My reply to ‘On the Question of Christological and Theological Development in the Gospels’ by Denis

In his article published on Blogging Theology earlier today Denis attempted to refute some of the reasons scholars have for seeing Christological development in the gospels. I will focus on a few points by way of rebuttal. I assume the standard solution to the synoptic problem, namely that Matthew and Luke used Mark (and other sources) in the writing of their respective gospels.  For this article I focus on how Matthew used Mark.  (For introductions to the Synoptic Problem see here).

Examples of how Matthew uses Mark.

According to the dominant sources theories, Matthew preserves about 90% of the stories and passages found in Mark’s Gospel, but he edits/changes this material according to his purposes. Studying these editorial changes is the job of ‘redaction critics’ (the discipline is called redaction criticism).

Here are some examples of Matthew’s alteration of Mark. I have listed them in order of significance: minor changes to major ones.

  • Five miracle stories are moved to Matthew 8-9, where other miracle stories occur.
  • Details or characters that are not immediately relevant are pruned away: the demoniac’s chains and behaviour (see Matthew 8:28; compare Mark 5:2-5).
  • instances of questionable accuracy are corrected: reference to Abiathar as high priest in Mark 2:26 is omitted (Matthew 12:4; compare 1 Samuel 21:1-6).
  • Some changes make things more relevant to the church Matthew was writing for: Matthew leaves out Mark’s explanation of Jewish customs (Matthew 15:1-2; compare Mark 7:3-4) because he is writing for Jewish Christians.   
  • Matthew changes the way major figures are portrayed including Jesus, his disciples and religious leaders. Questions that suggest a lack of knowledge of Jesus’s part are omitted: Mark 5:9, 30; 6:38; 8:23; 9:12, 16, 21, 33; 10:3; 14:14.
  • statements that suggest a lack of ability or authority on Jesus’s part are modified (compare Matthew 13:58 with Mark 6:5).
  • references to Jesus exhibiting human emotions are dropped: pity (Mark 1:41), anger (Mark 3:5), sadness (Mark 3:5), wonder (Mark 6:6), indignation (Mark 10:14), love (Mark 10:21).
  • stories that might seem to portray Jesus as a magician are omitted (Mark 7:31-37; 8:22-26).
  • “No faith” is changed to “little faith” (compare Matthew 8:26 with Mark 4:40). 
  • The theme of not understanding Jesus is adjusted so that the disciples are merely slow to understand (compare Matthew 16:12 with Mark 8:21); Matthew 17:9-11 with Mark 9:9-13). 
  • references to the disciples “worshipping” Jesus and calling him “Lord” or “Son of God” are added to stories taken from Mark (compare Matthew 14:32-33 with Mark 6:51-52).
  • Jesus’s denial that he is “good” in Mark 10:17 is subtly altered by Matthew (Matthew 19:17) to remove the embarrassingly low christology.    
  • The parenthetical declaration in Mark 7:19 is omitted by Matthew for whom the food laws are still in force.    

As to the difference in content between the synoptics and John, it is almost sufficient to present the stats for the number of times the world ‘kingdom’ appears on the lips of Jesus and the number of times he uses ‘I’ in self reference. 

Screen Shot 2018-12-03 at 21.58.10

When we read the synoptics we get the clear impression that kingdom (or kingdom of God) was a key term in the preaching of Jesus (see Mark 1:14-15; Matthew 10:7; Luke 10:9).  Contrast John’s gospel where Jesus is never shown as preaching or proclaiming the kingdom. Only in two passages is it mentioned, in conversations with Nicodemus (John 3) and Pilate (John 18).   

—————————————-

Denis cites Joachim Jeremias who argued ‘that different authors deliberately abstained from including deeper traditions in certain texts, out of concern that such was not appropriate for the uninitiated.’

This initially attractive proposal does not ultimately convince. Consider the opening verses of the gospel of Luke:

Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us, just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word. With this in mind, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, I too decided to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught.

According to the gospel of John Jesus went around Jerusalem publicly proclaiming himself to be:

I am the bread of life 6:35, 48, 51

I am the light of the world 8:12; 9:5

I am the door of the sheep 10:7, 9

I am the good shepherd 10:11, 14

I am the resurrection and the life 11:25

I am the way, the truth, and the life 14:6

If Jesus had made such claims, why do Luke and the other gospels writers make no use of them? What evangelist having among the traditions which had been passed to him such wonderful sayings as the ‘I ams’- would ignore them completely and utterly? These are not private, esoteric teachings for the inner circle to be hidden from the uninitiated. No. They are public statements to the crowds, including the Pharisees. 

Luke took the trouble to ‘carefully investigate everything from the beginning, so that I too decided to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus’.  There is no indication that he deliberately concealed the most spectacular public teaching of Jesus from his gospel account. 

In conclusion I cite the acclaimed conservative evangelical scholar Richard Bauckham in his book Jesus and the Eyewitnesses: The Gospels as Eyewitness Testimony (2006, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co). Bauckham acknowledges that,

All scholars, whatever their views of the redactional work of the Synoptic Evangelists and of the historical reliability of the Gospel of John, agree that the latter presents a much more thoroughly and extensively interpreted version of the story of Jesus.” (p. 410.)

This is why, to my knowledge, no modern New Testament scholar uses the ‘I am’ sayings attributed to Jesus in John as historical evidence for the historical Jesus. The default is always the synoptic gospels. But as I have shown, even they modify and embellish their sources to exalt Jesus (and the disciples).

 

 



Categories: Bible, Denis Giron, Gospels, Jesus, New Testament scholarship

51 replies

  1. Excellent article!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Greetings Paul, and thank you for your reply.

    Permit me to first note that, as was alluded to in the first endnote of my own entry, the intended focus of my piece was the idea of Christology evolving from the Synoptics (or Mark in particular) to John. So forgive me if I skip over a number of the topics in your first section (like a different order in which events are mentioned in Mark and Matthew, Abiathar, et cetera), in an attempt to get to the “meat and potatoes,” as it were. [However, if you fell I skipped over something important, which you wish to correspond on in more detail, let me know.]

    Brief Note on Markan Primacy

    That said, I would like to briefly comment on the question of Markan primacy (AKA Marcan priority), a subject I also hope to touch on in a future blog entry (on the topic of the two source hypothesis within specifically the paradigm of Christian-Muslim dialogue). To set the tone, I would like to share an observation made by William Farmer:

      “Sanders lists and discusses in a sentence or two, passages in Mark where some well established New Testament scholar (he cites, for example, major works by J. Weiss, Bultmann, Vincent Taylor, Matthew Black, Streeter, and so on) has concluded that either Matthew or Luke are more original than Mark. The importance of this list is enhanced by the fact that all scholars cited hold the view that Mark is the earliest Gospel. Since each of these scholars lists only a few such passages, no one of them is moved by the evidence to which he draws attention to question Marcan priority. But when all these passages are compiled together (these passages are found to occur throughout Mark) it is difficult to see how to escape the conclusion that the conventional and orthodox solution to the Synoptic problem as it is yet being presented in texts books on the New Testament, is in clear need of serious reconsideration for which Sanders calls.”
      [Source: Farmer’s review of E.P. Sanders’ The Tendencies of the Synoptic Tradition, in the Journal of the American Academy of Religion, Vol. 39, No. 4, Dec. 1971, p. 532.]

    I share that because, while I am happy to ultimately be agnostic on the question of whether Mark was a source for the other two Synoptic Gospels, I do feel that sometimes the arguments in favor of the position are potentially circular (e.g. assuming the position, interpreting a feature in light of that assumption, and then citing the interpretation as evidence in favor of the position).

    For example, consider the appeal to Mark 10:18 and Matthew 19:17. I imagine if we hit a KJV-onlyist with that example, he might initially be perplexed, as in his preferred translation, the relevant statements read the same. This relates to the so-called “Textus Receptus“* having «τι με λεγεις αγαθον ουδεις αγαθος ει μη εις ο θεος» in Matthew 19:17, mirroring what is found in Mark 10:18.

    [*Nota Bene: if one wishes to object that the “TR” post-dates the KJV, we might refer instead to the Byzantine Majority reading in an abstract sense, or more specifically the 1598 edition of Theodorus Beza.]

