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Choose Life That You Might Live

Part 9: The Bible, Then and Now
The New Testament is, by far, the best authenticated ancient document.. in terms of the number of manuscript copies in our possession, the length of time between the original Biblical documents and the earliest copies, the thousands of copies and fragments in various other languages, the copious quotes by early church authors, etc.

Carol Brooks
Edited by Vicki Narlee

List of Chapters
For a slightly longer description of each chapter, please go to the Main Index

Part 1: ‘Spiritual But Not Religious’. The question is how do you know that the spiritual path you are on will lead somewhere you want to be?
Part 2: Religious Pluralism. Anyone who doesn't have their facts straight cannot be trusted, and certainly not to show you the path to God.
Part 3: Faith and The Bible. Christianity is perhaps the only religion that does not demand 'blind faith' from its followers.
Part 4: God And His Bible. There is far more evidence in favor of the Bible being true, than there is for any of the other 'holy books.
Part 5: Differences and Discrepancies in the Old Testament.
  Part 6: Why Jesus Is Without Equal. Anyone can claim to be divine, be divinely inspired, or have mystical visions or experiences, but...
Part 7: The Reliability of The New Testament. Applying the same standards to the Bible as we do to other ancient literary works.
Part 8: Differences and Discrepancies in the New Testament. Most alleged 'mistakes' arise from understanding too little about the Bible.
Part 8 b: Alleged Discrepancies in the Resurrection Accounts
YOU ARE HERE001orange Part 9: The Bible, Then And Now. The New Testament is the best authenticated ancient document... by far.
Part 10: Historical Corroboration. Were any of the Gospel accounts substantiated by non-Christian sources?
Part 11: Does archaeology confirm, or undermine, the New Testament accounts?
Part 12: Is The Evidence Insufficient or Too Obscure? A far more sensible way to look at it is... the more severe the consequences, the fewer risks we should take.
Part 13: The Message of The Bible. The Heaven Jesus was sent to tell us about is no pie in the sky ethereal place 'somewhere out there'
Part 14: The Warning of The Bible. We are all under the death penalty.
Part 15: Who Is and Isn't a Christian. Since the word originated with the Bible, only the Bible has the right to define what a "Christian" is. Part 16: Myths and misconceptions that stem from knowing too little about Biblical Christianity.

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ON THIS PAGE

The Old Testament
The Masoretic Text, The Dead Sea Scrolls and The Septuagint

The New Testament
Greek Manuscripts, Early Translations, Quotes By Early Ecclesiastical Authors

Number of Manuscript Copies... Other Ancient Writings

Length of Time Between Original and Copy... Other Ancient Writings

Variants in the Texts

Manuscript Evidence For The Qur'an and The Muslim Hadith
Uthman's Order To Burn The Other Codices
Problems With The Muslim Hadith (Traditions)

 


Is the Bible We Have Today What Was Originally Written?
One of the most common reasons for people's rejection of the Bible is the common belief that the original text must have been changed significantly since it was first written, and therefore, it is a corrupted book. With good reason. As every good detective will tell you, a story that changes over time cannot be trusted.

But is there any truth to the belief that the Scriptures have been drastically changed over the centuries?

Please note, this is, perhaps, the most 'complicated' of the chapters. Please see THIS page for a more detailed explanation of some of the terms used, such as Codex, Apocrypha, Septuagint etc.


The Old Testament
The Masoretic Text
Because people did not have the luxury of printing presses or copying machines, the job of the scribe in years long gone was a very important one and not taken lightly. They kept business, judicial and, historical records for kings, courts, temples etc., could have secretarial and administrative duties, and because they were trained to copy documents, they also copied sacred texts. As far as the Bible was concerned, this task was undertaken by devout Jews who believed they were copying the very word of God and were thus extremely meticulous.

