Search and find articles and topics quickly and accurately!  See different advanced ways to search for articles on this site.

Further Topic Research:
Syntax help

The Hadith Vs. The Gospels

[Part I] [Part II]

By Abdullah Smith


Let us briefly discuss the traditions of Jesus and Muhammad. The Hadith are impeccably preserved and based on eye-witness accounts, but the Gospels are from hearsay accounts, derived from pagan sources and Hebrew sayings translated into Greek. The Jesus Seminar acknowledges that Jesus’ true sayings are probably lost forever as the result of translation.

 

Jesus wrote nothing, so far as we know. We do not know for certain that Jesus could write; we are not even positive that he could read, in spite of suggestions in the gospels that he could. His first followers were technically illiterate, so writing did not become a part of the Christian movement until persons like Paul became involved. Orality and memory Jesus taught his followers orally. He was a traveling sage who traded in wisdom, the counterpart of the traveling merchant who traded in soft and hard goods. Jesus taught his disciples as he moved about, and his words were first passed around by word of mouth. The gospels portray Jesus as one who speaks, not as one who writes. Jesus' disciples also responded to his teaching orally: they repeated his most memorable words to one another and to outsiders. They, too, adapted Jesus' words to new situations, improvising and inventing as the occasion demanded. Transmitters of oral tradition do not ordinarily remember the exact wording of the saying or parable they are attempting to quote. They normally have no written records to which they can refer, and the versions they themselves had heard varied from occasion to occasion. (Robert W. Funk, The Five Gospels, p. 1)

 

Hebrew and Aramaic were Semitic languages of Palestine, and Greek a language of the Roman Empire. The Hebrew/Greek translations of Jesus’ sayings from the Aramaic are not authentic, the Logia is perished forever. This is exactly what scholars are saying:

 

Jesus taught his disciples as he moved about, and his words were first passed around by word of mouth. The gospels portray Jesus as one who speaks, not as one who writes. Jesus' native tongue was Aramaic. We do not know whether he could speak Hebrew as well. His words have been preserved only in Greek, the original language of all the surviving gospels. If Jesus could not speak Greek, we must conclude that his exact words have been lost forever. (ibid, p. 3)

 

Some readers of this work will perhaps be surprised or embarrassed to learn that certain of Jesus’ sayings, parables, or predictions of His destiny were not expressed in the way we read them today, but were altered and adapted by those who transmitted them to us. (Maurice Bucaille, The Bible The Quran and Science, p. 88)

 

The Gospels were written by people more interested in a living Lord present in their midst than in Jesus the historical man from Nazareth. Many scholars now hold that much of what is placed on the lips of Jesus in the Gospels was put there by Gospel writers (just as the writers of Hellenistic history placed speeches on the lips of famous persons). It is really the understanding that Gospels are faith documents that has led to what is called the “quest for the historical Jesus”. (Bonnie Thurston, Women in the New Testament, p. 63)

 

The Gospels were composed after the early Christians had become divided into different factions. They were in fact composed to propagate the special teachings of the various schools and their authors showed no hesitation in tampering with the earlier documents and other traditional material regarding the life and teaching of Jesus to bring them in line with the views of their schools. (Ulfat Aziz-us-Samad, Islam and Christianity, p. 5)

The New Testament contains unreliable surmises…Let me cite one fairly typical and significant example, from the opening page of the first chapter of Norman Perrin’s important and influential book, Rediscovering the Teaching of Jesus. Perrin gives his reasons why teaching ascribed to Jesus is likely to be rather a teaching that stems from the early Church, not from Jesus himself. I quote the first three reasons, “The early Church made no attempt to distinguish between the words the earthly Jesus had spoken and those spoken by the risen Lord through a prophet in the community…” “The early Church absolutely and completely identified the risen Lord of her experience with the earthly Jesus of Nazareth…” “Further, the gospel form was created to serve the purposes of the early Church, but historical reminiscence was not one of those purposes”. (John C. Meagher, The Five Gospels, 1989, p. 9)  

"Hard sayings are frequently softened in the process of transmission to adapt them to the conditions of daily living...Variations in difficult saying often betray the struggle of the early Christian community to interpret or adapt sayings to its own situations... Matthew's  version of the aphorism "The last will be first and the first last"(Matt 20:16) is softened in Mark 10:31 to "MANY of the first will be last, and of the last MANY will be first"."