    So, consider the two statements (or readings):

      (1) τι με λεγεις αγαθον ουδεις αγαθος ει μη εις ο θεος

      (2) τι με ερωτας περι του αγαθου εις εστιν ο αγαθος

    The first statement is what appears in Mark. The second is what appears in extant early copies of Matthew, though the first appears in later copies of Matthew. Scholars today would argue (or speculate?) that the apparently later version of the Matthean reading was intended to conform the text to Mark.

    Whatever the case, to understand why this is an issue, I would ask that we look at the two readings of Matthew, but imagine doing so in a paradigm in which Mark was lost to history (and thus in which comparisons with Mark were not possible). While the scholarly position regarding the two Matthean readings is that (2) is the earlier reading than (1), the approach alluded to by your entry seems to assume that one can infer from the structure of the statements themselves that (2) is an obvious change of (1). Yet, if we had proposed such within a paradigm in which we only had copies of Matthew, it seems we may well have been mistaken.

    The point of the thought experiment is this: one cannot actually determine which is the (allegedly) earlier reading based purely on their structures. Rather, I fear that what is happening is one is first assuming (2) results from a change of (1), and then one circles back to the assumption as the conclusion.

    [I would add that, on a deeper level, within a Muslim paradigm, it is possible for a story to be told multiple times within different parts of a revelation, and for one telling to omit details found in another. This begs the question of what stops a Christian from proposing the possibility that, rather than a change to the text, these are different fragments of a more detailed conversation (which is to say, it is not outside the realm of possibility that Christ uttered both statements).]

    ***

    The Issue of John and the Synoptics

    Regarding the word counts you showed for “Kingdom” vs “I,” it is undoubtedly the case that John provides material not found in the Synoptics (or that John has a focus which differs from that of the Synoptics), but the question remains why. My entry proposed that “each Gospel pulls small portions from a much larger spectrum of true tradition about Jesus,” and then the seventh endnote of the entry went into more detail as to why one should think this is the case. Under such an understanding, material found in one Gospel but not the others need not be surprising.

    This brings us to the discussion on Luke. Your entry noted that there are statements in John which do not appear in Luke, and then offered an appeal to Luke’s prologue, highlighting in particular the portion which refers to the author having “carefully investigated everything from the beginning”. I would propose, however, that investigating everything need not entail subsequently including everything (rather, irrespective of whether “theophilos” refers to a specific person or a kind of person, such as a catechumen, Luke could have tailored the material for the initially intended audience, which is precisely what my entry argued).

    I would submit, further, that this may well be implied by your own approach, as if we assume Mark was a source for Luke, it can be noted that Luke does not include everything found in Mark (leaving one to speculate as to Luke’s motivations, or alternatively propose that Luke actually employed a source also employed by extant Mark). In other words, working within an assumption of Markan priority leaves open the possibility that Luke had access to traditions yet decided not to include them.

    Beyond that, a presupposition of the Qur’an would entail a belief that the story of Jesus speaking in defense of His mother while still a baby is historical (and I am not disputing the historicity of the story). Yet Luke, who sought to affirm the Virgin Birth, did not include that story.

    These points, I think, permit us to establish two helpful rules of thumb:

      (R1) Luke not including a tradition does not mean Luke therefore did not have access to that tradition.

      (R2) Luke not including a story does not impugn the historicity of that story.

    At the close of your entry, you offered a statement from Bauckham. While I intend no disrespect towards that scholar (or anyone else), I would nonetheless object that the statement (or the collective position alluded to in that statement) is still in need of an argument in its favor. As you may recall, I have argued for years that there is no clear methodology for demonstrating that any particular statement in John is fictional (or “interpreted”), and thus one cannot actually tally up the alleged preponderance of fiction (or “interpretation”) therein, leading to the conclusion that declarations about such seem to represent something more akin to a gut feeling than a demonstrable position. Moreover, my own entry presented a case for why such cannot be confidently inferred from differences between John and the Synoptics.

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    • Denis,
      That was a very good answer and I enjoyed reading your interaction with Paul and other Muslims on the Facebook thread from about 6 years ago. You made an excellent point about Luke not including the story in the Qur’an about Jesus speaking as a baby from the cradle.

      Also, whenever Sam Shamoun writes a good article and does a good debate and behaves himself, I will give him credit as I did here:

      https://apologeticsandagape.wordpress.com/2012/07/30/refuting-muslims-attacks-on-the-gospel-of-john-4/

      Since I quoted him, does that make me an idolator or “man-worshiper”?

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      • Also, in this article I give credit to Sam Shamoun for I found his material and use of Ibn Ishaq’s affirmation of the Gospel of John a devastating blow to Islamic arguments against the Gospel of John:

        https://apologeticsandagape.wordpress.com/2013/05/31/earliest-islamic-biographer-of-muhammads-life-affirms-that-john-the-apostle-of-jesus-and-eyewitness-of-the-crucifixion-and-resurrection-was-the-human-writer-of-the-fourth-gospel/

        Quoting Sam Shamoun and giving him credit for material, does that make me a “man-worshiper” or “idolater”?

        He has a lot of good content and material when he sticks to the texts and issues and argumentation, and leaves out the insults and pugnaciousness and ad hominem and “in your face” / “back at you” type behavior.

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      • Ibn Ishaq appeal to judeo Christian sources is one of the things why major scholars discredit him. Furthermore Ibn Abbas said the previous scriptures were corrupt and he was the companion of the prophet.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Who are the “major scholars”? and what criterion makes them “major”?

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      • It is also very interesting that Muslims are using western liberal scholarship and using Mark as the standard in trying to discredit the other gospels, and yet, Mark is the earliest gospel we have, according to most scholars. But Ibn Ishaq is the earliest biographer of the life (Sirat / سیره ) of Muhammad, the prophet and founder of Islam.

        What was that about “inconsistency is the sign of a failed argument”?

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      • You’re comparing apples and oranges. Ibn Ishaq is giving “commentary” about a document which is 7 centuries old. When he says that the gospel was written by john he is NOT using Islamic sources for that. This is a claim which Christians make and hence he wrongfully took it from them without knowing that it was attributed to him while it was an anonymous document. The Quran nor the prophet ever said such a thing. Plus you ignore MUCH earlier oral tradition like I said Ibn Abbas said the gospel was corrupted and even quoted 2:79 to back it up.

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      • actually, you are comparing apples and oranges because the NT books are “God-breathed” and infallible and 600 years earlier and should be compared to Qur’an, not the Hadith. The historical mistakes in the Qur’an, like 4:157 and 5:116; 5:72-75; 6:101 are devastating to the Qur’an.
        And we have lots of other Christians from 2nd and 3rd, 4th and 5th Centuries that testify Gospel of John was written by the apostle / disciple of Jesus John, so it does not matter what Ibn Abbas said 600 + years later. And Surah 2:79 was refuted here. https://apologeticsandagape.wordpress.com/2016/02/02/on-surah-279/

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      • Where does the Letter to the Hebrews claim to scripture? Or Matthew’s gospel? Or the Letter of James, or that of Jude?

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      • The content, beauty, harmony, spiritual power, doctrinal truths of all those letters are self-evident to those are truly Christ’s sheep. “My sheep hear My voice” (John 10:27)

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      • O and Ken I would be very careful when asking Muslims to apply same methodology. If we were to apply our hadith verification method on your bible, all that would be left of it would be a whole bunch of nothing.

        Liked by 2 people

      • LOLOL

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      • Bible has 600 + years of confirmation before the Qur’an even came into existance.