The Old Testament that we use today is translated from what is called the Masoretic Text. Sometime in the Middle Ages, a group of Jewish scholars called Masoretes became concerned that, since Hebrew was no longer a spoken language, the correct pronunciation of words might be lost. They, therefore, became involved in developing a system for marking the vowels, and a way to mark punctuation, accents etc. As the Encyclopædia Britannica says

     "This monumental work was begun around the 6th century A.D. and completed in the 10th century A.D. by scholars at Talmudic academies in Babylonia and Palestine, in an effort to reproduce, as far as possible, the original text of the Hebrew Old Testament.

    Their intention was not to interpret the meaning of the Scriptures but to transmit to future generations the authentic Word of God. To this end they gathered manuscripts and whatever oral traditions were available to them", and used extremely meticulous and painstaking procedures to ensure that the text of the Old Testament was accurately transcribed.

    The Masoretic text that resulted from their work shows that every word and every letter was checked with care. In Hebrew or Aramaic, they called attention to strange spellings and unusual grammar and noted discrepancies in various texts. Since texts traditionally omitted vowels in writing, the Masoretes introduced vowel signs to guarantee correct pronunciation. ... In addition, signs for stress and pause were added to the text to facilitate public reading of the Scriptures in the synagogue.

    When the final codification of each section was complete, the Masoretes not only counted and noted down the total number of verses, words, and letters in the text but further indicated which verse, which word, and which letter marked the centre of the text. In this way any future emendation could be detected. The rigorous care given the Masoretic text in its preparation is credited for the remarkable consistency found in Old Testament Hebrew texts since that time. The Masoretic work enjoyed an absolute monopoly for 600 years, and experts have been astonished at the fidelity of the earliest printed version (late 15th century) to the earliest surviving codices (late 9th century). The Masoretic text is universally accepted as the authentic Hebrew Bible. [01]


The Masoretic Aleppo Codex and The Dead Sea Scrolls

Until the Dead Sea Scrolls were found in 1947, the oldest Hebrew text of the Old Testament was the Masoretic Aleppo Codex, a medieval bound manuscript of the Hebrew Bible, written in the 10th century A.D. See Footnote for short history of the Codex.

However, the Dead Sea scrolls gave us manuscripts that predate the Masoretic Text by about one thousand years.

After years of study, it was found that the scrolls were almost identical with the Masoretic text, which substantially confirms that our Old Testament has been accurately preserved. In fact, that the text underwent so little alteration in over ten centuries is a testament to the faithfulness of the scribes, and the extremely high regard in which they held the Hebrew Bible. For example, after examining the Isaiah scrolls found in Cave 1, Gleason Archer, professor of Biblical Languages at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California from 1948 to 1965, wrote [Emphasis Added]

    Even though the two copies of Isaiah discovered in Qumran Cave 1 near the Dead Sea in 1947 were a thousand years earlier than the oldest dated manuscript previously known (A.D. 980), they proved to be word for word identical with our standard Hebrew Bible in more than 95 percent of the text. The five percent of variation consisted chiefly of obvious slips of the pen and variations in spelling. [02]

The Septuagint
The Septuagint, sometimes called the Alexandrian version, is often simply referred to using the Roman numerals LXX. It is the oldest surviving Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible, undertaken during the reign of Ptolemy II Philadelphus, the king of Ptolemaic Egypt from 283 B.C. to 246 B.C. In fact, as far as we know, it was the first attempt to translate the Hebrew Scriptures into an Indo-European language. This Greek version of the Old Testament very clearly shows that the text we have today is extremely well preserved.

Conclusion
The Old Testament, does not have the wealth of manuscript evidence that the New Testament does (below). However, the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Septuagint, plus the many, many quotes of the Old Testament by both Jesus and most of the New Testament authors, assure us that what we have in our hands today, is the same as what was originally written.

