Jesus, the Law, and a “New” Covenant (Professor Bart D. Ehrman)

Fascinating new lecture by Professor Bart D. Ehrman.

Professor Bart Ehrman was the Keynote speaker at the Department of Near Eastern Studies presented a Mendenhall Symposium at the University of Michigan – Law, Society, and Religion on October 6, 2016, with the subject title: Jesus, the Law, and a “New” Covenant.

Jesus of Nazareth was a Torah-observant Jewish teacher whose followers, after his death, came to adopt a variety of attitudes toward the Law of Moses. Some of them insisted on strict observance; others argued that only parts of the Law needed to be observed; and yet others claimed that Law had never been part of God’s plan. These early Christian groups did, however, agree on one point: Jesus’ own words were to form the basis for his followers’ ethical and communal lives.

Professor Ehrman discuss the terms (covenant and law) and indicate why they are so important.   He explains a couple of aspects that made Judaism distinct in the Roman world, as, in fact, both these terms figure prominently in their distinctiveness.

In the time of Jesus, when the vast majority of everyone in the Roman Empire was “pagan” – that is “polytheist” – Jews stood out, obviously, as different.  Everyone else understood that there were lots of gods, lots and lots of gods, thousands of gods.  These gods deserved to be worshiped.   Jews, on the other hand, maintained that for them, at least, there was only one God.   Probably most Jews (it’s hard to know for sure) thought the pagan gods simply didn’t exist but were the figment of popular imagination.  There was in fact just one, the Creator of all things.  Some Jews, though, thought the other gods existed.  They simply were not to be worshiped by Jews.

The first position, that there is in fact only one God, no others, is what I would call monotheism.  The other position, that only one of the many gods is to be worshiped, could be called monolatry (the worship of only one God).  Closely connected to this latter view is the concept of henotheism: that’s the view that there are numerous gods, but only one of them is supreme and worthy of complete devotion.

So some Jews in Jesus’ day were monotheists; some were henotheists; and almost all were monolatrists.

In addition to thinking/believing there is only one God to be worshiped – their own God, the one who created the world and made Israel his people – Jews in Jesus’ time maintained that when God made them his people, back in the times described in the Torah (the five books of Moses that begin the Hebrew Bible), he made a “covenant” with them.  A covenant is a kind of official agreement, a pact, a peace treaty, often between a more powerful nation and a weaker subdued one.

Covenants were common features of the political landscape in antiquity.  The powerful nation would protect and defend the weaker one in exchange for absolute devotion (and possibly tribute).   Jews believed that God had made a covenant with Israel.  He would be their God to protect and defend them, if they would be completely committed to him, doing what he commanded of them.  It was a good arrangement on both sides.

What God commanded of his people could be found in the law.   The “law” was what was given to Moses on Mount Sinai, as embodied, now, in the books of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy.   The law of Moses in its broadest terms involves two kinds of instructions: some are about how to worship God and others are about how to live together in community.  Included in the Law, of course, are the Ten Commandments.  But that is just the beginning.   There are, as it turns out, 613 commandments altogether.

These according to Ehrman, as a rule, are not particularly onerous laws – not nearly as detailed, complex, and difficult as, say, the laws for those living in America.   The Law of Moses was given by God to provide guidance for his people about how they were to conduct themselves in their worship of him and in their social lives together.  The law was almost never seen as a huge burden.  It was a great good, given by the God over all, helping his people know how to worship and live.

 


Bart D. Ehrman is the James A. Gray Distinguished Professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He came to UNC in 1988, after four years of teaching at Rutgers University. At UNC he has served as both the Director of Graduate Studies and the Chair of the Department of Religious Studies. A graduate of Wheaton College (Illinois), Professor Ehrman received both his Masters of Divinity and Ph.D. from Princeton Theological Seminary, where his 1985 doctoral dissertation was awarded magna cum laude.



Categories: Bart Ehrman, Biblical scholarship

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66 replies

  1. “What God commanded of his people could be found in the law. The “law” was what was given to Moses on Mount Sinai, as embodied, now, in the books of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. The law of Moses in its broadest terms involves two kinds of instructions: some are about how to worship God and others are about how to live together in community. Included in the Law, of course, are the Ten Commandments. But that is just the beginning. There are, as it turns out, 613 commandments altogether.”

    wonder if the author of Deuteronomy knew of the 613? i am sure he knew there were more than 10, but 613?

    and isn’t it common sense to say that every commandment of god he narrates in Deuteronomy , he will link it to the 10 mentioned earlier?