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      • Taken from call-to-monotheism:

        Allah has provided evidence (i.e. Isnad) establishing the authenticity or lack thereof of the narrations that are necessary in matters of the religion. It is well known that most of what was reported in aspects of Tafsir (commentaries on the Qur’an) is similar to narrations reporting Maghazi (or Seerah) and battles, promoting Imam Ahmad to state that three matters do not have Isnad: Tafsir, Mala’him (i.e. great battles), and Maghazi. This is because most of their narrations are of the Maraseel (plural for Mursal) type, such as narrations reported by Urwah Ibn az-Zubair, ash-Sha’bi, az-Zuhri, Musa Ibn Uqbah and Ibn Ishaq.” (Shaykh Ibn Taymiyyah, Majmu’ Al Fataawa, Volume, 13, page 345)

        Shaykh Jalal Abu Al Rub puts it nicely:

        2 Adh-Dhahabi then mentioned these major Hadith scholars who stated that Ibn is`haq was reliable in Hadith narrations, grading his narrations as Hasan [Hasan’, is the lesser grade of authentic Hadith s; Sahih’, is the upper grade.]: Yahya Ibn Ma`een and A`hmad Ibn Hanbal [according to the conditions that soon will be mentioned inshallah]. Abu Zur`ah stated that Ibn Is`haq was Saduq (truthful), `Ali Ibn Abdullah said that Ibn Is`haq’s narrations are accepted; Ibn `Adi said that Ibn Is`haq is acceptable; and Ibn Idris said that Ibn Is`haq was a Thiqah (reliable, or trustworthy). Also, Imam Abu Zur`ah stated that a group of scholars learned knowledge with Ibn Is`haq, such as Sufyan, Shu`bah, Ibn Uyainah, Ibn al-Mubarak, and so forth. Az-Zuhri, Asim Ibn Umar Ibn Qatadah and adh-Dhahabi also praised Ibn Is`haq’s knowledge in the Maghazi (narration of battles).

        3 Adh-Dhahabi also listed some of the major scholars of Islam who refuted Ibn Is`haq’s reliability in Hadith narrations. Imam Malik, for instance, called Ibn Is`haq a liar and Yahya Ibn Sa`eed al-Ansari, as well as, al-A`mash refuted one of Ibn Is`haq’s narrations by saying that he lied. As a general statement, Yahya Ibn Sa`eed graded Ibn Ishaq as being weak in Hadith narration. Imam Ahmad Ibn Hanbal discounted the reliability of Ibn Ishaq if he alone narrates a Hadith. Also, Imams Yahya Ibn Ma`een (in another narration from him), an-Nasaii and ad-Daraqutni stated that Ibn Ishaq was weak in Hadith. The great Imam of Sunnah, Imam Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, also added that Ibn Ishaq’s narrations are not accepted if they are about the Sunan (Pl. for Sunnah; [yet, Craig Ibn Winn claims that Ibn Is`haq’s Seerah is a Sunnah book!]), stating that even [in the rare occasions] where Ibn Is`haq clearly stated that he heard a Hadith from his teacher, he would often contradict other narrators. Therefore, and as Imam A`hmad stated, if Ibn Is`haq alone reports a Hadith, then that narration is not accepted. Adh-Dhahabi also stated that if a narration that Ibn Is`haq reports contradicts other [more established] narrators, then Ibn Is`haq’s narration is rejected.

        4 Adh-Dhahabi listed some of the reasons why Ibn Is`haq was considered weak regarding Hadith narration, as follows:

        A) Imam A`hmad Ibn Hanbal stated that Ibn Is`haq was a Mudallis [Ibn Is`haq often started his narrations by saying, Those whom I trust narrated to me, or Some men from this city told me , etc. He also would collect Hadith s from unreliable narrators and hide the name of his teacher by saying, So and So said, meaning the teacher of his teacher, who may be trustworthy, so that the Hadith narration is not rejected if the name of his own teacher is specified. However, whenever Ibn Ishaq said, So and so said to me, he would not lie.] , and in another occasion, he said that Ibn Ishaq’s Tadlees (v. for Mudallis) was substantial. Imam Ahmad also said that Ibn Ishaq did not care from whom he collected Hadith.

        B) Imam Ibn Numair said that Ibn Ishaq reported false Hadith s from unknown narrators.

        C) Adh-Dhahabi concluded by saying that among the worst errors made by Ibn Is`haq is that he used to record narrations he collected from anyone, and thus, did not have Wara` [31] in this regard, may Allah forgive him.

        5 How Ibn Ishaq’s narration should be treated is summarized in this statement from Imam Ibn Numair, If he narrates a Hadith from teachers he directly heard from and who are known to be truthful, then his Hadith is from the grade Hasan because he is truthful. Yet, Imam Ahmad stated that if Ibn Ishaq is the only narrator of that Hadith, then his narration is discounted. And the key words to look for here, for Ibn Ishaq’s narration not to be dismissed outright, are, If Ibn Ishaq says, So and so narrated to me’, then he did hear that narration.’ Otherwise, if he says, So and so said’, then the narration is rejected.’ Meaning, Ibn Ishaq would not lie; if he states that he heard the Hadith from his teacher, then his assertion is accepted. (Shaykh Jalal Abu Al Rub, The Prophet of Mercy, Chapter 2, page 10)

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      • Confirmation of what? That the fourth gospel is written by John? I don’t think so. Also you haven’t provided me what the source is that ibn Ishaq uses to say that the gospel was written by John.

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      • I read your refutation but with all due respect I am not impressed. You make basic mistakes like saying that a party who changes the scripture cannot alter what the other party has. When one party changes something it can overwhelm what the others have based on either the amount if those thoras (so a numerical advantage) or when that party is of a higher class and hence gets preference because of it or both. Then you go to 2:85 claiming that this means that ALL of it must be believed in but it says no such thing. It says a part of it u believe in and a part of it you don’t believe in but this can easily be Allah accusing them of not believing in the PROPHECIES of Muhammad which Allah claims they have in THEIR Torah in Q 7:157.
        So you have not thought that one through.

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      • SAHIH INTERNATIONAL
        Then, you are those [same ones who are] killing one another and evicting a party of your people from their homes, cooperating against them in sin and aggression. And if they come to you as captives, you ransom them, although their eviction was forbidden to you. So do you believe in part of the Scripture and disbelieve in part? Then what is the recompense for those who do that among you except disgrace in worldly life; and on the Day of Resurrection they will be sent back to the severest of punishment. And Allah is not unaware of what you do.
        Surah 2:85
        Notice the author of the Qur’an is asking a question.

        “So do you believe in part of the Scripture and disbelieve in part? ”

        In context, before the question, he is rebuking people for doing evil things – killing and evicting people from their homes, etc; the question is rhetorical – “Do you only believe in part of the Scripture and dis-believe in some other parts? (since you are doing wrong things) The implication by the question is that you should believe all of the Scripture.

        So, I am not impressed with your response.

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      • it is actually Muhammad who is illiterate; and who is just hearing things orally, and writing new things and saying, “this is from Allah”; – 600 years too late and after written revelation already stopped. It is obvious by his incorporation of Jewish midrash and fables and Byzantine legends (cave of seven sleepers, etc.) Surah 2:78-79
        And among them are unlettered ones
        (Muhammad is unlettered, illiterate – 7:157)
        who do not know the Scripture
        (he did not know the previous Scriptures, especially did not know the New Testament, the true Injeel)

        except in wishful thinking, but they are only assuming.
        So woe to those who write the “scripture” with their own hands, then say, “This is from Allah,” in order to exchange it for a small price. Woe to them for what their hands have written and woe to them for what they earn.

        Surah 2:75 –
        Do you covet [the hope, O believers], that they would believe for you while a party of them used to hear the words of Allah [Muhammad was just hearing stuff; did not quote or rely upon the previous written texts] and then distort the Torah after they had understood it while they were knowing?

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      • O boy Kenny is at it again.
        *********
        In context, before the question, he is rebuking people for doing evil things – killing and evicting people from their homes, etc; the question is rhetorical – “Do you only believe in part of the Scripture and dis-believe in some other parts? (since you are doing wrong things) The implication by the question is that you should believe all of the Scripture.