See More About
The Dead Sea Scrolls
The Septuagint
The Apocrypha


The New Testament
The New Testament is the best attested document of the ancient world, simply because, no sooner were the various book written, than people started making and circulating copies either in Greek, or in their own language. The fact that many, many other authors extensively quoted the New Testament in their own writings provided another form of record. Thus, the three broad categories are...

    1) Greek Manuscripts

    2) Ancient translations into other languages

    3) Quotes from the New Testament found in the writings of early Christians.

Greek Manuscripts
There are more than 6,000 Greek manuscripts of all, or part, of the New Testament. The fragments, or almost complete copies, listed below are some of the earliest in our possession.

    Rylands Papyrus (P52)
    This fragment, found in Egypt, is less than nine cm high. Written in Greek, it is the earliest surviving papyrus fragment of the New Testament in any language. The papyrus is written on both sides, which tells us it was part of a codex (a folded and sewn book), not a scroll or single sheet. The front has parts of seven lines from the Gospel of John 18:31–33, and the back has parts of seven lines from verses 37–38. The Rylands Papyrus, dated to about 130 A.D. proved critics wrong when they stated that the fourth gospel was written in the late second century, therefore could not have been written by the disciple John.

      "It provides us with invaluable evidence of the spread of Christianity in areas distant from the land of its origin; it is particularly interesting to know that among the books read by the early Christians in Upper Egypt was St. John's Gospel, commonly regarded as one of the latest of the books of the New Testament" [03]

    Papyrus 4 is dated to between 175-225 A.D. Currently housed in the Bibliothèque nationale de France in Paris, it is one the earliest manuscripts of the Gospel of Luke and contains extensive sections of its first six chapters.

    Papyrus 46 is among these oldest surviving New Testament manuscripts in Greek, dated between 175-225 A.D. "The existing leaves contain (in this order) the last eight chapters of Romans; all of Hebrews; virtually all of 1–2 Corinthians; all of Ephesians, Galatians, Philippians, Colossians; and two chapters of 1 Thessalonians. All of the leaves have lost some lines at the bottom through deterioration.... 30 of the leaves are now at the University of Michigan and 56 are in the Chester Beatty Collection in Dublin, Ireland. [04]

    Papyrus 66... a near complete codex (manuscript in book form) of the Gospel of John, and part of the collection known as the Bodmer Papyri, is dated to around 200 A.D., which makes it one of the oldest New Testament manuscripts known to exist. it is merely one century removed from the original writing.

    Papyrus 75 also dates back to about the same time. Stored in the Vatican library, it contains about half the text of Luke and John (Luke 3-18,22-24; John 1-15)

    The Chester Beatty papyri "are some of the oldest and most important biblical manuscripts known to exist". Housed at the Chester Beatty Library (CBL) in Dublin, the papyri "include the oldest manuscript of Paul's letters (dated c. AD 200), the oldest manuscript of Mark’s Gospel, portions of the other Gospels and Acts (third century), and the oldest manuscript of Revelation (third century). One or two of the Old Testament papyri are as old as the second century AD". [05]

    Codex Vaticanus,
    is named so because it is the most famous manuscript in the Vatican library, stored there since at least the 15th century. Vaticanus is generally believed to be from the fourth century, which would make it the oldest, nearly complete, surviving manuscript of the Greek Bible.

    Codex Sinaiticus
    was originally discovered in the Greek Orthodox Saint Catherine's Monastery on Mount Sinai. The manuscript eventually wound up in Saint Petersburg, but was later sold to the British Library where, except for a few missing leaves, it still resides. Like Codex Vaticanus, Sinaiticus is also believed to be from the fourth century, but is usually dated a little later than Vaticanus.


Early Translations Into Other Languages
The Latin Vulgate, the oldest nearly complete version of the Bible in Latin, was translated by the scholar Jerome about 400 A.D. There are literally thousands of Latin manuscripts (some say as many as 8,000) of part, or all, of the New Testament, some of which date back almost to Jerome's original translation.

