Ijaz Responds to James White’s Video on Textual Criticism

Here is my response to Dr. White’s criticism of my video on the unreliability of the Bible. Of note are incorrect claims made on his part, conflating my statement of lacunae with his misrepresenting that statement as a ‘textual variant’ for over 40 minutes. Also his facetious and incredulous disregard for the science of higher criticism which he labeled as ‘mind reading’, along with citing or basing his arguments on misdatings of both p52 and p66.

There were a lot more errors but on his end, there was not a single rebuttal to the claims I presented and I was extremely disappointed to see negative comments about my character throughout his video despite both at the beginning and at the end of his video he said that this behaviour should not be condoned.

The point needs to be made on John 20:28, there are texts pre-p66, p66 and texts post p66. You don’t know what the texts for pre-p66 said, there is a gap in what p66 said, he then thinks it’s okay to take the anachronistic reading post p66 and throw it into the gap for p66. That’s not a solution, it’s an anachronism, it’s guesswork, you need the pre-p66 text to fill the gap, not texts later.

He also conflated the sciences of textual criticism of the Bible with ‘Ilm al Rasm al Mushaf in bringing up the Topkapi codex and the Sana’a manuscripts. I chose not to respond to that fallacious tu quoque argument for several reasons. Namely my paper on the Qur’an covers those fraudulent claims clearly, and he’s not educated in the science of ‘Ilm al Rasm al Mushaf. The last time he challenged me on these topics was via an email list that contained scholars both Muslim and Christian. Dr. White did not respond to my arguments then and I duly received plaudits from our scholarly Muslim colleagues for the well referenced arguments I put forward.

If Dr. White is serious about having an academic discussion on these issues, I’m fully willing, but as it stands, he prefers not to do so. In the meantime I’ll continue studying both sciences and producing works on textual criticism under the guidance of known textual criticis, for whom I’m thankful of for their educating of me in this field

It is unfortunate that some (in particular only a single person) Muslims would agree with James’ video despite my video having pointed out James’ ignorance of basic textual and higher critical studies. Furthermore, the fact that some Muslims and Christians do not grasp the fact that there is an intermediate text between the autographic and/ or archetypal text before P66 is simply astounding, given that Dr. Ehrman has consistently taught that the papyri we have today are based on copies of copies of copies of copies.

Please note that I am posting this from the hospital receiving emergency treatment:

Categories: Islam

5 replies

  1. May Allah heal you & bless you, brother Ijaz.
    Keep up the good works and do your best with pure intention for Allah alone.
    The perfection is only for Allah.

    Also, don’t be upset from your brothers in Islam. The true brotherhood is based on a sincere advise.
    I’m not convinced by James,especially John9:38.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Abdullah wrote on post titled “James White demolishes textual corruption claims by Ijaz ”

      “Even Ijaz in his response couldn’t see James’ point about it.”

      My response: Clearly he Ijaz does not understand. Thanks for pointing out the obvious.


  2. Great Response from Ijaz, very concise, polite and factual. I think he is asking some legitimate scholarly questions about the texts at hand. It seems that he has done his homework and is basing his position on factual evidence. Its not like he is coming out of nowhere here.

    I think his point that “there is an intermediate text between the autographic and/ or archetypal text before P66” is a central fact that we should keep in mind, especially given that “Dr. Ehrman has consistently taught that the papyri we have today are based on copies of copies of copies of copies.” Therefore, I also agree with Ijaz that James White used an anachronistic argument, in copy pasting the later text into the earlier P66, without knowing what the original autograph text (which is lost) says. Whites approach just doesn’t seem like good scholarship to me, and his discussion of variants seems like a distraction from the main issue.

    The argument about the use of the word “Proscunio” in john supporting the likely insertion of John 9:38, is very interesting. Also the dating of P66 being closer to Siniaticus and later than P75 is interesting as well.

    I think that Whites response and accusation of “mind reading” simply highlights the displeasure of some Christians in regard to Muslims engaging in the science of Higher Criticism, and Biblical textual studies. If White was really interested in the scholarly aspect surrounding the issue, he would have done the fair and respectful thing and contacted Ijaz to get some clarification on his position before jumping the gun and going on the polemical offensive. (Admittedly, it would have helped if Ijaz more fully articulated his position in the first place, but at the same time he couldn’t have known Whites criticisms beforehand, since he is not a mind reader!!)

    I think that as Muslims we should assist any of our brothers in Islam who are making a serious academic effort to engage in Biblical textual studies by giving them the benefit of the doubt and by providing advice, encouragement, support as needed. Then short of a scholarly peer review, we should then allow the consensus of the scholarly community to judge whether or not the thesis is correct or incorrect.

    I pray that Allah the mercy of Allah will intercede on behalf of brother Ijaz and bring Shifa’ and a quick recovery, so that he can continue his work and efforts on behalf of the Muslim community. We thank him and appreciate his many years of service. Jazakallahu Khair.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Also, thanks to Paul Williams for giving his well intentioned advice to brother Ijaz, and also for posting the response from Ijaz on bloggingtheology!! It is always good to hear from both sides of the question.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I don’t understand what the commotion is about.

    If John 9:38 in today’s Bible contains this narrative about the blind man worshipping Jesus and if that was not in 9:38, then it is easily verifiable by simply checking the Sinaiticus codex. Is that codex online somewhere?

    Let’s check it out….if that is not in there, then is that not a big deal? Indeed it is, since the insertion is not just any random word but a word that has implications that Trinitarians have been using.

    Regarding John 20:28, we simply have to measure the number of letters of the lacuna. And then see how many Koine Greek words can fit in there or how many permutations of two words can fit in there or thee words, etc as long as the words can be reasonable in terms of the context.

    If there are 10,000 possibilities and if “my God” is only 1 out of 10,000 possibilities, then the probability of “my God” being the correct words are 0.01%…in other words, very, very, tiny.

    So John 20:28 would be a big deal also.

    I don’t see what is rocket science about all this.

    I was curious if Bart Ehrman knew this. But if he doesn’t that does not mean what Ijaz found is false.

    Ehrman is very scholarly and he has deep knowledge of this issue but it is not surprising if he does not the higher criticism of every verse.

    So let’s not minimize Ijaz’s findings. Great job Ijaz. Mashallah. Let’s spend the energy to verify all this which would we very easy to do.

    Liked by 3 people

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