        So, I am not impressed with your response.
        *********
        I actually gave the commentary on the wrong verse(because you mentioned 2:85 and mine is about another verse).
        This is about the Jewish tribes fighting their enemies. As Ibn Kathir gives the background story:
        Q 2:85
        (After this, it is you who kill one another and drive out a party of you from their homes) “Allah mentioned what they were doing, and that in the Tawrah He had prohibited them from shedding each other’s blood, and required them to free their prisoners. Now they were divided into two camps in Al-Madinah, Banu Qaynuqa`, who were the allies of the Khazraj, and An-Nadir and Qurayzah, who were the allies of the Aws. When fighting erupted between Aws and Khazraj, Banu Qaynuqa` would fight along with the Khazraj, while Banu An-Nadir and Qurayzah would fight along with the Aws. Each Jewish camp would fight against their Jewish brethren from the other camp. They would shed each other’s blood, although they had the Tawrah with them, and they knew their rights and dues. Meanwhile, the Aws and Khazraj were polytheists who worshipped idols. They did not know about Paradise, the Fire, Resurrection, Divine Books the lawful and prohibited. When the war would end, the Jews would ransom their prisoners and implement the Tawrah. Consequently, Banu Qaynuqa` would ransom their prisoners who were captured by the Aws, while Banu An-Nadir and Qurayzah would ransom their prisoners who were captured by the Khazraj. They would also ask for blood money. During these wars, they would kill whomever (Jews or Arabs) they could, while helping the polytheists against their brethren. Therefore, Allah reminded them of this when He said,

        (Then do you believe in a part of the Scripture and reject the rest) This Ayah means, `Do you ransom them according to the rulings of the Tawrah, yet kill them while the Tawrah forbade you from killing them and from expelling them from their homes The Tawrah also commanded that you should not aid the polytheists and those who associate with Allah in the worship against your brethren. You do all this to acquire the life of this world.’ I was informed that the behavior of the Jews regarding the Aws and Khazraj was the reason behind revealing these Ayat.”

        The context has to do with them accepting what the Torah says about ransom and about killing each other. This has nothing to do with your wishful thinking about the Qur’an saying the Torah is uncorrupt.
        It makes no such claim in 2:85

        As for:
        *******
        it is actually Muhammad who is illiterate; and who is just hearing things orally, and writing new things and saying, “this is from Allah”; – 600 years too late and after written revelation already stopped. It is obvious by his incorporation of Jewish midrash and fables and Byzantine legends (cave of seven sleepers, etc.) Surah 2:78-79
        And among them are unlettered ones
        (Muhammad is unlettered, illiterate – 7:157)
        who do not know the Scripture
        (he did not know the previous Scriptures, especially did not know the New Testament, the true Injeel)
        *********
        Firstly If you want to play the game about “copying” then first look at your own book! Itself quotes from apocryphal sources like the book of Enoch. God gave previous scriptures but they got corrupted and some of it remains in the bible today some got lost and some survived in other documents. If you can prove the story of the cave never happened then please do so. And saying well it’s not found in MY BIBLE but in a later document proves nothing.
        Christians will be the first to cry about the Quran having stories that are found in other documents while their own book almost copy pasts stuff from apocryphal sources.
        If there is any book that lies about God it’s your bible. Scribes adding and removing stuff, even the authors themselves changed previous documents like Matthew changing Mark when there were embarrassing verses. Filled with contradictions, anonymous writers, forgeries (like 2 Peter), etc.
        And it’s actually your NT writers (whoever they were) who changed the OT and “changed the words from their right places” to fit the so called prophecies (like out of Egypt I call my son, etc). Claiming there are prophecies in the OT which are no where to be found. And the list goes on and on.
        Do a little more homework Kenny.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Ibn Ishaq apparently got the Gospel according to John, as it was established for 600 years. (either written in 69 AD or 80-90 AD)

        “Among the things which have reached me about what Jesus the Son of Mary stated in the Gospel which he received from God for the followers of the Gospel, in applying a term to describe the apostle of God, is the following. It is extracted from what John the apostle set down for them when he wrote the gospel for them from the testament of Jesus, son of Mary: ‘He that hateth me hateth the Lord. And if I had not done in their presence works which none other before me did, they had not sin: but from now they are puffed up with pride and think that they will overcome me and also the Lord. But the word that is in the law must be fulfilled, “They hated me without a cause” (i.e. without reason). But when the Comforter has come whom God will send to you from the Lord’s presence, and the spirit of truth which will have gone forth from the Lord’s presence he (shall bear) witness of me and ye also, because ye have been with me from the beginning. I have spoken unto you about this that ye should not be in doubt.’

        “The Munahhemana (God bless and preserve him!) in Syriac is Muhammad; in Greek he is the paraclete.”

        The Life of Muhammad: A Translation of Ibn Ishaq’s Sirat Rasul Allah, with introduction and notes by Alfred Guillaume [Oxford University Press, Karachi, Tenth impression 1995], pp. 103-104)

        Like

      • “actually, you are comparing apples and oranges because the NT books are “God-breathed” and infallible and 600 years earlier and should be compared to Qur’an, not the Hadith. The historical mistakes in the Qur’an, like 4:157 and 5:116; 5:72-75; 6:101 are devastating to the Qur’an.
        And we have lots of other Christians from 2nd and 3rd, 4th and 5th Centuries that testify Gospel of John was written by the apostle / disciple of Jesus John, so it does not matter what Ibn Abbas said 600 + years later. And Surah 2:79 was refuted here. https://apologeticsandagape.wordpress.com/2016/02/02/on-surah-279/

        You don’t answer my question regarding Ibn Ishaq. What were his sources for saying that the gospel was written by disciple John?

        As for 2 Tim claiming it’s God-breathed isn’t impressing anyone especially since most of the NT came AFTER it.
        “infallible”?
        You just flushed majority of your own scholars down the toilet.
        It’s FILLED with errors! Just look at how Steven dies in Acts and compare that to what it says in the gospel. The lengths Christians go to try and reconcile it is just mind blowing
        “The historical mistakes in the Qur’an, like 4:157 and 5:116; 5:72-75; 6:101 are devastating to the Qur’an.” Which you can’t prove ANY of them. Prove 5:116; 5:72-75; 6:101 never happened. You can’t. As for 4:157 it is by Muslims viewed as a miracle. Miracles cannot be verified by historical methodology (as any scholar will tell you) so if you want to declare it’s an error then by the same argument you just disproved the resurrection (which is a miracle and hence cannot be verified either). Good job!
        As for needing to compare the bible with the Qur’an and not the Hadith is false. Firstly the Hadith is about the prophet just like the NT is about Jesus. YOU claim it’s God-breathed while your NT itself never claims it for all it’s books. And NO 2 Tim wont help you since many books come AFTER it.
        Furthermore even if you were to compare the bible with the Qur’an don’t you know the Qur’an has Mutawattir level of reliability!? The highest level of reliability there is! Your bible couldn’t even dream of something like this. So let’s apply that to your bible and what remains is this:
        https://www.shutterstock.com/search/blank+book

        “2nd and 3rd, 4th and 5th Centuries that testify Gospel of John was written by the apostle / disciple of Jesus John”
        What are you talking about? I asked you what are the sources IBN ISHAQ uses to come to the conclusion that the gospel was written by John. Ibn Abbas’s quote referred to the CORRUPTION of the previous scriptures. So how is saying we have christians that say gospel of john was written by john disprove john??? Btw your whole point was to show that the early Muslims believed that the previous scriptures were preserved. I responded to that and proved you wrong and now you claim it doesn’t matter what they thought. Then DON’T bring them up!
        And the Christians you have from the (late) 2nd century ATTRIBUTE it to John without ANY proof.
        So if I come across a document now which is 90 years old would people accept it if I said ‘that is from my grand daddy baby!’? NO, NOBODY would!
        This is exactly why your own scholars don’t accept it. Some have tried to argue (against Ehrman) but always get put down. As for 2:79 you haven’t refuted anything I said on it.

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      • Just look at how Steven dies in Acts and compare that to what it says in the gospel.

        What are you talking about here? Stephen is only mentioned in the book of Acts. (Acts chapters 6 & 7)

        Like

      • As for 2 Tim claiming it’s God-breathed isn’t impressing anyone especially since most of the NT came AFTER it.

        Most of the NT came before 2 Timothy. It was the last book the apostle Paul wrote, around 66-67 AD, before his execution by Caesar Nero. So all the other 12 books of Apostle Paul written before, from around 49 AD to 67 AD.
        Mark, Luke, Matthew – before – 45-65 AD. Acts, 62 AD
        I Peter – 64 AD – before 2 Tim.
        2 Peter – 67 AD – around the same time as 2 Timothy.
        James – early – 45 AD.

        only ones left are:
        Hebrews – 68 AD
        Gospel of John – maybe pre-70, or 80-90 AD
        1, 2, 3 John – 80-90 AD
        Revelation – maybe 69 AD, or 96 AD
        Jude – 80 or 96 AD ( ?) maybe the last book written, as Jude verse 3 hints at.