Additionally, there are apparently, more than 1,000 copies and fragments of the New Testament in various languages of the day... For example, Syriac, Coptic, Armenian, Gothic, and Ethiopic," [Jimmy Williams. Are The Biblical Documents Reliable?] For example, the general consensus is that the New Testament of the Peshitta (the standard version of the Bible for churches in the Syriac tradition), was probably translated from the Greek in the 2nd century AD.

Quotes By Early Ecclesiastical Authors
Christian authors, who lived as early as the first and second centuries, quoted extensively from the Scriptures, obviously using texts much older than any in our possession today. The manuscripts we have of their writings contain so many quotes from the Bible that, it is said, if we were to lose the entire New Testament tomorrow, it would be possible to, with the exception of a few verses, reconstruct it in its entirety. To quote Christian apologist, Norman Geisler... (Emphasis Added)

    There were some 36,000 citations of the NT by just a handful of early Fathers (GIB revised, 431). But counting all the Church Fathers, Dan Wallace estimates that there are about one million citations! (see J Ed Komoszewski; M James Sawyer; Daniel B Wallace, Reinventing Jesus, Kregel, 2006, Chap. 6, n. 14). Wallace estimates that 43% of NT verses are in manuscripts that date from before 250 AD. [06]

These early authors include... The number in brackets is the date of their death.

    Clement of Rome (about 96 AD.); Ignatius (107 AD.), Polycarp (a disciple of John the Apostle, 155 AD.), Justin Martyr (165 AD.), Irenaeus (a disciple of Polycarp, 200 AD.), Clement of Alexandria (220 A.D.), Tertullian (220 A.D.), and Origen (254 A.D.)


Number of Manuscript Copies... Other Ancient Writings
The number of manuscript copies of the New Testament far surpass the number of copies of any other ancient document. According to scholar F.F. Bruce, we have nine or 10 good copies of Caesar's Gallic Wars; 35 copies of Livy's Roman History; four and a half copies of Tacitus' Histories, ten full and two partial copies of Tacitus' Annals; 8 manuscripts of Thucydides' History, and just as few of the History of Herodotus.

Note: The number of copies of Homer's Iliad has been widely reported as 643, however, Christian apologist, Norman Geisler, has substantially revised this number...

    "... with the discovery of large numbers of Greek papyri manuscripts of the Iliad (dating 300-150 BC), the number has jumped to nearly 1800 copies of Homer’s classic". [07]


Length of Time Between Original and Copy... Other Ancient Writings

It stands to reason that the closer a document is to the event it describes, the more credible it is. However, in most cases, the manuscripts of secular ancient writings in our possession can be centuries removed from the original writings. Yet, as F.F. Bruce goes on to say (Emphasis Added)

    "...no classical scholar would listen to an argument that the authenticity of Herodotus or Thucydides is in any doubt because the earliest MSS of their works which are of any use to us are over 1,300 years later than the originals." [08]

The length of time between the original Biblical documents and the earliest copies is the shortest, by far, of any ancient writing. Let me remind the reader that

    Caesar's Gallic Wars was composed between 58 and 50 B.C. But the oldest of the surviving nine or ten good manuscripts is some 900 years after Caesar's day.

    Herodotus, a Greek historian lived in the fifth century BC and wrote a long account of the Greco-Persian Wars called The Histories. The earliest copy of this work dates to around 900 A.D.

    Tacitus' wrote his Histories and his Annals about 100 AD, both of which rely on two manuscripts.. one from the ninth century and the other from the eleventh.

    Thucydides, who also lived in the fifth century BC, is considered one of the greatest ancient historians, who chronicled the long lasting Peloponnesian war between Athens and Sparta. Virtually everything we know about this war comes from his work yet, the earliest copy of any manuscripts of Thucydides' work also dates to around 900 AD, a full 1,300 years after it was written.

