Variants Don’t Affect Beliefs Except When They Do

I’ve previously posted on the issue of how just one letter can create a theological conundrum in the New Testament. On Christmas Day Dr. James White of Alpha and Omega Ministries also posted a variant that affects the beliefs of his Calvinist colleagues:

cc-2017-jw-variantluke214

and God knows best.

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Categories: Bart Ehrman, Bible, Biblical scholarship

Tags: , , , , , , ,

45 replies

  1. I am a KJV only and Calvinist but I don’t see what the problem is.

    The NASB reading is problematic for me as it states that God is pleased with men, which is a downright lie.

    Jesus was the only one with whom God was well pleased.

    When will White give us the true bible? How long will he and his fellow textual critics keep us waiting?

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  2. The problem is with the theology, not the textual scholarship. Christian faith does not in itself require the acceptance of scriptural I, nor does it demand a rigorously literalistic approach to hermeneutics wherein authorial intent must now to John Calvin’s opinions. Hence, despite their human imperfections God actually seems fairly happy with folk like Mary, the mother of Jesus, John the Baptist, and all those who meet the criteria outlined in the beatitudes or those who conform themselves to the way. There is in this no necessary assumption that He is as “well pleased” with them as with the Christ, nor that they are in any way perfect but to assume God incapable of such charity seems more than a little narrow.

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  3. What do you think of the Muslim Reza Aslan who said that all scholars agree that Jesus did exist and was Crucified which means the Quran is wrong.

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    • The crucification is a myth, see the following (it can be applied to any story in the Bible for that matter)

      Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you for your reply Ijaz Ahmad
      Regarding your assertion that “The crucification is a myth”
      Now the article you cite does raise a very important question on how are we able to corroborate our Christian account of Jesus’s crucification from documents in the ancient world. To be even clearer, by what criteria and standard do we authenticate these reports?

      A good example of such a process comes to mind in the case of Imam Bukhari who lived a couple of centuries after the Prophets death, who worked extremely hard to collect his ahedeeth. Each report in his collection was checked for compatibility with the Qur’an and the veracity of the chain of reporters had to be painstakingly established. Bukhari collection of hadeeth is considered second to none. His criteria for acceptance into the collection were amongst the most stringent of all the scholars of ahadeeth.
      Surely Ijaz, I don’t see you objecting to such as standard – in regards to the collection of the Prophets ahedeeth – So help me understand Ijaz, why the double standard regarding the collection of our Gospel Publications of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John?

      Now Ireneus, a Bishop of Lyons, who learned at the feet of Polycarp in Smyrna who was appointed by the Apostle John as bishop over the churches of Asia minor (as reported by Tertullian) reports on the writings that were handed down by the apostles. Ireneus in book 3 Against the heresies states Matthew amoung the Hebrews issued a writing of the Gospel while Peter and Paul were preaching the Gospel at Rome and founding the church. Ireneus also states Mark, the disciple and interpreter of Peter, also handed down to us in writing what Peter had preached. then Luke the follower of Paul, recorded in a book the gospel as it was preached by him. Finally John, the disciple of the Lord himself published the Gospel, while he was residing at Ephesus in Asia.

      Further on in Ireneus Treatise, he states that this is the Apostolic tradition that is made clear in all the world that can be clearly seen in every church by those who wish to behold the truth. Ireneus clearly demonstrates that the indepedant Apostolic Churches througout the Ancient World basically witness to these same Gospels, naming the same authors, while Marcions, Valentinus, Cerinthus and Basilides texts were all different. Here is the kicker Ijaz..Ireneus follows up his last statement establishing the Chain of Reporters for the Gospel Publications of Apostolic Churches when he says “We can enumerate those who were established by the apostles as bishops in the churches, and their successors down to our time…Ireneus clearly demonstrates that the source of these Gospel Publications can legally trace back through the successions of Bishops back to the Apostles, for this is what is meant when Ireneus states earlier in his treatise that”When we appeal again to that tradition which has come down from the apostles and is guarded by the succesions of elders in the Churches.

      Ijaz, we have indepedant historical churches, whose chain of reporters go back to the Apostles basically all comming up with these same 4 Gospel Publications, naming the same authors – this testimony would be conclusive in any normal court of law.

      Tertullian in North Africa makes the same empirical observation when he states in his 4th book against Marcion “The same authority of the Apostolic churches will afford evidence to the other Gospels also, which we possess equally through their means and according to their usage – I mean the Gospels of John and Matthew – while that which Mark published may be affirmed to be Peter’s whose interpreter Mark was. For even Luke’s form of the Gospel men usually ascribe to Paul.” Tertullian in his Prescription against the heresies also establishes the same chain of reporters as reported by Ireneus for the Apostolic Churches going back to the Apostles. Both Ireneus in Gaul and Tertullian in North Africa are providing basically the same empirical obversation from the Apostlic Churches witnessing to these same four Gospels, naming the same authors appealing to these independant churches as evidence for this testimony.
      For Tertullian met Marcions rejection of Johns Apocolypse with this same argument when he says “For although Marcion rejects Johns Apocalypse, we have St. Johns foster churches and the order of the bishops thereof, when traced up to their origin, will yet rest on John as their author.

      Tertullian clearly demonstrates this criteria when he states :Then let all the heresies, when challenged to these two tests by our apostolic church, offer their proof of how they deem themselves to be apostolic.” So the text had to go back to an Apostle or their scribes, and the text had to be commonly received.

      So Ijaz,Imam Bukhari was just one indendant source – yet we have all these independant historic churches that can establish their chain of reports all the way back to the apostles, and these historic churches basically all independly witnesses to these same four gospels naming the same authors for those books while the gnostic texts all disagreed.

      So we can establish the account of the Crucification back to the Apostles who were witnesses to the event; Thus proving the Quran is wrong about the crucifixtion.

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    • Oh boy, do you guys ever say anything that has not already been said ad nauseum and refuted ad nauseum? It’s seems like every Christians apologist is a parrot.