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    • I particularly enjoyed this statement by Denis Giron at the Facebook thread he linked to above; about 6 years ago:

      Thanks Denis – good job.

      But I restate my point that if one is going to assert that the majority of John is fiction, another person is within their rights to ask how one determines what is fictional and what is not in John. If, hypothetically speaking, it turns out that you do not have an actual methodology which can confidently demonstrate a particular text in John to be fictional, then that begs the question of how you reach the conclusion that /most/ of John is fictional, and if this conclusion is merely an expression of a general feeling.

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    • Ken you didn’t answer my question. What are the sources that Ibn Ishaq uses to determine that the Gospel of John was written by John? The point I’m trying to make is that there are NO ISLAMIC sources for it. He must have gotten it from the Christians so you are still relying on Christian sources. Just because Ibn Ishaq uses them doesn’t magically turn it into Islamic sources, it’s still Christian.

      As for your dates, they are as usually biased. You know full well that the f.e the gospels are not dated so early.

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      • That is even better, as the Qur’an says “go ask the people of the book” (Surah 10:94) and “let the people of the gospel judge by what God has revealed therein (Surah 5:47).

        The Christian sources are better than Islamic sources as to what the Christians believed. Islam came 600 years late and is not revelation from God.

        Why would use Islamic sources, since NONE existed before Muhammad supposedly got revelations around 610-613 AD?

        Christian sources from around 45 AD to 600 AD are more reliable and have confirmation of 600 years of established history, early church fathers, creeds, copies of Scripture, etc.

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      • It says IF you are in doubt but there is no doubt about the gospel of john not being from john and the next verse you quote what does the title “according to john” have to do with what Allah has revealed therein since even you agree that isn’t part of the so called gospel. And that verse has to be read in context with the next verse where the Quran is the utimate revelation and a guardian over it.

        And now you go back on your own words. YOU claimed that Islam teaches that the gospel of john is the gospel revealed to jesus and that it was written by jonh by quoting ibn ishaq. I asked you what his sources were since it is nowhere to be found in Islamic sources and now that you fail and basically admit that there are no Islamic sources but they must be xtian refuting your initial claim.

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  3. People can leave out details that another writer gives the details does not mean that they contradict each other. It means that they compliment one another and taken together, give the fuller more complete picture of what happened in history.

    Like

    • “People can leave out details that another writer gives the details does not mean that they contradict each other.”
      True but when someone like the author of Matthew comes along and changes Mark 10:17 in Matthew 19:17 to make Jesus look as if he is not denying he is God and makes the story more weird among countless of other stuff then one cannot pretend that ‘Matthew’ is being ‘inspired’ by God but that clear and deliberate editing happened.

      Liked by 1 person

      • How do you know he actually changed the statement?

        How do you know that both statements were not said, but one author recorded one and another recorded the other?

        Like

      • “How do you know that both statements were not said”
        Mark’s version
        As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. “Good teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good–except God alone.

        Matthew’s version
        Just then a man came up to Jesus and asked, “Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?”
        “Why do you ask me about what is good?” Jesus replied. “There is only One who is good. If you want to enter life, keep the commandments.”

        Even the question gets changed. In Mark he calls Jesus good but in Matthew the good refers to what deeds that he must do. And the version in Matthew makes little sense. Why do you ask me about what is good?
        And trying to smash these two together as if both happened makes the story WAY more bizarre.

        Liked by 3 people

    • Ken,

      I don’t think he understood your question so let me break it down for him on your behalf.

      The claim that Matthew changed Mark assumes what is yet to prove, which Denis already touched upon. Namely, that Mark was written first and that Matthew used him as a source. Now Ken simply ask him to provide solid historical, archaeological, textual proof that Mark came first and that Matthew used and changed Mark to suit his purposes.

      As you were suggesting, Matthew and Mark may have been culling from a pool of oral tradition passed on by the Apostles to their respective communities in which different groups put different emphases on our Lord’s teachings, i.e., one group focused on the rich man’s addressing Christ as good whereas the other group(s) highlighted the rich man’s asking about the good things he needed to do to inherit eternal life.

      Now with that said Ken, are you aware that the Quran retells the same story with major verbal variations and/or contradictions, a fact I have documented in several articles and rebuttals? And do you know why this is so much more devastating to the Muslim beliefs since the Quran is supposedly the dictated words of Allah, which means that Allah was incapable of repeating the same exact story with the same exact conversations with the same exact wording?

      Therefore, we would expect different writers to emphasize different aspects of the same teaching and to record those speeches in different ways, but why should this be the case with the Quran when it is supposedly the work of a single writer whose supposed to be the omniscient creator of all things?

      Lord willing, I will post some of these examples for the benefit of all the commenters here.

      Liked by 1 person

      • excellent response. Thanks.

        Like

      • Now with that said Ken, are you aware that the Quran retells the same story with major verbal variations and/or contradictions, a fact I have documented in several articles and rebuttals?

        Yes, meaning by “the same story” (not the same story as Mark 10/ Matthew 19) = other historical narratives repeated in different parts of the Qur’an with different word variations and contradictions.
        Yes, I knew that.

        And do you know why this is so much more devastating to the Muslim beliefs since the Quran is supposedly the dictated words of Allah, which means that Allah was incapable of repeating the same exact story with the same exact conversations with the same exact wording?

        Yes, agreed; quite devastating to the Muslim apologetic.

        Like

      • Ken,

        Actually I mean the same exact story repeated more than once with major verbal variations. For example, read over the following surahs:

        And remember We said: “Enter this town, and eat of the plenty therein As ye wish; but enter The gate with humility, In posture and in words, And We shall forgive you your faults And increase (the portion of) Those who do good.” But the transgressors Changed the word from that Which had been given them; So we sent on the transgressors A plague from heaven, for that they infringed (Our command) repeatedly. S. 2:58-59

        Compare:

        And remember it was said to them: “Dwell in this town And eat therein as you wish, But say The word of humility and enter the gate In a posture of humility: We shall forgive you Your faults; We shall increase (The portion of) those Who do good.” But the transgressors among them Changed the word from that Which had Been given them So we sent on them a plague from heaven For that they repeatedly transgressed. [S. 7:161-162]

        This is supposed to be narrating the same account and yet Allah can’t recall what he exactly said to the Israelites. Of particular interest is A. Yusuf Ali’s footnote:

        These verses, 58-59, may be compared to vii. 161-162. There are two verbal differences. Here (ii. 58) we have “enter the town” and in vii. 161 we have “dwell in the town.” Again in ii. 59 here we have “infringed (Our command),” and in vii. 162, we have “transgressed.” The verbal differences make no difference to the sense. (Ali, The Holy Quran-Translation and Commentary, p. 31, f. 72)

        Did you read that Ken? Even though Ali admits that his lord reported the same exact conversation he supposedly had with the Israelites differently, he still claimed that these verbal differences really make no difference at all! Ali sure sounds like one of those conservative Christians who argue the same way when it comes to the differences among the Synoptic Gospels!

        I have A LOT MORE examples of this nature, much worse and more problematic than the above which, Lord willing, I will be posting soon.