    Alexander the Great was born 356 BC and died in  323 BC. His victory at the battle of Gaugamela on the Persian plains was a decisive victory which led to the fall of the Persian Empire. An account of the battle was written by Arrian, a Greek historian, who wrote his account approximately 350 years after the event, but is generally considered the most reliable, since it is believed, although not definitively known, that he based his account on Ptolemy who was a general under Alexander. The original works are all lost.

As said in A Companion to Ancient Macedonia, edited by Joseph Roisman (Professor of Classics at Colby College) and Ian Worthington (Professor of History at the University of Missouri)

    Despite Alexander's spectacular accomplishments, contemporary sources about him exist today only as fragments or minor accomplishments in oratory and we have only a handful of inscriptions. For a narrative of his reign we are dependent on five much later sources. The earliest of these is Diodorus Siculus (first century BC), followed by Quintus Curtius Rufus (mid-to later first century AD), Arrian (first to second century AD), the biographer Plutarch (first to second century AD), and finally, Justin, whose epitome of a first century BC wok by Pompeius Trogus (now lost) could date to as late as the fourth century AD. [09]

As the book goes on to say... "The greatest challenge in any study of Alexander is the nature of the source material about him, for all too often we are presented with a *legendary Alexander as opposed to a historical one. Getting to the real Alexander is next to impossible”.

    *The Alexander Romance and Plutrach's On the Fortune or Virtue of Alexander,

What about the authors who wrote closer in time to the New Testament authors....

    Livy's Roman History, written between 59 B.C. and 17 A.D., come from some twenty manuscripts, only one of which is as old as the fourth century. This one contains only fragments of books 3-6.

    Josephus wrote The Jewish Antiquities, about A.D. 94. There are no surviving extant manuscripts of Josephus' works that can be dated before the 11th century. DETAILS

    Pliny's Letters were written about 110-112 A.D. The earliest copy in our possession dates to about 850 A.D.... a full seven centuries later.

    Suetonius, a Roman historian, lived between 70 AD and 140 AD. His book The Twelve Caesars is considered a very significant source of Roman history. Yet the earliest copy of Twelve Caesars is dated around AD 950, a full 800 years later.


Conclusion
The New Testament, with its thousands of Greek manuscripts, is the most well documented book from the ancient world. The total tally of some 6,000 full or partial Greek manuscripts, the 8,000 or so Latin translations, the copies and fragments of the New Testament in various other languages, and the copious quotes by early church writers make the New Testament the best authenticated ancient document... miles ahead of any of the others.

This does not in any way mean that there are absolutely no differences between the texts.


Variants in the Texts
As said by Daniel Wallace, professor of New Testament Studies at Dallas Theological Seminary... "a variant is simply the difference in wording found in a single manuscript or a group of manuscripts (either way, it's still only one variant) that disagrees with a base text". [10] y the way, I recommend you read Daniel Wallace's article on textual variants, which number is said to be higher than previously thought. As said by Norman L. Geisler...

    Due to more recent studies, the number has now swelled to 400,000 (Bart Ehrman, Misquoting Jesus, pp. 89-90). Wallace agrees with this number, citing several sources.

    However, this number is misleading for a couple reasons. First, a "variant" is not an error. It is simply a different reading from the standard text. Second, the vast majority of variants are grammatical variants in form and do not affect the content of the message. Even Bible critic Bart Ehrman admits that "It would be a mistake, however, to assume that the only changes being made were by copyist with a personal stake in the wording of the text. In fact, most of the changes found in our early Christian manuscripts have nothing to do with theology or ideology. Far and away the most changes are results of mistakes, pure and simple - slips of the pen, accidental omissions, inadvertent additions, misspelled words, blunders of one sort or another" (Misquoting Jesus, 55, emphasis added).

    Finally... only a small fraction of the variants bear on the meaning of the text, and none affect any major doctrine of the Christian Faith. [11]

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Manuscript Evidence For The Qur'an and The Muslim Hadith

Uthman's Order To Burn The Other Codices
In The Uthmanic Recension Of The Qur'an, John Gilchrist, author of Facing the Muslim Challenge: A Handbook of Christian - Muslim Apologetics writes... (Please note a 'recension' is a critical revision of a text incorporating the most plausible elements found in varying sources).