      How about you actually deal with the obvious variants in your Bible, instead of trying to deflect?

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    • Hi Jonathan,

      I’m Br. Ijaz, I have no idea who you were responding to above or why you thought they were me but when I get some free time during the day I’ll definitely respond to your comment.

      Regards,
      Br. Ijaz.

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    • I apologize Ijaz Ahmad, I was under the assumption that you had posted the reply to my initial question. I now realize the response was posted by another author. I do look forward to hear your comments on the present discussion, because James White has been unable to understand this argument in my latest animated production “A James White Christmas Carol on Father Forgive Them in Luke 23:34”.which article you posted from James White is following up on. There was good reason I chose Ireneus, Tertullian and Marcion as the witnesses to come visit him….For the historic churches were dealing with this same issue in the second century especially with the case of Marcion – Just as Marcion shorter biblical edition was not received by the Apostolic Churches – these texts that White promotes as earlier and better were not the type of texts that were copied by the Official Greek, Latin & Aramaic Churches – White doesn’t understand this point…

      I’ll be waiting for your reply

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    • Dear Jonathan;

      You’re missing the entire point which is that by applying the muhaddith’s methodology all of the stories of the Bible don’t line up to the standard of authenticity.

      Kind Regards,

      Liked by 1 person

    • 1. Scholarly consensus in this case is inadmissible; they weren’t there.

      2. The line of reasoning (with which I personally disagree) there is that even though the crucifixion took place, it didn’t result in death (i.e. crucifixion only means execution in this view).

      I disagree because this interpretation renders the verse’s wording redundant (i.e. it would essentially be saying “he wasn’t killed and he wasn’t killed”). So I think such a conclusion is silly. But as far as I know, those who hold to this interpretation still affirm the explicit Qur’ānic contention that Jesus `alayhi salām was NOT killed, so their difference of opinion doesn’t amount to disbelief or even heresy.

      3. However, if Reza Aslan (or anybody else) says that the Qur’ān is WRONG, then they aren’t actually Muslim.

      Liked by 2 people

    • I’m not surprised you’re still waiting Jonathan, that’s how Ijaz really is…busy most of the time…in fact he’s so busy that i’ll not be surprised at all if you still haven’t got any reply for two months…please don’t mind him if my brother Ijaz leaves you hanging bro… am i right Ijaz?

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    • Hi Shaad,

      Yep, I’m super busy at the moment, recovering from a medical procedure that occurred on Thursday. I’m not medically well and it’s difficult for me to keep on top of things. It’s not an excuse or a personal slight at anyone but it’s a reality I have to live through every day. Sorry to disappoint you, it’s tough to keep up on emails when I’m in and out of the hospital most weeks. God willing, when I do find the time, I will respond. I prefer to give a thoughtful response when I have the right frame of mind. I hope that clarifies everything.

      Your brother in Islam,
      Br. Ijaz.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Ijaz Ahmad,

      Hope all does goes well for you in regards to your medical situation Ijaz. When you do get a free moment, I wanted to get your thoughts, since James was unable to recognize the historic arguments of Ireneus, Tertullian and the Apostolic Churches in my most recent animation regarding the collection of the official writings of the apostles.. Surely Ijaz, I don’t see you objecting to Imam Bukhari standard of collection 200 years after his prophets death to collects his ahedetth – So help me understand Ijaz, why the double standard regarding the collection of our Gospel Publications of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John as evinced in the writings of Tertullian and Ireneus? This was the basis of John Burgeons argument noted by Edward Hills. Why reject the historic churches chain of reports, when I am certain you accept Bukharis?

      I’ll be waiting for your reply

      Jonathan

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    • @Ijaz, i’m sorry man, i didn’t know about it…i wonder what went through my mind when i posted this comment, disgusting behavior on my part…anyway get well soon and take care bro 👍

      Liked by 2 people

    • @Jonathan,

      [[So help me understand Ijaz, why the double standard regarding the collection of our Gospel Publications of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John?]]

      I think you should complete the analogy, look at Mustalah, Rijal and Jarh wa Ta’deel. With any of these sub-sciences in the Islamic world, we’d have to reject the Gospels as nothing more than hearsay. See “wijadah” in ‘Uloom al Hadith.

      [[So Ijaz,Imam Bukhari was just one indendant source – yet we have all these independant historic churches that can establish their chain of reports all the way back to the apostles]]

      Bukhari was not the source, he was the codifier, he in fact, was not the earliest codifier, see the Sahifah of Ibn Hammam. Either way, it was mostly an aural/ oral society, but that is beside the point. You seem to base your entire faith on the alleged testimony of one man whose methodology is unclear, sources largely anonymous and seems to be based on nothing more than hearsay. Do you have one quote from Irenaeus that can be classified as tawatur? If you will, please let us know what is the earliest complete extant edition of any of his works, one that ensures it is muttasil? I’ll wait for you to provide this information.

      [[and these historic churches basically all independly witnesses to these same four gospels naming the same authors for those books while the gnostic texts all disagreed]]

      The naming of the authors beings with Irenaeus (as Ehrman points out) and does not make it way into the Gospels for quite some time, see:

      https://callingchristians.com/2017/11/26/the-inscriptio-of-the-gospel-attributed-to-matthew/

      Having homonymous names does not make the Gospels reliable, I’m not sure what reasoning you’re employing there. You argue that disagreements over the authorial name behind a work brings it into doubt and on par with the Gnostic texts, does that count for 2 Peter, the Epistles of John, the Book of Revelation, Hebrews…? As James would say, you need to be consistent.

      [[So we can establish the account of the Crucification back to the Apostles who were witnesses to the event; Thus proving the Quran is wrong about the crucifixtion.]]

      We actually have zero historical records from anyone verifiable at the event itself. In the future, Jonathan, before employing a tu quoque, please try to understand the science you are appealing to.

      Regards,
      Br. Ijaz.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for your reply Ijaz Ahmad,

      First let me clarify several points which should help clear up any misunderstanding.