        Like

      • [[[[[[[[[
        Ken,

        Actually I mean the same exact story repeated more than once with major verbal variations. For example, read over the following surahs:

        And remember We said: “Enter this town, and eat of the plenty therein As ye wish; but enter The gate with humility, In posture and in words, And We shall forgive you your faults And increase (the portion of) Those who do good.” But the transgressors Changed the word from that Which had been given them; So we sent on the transgressors A plague from heaven, for that they infringed (Our command) repeatedly. S. 2:58-59

        Compare:

        And remember it was said to them: “Dwell in this town And eat therein as you wish, But say The word of humility and enter the gate In a posture of humility: We shall forgive you Your faults; We shall increase (The portion of) those Who do good.” But the transgressors among them Changed the word from that Which had Been given them So we sent on them a plague from heaven For that they repeatedly transgressed. [S. 7:161-162]

        This is supposed to be narrating the same account and yet Allah can’t recall what he exactly said to the Israelites. Of particular interest is A. Yusuf Ali’s footnote:

        These verses, 58-59, may be compared to vii. 161-162. There are two verbal differences. Here (ii. 58) we have “enter the town” and in vii. 161 we have “dwell in the town.” Again in ii. 59 here we have “infringed (Our command),” and in vii. 162, we have “transgressed.” The verbal differences make no difference to the sense. (Ali, The Holy Quran-Translation and Commentary, p. 31, f. 72)

        Did you read that Ken? Even though Ali admits that his lord reported the same exact conversation he supposedly had with the Israelites differently, he still claimed that these verbal differences really make no difference at all! Ali sure sounds like one of those conservative Christians who argue the same way when it comes to the differences among the Synoptic Gospels!
        ]]]]]]]]]]]

        Sam you’re misunderstanding what I said. I already agreed that different authors can write things differently but while the message is the same.
        As I already stated above:
        ******
        “People can leave out details that another writer gives the details does not mean that they contradict each other.”
        TRUE but when someone like the author of Matthew comes along and changes Mark 10:17 in Matthew 19:17 to make Jesus look as if he is not denying he is God and makes the story more weird among countless of other stuff then one cannot pretend that ‘Matthew’ is being ‘inspired’ by God but that clear and deliberate editing happened.
        *******
        As I make it clear my issue is NOT that both tell the same stories using different words in and of itself.
        The issue is that it changes the text completely! In Mark he DENIES being God while in Matthew he asks why the man asks him about what is good.

        Furthermore you said that different authors can emphasize different aspects of an event and somehow think this is not the case if there is one author. How so? The same author can say things slightly differently to emphasize a different aspect when he is trying to teach different lessons using the same story.

        Like

      • Brother Ken,

        Here are a few more examples of the Quran repeating the same exact speeches of persons with major differences and contradictions.

        Example 1

        They said: “O Moses! Whether wilt thou That thou throw (first) Or that we be the first to throw?” He said, “Nay, throw ye First!” Then behold Their ropes and their rods- So it seemed to him on account of their magic- Began to be in lively motion! So Moses conceived In his mind A (sort of) fear. We said: “Fear not! For thou hast indeed The upper hand: Throw that which is In thy right hand: Quickly will it swallow up That which they have faked What they have faked Is but a magician’s trick: And the magician thrives not (No matter) where he goes. So the magicians were Thrown down in prostration: They said, “We believe In the Lord of Aaron and Moses.” (Pharaoh) said: “Believe ye In Him before I give You permission? Surely This must be your leader, Who has taught you magic! Be sure I will cut off Your hands and feet On opposite sides, and I Will have you crucified On trunks of palm-trees: So shall ye know for certain, Which of us can give The more severe and the more Lasting punishment.” They said, “Never shall we Regard thee as more than The Clear Signs that have Come to us, or than Him who created us! So decree whatever thou Desirest to decree: for thou Canst only decree (touching) The life of this world. For us, we have believed In our Lord: may He Forgive us our faults, And the magic to which Thou didst compel us: For God is Best And Most Abiding.” S. 20:65-73

        So when the sorcerers arrived, They said to Pharaoh: “Of course- shall we have a suitable reward if we win?” He said: “Yea, (and more),- For ye shall in that case Be (raised in posts) Nearest (to my person).” Moses said to them, “Throw ye- which ye are about to throw!” So They threw their ropes And their rods, and said: “By the might of Pharaoh It is we who will Certainly win!” Then Moses threw his rod, When, behold, it straightway swallows up all The falsehoods which they fake! Then did the Sorcerers fall down, prostration in adoration, Saying: “We believe in the Lord of the Worlds, The Lord of Moses and Aaron.” Said Pharaoh: “Believe ye In Him before I give You permission? Surely he is your leader who has Taught you sorcery! But soon shall ye know!” Be sure I will cut off Your hands and your feet On opposite sides, and I Will cause ye all To die On the cross!” They said: “No matter! For us, we shall but return to our Lord! Only, our desire is That our Lord will forgive us our faults, That We may become Foremost among the Believers!” S. 26:41-52 (Cf. 7:111-126)

        Let us contrast the parallel passages and see how they diverge in wording:

        Sura 20- “We believe In the Lord of Aaron and Moses.”

        Compare:

        Sura 26- “We believe in the Lord of the Worlds, The Lord of Moses and Aaron.”

        Example 2

        Has the story of Moses Reached Thee? Behold he saw a fire: So he said to his family, “Tarry ye: I perceive a fire; perhaps I can Bring you some burning brand Therefrom, or find some guidance At the fire.” But when he came to the fire, a voice Was heard: “O Moses” “Verily I am thy Lord! Therefore (in My presence) Put off thy shoes: thou art In the sacred valley Tuwa. “I have chosen thee: Listen, then, to the inspiration (Sent to thee). “Verily, I am God: There is no god but I: So serve thou Me (only), And establish regular prayer For celebrating My praise. Verily the hour is coming- My design is to keep it Hidden- for every soul To its reward By the measure of its endeavor. Therefore let not such as Believe not therein But follow their own Lusts, divert thee therefrom, Lest thou perish!” “And what is that in thy right hand, O Moses?” He said, “It is My rod: on it I lean; with it I beat down fodder For my flocks; and In it I find Have Other uses.” (God) said, “Throw it, O Moses!” H e threw it, and behold it was a snake Active in motion. (God) said “Seize it And fear not: We shall return it at once To its former condition… Now draw thy hand Close to thy side: It shall come forth white (And shining), without harm (or stain),- As a another Sign,- In order that we may show thee (Two) of our Greater Signs. Go thou to Pharaoh For he has indeed Transgressed all bounds.” S. 20:9-24

        Behold! Moses said to his family “I perceive A fire; soon will I bring you From there some information, Or I will Bring you A burning brand to light our fuel That ye may Warm yourselves.” But when he came To the (Fire), a voice Was heard: “Blessed are those In the Fire and those around: And Glory to God, The Lord of the Worlds. “O Moses! Verily I am God, the Exalted In Might, the wise!… “Now do throw thy rod!” But when he saw it Moving (of its own accord) As if it had been a snake, He turned back in Retreat, And retraced not his steps: “O Moses!” (it was said), “Fear not: truly, in My presence, Those called as apostles Have no fear,- But if Any have done wrong And have thereafter substituted Good to take the place of the evil, Truly, I am Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful. “Now put thy hand into Thy bosom, and it will Come forth white without stain (Or harm): (These are) among The nine Signs (thou wilt take) To Pharaoh and his people: For they are A people Rebellious in transgression.” But when Our Signs came To them, that should opened their eyes, they said: “This is Sorcery manifest!” And they rejected those Signs In iniquity and arrogance, Though their Souls were convinced Thereof: so see what was The end of those Who acted corruptly. S. 27:7-14

        Now when Moses had fulfilled The term, and was traveling With his family, he perceived A fire in the direction of Mount Tur. He said To his family: “Tarry ye; I perceive a fire; I hope To bring you from there Some information, or a burning Firebrand that ye may warm yourselves.” But when he came To the (Fire), a voice was heard from the right back Of the valley, from a tree In hallowed ground: “O Moses! Verily I am God, the Lord of the Worlds… Now do thou throw thy rod! But when he saw it Moving (of its own accord) As if it had been a snake, He turned back in retreat and retraced not his steps: “O Moses!” (It was said), “Draw near, and fear not; For thou art of those Who are secure. “Move thy hand into thy bosom, and it will Come forth to thy side (To guard) against fear. Those are the two credentials From thy Lord to Pharaoh And his Chiefs: for truly They are a people Rebellious and wicked.” S. 28:29-33

        Despite the fact that there are serious verbal variations throughout these Suras, we will limit ourselves to the following portions:

        Sura 20- “Verily I am thy Lord!… Verily, I am God: There is no god but I: So serve thou Me (only), And establish regular prayer For celebrating My praise”

        Compare:

        Sura 27- “And Glory to God, The Lord of the Worlds. O Moses! Verily I am God, the Exalted In Might, the wise!”

        Compare:

        Sura 28- “Verily I am God, the Lord of the Worlds.”

