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The Qur’an & the Bible in light of modern research By Hamza Andreas Tzortzis Presentation for the “Proof of the truth: The Qur’an or the Bible” discussion.

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Presentation on theme: "The Qur’an & the Bible in light of modern research By Hamza Andreas Tzortzis Presentation for the “Proof of the truth: The Qur’an or the Bible” discussion."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Qur’an & the Bible in light of modern research By Hamza Andreas Tzortzis Presentation for the “Proof of the truth: The Qur’an or the Bible” discussion 10 th September 2007

2 Introduction My background hamzatzortzis.blogspot.com Today’s discussion –Frank, honest and open dialogue –Friendly, sensitive and sincere

3 A Very Important Discussion Severe implications –Way of life –Behaviour –Society –Spiritual consequences –Progress

4 Setting the Scene The Islamic perspective –Searching for truth is based upon evidence –There is no blind thinking or blind adoption of the Islamic creed –This search is done within the context of a sincere, honest and compassionate approach

5 The Bible: Its History & Alteration

6 We Do Not Have a Reliable Source Martin Kahler notes “We do not possess any sources for a ‘life of Jesus’ which a historian can accept as reliable and adequate…we have no sources for a biography of Jesus of Nazareth which measures up to the contemporary standards of contemporary historical science.” `Ref: Martin Kahler, The So-called Historical Jesus and the Historical Biblical Christ

7 Uncertainty & Modification Similarly, Dr Von Tishendorf, one of the most resolute conservative defenders of the trinity, admitted that the New Testament had “…in many passages undergone such serious modification of meaning as to leave us in painful uncertainty as to what the Apostles had actually written.” Ref: Kenneth Cragg, The Call of the Minaret, p. 277

8 Grave Defects & 50,000 Errors In the preface of the Revised Standard Version of the bible, 1978, thirty-two Christian scholars “of the highest eminence,” backed by fifty Christian denominations, wrote of the authorized version, also known as the King James Version, that : “The King James Version has grave defects, so many and so serious as to call for revision.” In 1957, the Jehovah’s Witnesses published the headline “50,000 errors in the Bible” in their AWAKE magazine writing: “There are probably 50,000 errors in the bible, errors which have crept in the bible text.” Nevertheless, they go on to say, “As a whole the bible is still accurate.”?!

9 5366 Different Manuscripts Ehrman mentions: “In any event, none of the original manuscripts of the books of the bible now survive. What do survive, are copies made over the course of the centuries, or more accurately, copies of the copies of the copies, some 5366 of them in the Greek language alone, that date from the second century down to the sixteenth. Strikingly with the exception of the smallest fragments, no two of these copies are exact. No one knows how many different, or variant readings, occur among the surviving witnesses, but they must number in the hundreds of thousands.” Ref: Bart Ehrman, The Orthodox Corruption of Scripture, p 27

10 Biblical Changes & 82% False Peake’s Commentary on the Bible: “It is now generally agreed that 9-20 are not an original part of Mark. They are not found in the oldest manuscript, and indeed were apparently not in the copies used by Matthew and Luke. A 10th century Armenian Manuscript ascribes the passage to Ariston...” The Jesus Seminar’s conclusion was: “82% of the words ascribed to Jesus in the gospels were not actually spoken by him.” “Biblical scholars and theologians alike have learned to distinguish the Jesus of history from the Christ of faith. It has been a painful lesson for both the church and scholarship...” Ref: Peake’s commentary on the Bible, p 633 Jesus Seminar, Robert W Funk and Roy W Hoover, The Five gospels (1993)

11 The Bible: Irreconcilable Contradictions

12 How Many Years of Famine? Contradictions can be explained with an in-depth knowledge of the language, exegesis and context of the text. However the bible suffers from irreconcilable contradictions Examples include: Years of famine II SAMUEL 24:13: So God came to David, and told him, and said unto him, shall SEVEN YEARS OF FAMINE come unto thee in thy land? or will thou flee three months before thine enemies, while they pursue. thee? I CHRONICLES 21:11: SO God came to David, and said unto him, Thus saith the LORD, Choose thee. Either THREE YEARS OF FAMINE or three months to be destryed before thy foes, while that the sword of thine enemies overtaketh thee;

13 What Really was Jesus' Lineage? The GENEALOGY OF JESUS? In two places in the New Testament the genealogy of Jesus son of Mary is mentioned. Matthew 1:6-16 and Luke 3: Each gives the ancestors of Joseph the CLAIMED husband of Mary and Step father of Jesus. The first one starts from Abraham (verse 2) all the way down to Jesus. The second one from Jesus all the way back to Adam. The only common name to these two lists between David and Jesus is JOSEPH, How can this be true? and also How can Jesus have a genealogy when all Muslims and most Christians believe that Jesus had/has no father.