"All the evidence indicates that the words of Jesus were authoritative in the Church from the first, and this makes it the more remarkable that such scanty attention is paid to the words or works of Jesus in the earliest Christian writings, Paul's letters, the later Epistles, Hebrews, Revelation, and even Acts have little to report about them... Papias (ca. AD 130), the first person to actually name a written gospel, illustrates the point. Even though he defends Mark's gospel (Euseb. Hist. III.xxxix.15-16), and had himself appended a collection of Jesus tradition to his 'Interpretation of the Oracles of the Lord' (Euseb. Hist. III.xxxix.2-3), his own clear preference was for the oral tradition concerning Jesus, and the glimpses that Eusebius provides of Papias' Jesus tradition give no hint of his dependence on Mark. Neither do the more frequent citations of Jesus in the APOSTOLIC FATHERS, largely 'synoptic' in character show much dependence on our written gospels."  [The Interpreter's Dictionary of the Bible, Supplementary Volume, p. 137]

Only 16% of all events whereby Jesus was the principal actor are historically accurate and only 18% of the Jesus sayings—primarily parables and aphorisms- are historically accurate [1]  

Some of the events in the early mission of Jesus] were not strictly true but were added to the story of Jesus by the early Christians to express their faith in him as a Messiah."  [London Daily Mail, page 12, 15/July/1984]  

“The number of deliberate alterations made in the interests of doctrine is difficult to assess.”  [Bruce M. Metzger's "The Text of the New Testament: Its Transmission, Corruption and Restoration", 1964]

“It is difficult to know whether the words or sayings attributed to Jesus are written exactly as he spoke them.  (St. Joseph Medium Size Edition, p.23)

 

"Hard sayings are frequently softened in the process of transmission to adapt them to the conditions of daily living (The Five Gospels, p. 295)

 

Some of the events in the early mission of Jesus] were not strictly true but were added to the story of Jesus by the early Christians to express their faith in him as a Messiah."  [London Daily Mail, page 12, 15/July/1984] 

 

“His pure and true words were adulterated and mixed with legend” (David Benjamin, Muhammad in the Bible, p. 84)

 

We (can) only know Jesus through translation, and apocryphal accounts.  The Logia of Jesus was preached by Matthew to the Hebrews, and subsequently it was translated into Greek. Modern scholars reject that Matthew is a translation of the “Gospel According to Hebrews” [1]. The first ‘gospel’ (Mark) was allegedly composed in 70 CE, and there is no evidence to prove the Gospels existed before 150 CE.

 

“One would be mistaken in thinking that once the Gospels were written they constituted the basic Scriptures of the newly born Christianity and that people referred to them the same way they referred to the Old Testament. At that time, the foremost authority was the oral tradition as a vehicle for Jesus's words and the teachings of the apostles. The first writings to circulate were Paul's letters and they occupied a prevalent position long before the Gospels. They were, after all, written several decades earlier…It has already been shown, that contrary to what certain commentators are still writing today, before 140 A.D. there was no witness to the knowledge that a collection of Gospel writings existed. It was not until circa 170 A.D. that the four Gospels acquired the status of canonic literature. (Maurice Bucaille, The Bible, The Koran, and Science, p. 67) 

“In reality, the four gospels selected for inclusion in the New Testament do not make any appearance in the literary and archaeological record until the last quarter of the 2nd century, between 170 and 180 C.E., and even then they are not much mentioned for a couple of decades. In this regard, Church Fathers and archbishop of Constantinople John Chrysostom (c. 347-407) stated that the names traditionally attached to the canonical gospels were first designated at the end of the second century” (The Suns of God, Acharya S.) 

