writing style is internally consistent within each letter, the language of the NT is consistent with first century language (language usage changes over time), the usage of names in the NT very closely matches first century usage, the criteria of embarrassment along with other criteria used by historians, archaeology has repeatedly confirmed (and never disproved) details about the first century that the NT mentions, writings of church fathers, and the writings of non-Christian authors such as Josephus, Tacitus, and others.

    I’m not sure if Christians specifically have an oral tradition in the way you might be referring, but the time and place where the NT was written was an oral culture. Jews in particular memorized the Torah verbatim. The NT, however, was written by many eye-witnesses and people very close to Jesus, so this is of limited importance. Even if they didn’t memorize Jesus’ words verbatim, they still witnessed the Him do miracles, performed miracles themselves, and witnessed the Resurrection. Paul and Luke didn’t witness it, but were close to those who did once they became believers and Paul has an experience of the risen Jesus (Christians believe it was more than just a vision).

    The reason we don’t have the oldest manuscripts is because they were written on papyri, which is a very thin and fragile type of paper. It is very susceptible to decay, especially due to moisture. It wasn’t until the 4th century that parchment started being used more often. Moreover, Christians were sought out for persecution and their writings were either burned or re-purposed for other uses, such as being used as plaster for mummy masks (regardless of dating, it still shows that the Bible was used for other purposes).

    Using standard historical methods, the NT is reliable, especially the core claims that Jesus is the only way to salvation and He rose from the dead to save us from our sins. Because there is so much evidence for this, the burden of proof falls on those who disagree with the evidence. Is that something we can agree on? And is there evidence to the contrary?

    I would like to make a quick comment regarding 2 Sam 23. The word mashiach is used 39 times in the OT and only twice is it translating as “Messiah,” in Daniel 9:25 and 26. The reason these two are translated as Messiah is because the context refers to the Messiah (the annointed Prince). Translating it as Messiah just makes it more clear to the average reader.
    http://biblehub.com/hebrew/4899.htm

    Sorry that this response got a little long. Let me know if you agree, but I think the most important issues to focus on are whether the NT is reliable and whether their is evidence that the Qur’an is from God. Do you have any positive evidence against the NT? What are the miracles of the Qur’an and Islam to prove it is from God? Also related but more secondary for now, do you believe the Qur’an has been perfectly preserved?

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  11. Sorry for the late reply.

    I am trying to figure out how best to approach this. I feel we are coming to an impasse and at this point we are just repeating ourselves (from both sides). I think I will conclude our discussion on the reliability and authenticity of the Bible. Unless if you want to continue , I don’t mind.

    I figure we can talk about Islam now, you probably have a lot of questions. I suggest you pick a new post, and we start there. Or we can continue here if u like.

    Let me just answer some of your questions, before we make a move(that is if you want to move):

    (1) “Using standard historical methods, the NT is reliable, especially the core claims that Jesus is the only way to salvation and He rose from the dead to save us from our sins. Because there is so much evidence for this, the burden of proof falls on those who disagree with the evidence. Is that something we can agree on? And is there evidence to the contrary?”

    This is a big claim on your part. Again if you want to continue this discussion, I don’t mind.

    However, I think this short video of Bart Ehrman shows that that statement is incorrect:

    (2) What are the miracles of the Qur’an and Islam to prove it is from God?

    The Qur’an itself is the biggest miracle, as I have previously alluded to, But we have other miracles as well.

    (3) Also related but more secondary for now, do you believe the Qur’an has been perfectly preserved?

    Yes , word for word , letter for letter, dot for dot.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Thanks for the response. I would like to continue the conversation on biblical reliability, as I feel we are just starting to get beyond the surface of the issues, but I am ok if you want to stop on this topic.

    I would just like to say that Ehrman is being inconsistent and unrealistic in his presentation. The evidence he uses to call the Gospels into question is the same evidence (along with others) he uses to make the claim Jesus existed. Also, he accurately gives what is the ideal standard for historical investigation, but doesn’t mention that no historical works meet that criteria. To reject the reliability of the NT is to reject everything ever known from historical documents of that time (or even as late as the 4th century) or earlier. You should listen to what Licona says in response to Ehrman in that debate.

    What are the miracles of Islam and why is the Qur’an a miracle?

    How do you understand Sahih Bukhari 6.61.510 as it relates to the preservation of the Qur’an?

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  13. No Problem, We can continue the conversation.

    ( I AM TYPING IN CAPS SOMETIMES NOT TO YELL AT YOU, LOL BUT YO DISTINGUISH BETWEEN YOUR QUOTE AND MY COMMENT)

    Here are some statements you mentioned:

    ” On top of that, the early copies of the Bible were passed around and copied over and over, across a large area, so we wouldn’t expect them to have survived.” (I DONT UNDERSTAND , SHOULDN’T THIS MEAN WE HAVE MORE MANUSCRIPTS AVAILABLE. MOREOVER THIS STATEMENTS SEEMS FALSE[WITH ALL DUE RESPECT] BECAUSE CHRISTIANS IN ANTIQUITY WERE NOT LITERATE )

    “To begin, I agree with you that we don’t have a complete NT from the manuscripts until the 300s. “( MINOR CORRECTION: NT MANUSCRIPTS AND CHURCH FATHER QUOTATION)

    “Just because they weren’t quoted or don’t appear in the oldest fragments and manuscripts doesn’t mean they weren’t originally written, unless they are missing from the oldest fragments and manuscripts from where they should be” ( AND IT DOESN’T MEAN THEY WERE THERE EITHER. DONT YOU FEEL THAT THIS IS QUESTIONABLE MATERIAL TO BASE YOUR FAITH OFF OF)

    “. From my understanding, within those verses that have a chain, Jesus still did miracles, rose from the dead, and claimed to be the only way to salvation. Absence of evidence for something is not evidence against it.” (CAN YOU PLEASE CONFIRM? MOREOVER THE FACT THAT YOU DONT HAVE A MANUSCRIPT AT ALL IN THE FIRST CENTURY ALREADY PUTS IN DOUBT ALL OF THESE EVENTS, DOES IT NOT)

    I would like to compare all of those statements with what Ehrman (which you guys probably think is the Antichrist, lol) has to say:

    ““This kind of realization coincided with the problems I was encountering the more closely I studied the surviving Greek manuscripts of the New Testament. It is one thing to say that the originals were inspired, but the reality is that we don’t have the originals—so saying they were inspired doesn’t help me much, unless I can reconstruct the originals. Moreover, the vast majority of Christians for the entire history of the church have not had access to the originals, making their inspiration something of a moot point. Not only do we not have the originals, we don’t have the first copies of the originals. We don’t even have copies of the copies of the originals, or copies of the copies of the copies of the originals. What we have are copies made later—much later. In most instances, they are copies made many centuries later. And these copies all differ from one another, in many thousands of places. As we will see later in this book, these copies differ from one another in so many places that we don’t even know how many differences there are. Possibly it is easiest to put it in comparative terms: there are more differences among our manuscripts than there are words in the New Testament.””

    https://islamicarchives.wordpress.com/2016/09/05/more-differences-among-manuscripts-than-words-in-the-new-testament/

    The part I would like to focus on is whether we can “reconstruct the original ” and the fact that vast majority of Christians were illiterate and had no access to the original manuscripts. I am not sure if we agreed, but the Christians of that time did not have an oral traditions(like the Muslims) and could not read or write. So how were these missing verses passed down? Isn’t it possible that stories were passed down and were ’embellished and Hellenized to appeal to a pagan greco-roman society. Each turn of the game of “Chinese Whispers” leading to more and more distortion of the truth.

    ————————————-

    Yes you have asked the same question, and I should do a better job in answering them:

    (1) What are the miracles of Islam and why is the Qur’an a miracle?

    As for the miracles of Islam, I think you mean the miracles of the Prophet Muhammad, then they are many. I don’t like quoting Wikipedia, but they do a good job. Let me know which miracle you want to go into, and we can discuss more:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miracles_of_Muhammad

    As for the Qur’an being a miracle, there are many. For starters , its preservation, its linguistic style which was paralleled by none at that time and after it. The Qur’an also contains prophecies .And there are also scientific miracles, There are plethora of other miracles to mention, perhaps if you can narrow down what you want I can provide more detail.

    (2) As for the preservation of the Quran and the hadith you brought up:

    Yes, there were drafts of the Qur’an burned, as it was not needed and you had the complete text compiled. If you compare that to the Bible, manuscripts were burned as well, albeit because Christians were being persecuted. However ,if your claim is that something is being lost because of that act, then the Christians have no argument as the same was done with their own scriptures

    Moreover, DESPITE that fact we still have manuscripts available to us in the first century that are hundred percent identical to the Qur’an we have today.

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  14. I’m hoping our discussion is becoming more productive, don’t be shy if you feel i have not addressed an issue to your satisfaction. Or perhaps have grossly misunderstood a point. Let me know.

    Also I hope you dont find the tone of my comment to be more strict or critical.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. I feel blessed to have The Holiest Word from The only Deity Most High The Quran. It has been a grace from Allah to be given permission to speak by authority of The Holy Spirit which emanated to the Righteous messenger and Prophet Muhammad.

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  16. Thanks again for the response AbdurRahman. Your tone has been quite respectful, which has made our conversation enjoyable, so thank you. I will say that I do feel as though you might be misunderstanding me a little in what I say. For instance, when I asked about the NT claiming Jesus is the only way to heaven, you defended your position against His divinity. I have spoken about the historical reliability of the NT and you criticize it for not being divinely preserved, a claim I have never espoused. I think it would be more beneficial for our conversation to pay more attention to details and not to move to new topics before resolving the ones we’re on so that the conversation can progress.

    By the way, what are your thoughts about the word mashiach since I last mentioned it?

    I think most apologists have a love/hate view of Ehrman (at least I do). He says some great and reasonable stuff at times, particularly regarding the existence of Jesus, but then he says a lot of inconsistent and erroneous things when he attacks the NT. He makes a lot of unfounded assumptions, ignores standard historical methods, and only uses data that supports his position. Interestingly, we started our discussion on Dan Wallace’s blog on a post about textual variants, yet you still have on your blog a misleading post about textual variants and cited it above. Do you not agree with what Wallace said about textual variants or do you not quite understand how they are counted? It can be quite confusing. The number Ehrman mentions is so high is because he is counting every variant from every single manuscript. In reality, there are about 138,000 words in the NT and about 13,000 different places in the NT where there is a variant. On top of that, many of the variants are very simple and basic copy errors that can clearly be corrected such as a misspelled word, an accent mark in the wrong place, or a change in the noun/verb ending. None of these variants affect the claim that Jesus rose from the dead.

    Are you familiar with the criteria of authenticity? I feel like that might be a valuable discussion to come to an understanding of historical reliability, particularly regarding whether we can reconstruct the originals.

    There are many reasons to believe we can reconstruct the originals. We see little to no change in the manuscripts over time. Ehrman claims that the gospel message changed to become legend over time, but even if that’s true (I don’t think it is), the manuscripts we have don’t change. In the few places they do, we have record of it because we have so many manuscripts. On top of that, we have the writings of the church fathers that support much of the NT (I am willing to dig into specifics on this, but the only thing I think needs supporting from the church fathers is the resurrection) and we have non-Christian sources that support what the NT says, for instance, Josephus admits that Jesus’ followers believed He appeared to them alive, after His crucifixion and that he was the Messiah.

    Moreover, it didn’t matter if most of them couldn’t read or write. It only took a single person within the church to be literate to read the letter. Additionally, you can copy a text without being literate or with minimal literacy (which likely explains some variants). And because they were generally illiterate, they did live in an oral culture and focused on memorization. It’s very unlikely that the story became “embellished and Hellenized” because it put them at odds with both the Jewish and Roman culture, which caused them to become persecuted by both groups and lose their “religio licita” (legal religious status) with the Romans. Not to mention, Paul (who I believe even Ehrman accepts as the author of 1 Cor) mentions the resurrection and says it is the focal point of all of Christianity. He gives a early creed which likely dates to less than 2 years after the resurrection (1 Cor 15:3-7, but the whole chapter might be worth reading). http://biblehub.com/nasb/1_corinthians/15.htm Also, the NT was written within the lifetime of witnesses, including many who were hostile to Christianity, so if the resurrection grew into legend, we would expect to find sources correcting the changes. We don’t find this anywhere and we do find opposing groups trying to explain the facts in other ways (e.g. saying the empty tomb was because the apostles stole the body).

    The hadith I mentioned said that the copies of the Qur’an were burned by early Islamic leaders because of their differences, not because they weren’t needed. There is no record that copied of the NT were ever burned by church leaders to hide differences. If the Qur’an is what you believe it to be, it cannot have differences. It doesn’t matter if things we lost or added, but the simple fact that there were any differences is evidence that it was not perfectly preserved. Moreover, Sahih Bukhari 6.61.550 says that the Qur’an “escapes from the hearts of men faster than camel do” and Sahih Bukhari 6.61.558 says that even Muhammad forgot verses of it. Then Sahih Bukhari 6.61.527 says that “Ubai was the best of us in the recitation (of the Qur’an) yet we leave out some of what he recites.” How do you understand all this as it relates to the perfect preservation of the Qur’an? I would like to discuss the miracles of Islam more, but only after reaching some sort of conclusion on this topic.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Thanks, I am enjoying the conversation and discourse as well.

