Debate: Jewish rabbi vs Christian Minister

And the Jews say, ‘The Christians stand on nothing;’ and the Christians say, ‘The Jews stand on nothing;’ while they both read the same Book. Even thus said those who had no knowledge, like what they say. But Allah shall judge between them on the Day of Resurrection concerning that wherein they disagree. (Al Quran 2:114)

Say, ‘O People of the Book! come to a word equal between us and you — that we worship none but Allah, and that we associate no partner with Him, and that some of us take not others for Lords beside Allah.’ But if they turn away, then say, ‘Bear witness that we have submitted to God.’ (Al Quran 3:65)

Please make your observations and comments in the comment section.

The above verse quoted from the second chapter of the Holy Quran, highlights among other details that in the arguments and commentary put forward by the Jews and the Christians, one can come to better understanding of the reality of the Bible.    It is a historic fact that a lot of genuine criticism of the New Testament, among University based scholarship, has arisen from the influence of Judaism!

Categories: CHRISTIANITY, Islam, Judaism

4 replies

  1. Contradictions in the Bible pertaining to geneology of Jesus:

    One of the issues the rabbi brings out in the debate is about geneology of Jesus, may peace be on him as recorded in the New Testament. The Jewish perspective is that Jesus, God forbid is a false prophet, but, the Islamic emphasis is that the New Testament is not literal word of God. The two points that the rabbi scores is that geneology as recorded in Matthew and Luke are different. Additionally these are geneologies of Joseph who was not biological father of Jesus.

    Additionally, the Gospel of Matthew suggests that there are 14 generations between the father of Israel Abraham and the king of Israel David, 14 between him and destruction of the Temple by Babylonians and 14 between the destruction of Israel to the Messiah of Israel—Jesus. (Matthew 1:17)

    According to Prof Bart Ehrman, “This sounds almost too good to be true, … The problem, though, is that to make the sequence of three sets of 14 work, Matthew has had to do some creative editing.”

    Matthew borrowed his geneology from the First Chronicle and took out a few generations to fit his thesis of 14 generations between important events for Israelites. Additionally, the author actually miscounts one of the segments of 14 generations that actually has only 13 generations.

    (Prof Bart Ehrman, The New Testament. The Teaching Company, Course Guidebook, 2000. Page 38.)

    Then there are additional contradictions within the Gospel of Matthew itself and when we compare it with other Gospels:

    If we calculate the number of generations from Abraham to Jesus in the first chapter of Matthew, rather than Jesus being the 41st descendent of Abraham as predicted by the sequence of 14, he in fact is the 40th descendant of Abraham, when one counts the names given in the chapter. One generation seems to be missing. Moreover, Luke (3:23-31) gives a different count of generations between the Prophet Abraham and Jesus may peace be on him rather rather than 40 or 41 in Matthew.

    Matthew (1:7-16) states that Joseph, husband of Mother Mary was the 26th descendant of David, but Luke (3:23-31) gives a different count.

    In Luke the geneology is described in the third chapter. Whereas in Matthew, geneology of Jesus is traced to Abraham, the father of the Jews, to emphasize Jesus’ Jewishness, in Luke the geneolgoy is traced back all the way to Adam to suggest that Jesus’ message is for all humans, including the Gentiles. If one, carefully, reads the names of the forefathers of Jesus, in Geneology as described in Matthew and Luke, they are totally different. This is well emphasized by Prof Bart Ehrman, in his course titled ‘The New Testament,’ presented by the Teaching Company.

  2. Troubling contradictions, indeed. Genealogical knowledge, at the time of writing of these ancient manuscripts, would have required considerable research. The research, whether done by Matthew, Luke or any other historical figure, is suspect and not susceptible to confirmation.

    Modern genealogical studies use our advanced technology and modern conceptions of genes and genetic transmission. The ancients, of course, had no access to this technology. They also did not conceive of genealogy in the same manner with which modern science approaches. Thus lacking both scientific and conceptual sophistication, with no technological support, in an ancient culture that had no conception of genetics, any discussion of genealogy based upon an ancient text with unidentified authors is nothing short of pure speculation.

