Monday, July 30, 2012

Refuting Muslim attacks on the Gospel of John

I just published this at my other blog, at "wordpress", called "apologeticsandagape", which I created in order to interact with Muslim blog articles by Paul Bilal Williams and the Muslim Debate Initiative.

I repeat it here:

Sam Shamoun has written a very good article that refutes Paul Bilal William's attacks on the Gospel of John, called "Jesus, John's Gospel, and Williams". (also linked again below)  Paul Williams likes to quote many different scholars on the Gospel of John, and also tries to use the more conservative ones like Richard Bauckham, F. F. Bruce, and Ben Witherington to make his case.

Paul Bilal Williams' favorite quote from Bauckham is this:

"All scholars, whatever their views of the redactional work of the Synoptic Evangelists and of the historical reliability of the Gospel of John, agree that the latter presents a much more thoroughly and extensively interpreted version of the story of Jesus." (Jesus and the Eyewitnesses; Richard Bauckham,  p. 410.)

[By the way, "all scholars" agree that Jesus the Messiah was crucified and died on a Roman cross in real history.  The Qur'an denies real history - Surah 4:157. ]

Richard Bauckham does say that John's Gospel is more "interpretive", but that is not a problem, as we can see that John wrote John 1:1-18 and writes what the Holy Spirit told him to write about Jesus. John chapters 14 and 16 clearly say the Holy Spirit will come and teach the disciples and lead them into all the truth.  Remember also that John (and Peter and James) were the inner circle of friends of Jesus' disciples.  John had more access to Jesus than Bartholomew and Philip and Matthew and Thomas.  Peter was a man of action, and Mark writes his Gospel reflecting Peter's action oriented personality.

Bauckham never says in the quotes that Paul Williams supplies that "John put words in Jesus' mouth".  You can read the quotes that Paul provides from Bauckham at the beginning of the article at  (see below)  So, Richard Bauckham never says the words recorded by John as spoken by Jesus are "made up".  And John 1:1-18 is not something that is just "made up", but is inspired truth that the Holy Spirit led John the apostle to write.  If that is what Bauckham means by "interpretive", then that is fully compatible with the Christian view of inspiration and that all the 27 books of the NT are "God-breathed" (2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:20-21).

"Jesus, John's Gospel, and Williams", by Sam Shamoun:

What follows is Sam Shamoun's rebuttal, with my added comments and my numbering and emboldening of his main points.

"Williams calls into question the veracity of John’s Gospel, even though it is a first century document that Williams’ own cited author [Richard Bauckham, Jesus and the Eye-Witnesses]  admits was written by an eyewitness of the historical Jesus, solely because it reads differently from the other Gospels!

And yet Williams follows a book which comes over 600 yeas later (which assumes that the traditional dating is correct, an assumption which we have no good reasons for accepting), that was composed by a so-called prophet who never met the historical Jesus, and never knew (let alone interviewed) the eyewitnesses to Jesus, whose views about Jesus contradict the testimony of the Synoptic Gospels!  [ And by someone who clearly who did not know the contents of "the gospel" - the Injeel - الانجیل .  If God was inspiring Muhammad, he would have known about the New Testament' content and doctrines and quoted from it and accurately reported what Christians believed and did not believe.  As it is, it is obvious he is just hearing things - bits and pieces of information - like Jesus is the Messiah, is born of the virgin Mary, is the word of God ( Kalimat Allah = کلمه الله - which shows that the Christians were speaking about John 1:1 and John 1:14, even though Muhammad interpreted that wrongly.); that Jesus is a "spirit from Allah" روح من الله  (see Surah 4:171), and that Jesus did miracles, etc.  ]

Now wouldn’t this mean that Williams would have to reject Muhammad’s testimony, much like he rejects John’s Gospel, seeing that the former’s statements concerning Christ do not agree with the Synoptic Gospels?

The irony here is that, unlike Muhammad, John at least agrees with the other Gospel writers concerning the Person and work of Christ.

