HUNTING FOR THE WORD OF GOD

Contents
Introduction 1
A Preserved New Testament? 7
Restoration of the Original Text: A Mere Deceptive Claim 9
Why We Cannot Trust the Greek Manuscripts? 37
Why We Cannot Trust the New Testament Versions? 51
Can We Really Restore the Original New Testament through Patristic 59
Citations?
Can the Witnesses Sustain Each Other? 83
An Ambitious goal and an Early Fail 85
“But That Does Not Affect the N.T. Reliability and Message!” 93
A Preserved Qur’ān? 137
The Early History of the Qur’ān 140
Authentication of the Qur’anic Readings 146
The Manuscripts in the Islamic Scale 147
The Testimony of the Extant Manuscripts 148
Wallace’s Seven Fables 154
Ten Shocking Facts 172
Small’s Delusion 174
Non-Muslim Scholars Testify to the Originality of the Text of the 202
Qur’ān
Appendix: “Jesus’ Gospel”? 207
References 219

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Introduction
I only advise you of one [thing] – that you stand for Allah, [seeking
truth] in pairs and individually, and then give thought.
— Qur’an, 34:46
And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.
— John 8:32 (New Testament)
lmost two decades ago, in my third year at the university, I
found myself suddenly acquiring an interest in the field of
Biblical studies. As far as can I remember, it all started with a
book, in Arabic, called “The Truth Revealed,” which I found one day as I
was digging in an Islamic library looking for books on comparative Religion.
As I came across a small shelf which only had a few books on it, most of
which were thin tomes, I checked the titles and then chose one volume. I
then went to the back of the library, where I had been sitting between two
isles full of Islamic references. When I started reading, I was astonished; and
the more I flipped the book’s pages, the more my admiration of that
wonderful book grew. Thus, it was that, “The Truth Revealed” served as the
catalyst which led me to pursue studies about Christianity, and to
consequently publish books on different Biblical issues.
What I most admired in the book was the chapter on the evidence of the
corruption of the New Testament. The author pointed out dozens of
examples where sentences or words of the text were added or deleted by later
scribes. He reinforced his point of view with statements made by Christian
scholars who acknowledged the impure state of the New Testament text.
“The Truth Revealed” was an unprecedented study in the Muslim world.
From the time I read that book, I became more and more interested in
studying the New Testament, especially the issue of text distortion. I have
read almost all the serious Islamic books on this subject in Arabic, French,
and English. After a while my research, made me feel an urgent need to
analyze more and more works by non-Muslim authors and to go deeper in
order to see things from a closer perspective.
A
HUNTING FOR THE WORD OF GOD
Despite the fact that my admiration of “The Truth Revealed” did not
fade away, my immersion in studying scholarly books and articles published
in academic journal brought me to a shocking realization: that, Muslims, in
their works, were trying hard to prove to Christian scholars something that
these scholars themselves, did not deny, as if trying to prove to these
scholars, liberals, conservatives and even apologists, that Muslim scholars
were similar to them in thought. Realizing this, I wanted to shout out to my
fellow Muslim scholars that it was past time for us to update our
understanding of various Christian issues, such as the corruption of the
scriptures. Unfortunately, I did not have a platform where I could make my
urgent call, not only because I was not the head of an influential official
institution, but, essentially, because there was no such platform in the Islamic
world, or outside of it.
Muslims who are interested in interfaith dialogue with Christians for the
purpose of guiding Christians to the way of salvation, need to know that the
revolution of information and the long history of the constant development of
methodologies and tools in religious studies in the West have created new
understandings of Christianity markedly different from the old Middle-Age
ones, even in the most conservative of circles.
I feel that the age-old Islamic challenge to prove that Christian Holy
Scriptures are mired in corruption needs to be reconsidered, not, because it
has failed to prove this fact, but, on the contrary, because, today, the
distortion of the Christian texts is a universally acknowledged fact.
Stiff-necked apologists, such as Keith Small, accuse Muslims of
claiming that all Christians believe that their Holy Books were perfectly
preserved!1 And Daniel B. Wallace answers Bart Ehrman by a shocking
statement: “I have never said in our debates that we are absolutely certain of
the wording of the text of the New Testament. So, I would agree with him
that “we really don’t have any way to know for sure.”!2
The challenge concerning the preservation of the text of the New
Testament changed dramatically from the Middle-Ages to the present day.
See Keith E. Small, Holy Books Have a History, Textual Histories of the New Testament and the 1 Qur’ān,
Avant Ministries, 2010, p.ix
2 Daniel B. Wallace, The Bart Ehrman Blog and the Reliability of the New Testament Text,
(http://danielbwallace.com/2012/05/01/the-bart-ehrman-blog-and-the-reliability-of-the-new-testamenttext/)
2
INTRODUCTION
3
Today, we no longer discuss whether or not it is accurate to mention that
Christians distorted their holy books, rather, the challenge is whether
Christians have restored their books after they were distorted. Or, in other
words, the pertinent question now, is, “Can we really reconstruct the lost
Original Text of the New Testament?”
The term “lost” preceding “original text” is not related to the loss of the
virtual books written by the authors. Nor does it mean that the text we have
today is devoid of any similarity with the authentic one. We only mean that
“lost” indicates that we have lost confidence and certitude that any passage
in the New Testament is truly authentic.