      My appeal to Sahih al Bukhari is to his methodology in codifying authentic hadiths as opposed to “in-authentic hadiths” So Bukhari had to weigh the evidence in examining over 600,000 varients that were handed down by different sources that were all earlier than him that claimed they were from his prophet over 200 years after the fact.; I never said Bukhari was the earliest codifier, but the sunni Muslims do value Bakhari collection as one of the two most trusted collection of hadiths.

      To make sure we are on the same page, we are discussing Bukhari method in ruling out the majority of these sayings all the way down to about 7000 hadiths, give or take a few. Let’s not kid ourselves Ijaz, thats quite a number of varients.

      In the second century, Ireneus and Tertullian at opposite ends of the Roman Empire (Gaul & North Africa) were responding to the textual claims of the gnostics – and what has come down from Nag Hammandi – we know there were at least 50 other claims to be from the apostles as well.

      And don’t feel bad about not understanding this argument, because your buddy James White doesn’t seem to understand it either.

      In order to help you understand, let me refer you to Dr. Mohammad Shafi lectures on the Hadith – How it was collected and compiled: The link is here for your reviewing. http://www.daralislam.org/portals/0/Publications/TheHADITHHowitwasCollectedandCompiled.pdf

      Remember, these aren’t my scholars – these are yours.

      Pay attention to this quote from Dr Mohammad Shafi as he discusses the methodology in collecting the hadiths “The scholars had to devise methodologies to deal with the challenge of discovering the various capabilities of reporters, and of identifying fabricators and people with special tribal, ethnic, or sectarian agendas. Thus was born the next element of authenticating Hadith; the Isnad.
      Having reliable people in the chain was not enough. It was required that Hadith on matters of importance come through a number of independent chains”

      This last statement by Dr Mohammad which states “Having reliable people in the chain was not enough, it was required that Hadith on matters of importance come through a number of independant chains”

      Even though we would regard Ireneus, who as a Bishop at Gaul in the Second Century – being in Succession to the Apostle John through Polycarp Bishop of Smryna would be considered reliable – we still have to independantly verify his statement that the four Gospels are independantly witnessed by Apostolic Churches that have Apostolic Chains of Succession back to the Apostles. The churches in the East and West were fighting over the date of easter in the second century – Yet Ireneus states that Matthew, Mark, Luke and John are the writings that were handed down by the Apostles and this tradition made clear in all the world can be clearly seen in every church by those who wish to behold the truth – So Ireneus is not expressing his opinion, but making an empirical observation of the texts received by the Official Churches of the Apostles.

      Tertullian in North Africa makes the same empirical observation when he states in his 4th book against Marcion “The same authority of the Apostolic churches will afford evidence to the other Gospels also, which we possess equally through their means and according to their usage – I mean the Gospels of John and Matthew – while that which Mark published may be affirmed to be Peter’s whose interpreter Mark was. For even Luke’s form of the Gospel men usually ascribe to Paul.” Tertullian in his Prescription against the heresies also establishes the same chain of reporters as reported by Ireneus for the Apostolic Churches going back to the Apostles. Tertullian also challenges the heretics to run to the official churches of the Apostles to see the authentic writings – naming Corinth, Phillipi, Thessalonians, Ephesus and Rome.

      The historical Churches that can legally trace back to the Apostles through the polity that was set up and these are independant witnesses to the writings of the Apostles – How else do you explain the Majority of Independant Apostolic Churches Greek/Latin/Aramiac/Copic independantly witnesses to the same four gospels naming the same authors if it doesn’t go back to the Apostles as Ireneus, Tertullian and Apostolic Churches said it did While accepting Bukahri methodology of Independant chains other than because your a mulsim which is biased against christinaity.

      The fact that the book of James, Revelation, Jude, 2 Peter, 2 & 3rd John was disputed, shows there no was no collusion by the Apostolic Churches on the text of the New Testament – The Historic Churches of Antioch, North Africa, Alexandria were not forced to accept the cannon – The Apostolic Churches didn’t had the Third Calif who burn all the variants. and threaten with beheading if you didn’t comply.

      Yes there were disputes – especially Revelation – Marcion in the second century rejected that the Apocoplyse was from John – but listen how Tertullian demonstrates the authenticity of John Revelation when he states ”
      “We have also St. John’s foster churches. For although Marcion rejects his Apocalypse, the order of the bishops (thereof), when traced up to their origin, will yet rest on John as their author. In the same manner is recognised the excellent source of the other churches.

      Tertullian responds to Marcions by demonstrating independent witnesses that go back through the foster churches of John witness to this text as coming from John as do other Apostolic Churches throughout the ancient world.

      I am familiar with Rome’s rejecting of Revelation by Pope Boniface several hundred years laters, but the 4th Council of Carthage responded to Pope Bonafice by stating the 27 commonly received books of the New Testament stating in their cannons that “these books were received by the fathers to read in the churches”

      You don’t seem to understand why in our creeds we use the terms Apostolic & Catholic (Not Rome) – It had to go back to the Apostles and the Text had to be commonly received. Independant witnesses througout a vast geographic area whose chain of reports that goes back to the apostles comming up withe the commonly received 27 books.

      You obviously have no problem accepting Bukhari methodolgy which was based of chains of reports and independant witnesses over 200 years after his prophet lived in codifiying authentic hadiths against weak hadiths – yet your reject this same type of methodolgy employed by the Historic Churches. Ijaz – you are the one that is not being consistent as your buddy James says. I don’t have a problem with Bukhari method – I’m sure you wouldn’t say Bukhari was using reasoned Electisim.Bukhari method was objective.

      Now, I personally had the opportunity to challenge Dr Erhman on his unknown educated Greek Scholars theory – and he had no answer to the polity of the Apostlic Churches – because at least Dr Ehrman understood what I was saying, whereas you and James are not really familiar with the Polity of the Apostolic Churches. I have his responses, and Dr Ehrman couldn’t invalidate my position – He couldn’t even defend his narrative.when faced with the historical polity used by the churches to verify the correct text.

