A Brief Insight into the New Testament’s Prototyping

The New Testament of today is described as follows regarding the NA28 GNT:

“The intention of this edition lies not in reproducing the “oldest text” presented in the oldest manuscript but in reconstructing the text of the hypothetical master copy from which all manuscripts derive, a text the editors refer to as the initial text.”1

We should therefore understand the New Testament not to be the word of God, but the hypothetical reconstruction of the “word of God”, a prototype, a possibility of what the reconstruction of the initial text may have looked like. When one examines the earliest manuscripts, we quickly find a trend that cannot be sidelined or ignored, the earliest witnesses place us in the late 2nd to 4th centuries CE:

new-testament-diagram-final-1.png

The graph above concisely breaks down what books of the New Testament have as their earliest surviving (extant) witnesses. It also conveniently breaks down the New Testament into its genres and text types. The vast majority of manuscripts are from the 3rd century CE, meaning that the reconstructed prototypes give us a picture of what these completed texts may have looked like during or beyond the 3rd century CE. What is most notable, is that one of the earliest surviving sources attests to 9 books. That does not bode well for multiple attestation. Other books find their earliest witnesses in the 4th century including 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, 2 John and 3 John. These all indicate an intermediate or initial text projected into the 3rd century, some may say the 2nd century. Scholars have long noticed this trend of a later developed text, with one notable scholar explicitly stating:

Our critical editions do not present us with the text that was current in 150, 120 or 100—much less in 80 CE.2

Regarding new methods and changes in the NA28, a 2016 publication by the Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society confirms the following:

The application of the CBGM resulted in 34 changes to the main text of
the Catholic Epistles and a slight increase in the number of passages marked as
uncertain. In most cases the changes are of minor significance for interpretation
or translation, but in several cases the changes should not be ignored. At the
difficult variation in Jude 5, for example, the text now reads that it was “Jesus”
(Ἰησοῦς) who once saved a people from Egypt instead of “the Lord” (ὁ κύριος). In
another important change, 2 Pet 3:10 now prints a reading that is not found in any
known Greek witness. Where the previous edition read that the last days would
mean that the earth and all that is in it “will be found” or perhaps “exposed” (εὑρεθήσεται), the text now reads the opposite: the earth and all that is in it “will not
be found” (οὑχ εὑρεθήσεται). The latter reading sits much easier with the surrounding context, but is only attested in a few Coptic and Syriac manuscripts.3

What the data, methods and current status of New Testament Textual Criticism indicates is that we have a text that is much later than is traditionally espoused. The stemmata indicate we currently have reconstructions of a textual form between the late 2nd to 4th centuries CE. There is now an increase in uncertainty regarding the variant units, in other words confidence has been lost in several cases. In other cases we find texts that affect theology or which textual critics indicate are important changes which are labelled as “difficult”, the consequences of which cannot and “should not be ignored”.

We also see in the aforementioned quote that texts now essentially teach the opposite of what they once said! All exegeses commentating on the previous reading have now been rendered invalid by a text reading in the opposite direction altogether. In one other notable case, we also now find a reading in the text that has no manuscript support whatsoever among any known Greek witnesses. All of these trends do not paint a good picture for the state of the New Testament’s reliability. The text of the New Testament today, is not the text known to those at any other time in the past, which brings into doubt their salvation. If  believing in scripture is a criterion for salvation, and the text believed then is not the text now, can we say those in the past truly believed in and embraced the “living word of God”? If the text that penetrated them for guidance is not the text of today, then does it matter at all what the New Testament says?4

Article Taken from: CallingChristians.com

Sources:

1 – Trobisch, David. A User’s Guide to the Nestle-Aland 28 Greek New Testament. 9th ed. (Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 2013), 10.

2 – Petersen, William Lawrence., and Jan Krans. Patristic and Text-Critical Studies: The Collected Essays of William L. Petersen. (Leiden: Brill, 2012), 410.

3 – Gurry, Peter J. How Your Greek NT Is Changing: A Simple Introduction to the Coherence-Based Genealogical Method (CBGM). Vol. 59. Series 4. Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society, 2016, 684-685.

The title of this journal’s essay should not be ignored. The text of the New Testament is indeed changing, to say otherwise is to ignore the very existence of the critical editions.

4 – Hebrews 4:12.

Many commentators have said that the Bible is the living word of God, a scripture that penetrates us spiritually and guides us. If that is the case, then if the text changes, we have to ask, what form of the text is actually the living word of God? If an edition previously caused spiritual changes but is now changed, does that invalidate its spiritual guidance or does it indicate that the changes are wrong and the edition is correct? It’s a dilemma either way, which definitely brings into severe doubt the ideas of scripture, salvation and the work of a living word of God among Christian believers.