1.  For instance, all four of the Gospels testify that Jesus is God’s unique, beloved Son:
“And after six days Jesus took with him Peter and James and John, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his clothes became radiant, intensely white, as no one on earth could bleach them. And there appeared to them Elijah with Moses, and they were talking with Jesus. And Peter said to Jesus, ‘Rabbi, it is good that we are here. Let us make three tents, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah.’ For he did not know what to say, for they were terrified. And a cloud overshadowed them, and a voice came out of the cloud, ‘This is my beloved Son; listen to him.’ And suddenly, looking around, they no longer saw anyone with them but Jesus only.” Mark 9:2-8 – cf. 1:11; 12:1-8

All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.” Matthew 11:27 – cf. Luke 10:22

The Father loves the Son and has given all things into his hand. Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.” John 3:35-36

“So Jesus said to them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise. For the Father loves the Son and shows him all that he himself is doing. And greater works than these will he show him, so that you may marvel.’” John 5:19-20
2.  All of them [all 4 Gospels] agree that Jesus is the Son of Man:
“And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, ‘My son, your sins are forgiven.’ Now some of the scribes were sitting there, questioning in their hearts, ‘Why does this man speak like that? He is blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?’ And immediately Jesus, perceiving in his spirit that they thus questioned within themselves, said to them, ‘Why do you question these things in your hearts? Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, “Your sins are forgiven,” or to say, “Rise, take up your bed and walk”?  But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins’—he said to the paralytic—‘I say to you, rise, pick up your bed, and go home.’ And he rose and immediately picked up his bed and went out before them all, so that they were all amazed and glorified God, saying, ‘We never saw anything like this!’” Mark 2:5-12 – cf. Matthew 9:1-8; Luke 5:17-26

“For the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.” Matthew 12:8 – Mark 2:28; Luke 6:5“While he was still speaking, there came a crowd, and the man called Judas, one of the twelve, was leading them. He drew near to Jesus to kiss him, but Jesus said to him, ‘Judas, would you betray the Son of Man with a kiss?’” Luke 22:47-48

“But he, full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. And he said, ‘Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.’” Acts 7:55-56

“No one has ascended into heaven except he who descended from heaven, the Son of Man. And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up,’” John 3:13-14

“Then what if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before?” John 6:62 – cf. 6:27; 8:28, 9:35; 12:23, 34; 13:31-32
3.  In fact, they [all 4 gospels] even agree that Jesus is the Danielic Son of Man (cf. Dan. 7:13-14) who judges and determines the eternal fate of all the nations, with angels attending and serving him:
“Then he left the crowds and went into the house. And his disciples came to him, saying, ‘Explain to us the parable of the weeds of the field.’ He answered, ‘The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man. The field is the world, and the good seed is the children of the kingdom. The weeds are the sons of the evil one, and the enemy who sowed them is the devil. The harvest is the close of the age, and the reapers are angels. Just as the weeds are gathered and burned with fire, so will it be at the close of the age. The Son of Man will send HIS angels, and they will gather out of HIS kingdom all causes of sin and all law-breakers, and throw them into the fiery furnace. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear.’” Matthew 13:36-43“When the Son of Man comes in HIS glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on HIS glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.’… Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.’… And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” Matthew 25:31-34, 41, 46 – cf. Mark 8:38; 14:61b-62

“For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed when he comes in HIS glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.” Luke 9:26 – cf. 12:40; 17:22-30; 18:8; 21:27, 36

“Nathanael answered him, ‘Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!’ Jesus answered him, ‘Because I said to you, ‘I saw you under the fig tree,’ do you believe? You will see greater things than these.’ And he said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you will see heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.’” John 1:49-51

“For as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so also the Son gives life to whom he will. The Father judges no one, but has given all judgment to the Son, that all may honor the Son, just as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him… And he has given him authority to execute judgment, because he is the Son of Man.” John 5:22-23, 27
4.  All of them [all 4 gospels] agree that Jesus receives reverence and worship:
“Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, ‘Truly you are the Son of God.’” Matthew 14:33

“Then they came to the other side of the sea, to the country of the Gadarenes. And when he had come out of the boat, immediately there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit, who had his dwelling among the tombs; and no one could bind him, not even with chains, because he had often been bound with shackles and chains. And the chains had been pulled apart by him, and the shackles broken in pieces; neither could anyone tame him. And always, night and day, he was in the mountains and in the tombs, crying out and cutting himself with stones. When he saw Jesus from afar, he ran and worshiped him. And he cried out with a loud voice and said to him, ‘What have I do with you, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I implore you by God that you do not torment me.’” Mark 5:1-7

