Friday, June 24, 2005

When Did the So-called Corruption of the Christian Scriptures Take Place?

Posted in: Theology

A Response to the Islamic Challenge that the Holy Bible Has Somehow Been Tainted. By Area 51

There is an ongoing, heated debate that exists between Muslims and Christians over the validity of the Old and New Testaments. The common claim by adherents to Islam is that the Christian Scriptures have somehow been corrupted by man throughout history (besides the portions of the Bible that Muslims use to support Islamic theology, of course). Even though this challenge is severe, it is not one that goes unanswered by the brute facts of history.

In regards to the claim that the scriptures have been corrupted, there are some overall issues that must be considered in the scheme of historical evidence. Namely, it is important to note that before Christ’s time the Old Testament existed in Hebrew, Greek, and partly in Aramaic. Also, before Muhammad’s time there were entire compilations of the Greek New Testament as well as parts of Bibles existing in these additional languages---Syriac, Coptic, Latin, Armenian, and Gothic.

This means that in order for the Bible to have been corrupted after Muhammad’s time, the following events would have had to happen:

1. Representatives from every Jewish and Christian sect and denomination from at least seven or eight nations and languages, who were fighting with each other over controversial issues, would have needed to hold a conference and agree in detail on an explosive issue, namely, the changing of their Scriptures. (Of course, each sect would have wanted to change it to support the particular beliefs that split them in the first place).

2. They would have had to agree on how to issue their new, corrupted version of the Bible.

3. They would have had to convince everyone who had a Bible in any language to exchange it for a new, corrupted version.

4. All the original Bibles would have had to be destroyed, leaving no evidence to succeeding generations.

As one critical Muslim scholar comments on these far-fetched, hypothetical events that would have been necessary in order for the Muslim claim of corruption to be true:

If indeed these events did happen, then who can supply the date and place of such a conference and name the participants and their resolutions? Historical records before Muhammad’s time of events of far less importance exist. Thus it is highly unlikely that there is documented evidence to validate such a history-changing event. In addition, manuscripts exist from long before Muhammad’s birth that agree with
current translations of the Bible. (Accad, BB, 149-50)

In light of this information, the Islamic claim that the Old and New Testaments have somehow been corrupted does not seem to hold much plausibility. The fact that the Bible manuscripts from both before and after Muhammad’s time are in agreement with each other is enough to refute the Muslim challenge of corruption on its own. When did the corruption of the Bible take place if not before or after Muhammad’s lifetime? Why do the manuscripts from before and shortly after the time of Christ match up with today’s Bible translations? The Muslims have no good answers to these questions. Also, there is the issue of the validity of the canon of the Muslim’s very own Koran to be considered as well (e.g. Why was Uthman’s compilation the one standardized and all the others burned? Why is it that some scholars who critically analyze early Koranic manuscripts are either killed or banished from Muslim countries? Etc.) Because of these historical facts, it is quite reasonable to conclude that the Bible stands as credible against the Muslim challenge that the Christian Scriptures have somehow been corrupted over the course of world history.

(Accad, Building Bridges, Navpress 1997) 142-51
(Geisler and Saleeb, Answering Islam, Baker 1993)
(Sasan T. Lectures on Islam, Summer 2004)
(I was abducted by 17 aliens in 1998 and held captive for a period of 6 months where some of this information was revealed to me telepathically)


Anonymous Matthew Mullins said...

Since you have no trackback the response is here

10:57 AM  
Blogger Sal Monella said...

Hey Matt, thanks so much for you articulate reply to my post.

I will just say the following in response.

Let's just say for the sake of argument that you are wrong, Matt.

Well, see . . . you're wrong, Matt.

Q. E. D.

6:54 PM  
Blogger Sal Monella said...

Hey Matt, I was just kidding last time. I think you are right in that I could have been more detailed in what I was saying. I suppose that I just assume that only SES students look at this blog, so I figure that they are all *given to my givens*.

I think that Mr. Peirce clarified things well over at your site.

Thnaks again for your feedback.

A. 51

8:35 AM  
Anonymous Tom Belt said...

Great comments Area 51. Just one response. Accad wasn't a "Muslim" scholar. He was never a Muslim (he was born into a nominal Christian home) and had no recognized academic qualifications in Islam. He deeply loved Muslims though, and made the study of Islam his life's passion and for that was highly respected by Muslims and non-Muslims alike.


10:46 AM  
Blogger Sal Monella said...


Thanks for the info on Accad. I should probably change it to "expert on Islam, Accad, says . . . "


1:36 PM  

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