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  2. Amazing! I can listen to this man for hours. I mean he is really skillful presenting his ideas. I wish a debate between him and Dr Shabir Ally.

    ====================
    My personal thoughts : I think Islam has gotten it right from the beginning, and I will elaborate with the following points

    1) I believe Dr Ehrman touched the core of this topic when he said ” Jesus has never broken the Sabbath, but he had another (interpretation) of what Sabbath observance means ”

    2) Christians got it wrong in many areas when they put their noses in a teaching not meant to be for those who are not Israelites in the first place, so often they are labeled in Quran as (astray).

    3) In Quran, it’s very clear that Jesus came to (confirm) the Torah. Yet it’s combined with affirming the (spiritual) dimension behind the law. In fact, Quran labeled the Torah as (Mercy), and that by itself does not mean or has anything to do with Jesus being (abolishing the law). Also, we can conclude that Jesus’ Injeel was restating the torah with that dimension which might’ve been presented as (parables). Personally, I think the source of Matthew’s gospel called (M) could be the closest to what the true Injeel was. Therefore, I think Jesus probably condemned those who observed the law just for show off, for example.

    4) In Islam, it has never been a controversial issue between the matter of HEART & observance the law. Islam presents them as dual matter. However, in light of this hadith the prophet ﷺ said which is
    “You would tread the same path as was trodden by those before you inch by inch and step by step so much so that if they had entered into the hole of the lizard, you would follow them in this also. We said: Allah’s Messenger, do you mean Jews and Christians (by your words)” those before you”? He said: Who else (than those two religious groups)? “, some sub sects in Islam got it wrong. For example, some subsect in Sufism say that they no longer need to observe the Islamic law and virtual things since they think that they reached a high position of pureness with their hearts. However, of course this is a blasphemy in Islam, so many scholars of Islam such as Ibn Taymiyyah and his student Ibn Al Qayyem responded with different books for those astray people. On the other hand, there were another sect called Haruryyah – no longer exist- who thought once you make a major sin such as adultery, you would be out of Islam. However, Islam stands in the middle. Quran translations (Surah 2:143)
    ((Thus, have We made of you an Ummat justly balanced, that ye might be witnesses over the nations, and the Messenger a witness over yourselves…..the verse)).

    Finally : Ibn Al Qayyem said (( It’s been said that Allah has sent down more 100 books. Their main message has been condensed in four of them which are Torah, Zabur(Psalms),Injeel, and Quran. The main message of these four has been condensed in Quran. The main message of Quran has been condensed in Surah Al Fatiha. and lastly the main message of Surat Al Fatiha has been condensed in this verse
    ” Thee we worship and from thee we seek help “. )).
    As you can see this verse is dual having the law ( Thee we worship) & the spiritual matter ( Thee we seek help )

    And Allah knows the best.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. ” Jesus has never broken the Sabbath, but he had another (interpretation) of what Sabbath observance means ”

    it is my understanding that no where does the torah say that the messiah will say he is “lord of the sabbath”

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  4. I see Sheik Erman has found his way back into your good graces.

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  5. “That is really a cursed cross to carry,
    So discard it, do not kiss it!
    The Lord was abused on it, and you adore it?
    So it is clear that you are one of His enemies!
    If you extol it because it carried the Lord of the Worlds,
    Why don’t you prostrate yourself and worship graves,
    Since the grave contained your god in it?

    So Christ-worshipper, open your eyes,
    This is what the matter is all about.”

    To some, a cross represents the love He has for people. It is a symbol. Some, like professional athletes, use it to communicate their commitment to Him to those watching. People are free to revere it or not. Some within the church refuse to allow paintings of Christ to be hung up for fear people will worship the image and not Christ.

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    • “To some, a cross represents the love He has for people”

      when the galatians were bewitched paul had to do a stage play to convince them.

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  6. I think Prof. Mark Crossley has a similar interpretation in that Jesus had a different interpretation of the law

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    • In other words , Jesus brought an updated set of sharia of his own.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Eric

      Sharia is not established nor thoroughly outlined by allah in the quran – sharia is merely human exegesis and therefore is a human construction.

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    • shari’ah is the divine law as found in the Quran and sunnah. It is eternal, unchanging. Fiqh is the methodology for deriving rulings from these sources and is a human enterprise and changes according to circumstance and context.