“Then came one of the rulers of the synagogue, Jairus by name, and seeing him, he fell at his feet. He pleaded earnestly with him, ‘My little daughter is dying. Please come and put your hands on her so that she will be healed and live.’ So Jesus went with him.” Mark 5:22-24a

“But immediately a woman whose little daughter had an unclean spirit heard of him and came and fell down at his feet. The woman was a Greek, born in Syrian Phoenicia. She begged Jesus to drive the demon out of her daughter.” Mark 7:25-26

“When he had led them out to the vicinity of Bethany, he lifted up his hands and blessed them. While he was blessing them, he left them and was taken up into heaven. Then they worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy. And they stayed continually at the temple, praising God. Luke 24:50-53

“Jesus heard that they had thrown him out, and when he found him, he said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?’ ‘Who is he, Lord?’ the man asked. ‘Tell me so that I may believe in him.’ Jesus said, ‘You have now seen him; in fact, he is the one speaking with you.’ Then the man said, ‘Lord, I believe,’ and he worshiped him.” John 9:35-38
5.  All [4 gospels] of them agree that the Holy Spirit descended upon Christ and that Jesus baptizes his followers with the Holy Spirit:
“Now John was clothed with camel's hair and wore a leather belt around his waist and ate locusts and wild honey. And he preached, saying, ‘After me comes he who is mightier than I, the strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie. I have baptized you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.’” Mark 1:6-10 – cf. Matthew 3:11-17; Luke 3:15-17, 21-22

“John bore witness about him, and cried out, ‘This was he of whom I said, “He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me.”’ … The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, ‘Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! This is he of whom I said, “After me comes a man who ranks before me, because he was before me.” I myself did not know him, but for this purpose I came baptizing with water, that he might be revealed to Israel.’ And John bore witness: ‘I saw the Spirit descend from heaven like a dove, and it remained on him. I myself did not know him, but he who sent me to baptize with water said to me, “He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain, this is he who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.”  And I have seen and have borne witness that this is the Son of God.’” John 1:15, 29-34
6.  All of [the 4 gospels] them agree that Jesus is the Savior:
“She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” Matthew 1:21

“For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” Luke 2:11

“For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” Luke 19:10

“For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.” John 3:17

“They said to the woman, ‘It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is indeed the Savior of the world.’” John 4:42

“If anyone hears my words and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world.” John 12:47
7.  All [4 of the gospels] of them agree that Jesus came to save people from their sins by offering his life as a vicarious sacrifice:
“even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Matthew 20:28 – cf. Mark 10:45

“Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, ‘Take, eat; this is my body.’ And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, ‘Drink of it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.’” Matthew 26:26-28 – cf. Mark 14:22-24; Luke 22:19-20

“‘I am the bread of life. Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died. This is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. And the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.’ The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, ‘How can this man give us his flesh to eat?’ So Jesus said to them, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.’” John 6:48-54
8.  All [4 of the gospels ] of them agree that Jesus would (and did) rise from the dead on the third day:
“From that time Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.” Matthew 16:21 – cf. 17:22-23; 20:17-19; 27:62-66; Mark 8:31-32; 9:30-31; 10:32-34; 14:58; 15:29

“But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they went to the tomb, taking the spices they had prepared. And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they went in they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were perplexed about this, behold, two men stood by them in dazzling apparel. And as they were frightened and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, ‘Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen. Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men and be crucified and on the third day rise.’ And they remembered his words, and returning from the tomb they told all these things to the eleven and to all the rest… That very day two of them were going to a village named Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, and they were talking with each other about all these things that had happened. While they were talking and discussing together, Jesus himself drew near and went with them. But their eyes were kept from recognizing him. And he said to them, ‘What is this conversation that you are holding with each other as you walk?’ And they stood still, looking sad. Then one of them, named Cleopas, answered him, “Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?’ And he said to them, ‘What things?’ And they said to him, ‘Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, a man who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, and how our chief priests and rulers delivered him up to be condemned to death, and crucified him. But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since these things happened. Moreover, some women of our company amazed us. They were at the tomb early in the morning, and when they did not find his body, they came back saying that they had even seen a vision of angels, who said that he was alive. Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but him they did not see.’… Then he said to them, ‘These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.’ Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, and said to them, ‘Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.’” Luke 24:1-9, 13-24, 44-47 – cf. 9:21-22, 43-45; 18:31-34