"The Four Gospels were unknown to the early Christian Fathers. Justin Martyr, the most eminent of the early Fathers, wrote about the middle of the second century. His writings in proof of the divinity of Christ demanded the use of these Gospels had they existed in his time. He makes more than 300 quotations from the books of the Old Testament, and nearly one hundred from the Apocryphal books of the New Testament; but none from the four Gospels. (Tim C. Leedom, The Book Your Church Doesn’t Want You to Read)

Not a single Gospel was written down at the time of Jesus, they were all written long after his earthly mission had come to an end”. (Maurice Bucaille, The Bible, The Koran, and Science, p. 127) 

The first substantial physical evidence for the four Gospels comes from near the end of the second century CE, about 170 years after Jesus’ demise.” (Tom Harper, The Pagan Christ, p. 139)  

The books [canonical gospels] are not heard of till 150 A.D., that is, till Jesus had been dead nearly a hundred and twenty years. No writer before 150 A.D. makes the slightest mention of them."  (Bronson, C. Keeler, A Short History of the Bible)

 

The Hadith stretch back to the Prophet Muhammad by a chain of transmission (isnad), the Gospels have no isnad; they were borrowed from earlier sources: Q, M, L, Mark. The Gospel of Mark was the primary source for Matthew and Luke.

 

How do we know what Jesus (peace be upon him) said? (It is impossible to know for certain whether the sentences attributed to Jesus (peace be upon him) in the NT were actually uttered by him. This is because missionaries have no isnads to trace Jesus's (peace be upon him) words back to him!)

 

What is isnad? Isnad is the chain of narration. The Christians have the matn (text) of their scripture but no isnad (chain of narration). Hence it is impossible to trace back the alleged words attributed to Jesus (peace be upon him) all the way back to his mouth. How can it be known that the Christian material is not mixed with falsehood when there is an absence of isnads and no verification checks in place at all. Hence the believers in the NT are all following utter conjecture and anonymous words whose source we cannot know and neither can we trace back the words or verify them. [1]

 

The Christian 'hadîth' is composed of matn (text) but no isnad (chain of narration). Without isnad, as cAbdullah b. al-Mubarak said, anyone can claim anything saying that it is coming from the authority. The authorities in the case of Christian 'hadîth' are the Apostles and later day Church Fathers. But how can one be sure that the Christian 'hadîth' is not mixed with falsehood without the proper isnad and its verification? [2]

 

Most Greek-speaking authors heard these traditions in the Aramaic vernacular and committed them to writing in Greek. None of these writings is dated prior to the year 70 C.E.; there is not a single instance in these works where the author has cited an authority for an event or maxim attributed to Jesus (peace be upon him) in order that we might construct a chain of transmission. Furthermore, even their works have not survived. Thousands of Greek manuscripts of the New Testament were collected, but none of them is older than the fourth century C.E.; rather the origin of most of them does not go beyond the period intervening between the 11th and the 14th centuries.  (Sayyid Abdul Al-Ala Mawdudi, The Message of the Prophet’s Seerah, pp. 8-9)

 

The oldest manuscript of the Gospels is John Rylands P52, and it’s merely a fragment. The early Christians failed to preserve the original MSS because they strongly believed Jesus would return shortly. The Church father Athanasius selected the 27 books in the year 367 CE, these New Testament books were later canonized at the Council of Hippo (393 CE) and the Council of Carthage (397 CE), over four hundred years after Jesus!

 

In 325 A.D., the famous Council of Nicea was held... out of the three hundred or so Gospels extant at the time, four were chosen as the official Gospels of the Church... It was also decided that all Gospels written in Hebrew should be destroyed. An edict was issued stating that anyone found in possession of an unauthorised Gospel would be put to death.

 

According to one source, there were at least 270 versions of the Gospel at this time, while another states there were as many as 4,000 different Gospels... It was decided that all the Gospels remaining under the table should be burned... It became a capital offence to possess an unauthorised Gospel. As a result, over a million Christians were killed in the years following the Council's decisions. This was how Athanasius tried to achieve unity among the Christians. (Muhammad Ataur-Raheem, Jesus Prophet of Islam, p. 35)

 

Today, we have copies of copies of the NT books, none of which are identical. The Greek manuscripts are divided into four text-types: Alexandrian, Byzantine, Western, and Caesarean. The oldest ‘complete’ MSS are the Codex Sinaiticus and Vaticanus, dating from the 4th century. There are no manuscripts that date from the early 2nd century.