Jay Smith and Lizzie’s New Tactic of Intimidation

In this Podcast we interview brother Syed who films at Speakers Corner and has a very popular Youtube Channel called SyedsShahid Productions (link provided below). Syed explains what happened to him after Lizzie Schofield apparently called the police on him for putting up a video with a “Fireworks” effect in the beginning. (i.e. Insinuating that this was a threat to her life.) Listen how the whole ordeal unraveled and how immature Jay Smith’s team have been acting over the past few weeks. It’s clear that the Extremist Christians at Speakers Corner have exhausted all their options and now have to stoop to using petty fear mongering tactics, such as writing hateful articles or filing false police reports to gain an edge against Islam.

Link to Syed’s channel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VO4OoLfHj6g

Also you can visit Yahya Snow’s website here: https://thefactsaboutislam.blogspot.co.uk
Ijaz Ahmed’s website here: https://callingchristians.com/
And Abu Ayoub’s YT channel here: https://www.youtube.com/user/SimplySeerah

Christian and Islamic view of the man on the cross

The Qur’an is not a work of literary narrative, as is the Bible. As a scripture that provides guidance (huda) and a reminder (tadhkira) to humankind, it gives more emphasis to spiritual edifications than to providing a full account of facts. So, the Quran’s main concern with the Jesus story, too, is not to give a full account of the Jesus story, but rather to put it in the right theological perspective. That is probably why, although it contains detailed narratives about the birth and mission of Jesus, it tells us almost nothing about his passing. For it does not consider the passing of Jesus—just like that of Abraham, Moses, or Muhammad himself—as an event with major theological significance.

In contrast, the passing of Jesus—or, more precisely, his Crucifixion, Resurrection, and Ascension—is crucial for Christianity. “If Christ has not been raised,” Paul famously wrote to the Corinthians, “then our preaching is vain, your faith also is vain.” (1 Corinthians 15:14) No wonder what ultimately became the very symbol of Christianity was the sign of the cross, which stands for the crucifixion—and not the sign of the fish, as it was among the earliest Christians.

In fact, the Qur’an does mention the cross, but only in passing, and only in an unaffirmative way. This mention, which led to disputes between Muslims and Christians for centuries, occurs in a Qur’anic passage that condemns a group of Jews that was apparently present in Medina. They are cursed, because “they disbelieved and uttered a terrible slander against Mary.” Furthermore:

And [they] said, “We have killed the Messiah, Jesus, son of Mary, the Messenger of God.” They did not kill him, nor did they crucify him, but it was made to appear like that to them. Those that disagreed about him are full of doubt, with no knowledge to follow, only supposition. They certainly did not kill him. God raised him up to  Himself. God is almighty and wise. Quran 4:157-158

The key statement here, “it was made to appear like that to them,” or shubbiha la-hum, has led to endless speculations. Most Muslim exegetes, both in the classic era and the modern age, inferred from this phrase a theory of “substitution.” Accordingly, Jesus was not crucified, but somebody was “substituted” in his place— perhaps one of his disciples, or Judas Iscariot who betrayed him, or Simon of Cyrene who helped him carry the cross.

Yet this “substitution” theory, which is still almost the standard view among Muslims today, raises lots of questions. Fakhraddin al-Razi, the medieval scholar, addressed some of them frankly in his major exegesis of the Qur’an. “God was no doubt capable of delivering Jesus from the hands of his enemies by simply taking him up to heaven,” he first reminded. “What then,” he asked, “is the purpose of casting his likeness on another man, except to condemn an innocent man to death to no purpose?” He also made the following observation, which is in fact a good reminder for all religious believers that their arguments against the rival tradition can turn back on themselves:

All Christians in the world, with all their great love for Jesus and their extremist beliefs concerning him, have reported that they witnessed him being crucified and killed. If we were to deny this, we would cast doubt on the principle of tawatur [universally accepted transmission]. Casting doubt on this principle would also necessitate casting doubt on the prophethood of Muhammad and Jesus, and even on their very existence, as well as the existence of all other prophets, and that would be untenable.

Other Muslim commentators took a second and less radically rejectionist interpretation of “appearance,” arguing that Jesus was indeed crucified but he did not die on the cross. He rather secretly survived his execution, they suggested, despite his “appearance” of death. Ahmadiyya Muslims, an unorthodox sect of Islam, take this line. They even believe that after surviving the cross, Jesus moved to Kashmir, an area in the northern Indian subcontinent, to live there and ultimately to die a natural death. Hence in the Kashmirian city of Srinagar, there is still a highly revered “tomb of Jesus.”