    Let me go CAPSLOCK mode to better address the points.

    ——————

    Thanks again for the response (NO PROBLEM) AbdurRahman. Your tone has been quite respectful, which has made our conversation enjoyable, so thank you.(NO PROBLEM AGAIN) I will say that I do feel as though you might be misunderstanding me a little in what I say.(APOLOGIZES) For instance, when I asked about the NT claiming Jesus is the only way to heaven, you defended your position against His divinity.(JAY, I THINK I DID ANSWER THAT: “As for salvation, I agree that you have to accept Jesus as the representative of God, the same way you have to accept Moses as the representative of God during his time.”)

    I have spoken about the historical reliability of the NT and you criticize it for not being divinely preserved, a claim I have never espoused

    (I THOUGHT i DID BY BRINGING UP THE VIDEO OF BART EHRMAN VIDEO ON : “Dr. Bart Ehrman concludes it “gospels are not a reliable historical sources”

    ARE WE ARGUING WHETHER WE CAN TAKE THE BIBLE AS A HISTORICAL DOCUMENT OR WHETHER THEY ARE HISTORICALLY RELIABLE, WHICH I THINK IS ONE IN THE SAME?))

    I think it would be more beneficial for our conversation to pay more attention to details and not to move to new topics before resolving the ones we’re on so that the conversation can progress.(AGREED, SORRY IF I HAVE GONE INTO TRANGENTS)

    By the way, what are your thoughts about the word mashiach since I last mentioned it?(SORRY I DIDN’T MEAN TO GLOSS OVER IT, THE POINT I AM MAKING IS THAT A LOT OF PEOPLE WERE CALLED MESSIAH. SO IT IS NOT A TITLE WHICH RAISES ONE UP TO A DIVINE STATUS. I THINK IT IS BEING INTELLECTUALLY DISHONEST WHEN TRANSLATORS TRANSLATE WORDS TO FIT THEIR DOCTRINE AND THEOLOGY, MY QUESTION IS THAT DOES THE HEBREW DIFFERENTIATE BETWEEN The Messiah and A Messiah, I may be wrong, let me know? )

    I think most apologists have a love/hate view of Ehrman (at least I do). He says some great and reasonable stuff at times, particularly regarding the existence of Jesus, but then he says a lot of inconsistent and erroneous things when he attacks the NT. He makes a lot of unfounded assumptions, ignores standard historical methods, and only uses data that supports his position. Interestingly, we started our discussion on Dan Wallace’s blog on a post about textual variants, yet you still have on your blog a misleading post about textual variants and cited it above.(SORRY I AM READING THE TRANSCRIPT OF OUR CONVERSATION, PLEASE REMIND ME SO I CAN CORRECT IT)

    Do you not agree with what Wallace said about textual variants or do you not quite understand how they are counted? It can be quite confusing. The number Ehrman mentions is so high is because he is counting every variant from every single manuscript. In reality, there are about 138,000 words in the NT and about 13,000 different places in the NT where there is a variant. On top of that, many of the variants are very simple and basic copy errors that can clearly be corrected such as a misspelled word, an accent mark in the wrong place, or a change in the noun/verb ending. None of these variants affect the claim that Jesus rose from the dead.( I UNDERSTAND THE MAJORITY ARE WHAT PEOPLE CONSIDER TO BE ‘MINOR’ DIFFERENCES’, BUT THE FACT REMAINS THOUGH, CAN YOU COME UP WITH THE ORIGINAL GOSPEL, THE WORD OF GOD WHICHS SHOULD BE PRISTINE.

    LET ME CONCEDE THE POINT (JUST TO FURTHER THE DISCUSSION), THAT THE MAJORITY OF THESE VARIANTS ARE MINOR SPELLING MISTAKES, COMMAS, ETC. YOU STILL HAVE VARIANTS WHICH AFFECT CHRISTIANITY ON MANY LEVELS. NOT ONLY DOCTRINAL BUT EVEN IN CHRISTIAN THOUGHT.

    LET ME BRING UP AN EXAMPLE OF THE LATTER POINT FIRST, THE PERICOPE ADULTERATE (THE STORY OF THE ADULTERESS BROUGHT IN FRONT OF JESUS) . SUCH A STORY MAY NOT AFFECT CHRISTIAN DOCTRINE ON THE SURFACE, BUT IT DOES AFFECT CHRISTIANITY. I WOULD BE SO BOLD TO SAY THAT MANY CHRISTIANS MAY JUSTIFY PREMARITAL SEX, FORNICATION AND ADULTERY OFF OF SUCH STORIES OF ‘COMPASSION AND MERCY”

    AS FOR DOCTRINAL (YOU MAY NOT AGREE WIT THIS) BUT I HAD ALLUDED TO THIS BEFORE ON WALLACE’S BLOG, THAT WITHOUT THE VERSE OF 1 JOHN 5:7 YOU REALLY CANT COME TO THE TRINITY, IT JUST BOILS DOWN TO YOU INTERPRETING OTHER VERSES.

    NOW THE MAIN POINT (APOLOGIZES FOR THE LONG TANGENT) .THE CRUCIFIXION, YOU HAVE TO CONSIDER THE FOLLOWING:.

    : (1) THE LACK OF THE STORY IN FRAGMENTS/MANUSCRIPTS BEFORE THE 4TH CENTURY, DOES NOT MEAN THAT THE STORY WAS PART OF THE ORIGINAL. AND AFTER THE 4TH CENTURY YOU HAVE REFERENCE MATERIAL , SO OF COURSE YOU WOULD NOT HAVE DIFFERENCES AMONGST VARIANTS. THE POINT I AM MAKING IS THAT THE CRUCIFIXION IS NOT MENTIONED IN THE EARLIER MANUSCRIPTS, CORRECT ME IF IM WRONG

    (2) IS WHAT YOU CONSIDER TO BE THE BIBLE, IS THE BIBLE? THERE ARE MANY OTHER BIBLES THAT DO NOT HAVE THIS STORY OF JESUS DYING ON THE CROSS. ONE MANS HERESY MIGHT BE ANOTHER MAN’S ORTHODOXY, AND VICE VERSA.