 

"It is interesting to see that a non-Christian scholar says that: "of all the synoptic manuscripts which can be dated to the fourth century or earlier, only two (P45and P75 both of the third century) contain more than a chapter." This can be verified by spending a little time at the Table of Greek Manuscripts page [3]

 

The events of the Council of Nicea indicate that the Pauline Church had every reason to change the four Gospels which survived. Clearly, the manuscripts of the New Testament which were written after the Council of Nicea are different from the manuscripts which existed before the Council. It is significant that publication of some of the Dead Sea Scrolls, when they do not verify the post-Nicene manuscripts, have been withheld. (Muhammad Ataur-Raheem, Jesus Prophet of Islam, 1992 edition, p. 196)

 

There are no complete pre-Nicene manuscripts; many changes were made during the Diocletian’s persecution in 303 CE.

 

In AD 303, a quarter of a century earlier, the pagan emperor Diocletian had undertaken to destroy all Christian writings that could be found. As a result Christian documents- especially in Rome- all but vanished. When Constantine commissioned new versions of these documents, it enabled the custodians of orthodoxy to revise, edit, and rewrite their material as they saw fit, in accordance with their tenets in accordance with their tenets. It was at this point that most of the crucial alterations in the New Testament were probably made and Jesus assumed the unique status he has enjoyed ever since. The importance of Constantine's commission must not be underestimated. Of the five thousand extant early manuscript versions of the New Testament, no complete edition pre-dates the fourth century. The New Testament, as it exists today, is essentially a product of fourth-century editors and writers – custodians of orthodoxy, ‘adherents of the message’, with vested interests to protect. (Michael Baigent, Holy Blood, Holy Grail, pp. 388-389)

 

Needless to say, the original MSS of the NT are lost, they were written on very fragile material called papyrus.  There is a 450 year gap between the originals and the copies that exist today. The Codex Sinaiticus (Aleph) and Vaticanus (B) are not based on original texts, none of these copies are based on original texts, and they were copied and recopied by the scribes. There are at least 250 codices that exist throughout the world.

"It is well known that the primitive Christian Gospel was initially transmitted by word of mouth and that this oral tradition resulted in variant reporting of word and deed. It is equally true that when the Christian record was committed to writing it continued to be the subject of verbal variation. Involuntary and intentional, at the hands of scribes and editors"  [Peake's Commentary on the Bible, p. 633]

"Most of the material in our Gospels existed for a considerable time in an oral stage before it was given the written form with which we are familiar."  [New Bible Dictionary - Second Edition, p.436. Inter-Varsity Press: 1982]

“…This literature was oral before it was written and began with the memories of those who knew Jesus personally. Their memories and teachings were passed on as oral traditions for some forty years or so before achieving written form for the first time in a self-conscious literary work, so far as we know, in the Gospel of Mark, within a few years of 70 A.D….But oral tradition is by definition unstable, notoriously open to mythical, legendary, and fictional embellishments. (Randal Helms, Gospel Fictions, p. 10)

"The Old Testament includes many 'memories' older than script, and many stories stamped by the storytellers' oral style. In fact, behind every type of LITERATURE represented there, lies a longer or shorter time of oral tradition."  [The Interpreter's Dictionary of the Bible, vol.4, p.683. Abingdon Press: 1962]

"The common memory of the circle and the 'chain of traditionalists' were for long considered to be securer than the script. (It must be remembered that here we have to do with generations whose memory was not spoiled by magazines and dictionaries)"   [The Interpreter's Dictionary of the Bible, vol.4, p.684. Abingdon Press: 1962]

According to German scholar Tischendorf, Constantine ordered Eusebius of Caesarea (d. 340 CE) to prepare 50 versions of the New Testament, and the Aleph and B were allegedly among those copies. Tischendorf discovered the Codex Sinaticus in 1844 at St. Catherine’s monastery; he listed over 15,000 errors and discrepancies.