14 The Qur’an: Its History & Preservation

15 Recurrent Reporting & Verification Recurrent reporting oral tradition (mutawatir) The huffadh were dying, as a result Zayd Ibn Thaabit was the main scribe instructed to write down the whole Qur’an Zayd referred to all those who had memorised the Qur’an and to all the written copies, verifying them with other witnesses Others that were included in the recurrent reporting were: –Umar Ibn al- Khattab –Ali –Uthman –Abu Bakr –Ubay Ibn Kab –Abdullah Ibn Masood –Muadh ibn Jabal –Abu Musa al-Ashari –Muawiya ibn Abi Sufyan –Uqba ibn Amir –Abdullah ibn Aqram –Khaleed ibn Saeed –And others Refs: The history of the Qur’anic text from revelation to compilation – A comparative study with old and new testaments, Dr M. M. al-Azami

16 Manuscript Evidence & No Variants Tashkent Manuscript (2nd Century after hijra) Topkapi Manuscript (Uthmanic) Husayn Mosque in Cairo (Ali’s manuscript) There is no deviation in the manuscripts we have today The Institute fur Koranforschung, University of Munich, Germany, collected and collated some 42,000 complete or incomplete copies of the Qur’an gathered from all over the world. After some fifty years of study they reported that in terms of differences there was no variants.

17 Western Scholarship Adrian Brockett “The transmission of the Qur’an after the death of Muhammed was essentially static, rather than organic... The efforts of those scholars who attempt to reconstruct any other hypothetical original versions of the (written) text are therefore shown to be disregarding half the essence of the Muslim scripture.” Arthur J. Arberry “… the Qur’an as printed in the twentieth century is identical with the Qur’an as authorized by Uthman more than 1300 years ago.” Ref: Approaches to the History of Interpretation of the Qur’an, p 44 Arberry’s translation of the Qur’an, Introduction

18 Preservation Confirmed John B. Taylor “Thus we feel confident that the Qur’an which we have today is, as far as is humanly possible, the text which was established within a few years of the Prophet’s death.” Laura Veccia Vaglieri “… But there is another proof of the divinity of the Qur’an; it is the fact that is has been preserved intact through the ages since the time of its revelation to the present...” Ref: Thinking about Islam Apologie de I’Islamisme, p 57-59

19 The Qur’an: Linguistic & Literary Miracle

20 The Eternal Challenge Qur’an Chapter 2 Verse 23 “ And if you are in doubt concerning that which We have sent down to our servant (Muhammed pbuh ) then bring a chapter of the like thereof and call your witnesses (supporters and helpers) besides Allah if you are truthful ” General Meaning Historical Scholarly Approach Four Main Arguments

21 Rational Deduction Unique Literary Form Unique Genre Eloquence If the best of Arabic speakers couldn’t meet the challenge then who wrote it? It has its own unique form of Arabic It has a unique way of using various aspects of language It has the best choice of words, word order, choice of prepositions etc Four Main Arguments

22 Rational Deduction Historical fact that the Arabs at the time of revelation were masters in the use of Arabic (Margoliouth, Muir, Zammit etc) They were articulate users of the language but also held those skilled in the arts of linguistic composition in high esteem. Ref: Philip K. Hitti, History of the Arabs, London, 1967, pp. 87 ff. “It should be known that Arabs thought highly of poetry as a form of speech. Therefore, they made it the archives of their history, the evidence for what they considered right and wrong, and the principal basis of reference for most of their sciences and wisdom.” Ref: Ibn Khaldun, Al-Muqaddima, vol. 3, 375.

23 If the Best Couldn’t do it, then who did? Some of the challengers: –Musaylamah –The Quraish –Ibn Al-Mukaffa‘ –Abu'l-'Ala Al-Marri –Yahya b. Al-Hakam al-Ghazal –Sayyid 'Ali Muhammad –Ibn al-Rawandi –Bassar bin Burd –Sahib Ibn 'Abbad –Abu'l - 'Atahiya

24 A Complete Failure “The elephant. What is the elephant? And who shall tell you what is the elephant? He has a ropy tail and a long trunk. this is a [mere] trifle of our Lord's creations.” (Musaylamah) Ref: Al-Bidayah wan-Nihayah 6:320 and Al-Isabah 3:225 Concerning the style of his speech; he followed the kahin style of rhymed prose, and of the pronouncing of oaths. Ref: A F L Beeston, et al (Ed.), Arabic Literature To The End Of The Ummayyad Period, 1983, CUP, p. 212 If the Arabs at that time failed, who is the author? Using Rational Deduction, it can not be a Arab, a non- Arab or even the Prophet Muhammed (pbuh).