      Liked by 3 people

    • Sharia is not human creation it is derived from the hadiths of Prophet Muhammad, the only way through which the holy Qur’an is interpreted and implemented. Unlike present day gospels, we can distinguish the authenticity of hadiths using the methods that Muslim scholars developed that is the isnad (Arabic, ‘support’), or the chain of transmitters through which a scholar traced the matn, or text, of a hadith back to the Prophet himself. The isnad was a documentation of a hadith which provides evidence that it had actually come from the Prophet himself. Our early scholars say الإِسْنَادُ مِنَ الدِّينِ وَلَوْلاَ الإِسْنَادُ لَقَالَ مَنْ شَاءَ مَا شَاءَ ‘The isnad is part of the religion – if not for the isnad, whoever wanted could say whatever they wanted.’

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    • Paul

      Do you have evidence that sharia is an eternal law? Or that the sunnah is eternal? How do justify that claim when the sunnah only came into existence sometime after the mid-7th century?

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    • It is Muslim belief that laws and rulings found in the Quran and Sunnah are from God Himself in his final revelation to mankind. The teaching of Jesus in the first century required his followers to obey the Jewish law. I assume you do not follow Jesus in this respect?

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    • That is not evidence – that’s faith. Where in the quran is sharia clearly, and thoroughly revealed by allah? And where is your evidence that sharia is eternal?

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    • so you are asking a broader question: the proofs that Islam is true.

      We need to go back to basics. All else flows from this.

      Islam proclaims that God is one. Do you agree?

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    • No. My question is pretty clear – where is your proof that sharia is eternal? And why didn’t allah reveal the specific laws and regulations of sharia in the quran?

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    • So you don’t agree that God is One?

      Ah we need to sort this out first. Because everything else comes from this premise.

      Mark 12

      ‘One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?”

      “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.”

      If God was three Jesus would have corrected the man and spoken of a trinity of divinities. Jesus affirmed the unitarian creed of Israel.

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    • Paul

      What on earth are you talking about?

      My question is really quote straightforward and simple – where is your evidence that sharia is eternal? Simple – where is your evidence? Why are these eternal laws not outlined in detail in the eternal book?

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    • King, you pose a wrong question. To be a muslim is to obey the Qur’an and the authentic hadith.

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    • Can you show me where in the quran it says to obey the authentic hadith?

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    • With the name of Allah the Gracious the Merciful

      { قُلْ هَذِهِ سَبِيلِي أَدْعُو إِلَى اللهِ عَلَى بَصِيرَةٍ أَنَا وَمَنِ اتَّبَعَنِي وَسُبْحَانَ اللهِ وَمَا أَنَا مِنَ الْمُشْرِكِينَ }

      Say, “This is my (Muhammad’s) way; I invite to Allah with insight, I and those who follow me. And exalted is Allah ; and I am not of those who associate others with Him.” (Q Yusuf : 108)

       

      قُلْ إِنْ كُنْتُمْ تُحِبُّونَ اللَّهَ فَاتَّبِعُونِي يُحْبِبْكُمُ اللَّهُ وَيَغْفِرْ لَكُمْ ذُنُوبَكُمْ وَاللَّهُ غَفُورٌ رَحِيمٌ }

      “Say, [O Muhammad], “If you should love Allah , then follow me (Muhammad), [so] Allah will love you and forgive you your sins. And Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.””(Q Al-Imran: 31)

      { وَمَا آتَاكُمُ الرَّسُولُ فَخُذُوهُ وَمَا نَهَاكُمْ عَنْهُ فَانْتَهُوا وَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ إِنَّ اللَّهَ شَدِيدُ الْعِقَابِ }

      And whatever the Messenger has given you – take; and what he has forbidden you – refrain from. And fear Allah ; indeed, Allah is severe in penalty.” (Q Al Hasyr:7)

      { لَقَدْ كَانَ لَكُمْ فِي رَسُولِ اللَّهِ أُسْوَةٌ حَسَنَةٌ لِمَنْ كَانَ يَرْجُو اللَّهَ وَالْيَوْمَ الْآخِرَ وَذَكَرَ اللَّهَ كَثِيرًا }

      “There has certainly been for you in the Messenger of Allah (Muhammad) an excellent pattern for anyone whose hope is in Allah and the Last Day and [who] remembers Allah often.” (Q Al Ahzab :21)

      { يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آَمَنُوا أَطِيعُوا اللَّهَ وَأَطِيعُوا الرَّسُولَ وَأُولِي الْأَمْرِ مِنْكُمْ فَإِنْ تَنَازَعْتُمْ فِي شَيْءٍ فَرُدُّوهُ إِلَى اللَّهِ وَالرَّسُولِ إِنْ كُنْتُمْ تُؤْمِنُونَ بِاللَّهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الْآخِرِ ذَلِكَ خَيْرٌ وَأَحْسَنُ تَأْوِيلًا}

      “O you who have believed, obey Allah and obey the Messenger (Muhammad) and those in authority among you. And if you disagree over anything, refer it to Allah and the Messenger (Muhammad), if you should believe in Allah and the Last Day. That is the best [way] and best in result.” (Q An Nisaa’: 59)

      { وَاتَّبِعُوهُ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَهْتَدُونَ }

      ..and follow him (Muhammad) that you may be guided. (Q Al A’raaf :158)

      Liked by 1 person

    • Eric

      Where is the evidence that those quotes from the quran are referring to the hadith collections? You are making a circular argument.