      I’m be waitng for your reply.

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    • @Jonathan,

      Right, so you completely ignored all the questions I asked you and merely repeated what you already said in your first comment.

      When you are able to respond to the questions which provide within themselves proofs against your understanding or lack thereof of ‘Uloom al Hadith, do let me know.

      I’m not sure why you think repeating yourself without answering the simple questions posed to you was sensible, but I do hope and pray you can respond when you actually have answers to give.

      Regards,
      Br. Ijaz.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Ijaz,

      I didn’t ignore your questions.

      I cited Dr. Mohammad Shafi lectures on the Hadith – How it was collected and compiled: The link is here for your reviewing. http://www.daralislam.org/portals/0/Publications/TheHADITHHowitwasCollectedandCompiled.pdf

      Now is Dr Mohammed understanding of the collection and criteria for the collection of the hadiths incorrect?

      Was not Bukhari 200 years after the life of his prophet examining over 600,000 sayings to authenticate the official hadiths using chain of reports and independant lines to come up the 7000 which is regarded as one of the most authentic hade the for sunni muslims?

      So all I have been asking is if you accept the criteria as laid out by Dr Mohammed which represents the criteria used by Bukhari, why then do you reject the collection efforts that also uses chain of reports and independant witnesses that agree to verify the collection of our new testament documents.

      You can assert the new testament gospels were anonymous all you want, but let’s not kid ourselves, you don’t have any member of the official churches that contradict what Ireneaus in Gaul and Tertullian said in the second century. For the versions of the apostolic churches all witness to the same 4 books naming the same authors..remember, the names weren’t on the documents – but somehow the historical churches come up with the same four names.

      Ijaz, where is your empirical documentation from a member of any apostolic church that said the gospels were anonymous and we’re not from the apostles. What you don’t get is liars don’t agree, this was obviously the case with gnostic texts.

      Ijaz, you can’t assert what must be proven…if your going to cite Dr Ehrman, then understand his narrative. If the gospels weren’t from the apostles, then please empirically demonstrate who created the Gospel text, where were they from and how did they get the independant, greek, latin , aramaic and coptic churches through out the ancient world to accept these 4 comming up with the same name for the authors when there were so many other so called publications? Don’t tell me you believe in ninja scribes as well?

      I’ll be waiting for your reply…

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    • @Jonathan,

      I think my previous comment still stands. You did the exact same thing in your previous comment. If you feel that you’ve answered my questions then I’m pretty sure you’re not willing to actually engage with me respectfully.

      When you find the time to answer them, please be sure to contact me. Until then, feel free to repeat yourself ad nauseum. I can’t take you seriously otherwise. If your only and best response to demonstrate specifically requested evidences, is to respond with just watch some videos that don’t engage with what was specifically asked you’re more or less saying you can’t answer. Don’t expect me to take you seriously until you are able to directly engage with what I’ve said.

      Regards,
      Br. Ijaz.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Ijaz,

      I gave you the sources I am working from. If you don’t agree with the the Islamic professor, then just say so and refute what he is saying.

      If you don’t agree with the statements of irenaeus and Tertullian on the writings of the Apostles, then provide empirical documentation that they were wrong.

      Provide, documentation from that period that shows the 4 gospels were anonymous and not received from the apostles..

      Do you see ijaz how I list my sources from the period supporting my assertions – where are your documents from the second century that refute what Irenaeus and Tertullian said.

      Correct me if I am wrong, but what sources from that period are you citing?

      All your assertions are not backed up ijaz with empirical data from the period. Instead of just saying I’m ignoring your questions, which I haven’t – why don’t you provide documentation from the second century proving what Irenaeus and Tertullian testimony of the gospel writings are wrong..

      I haven’t asked you to watch my vjdeos, I’m asking you to deal with the testimony of tertullian, irenaeus and Dr Mohammed – why do you refuse to engage thier testimony on the official writings of the Apostles.

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    • @Jonathan,

      Please quote for me the answer where you demonstrated that you or the videos you copy pasted as an authority analysed the Gospels and came to the conclusion they did not meet the criteria of being “wijadah”.

      Since you didn’t and can’t, you’ve proven yourself to be wasteful of my time and dishonest to me. Try again.

      Regards,
      Br. Ijaz

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    • Ijaz,

      I showed respect for the system used by Bikhari who was trying to deal with variants of the hadeeths, and you have shown no respect for the system that the Apostolic churches set up to guarantee the biblical texts.

      If you are going to use arabic terms, please define what you mean by it.

      Once again, Dr Mohammad Shafi as he discusses the methodology in collecting the hadiths stated “The scholars had to devise methodologies to deal with the challenge of discovering the various capabilities of reporters, and of identifying fabricators and people with special tribal, ethnic, or sectarian agendas. Thus was born the next element of authenticating Hadith; the Isnad.
      Having reliable people in the chain was not enough. It was required that Hadith on matters of importance come through a number of independent chains”

      What Dr Mohammad has described is very similiar process to that used in the arguments of Ireneus and Tertullian. As you can see, I’m being very fair to Islamic sources, yet your are not being fair to my Christian sources of the second century.

      The four gospels which the churches all basically came up with naming the same authors have come through independent historic chains throughout the ancient world in Greek, Latin, Aramiac & Copic from sources that legally trace back to the Apostles – Ireneus, Tertullian and Eusebius documents the lists of bishops from the historic churches that all go back to apostles. This evidence would be inclusive in any normal court of law.

      Ijaz, why are you not dealing with what Dr Mohammad Shalfi has stated above – you can call me whatever you want – but its obvious you are not dealing with what Dr Mohammad has said, Ireneus or Tertullian –

      Why can’t you have a logical disucssion with me. I never said the historic churches used ” “wijadah”. I stated that the historic churches used a similiar methodololgy of independant chains and reliable sources in identifying the writings of the Apostles against the textual claims of the gnostics. I have respect for the system Dr Mohammad is describing and the approach Bikhari used 200 years after the life of his prophet I have no issue with – I think its a very logical and objective approach.

