my life after graduate: Islamic Fact, Chapter 24

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Islamic Fact, Chapter 24

Muslims believe that the revelation received by the Prophet Muhammad consisted of the verbal teachings as well as actions. The Qur’an and the Hadith, the sources of this revelation, contain both the teachings delivered through the Prophet Muhammad and the reports of, or references to events in his life. Christians also believe that Jesus' words and works formed part of the Christian revelation. The sources of these revelatory words and works are primarily the Gospels.


Unlike Islam, Christianity does not claim that Jesus prepared under his own supervision a collection of his revelatory sayings and reports of revelatory events which he then passed on to his disciples. Christians agree that our knowledge about what Jesus said or did is to be gained by collections of traditions (gospels) about him prepared by others after him. This makes the Gospel tradition similar to the Hadith, both having a comparable degree of reliability or unreliability.

Even a very elementary critical study of the gospels establishes the following two important facts beyond any reasonable doubt:

1) The texts of the gospels have suffered many alterations.
2) Changes were made to earlier oral or written tradition by later oral transmitters or writers and some traditions were actually fabricated. Here is an example:

In Mark a man asks Jesus:

"Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?"

Jesus replies:

"Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone..." (Mark 10:17).

Luke agrees with Mark, but in Matthew the dialogue is completely changed. The man no longer addresses Jesus as Good Teacher but simply as Teacher. Instead of the Good Teacher we now have good deed:

"Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life?"

This changes the issue in Jesus' reply from the goodness of Jesus to goodness of deed:

"Why do you ask me about what is good? There is only one who is good. ... “(Matt 19:16-17).

The agreement between Luke and Mark and the incoherence of Matthew's version shows that Mark is more original and Matthew is thoroughly altering the earlier version probably because he did not like Jesus admitting that real goodness is found only in God, not in any teacher such as he himself. Incidentally, this shows that Matthew did not know of the Trinitarian interpretation of the Markan passage, which manages somehow to see in it a subtle pointer to Jesus' divinity. For, had he understood the verse in that fashion he would not have subjected it to such a tortured revision.

Although, the gospel tradition is like the Hadith, there is one crucial difference between the two. As we noted above, the question of the authenticity of a hadith is a matter of scholarly activity. This is in contrast to the Christian gospels, which were never compiled by a use of any scientific method. More specifically, we can divide the Christian responses to the results of critical studies of the gospels in four broad categories:

1) Some Christians reject the conclusion that much in the gospels is historically unreliable and insist that every gospel tradition is historically accurate.
2) Another type of Christian response is to give some acceptance to the historical problems raised by the gospel reports, but nevertheless keep insisting on the commonly held traditional and official beliefs by some rationalizations.
3) There are also some Christians who are committed to the traditional teachings of the church and use the critical methods to reinforce those teachings.
4) A fourth response is shown by a small but growing number of Christians who give due value to the historical questions and their critical answers.


Marie said...

There are also many, many, many Christians such as myself who do not agree with your conclusions. In other words we believe that the Bible is in fact harmonious and does not contradict itself.

mEsoL said...

marie, could u give me the real bible (injil) from Prophet Jesus? Not from version of Mark, Luck and so on. Then ,I'll agree that bible is no contradict at all.

Himself said...

After 30 + yaers several degrees in Theology Philology etc. I find that your conclusions while interesting are at best rather childlike. It tells me more about your understanding than you would like people to know however, your bias is showing. There are guidelines to understanding the Bible."Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." You have to have spritual glasses to see spritural truth. 2 Tim 2:15

mEsoL said...

We are living in an era in which the world is desperately in need of peace, friendship, and solidarity. The tensions and conflicts that so defined the twentieth century continue in this new century, and innocent people all around the world continue to suffer from them.

There have been conflicts and disputes between members of these three religions (Islam, christian, Jews)in the past, but those were the result of the erroneous reasoning and evil motives of certain states, nations, and individuals who pursued their own economic and political gain instead of the central beliefs of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. One of the common aims of these divinely revealed religions is to ensure the happiness, security, peace, and tranquility of all people by opposing conflict.

Marie said...

Hi Mesol, yes I could give you a real Bible. Matthew, Mark, Luke and John are the first four books of the New Testament. They do not contradict one another and are part of the true Bible, which has 66 books in all.

Himself, if you are accusing me of being childlike then I thank you. Jesus said to enter the kingdom of God you must be as a little child.

mEsoL said...

Erm, Marie.. As I said before, I don't want any version of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. That version already alter in the eyes of their imagination . The word of God can't beat the imagination of human being, if you review back your Bibles, you can see that the structure of sentences. They are made by human being.