Those who believe that the text of the New Testament is now
considered lost, think that the text printed and found today in bookstores and
libraries or anywhere else includes some unauthentic or dubious clauses most
probably added by later scribes as proven through the scientific research of
the oldest and best manuscripts and other changes, the insertion of which,
cannot be proved, in the copies produced throughout the history of the
transmission of the New Testament. The first genre is an obviously bogus
text, while the second one, the authenticity of which countless Christians
defend, is proof that there is, indeed, a “lost” original, because the Christian
tradition has failed to offer rock solid proof of its originality. It is,
undoubtedly an old, nay, a very old text, but there is no evidence to back up
the claim that it was penned by the original authors. So, the claim that I make
herewith is that we have lost that text because we cannot palpably see the
fingerprint of the “original earliest scribe.”
Therefore, the challenge is no longer to prove the existence of the
fingerprint of unfaithful scribes, rather it is to prove the existence of the
fingerprint of the original authors. We all, Muslims and Christians, can see
the apparent marks of the unreliable scribes, but we debate those of the
composers.
If the conclusion is reached that the original text is unrecoverable, this
means that Bibliocentric believers can no longer put their faith in the socalled Word of God as upheld by the Church, or in the view of Jesus, as the
crucified savior, as portrayed in Church scriptures.
This is the conclusion that I will show in this book.
Conversely, the authenticity of the Qur’ānic text is being challenged
today from different angles. The historical narrations and the extant
manuscripts are the main sources of the views that argue for the corruption of
HUNTING FOR THE WORD OF GOD
4
the text. To be fair with the Christian apologists’ camp, I did not work on a
distinct subjective collection of Christian objections, rather I preferred
quoting the objections of a well respected Christian scholar in Christian –
missionary and academic- circles who discusses the most updated studies
made, whose ignoble purpose appears only to prove that the Qur’ānic text
has been distorted and that the history of the New Testament books, as
detailed in a PhD dissertation made by the same author, is superior. This
author is considered today, the most important scholar in this field, even
though his studies were published only a few years ago.
The present book is not written by a neutral author, but, rather, by an
objective researcher. A neutral author does not incline to any particular view
and does not strive to prove a certain theory. An objective researcher,
however, is interested in guiding his human fellows to enlightenment and
truth. I do not hide my religious affiliation, but I have committed myself to
portraying the factual situation of the history of the Christian and Muslim
scriptures, and to present the Christian arguments for the existence of the
original text of the New Testament as displayed by the apologists or other
scholars who share, with them, the same claim. Moreover, I have not used
any argument or any statement from the Muslim camp in the first half of the
book, when discussing what is an evident loss of the words of the authors of
the New Testament. The proof of my objectivity is that, when I discuss the
history of the Qur’anic text, I only use arguments accepted by the majority of
both Muslim and non-Muslim academic scholars.
In no way is it my intention to merely excite, in the manner of recent popular
books that declare that Jesus lived in France, travelled to India, or was a
womanizer. This book is meant to research a paramount issue that needs to
be discussed outside of theological institutes as well as inside of them, to
speak to ordinary people and allow the “believer” to cast a more discerning
eye on the “reality” of his belief.
Despite the clear focus of the topic, it is a challenge to reach its entire target
audience, because this audience consists of both scholars and lay readers.
Some previous textual knowledge is required in order to clearly understand
the details and analyze the subject matter. To assist in reaching all members
of my audience, I have made my best attempt to make unpopular and
unfamiliar information easy to grasp. Regardless of the reader’s background,
the following points are vital signposts that will help him or her to better
comprehend the main themes, methods, and conclusions in this book.
INTRODUCTION
5
 This book is not intended to offend church members, but rather to
open the possibility of another way of thinking. It discusses the authenticity
of the texts of the New Testament only through evidence agreed upon by the
majority of scholars, whatever their affiliation may be.
 Since this book refers to the New Testament’s “original text,”
definitions thereof will be based on latest studies in textual criticism (the
science that aims to remove the transcription errors occurring in the texts of
manuscripts3
).
 The main premise of this book is that the original copy of the New
Testament has disappeared. This premise has been commonly agreed upon.
In addition, scholars who believe that it is possible to reconstruct the original
text depend on three tools to accomplish the task:
1. The Greek manuscripts (handwritten documents) of the New
Testament
2. The various versions of the New Testament
3. The citations of the Fathers of the Church.
They then proceed to recompose the original text based on the pre-adopted
textual criticism method. My primary disagreement with these scholars is not
about the aforementioned method, but with the results which they may reach.
 Since the book will discuss the issue of the original text, the modern
translation will not be discussed, only the Greek text. I have included
English translations for every Greek text to facilitate the reader’s
understanding.
 Quotations from the New Testament will be from the famous
traditional version, the King James Version, since this critical study is mainly
directed to conservative readers.
 To prevent any accusations that the author is subjective and relying
on weak theories, many authorities in the discipline of textual criticism will
be quoted. Most of these authorities are respected scholars, even by
conservative theological seminary standards.
3 This is a “basic” definition of the term. The debate about identifying the goals of this discipline
will be discussed later.
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