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    • Of course they are referring to the hadith of the Prophet. The very term itself refer to various reports describing the words, actions, or habits of  prophet Muhammad noone else. Our earliest scholars had memorised and  verified each reports, and hence are sahih. Hadith classification is a dedicated knowledge in Islam.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Eric bin Kisam

      “Of course they are referring to the hadith of the Prophet. The very term itself refer to various reports describing the words, actions, or habits of prophet Muhammad noone else. Our earliest scholars had memorised and verified each reports, and hence are sahih. Hadith classification is a dedicated knowledge in Islam.”

      First of all, Eric, re-read what you quoted.

      This is my (Muhammad’s) way; I invite to Allah with insight
      If you should love Allah , then follow me (Muhammad)

      In these two sentences, it is mohammed (or whoever wrote the quran) and not allah speaking. So no sign of allah telling muslims to follow mohammed’s example.

      Most problematically for you is that mohammed’s name is inserted, and not in the original arabic text. The texts commands muslims to follow the messenger – not any hadith and mohammed’s name is only inserted by redactors.

      Secondly, the quran tells muslims to follow the messenger, not a collection of books written much later.

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    • God instructed prophet Muhammad to say what God wanted to say. God put HIS words into the mouth of the prophet not the prophet words. It is speaking in first person , that’s why the Qur’an really is God’s revealtion unlike the bible stories.

      Btw do you read Quranic Arabic? Do you posses recognized qualificaton in Quranic exegesis? Are you an expert in Arabic? Noone in mastery in Arabic language not even those Arabs contempary to the prophet who were at the peak of eloquent of Arabic ever disputed the fact that it is Prophet Muhammad the verse refer to. Cite me any authority in Arabic or Quranic exegesis who think otherwise.

      Also following the messenger can only be made possible for later generation muslims (like me) ONLY by referring to hadith collection collected by earliest muslims. Earliest muslims themselves didnot need the hadiths because they were living by the prophet himself. They saw and heard what the prophet told them how to live in accordance to the sharia.

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    • Eric

      Actually, no. The words that mohammed supposedly spoke were put there – if we accept the narrative – by jibril, not allah. Allah cannot enter creation himself and put anything anywhere.

      “Also following the messenger can only be made possible for later generation muslims (like me) ONLY by referring to hadith collection collected by earliest muslims.”

      Then that is a huge problem for muslims. You have given no good reasons to believe that the hadith that you follow is what the quran is referring to when it says to follow the example of the messenger.

      You keep making the mistake of circular reasoning by referring to the hadith to give credibility to the hadith. The quran makes no mention of bukhari or any other hadith.

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    • Archangel Gabriel is only the *messenger* of God that what his job desc. He conveyed the message from God to prophet Muhammad. I am amazed how you seems unable to grasp this not so difficult monotheistic concept. But if you cling to trinitarianism I cant help you much.

      Regarding the hadith we have plenty of good reason that it is the what the Qur’an is referring to. The hadith collection have gone through rigorous verification method which if we apply this to your bible it will so weak that it can be dismissed as nothing more than hearsay.

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    • Eric

      You’ve moved the goalposts.

      First you say that allah put words in mohammed’s mouth, now you say, that it wasn’t actually allah but a messenger. In fact, this is a bigger problem – why shouldn’t I presume that the “messenger” the quran talks about is jibril?

      As for the hadith, you keep using them as a source to give credibility to them – that is completely irrational and circular. The entire issue would be settled if you could show me where in the quran it says explicitly to follow bukhari, muslim, or any of the other hadiths?

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    • Are you really Radical moderate? Let’s take it slow then we know your handicap.

      God send Archangel Gabriel, He brought message from God, God’s utterance. Gabriel then conveyed this utterance to prophet Muhammad (in other occasion this God’s utterance was imprinted in prophet Muhammad mind without Gabriel appearance). Prophet Muhammad convey to this very utterance God to people. So it was God utterance.