      So why in your reasoning is the polity that was set up by the apostlic churches incorrect in identifying the writings of the apostles that can be independently witnessed by the texts that have come down through the Historic churches?

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    • Hey Jonathan,

      Check this out in the comments, Ehrman responds:

      https://ehrmanblog.org/church-fathers-who-quote-the-new-testament

      The problems are that the NT is not quoted extensively in *early* church fathers, that the fathers all quote the NT in different ways, that even within the fathers’ quotations there are variations for this or that verse quoted, and that we don’t actually have the fathers’ writings either, but only later manuscripts in which their own words have also been changed

      And

      https://islamicarchives.wordpress.com/2017/05/18/value-of-the-apostolic-fathers-quotations/

      Vincent Taylor: “Until about A.D. 150 the quotations are of little value for textual purposes.” [13]

      Frederic George Kenyon: “Quotations from the New Testament are found in the earliest writers of the sub-apostolic age, but they are so scanty as to be of little service for our present purpose.”[14]

      A. T. Robertson: “Little help is gained from the Greek Apostolic Fathers for the text.”[15]
      Bruce Metzger: “The Apostolic Fathers seldom make express citations from New Testament writings.”[16]

      Marvin R. Vincent: “The Apostolic Fathers are of little value for patristic quotation, since they do not so much quote as blend the language of the New Testament with their own.”[17]

      William L. Petersen: “It is clear that the vast majority of passages in the Apostolic Fathers for which one can find likely parallels in the New Testament have deviations from our present, critically reconstructed New Testament text. It must be emphasized that the vast majority of these deviations are not minor (e.g., differences in spelling or verb tense), but major (a completely new context, a substantial interpolation or omission, a conflation of two entirely separate ideas and/or passages).” [18]

      Caspar René Gregory professes, despite his apologetic tone, that “the very earliest of the Christian writers did not make a point of quoting the New Testament with any precision.”[19]

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    • Jonathan, you may want to refer to my article:https://islamicarchives.wordpress.com/2017/05/25/can-the-new-testament-be-reconstructed-from-the-writings-of-the-church-fathers-muslims-answer/
      Have you ever heard it said that if all the Bibles and Biblical manuscripts in the world were destroyed tomorrow, we could reconstruct all but 11 verses of the NT from the writings of the Ante-Nicene Church Fathers alone?  Recently, in an interview featuring NT textual critic, Daniel Wallace, we learn that this claim is demonstrably false.
      Daniel Wallace mentions the following :

      I’m embarrassed to say that sometimes there are Muslim apologists who have done really decent research on the nature of the New Testament or on the transmission of the text or things along those lines, and they have cleared up kind of an apocryphal story that Christians believed in.
      There was one example: a number of scholars have passed on saying someone had pointed out that in the first three centuries of Christianity, only eleven verses of the entire New Testament had not been able to be found in those Church Fathers’ writings. Well, that was a garbled story that went back to the early 1800s, and it was a third-hand story of a fellow by the name of David Dalrymple. He was the one who actually was doing the research, and somebody heard about this at a party and not directly from Dalrymple but from somebody else, and then put into a book, and it’s been stated for the last 200 years as though it was Gospel fact.
       
      What Dalrymple actually said was in the first two centuries of the Christian faith through A.D. 300, that all but eleven verses of John’s Gospel had been found in the Church Fathers’ writings [Wallace said that Dalrymple found all but 11 verses of the Gospel of John in the Ante-Nicene fathers, but Dalrymple’s notes do not bear this out]. He wasn’t talking about the whole New Testament, so this got communicated in such a way that said it was the whole New Testament that’s been found. That’s just irresponsible and not at all helpful. It was Muslim apologists who discovered the error, and it’s been quoted by apologists, even text critical scholars, and it was the Muslims who (……. 58:18) [did the] research and said sorry that’s not the case.

       
      Islamic-Awareness concludes the following:
      Admitting the best case scenario, more than 50% of the New Testament is missing according to the manuscript evidence. This hardly equates with eleven missing verses (~0.1%) as is frequently propagated in the missionary and apologetical literature. We have also observed that the alleged time frame for the completion of this work – set at two months in the literature – is also untrue.
      For a period of more than 165 years missionary and apologetical publications, whether they are in the form of books, articles, audio/video cassettes, radio programs, TV shows, internet, etc., have all continued to selectively repeat in full or in part the anecdote attributed to Dalrymple, highlighting only those aspects of the anecdote which served the purposes of spreading the good news. None of the authors, from the past or present, have attempted to study the original documents in order to verify those claims which we now know to be false. Josh McDowell hailed this piece of information as new evidence that demands a verdict. In reality it is a two hundred year old anecdote based on a third hand account, whose recollection (transmission) is questionable, and whose results have been grossly exaggerated and fabricated. Perhaps it is best to finish with some words from Dalrymple himself. In a short unpublished tract entitled Habits(advice on how children should be taught) under subsection Avoidances Or Bad Habits, he advised:

      Never to allow ones self to be very communicative in narrating anecdotes least one arrive at the dreadful badness of revealing perhaps the secrets of another…[117]

      Like

    • @Jonathan,

      Let’s get this straight, you initially argued that the Gospels were on par with the criteria of ‘Uloom al Hadith (the hadith sciences), to make them on par with the Hadith codex of Imam Bukhari.

      I asked you to demonstrate this by using that very criteria.

      You claimed you had already done so.

      I asked you to demonstrate it again, quote it for me where you did so and asked you specifically for the minimum criteria of not being “wijadah”.

      Your last response indicates that you don’t know the sciences of hadith, that you’re ignorant of basic terms, yet you claim to have already demonstrated that the science validates the transmission of the Gospels.

      Do you see the problem yet?

      You can’t demonstrate when questioned the evidences you allegedly have had, you show ignorance of the hadith sciences, and somehow you expect me to respond to nothing?

      I am being very patient with you, but it’s clear to me that you’re appealing to a science you don’t know, and when questioned you appeal to a tu quoque. You are effectively wasting my time.