“And we are witnesses of all that he did both in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They put him to death by hanging him on a tree, but God raised him on the third day and made him to appear, not to all the people but to us who had been chosen by God as witnesses, who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead.” Acts 10:39-41

“So the Jews said to him, ‘What sign do you show us for doing these things?’ Jesus answered them, ‘Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.’ The Jews then said, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will you raise it up in three days?’ But he was speaking about the temple of his body. When therefore he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this, and they believed the Scripture and the word that Jesus had spoken.” John 2:19-22
9.  All [4 of the gospels] of them agree that Jesus was crucified alongside two others, with the Roman soldiers dividing his garments among themselves and casting lots for his clothing, and with an inscription placed above his head with the charge “King of the Jews” written on it:
“And they compelled a passerby, Simon of Cyrene, who was coming in from the country, the father of Alexander and Rufus, to carry his cross. And they brought him to the place called Golgotha (which means Place of a Skull). And they offered him wine mixed with myrrh, but he did not take it. And they crucified him and divided his garments among them, casting lots for them, to decide what each should take. And it was the third hour when they crucified him. And the inscription of the charge against him read, ‘The King of the Jews.’ And with him they crucified two robbers, one on his right and one on his left… Those who were crucified with him also reviled him.” Mark 15:21-27, 32 – cf. Matthew 27:32-38; Luke 23:32-43

“So he delivered him over to them to be crucified. So they took Jesus, and he went out, bearing his own cross, to the place called the place of a skull, which in Aramaic is called Golgotha. There they crucified him, and with him two others, one on either side, and Jesus between them.Pilate also wrote an inscription and put it on the cross. It read, ‘Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.’ Many of the Jews read this inscription, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city, and it was written in Aramaic, in Latin, and in Greek. So the chief priests of the Jews said to Pilate, ‘Do not write, “The King of the Jews,” but rather, “This man said, I am King of the Jews.”’ Pilate answered, ‘What I have written I have written.’ When the soldiers had crucified Jesus, they took his garments and divided them into four parts, one part for each soldier; also his tunic. But the tunic was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom, so they said to one another, ‘Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it to see whose it shall be.’ This was to fulfill the Scripture which says, ‘They divided my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots.’” John 19:16-24a
10.  All [ 4 gospels] of them agree that there were a group of Jesus’ followers who were present at his crucifixion:
“There were also women looking on from a distance, among whom were Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James the younger and of Joses, and Salome. When he was in Galilee, they followed him and ministered to him, and there were also many other women who came up with him to Jerusalem.” Mark 15:40-41 – cf. Matthew 27:55-56, 61; Luke 23:55-56

“… So the soldiers did these things, but standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, ‘Woman, behold, your son!’ Then he said to the disciple, ‘Behold, your mother!” And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home.” John 19:24b-27
11.  All [ 4 gospels] of them agree that Joseph of Arimathea buried Jesus in his own tomb:
“And when evening had come, since it was the day of Preparation, that is, the day before the Sabbath, Joseph of Arimathea, a respected member of the Council, who was also himself looking for the kingdom of God, took courage and went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Pilate was surprised to hear that he should have already died. And summoning the centurion, he asked him whether he was already dead. And when he learned from the centurion that he was dead, he granted the corpse to Joseph. And Joseph bought a linen shroud, and taking him down, wrapped him in the linen shroud and laid him in a tomb that had been cut out of the rock. And he rolled a stone against the entrance of the tomb. Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses saw where he was laid.” Mark 15:42-47 – cf. Matthew 27:62-66; Luke 23:50-56

“After these things Joseph of Arimathea, who was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews, asked Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus, and Pilate gave him permission. So he came and took away his body. Nicodemus also, who earlier had come to Jesus by night, came bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds in weight. So they took the body of Jesus and bound it in linen cloths with the spices, as is the burial custom of the Jews. Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb in which no one had yet been laid. So because of the Jewish day of Preparation, since the tomb was close at hand, they laid Jesus there.” John 19:38-42
12.  All [ 4 gospels] of them agree that it was a group of Jesus’ women followers that first discovered the empty tomb:
“When the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James and Salome bought spices, so that they might go and anoint him. And very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb. And they were saying to one another, ‘Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance of the tomb?’ And looking up, they saw that the stone had been rolled back—it was very large. And entering the tomb, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, dressed in a white robe, and they were alarmed. And he said to them, ‘Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen; he is not here. See the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going before you to Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.’ And they went out and fled from the tomb, for trembling and astonishment had seized them, and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.” Mark 16:1-8 – cf. Matthew 28:1-10; Luke 24:1-12, 22-24

“Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, ‘They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and WE do not know where they have laid him.’” John 20:1-2
13.  What makes this all the more damaging to Williams’s criticism is that the oldest extant document on Muhammad’s life identifies John’s Gospel as the very Gospel which God revealed to and through Jesus!
“Among the things which have reached me about what Jesus the Son of Mary stated in the Gospel which he received from God for the followers of the Gospel, in applying a term to describe the apostle of God, is the following. It is extracted FROM WHAT JOHN THE APOSTLE SET DOWN FOR THEM WHEN HE WROTE THE GOSPEL FOR THEM FROM THE TESTAMENT OF JESUS SON OF MARY: ‘He that hateth me hateth the Lord. And if I had not done in their presence works which none other before me did, they had not sin: but from now they are puffed up with pride and think that they will overcome me and also the Lord. But the word that is in the law must be fulfilled, “They hated me without a cause” (i.e. without reason). But when the Comforter has come whom God will send to you from the Lord’s presence, and the spirit of truth which will have gone forth from the Lord’s presence he (shall bear) witness of me and ye also, because ye have been with me from the beginning. I have spoken unto you about this that ye should not be in doubt.’“The Munahhemana (God bless and preserve him!) in Syriac is Muhammad; in Greek he is the paraclete.(The Life of Muhammad: A Translation of Ibn Ishaq’s Sirat Rasul Allah, with introduction and notes by Alfred Guillaume [Oxford University Press, Karachi, Tenth impression 1995], pp. 103-104; bold and capital emphasis ours)
The above Muslim biographer quotes John 15:23-16:1 and says that it is taken from the Gospel of Christ which John wrote down for Jesus’ followers, without a word of it being corrupted or unreliable!

What makes Ibn Ishaq’s witness all the more important is that his biography underwent a purging at the hands of Ibn Hisham in the ninth century AD. Ibn Hisham omitted material from Ibn Ishaq that he felt was either weak or damaging to Muhammad’s credibility. And yet he left Ibn Ishaq’s testimony concerning John’s Gospel intact, which implies that it met his demands for authenticity.  

Now if Williams still wants to question the reliability of John’s Gospel on the grounds that it doesn’t read exactly the same way as the other Gospels do, or that it contains more explicit statements from Jesus concerning his divine identity not found in the others, despite their complete agreement with one another concerning Christ’s Person and work, then wouldn’t consistency and integrity demand that he also reject the Quran seeing that it totally opposes the portrait of Christ found in the Synoptic Gospels?

Hopefully, Williams will prove to be a man of integrity and do the honest thing by rejecting Muhammad as a false prophet. After all, if he is going to consistently apply his own criticisms of the Holy Bible to the Quran then he has no choice but to abandon Islam and stop being a Muslim. He simply has no other choice."  (Sam Shamoun, "Jesus, John's Gospel, and Williams", with my numbering and emboldening the main points, and some comments.)

Indeed, all four gospels have the feeding of the five thousand, the trials, the crucifixion, the death, and the resurrection of Jesus Al Masih.  The Qur'an denies real history by denying the crucifixion and death of Christ, which all scholars agree - that Jesus of Nazareth was crucified and died.


Sam said...

Ken, I saw that you had asked about Nabeel's statement concerning the variant reading at Quran 33:6. Here is the relevant info taken from one of my articles:

Another example of a passage that has a part of it missing or lost is Q. 33:6 which reads as follows,

“The prophet is closer to the believers than their own selves, and his wives are their mothers…”

The late Muslim translator Abdullah Yusuf Ali records that Ubayy b. Ka‘b, a companion of Muhammad and considered to be one of the best reciters/readers as we shall see, had an additional clause which was attested by other Muslim readers:

“In spiritual relationship the Prophet is entitled to more respect and consideration than blood-relations. The Believers should follow him rather than their fathers or mothers or brothers, where there is conflict of duties. He is even nearer - closer to our real interests - than our own selves. IN SOME QIRAATS, LIKE THAT OF UBAI IBN KA'B, occur also the words ‘and he is a father to them,’ which imply his spiritual relationship and connect on with the words, ‘and his wives are their mothers.’ Thus his spiritual fatherhood would be contrasted pointedly with the repudiation of the vulgar superstition of calling any one like Zaid ibn Haritha by the appellation Zaid ibn Muhammad (xxxiii. 40): such an appellation is really disrespectful to the Prophet.” (Ali, The Holy Qur'an, p. 1104, fn. 3674; bold and capital emphasis ours)

The following renowned Muslim authority and jurist admitted that:

... An unusual reading of the Qur'an includes, “He is a father to them,” but it is no longer recited since it is AT VARIANCE with the version of ‘Uthman. (Muhammad Messenger of Allah (Ash-Shifa of Qadi 'Iyad), Qadi 'Iyad Musa al-Yahsubi, translated by Aisha Abdarrahman Bewley [Madinah Press, Inverness, Scotland, U.K. 1991; third reprint, paperback], pp. 29-30; bold and capital emphasis ours)

Interestingly, the late Muslim scholar and Quran translator Muhammad Asad actually inserted this variant within brackets into his English version:

“The Prophet has a higher claim on the believers than [they have on] their own selves, [seeing that he is as a father to them] and his wives are their mothers...”

Here is his reason why he chose to add this to his version:

Thus, connecting with the preceding mention of voluntary, elective relationships (as con­trasted with those by blood), this verse points to the highest manifestation of an elective, spiritual relationship: that of the God-inspired Prophet and the person who freely chooses to follow him. The Prophet himself is reported to have said: "None of you has real faith unless I am dearer unto him than his father, and his child, and all mankind" (Bukhari and Muslim, on the authority of Anas, with several almost identical versions in other compilations). The Companions invariably regarded the Prophet as the spiritual father of his community. Some of them - e.g., Ibn Masud (as quoted by Zamakhshari) or Ubayy ibn Kab, Ibn Abbas and Muawiyah (as quoted by Ibn Kathir) - hardly ever recited the above verse without adding, by way of explanation[sic], "seeing that he is [as] a father to them"; and many of the tabi in - including Mujahid, Qatadah, lkrimah and Al-Hasan (cf. Tabari and Ibn Kathir) - did the same: hence my interpolation, between brackets, of this phrase. (However, see also verse 40 of this surah and the corresponding note.) As regards the status of the Prophet's wives as the "mothers of the believers", this arises primarily from the fact of their having shared the life of God's Apostle in its most intimate aspect. Consequently, they could not remarry after his death (see verse 53 below), since all the believers were, spiritually, their "children". (; bold and underline emphasis ours)

Sam said...

Here is the link to the article:

Ken said...

Hi Sam!
I really appreciate your answer and research on this, as it appears that Nabeel and/or David don't have time to answer my questions. (as of yet, anyway)

My version of Yusuf Ali does not have that quote - footnote 3674 is only this:

“In spiritual relationship the Prophet is entitled to more respect and consideration than blood-relations. The Believers should follow him rather than their fathers or mothers or brothers, where there is conflict of duties. He is even nearer - closer to our real interests - than our own selves. "

So, either I have an earlier Edition of Yusuf Ali, which they added that part in later editions; or a later one, in which they took it out.

The information from Muhammad Assad's translation is very interesting, as that is Paul Bilal Williams' favorite translation.

Thanks again!

Sam said...

Brother Ken,

What you have would be a later, edited version of Yusuf Ali since that footnote is part of the original edition. Yusuf Ali's translation and commentary has gone through several purgings at the hands of Muslims who were/are not at all pleased with much of what he had to say in his notes and appendices. Yet since it is so popular, the Muslims decided to revise and edit it, as opposed to getting rid of it altogether. Hope that helps.

Sam said...

If you think that comment by Asad is interesting, then you should read my article where I quote Asad against Willaims, since Asad admits that the Quran contains fables and myths:

So make sure to mention that to Williams, that even his preferred Muslim translation admits that the Quran contains fictional and mythical stories and fables.

Ken said...

Yes, that will be useful to use against him, since he thinks he is something by quoting James Dunn, Bart Ehrman, E. P. Sanders and other more liberal scholars; and even abusing more conservative scholars like F. F. Bruce and Richard Bauckham.

I will enjoy looking into that more.