      Regarding the hadiths whoever collection they came from, if authentic, it must refer to the action and deeds of the Prophet Muhammad the Qur’an told us to obey.

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    • Eric

      What do you mean “am I a radical moderate” and why the rudeness?

      You are so confused that you have committed shirk by claiming an equality between jibril’s utterances and allah’s.

      Once again, you have argued yourself into a neat little circle – you know it is god’s word because it is god’s word, and hadith are authentic because the hadith says they are authentic.

      Again, you have completely failed to provide any reasonable evidence that the quran in any way commands muslims to follow the hadith. Instead of throwing insults at me, why don’t you show me where in the quran it tells people to follow a set of books written decades after mohammed died?

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    • So you are not “radicak moderate” aka Robert Wells? sorry if Im mistaken you by this guy.

      I don’t understand the rest of your comment.

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  7. @Klng

    There are at least 50 verses where Allah commands believers to obey him and his messenger. One example

    https://quran.com/4:59

    Jesus pbuh also asked his followers to do the same (Matthew: 5)

    Moses pbuh also asked his followers to follow God’s law . 10 commandments are part of he God’s law. This is what is known as shariah. The Arabic word shariah has many meanings

    One of the meaning comes from the word “sha ra aa” which means “to legislate”. “Shaa-rey” means legislator ( Allah and messnegers are shaarey). The noun “shariah” is from this root word meaning legislation.

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    • Rational

      Where are the specific laws given in detail? The OT gives huge swathes of detailed laws – the quran does not. That means that sharia is a human exegesis and not divine nor eternal.

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  8. @Klng
    What do you mean by detail? For example read Surah 17 and it gives very important instruction what many scholars say “15 commandments of Quran”.

    As for specifics, while Quran is some places contains specifics, it is Sunnah that contains the details in general which is essentially tafseer of Quran. That is the role of prophet. He explains the religion to his people.

    Hope this helps. If you like detail you can see in for example in this book

    https://www.amazon.com/Shariah-Law-Mohammad-Hashim-Kamali/dp/1851685650

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    • Rational

      The torah contains over 600 laws revealed directly by god to Moses. These are specific directives.

      Sharia law – the supposed eternal law of allah – is mostly found in the hadith, not in the revelation.

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  9. Salam Eric,

    Most of those verses that tell the people to obey the Prophet are in the context of difficult situations such as when they are asked to migrate from Makkah to Madina on foot hundreds of km across the hot desert or to be willing to fight the enemy Makkans and enemy pagan tribes trying to destroy them and to donate some of their very little resources to the struggle against the Makkan and pagan tribes.

    The verses when read in context are less about following the eating habit or drinking habits or sleeping habits of the Prophet (pub) or to wear the right foot before the left foot.

    I say less and not that I am discounting that we should follow the Prophet in these matters.

    But Surah 2, verse 282 seriously questions the reliability of the authentic hadith for they were not written down (immediately) and some 95% of them do not have two witnesses as 2(282) demands. 2(282) is in the context of commercial exchanges but setting a law that can have have large consequences on large numbers of people for untold generations is more important than the sale of a chicken or a goat.

    We should follow the hadith but only if it is in total agreement with not just the letter but also in full agreement with the full spirit of the Qur’an…unfortunately the Qur’an has lost its Furqan status amongst many Muslims, even among some Muslim scholars due to undue focus on tradition rather than having appropriate fear of the word of God Himself.

    wasalam wa rahmatullah wa barakatu

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    • Wa alaykum Salaam

      Thank you for your comment. I believe accepting the sunnah and hadiths of the Prophet as an essential source of sharia is uncontested in the opinion of our earliest scholars. So my lean toward understanding the sharia is in accordance to the following rank set by early muslims. 1) the Quran and reliable hadiths, 2) the consensus of scholars, 3) Companion opinions, and 4) analogical reasoning based on the Quran and Sunna. Although prophet Muhammad’s hadiths is never ontologically equal to the word of God, early scholar such as Yahya b. Abi Kathir (d. 129/747) has testified that السنة قاضية على القرآن، وليس القرآن بقاض على السنة ‘The Sunna came to rule over the Quran, it is not the Quran that rules over the Sunna.’

      Liked by 1 person

    • This comment has a lot of misinformations which reflects the irony between it and your nickname.

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  10. Salam again brother Eric,

    “Although prophet Muhammad’s hadiths is never ontologically equal to the word of God, early scholar such as Yahya b. Abi Kathir (d. 129/747) has testified that السنة قاضية على القرآن، وليس القرآن بقاض على السنة ‘The Sunna came to rule over the Quran, it is not the Quran that rules over the Sunna.’”