 

In contrast, the biography of Muhammad is preserved, established on historical facts, not legends and myths.  The sayings of Muhammad were circulated by 100,000 companions, these traditions were soundly transmitted and passed down, some are weak, but the majority is authentic.

 

The teachings of the last Prophet Muhammad (blessings of Allah and peace be upon him) are alive, have been fully preserved and made immortal. The guidance he has shown unto mankind is complete and flawless, and is enshrined in the Holy Quran. All the sources of Islam are fully intact and each and every instruction or action of the Holy Prophet can be ascertained without the least shadow of doubt. (Abul Ala Mawdudi, Towards Understanding Islam, p. 58)

 

The teachings of those Prophets have either disappeared altogether from the world, or whatever of them remains is intermingled with many erroneous and fictitious statements. For this reason, even if anyone wishes to follow their teachings, he cannot do so. In contrast to this, the teachings of Muhammad (blessings of Allah and peace be upon him), his biography, his discourses, his way of living, his morals, habits and virtues, in short, all the details of his life and work, are preserved. Muhammad (blessings of Allah and peace be upon him), therefore, is the only one of the whole line of Prophets who is a living personality, and in whose footsteps it is possible to follow correctly and confidently. (ibid, p. 78)

 

The guidance imparted through the Prophets of the past was not complete. Every Prophet was followed by another who effected alterations and additions in the teachings and injunctions of his predecessors and, in this way, the chain of reform and progress continued. That is why the teachings of the earlier Prophets, after the lapse of time, were lost in oblivion. Obviously there was no need to preserve the earlier teachings when amended and improved guidance had taken their place. At last the most perfect code of guidance was imparted to mankind through Muhammad (blessings of Allah and peace be upon him) and all previous codes were automatically abrogated, for it is futile and imprudent to follow an incomplete code when the complete code exists. He who follows Muhammad (blessings of Allah and peace be upon him) follows all the Prophets, for whatever was good and eternally workable in their teachings has been embodied in his teachings. Whoever, therefore, rejects and refuses to follow Muhammad’s (blessings of Allah and peace be upon him) teachings, and chooses to follow some other Prophet, only deprives himself of that vast amount of useful and valuable instruction and guidance which is embodied in Muhammad’s (blessings of Allah and peace be upon him) teachings, which never existed in the books of the earlier Prophets and which was revealed only through the Last of the Prophets” (ibid, 79)

 

From early childhood to the close of his life, a large number of those who saw him, witnessed the events of his life and heard his conversations, addresses, exhortations or warnings had retained them in memory and passed them on to their successors. Some of the research scholars believe that the number of those who had passed on to the next generation eye-witness accounts or reports of events that they had heard during the lifetime of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) counts up to a hundred thousand people. The Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) himself dictated some commands and handed or dispatched them to certain people. These were later bequeathed to the succeeding generations. (Abul Ala Mawdudi, The Message of the Prophet’s Seerah, p. 16)

 

Besides, as I have mentioned earlier, the number of the Companions who transmitted orally their knowledge of the Holy Prophet’s character (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) runs into one hundred thousand, according to the estimate of some researchers. Little wonder, then if we take into account the fact that the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) performed his last Hajj, known as the Farewell Pilgrimage, in the company of one hundred and forty thousand people! All these persons saw him at the time of Hajj, learned from him the rituals of Hajj and listened to the addresses the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) delivered during this Last Pilgrimage. It is improbable when this assembly, who had attended such an important occasion as the Hajj, dispersed to their own homes, their relations, friends and fellow-citizens should not have questioned them on the circumstances of their journey or failed to ascertain from them the injunctions about Hajj. You could well judge from this, after the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) had departed from the world, how eagerly the people must have questioned those, who had seen him and listened to his speech, as regards the details of his life, his sacred utterances, commands and instructions. (ibid, p. 17)

 

Muslims consider the Hadith as the actions and sayings of Muhammad, based on reports of people who knew Him face to face. Scholars assert the Gospels are not the testimonies of those who knew Jesus face to face.