25 Unique Literary Form Prose Qur’an Poetry Saj’Mursal Rhythmical Patters Unique Arabic Language

26 Why is it Unique? The Qur’an can not fit into any of the known forms (Arberry, Nicholson, Lawrence, Kasis, Gibb, Qutb, Haleem etc) Ref: Bruce Lawrence. Journal of Qur’anic Studies. Vol VII, Issue I Approximating Saj’ in English Renditions of the Qur’an, p. 64 This is achieved by not adhering to the rules of poetry and prose, by intermingling metrical and non-metrical speech and stylistic differences such as semantically orientated assonance. Ref: A Literary Approach to the Hymnic Surahs of the Qur'an: Spirit, Gender and Aural Intertextuality. Curzon Press, p. 3-25; Mitwalli al-Sharawi, The Miracles of the Qur’an. Dar ul Taqwa. See Qur’an 15:45-52 & 12:31-35 for examples of the unique fusion of metrical and non- metrical speech.

27 Eloquence “ Eloquence consists in expressing an appropriate meaning with a noble, apt and clear phrase, indicating what is to be without superfluous additions. ” Ref: Guide to Conclusive Proofs for the Principles of Belief, Imam al Haramayn al Juwayni “… humans cannot imitate the Qur'an because their knowledge does not encompass all the words of Arabic, all the ideas in them, and all the varieties of structure. ” Ref: Rhetorical Aspect of the Qur ’ an, Issa Boulata

28 Word Order Example: ‘You shall not kill your children because you cannot support them. We provide for you and for them.’ Qur’an 80:151 ‘You shall not kill your children for fear of want. We will provide for them and for you.’ Qur’an 17:31

29 Meticulous Accuracy In the second verse when the killing is from want due to the poverty of the family, the Qur’an emphasizes Allah’s provision over the parent thus they are mentioned first. However if the killing of such innocent children is conceded by the fear of the future possibility of poverty, Allah assures one not do so by emphasizing the children before the family and how they will receive this provision. The words are meticulously chosen even the letters are meaningfully used. No addition, elision, advancing, or retarding occurs but by careful design. This approach is unequalled in any human composition. It is only found in the Qur’an.

30 A Timeless Miracle Linguistic and Literary Miracle is timeless Based upon finite set of “tools” Science is evolving and not static The future may see scientific conclusions change Natural factual phenomena is different from scientific investigations Classical Arabic: 28 letters, finite grammatical rules

31 God’s Word, No Other Explanation! Rational deduction Is it from an Arab, Non-Arab, the Prophet (pbuh) or the Creator? The Prophet and Hadith – Linguistic differences The pre-requisite – Creator No other rational explanation!

32 Non-Muslim Scholarship Consensus opinion on the superior nature of the Qur’an’s language. "The Koran [sic] admittedly occupies an important position among the great religious books of the world…. it yields to hardly any in the wonderful effect which it has produced on large masses of men. It has created an all but new phase of human thought and a fresh type of character. It first transformed a number of heterogeneous desert tribes of the Arabian peninsula into a nation of heroes…." Ref: G. Margoliouth Introduction to J.M.Rodwell’s, The Koran. Everyman’s Library, p. vii

33 Miracle After Miracle My favourite….. “As tangible signs Qur’anic verses are expressive of an inexhaustible truth. They signify meaning layered within meaning, light upon light, miracle after miracle.” Ref: Bruce Lawrence, p. 18. The Qur’an: A Biography “…and that though several attempts have been made to produce a work equal to it as far as elegant writing is concerned, none has as yet succeeded.” Ref: F. F. Arbuthnot The Construction of the Bible and the Koran. London, p 5

34 Conclusion: A Miracle Indeed it is! Martin Zammit concludes in his book “A comparative Lexical Study of Qur’anic Arabic”: “Notwithstanding the literary excellence of some of the long pre- Islamic poems…the Qur'an is definitely on a level of its own as the most eminent written manifestation of the Arabic language.” Rev. R Bosworth Smith concludes that the Qur'an, in his book "Muhammad and Muhammadanism", is: "…It is the one miracle claimed by Muhammad, his standing miracle, and a miracle indeed it is." Refs: Martin Zammit A comparative Lexical Study of Qur'anic Arabic. Brill Academic Publishers & R. Bosworth Smith Muhammad and Muhammadanism. Kessinger Publishing.