      Regards,
      Br. Ijaz.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you for your reply Ijaz,

      Let me remind you what I originally challenged you on in my earlier statement – and I quote

      “Ijaz, I don’t see you objecting to Imam Bukhari standard of collection 200 years after his prophets death to collects his ahedetth – citing Dr Mohammad Shafi as he discusses the methodology in collecting the hadiths who said:

      “The scholars had to devise methodologies to deal with the challenge of discovering the various capabilities of reporters, and of identifying fabricators and people with special tribal, ethnic, or sectarian agendas. Thus was born the next element of authenticating Hadith; the Isnad.
      Having reliable people in the chain was not enough. It was required that Hadith on matters of importance come through a number of independent chains”

      Surely I agree there were other factors, but what Dr Mohammed stated are objective guiding principles, and if Bukhari used these principles in examining over 600,000 sayings – then Bukhari is to be commended for using what I would call a scientific approach to his collection of his prophets hadeeths.

      Now let me make it clear – I’m not implying that the polity of the Apostolic Churches in reference to our Cannon are on par with the criteria of ‘Uloom al Hadith (the hadith sciences). This we totally agree on.

      So when I stated “So help me understand Ijaz, why the double standard regarding the collection of our Gospel Publications of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John as evinced in the writings of Tertullian and Ireneus?

      I am saying yes bukhari had a good system, but its nothing in comparison to the Polity of the Apostolic Churches which was far more robust – Bukhari was dealing primarily with an oral tradition, while the apostolic churches were dealing with a written tradition as he testifies too as he opens his third book against the heresies.

      Whats envinced in the writings of Tertullian and Ireneus is a polity that was organized and set up by the apostles to safeguard the text of the cannon (and its readings down through the ages) – Sure, Bukhari had a good system and sound principles guiding him – but Christinaity has thousands of indendant churches, witnessesing to the same 4 gospels, naming the same authors – The apostles appointed bishops to oversee the writings thatwere handed down to guard them against such corruption – this is what Ireneus means when he states – “When we appeal again to that tradition which has come down from the apostles and is guarded by the successions of elders in the churhces….and also when he states “We can enumerate those who were established by the apostles as bishops in the churches, and their successor down to our time…Ireneus and Tertullian speak to the Polity that was set up by the Apostles to authenticate the official writings.

      The Polity of the Apostolic Churches is far superior to the hadith sciences – We have thousands of indpendant Apostolic Chains going back to the apostles as envinced in the writings of Tertullian, Ireneus, and Eusebius – Christinity was well organized from the begining – the apostles were establishing churches all over the empire – While there were disputes – which establishes independence testimony, the Greek, Latin, and Aramiac Apostolic Churches all basically witnesses to the same four Gospels, naming the same authors –

      Let’s be honest, The third caliph, Uthman, became famous, or rather infamous, for Quran burning. … He made a new edition of the Quran and demanded that all other editions be surrendered and burned….Christianity didn’t have that luxury.

      Christianity had the empire against it – Tertullian and Ireneus came out against the textual claims of the gnostics – demonstrating the Apostolic Polity which independlty witnesses to the official writings of the Apostles. Our Gospel publications were written by John and Matthew, a follow of Peter (Mark) and Luke the follower of Paul. So we are dealing with eye witness accounts – written by those with Jesus – We know who John was, we know his historical churches in Asia minor of which Ireneus is a witness too. Tertullian and Ireneus provide basically the same testimony to the four gospels naming the same authors and there is no evidence they ever knew each other. You accuse me of not understanding the hadith sciences, but you clearly don’t understand the polity of the Apostolic Churches and what we mean we say the text had to be both Apostolic and Catholic (Not Rome)

      This is why I say, if your going to accept Bukhari standard – why do you reject a far superior standard with that of the Gospel Publications.

      Like

    • Nobody reads my comments 😥

      Liked by 1 person

    • I read your comments Archivesislam:

      So now let me respond to your statement –

      First, the significance of the fathers of the Apostolic churches quoting scripture isn’t about how much we can reconstruct – but demonstrates that the fathers like Ireneus, Tertullian, Hipploytus,Ignatius,Clement and many others were quoting from a text that they received – the historic churches were throughout the Greek, Latin, Aramiac and Coptic speaking areas across the Roman Empire – This speaks to the Apostolic Polity (Organization and Set up) that Ireneus and Tertullian speak to in their writings –

      Now obviously Daniel Wallace ignores the Apostolic Poliety for obvious reasons since it doesn’t fit in with his postermodern narrative – you have to understand that Wallace subscribes to a view that there was a major revision to the text by the Greek Orthodox Churches – and even appeals to a theory that says Lucan at Antioch created a new text that was then was forced on the orthodox churches – in this fairytale Lucan even went to the west to get a text and conflate all these readings together – then remarkabley the orthdox bishops of the Greek Churches had no problem accepting a text from the teacher of Arius –

      I love fairytales, they are quite fun and have read peter pan to my kids, but I would never suggest for my kids to play with fairy dust and start jumping out of windows because the consequences would be devastating.

      Now we are aware of Lucan’s edition of the septigent (Old Testament) – in which Jerome attacked since he didn’t go to the hebrew for his translation like Jerome did.

      There is no evidence such an event ever happened – some of Wallace Scholars like Kenyons has stated – no evidence of such even happened –

      Understand – Wallaces and Whites theories that the Ecclesiastical text is secondary in origin has not yet been shown to have ever happened – their scholars Kurt and Barbara Aland has said this when they state – There is No adequate history of the formation of the byzantium Text – and birdsal quote that all presuppostions regarding the byzantium text has also not shown to be untrue – So their Lucan Theory has failed, their process theory has gone out the window and most recently their text type theory has just been thrown out by Munster –

      So when you quote someone like Wallace, Dr Ehrman, White, you do need to understand their underlying theories those quotes are comming from – because those statements are based on their fairytale narratives that haven’t been substantiated by their own school of thought.