 

Jesus had no chain of transmission among his followers:

But go your way, tell his disciples and Peter that he goeth before you into Galilee: there shall ye see him, as he said unto you. And they went out quickly, and fled from the sepulchre; for they trembled and were amazed: neither said they any thing to any man; for they were afraid.  (Mark 16:7-9)

Muhammad (pbuh) superiorly had chain of transmission; his followers passed the traditions from one person to another:
 

There was a man from the Ansar (who was a friend of mine). If he was not present in the company of Allah's Apostle I used to be present with Allah's Apostle, I would tell him what I used to hear from Allah's Apostle, and when I was absent from Allah's Apostle he used to be present with him, and he would tell me what he used to hear from Allah's Apostle. (Narrated Umar, Sahih Muslim Volume 9, Book 91, Number 362)

 

The Gospels are based on hearsay and not historical data based on a chain of transmission. For example, the Hadith of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) are reliable because we can verify its authenticity by its chain of transmission! Also, we know the reporter’s name whereas the writers of the four Gospels are anonymous. Aisha, the wife of the Prophet, reported over 1,000 hadiths to us alone. She was a great scholar of Hadith and the Quran, but the Gospels are unknown, unreliable, and untrustworthy accounts which cannot even stand in the Court of Law.

 

The Church has failed to prove the Gospels existed before 150-160, and there’s no reference to the Gospels by name until 200 CE! The Gospels were composed decades after the eye-witnesses were dead.  The entire New Testament was developed long after Jesus’ departure.

 

Christianity today is said to be based on revealed knowledge, but none of the Bible contains the message of Jesus intact, and exactly as it was revealed to him. There is hardly any record of his code of behaviour. The books in the New Testament do not even contain eye-witness accounts of his sayings and actions. They were written by people who derived their knowledge second-hand. These records are not comprehensive. Everything which Jesus said and did which has not been recorded has been lost forever. (Muhammad Ataur-Raheem, Jesus Prophet of Islam, p. 195)

 

The Christian can only have a point if he shows that what the Muslim says is contrary to what the Qur’an says. But he will not have a point because Islam is built on the Qur’an. Islam cannot possibly be opposite to the Qur’an. On the other hand, Christianity was not built on the Bible. Christianity began long before the Bible was written and developed independently of the Bible. Some of Christianity’s central doctrines are contrary to the Bible; herein lies the problem. (Shabir Ally, (online Source)

 

In AD 303, a quarter of a century earlier, the pagan emperor Diocletian had undertaken to destroy all Christian writings that could be found. As a result Christian documents- especially in Rome- all but vanished. When Constantine commissioned new versions of these documents, it enabled the custodians of orthodoxy to revise, edit, and rewrite their material as they saw fit, in accordance with their tenets in accordance with their tenets. It was at this point that most of the crucial alterations in the New Testament were probably made and Jesus assumed the unique status he has enjoyed ever since. The importance of Constantine's commission must not be underestimated. Of the five thousand extant early manuscript versions of the New Testament, no complete edition pre-dates the fourth century. The New Testament, as it exists today, is essentially a product of fourth-century editors and writers – custodians of orthodoxy, ‘adherents of the message’, with vested interests to protect. (Michael Baigent, Holy Blood, Holy Grail, pp. 388-389)

 

Christianity developed separately from the Bible, breaking into dozens of different sects that produced their own Scriptures. The church in Asia Minor had its own “New Testament”. The official New Testament was not made until the late 4th century, and the previous canons were abrogated. The 27 books selected at the Council were the same books accepted by the Early Church fathers. Many books were doubted by scholars throughout history, Martin Luther and Erasmus rejected the epistles 2 Peter, 2 3 John, James, Jude, Hebrews, Revelations. These books have been doubted by the Church fathers, and they are still questioned today.

 

The history of the New Testament text is complex; the Bible has been distorted and changed over time. There are 250 codex parchments and none of them are identical. It doesn’t matter on the quantity of Greek manuscripts, the quality is most important. Scholars care less about the great quantity of manuscripts, they are troubled by the variant readings. The early Church fathers acknowledged the OT contradictions. Marcion of Sinope, the Gnostic leader of Rome, exposed the contradictions in his Antithesis. None of the early bishops mention the Gospels in written form, they never quote the sayings of Jesus from reliable sources, and they cite the Gospels from oral tradition.