    Are you familiar with the criteria of authenticity? I feel like that might be a valuable discussion to come to an understanding of historical reliability, particularly regarding whether we can reconstruct the originals.(SURE WE CAN GET INTO THIS, DOWN INTO ANOTHER RABBIT HOLE ,LOL)

    There are many reasons to believe we can reconstruct the originals. We see little to no change in the manuscripts over time. Ehrman claims that the gospel message changed to become legend over time, but even if that’s true (I don’t think it is), the manuscripts we have don’t change. In the few places they do, we have record of it because we have so many manuscripts. (PLEASE REFER TO THIS:

    https://islamicarchives.wordpress.com/2017/05/22/25000-new-testament-manuscripts-big-deal/)

    \ On top of that, we have the writings of the church fathers that support much of the NT (I am willing to dig into specifics on this, but the only thing I think needs supporting from the church fathers is the resurrection) (THE APOSTOLIC FATHERS ( THE CHURCH FATHERS THAT ACTUALLY MATTER) AND THEIR QUOTATIONS ARE NOT BE TRUSTED. PLEASE REFER TO:

    https://islamicarchives.wordpress.com/2017/08/06/can-the-heretical-church-fathers-be-trusted/

    https://islamicarchives.wordpress.com/2017/05/18/value-of-the-apostolic-fathers-quotations/

    https://islamicarchives.wordpress.com/2017/05/16/early-church-fathers-on-scriptures-being-final-authority/

    and we have non-Christian sources that support what the NT says, for instance, Josephus admits that Jesus’ followers believed He appeared to them alive, after His crucifixion and that he was the Messiah.( THERE ARE MANY THINGS TO CONSIDER IN THIS COMMENT, PERHAPS WE CAN LEAVE JOSEPHUS AND TACITUS TO ANOTHER DAY)

    Moreover, it didn’t matter if most of them couldn’t read or write. It only took a single person within the church to be literate to read the letter. Additionally, you can copy a text without being literate or with minimal literacy (which likely explains some variants). And because they were generally illiterate, they did live in an oral culture and focused on memorization.( THIS IS WHY I BROUGHT UP THE TOPIC OF ORAL TRADITIONS. HOWEVER YOU CLAIMED THAT :

    “I’m not sure if Christians specifically have an oral tradition in the way you might be referring, but the time and place where the NT was written was an oral culture…The NT, however, was written by many eye-witnesses and people very close to Jesus, so this is of limited importance).”

    PERHAPS I HAVE MISUNDERSTOOD YOU QUOTE. DID THEY HAVE AN ORAL TRADITION AND IS IT IMPORTANT?

    NOT TO DIVERT FROM THE ISSUE, JUST TO BRING UP A POINT OF POPULAR CULTURE. I HEARD OF THIS MOVIE “BOOK OF ELI” HAVEN’T WATCHED IT YET, DIDN’T GET AROUND TO IT. BUT FROM THE SYNOPSIS, THE MOVIE BASICALLY IS TAKING PLACE IN POST-APOCALYPTIC SETTING, YOU HAVE ONE GUY WHO IS BEING CHASED AROUND BECAUSE HE IS THE LAST REMAINING SOURCE OF THE BIBLE.

    FOR A MUSLIM, THE WHOLE PREMISE OF THE MOVIE IS LAUGHABLE. IN ISLAM YOU DON’T HAVE THAT PROBLEM. THE QUR’AN HAS BEEN MEMORIZED WORD FOR WORD, LETTER FOR LETTER, DOT FOR DOT. IT HAS BEEN PRESERVED IN THE HEARTS AND MINDS OF PEOPLE. THIS IS THE TYPE OF ORAL TRADITION I AM TALKING ABOUT, DOES CHRISTIANITY HAVE SOMETHING SIMILAR IN THE FIRST THREE CENTURIES?

    DO YOU HAVE THE GOSPEL MEMORIZED IN THE Original ARAMAIC? IN THE GREEK? IN THE Latin? HOW ABOUT THE ENGLISH WHICH YOU READ?)

    It’s very unlikely that the story became “embellished and Hellenized” because it put them at odds with both the Jewish and Roman culture, which caused them to become persecuted by both groups and lose their “religiolicita” (legal religious status) with the Romans. Not to mention, Paul (who I believe even Ehrman accepts as the author of 1 Cor) mentions the resurrection and says it is the focal point of all of Christianity. He gives a early creed which likely dates to less than 2 years ( THATS A BOLD CLAIM, AND PERHAPS WE CAN TALK MORE ABOUT THIS )after the resurrection (1 Cor 15:3-7, but the whole chapter might be worth reading). http://biblehub.com/nasb/1_corinthians/15.htm Also, the NT was written within the lifetime of witnesses(YOU MENTIONED THIS BEFORE, PLEASE ELABORATE), including many who were hostile to Christianity, so if the resurrection grew into legend, we would expect to find sources correcting the changes. We don’t find this anywhere and we do find opposing groups trying to explain the facts in other ways (e.g. saying the empty tomb was because the apostles stole the body)(THERE ARE GROUPS THAT EXPLAIN THE ‘FACTS’ IN A DIFFERENT WAY:

    https://islamicarchives.wordpress.com/2017/04/26/simon-of-cyrene-died-on-the-cross/

    )