    Sexual relations between individuals, especially among commoners in the ancient times relevant to this topic, was certainly not straightforward. It was not uncommon for women to entertain more than one male, since there was still much misunderstanding about conception. Many women at the time still did not make the connection between intercourse and conception; the 9-month gestation period for humans made it difficult for many women to see how events that transpired 9 months earlier could be related to the birth of children. Many people believed that some supernatural entity was responsible for “blessing” women with children. The biological basis for human reproduction was very poorly understood. Therefore, in the context of this risable debate, the number of generations, whether 14 or 13 or some other number, is impossible to determine. Ancient texts, revised again and again over time, as is the case with the chapters of the bible, are hardly suitable as sources of precise information.

    Such crass speculation, characteristic of religious believers who are desperate for some sort of ‘confirmation’ of their illogical dogma, is the source for much human conflict. What this amounts to is one person saying “my god is more legitimate than your god” – in other words, my imagination is superior to your imagination – or, ultimately, “my specuations are better speculations than yours” – which make such discussions ludicrous and meaningless.

    Humansists, on the other hand, are unaffected by such dogmatic nonsense. Humanists are concerned with observable and objective facts about our world, including the natural world. Resorting to idle speculation about the meanings hidden in ancient texts written by unknown authors, seems childish and unacademic. If a university student wrote about such nonsense, without verification from reliable sources, his/her paper would be thrown out.

    Why do religious people seem so determined to defend nonsense, such as whether there are 14 or 13 generations? There are two major reasons. First, -it is because of their pre-conceived perceptions and world view, modified by many conflicting messages of perceived religious authorities who are themselves confused, at best. And second, -it is because of their tendency to abandon critical thinking or even entertain an attitude of skepticism regarding the truth of religious propositions. This is a tragedy of education, but that debate is better held at another time.

  3. The Western scholars have yet to study Islam with an open mind. Perhaps on every issue of interest to humans we can have a four party dialogue, namely, Jews, Christians, Muslims and Agnostics / Atheists.

    All the criticism that Agnostics and Atheists so easily level against the Bible is shared by the Muslims. We do, however, believe that similar criticisms do not apply to the Holy Quran. For starters, its text is very accurately preserved:

  4. Professor Jackson writes:

    “Many women at the time still did not make the connection between intercourse and conception; the 9-month gestation period for humans made it difficult for many women to see how events that transpired 9 months earlier could be related to the birth of children. Many people believed that some supernatural entity was responsible for ‘blessing’ women with children. The biological basis for human reproduction was very poorly understood.”

    Despite the lack of good biological information at that time the Holy Quran makes very explicit instructions about menstrual periods and waiting after a divorce before a second marriage, to precisely assign paternity:

    And the divorced women shall wait concerning themselves for three courses; and it is not lawful for them that they conceal what Allah has created in their wombs, if they believe in Allah and the Last Day; and their husbands have the greater right to take them back during that period, provided they desire reconciliation. And they (the women) have rights similar to those (of men) over them in equity; but men have a rank above them. And Allah is Mighty, Wise. (Al Quran 2:229)

    O Prophet! when you divorce women, divorce them for the prescribed period, and reckon the period; and fear Allah. Turn them not out of their houses, nor should they themselves leave unless they commit an act which is manifestly foul. And these are the limits set by Allah; and whoso transgresses the limits of Allah, he indeed wrongs his own soul. Thou knowest not; it may be that thereafter Allah will bring something new to pass.
    Then, when they are about to reach their prescribed term, keep them with kindness, or put them away with kindness, and call to witness two just persons from among you; and bear true witness for Allah. This is by which is admonished he who believes in Allah and the Last Day. And he who fears Allah — He will make for him a way out. …
    And if you are in doubt as to such of your women as despair of monthly courses, then know that the prescribed period for them is three months, and the same is for such as have not had their monthly courses yet. And as for those who are with child, their period shall be until they are delivered of their burden. And whoso fears Allah, He will provide facilities for him in his affair. (Al Quran 65:2-5)

Leave a Reply