Where the Wild Claims Are: Refuting Allan Ruhl on the “Missing Books” in the Bible
“Then woe to those who write the Book with their own hands, and then say: “This is from Allah,” to traffic with it for miserable price!- Woe to them for what their hands do write, and for the gain they make thereby.”
– The Quran, Surah Al-Baqarah, 2:79
This article is a response to Ruhl’s article on the missing books of the Bible.  Ruhl is up to his old tricks again, and it is no surprise that his article is again full of assumptions and errors, and no evidence.
To begin his article, Ruhl states:
“[t]he first time I encountered Faiz online I thought he was an atheist. This is because of the double standards that he uses. For example, he keeps saying that we have no first century manuscripts of the NT. He’s correct, we don’t. No first century book or document has first century manuscripts.”
Isn’t it amazing that Ruhl makes an erroneous statement right from the get-go? The padawan really needs to learn to do some research before publishing rapid-fire posts that only serve to expose his shoddy methodology. So, is he correct to say that there is no “first century book or document [that] has first century manuscripts”? Nope. There are in fact some documents even older than the 1st century CE that have survived to modern times. One need not look further than the Oxyrhynchus Papyri to see this. These documents were discovered in the ancient city of Oxyrhynchus, Egypt, in a garbage dump of all places, and the various fragments date from as early as the 2st century BCE to as late as the 7th century CE. Let us see some of the earliest documents:
- Oxyrhynchus Papyrus, XV 1790: Ibycus – 2nd century BC.
- Oxyrhynchus Papyrus, XXIV 2387: Alcman, Partheneia – late 1st century BC or early 1st century CE.
- Oxyrhynchus Papyrus, P.Oxy VI 962: Sheep Contract (Fragment) – Roman Empire, 1st century CE.
- Oxyrhynchus Papyrus, P.Oxy IX 1177: Excerpt, Phoenissae, by Euripides (Fragment): Roman Empire, 1st century CE.
- Oxyrhynchus Papyrus, P.Oxy VI 971: Invoice, Irrigation Expenses (Fragment), Roman Empire, late 1st-early 2nd century CE.
Now granted, these are mostly small fragments, but they have still survived the ravages of time. What makes their survival even more remarkable is that they were actually found in a garbage dump! They were exposed to the elements, unlike the Dead Sea Scrolls which were found hidden in caves. So if these documents have survived, even as fragments, then why did Christians fail to preserve even ONE manuscript of their prized “New Testament”? Why hasn’t even a small fragment been found? And lastly, why is Ruhl so quick to jump the gun and make wild claims without doing the requisite research?
Next, Ruhl discussed the Gospel of John, and claimed that it was “ridiculous” to demand a 1st century manuscript, since this gospel was written sometime around 90 CE, near the end of the century. Ruhl even appeals to Bart Ehrman to drive home this point. It is quite possible that the gospel was written around this time (but scholars very seldom settle for an exact date like 90 CE), but what difference does that make? What about the other gospels, which were supposedly written earlier? Why haven’t the manuscripts for these gospels survived? What about the letters of Paul, which Ruhl often boasts about?
On a side note, Ruhl needs to be reminded that the majority of scholars, Ehrman included, do not believe that the Gospel of “John” was actually written by the disciple John. Even some Christian scholars admitted this fact. The late Raymond Brown stated that:
“…in all likelihood neither the Gospel of Matthew nor the Gospel of John was actually written by the apostle whose name it bears – a position held by almost all the major Catholic commentators today.”
But it gets worse for Ruhl. Even the manuscripts that we do have for the Gospel of John still show evidence of editing. For example, it is widely accepted by scholars that the Pericope de Adulterae (John 7:53-8:12) is a forgery. The (ahem) “earliest” manuscripts do not have this passage! Thus, as Ehrman states:
“[t]he conclusion is unavoidable: this passage was not originally part of the Gospel.”