    The hadith I mentioned said that the copies of the Qur’an were burned by early Islamic leaders because of their differences, not because they weren’t needed. There is no record that copied of the NT were ever burned by church leaders to hide differences. If the Qur’an is what you believe it to be, it cannot have differences It doesn’t matter if things we lost or added, but the simple fact that there were any differences is evidence that it was not perfectly preserved. (IT DOESN’T HAVE DIFFERENCES, SOME PEOPLE STARTING TO COPY AND RECITED INCORRECTLY. TO MAKE SURE WE DIDNT END UP LIKE THE JEWS AND CHRISTIANS, AS IT SAYS IN THE SAME NARRATION YOU REFEREED TO: “O chief of the Believers! Save this nation before they differ about the Book (Qur’an) as Jews and the Christians did before.” WE PUT A STOP TO THIS BY REFERRING BACK TO THE ORIGINALS. DID THE BIBLE HAVE AN ORIGINAL TO REFER TO AS IT WAS BEING SPREAD ACROSS LANDS ) Moreover, Sahih Bukhari 6.61.550 says that the Qur’an “escapes from the hearts of men faster than camel do” ( THIS IS SELECTIVE QUOTING, LETS QUOTE THE SENTENCE BEFORE”So you must keep on reciting the Qur’an ” IT IS A COMMAND FROM GOD AND HIS PROPHET TO MAKE SURE IT REMAINS IN THE HEARTS AND MINDS OF THE PEOPLE). and Sahih Bukhari 6.61.558 says that even Muhammad forgot verses of it. ( THIS GOES TO SHOW YOU HE WAS A MAN, AND SOMETIMES MEN FORGET, BUT THE QURAN WAS BEING MEMORIZED AND WRITTEN DOWN FROM DAY 1 OF ITS REVELATION TO A COMMUNITY WHO PRESERVED IT. MOREOVER THE ANGEL GABRIEL DID COME TO REVISE THE QURAN WITH HIM TWICE, BEFORE HIS DEATH. THIS WAS THE FINAL VERSION) Then Sahih Bukhari 6.61.527 says that “Ubai was the best of us in the recitation (of the Qur’an) yet we leave out some of what he recites.” (IF YOU CONTINUE THE TEXT YOU WILL FIND THE FOLLOWING AYAH OF THE QURA’N : We do not abrogate a verse or cause it to be forgotten except that We bring forth [one] better than it or similar to it. THIS VERSE OF THE QUR’AN SHOWS THAT IN THE REVELATION OF THE QUR’AN DURING THE LIFE TIME OF THE PROPHET CERTAIN VERSES WERE ABROGATED AS PER THE WILL OF GOD. THE PRESERVATION OF THE QUR’AN , AND THE CLAIM I MAKE, IS THAT THE FINAL VERSION WHICH WAS REVEALED TO THE PROPHET MUHAMMAD,BEFORE HIS DEATH, HAS BEEN PERFECTLY PRESERVED TILL THIS DAY ) How do you understand all this as it relates to the perfect preservation of the Qur’an? (I MAINTAIN THAT THE QUR’AN HAS BEEN PERFECTLY PRESERVED. FROM THE FINAL REVELATION WHEN THE PROPHET DIED UNTIL NOW IN THE HEARTS AND MINDS OF BILLIONS OF PEOPLE: This day, I have perfected your religion for you, completed My Favour upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion 5:3 ) I would like to discuss the miracles of Islam more, but only after reaching some sort of conclusion on this topic. (NO PROBLEM)

    WHEW THIS TOOK SOME TIME!LOL!

    HOPEFULLY I ADDRESSED ALL THE POINTS TO YOUR SATISFACTION AND UNDERSTOOD THE POINTS YOU ARE MAKING. SINCE YOU ARE THE GUEST I WILL LET YOU DIRECT THE CONVERSATION TO YOUR LIKING.

    Liked by 1 person

    • There are lots of things I would like to discuss, but the posts are getting too long to do that so I will keep this brief and come back to the other points later. Do you believe Simon of Cyrene died on the cross in place of Jesus or are you just using what others have said about this to to cast doubt on the Christian view?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Btw, I am using a HTML editor. It makes comments look soooo much better.laughing

        Anyways back to your comment. As for the Muslim position on the cruxifiction this is what we believe, as it says in the Qur’an (4::157):

        And because of their saying: We slew the Messiah, Jesus son of Mary, Allah’s messenger – they slew him not nor crucified him, but it appeared so unto them; and lo! those who disagree concerning it are in doubt thereof; they have no knowledge thereof save pursuit of a conjecture; they slew him not for certain.

        Basically, we assert that God not only saved him from death but also  from incurring any hurt at all. As for whether it was Simon of Cyrene, God knows best. 

        The reason I bring up this point in the conversation is because you made the following argument “ so if the resurrection grew into legend, we would expect to find sources correcting the changes. We don’t find this anywhere and we do find opposing groups trying to explain the facts in other ways (e.g. saying the empty tomb was because the apostles stole the body)”

        My argument is that you do have ‘opposing groups’ who are christian, explaining ‘the facts’ in a different way.

        Let me share some quotes from that post to show you what opposing groups believed:

        https://islamicarchives.wordpress.com/2017/04/26/simon-of-cyrene-died-on-the-cross/

        The 4th cent writer Epiphanius of Salamis mentions:

        This second mimologue mounts another dramatic piece for us in his account of the cross of Christ; for he claims that not Jesus, but Simon of Cyrene, has suffered. For when the Lord was marched out of Jerusalem, as the Gospel passage says, one Simon of Cyrene was compelled to bear the cross. From this he finds his trickeries opportunity for composing his dramatic piece and says:Jesus changed Simon into his own form while he was bearing the cross, and changed himself into Simon, and delivered Simon to crucifixion in his place. During Simon’s crucifixion Jesus stood opposite him unseen, laughing at the persons who were crucifying Simon. But he himself flew off to the heavenly realms after delivering Simon to crucifixion, and returned to heaven without suffering. It was Simon himself who was crucified, not Jesus. Jesus, Basilides says, passed through all the powers on his flight to heaven, till he was restored to his own Father

        (Panarion of Epiphanius: Against Basilides Part 24: 3.2-3.4)

         But the father without birth and without name, perceiving that they would be destroyed, sent his own first-begotten Nous to bestow deliverance on them that believe in him, from the power of those who made the world. He appeared, then, on earth as a man, to the nations of these powers, and wrought miracles.Wherefore he did not himself suffer death, but Simon, a certain man of Cyrene, being compelled, bore the cross in his stead; so that this latter being transfigured by him, that he might be thought to be Jesus, was crucified, through ignorance and error, while Jesus himself received the form of Simon, and, standing by, laughed at themFor since he was an incorporeal power, and the Nous (mind) of the unborn father, he transfigured himself as he pleased, and thus ascended to him who had sent him, deriding them, inasmuch as he could not be laid hold of, and was invisible to all. Those, then, who know these things have been freed from the principalities who formed the world; so that it is not incumbent on us to confess him who was crucified, but him who came in the form of a man, and was thought to be crucified, and was called Jesus, and was sent by the father, that by this dispensation he might destroy the works of the makers of the world. If any one, therefore, he declares, confesses the crucified, that man is still a slave, and under the power of those who formed our bodies; but he who denies him has been freed from these beings, and is acquainted with the dispensation of the unborn father. (Irenaeus of Lyons: Against Heresies, Book 1 Ch 24: 4)

        I did not succumb to them as they had planned. But I was not afflicted at all. Those who were there punished me. And I did not die in reality but in appearance, lest I be put to shame by them because these are my kinsfolk. I removed the shame from me and I did notbecome fainthearted in the face of what happened to me at their hands. I was about to succumb to fear, and I <suffered> according totheir sight and thought, in order that they may never find any word to speak about them. For my death, which they think happened,(happened) to them in their error and blindness, since they nailed their man unto their death. For their Ennoias did not see me, for they were deaf and blind. But in doing these things, they condemn themselves. Yes, they saw me; they punished me. It was another, their father, who drank the gall and the vinegar; it was not I. They struck me with the reed; it was another, Simon, who bore the cross on his shoulder. I was another upon Whom they placed the crown of thorns. But I was rejoicing in the height over all the wealth of the archons and the offspring of their error, of their empty glory. And I was laughing at their ignorance. (2nd Treatise of Great Seth: 9)

        These are just some quotes indicating that it was Simon of Cyrene.  But they are many other accouns confirming that someone else died on the cross. By brining up these quotes, I in no way agree with their creeds and beliefs, I am just making the argument that there were other Christians during that time who had a different account of what happened.