Yet there is a third and radically different interpretation of the Qur’an’s verdict on the cross—a road much less taken. It begins by noting the context of the statement “They did not kill him, nor did they crucify him.” The context is a polemic against certain Jews— not Christians—who, apparently, both slandered Mary and also took pride in claiming “We killed the Messiah.” (No wonder in Talmudic literature there is a narrative which “proudly proclaims Jewish responsibility for Jesus’ execution.”66) To these people the Qur’an says, no, “They did not kill him, nor did they crucify him, but it was made to appear like that to them.”

In other words, the Qur’an is only telling us that Jews did not crucify and kill Jesus. It does not say nobody did that. It does not say, for example, that Romans did not crucify and kill Jesus, which was, of course, what really happened according to the canonical gospels.

Some scholars think that this third interpretation of the Qur’an’s interpretation of the cross may be compatible with the Christian version of the story. One was the late William Montgomery Watt, one of the most eminent Western scholars of Islam. He argued that a Christian could in fact accept the Qur’an’s statement on the crucifixion, “since the crucifixion was the work of Roman soldiers… [and] since the crucifixion was not a victory for the Jews in view of [Jesus’] resurrection.”

However, while this third interpretation makes it possible to reconcile the Qur’an with the story of the cross related in the canonical gospels, it probably cannot be reconciled with the theology of the cross related in Paul’s letters. Accordingly, the crucifixion was a cosmic event in which Jesus suffered as an atonement for the sins of all humankind. This theology not only has no trace in the whole Qur’an, it also goes against some of its core doctrines—such as that sin is strictly personal, and “no burden-bearer can bear another’s burden.” (Qur’an 35:18 53:38) It also is theologically unnecessary, for the Qur’an does not share the theology of the Fall as well, which according to Christianity made every human being inherently sinful and thus in need of a savior.

 

Excerpted from the book “The Islamic Jesus” by Mustafa Akyol

David Wood’s Lizard Video – Being a Snake for Jesus!

In this Podcast Abu Ayoub and Yahya Snow discuss David Wood’s latest video where he mocks the prophet Muhammad (pbuh) recommendation to kill house lizards.  Both Muslims go into background of this ruling, bringing quotes from Islamic Scholars, as well as showing the health benefits by such a recommendation.  Finally, they turn the mockery back and David Wood and his likes, showing how early Christian Commentaries actually have the same type of implication in the Bible.

Explaining Trinity and Triune GOD

Trinity Explained. Triune God Explained. Does God Has To Be Triune In Order To Be Loving? Who was the GOD of Islam loving before creation? Christian Triune God is loving cause they are 3 person and have been loving each other for ever Eternally.

I thought this was a well thought out and put together video explaining the concept of the Trinity.  Thank you “Truth Shall Prevail” for producing such an excellent response to such a common Missionary argument.

You can see more of their videos you can subscribe to their youtube channel here:

 

Does Allah command evil and indecency?

Bismillah_FullThis is in response to an article published on a notorious anti-Islamic site. (Read it in full Here)

In that article the heathen writer has written that Allah in Qur’an 17:16 commands people to commit indecency and then punish them for doing so. The translation he has given to the verse goes as;

“And when We desire to destroy a city, WE COMMAND its men who live at ease, AND THEY COMMIT UNGODLINESS therein, then the Word is realized against it, and We destroy it utterly.” S. 17:16

It does not seem odd of a Christian playing with the Word of God for this is their ancestrally profession, The Arabic wording of the verse goes as;

وَإِذَا أَرَدْنَا أَنْ نُهْلِكَ قَرْيَةً أَمَرْنَا مُتْرَفِيهَا فَفَسَقُوا فِيهَا فَحَقَّ عَلَيْهَا الْقَوْلُ فَدَمَّرْنَاهَا تَدْمِيرًا
Now I give some well known translations of this verse;
Taqi Usmani: “And when We intend to destroy a habitation, We command its affluent people (to do good), then they commit sins therein, and thus the word (of punishment) becomes applicable to it (habitation), and We annihilate it totally.”

Yusuf Ali: “When We decide to destroy a population, We (first) send a definite order to those among them who are given the good things of this life and yet transgress; so that the word is proved true against them: then (it is) We destroy them utterly.”