    Here is the deep epistemological crisis….the hadith is not equal to the Qur’an yet rules over it according to many traditional and salafi Muslim scholars.

    When Muslims realize that heresay cannot rule over God’s words, blessings will increase and the current sectarian wickedness that is fueled in part by heresay will be vastly diminished.

    Allah knows best.

    wasalam alaykum wa rahmatullah wa barakatuhu

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  11. In my comment a minute ago, I forgot to add that it is contested that the earliest Muslim scholars thought the way regarding hadith as it became centuries later.

    Al Shafi was arguing against Muslim scholars of his day who were Mutazilites who were skeptical of hadith.

    Professor Aisha Musa has a book on in this.

    In addition, the 4 caliphs did not undertake a system to preserve the hadith. In fact, according to the work of Muslim scholars, the first two scholars took steps against the hadith. Abu Bakr destroyed his collection of 500 hadiths.

    And Umar, gathered hadith from as many people as he can and burned them all as recounted by Al Khatib Al Baghdadi who is regarded as among the greatest scholars of hadith and the hadith sciences. Al Baghdadi is recognized as being one of the key people who helped fortify the “science of the hadith” which is better characterized as the discipline of hadith.

    I do not agree with this action of Umar for I wish that he did not do that and I wish that those writings would have been extant. Allah knows best.

    The most important person who decided to not commission a systematic endeavor to preserve the hadith for generations to come (although he had many years to do so) is the Prophet of God, Muhammad Ibn Abdullah, may Allah bless him and reward him greatly and give him peace. Ameen.

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    • I think you have no idea what you’re talking about.

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    • With the name of Allah the Gracious the Merciful

      Wa alaykum Salam  and thank you for your comment .

      I understand your point , I have gone through the same skepticism before but if think more deeply about it there is wisdom in the saying of that early scholar.  I think we may agree that  out Prophet Muhammad is our ultimate teacher and interpreter of  the revelation he delivered. And our holy book repeatedly instructs Muslims to ‘Obey God and His prophet’  أَطِيعُوا اللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ. Without his prophetic traditions and rulings (ahkam) which include legal, ritual, and theological statements from him  I doubt we can never fully live the way God want us to live

      I am aware of of the nuances in accepting his prophetic traditions some can lead to bitter sectarianism a few even reject it altogether solely relying on their rational faculty. I dont have the confidence to take that route  and I still trust the position of the majority our those who have authority in Islam from the classical period to modern times that most of our hadith corpus are trustworthy.

      I believe ever since the time of our prophet Muhammad, his companions had been faithfully and carefully collecting  the words and deeds of the prophet with the utmost interest.  They were memorizing, and writing down hadiths. Pious people like  Abu Hurayra (d. 58/678), ‘Abdallah b. ‘Umar, the son of ‘Umar b. al-Khattab, Ibn ‘Abbas (d. 68/686–8), Anas b.Malik even prophet wife Aisha radhiallaha. Not to mention the hadith criticism (the musnad era) that our post companions  early scholars had developed in order to  validate hadiths in circulations from from forgery.

      Needless the hadith corpus  was not set down in writing at such an early date like the Qur’an however the hadiths were also memorised  like the Qur’an, I have seen hadith master myself. this fact along with  isnad criticism our learly muslim scholars had developed I have no option but to respect and follow their opinion to trust the textual authenticity most of the hadiths we have now and avoid to rely on my own personal judgement.  I believe that they are the ones who are accountable later in the hereafter.

      May Allah guides us all

      Like

    • Eric

      “And our holy book repeatedly instructs Muslims to ‘Obey God and His prophet’ أَطِيعُوا اللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ. ”

      But the quran doesn’t tell you how to do this – it provides very few examples of mohammed’s exemplary behaviour, and gives no indication of where to look for these examples.

      Like

    • Obviously we look for prophet Muhammad examples from Prophet Muhammad himself (not from anonymous sources). A tradition of an unbroken chain (isnad) of passing through knowledge carried by the trustworthy transmitters from every generations extending back to the Prophet himself.

      Like

  12. “Although prophet Muhammad’s hadiths is never ontologically equal to the word of God, early scholar such as Yahya b. Abi Kathir (d. 129/747) has testified that السنة قاضية على القرآن، وليس القرآن بقاض على السنة ‘The Sunna came to rule over the Quran, it is not the Quran that rules over the Sunna.’ ”

    Wow . . . that is a very significant quote.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, Ken, this is a significant and disturbing quote. I think the brother is sincere but this is incorrect approach according to the Qur’an.

