In his article published on Blogging Theology earlier today Denis attempted to refute some of the reasons scholars have for seeing Christological development in the gospels. I will focus on a few points by way of rebuttal. I assume the standard solution to the synoptic problem, namely that Matthew and Luke used Mark (and other sources) in the writing of their respective gospels. For this article I focus on how Matthew used Mark. (For introductions to the Synoptic Problem see here).
Examples of how Matthew uses Mark.
According to the dominant sources theories, Matthew preserves about 90% of the stories and passages found in Mark’s Gospel, but he edits/changes this material according to his purposes. Studying these editorial changes is the job of ‘redaction critics’ (the discipline is called redaction criticism).
Here are some examples of Matthew’s alteration of Mark. I have listed them in order of significance: minor…
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11 thoughts on “My reply to ‘On the Question of Christological and Theological Development in the Gospels’ by Denis”
Sooooo defense in a nutshell is :
“they add to each other: (despite the fact that they can’t be reconciled)
Deflect with a tu quo que fallacy (and a faulty analogy slip your hand and enter your hand does not change the meaning as opposed to different questions being asked to Jesus(as) even then I can simply say both books are wrong and it doesn’t help the Bible)
Asked what is the proof for the books in the NT being Scripture and avoids it
Uses Ibn Ishaq as a source and then when asked what his source was and ignore it.
Misquotes two ayat that work against them. The Qur’an is quite clear they changed their books:
2:75. Now do you ˹really˺ hope that a people such as this will believe in you, when some of them used to hear God’s words and then CHANGE or TWIST it, even though they understood them?
2:76. When they meet those who believe, they say: “We’ve believed!” But when they’re alone in secret, ˹they˺ say: “Are you telling them about what God has ˹revealed to us previously˺, so that they can make a case against you, with your Lord? Don’t you have any type of common sense or understanding?”
2:77. Do they not understand that God knows what they’re hiding and what they’re showing?
2:78. Among them as well are the ‘illiterate’ ones who don’t know the Scripture except for wishful thinking. They’re only making guesses and assuming.
2:79. May damnation be unleashed on those who WRITE the Scripture with their OWN HAND’S, then say: “This is from God,” in order to sell it for a worthless price. May damnation be on them for what THEIR HANDS HAVE WRITTEN and may damnation be on them for what they’re EARNING.
2:80. They claim: “The fire of Hell is never going to touch us, and even if it does, it will be only for a few days.” Ask them: “Do you have some sort of ‘contract’ with God which even then He couldn’t just change? Or, do you just make things up about God which you don’t know?
2:81. Whoever has earned a sin and then it encompassed them, will be the friends of the Fire, there to stay forever.
2:82. But those that believe and do good, will be of the friends of the Garden, there to stay forever…
Clearly refers to the children of Israel and the “illiterate” is a rhetorical device ironically referring to people like them who don’t read or know their books while claiming stuff is in them.
They did not value God as he deserves to be valued when they said: “God hasn’t revealed to a human being anything.” Ask them: “Who was it then who sent down the Scripture, which Moses brought as a light and guide to the people, which you SEPARATED and made into these exotic and expensive scrolls, SHOWING SOME but making sure to hide many? And now you’ve taught something which NEITHER YOU NOR YOUR FATHERS KNEW.” ˹Help them out and˺ say: “God…” and then leave them there amusing themselves and running their mouths with useless talk. (6:91)
5:12. God had taken a Covenant from the Children of Israel…
5:13. But they broke their promise, so I cursed them and made their hearts hard. They CHANGED THE WORDS FROM THEIR ORIGINAL PLACES AND HAVE FORGOTTEN A HUGE PIECE OF WHAT THEY WERE TOLD TO REMEBER so you will continue to find treachery against you or cheats from a few of them. Overlook this and forgive them because God loves those who excel in doing good.
5:14. I had also taken a Covenant from those who say: “We’re Christians,” but they TOO FORGOT PART OF WHAT THEY WERE TOLD TO REMEMBER. So I released animosity and hatred among themselves until the Day of Judgement, when God will tell them what they used to manufacture.
5:15. People of the Scripture! My Messenger has come to you; clarifying what you used to KEEP HIDDEN OF THE SCRIPTURE and WHO OVERLOOKS MUCH. A light has now come to you from God, along with a Scripture making things clear,
5:16. which God uses to guide to the ways of peace, all who are looking to follow what pleases Him. Leading them from their various shades of darkness into the Light, by His will, and onto one straight path.