Next, Ruhl attempted to explain the missing books of the Bible (hence the title of his article). I referenced stewjo004’s article to show that the Bible mentions several books which no longer exist. Now, I do not doubt that these books probably existed, but the point of bringing them up was that they are mentioned in the Bible and yet Ruhl simply accepts that they existed, without demanding any evidence, and yet he thinks (again without evidence) that the Injeel and the Taurat must be “myths”. Who is guilty of double standards? Ruhl needs to look at himself in the mirror. Let us see how ridiculous his arguments are. First he claims:
“…these are books that are merely referenced and quoted in the OT. The fact that they’re referenced at the time of the respective OT writings that quote them shows that they existed.”
Notice the non-sequitur. He claims that they are references “at the time of the respective OT writings”, yet what evidence does he have for this? What if the “OT writings” were written later and the author was simply quoting something he had heard? What if he never actually read the book? In any case, why is a supposedly “inspired” book even quoting some other obscure book?
Ruhl then continues his train-wreck:
“[w]e know that the Book of the Wars of the Lord existed in the time of the book of Numbers. No one knew of the Taurat in the time of Moses or the Injeel in the time of Jesus.”
Again, notice the non-sequitur. He keeps making wild claims, but feels no reason to provide actual proof. In addition, it is rather silly of him to claim that “no one knew” of the Taurat or the Injeel when:
- No one can actually prove using the historical method that Moses (peace be upon him) even existed, let alone that he wrote a book called the “Pentateuch” or “Torah”.
- Scholars believe that the modern “Torah” was not written by Moses at all, but was the result of centuries of development and used different sources. On this matter, the Israeli scholars Finkelstein and Silberman state:
“[w]hile some scholars argue that the texts were composed and edited during the existence of the united monarchy and the kingdoms of Judah and Israel (c. 1000-586 BCE), others insist that they were late compositions, collected and edited by priests and scribes during the Babylonian exile and the restoration (in the sixth and fifth centuries), or even as late as the Hellenistic period (fourth-second centuries BCE).”
They also add:
“[y]et all agree that the Pentateuch is not a single, seamless composition but a patchwork of different sources, each written under different historical circumstances to express different religious or political viewpoints.”
- The “Taurat” or “Torah” simply means “The Law”. It contained the laws that were given to the Jews. Some of these are no doubt present in the current “Torah”, but there is clear evidence that the five books underwent extensive editing and revisions.
- As already mentioned, Jesus (peace be upon him) orally preached the “good news” or “Evangel”, which is known in Arabic as “Injeel”. These teachings were not written down during Jesus’ ministry. Indeed, scholars agree that for the first few decades after Jesus, his teachings would have been largely spread orally, although they may have been written down eventually. Even Ruhl would have to admit that the first gospels were not written until at least 30 years after Jesus (peace be upon him), assuming they were written in the 60s, as most Christians maintain.
Next, apparently realizing the implications of the “lost books” on the reliability of his Bible, Ruhl made an attempt at special pleading:
“[n]ow, do we have these books listed? No we don’t; but why do we need to? The Bible never says that these books are scripture, from God, inspired by God, or have to be followed. The Bible simply quotes the relevant parts needed to make it’s point.”
So Ruhl is insisting that these books were only quoted because of some point that needed to be made by the “inspired” scripture that quotes them, but that by quoting them, the “inspired” scripture was not endorsing those books as “scripture”. Here again, Ruhl just wants to be taken at his word. But the evidence does not support his case. For example, some of the lost books mentioned in the Bible are the “prophecies” of Ahijah the Shilonite and the “visions” of Iddo. Were these “prophecies” and “visions” not “inspired”? If a guy named Iddo was having “visions”, wouldn’t they have been from God and thus “inspired”? In the Bible, God indeed says so, but it seems Ruhl disagrees with the Bible and God:
“When there is a prophet among you, I, the Lord, reveal myself to them in visions, I speak to them in dreams.”