    About nineteen years after the death of Muhammad, when Uthman had succeeded Abu Bakr and Umar as the third Caliph of Islam, a major new development took place in the standardising of the Qur'an text. The Muslim general Hudhayfah ibn al-Yaman led an expedition into northern Syria, drawing his troops partly from Syria and partly from Iraq. It was not long before disputes arose between them as to the correct reading of the Qur'an. They had come from Damascus and Hems, from Kufa and Basra, and in each centre the local Muslims had their own codex of the Qur'an. The codex of Abdullah ibn Mas'ud became the standard text for the Muslims at Kufa in Iraq, while the codex of Ubayy ibn Ka'b became revered in Syria. Hudhayfah was disturbed at this and, after consulting Salid ibn al-As, he reported the matter to Uthman. What followed is described in the following hadith:

    Hudhaifa was afraid of their (the people of Sha'm and Iraq) differences in the recitation of the Qur'an, so he said to Uthman, 'O Chief of the Believers! Save this nation before they differ about the Book (Qur'an) as Jews and the Christians did before'. So Uthman sent a message to Hafsa, saying, 'Send us the manuscripts of the Qur'an so that we may compile the Qur'anic materials in perfect copies and return the manuscripts to you'. Hafsa sent It to Uthman. Uthman then ordered Zaid ibn Thabit, Abdullah bin az-Zubair, Sa'id bin al-As, and Abdur-Rahman bin Harith bin Hisham to rewrite the manuscripts in perfect copies. Uthman said to the three Quraishi men, 'In case you disagree with Zaid bin Thabit on any point in the Qur'an, then write it in the dialect of the Quraish as the Qur'an was revealed in their tongue'. They did so, and when they had written many copies, Uthman returned the original manuscripts to Hafsa. Uthman sent to every Muslim province one copy of what they had copied, and ordered that all the other Qur'anic materials, whether written in fragmentary manuscripts or whole copies, be burnt. (Sahih al-Bukhari, Vol. 6, p.479).

    For the first time in the official works of the Hadith literature we read of other codices that were being compiled, in addition to the one done by Zaid for Abu Bakr, and that these were widely accepted and well-known, certainly far more so than the codex of Zaid which by this time was in the private possession of Hafsah. While some of those texts consisted only of a selection of portions, it is clearly stated that others were complete codices of the whole Qur'an.....

    Uthman's action was drastic, to say the least. Not one of the other codices was exempted from the order that they be destroyed. It can only be assumed that the differences in reading between the various texts was so vast that the Caliph saw no alternative to an order for the standardising of one of the texts and the annihilation of the rest. The fact that none of the other texts was spared shows that none of the codices, Zaid's included, agreed with any of the others in its entirety. There must have been serious textual variants between the texts to warrant such action.....

    These were hand-written codices carefully copied out, some as complete records of the whole Qur'an text, by the most prominent of Muhammad's companions who were regarded as authorities on the text. It was these codices that Uthman eliminated. Uthman burnt and destroyed complete manuscripts of the whole Qur'an copied out by Muhammad's immediate companions. [12]

Jay Smith (see next section) adds

    We have absolutely no evidence for the original Qur’anic text. Nor do we have any of the alleged four copies which were made of this recension and sent to Mecca, Medina, Basra and Damascus...

and

    Even "Hafsah's copy," from which the final recension was taken, was burned. [13]


Problems With The Muslim Hadith (Tradition
s)
According to theopedia.com, Jay Smith, who has a Masters degree in Islamic studies from Fuller Theological Seminary and is currently working on a Ph.D at London School of Theology, has worked with Muslims for over 23 years. "He is famous for his unique evangelistic ministry. Every weekend he leads dozens of Christians to the Speakers Corner in Hyde Park in London, where they meet with hundreds of Muslims face to face, to make friends, answer tough questions, debate the latest research and ideas, and share their faith. " [14]