Shakir Ali: “And when We wish to destroy a town, We send Our commandment to the people of it who lead easy lives, but they transgress therein; thus the word proves true against it, so We destroy it with utter destruction.”

Pickthal: “And when We would destroy a township We send commandment to its folk who live at ease, and afterward they commit abomination therein, and so the Word (of doom) hath effect for it, and we annihilate it with complete annihilation.”

Hilali/Mohsin Khan: “And when We intend to destroy a city, We command its affluent but they defiantly disobey therein; so the word comes into effect upon it, and We destroy it with [complete] destruction.”

Maududi: “When We decree that a habitation should be destroyed, We give Commands to its well-to-do people and they show disobedience; then that habitation incurs just torment and We totally exterminate it.”

Asad: “But when [this has been done, and] it is Our will to destroy a community, We convey Our last warning” to those of its people who have lost themselves entirely in the pursuit of pleasures; and [if] they [continue to] act sinfully, the sentence [of doom] passed on the community takes effect, and We break it to smithereens.” 

Infact even other orientalists have translated this verse in a way that does not leave any room for the liars to play with fire:

George Sale: “And when We resolved to destroy a city, We commanded the inhabitants thereof, who lived in affluence, to obey our Apostle; but they acted corruptly herein: Wherefore the sentence was justly pronounced against that city; and We destroyed it with an utter destruction.”

Further let’s see the commentary of Abdullah Yusuf Ali on this verse. He writes;
“Allah’s Mercy gives every chance to the wicked to repent. When wickedness gets so rampant that punishment becomes inevitable, even then Allah’s Mercy and Justice act together. Those who are highly gifted from Allah-it may be with wealth or position, or it may be with talents and opportunities-are expected to understand and obey. They are given a definite order and warning. If they still transgress there is no further room for argument. They cannot plead that they were ignorant. The command of the Lord is proved against them, and its application is called for beyond doubt. Then it is that their punishment is completed.”

All these famous and authentic translations and commentaries prove that the true meaning of this verse is that when a people have become too stubborn in their opposition to Allah’s commandments, He gives them the commandment to correct their way of life, but as they transgress therein Allah punishes them. This is what it means.

Trickery of the writer:
The insane writer has brought up a little known translation here and hasn’t used any of the well known translations as they leave no room for him to twist the real meanings of the verse. He uses the Translation of Yusuf Ali, Pickthal and Asad later on but here he plays the trick to pollute the innocent minds.

He has used the translation of A.J. Arberry who was an Orientalist and a non-Muslim whose translation is very rarely, in fact hardly ever, referred to in the Islamic word for there are certain mistakes of omission and mistranslation with him. I don’t claim that he has intentionally mistranslated here but because of his less knowledge compared to the Muslim translators he has not been able to give the real meaning in exclusive sense. Even his translation does not actually give the meaning that the author of the article has tried to, but it does leave a slight room for the heathens like him.

Islamic divorce law:

Further he gives the wrapped view of the some divorce laws in Islam. Islam says that if a husband and wife divorce then they cannot remarry until the woman has married another person and that person either dies or divorces her after having consummated the marriage. He says that this is another point where Allah, to his understanding, commands indecency.

Why such a Law? To see whether he is right or wrong, lets see the rationale of this Law.

Firstly, Islam gives such a mechanism of family life that if strictly followed, there are quite less chances of divorce. In case some differences arise even then Islam’s prescribed way of divorce as laid down in the Holy Qur’an surah 2, ayah 229-230 and Ahadith give a lot of time for the rapprochement between the spouses. But if done Islam does not allow them to remarry unless the woman marries with someone else and the marriage is consummated and then either she is divorced or widowed. Islam prescribes this in order to make the couple think before making any emotional or out bursting decision and to ensure that marriage and divorce does not become a child play.

Having said this, Islam allows them still to marry under the above mentioned rules. I wonder how can one can call this indecency or lewdness as the other person with whom the woman will have relations meanwhile will be her husband then legally married to her. Yes, if somebody tries to play with the law and marries a person with a pre-condition of divorce then definitely it will be lewdness and Allah has forbidden this. Such an act is called Hilala which has been condemned in strongest terms.

أَنَّ النَّبِيَّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ قَالَ لَعَنَ اللَّهُ الْمُحَلِّلَ وَالْمُحَلَّلَ لَهُ

Narrated Ali, the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: Cursed be upon the one who marries a divorced woman with the intention of making her lawful for her former husband and upon the one for whom she is made lawful. (Sunan Abu Dawud, Hadith 2076. Classified as Sahih by Albani)

 

But there is no rationality in not allowing the remarriage even after woman has married another man and got widowed or divorced. It has no reason to be banned. But for remarriage between those two people such a condition is attached only to have deterrence against divorce which is, though lawful, but abhorred in the sight of Allah.