      Although, it is significant, large numbers of Muslims including a large proportion of Muslim scholars will not agree with that quote.

      And regardless, it is not as radical as the Trinitarian, vicarious atonement, anti-Torah laws approach of today’s Trinitarian Christians which is opposite of what Jesus, peace by upon him, taught.

      Like

    • “the Law is holy, good, and righteous” – Romans 7:12. All of the law (Torah) was fulfilled in Christ (Matthew 5:17-20), and the moral law is still in effect today. the sacrificial system of the temple and food laws, feasts, and civil laws for Israel were abrogated, but the moral law is all just and good and confirmed by NT – Romans 7:12; 13:9-14. The law shows us we are sinners and can never perfectly obey the law – Matthew 5:21-30; Mark 7:20-23 – the roots of sin and disobedience to the law are in the heart and thoughts and motives. The preaching of the law is meant to convict us that we are sinners and in need of a Savior – Galatians chapter 3:19-24.

      Jesus Himself established the basis for the doctrine of the Trinity – Matthew 28:19; only some of the Torah was abrogated, Jesus Himself did in Mark 7:19 – “by saying this, He declared all foods clean”; and Jesus Himself taught vicarious atonement – Mark 10:45; Matthew 20:28; Matthew 26:28 – so you are wrong – Jesus taught all those things that your book comes along 600 years later and what your theology denies. The Jesus of the Qur’an is not the true Jesus of Nazareth who is testified by all 27 books of the NT, written from around 45 AD to 96 AD, most were written before 70 AD, long before Qur’an came 600 years later and is just going on hearsay and conjecture, being unlearned and illiterate and garbling and making up the message from his own human mind.

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  13. we know for a fact that jesus according to mark said that the rich man “lacked ONE thing”

    this man did not want to give cash to his neighbours and live in card board box

    if you give up all your money what have you got other than suffering?

    so jesus said to him give up your money and live on the streets

    i have never seen christians living in card board box /on the street

    i see them wearing a cross and pretending that they are persecuted and suffering.

    the thing is no christian today can say that he is suffering when he is protected by the law of the land

    paul would never say “you lack one thing” like jesus said to the rich man

    “take up the cross” simply means that once you empty your pockets u gonna suffer
    but you need to keep all the torah rituals and laws.

    god knows how with empty pocket

    the only thing keeping the man from entering heaven was DISOBEDIENCE to the torah

    jesus is clearly secondary here

    jesus clearly said torah was GREATER than him LOL

    had that guy given up his cash he would have gone to heaven

    paul is different, he thought humans lacked many things. contrast to jesus who said “you lack ONE THING …”

    Liked by 1 person

  14. That has been refuted here, along with other wrong interpretations of Mark 10, because of the continuation of the historical narrative and Jesus’ teaching in 10:23-27

    https://apologeticsandagape.wordpress.com/2013/09/02/no-muslim-can-deal-with-mark-1023-27/

    Like

    • are you the same pagan who tried to find johns christological lamb in the near sacrifice of abrahams son?

      http://quranandbible.blogspot.co.uk/

      ?

      Like

    • You have the wrong reference, and I am not a “pagan”, since Christianity is about the one true Creator God, who has always existed in eternity past as the Father, the Son/the Word (Kalimat allah کلمه الله ) (John 1:1-5, 1:14; Philippians 2:5-8) and the Holy Spirit.

      https://apologeticsandagape.wordpress.com/2016/10/21/so-why-did-allah-substitute-an-innocent-animal-in-the-place-of-abrahams-son/

      Like

    • “one true Creator God, who has always existed in eternity past as the Father, the Son/the Word (Kalimat allah کلمه الله ) (John 1:1-5, 1:14; Philippians 2:5-8) and the Holy Spirit.”

      are you the pagan who tried to read johns christological lamb in abrahams sacrificial ritual?

      http://quranandbible.blogspot.co.uk/2016/05/does-islam-teach-substitutionary.html

      Like

    • “23 Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!”

      24 The disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said again, “Children, how hard it is[a] to enter the kingdom of God! 25 It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”

      26 The disciples were even more amazed, and said to each other, “Who then can be saved?”

      27 Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.”

      but he said earlier no one is good but god alone.

      you tell me why a human sacrificial ritual would be a requirement when all things are possible with god?

      Like

    • Read the whole article I wrote; it fully explains everything and refutes what you say, and refutes what P. Williams keeps saying . I have to go and do other work now.