        Example 3

        And behold, We said to the angels: “Bow down to Adam” and they bowed down. Not so Iblis: he refused and was haughty: he was of those who reject Faith. S. 2:34

        It is We Who created you and gave you shape; then We bade the angels prostrate to Adam, and they prostrated; not so Iblis; He refused to be of those who bow down. (Allah) said: “What prevented thee from bowing down when I commanded thee?” He said: “I am better than he: Thou didst create me from fire, and him from clay.” (Allah) said: “Get thee down from it (the Garden): it is not for thee to be arrogant here: get out, for thou art of the meanest (of creatures).” He said: “Give me respite till the day they are raised up.” (Allah) said: “Be thou among those who have respite.” He said: “Because thou hast thrown me out (of the Way), lo! I will lie in wait for them on Thy Straight Way: Then will I assault them from before them and behind them, from their right and their left: Nor wilt Thou find, in most of them, gratitude (for Thy mercies).” (Allah) said: “Get out from this, disgraced and expelled. If any of them follow thee,- Hell will I fill with you all.” S. 7:11-18

        Behold! thy Lord said to the angels: “I am about to create man, from sounding clay from mud molded into shape; When I have fashioned him (in due proportion) and breathed into him of My spirit, fall ye down in obeisance unto him.” So the angels prostrated themselves, all of them together: Not so Iblis: he refused to be among those who prostrated themselves. (Allah) said: “O Iblis! what is your reason for not being among those who prostrated themselves?” (Iblis) said: “I am not one to prostrate myself to man, whom Thou didst create from sounding clay, from mud molded into shape.” (Allah) said: “Then get thee out from here; for thou art rejected, accursed. And the Curse shall be on thee till the day of Judgment.” (Iblis) said: “O my Lord! give me then respite till the Day the (dead) are raised.” (Allah) said: “Respite is granted thee – Till the Day of the Time Appointed.” (Iblis) said: “O my Lord! because Thou hast put me in the wrong, I will make (wrong) fair-seeming to them on the earth, and I will put them all in the wrong,- Except Thy chosen servants among them.” (Allah) said: “This is for me a Straight Path. For over My servants no authority shalt thou have, except such as put themselves in the wrong and follow thee.” S. 15:28-42

        Behold! We said to the angels: “Prostrate unto Adam” They prostrated except Iblis: He said, “Shall I prostrate to one whom Thou didst create from clay?” He said: “Seest Thou? this is the one whom Thou hast honored above me! If Thou wilt but respite me to the Day of Judgment, I will surely bring his descendants under my sway – all but a few!” (Allah) said: “Go thy way; if any of them follow thee, verily Hell will be the recompense of you (all)- an ample recompense. And arose those whom thou canst among them, with thy (seductive) voice; make assaults on them with thy cavalry and thy infantry; mutually share with them wealth and children; and make promises to them.” But Satan promises them nothing but deceit. S. 17:61-64

        Behold, thy Lord said to the angels: “I am about to create man from clay: When I have fashioned him and breathed into him of My spirit, fall ye down in obeisance unto him.” So the angels prostrated themselves, all of them together: Not so Iblis: he was haughty, and became one of those who reject Faith. (Allah) said: “O Iblis! What prevents thee from prostrating thyself to one whom I have created with My hands? Art thou haughty? Or art thou one of the high (and mighty) ones?” (Iblis) said: “I am better than he: Thou createdst me from fire, and him Thou createdst from clay.” (Allah) said: “Then get thee out from here: for thou art rejected, accursed. And My Curse shall be on thee till the Day of Judgment.” (Iblis) said: “O my Lord! Give me then respite till the Day the (dead) are raised.” (Allah) said: “Respite then is granted thee-Till the Day of the Time Appointed.” (Iblis) said: “Then, by Thy Power, I will lead them all astray,- Except Thy Servants amongst them, sincere and purified (by Thy Grace).” (Allah) said: “This is the Truth, and the Truth I say,- That I will certainly fill Hell with thee and those that follow thee,- every one.” S. 38:71-85

        The major verbal variations as are so vast and so many that to highlight them would be rather lengthy. Any fair reading of the passages should make it abundantly clear that the Quran gives contradictory and conflicting versions of Iblis’ exact words to God and God’s exact response to him.

        Example 4

        He [Lot] said [to the evil people around him]: “I do detest your doings.” “Oh my Lord! deliver me and my family from such things as they do!” So we delivered him and his family, – all except an old woman who lingered behind. S. 26:168-171

        They said: O Lot! we are the messengers of your Lord; they shall by no means reach you; so remove your family in a part of the night – and let none of you look back – except your wife, for surely whatsoever befalls them shall befall her; surely their appointed time is the morning; is not the morning nigh? S. 11:81

        But we saved him and his family, except his wife: she was of those who lagged behind. S. 7:83

        In the preceding citations we are told in one place that an old woman lagged behind. In the other accounts it is Lot’s wife.

        John Gilchrist furnishes additional evidence and comments on the conflicting variations within the same stories:

        “It is the stories of the Biblical prophets that particularly lack any manner of logical sequence in the Qur’an. In some places there are lists of prophets which are hardly given in any sort of order. In the following verse the early patriarchs are given in the correct sequence (though Ishmael is discounted as a prophet in the Bible), but the names of the prophets thereafter are completely mixed up:

        We have sent thee inspiration, as We sent it to Noah and the Messengers after him: We sent inspiration to Abraham, Isma’il, Isaac, Jacob and the Tribes, to Jesus, Job, Jonah, Aaron, and Solomon, and to David We gave the Psalms. Surah 4.163

        One cannot help presuming that Muhammad had a fairly sound knowledge of the history of the patriarchs from Noah to the sons of Jacob but was somewhat at sea regarding the sequence of the prophets that followed. Indeed the later prophets, from Isaiah to Malachi, with the exception of Jonah, are conspicuous purely by their absence in the Qur’an.

        While the patriarchs are vigorously Quranic figures, the great prophets of the Bible from the eighth century BC onwards, are entirely absent. (Cragg, The Event of the Qur’an, p. 173).

        There is nothing of the teaching of the writing prophets of the Old Testament, and practically nothing of the teaching of the New Testament. (Watt, Muhammad: Prophet and Statesman, p. 54).

        On the other hand there are numerous stories in the Qur’an relating to the earlier prophets and New Testament figureheads which are borrowed from Jewish Talmudic sources and Christian apocryphal writings respectively. Examples of these are found in the sections on Qur’anic origins and sources to follow. It seems that Muhammad’s knowledge of the Bible was limited to information from secondary sources, though this knowledge did improve as time went on.

        The needs of his profession do not appear to have made him actually a student – yet there is no question that as the Koran grew in bulk, its knowledge of biblical stories became somewhat more accurate: and though this greater degree of accuracy may have been at times due to the Prophet’s memory, it is more likely that he took such opportunities as offered of acquiring more information. (Margoliouth, Mohammed and the Rise of Islam, p. 106).

        An example of the growing accuracy of the Qur’anic records of the events in the lives of the Biblical prophets proves the point. In Surah 26.160-175 one finds a brief record of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah and of a typical conversation between the prophet Lot and his unbelieving people. Lot was delivered with his family “except an old woman who lingered behind” (Surah 26.171, as also 37.135). The story is roughly repeated in Surah 27.54-58, except that in this case, as in all the other later records of this event, the woman is now positively identified as his wife (Surah 27.57). There is as yet no hint of the involvement of the angels who came as God’s messengers in human form to destroy the cities but, in later passages, they finally appear while the narratives of the whole episode are simultaneously embellished with further information.

        In Surah 15.51-77 there is a brief record of the visit of the angels and their mission. Furthermore Abraham is now linked to the story of the destruction of these cities (typically not mentioned by name in the Qur’an) in that the angels visit him first to announce their purpose (v.58-60) as in the Bible (Genesis 18.16-22). When they come to Lot, however, they disclose their true identities immediately as well as their design and call on him to leave by night with his household (v.63-66). Only after this do the townsmen come to Lot to demand his guests and, as in the Bible (Genesis 19.8), Lot offers them his daughters (v.71). The record is very similar to the Biblical account except that in the Bible the angels only make their true identities known after the altercation with the tribesmen (Genesis 19.11) and only then command him to prepare to leave with his family as they make their mission known to him (Genesis 19.12-13). The Qur’anic error in placing these disclosures before the visit of the townsmen leads to a somewhat irrational situation:

        In S. 15 apparently no sequence of the events is presented, since it is told that the conversation of Lot with the people follows after the notification of the angelic rank of the visitors. This is not logical, for in that case Lot need not have been afraid of being importuned by the people and there would have been no need of “offering” his daughters. (Baljon, Modern Muslim Koran Interpretation, p. 38).