        And God knows best. 

        Hopefully I answered the question, Thanks !

        Liked by 1 person

  18. Thanks for the response. I suppose I should have been more clear on my claim. There is no source refuting that Jesus was crucified that dates back to the original events or within the life time of those who eye-witnessed it. This is important because, as we both know, legends develop over time so the closer a source is to the actual events, the more likely it is to be true.

    The claims such as you cited seem to just pop out of nowhere and are unsupported. They are late, they are rare, they are unfounded, they are not by eyewitnesses (nor do they claim to be), and they do not claim to be writing for historical purpose (such as Luke or Josephus). Even by your own standards, they are not reliable sources.

    Furthermore, these claims, as far as I know, all come out of Gnosticism, which was already threatening the church at the end of the first century as seen by the later books of the NT. It would make sense that Gnosticism would start to be incorporated into the beliefs of some Christians, especially at later dates, which would require the rejection of some parts of the Bible in order to support the Gnostic beliefs.

    Can we agree that there is no reliable evidence for the claim that Simon of Cyrene was crucified in Jesus’ place?

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Hey Jay,

    Thanks for the reply. I will honest with you, I don’t fully understand this argument that you have made previously, and you make now. I am not trying to be evasive or daft, I honestly dont understand where you are coming from.The objections you make towards the sources I have brought, seems to be the same objections I can bring towards what you consider to be the Gospel. But let me address your comment below, in the blue font. And perhaps the next comment you can take it step by step:

    Thanks for the response(yw). I suppose I should have been more clear on my claim. There is no source (define source pls)  refuting that Jesus was crucified that dates back to the original events or within the life time of those who eye-witnessed it.(Can you show me the sources that claim he was crucified in the first place, then we can look at sources which refute it. Are you claiming the Bible can be used as a source???)

    This is important because, as we both know, legends develop over time so the closer a source is to the actual events, the more likely it is to be true.(Agreed)

    The claims such as you cited seem to just pop out of nowhere and are unsupported  (Church father Iraeneus records them. So such groups did exist, which is the point I was making by brining it up. So by your standards of accepting the Church fathers, you would have to agree that such groups existed as early as the first century if Iraenus is recording this in the early second Now whether you view these groups as heretics, is a different story. ) They are late, they are rare, they are unfounded, they are not by eyewitnesses (what do you mean by eyewitnesses?,since the Bible recorded that someone observed something it should be considered as gospel as the idiom goes) (nor do they claim to be), and they do not claim to be writing for historical purpose (such as Luke or Josephus). Even by your own standards, they are not reliable sources. (Agreed,  I say the claims are just as reliable as the gospel and church father quotiations you hold to be true, which is not very reliable )

    Furthermore, these claims, as far as I know, all come out of Gnosticism, which was already threatening the church at the end of the first century as seen by the later books of the NT. It would make sense that Gnosticism would start to be incorporated into the beliefs of some Christians, especially at later dates, which would require the rejection of some parts of the Bible in order to support the Gnostic beliefs. (Iraenus recorded this in the second century, so the belief already did exist at that time)

    Can we agree that there is no reliable evidence for the claim that Simon of Cyrene was crucified in Jesus’ place?( ‘Im not trying to disagree for the sake of disagring, but the point I am making is the the belief that Simon of Cyrene died in place of Jesus should be just as reliable as making the claim that Jesus died on the cross)

    BTW , here is a good article which I copied and pasted and put on my blog a long time ago:

    https://islamicarchives.wordpress.com/2017/03/17/reasons-to-question-the-historicity-of-the-crucifixion/

    Again lets do this step by step.  You are making multiple points in one sentence, and I comend you on your writing style. It’s difficult to address so many points you have made though. So ya, lets try this again…..

     

     

     

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  20. Hi AbdurRahman, thanks again for the response. Is English your first language? I assumed it was because of they way you write, but your comment about writing style makes me question this. Anyway, I will try to do better about keeping things short and clear.

    Just so there is no misunderstanding, here is what I believe the evidence points to, and it is what I will defend unless I see better evidence for a different position. I believe that Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John are the four gospels, written by the people whose names are on them. The gospel of Mark is Peter’s eyewitness account as was written by his scribe and companion, Mark. Acts was written by Luke as a follow-up to his gospel. The letters traditionally ascribed to Paul (Romans, 1 & 2 Cor, Gal, Eph, Phil, Col, 1 & 2 Thess, 1 & 2 Tim, Titus, and Philemon) were actually written by Paul (some through the use of a scribe). The author of Hebrews is unknown, James and Jude were written by Jesus’s brothers, 1 & 2 Peter were written by Peter (possibly with a scribe), and 1-3 John and Revelation were all written by the apostle John. I believe these are all first hand accounts of what happened (except Luke’s books and some of what Paul says) and were all written between 40 and 100 AD. These are all the books that I consider to be the NT and the true Word of God and other than a handful of verses, which we are aware of, the NT we have now is an accurate reconstruction of the original writings.

    Like I said, I believe this because of the evidence (I didn’t grow up as a Christian), and would be happy to discuss this evidence piece by piece.

    But anyway, back to the information about Simon of Cyrene and why it’s not reliable to believe he was crucified in Jesus’s place. The NT was written by people who lived with and spent time with Jesus, they witnessed his crucifixion, saw Jesus alive after the resurrection (Paul, Luke, and author of Hebrews are exception, but they learned from the people who did and were accepted as reliable by those people), and they wrote what they saw within the lifetime of other witnesses that could have corrected their errors. Even though we don’t have the original writings, I agree with what the majority of historians say, which is that the writings were originally composed in the first century by eyewitnesses. Because of who wrote these books and when they were written, it is extremely unlikely for myth to have developed or for the story to have changed.

    Now, compare this to the sources that claim Simon died in Jesus’s place. The earliest recording of it is mentioned by Irenaeus about 150 years after the crucifixion. The people who made the claim were not eyewitnesses, don’t claim to be, and don’t claim to be relying on eyewitness accounts. They are merely asserting dogma without evidence for it. These claims are far enough removed in time for errors to develop whereas the NT was not written late enough for this to happen.