35 To Conclude… There is a corpus of material available concerning today’s topic The Bible in light of modern research affirms the Qur’anic view that it has been changed and corrupted The Qur’an is the final testament that doesn’t claim a monopoly on the truth, but claims it is divine and has an unbroken chain The Qur’ans claim has been proven and affirmed by western scholarship It shouldn’t stop here the search for truth and the path of knowledge requires effort

36 Final Words: The Words of God When it is said to them: "Come to what God has revealed; come to the Messenger": They say: "Enough for us are the ways we found our fathers following." what! even though their fathers had no knowledge and guidance? Qur’an 5:104 Call unto the way of thy Lord with wisdom and fair exhortation, and reason with them in the better way. Lo! thy Lord is Best Aware of him who strayeth from His way, and He is Best Aware of those who go aright. Qur’an 16:125

37 Thank you! Mobile: hamzatzortzis.blogspot.com Alhamdulillahir Rabbil’Alameen [All Praises & Thanks Due to the Lord of the Worlds]

38 Further Readings hamzatzortzis.blogspot.com B. M. Metzger, A Textual Commentary On The New Testament: A Companion Voume To The United Bible Societies' Greek New Testament, 1971, United Bible Societies, London & New York Before Nicea : The Early Followers of Prophet Jesus (upon him be peace) (Abdulhaq al-Ashanti, Abdur-Rahmaan Bowes). Jamiah Media (2005) H. Abdul-Raof Exploring the Qur'an. Al-Maktoum Institute Academic Press. M. Abdullah Draz The Qur'an an Eternal Challenge (al-Naba' al- 'Azim).The Islamic Foundation. M. Sells A Literary Approach to the Hymnic Surahs of the Qur'an. Curzon Press. Muhammed Abdel Haleem The Qur'an: A New Translation. Oxford University Press. Muhammed Abdel Haleem Understanding the Qur’an: Themes & Styles. I. B.Tauris Publishers Kurt Aland & Barbara Aland, The Text Of The New Testament: An Introduction To The Critical Editions & To The Theory & Practice Of Modern Text Criticism, 1995, William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, Michigan.

39 Q & A: The Early Church Fathers It is often claimed that the text of the New Testament can be reconstructed from the citations of the New Testament by the early Church Fathers. Let us look at one example - Matthew /Mark 10.18/Luke One very early Church Father is Justin. In his Dialogue (probably from the 140s or 150s), we read "One is good, my Father in the heavens." This very early quotation is not what we read in the Bible today. Perhaps he was just working from memory, or did he have a manuscript which differed from today's Bibles? EPHREM: Commentary on the Diatessaron, XV.9, in both the original Syriac and the Armenian (2 manuscripts) reads: "One is good, the/my Father who [is] in the heaven." manuscripts of this Gospel verse differ from what is read today. I wonder why this verse was changed. Bibles of today read that no one is good except God alone. This is fine for Christians who believe that Jesus is God. But if the manuscripts read that no one is good except the Father, then there would be trouble for Trinitarians, who believe Jesus is God, but not God the Father. So it was changed.

40 Q & A: Jesus the Son of God? John 1:34 The NIV says here 'And I have seen and borne witness that this is the Son of God'. But is 'Son of God' the original reading? A new manuscript has recently been found called p106. It is an early third century manuscript and it says, not Son of God, but the 'Elect of God'. This is also the reading of the very early manuscripts, p5, and Codex Sinaiticus - the only Greek manuscript before AD 800 which has all 27 New Testament books. The reading of 'Elect' is also present in Old Syriac and Old Latin manuscripts. This seems to be a place where later scribes altered the original Gospel to read that Jesus was the 'Son of God'. Mark 1:1 Mark 1:1 says 'The beginning of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, Son of God'. However, important witnesses, including Origen, and Codex Sinaiticus, the only Great Codex to contain the entire New Testament, omit the phrase, Son of God. Did a scribe add this phrase or did a scribe drop it? In any case, it is clear that the idea that Jesus was the Son of God is an important point of Christian doctrine about which manuscripts differ.

41 Q & A: Scientific Miracles THE EXPANSION OF THE UNIVERSE In the Qur'an, which was revealed fourteen centuries ago at a time when the science of astronomy was still primitive, the expansion of the universe was described in the following terms: And it is We Who have constructed the heaven with might, and verily, it is We Who are steadily expanding it. (Qur'an, 51:47) THE SUN'S TRAJECTORY It is stressed in the Qur'an that the Sun and Moon follow specific trajectories: It is He Who created night and day and the sun and moon, each one swimming in a sphere. (Qur'an, 21:33) The word "swim" in the above verse is expressed in Arabic by the word "sabaha" and is used to describe the movement of the Sun in space. The word means that the Sun does not move randomly through space but that it rotates around its axis and follows a course as it does so. The fact that the Sun is not fixed in position but rather follows a specific trajectory is also stated in another verse: And the sun runs to its resting place. That is the decree of the Almighty, the All-Knowing. (Qur'an, 36:38) According to astronomers' calculations, the Sun moves along a path known as the Solar Apex in the path of the star Vega at an incredible speed of 720,000 kmph. In rough terms, this shows that the Sun traverses some million km a day.


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