The following quotes are from Jay Smith's article Is the Qur’an the Word of God?, in which he tells us about the Hadith, or traditions, in Islam, which were written 150-300 years after the fact. (Note: All emphasis has been added)

    The Hadith are thousands of short reports or narratives (akhbar) on the sayings and deeds of the prophet which were collected by Muslims in the ninth and tenth centuries. Of the six most famous collections of Hadith, those of al-Bukhari (died 870 A.D.) are considered by many Muslims as the most authoritative.

Contradictory Accounts: Smith goes on to say

    "Another difficulty are the seeming contradictory accounts given by different compilers (Rippin 1990:10-11). Many are variations on a common theme. Take for example the 15 different accounts of Muhammad's encounter with a representative of a non-Islamic religion who recognizes him as a future prophet (Crone 1987:219-220). Some traditions place this encounter during his infancy (Ibn Hisham ed.1860:107), others when he was nine or twelve years old (Ibn Sa'd 1960:120), while others say he was twenty-five at the time (Ibn Hisham ed.1860:119). Some traditions maintain that he was seen by Ethiopian Christians (Ibn Hisham ed.1860:107), or by Jews ( Abd al-Razzaq 1972: 318), while others maintain it was a seer or a Kahin at either Mecca, or Ukaz or Dhu'l-Majaz (Ibn Sa'd 1960:166; Abd al-Razzaq 1972:317; Abu Nu'aym 1950:95, 116f)....

    Consequently it is difficult to ascertain which reports are authentic, and which are to be discarded. This is a problem which confounds Muslims and orientalists even today.... "

Proliferation:
And

    "A further problem with these traditions is that of proliferation. As we have mentioned, these works begin to appear not earlier than the eighth century (200-300 years after the event to which they refer). Then suddenly they proliferate by the hundreds of thousands. Why? How can we explain this proliferation?

    Take the instance of the death of ‘Abdallah, the father of Muhammad. The compilers of the mid to late eighth century (Ibn Ishaq and Ma’mar) were agreed that Abdallah had died early enough to leave Muhammad an orphan; but as to the specific details of his death, God knew best’

    Further on into the ninth century more seems to be known. Waqidi, who wrote fifty years later tells us not only when Abdallah died, but how he died, where he died, what his age was, and the exact place of his burial. According to Michael Cook, "this evolution in the course of half a century from uncertainty to a profusion of precise detail suggests that a fair amount of what Waqidi knew was not knowledge."

Weeding Out The Hadith

    "Furthermore, the sheer number of Hadiths which suddenly appear in the ninth century creates a good deal of scepticism. It has been claimed that by the mid-ninth century there were over 600,000 hadith, or early stories about the prophet. In fact, tradition has it that they were so numerous that the ruling Caliph asked Al Bukhari, the well-known scholar, to collect the true sayings of the prophet out of the 600,000. Obviously, even then there was doubt concerning the veracity for many of these Hadith.

    Bukhari never spelled out the criteria which guided his choice, except for vague pronouncements of "unreliability" or "unsuitability". In the end, he retained only 7,397 of the hadith, or roughly a mere 1.2%! However, allowing for repetition, the net total was 2,762, gathered, it is said, from the 600,000. What this means is that of the 600,000 hadith 592,603 of them were false, and had to be scrapped. Thus nearly 99% of these hadith were considered spurious. This beggars belief!

    Ironically it is just this sort of scenario which creates doubt about the authenticity of any of the hadith. Where did these 600,000 sayings come from in the first place if so many were considered to be spurious? Were any of them written down? Do we have any evidence of their existence before this time? None at all!" [15] [Read Article]

 

Continue on to Part 10: Part 10: Historical Corroboration...
Were Any Of The Gospel Accounts Substantiated By Non-Christian Sources?