So God was communicating through Iddo and other prophets! Therefore, it follows that those books were indeed “scripture”, which Ruhl is now trying to disown! He seems to perfectly fit the model of some of the “people of the Book” as described in the Quran:
“And remember Allah took a covenant from the People of the Book, to make it known and clear to mankind, and not to hide it; but they threw it away behind their backs, and purchased with it some miserable gain! And vile was the bargain they made!”
This is not to say that the obscure books of Ahijah or Iddo were true scriptures from Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He). They may or may not have been, but the point is to show how Christians like Ruhl so easily throw these books under the bus as if they were insignificant (because that is really the only choice they have short of admitting that the Bible is not as reliable as they maintain), and that their absence from the Bible does not damage its credibility at all (it certainly does!).
Moving on to continue his rant about the “Taurat” and “Injeel”, Ruhl states:
“[a]ccording to the Quran, I have no basis until I uphold these mythical documents which are the Quranic Torah and Gospel aka the Taurat and the Injeel. These documents never existed and Faiz knows it.”
Ruhl should speak for himself. I have already shown why his silly arguments have no merit or basis. He can “uphold” the real Torah and Gospel by following the Quran, which confirms those previous scriptures and also supersedes them. How does it “confirm” them? By upholding pure monotheism and submission to God.
Then to finish of his diatribe, Ruhl concludes with a hilarious remark:
“[t]his is the glorious apologetics of Faiz. I’m done with him.”
Translation: “I cannot respond adequately to the arguments, so I am quietly running away.” This is the inevitable response of most apologists who would rather keep up the charade rather than admit the facts, and Ruhl is certainly one of them. I would also like to remind Ruhl, that before he runs away completely, I am still waiting for his explanation of the Nazarene “prophecy”.
And Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He) knows best!
 Christian apologists have an annoying habit of trying to give the best possible and earliest date for their scripture. The same applies to manuscripts. The earliest extant fragment of John’s gospel, P52, has been dated anywhere from the early second century to the third century, yet if you ask Christian apologists for the date, they will always say “it was written in the year 125 CE”!
 Raymond E. Brown, The Critical Meaning of the Bible: How a Modern Reading of the Bible Challenges Christians, the Church, and the Churches (Mahwah: Paulist Press, 1981), pp. 69-70.
 Bart Ehrman, Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why (New York: HarperOne, 2007), p. 65.
 Of course, it is ludicrous to make such an argument. I have already demonstrated, from the New Testament no less, that when Jesus (peace be upon him) was preaching the “good news”, there was no indication that his teachings were being written down at the time. Jesus’ teachings were the “good news” (or the “Injeel”) and they would have been something he had received from God. But alas, due to the poor record-keeping abilities of the early Christians, we will never know what Jesus (peace be upon him) was preaching in the temple on that particular day (Luke 20:1).
As for the “Taurat”, it simply means the “Law”. So it would have been a set of laws given to the Jews through Moses (peace be upon him). The earliest existing copies of the Biblical “Torah” (the Pentateuch) are from no earlier than the 2nd century BCE, at least 1,000 years after Moses (peace be upon him) lived! Can Ruhl provide evidence that the “Torah” was transmitted down through those 1,000 years without any change or editing? Of course not.
 As we will see shortly, however, these obscure books would have been considered “scripture” as well.
 Of course, I am not arguing that Moses (peace be upon him) did not exist but simply exposing Ruhl’s ridiculous double standards.
 Israel Finkelstein and Neil Asher Silberman, The Bible Unearthed: Archaeology’s New Vision of Ancient Israel and the Origin of Its Sacred Texts (New York: The Free Press, 2001), p. 69.
 This is precisely why it is strange that even though the “Torah” should be a book of the “Law”, of the five books of Moses (the “Pentateuch”), two of them are not even about the “Law” but are largely just a historical record from Creation to the time of Moses (peace be upon him)! That would be like if half of a law book in the United States contains a history of the country, and dedicates only the second half to matters of the law!
 2 Chronicles 9:29.
 Numbers 12:6.
 Surah Al-Imran, 3:187.