      Like

    • “You have the wrong reference, and I am not a “pagan”, since Christianity is about the one true Creator God, who has always existed in eternity past as the Father, the Son/the Word (Kalimat allah کلمه الله ) (John 1:1-5, 1:14; Philippians 2:5-8) and the Holy Spirit.”

      how about hikmatullah
      or yadullah

      or wisdom of yhwh? or hand and arm of yhwh

      are these separate persons too?

      Liked by 1 person

    • “Read the whole article I wrote; it fully explains everything and refutes what you say, and refutes what P. Williams keeps saying . I have to go and do other work now.”

      if ALL things are possible for god , then why is his salvation take the embodiment of human jew?
      clearly his salvation is limited and not everything is possible for god.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Ehrman, as I’ve said, makes countless errors of various kinds. “Virtually all of the problems with what I’ve been calling forgeries can be solved if secretaries were heavily involved in the composition of the early Christian writings.” page 134.

    One reason Ehrman believes some of Paul’s letters were forged is that he could not afford secretaries who could do more than take dictation. That is ridiculous. There is no evidence that proves just because Paul was not super wealthy that he didn’t use secretaries capable of editing. This is the type of assumption, which when added to other assumptions, can create a solid case for nothing other than a preconceived bias.

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    • Your comment is off topic but my understanding is Ehrman as one who has access to NT manuscripts has found evidences that there were places the text were changed or in err because the scribes worked as as authors rather than copyists. They injected their own views occasionally during their reproduction of their texts.

      Liked by 1 person

    • When discussing Ehrman’s views on scripture, the fact that his work contains numerous errors is not only relevant, it is vital, IMO. All too often he’s given a free pass; many consider what he promotes to be the final word on all things pertaining to the authenticity of Christianity.

      If his scholarship represents a particular perspective based on considerable research, shouldn’t flaws in his reasoning, in his omissions, commissions, and in his conclusions be subjected to public scrutiny?

      Some point out that the New Testament is filled with hundreds of thousands of errors. What does that mean? On page 13 of Misquoting Jesus by Bart Ehrman, “LaHaye” is spelled incorrectly. He spells the name, “LeHaye.” One hundred copies were sold the first three months it was available. Should we say that his book contains one hundred thousand mistakes?

      The business of rightly dividing the New Testament is not for the faint of heart. A war is brewing. Let the truth win, wherever that may lead.

      Like

    • Error. His book sold 100,000 copies in the first 3 months, not 100.

      “Some manuscript witnesses record Jesus as speaking of His own prophetic ignorance in Matthew 24:36 (“But as for that day and hour no one knows it—neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son—except the Father alone”), but others lack the words “nor the Son.” Whether “nor the Son” is authentic is disputed,3 but the wording in the parallel passage on the Olivet Discourse in Mark 13:32 (“But as for that day or hour no one knows it—neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son—except the Father”), is not disputed. There can be no doubt that Jesus spoke of His own prophetic ignorance; consequently, what doctrinal issues are really at stake here? One simply cannot maintain that the wording in Matthew 24:36 changes one’s fundamental theological convictions about Jesus, since the same sentiment is found in Mark 13:32.
      Not once in Misquoting Jesus does Ehrman mention Mark 13:32, even though at least five times he explicitly discusses Matthew 24:36 and how its wording changes our basic view of Jesus. In reality, this verse doesn’t even change our basic understanding of Matthew’s view of Jesus. Even if Matthew 24:36 originally lacked “nor the Son,” the fact that the Father alone has this knowledge (the “alone” is found only in Matthew 24:36) certainly implies the Son’s ignorance, but Ehrman does not mention this important detail.”

      Daniel B. Wallace

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  16. “Another problem has to do with the nature of the “letters” involved. Most letters in the Greco-Roman world were very short and to the point. They were one page or less. They had very limited content. Most commonly the author would say who he was, indicate to whom he was writing, offer a brief thanks to the gods for the recipient, indicate his information or his request, and then sign off. Bam-bam-bam and done.

    The reason this is a “problem” is that the letters of early Christianity that we are concerned about— the letter to the Ephesians, for example, or l Peter— are not like that at all. They are
    lengthy treatises that deal with large and complex issues in the form of a letter. They do have the stylistic features of ancient letters: the names of the author and the recipient, a thanksgiving,
    the body of the letter, and the closing. But they are so much more extensive than typical letters, for example, in their theological expositions, ethical exhortations, and quotation of and interpretation of Scripture. These New Testament “letters” are really more like essays put in letter form. So evidence that derives from the brief, stereotyped letters typically found in Greek and Roman circles is not necessarily germane to the “letters” of the early Christians.” Ehrman Forged 154

    He discredits letters that are too long. res ipsa loquitur

    Like

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