      Regards

      Jonathan

      Like

    • Hi Jonathan, than you for your reply. Your statement:
      “First, the significance of the fathers of the Apostolic churches quoting scripture isn’t about how much we can reconstruct – but demonstrates that the fathers like Ireneus, Tertullian, Hipploytus,Ignatius,Clement and many others were quoting from a text that they received – the historic churches were throughout the Greek, Latin, Aramiac and Coptic speaking areas across the Roman Empire – This speaks to the Apostolic Polity (Organization and Set up) that Ireneus and Tertullian speak to in their writings –”
      -Jonathan , there are some problems to that argument: 
      (1) “text they received”: so your perfectly okay if the apostolic fathers received a corrupt text?
      (2)The more important consideration: Do you even have the “original” writings of the Church Fathers in the first place? The answer is that you don’t!!! How can you rely on something which is just as flimsy as the NT? They were also handed down in manuscript form like the NT. And changed in places, like the NT. And were manipulated by scribes, like the NT. Basically your using corrupt text to defend corrupt text and your concept of “Apostolic Polity”
      (3) Finally, the most popular of these so-called writings are now recognized as forgeries: Pseudo-Dionysius, the long form of the letters of Ignatius, and Clementine Homilies and Recognitions

      Like

    • Thank you for your reply archivesislam:

      In regards to your first question: ” so your perfectly okay if the apostolic fathers received a corrupt text? ”

      The mistake your making is your thinking of 1 manuscript, instead of the commonly received texts of the Historic Churches. So we can compare the Latin Vulgate of the western churches, with the Peshitta of the Aramiac Churches, the Patriarchal texts of the Greek Churches & the TR of the reformers. We know the history of these texts, the areas where they are from, the bishops who presided over these historic churches – Now any one scribe can alter a text, add, delete, omit, spelling errors, – but they can’t get these changes into all the other texts of the other historic churches. The only way they could have done it if they uploading these changes to Microsoft Cloud and then downloading from Microsoft Cloud. I don’t recall how good Microsoft cloud was in the ancient world. Lol.

      In regards to your second statement:

      “Do you even have the “original” writings of the Church Fathers in the first place? The answer is that you don’t!!! How can you rely on something which is just as flimsy as the NT? They were also handed down in manuscript form like the NT. And changed in places, like the NT. And were manipulated by scribes, like the NT. Basically your using corrupt text to defend corrupt text and your concept of “Apostolic Polity”

      Again – you are missing the point – we don’t have the originals – and I never said we did – but we have the commonly recieved copies, we have copies of the church fathers, and copies of the lectionaries that are the readings in the churches.

      Again, how does these scribes change them all – we are talking about thousands of churches throughout the Greek Latin and Aramiac areas – by the way, who where these scribes, what were their names, and where are they from? Are you talking about Make believe people – you seem to misunderstand, any one scribe can change 1 text, but how do you get that one change into all the rest of the texts in the ancient world – do you believe in magic – did they fly around on magic carpets. lol

      We did not have the third rightly guided Calief who burned all the varients of the Koran – just 30 years after the death of your prophet – And Bukhari was dealing with 600,000 varients and widdled them down to 7000.
      Now those are major changes – thanks again for being honest enough to burn your varients.

      Like

    • Thanks Jonathan,
       
      You make it seem like there were a LOT of people that were involved in the preservation of your religious scriptures. And before we compare “Apostolic Tradition” to “Hadith Science” , let us examine an important topic which isn’t being mentioned, and which should be brought to the forefront of the conversation:
       
      Accessibility of Scripture and Religious Traditions to the Common People
       
      (1) Who has access to an oral tradition of your scriptures, past and present?
       
      You have not maintained an oral tradition from the original Aramaic, or Greek or Latin. Not even the English, which you recite in all your prayers.
       
      Muslims on the other hand have an oral tradition(of the original language) memorized by millions upon millions. You may question its authenticity , but that is besides the point. 
       
      We can make the claim for an oral tradition, you can’t.
       
      (2)  For more than 1000 years the Christians were forbidden to read their Bible. Even as much as the early 1900s when the Catholic Church continued to forbid it.
       
      As for Muslims, the Qur’an was being recited 5 times a day in the Masjid and people were taught how to read the Qur’an and recite it. Knowledge of our scripture was encouraged and promoted in our religious tradition, in yours it was not.
       
      (3) Let’s assume the Church allowed it, and in every Christian home there was a leather-bound KJV from Day 1. The fact of the matter is that Christians were not literate enough to read their text. Literacy rates during that time and location of Jesus was 3% …..and that WAS AMONG THE JEWS. World literacy continued to be 12% as far the 1820s.
       
      Let’s also assume that Muslims were just as illiterate in terms of reading and writing. As mentioned before  We have an oral tradition, which compensates for any lack of illiteracy. 
       
      Now you can mention ALL the so-called Fathers and so-called histories you want but the fact of the matter is that all of your religious tradition has been restricted to a few and inaccessible to the many.
       
      That is one of the major differences between Islam and Christianity.
       
      Islamic Scholarship VS. Christian Priesthood
       
      Our religion thrived through a connection between the learned men and the commoner. They were able to ask questions about the primary sources both in terms of their authenticity and their interpretation. As for the common Christian, they had to follow what the Church told them. Anyone that wanted to learn more , had to climb up an elaborate ranking system which the Church implemented.
       
      This is the end of my comment, and  I leave you with this ayah/verse of the Qur’an:
       

      Verse (9:31) 

      They have taken as lords beside Allah their rabbis and their monks and the Messiah son of Mary, when they were bidden to worship only One Allah. There is no Allah save Him. Be He Glorified from all that they ascribe as partner (unto Him)!
       