Secular writings do confirm that Jesus was crucified under Pontius Pilate, during the reign of Tiberias. That His crucifixion briefly checked the spread of Christianity which, however did not stay suppressed for long. That an "immense multitude" believed in Jesus by the time of Nero, and were arrested for their faith by the emperor. They also confirm that a man called James, the brother of Jesus, was condemned by the Sanhedrin, and stoned. While none of this proves Jesus is the Son of God, it certainly lends credibility to the Gospel accounts. CLICK HEREl


Footnote I
The Aleppo Codex is a full manuscript of the entire Bible, which was written in about 930. For more than a thousand years, the manuscript was preserved in its entirety in important Jewish communities in the Near East: Tiberias, Jerusalem, Egypt, and in the city of Aleppo in Syria. However, in 1947, after the United Nations Resolution establishing the State of Israel, it was damaged in riots that broke out in Syria. At first people thought that it had been completely destroyed. Later, however, it turned out that most of the manuscript had been saved and kept in a secret hiding place. In 1958, the Aleppo Codex was smuggled out of Syria to Jerusalem and delivered to the President of the State of Israel, Izhak Ben-Zvi. [16] [PLACE IN TEXT]

 

Endnotes (Chapter 9)

[01] Masoretic text. Written by The Editors of Encyclopædia Britannica. Last Updated 9-20-2013.
 http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/368081/Masoretic-text

[02] Gleason Archer, A Survey of Old Testament Introduction (Chicago, IL.: Moody Press, 1985), Pg 25

[03] Papyrus 52. Bible Research. Contents copyright © 2001-2012 by Michael D. Marlowe.
 http://www.bible-researcher.com/papyrus.52.html

[04] Papyrus 46. Bible Research. Contents copyright © 2001-2012 by Michael D. Marlowe. http://www.bible-researcher.com/papy46.html

[05] Daniel B. Wallace Chester Beatty Papyri At CSNTM. http://danielbwallace.com/2013/09/17/chester-beatty-papyri-at-csntm/

[06] Norman L. Geisler. Updating the Manuscript Evidence for the New Testament. September 2013. http://normangeisler.net/articles/Bible/Reliability/Norman%20Geisler%20-%20Updating%20the%20Manuscript%20Evidence%20for%20the%20New%20Testament.pdf

[07] ibid.

[08] F.F. Bruce The New Testament Documents, Are They Reliable? Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company (April 2, 2003). Pg. 11.

[09] A Companion to Ancient Macedonia. Alexander the Great. Macedonia and Asia. (Dawn L Gilley and Ian Worthington.) edited by Joseph Roisman, Ian Worthington. Page 186-187. Wiley-Blackwell; 1 edition (December 6, 2010)

[10] Daniel B. Wallace. The Number of Textual Variants: An Evangelical Miscalculation. https://bible.org/article/number-textual-variants-evangelical-miscalculation

[11] Norman L. Geisler. Updating the Manuscript Evidence for the New Testament. September 2013. http://normangeisler.net/articles/Bible/Reliability/Norman%20Geisler%20-%20Updating%20the%20Manuscript%20Evidence%20for%20the%20New%20Testament.pdf

[12] John Gilchrist. Jam' Al-Qur'an: The Codification Of The Qur'an Text. Chapter 2... The Uthmanic Recension Of The Qur'an. http://answering-islam.org/Gilchrist/Jam/chap2.html

[13] Jay Smith. Is The Qu’ran The Word of God? www.inplainsite.org/html/quran_word_of_god_1.html

[14] http://www.theopedia.com/Jay_Smith

[15] Jay Smith. Is The Qu’ran The Word of God? www.inplainsite.org/html/quran_word_of_god_1.html

[16] Yosef Ofer. Introduction . The Aleppo Codex. http://www.aleppocodex.org/links/6.html

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