Tuesday, 13 August 2013

New Testament Studies for Muslims and Christians

Biblical Insight From Dr Jerald Dirks

Muslims believe in the ORIGINAL Scriptures but the ORIGNIAL scriptures (in their entirety) have been lost, hence the need for the Quran (God’s final Revelation to mankind)

NOTES from Dr Jerald Dirks’ lecture (plus additions from Dennis Bratcher, ChristianAnswers, Bruce Metzger, BibleResearcher)

We are not speaking about translations (ie KJV, NRSV etc). Christianity has never agreed upon what constitutes the Bible.

Are Christians agreed on what constitutes the Old Testament? No!

OT Protestant Bible is 39 books whilst the Roman Catholics add a number of books to this as well as additions to the book of Daniel and the book of Esther. Greek Orthodox add EVEN MORE than the Roman Catholics; they have a 151st Psalm rather than ending with 150. They have additions to the book of Jeremiah and add 3rd and 4th Maccabees amongst others.

The Ethiopian Orthodox Church has a canon of 46 books in their Old Testament. Thus Christianity has NEVER agreed upon what makes up the OT

Have Christians agreed upon what constitutes the New Testament?

No, never!

Protestant and Roman Catholics agree upon 27 books but the Coptic Orthodox have 29 books (adding 1st and 2nd Clement) in their New Testament! The Nestorian Church omits 5 books (including Revelation) which are found in the Catholic and Protestant 27 book NT. The Ethiopian Orthodox Church has 35 books in their New Testament (including the Shepherd of Hermes).

Did Moses author the first 5 Books of the Old Testament? (plus history of the Old Testament compilation)

We know Moses did not write all of it though this is the traditional belief of the Christians. It is a cut and paste compilation from earlier source material:

J – 950 BCE
E- 750 BCE
D- 600s BCE
P- 400-500 BCE

And they were finally put together around the year 400.

Moses (p) lived is thought to have lived within the 1600-1200 BCE range. Amazingly that is at least 250 years before the first source (J) material of the Old Testament.

The letters JEDP are a designation used by scholars to identify the component parts or sources that they understand were used to compile the first five books of the Old Testament. There have been various opinions as to whether these sources were written or oral traditions, and whether each source represents an independent strand or a stage in the development of an older source. [Dennis Bratcher: JEDP: Sources in the Pentateuch]

The Torah

Most modern Biblical scholars believe the Torah (as we have it today) to be a cut and paste compilation in Babylon. The law (Torah) was actually believed to be lost in Palestine and Ezra brought the law back to Palestine from Babylonian (around year 400 BCE).

Three parts to the OT

1. Torah (first 5 books of the OT)
2. Prophets (Nabiyim),
3. The Writings (Kethubim), Christians call this the Hagiographa (the holy writings)

The Roman Catholic Church, in order to construct their OT went to the Septuagint – thus automatically accepted EVERYTHING that was in there.

Protestants used the Hebrew text rather than the Greek Septuagint and thus ended up with a shorter OT (as the Jews at the time of writing the Septuagint had not decided what constitutes the OT)

In many cases we don’t know who authored parts of the OT (e.g. Deuteronomy, 1Kings, 2Kings). We DON’T know who authored all the books of the Old Testament. Can the OT be considered reliable based on this information? No!

New Testament Reliability and Authorship

None of the disciples wrote the Gospel accounts, sadly, many Christian wrongly believe this despite being untrue.

Gospel of Matthew – (80-85 CE) we don’t know who wrote it and it is a compilation of earlier material (proto-Mark and the theoretical Sayings Gospel (Q) and M?). First mention of Matthew writing a Gospel comes around 120 CE despite the Matthew we have being in Greek rather than Hebrew and a non-sayings Gospel

Hebrews was NOT written by Paul despite legend associating it with him.

A problem with the Bible is that it is difficult to ascertain what Jesus said and we did not; the same applies to his actions. There are NO chains of transmission either which further compounds the issue of unreliability as it is second, third hand, fourth hand information.

Does the New Testament contain forgeries (unauthorised insertions)?

The last part of the Gospel Mark (Mark 16:9-20)

Earlier manuscripts show chapter 16 to end at verse 8 but in later manuscripts there is a whole chunk (12 verses) which is added after this. We KNOW this is a later (unauthorised) insertion!