 

The Hebrew gospels do not exist; they were destroyed by the Pauline Church because they contradicted the Trinity.

 

In 325 A.D., the famous Council of Nicea was held. The doctrine of the Trinity was declared to be the official doctrine of the Pauline Church, and one of the consequences of this decision was that out of the three hundred or so Gospels exant at the time, four were chosen as the official Gospels of the Church. The remaining Gospels, including the Gospel of Barnabas, were ordered to be destroyed completely. It was also decided that all Gospels written in Hebrew should be destroyed. An edict was issued stating that anyone found in possession of an unauthorised Gospel would be put to death. This was the first well-organized attempt to remove all the records of Jesus’ original teaching, whether in human beings or books, which contradicted the doctrine of Trinity. (Muhammad Ataur-Rahim, Jesus Prophet Jesus of Islam, 1992 edition, p. 40)

 

The original sayings of Jesus were obliterated and re-written for the Pauline Church. The gospels were composed by Jewish and Gentile Christians who portrayed Jesus in contradictory forms. The synoptic Gospels represent the Human Jesus, and the Gospel of John represents the “divine” Jesus.

 

“…This is true, of course, only of the Jesus found in the Synoptic Gospels (i.e. Mark, Matthew, and Luke). In the Fourth Gospel, that of John, Jesus has become unrecognizable. He uses no parables, nor any idiosyncratic rabbinical expressions; instead he spouts grandiose Hellenistic mysticism and proclaims himself a divine personage. Here the authentic Jesus has been lost in the post-Jesus myth. It is not here that we find the genuine Jesus, rooted in the Jewish religion of his time, and pursuing aims that were intelligible to his fellow Jews. (Hyam Maccoby, The Myth-Maker: Paul and the Invention of Christianity, p. 44)

 

Nevertheless, the four Gospels were pagan documents of the sun-god myth.
 

There is a huge amount of evidence that the core of the spiritual tradition handed down from earliest times was incorporated into collections of the most outstanding and vital utterances spoken by the Christos figure in the cryptic dramas and rituals of the past. These collations of “sacred utterances of the divine Son of humans” were circulated, in secret, all over the ancient world under the name the Logia, or “sayings of the Lord”. Having thoroughly weighed the research, I now believe they were the root documents from which the canonical Gospels were extracted. Then, to cover deterioration and suit the various emerging communities of Christians, they were amended, interpolated, and edited by many scribes. I am convinced that this explanation is as near to being the truth of the source, origin, and nature of the Christian Gospels as can be determined. (Tom Harper, The Pagan Christ, 140-141)

There is plenty of evidence to show that these sayings were not first uttered by Jesus or invented afterwards by his followers. Many of them were pre-existent, pre-historic, and therefore pre-Christian. They were collections of Egyptian, Hebrew, and Gnostic sayings”. (ibid, p. 140)

 

Obviously, the four Gospels were not written by Jewish Christians, they contain geographical errors of Palestine, which implies the authors were Gentile. The Church rejected the Law but accepted the Old Testament, they accepted the OT regardless that it contradicted the NT.

 

With the teaching by some, notably Paul, that the laws of the Jews need not to be followed by a Christian, contradictions began to arise between the body of newly-written Scriptures, which later became known as the “New Testament”, and the Old Testament. However, the Old Testament was retained by the established Church in spite of these contradictions, since an outright rejection of the Old Testament would have been regarded by many of the people as a rejection of Jesus himself. Confusion was the inevitable result. In the attempt to accept and reject the Old Testament simultaneously, contradictions arose within the New Testament itself, since it had to be “new” without openly rejecting the old. But, in the early days of the Church, there was no real attempt to formally arrange the books and ensure that all the accounts and doctrines tallied with each other. The leaders of the first Christian communities were free to use their discretion and to refer to those Scriptures which they thought best contained the teachings of Jesus. (Muhammad Ataur-Raheem, Jesus Prophet of Islam, 1992 edition, pp. 46)