عن عبد الله بن عمر رضي الله عنهما ، قال : قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم : « ما أحل الله شيئا أبغض إليه من الطلاق

 

Narrated Abdullah ibn Umar, the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: Of all the lawful acts the most detestable to Allah is divorce. (Mustadrak Hakim, Hadith 2745. Classified as Sahih by Al-Hakim. Dhahbi agreed with him)

 

On the meaning of word “Rafath”:

In the end the writer has poured out his ignorance about the Qur’anic language. He says that it means obscenity and lewdness and Qur’an allows Muslims “Rafath” to their wives in 2:187 thus he says Allah has commanded Muslims obscenity.

If we read the commentary of this word in Tafsir Ibn Kathir, that this person himself mentioned, we read;

“Whatever might lead to sexual intercourse, such as embracing, kissing and talking to women about similar subjects, is not allowed. Ibn Jarir reported that Nafi` narrated that `Abdullah bin `Umar said, “Rafath means sexual intercourse or mentioning this subject with the tongue, by either men or women.” `Ata’ bin Abu Rabah said that Rafath means sexual intercourse and foul speech. This is also the opinion of `Amr bin Dinar. `Ata’ also said that they used to even prevent talking (or hinting) about this subject. Tawus said that Rafath includes one’s saying, “When I end the Ihram I will have sex with you.” This is also the same explanation offered by Abu Al-`Aliyah regarding Rafath. `Ali bin Abu Talhah said that Ibn `Abbas said, “Rafath means having sex with the wife, kissing, fondling and saying foul words to her, and similar acts.” Ibn `Abbas and Ibn `Umar said that Rafath means to have sex with women. This is also the opinion of Sa`id bin Jubayr, `Ikrimah, Mujahid, Ibrahim An-Nakha`i, Abu Al-`Aliyah who narrated it from `Ata’ and Makhul, `Ata Al-Khurasani, `Ata’ bin Yasar, `Atiyah, Ibrahim, Ar-Rabi`, Az-Zuhri, As-Suddi, Malik bin Anas, Muqatil bin Hayyan, `Abdul-Karim bin Malik, Al-Hasan, Qatadah and Ad-Dahhak, and others.”

(Tafsir Ibn Kathir under Ayah 197, Surah 2)
.

In this passage the writer has emphasized the words, “foul speech” and “foul words” etc. and then gives the impression that it means lewdness and obscenity as understood generally. Infact it only refers to the intimate words that a husband may say to his wife during their intimate relation. Infact Abdullah b. Umar’s statement in this passage conveys the very same meaning. i.e. “Rafath means sexual intercourse or mentioning this subject with the tongue, by either men or women.”

So what we find is that the word Rafath means intimate relation (physical or in words) and when Qur’an says that its allowed in Ramadan during nights (2:187), it clarifies by saying;

أُحِلَّ لَكُمْ لَيْلَةَ الصِّيَامِ الرَّفَثُ إِلَى نِسَائِكُمْ

“Permitted to you, on the night of the fasts, is the approach (Rafath) to your wives.”

Mark the words “to your wives”. And no sane would ever call this obscenity or lewdness. But definitely same when out of marital contract will be lewdness and obscenity without doubt.

Edward William Lane gives its meaning as; “He went into his wife, he compressed her, or was with her alone in private.” (Arabic-English Lexicon part 3 p. 1118)

And in Qur’an 2:197 Rafath is forbidden during Hajj i.e. all intimate relations are disallowed, with wives of course, others are always forbidden in Islam.

So the heathen writer makes really a poor case and lacks reason and rationality and is merely trying to play with people not aware of the dirty missionary tactics.

But surely falsehood has no feet to stand on.

“Truth has (now) arrived, and Falsehood perished: for Falsehood is (by its nature) bound to perish.” (Qur’an 17:81)

INDEED ALLAH KNOWS THE BEST!

Written by LetMeTurnTheTables.com

Jay Smith’s Asylum Convert

On the website of Pfander Ministries there was a very peculiar story shared about an Iranian convert to Christianity. Jay Smith’s close confidant, Lizzie Schofield share’s the story of Sadegh on their website.

In this video Brothers Ijaz Ahmad, Yahya Snow and Abu Ayoub sit down and discuss the story of this so-called ExMuslim, and point out the many inconsistencies and holes in his story.

Please watch, and share with your friends.