Mark 16:9-20 has been called a later addition to the Gospel of Mark by most New Testament scholars in the past century. The main reason for doubting the authenticity of the ending is that it does not appear in some of the oldest existing witnesses, and it is reported to be absent from many others in ancient times by early writers of the Church. Moreover, the ending has some stylistic features which also suggest that it came from another hand. The Gospel is obviously incomplete without these verses, and so most scholars believe that the final leaf of the original manuscript was lost, and that the ending which appears in English versions today (verses 9-20) was supplied during the second century. [ BibleResearcher]

Even the internal evidence militates against this addition:

The internal evidence for the shorter ending (2) is decidedly against its being genuine. Besides containing a high percentage of non-Markan words, its rhetorical tone differs totally from the simple style of Mark's Gospel. [Bruce Metzger, A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament (Stuttgart, 1971), pages 122-126.]

More info:

The story of the adulteress in John (John 1:53 – 8:11)

It does NOT exist in the earliest manuscripts we have; (the ENTIRE section does not exist). Further explanation: Biblical scholars are nearly all agreed that the Story of the Adulteress (also known as the Pericope Adulterae or the Pericope de Adultera) usually printed in Bibles as John 7:53-8:11 is a later addition to the Gospel. [BibleResearcher.com]

American Standard Version (1901). Marginal note: "Most of the ancient authorities omit John vii. 53--viii. 11. Those which contain it vary much from each other."

If the story of the adulteress was an ancient story about Jesus, why did it not immediately become part of the accepted Gospels? Riesenfeld has given the most plausible explanation of the delay in the acceptance of this story. The ease with which Jesus forgave the adulteress was hard to reconcile with the stern penitential discipline in vogue in the early Church. It was only when a more liberal penitential practice was firmly established that this story received wide acceptance. (Riesenfeld traces its liturgical acceptance to the fifth century as a reading for the feast of St. Pelagia.) [Raymond E. Brown, The Gospel According to John (i-xii), in the Anchor Bible series (Garden City, New York: Doubleday, 1966), pages 335-6.]

This clearly shows there was a CULTURE of scribal addition which imputes tangible suspicion upon the whole of the New Testament.

More info on this scribal addition:

Dr Jerald Dirks has presented sufficient material to do away with the doctrinal view of Biblical inerrancy.

Christians; become familiar with your own scripture. Study carefully.

"'How can you say, "We are wise, for we have the law of the LORD," when actually the lying pen of the scribes has handled it falsely? (NIV Jeremiah 8:8)

God willing your studies will lead you to Islam

Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." (NIV, John 8:32)

Are they then unaware that Allah knoweth that which they keep hidden and that which they proclaim? (77) Among them are unlettered folk who know the Scripture not except from hearsay. They but guess. (78) Therefore woe be unto those who write the Scripture with their hands and then say, "This is from Allah," that they may purchase a small gain therewith. Woe unto them for that their hands have written, and woe unto them for that they earn thereby. (79) [Pikthal translation of the Holy Quran,


Anonymous said...

This is just the old liberalism that has been refuted. The arguments you make here are also inconsistent with the Qur'an as well since it says that Jews and Christians had the Torah between their hands in the time of Muhammad.

Anonymous said...

Dr dirks is a scholar.

Anonymous said...

Dr. Dirks should catch up with scholarship. He is obviously relying on outdated and oft refuted stuff.

Anonymous said...
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Unknown said...

Sorry but it sounds to me like the "unlettered" who "only know the Scripture through heresay" is a perfect description of Muhammad who included stories that Jews considered similar to hadith, but Muhammad included them in his (allegedly) "divine" recitations.

I suppose one explains that by the "lieing pen of the scribe" having ommitted it, but I dont buy it. The story I have in mind is where Muhammad has allah lifting up a mountain over the heads of the Jews and threatens to drop it on them. The reason I dont believe this should be considered divine and yet Muhammad counted it as such is because it is a story to inspire repentence by using TERROR, a theme that takes up the majority of the Quran and yet God's Holy Word the Bible is filled with God begging His people to come back to Him before its too late, not telling them they are walking a fine line and any minute God is going to drop a mountain on their heads. In fact, God gives a community of people 600 years to repent,'but God being omniscient knows they wont and thus tells the Hebrews that He is going to send them in to take possession of the land in 600 years when the peoples abomination reaches its maximum