    I am trying to show that there are several criteria to show that the NT is a reliable source about the crucifixion and resurrection while beliefs that contradict the NT are not from reliable sources. They can easily be explained as myths that developed later. On the other hand, if you don’t actually think, based on the evidence, that Simon of Cyrene died in Jesus’ place, then isn’t it being a bit dishonest to imply it might have happened?

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  21. Hey Jay,

    Thanks for the reply.

    I was just mentioning in-passing that for the benefit of me, you and those that come across this blog; we should try to take it point by point.  It will be a more fruitful and productive aproach. I know its difficult. When I used to debate the trinity with Christians online, I had to constantly remind them not to “machine gun” Bible verses. We all tend to do bring up multiple points in one sentence or so, but again step by step is the best approach IMO. Therefore in this comment I will try to be as BRIEF as possible.

    You mentioned the following (my comments are in blue):

    Just so there is no misunderstanding, here is what I believe( Belief is an interesting word, hopefully in this context it is used as a figure of speech and not an actual assertion that you base your opinion that the Bible is historically reliable based off of blind-faith) the evidence points(disregard the previous comment, it seems we are going to get down to brass tacks) to, and it is what I will defend unless I see better evidence(define better evidence, perhaps we will get into that later on…) for a different position. I believe (again belief…) that Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John are the four gospels, written by the people whose names are on them( Who are Matthew, Mark, Luke and John? Do we have their . The gospel of Mark is Peter’s eyewitness account as was written by his scribe and companion, Mark. Acts was written by Luke as a follow-up to his gospel. The letters traditionally ascribed to Paul (Romans, 1 & 2 Cor, Gal, Eph, Phil, Col, 1 & 2 Thess, 1 & 2 Tim, Titus, and Philemon) were actually written by Paul (some through the use of a scribe). The author of Hebrews is unknown, James and Jude were written by Jesus’s brothers, 1 & 2 Peter were written by Peter (possibly with a scribe), and 1-3 John and Revelation were all written by the apostle John. I believe(again belief…) these are all first hand accounts of what happened (except Luke’s books and some of what Paul says) and were all written between 40 and 100 AD. These are all the books that I consider to be the NT and the true Word of God and other than a handful of verses, which we are aware of, the NT we have now is an accurate reconstruction of the original writings. (Again, like you have often referred to in this paragraph. This is all a “belief’. I understand you take the Bible to be the word of God , despite of the disucssion we have had previously.)

    Like I said, I believe this because of the evidence (I didn’t grow up as a Christian), and would be happy to discuss this evidence piece by piece. (This is what I was hoping we could get into I understand now, the previous paragraph is you stating what you hold to be true because of the proofs and evidences, which are yet to be revealed…..)

    But anyway, back to the information about Simon of Cyrene and why it’s not reliable to believe he was crucified in Jesus’s place. The NT was written by people who lived with and spent time with Jesus, they witnessed his crucifixion, saw Jesus alive after the resurrection( evidence? Just because it says so) (Paul, Luke, and author of Hebrews are exception, but they learned from the people who did and were accepted as reliable by those people), and they wrote what they saw within the lifetime of other witnesses that could have corrected their errors( ( evidence? ) . Even though we don’t have the original writings, I agree with what the majority of historians say, which is that the writings were originally composed in the first century by eyewitnesses(source?). Because of who wrote these books and when they were written , it is extremely unlikely for myth to have developed or for the story to have changed.

    Now, compare this to the sources that claim Simon died in Jesus’s place. The earliest recording of it is mentioned by Irenaeus about 150 years after the crucifixion(So let me understand this and correct me if I am wrong. It’s okay to use the Church Father and their quotations to confirm the Bible  (As Wallace often says with pride, that we can reconstruct the Bible many times over just with church father quotation.) But the same Church Fathers, who mention heretical groups that existed around that time and before, we have to question their writings? If that is not the point your making but the fact that the writing comes from 150 AD and it being late, the fact that Iraenus is writing about it now shows that this group most probably existed in the first century if not at least in the early second centuryThe people who made the claim were not eyewitnesses, don’t claim to be and don’t claim to be relying on eyewitness accounts(We don’t have all of their writings so, we don’t know what they claimed or did not claim. Moreover you claim you have ‘eyewitness accounts’ , again just because the Bible says so. We dont know the authors of these books, their biographers, and more importantly whether they can be attributed to them .) They are merely asserting dogma without evidence for it. These claims are far enough removed in time for errors to develop whereas the NT was not written late enough for this to happen. (If we dont have a complete NT using both Church father quotations and biblical manuscripts until the 4th century, how can we discount a group that existed before the compilation of the Bible.)

    I am trying to show that there are several criteria to show that the NT is a reliable source (You allude to evidences, but do not bring them up. How can I agree with you on a point you have not fully articulated in the first place? ) about the crucifixion and resurrection while beliefs that contradict the NT are not from reliable source( Again how can we take the NT to be a reliable source in the first place?) . They can easily be explained as myths that developed later. On the other hand, if you don’t actually think, based on the evidence, that Simon of Cyrene died in Jesus’ place, then isn’t it being a bit dishonest to imply it might have happened? ( I maintain that the  reliability of Simon of Cyrene dying on the Cross is just a reliable as Jesus dying on the cross. Both being very unreliable.)

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  22. Hey AbdurRahman, Just a couple quick comments up front to answer your questions, then a few questions to see how to best answer your other points.

    When I say “I believe,” I am saying “I think it is true.” When I said “better evidence,” I was referring to the overall weight of the evidence, which includes the strength of evidence and the amount of evidence.

    Also, regarding the writings of Irenaeus, I accept them as authentic and reliable. What I I was trying to point out is that the people he was writing against did not have reliable evidence for their beliefs. Does that make sense? This point leads me to a few questions regarding what you believe and what you accept as evidence.

    Do you accept the writings of the early church fathers as evidence for the reliability of the Bible? If not, why? Would you accept Christian account for the resurrection if there were a chain linking these beliefs to early sources? Do you automatically discount NT writers as unreliable because they were Christians? If so, does the same reasoning apply to the Qur’an and Hadiths?