      References
      https://islamicarchives.wordpress.com/2018/01/05/huffpost-why-christians-were-denied-access-to-their-bible-for-1000-years/
      https://islamicarchives.wordpress.com/2017/08/27/bart-ehrman-on-literacy-in-the-first-century/
      https://ourworldindata.org/literacy/

      Liked by 1 person

    • FORGOT TO ADD THIS:

      http://media.hoover.org/documents/0817928928_105.pdf, retrieved 2008-11-22, “Reaching further back through the centuries, the civilizations regarded as having the highest literacy rates of their ages were parent-driven educational marketplaces. The ability to read and write was far more widely enjoyed in the early medieval Islamic empire and in fourth-century-B.C.E. Athens than in any other cultures of their times.”

      Like

  4. Quranandbibleblog,

    I think you are missing the point – this discussion has never been about variants in the texts – In my animated Production “A James White Christmas Carol on Father Forgive Them in Luke 23:34” I am challenging James White’s assertion that the Ecclesiastical Texts that have come down through the historic churches are secondary in Origin – (this is what White means when he says “later Ecclesiastical texts”and this debate has never been about 1 reading, but hundredths of consistent readings that are found in Greek, Latin and Aramaic Apostolic Churches texts that have come down to us today.

    Like

  5. If the variant was in a non-recognized textual family it makes no difference. The freedom to write is given to all.

    The textual critics accord equal validity to all manuscripts without knowing how they came to be. This is a fatal error which White seems to make along with the liberals. Otherwise the scholars have nothing for their imagination to work on.

    Those who believe in providence have to be more careful. It’s probably too late now anyway. It is a task which the scholars cannot master using purely scientific investigation because everything happened too far back. The texts themselves can’t give us enough evidence.

    Our cause is not being damaged as much as Muslims would like it to be, so it seems 🙂

    Like

  6. https://islamicarchives.wordpress.com/2017/06/25/do-any-of-the-textual-variants-affect-christian-doctrine/

    In response to the assertion, made by conservative evangelicals, that not a single important Christian doctrine is affected by any textual variant, I point out:

    a. It simply isn’t true that important doctrines are not involved. As a key example: the only place in the entire New Testament where the doctrine of the Trinity is explicitly taught is in a passage that made it into the King James translation (1 John 5:7–8) but is not found in the vast majority of the Greek manuscripts of the New Testament. I would suggest that the Trinity is a rather important Christian doctrine. A typical response to this rebuttal is that the doctrine of the Trinity can be found in Scripture without appealing to 1 John 5:7–8. My reply is that this is true of every single Christian doctrine. In my experience, theologians do not hold to a doctrine because it is found in just one verse; you can take away just about any verse and still find just about any Christian doctrine somewhere else if you look hard enough.

    Liked by 2 people

    • @ArchivesIslam,

      “As a key example: the only place in the entire New Testament where the doctrine of the Trinity is explicitly taught is in a passage that made it into the King James translation (1 John 5:7–8) but is not found in the vast majority of the Greek manuscripts”

      My brother, like i said in a reply to one of yer comment, fabrication or not this verse and Matthew 28:19 doesn’t provide any strong case for the deity of Christ and the Holy Spirit… It’s six o’ one, hald a dozen of the other mate…

      Liked by 1 person

    • This is the first time I have heard of this idiom 🙂
       
      I agree you can’t come to a Trinity with Matt 28:19
       
      However if 1 John 5:7 were authentic…..then idk I think it does show a triune doctrine.  
       
      That being said then it would be the ONLY verse in the bible contradicting NUMEROUS verses showing monotheism in the Old Testament. So it would be a CONTRADICTION for a Christian to resolve.
       
      But then you have Christians trying to say “Well the Trinity is found everywhere in the OT as well!” To which I reply, “Before getting into supposed theophanies and messianic prophecies of Jesus, show me where the trinity is explicitly taught?” ( I hate wasting time, lol)
       
      And then attempts are made to show Elohim being plural, and Echad being a compound unity. Both attempts just show that one can achieve salvation through religions like Hinduism , since these pluralities and unities can never be defined to three.
       
      To Christians I would then say,  Let’s be honest, Moses didn’t believe in a Trinity nor did he go around teaching the Trinity?”
       
      They end up admitting it isn’t taught,: “.Well ….fine …the trinity isn’t taught in the OT’…..but it’s progressive revelation, so HA!”
       
      And that my friend is a whole other can of worms to open up , lol.
       
       

      Liked by 1 person

    • Sorry mate i meant “half”…

      Liked by 1 person

    • @ArchiveIslam,

      I’ll reply to ye soon InshAllah my brother, i’m goin’ to a weddin’ right now…hard cheese that it’s brass monkeys outside but i guess i have no choice…

      Like

    • Same here where I live, it was -40 Celsius the other day

      Liked by 1 person

    • Hello mate,

      “It’s six o’ one, half a dozen of the other”= The same thing either way

      “However if 1 John 5:7 were authentic…..then idk I think it does show a triune doctrine.”

      Yeah of course mate but only if someone approach the text with the governing presupposition that it *must* support a preconceived Christology which kinda rules out understandings that do not offer the presupposed support.Unorthodox understandings may not even occur to those who approach the Bible with such presupposition…

      For example 1 John 5:7(if not a fabrication) can have different interpretations, one can bring up that it simply talks about a common united testimony of The Father, The Word and the Spirit and nowhere in that verse does it talk about how the The Word and The Spirit are co-equal with the Father, infact it doesn’t even state whether it’s talking about a Triune godhead or not…yes it does say that those 3 are one but “one” in terms of what? It can also mean “one purpose” just like Paul talk about him and Apollos in 1 Corinthians 3:8 where the same greek word is apparently used…

      Liked by 1 person

    • and as far as Matthew 28:19 is concerned, i wouldn’t be surprised that The Father, the Son and the Spirit are quoted side by side because those 3 have a role to play…

      “But it is God who establishes us with you in Christ, and has commissioned us; he has put his seal upon us and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.” (2 Corinthians 1:21-22)

      “Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.” (1 Peter 1:2)

      Liked by 1 person

    • “They end up admitting it isn’t taught,: “.Well ….fine …the trinity isn’t taught in the OT’…..but it’s progressive revelation, so HA!”

      Lol

      Liked by 1 person

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