 

On the face of it, Paul’s doctrine of Jesus is a daring departure from Judaism. Paul was advocating a doctrine that seemed to have far more in common with pagan myths than with Judaism: that Jesus was a divine-human person who had descended to Earth from the heavens and experienced death for the express purpose of saving mankind. The very fact that the Jews found this doctrine new and shocking shows that it plays no role in the Jewish scripture, at least not in any way easily discernible…There were those who accepted Paul’s doctrine, but did regard it as a radical new departure, with nothing in the Jewish scriptures foreshadowing it. (Hyam Maccoby, The Myth-Maker: Paul and the Invention of Christianity, p. 12)

 

The reliability of Jesus’ sayings depends on the manuscripts, yet the Greek MSS are corrupted texts, they cannot be trusted.

 

There is naturally much more manuscript variation in the gospel sayings than in the narrative sections, since it was the sayings that were repeatedly reinterpreted. Such variants are to be expected in any text which existed only as different manuscripts for many hundreds of years before it could be printed in the form of thousands of identical copies; for every single manuscript is the artifact of an individual scribe, who could introduce errors or what he—or his patron or his particular religious community—took for improvements. (G.A. Wells, The Jesus Myth, p. 4)

"There is considerable manuscript variation in what Jesus says on divorce, and whether Luke has a doctrine of the atonement depends on which manuscripts of his account of the Last Supper are to be taken as giving the original reading...The International Greek NT's apparatus of Luke provides what the Birmingham theologian D. Parker reckons to be "upwards of 30,000 variants for that Gospel, so that we have, for example, 81 in the Lord's Prayer." He adds: 

"We do not possess the Greek New Testament.  What we have is a mass of manuscripts, of which only about three hundred date from before A.D. 800.  A mere thirty-four of these are older than A.D. 400, of which only four were at any time complete. All these differ, and all at one time or another had authority as the known text."  [ D. Parker, 'Scripture is Tradition', Theology, 94 [1991], p. 12. Cf. P.M. Head's article 'Christology and Textual Transmission: Reverential Alterations in the Synoptic Gospels' (Novum Testamentum, 35 [1993], p. 111). [1]

Let us expose the following facts:

(1). None of the gospels are based on eye-witness accounts.

(2). The gospels were composed 150 years after Jesus departed.

(3). The Gospels are not mentioned by name until 200 CE.

(4). The early Church fathers never quote the Gospels from written sources!

(5). The Gospels are based on oral tradition.

(6). The Gospels contradict each other.

(7). The Gospels misquote the original Hebrew text (Matt. 2:6, Micah 5:2, 13:25, 27:9-10, Ps. 78:3, Mk. 1:2, 2:25, 10:19, John 7:38)

(8). The Gospels depend on the Septuagint, which is rejected by Christians.

(9). Jesus did not know Greek, yet the gospels are composed in Greek

(11). How do we know the NT books existed in 100-150 CE?

(12). None of the books are mentioned by name in the Apostolic period.

(13) The official New Testament canon was fixed 400 years after Jesus.

(14) The early Christian documents were not looked upon as Scripture. [1]


Please visit the following links:

http://www.answering-islam.com/abdullah_smith/shamoun_lied_on_bible_preservation.htm

http://www.answering-islam.com/abdullah_smith/parallel_passages_in_bible.htm

http://www.answering-islam.com/abdullah_smith/did_matthew_exist.htm

http://www.answering-islam.com/bassam_zawadi/contradictions_in_nt.htm

http://www.answering-islam.com/sami_zaatri/how_reliable_is_nt.htm

http://www.westarinstitute.org/Jesus_Seminar/jesus_seminar.html

http://www.islamic-awareness.org/Bible/Text/BibleTex.html


Moving on to Part II.

 

 

 

 

Back to Contradictions and Errors in the Bible.

Prophet Muhammad's (peace be upon him) section.

Prophet Jesus (peace be upon him) in Islam.

Articles by Abdullah Smith.


Send your comments.

Back to Main Page.