        In Surah 11.74-85 Muhammad finally gets it right. Once again the angels come to Abraham and this time the Qur’an mentions the prayer he offered to deliver the cities. Furthermore the disclosure of the identities of the angelic guests and their purpose to deliver Lot and his family and destroy the cities is now rightly placed after the altercation with the townsmen (v.81-82). Now the fears of Lot about the security of his guests when the townsmen arrive makes sense. He is said to have “felt himself powerless” (v.77) to protect them and openly expresses his regret that he could not summon powerful support on their behalf (v.80). Only at this point do they disclose their true identities as angelic messengers and only now is he called to leave with his family by night. All this is consistent with the Biblical narrative but is contradictory of the account in Surah 15 where the disclosures are said to have been made before the townsmen confronted Lot.

        All these features strongly support the statement made by Margoliouth that, as the Qur’an developed, so its record of the events relating to the Biblical prophets became significantly more accurate. This conclusion can hardly be resisted in the circumstances:

        Again, in the first four of the passages just quoted nothing suggests any awareness of the connexion between Abraham and Lot, and indeed some matters suggest ignorance of it; on the other hand, in the last three passages there is explicit mention of the connexion with Abraham. If there were only one or two instances of this sort of thing they could easily be explained away; BUT THERE ARE A GREAT MANY; and the Western critic therefore finds it difficult to resist the conclusion that Muhammad’s knowledge of these stories was growing and that therefore he was getting information from a person or persons familiar with them. (Watt, Muhammad at Mecca, p. 159).

        (Gilchrist, Muhammad and the Religion of Islam [Jesus To the Muslims PO Box 1804 Benoni Republic of South Africa, 1986], pp. 163-166; capital emphasis ours)

        Hence, much like the Synoptic Gospels, the Quran often repeats the same story with verbal variations. One finds the same story repeated in either a more condensed form, with greater detail, or with major verbal differences. The problem, however, is that, unlike the Synoptic Gospels, the Quran is supposed to be the speech of a single person, namely Allah, and Allah is supposed to be omniscient. Therefore, we would not and should not expect Allah to repeat the same conversations with glaring differences and contradictions.

        So the Quran fails the very criterion and suffers from the same objection that Muslims level against the inspiration and historicity of the Gospels.

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      • Let me refute Atlas’ straw man:

        “Furthermore you said that different authors can emphasize different aspects of an event and somehow think this is not the case if there is one author. How so? The same author can say things slightly differently to emphasize a different aspect when he is trying to teach different lessons using the same story.”

        This conveniently ignored what I said. We are talking about the Quran repeating the same exact conversations more than once. Since Allah is supposed to be the author of the Quran and is supposed to be omniscient, why should we expect Allah to repeat the exact same conversations he had with Moses, or with others, or the conversations of angels and/or others, differently, and often with conflicting and contradictory wording?

        Now if you say Allah doesn’t have to repeat the exact words spoken by the parties that he narrates more than once in the Quran, then you pretty much bury your own objections against the Gospels, and the same argument can now be leveled against you. First, which account records the actual, exact words spoken by the individuals in any given surah, and how do you know? Second, if you are ok with Allah changing/switching the actual words of the persons quoted, or merely giving the gist of what they said, but not the actual words they spoke, then you just obliterated your objection against Matthew changing Mark’s reporting of what Jesus and the rich man said to each other (this assumes, of course, that Matthew used Mark and did in fact changed what he recorded).

        So time for you to move on and drop this canard since your objection has been completely decimated by the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ.

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      • No you haven’t refuted me in the slitest. My objection was NOT (can’t believe I have to repeat this again) that the wordings can be different in and of itself but that the two stories are completly different. In Mark he denies he is good and hence denying he is God and then in Matthew he asks why the blind man asks him about what is good. This is astronomical!

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      • Instead of tap dancing around my refutation please address the gross contradictions and errors in the reports I posted from your Quran where your god failed to quote the exact same speeches in the exact same manner. And focus on Lot’s story since the errors reported in that even make your objection concerning Matthew vanish into thin air.

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      • So you accuse me of straw manning you while in fact it was YOU who strawmanned me and pretented that I said if something is reported using different words that I think that somehow is problematic which I never claimed and you did this twice. You never adressed the point I made in with Mark and Matthew and dont refer me.to your “articles” since they dont even begin to refute this. Then you tell to refute the increasing information in the mentioning of the story of Lot which has nothing to do with my argument once again since giving extra information is not the issue with the Mark and Matthew case which I gave above. Increasing information in now way is problematic since if you want to give people a certain lesson then many times you don’t give the same information but you add to it which you didnt state before since it wasnt needed to give a particular lesson in the previous case. Even hadiths do this sometimes. Some hadiths only make up a piece of other hadiths, that doesnt mean it was later added because only.later the info was known.

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      • I know it bothers you that your bible is being ripped to shreds by your own scholars and there is nothing you can do about it so you try and find some misplaced sense of grandure to bring the Word of God the Quran down to the same level by mostly being vulgar and bigotted. I almost feel sorry for you. Almost.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Ken,

      Here’s what a Muslim scholar says about the major verbal contradictions and variations of the same speeches found throughout the Quran:

      One Muslim scholar commented on the phenomena of verbal variations of the same stories within the Quran:

      “Among the mutashabih (things which resemble one another) verses are those which tell the story of Moses in many places of the Qur’an, and those, like them, which employ different words to express similar meanings. Some examples of these are: ‘Let into it’ and ‘Carry in it [the Ark]’, (Q. 23:27 and 11:40); ‘Slip in your hand’ and ‘Enter your hand [O Moses into your bosom]’, (Q. 28:32 and 27:12); and ‘He [Moses] cast down his staff and, behold, it became a snake slithering’ and ‘He cast it down and, behold, it became an unmistakable serpent’, (Q. 20:20 and 7:107). Ibn Zayd then comments, ‘All this is in order to show God’s judgment between the prophets and their peoples.’ Ibn Zayd goes on, ‘Anyone whom God wishes to test and cause to fall into error would say, “Why is this not like that, and why is that like this!”‘ (Tabari, VI, pp. 177-179)” (Mahmoud M. Ayoub, The Qur’an and Its Interpreters, Vol. II – The House of Imran [State University of New York Press, Albany; 1992], p. 23)

      So notice Ken, these verbal contradictions and inexact citations are taken by Muslims to be Allah’s way to test people in order to cause them to fall into error!

      So what was that about the differences between the Synoptic Gospels? 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      • Ibn Zayd goes on, ‘Anyone whom God wishes to test and cause to fall into error would say, “Why is this not like that, and why is that like this!”‘

        Sound like the constant complaining and demand of Muslims: “Why is it not clearer and why doesn’t it have a certain word there, or here, or why did the author say it that way or why did they leave out that phrase or word there or over there, etc. ?”

        They make demands rather than accepting God’s Word.

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  4. No you haven’t refuted me in the slitest.

    Yes he did.

    My objection was NOT (can’t believe I have to repeat this again) that the wordings can be different in and of itself but that the two stories are completly different. In Mark he denies he is good and hence denying he is God and then in Matthew he asks why the blind man asks him about what is good. This is astronomical!

    Not at all, because after in Matthew 19:17 Jesus asks, “Why are you asking Me about what is good?, then He says, “There is only one that is good . . .

    same truth as Mark 10:18 –
    “Why do you call Me good? No one is good except God alone.”

    So Matthew 19:17 and Mark 10:18 are saying the same thing and therefore, you are refuted.

    “astronomical!” – amazing exaggeration you do.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Not at all, because after in Matthew 19:17 Jesus asks, “Why are you asking Me about what is good?, then He says, “There is only one that is good . . .

    same truth as Mark 10:18 –
    “Why do you call Me good? No one is good except God alone.”

    So Matthew 19:17 and Mark 10:18 are saying the same thing and therefore, you are refuted.

    Like

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