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Thanks, I really don’t understand this “the Qur’an doesn’t say the Torat and Injeel are corrupt” argument. But it’s my wife who has the excellent response she was like: “I don’t know how any of you can just keep going back and forth with them. The only question I would have with them is that’s nice who wrote it?”
Also final note here Ken attempting to use the far fallacy claimed:
The problem is that you guys (Muslims) have 300 years of liberal anti-supernatural biased scholarship that you can use as a weapon, only because it has been mainstreamed in western culture for the past 300 years. But you don’t have in the Muslim world, because that kind of scholarship would get themselves killed; like the way those Saudis killed Jamal Khossoggi.
Even Bart Ehrman admitted, when asked why he does not comment on the Qur’an: “because I value my life”.
Besides the fact that Ehrman was obviously joking let’s get his actual opinion on the Qur’an preservation:
Interviews only about a minute but at 00:48 he says:
“There’s really not a lot to be done with the Qur’an. I mean so many of these manuscripts are just the same. So there’s not a lot of scholarship to do.”
So once again just pure unfounded propaganda to distract from their books obvious corruption. I mean the ending of Mark and the lady in waiting are enough evidence to put the matter of it’s preservation to bed. And also not knowing who wrote it but that’s a whole nother story…
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Lol, that’s a devastating quote from Ehrman!
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“have 300 years of liberal anti-supernatural biased scholarship that you can use as a weapon”
you don’t need to be anti-supernaturalist to see how shot and contradictory the gospels are.
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@ QB and tony
That’s just an excuse. I’ve been working on doing an updated version of Ibn Kathir’s “Lives of the Prophets” now that we have more available then he(rh) did. Even with me having a nonbiased supernatural view I use textual criticism to semi filter things. This is by no means extensive as say hadith criticism and I’m really just putting lipstick on a pig but even then Isa’s(as) life after filtering all 4 gospels is currently (drum roll please)…… 18 pages.
Heck I always tell people if you want to see a mess just read 1 Samuel for the life of Dawood(as). They will literally tell the story again. For example, Saul meets Dawood(as) previously and in the next chapter knows nothing about him.
And David came to Saul, and stood before him: and he loved him greatly; and he became his armourbearer. And Saul sent to Jesse, saying, Let David, I pray thee, stand before me; for he hath found favour in my sight. And it came to pass, when the evil spirit from God was upon Saul, that David took an harp, and played with his hand: so Saul was refreshed, and was well, and the evil spirit departed from him. 1 Samuel 16:21-23
And when Saul saw David go forth against the Philistine, he said unto Abner, the captain of the host, Abner, whose son is this youth? And Abner said, As thy soul liveth, O king, I cannot tell. And the king said, Enquire thou whose son the stripling is. And as David returned from the slaughter of the Philistine, Abner took him, and brought him before Saul with the head of the Philistine in his hand. And Saul said to him, Whose son art thou, thou young man? And David answered, I am the son of thy servant Jesse the Bethlehemite. 1 Samuel 17:55-58
All of 1 and 2 Samuel have weird quirks like this. It has nothing to do with an anti-supernatural bias the Bible’s stories just read weird or have loads of unbeneficial information.
Yes, it is indeed a devastating quote when a scholar of textual criticism says: “Yep not a lot to do here.’
But you want to know what’s crazy that a lot of people don’t even realize when talking about this topic? Writing was NOT the Qur’an’s primary method of preservation it was actually oral. So that means something that was secondary to us, is better than their whole primary mode of preservation.
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I say this all the time and the Christians always seem to ignore it. Memorization of oral recitation was the fail safe against any changes being made to the text.
Yeah, I have no idea why that’s just ignored. I saw some people on Ehrman’s blog making fun of us saying “Muslims claim the early Arabs have super memory” and the first thing I thought is “It’s not really a claim we still do it now…” I mean if you memorize the pledge of allegiance for example in school you know if somebody messed it up it’s not that difficult to understand. But either way, it really is a proof for Islam and I take the whole thing as motivation to continue memorizing the Qur’an and Sunnah because we could have easily ended up like the Christians and Jews had Allah not protected it.
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