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  23. Hey AbdurRahman, Just a couple quick comments up front to answer your questions, then a few questions to see how to best answer your other points.(Hey Jay, No Problem)

    When I say “I believe,” I am saying “I think it is true.” When I said “better evidence,” I was referring to the overall weight of the evidence, which includes the strength of evidence and the amount of evidence. ( Ok, perhaps we can get into this evidence. but I leave the direction of our conversation to you)

    Also, regarding the writings of Irenaeus, I accept them as authentic and reliable. What I I was trying to point out is that the people he was writing against did not have reliable evidence for their beliefs. Does that make sense?(How do you know if they did or did not have reliable evidence? All we have is an allusion to their existence by Irenaeus? Moreover I don’t know the evidence you have for your belief, so how do you expect me to compare your ‘reliable’ evidence, when you haven’t provided it in the first place. So far, at the moment, an allusion to a “heretical group” seems just as reliable as a narraive that you believe in.)

    This point leads me to a few questions regarding what you believe and what you accept as evidence.

    Do you accept the writings of the early church fathers as evidence for the reliability of the Bible? If not, why?

    The writings of the Church Fathers should not be trusted for numerous reasons:

    (1) Their Heretical beliefs which go against what is considered regular Christian doctrine. How can we rely on them to quote the Bible with any accuracy but reject them when they bring up their heretical beleifs. Seems like a double standard.

    https://islamicarchives.wordpress.com/2017/08/06/can-the-heretical-church-fathers-be-trusted/

    (2) The value of the apostolic fathers quotes are of very little value:

    Vincent Taylor: “Until about A.D. 150 the quotations are of little value for textual purposes.” [13]

    Frederic George Kenyon: “Quotations from the New Testament are found in the earliest writers of the sub-apostolic age, but they are so scanty as to be of little service for our present purpose.”[14]

    A. T. Robertson: “Little help is gained from the Greek Apostolic Fathers for the text.”[15]

    Bruce Metzger: “The Apostolic Fathers seldom make express citations from New Testament writings.”[16]

    Marvin R. Vincent: “The Apostolic Fathers are of little value for patristic quotation, since they do not so much quote as blend the language of the New Testament with their own.”[17]

    William L. Petersen: “It is clear that the vast majority of passages in the Apostolic Fathers for which one can find likely parallels in the New Testament have deviations from our present, critically reconstructed New Testament text. It must be emphasized that the vast majority of these deviations are not minor (e.g., differences in spelling or verb tense), but major (a completely new context, a substantial interpolation or omission, a conflation of two entirely separate ideas and/or passages).” [18]

    Caspar René Gregory professes, despite his apologetic tone, that “the very earliest of the Christian writers did not make a point of quoting the New Testament with any precision.”[19]

    ————–

    (13) Vincent Taylor, The Text of the New Testament, A Short Introduction, London: Macmillan, 1961, p.40 ↑

    (14) Frederic George Kenyon, Handbook to the Textual Criticism of the New Testament, p.209

    (15)A. T. Robertson, An Introduction to the Textual Criticism of the New Testament, Tennessee: Broadman Press, 1925, p.134 ↑

    (16) Bruce Metzger, The Canon of the New Testament, Its Origin, Development, and Significance, p.40 ↑

    (17)See Marvin R. Vincent, A History of the Textual Criticism of the New Testament, New York: Macmillan Company, 1899, p.38 ↑

    (18) William L. Petersen, “Textual Traditions Examined: What the Text of the Apostolic Fathers tells us about the Text of the New Testament in the Second Century,” in Andrew F. Gregory and Christopher M. Tuckett, eds. The Reception of the New Testament in the Apostolic Fathers, New York: Oxford University Press, 2005, p.33 ↑

    (19) Caspar René Gregory, Canon and Text of the New Testament, New York: Charles Scribner, 1907, p.425 ↑

    (3) A certain comment on Ehrman’s Blog I want to share:

    I read a Christian article once saying that all the verses in the New Testament were quoted by early Church fathers hence therefore this proves that the New Testament is in its original form (his argument not mine). Any thoughts?

    That’s what my posts were on! The problems are that the NT is not quoted extensively in *early* church fathers, that the fathers all quote the NT in different ways, that even within the fathers’ quotations there are variations for this or that verse quoted, and that we don’t actually have the fathers’ writings either, but only later manuscripts in which their own words have also been changed. Almost everyone who makes this argument has never actually worked with the Father’s texts. (The first father to quote the NT extensively in Greek is Origen; I wrote a book on his quotations of John)

    https://ehrmanblog.org/church-fathers-who-quote-the-new-testament-for-members/

    Would you accept Christian account for the resurrection if there were a chain linking these beliefs to early sources?(If you were to establish a clear chain from accurate and trustworthy eye witnesses to now, making sure we know who all the people are i.e. biographies , whether they met,etc. Basically a clear Isnad as we say in Islam, and not just one chain but many chains. Moreover the accounts have to line up. If all of this is correct, then I would accept that from the very beginning there were christian groups who BELIEVED the resurrection of Jesus occurred from Day 1. However you don’t have that. There are already discrepancies in the account, for example, let us examine the following verse:

     And they went out and fled from the tomb, for trembling and astonishment had seized them, and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.

    This is the correct ending in Mark which ends on chapter 16 verse 8. According to this ending, the women said NOTHING to anyone, yet Mark manages to record it? Did the women tell Mark, Yes or No? There is already a discrepancy in the first link. This is why scribes added to the text they wanted to take care of what they thought to be a theological/doctrinal oversight. ) Do you automatically discount NT writers as unreliable because they were Christians?(No.) If so, does the same reasoning apply to the Qur’an and Hadiths?

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  24. My thoughts on the church fathers quoting the NT is that it adds to the credibility of the NT. It doesn’t matter if they are quoting it exactly or extensively. By their quoting it at all, it shows there were aware of it, accepted it as scripture, and agreed with certain doctrines. The main thing, as I’ve said before, is whether or not Jesus died and was resurrected. Everything else is secondary. So the question we need to answer is, did they church fathers believe Jesus died and was resurrected and where did that belief come from (which is where I plan on going next).

    What is your thought on the reliability of eyewitness testimonies? I ask because you seem to have an unrealistic expectation. If they were too similar, wouldn’t you just accuse them of having collaborated with each other and made up a story, hence, not being reliable. In eyewitness testimonies, sometimes details can get confused or missed, but that doesn’t mean the whole account is unreliable. The main point, especially if the accounts agree on it, is still reliable. In the case of Christianity, the earliest sources we have (gospels and epistles) all agree that Jesus died and rose from the dead. There is no disagreement on this. The gospels admit that the Jews claimed the disciples stole the body, but this doesn’t explain the post resurrection appearances, nor did they ever actually present the body so it was pure conspiracy theory speculation.

    Anyway, let me see if I understand your view correctly. You seem to accept that they earliest sources claim Jesus died and rose from the dead, but you just don’t accept them as reliable. Is that correct? Similarly, do you have any earlier sources that claim otherwise?

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