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To ahmad zafire

Reader comment on item: Pope Benedict XVI and the Koran
in response to reader comment: Comparing Christianity with Islam

Submitted by Joe (United States), Mar 2, 2006 at 18:33

Jesus separated from his body? Doesn't sound very human, I think you are proving our point, just a little differently.

There are actually about 300 books that weren't included in the Bible, that we know of. Most of them are much more sensational than the Gospels in the Bible now. I also think that you are referring to the dead sea scrolls. No matter the Bible, it is written that Jesus rose from the dead, or resurrected from the dead. Most of the books that were not included (including later apocalypses of Paul, Peter, Mary the Virgin, etc.) were exagerations if anything, and so the Bible of today-the legitimate form, is actually rather tame.

The Gnostic influence early on was refuted by the early thinkers of the church. The Gnostics believed in an amoral connection to the afterlife (actually the Light World), and that everyone had an immortal soul, not eternal. The difference is that immortal souls pre-exist, while eternal souls have a starting point (in this life).

Most of the Gospels, especially those written first, include the playful side of Jesus, but you must remember, most of the Bible, including Jesus' speech, is in parable.

In comparison, the Qur'an underwent similar centralization of text. The Qur'an was not written as Muhummad spoke, and much of it was written after his Death as well. It passed generations, through tribes, languages, traditions, and embellishments. In the end, much of Qur'an, and hadith especially, was recorded orally (and had to be memorized), and was then picked and chosen. Besides the obvious human errors that probably incurred, the Qur'an had no distinct form, and Muslims at this time barely knew what being a Muslim meant (besides the Shahada of course).

Daniel Pipes writes:

"Historiography

The Prophet Muhammad's life is by no means a conventional topic of research, and so requires a few words of introduction.

A century ago, the French critic Ernest Renan famously observed that Muhammad was the only religious leader who lived "in the full light of history." By this, he meant that the Arabic literary sources-religious texts, biographical accounts, chronicles, and much more-are replete with information about Muhammad's life. Beyond the impressive level of detail, they also provide plenty of evidence that can be interpreted as detrimental to the prophet's reputation-which of course only adds to their credibility.

But the sources that seemed so solid in Renan's time soon came under a sustained critique from scholars who cast severe doubts on their accuracy. Starting with the publication in 1889-90 of Muhammadan Studies by the great Hungarian orientalist Ignaz Goldziher, orientalists such as the legal scholar Joseph Schacht and the religious historian John Wansborough have developed a complex theory about the origins of Islam. In very brief, they note that the conventional biography of Muhammad was only recorded in literary sources decades or even centuries after the events they described. The scholars theorize that the information about Muhammad was not (as Muslims hold) passed down from one generation to another via an oral tradition; instead, it was conjured up only much later as ammunition for heated arguments about the Islamic religion. To score points, Goldziher and others argue, the latter-day polemicists associated their own views to the life of Muhammad.

Scholars who accept this approach more or less ignore the standard Muslim account about early Islam and the life of the prophet. In their new version of those events, Mecca, Muhammad, and the Qur'an are all quite transformed. In perhaps the most radical of these efforts, Hagarism, a 1977 study by Patricia Crone and Michael Cook, the authors completely exclude the Arabic literary sources and reconstruct the early history of Islam only from the information to be found in Arabic papyri, coins, and inscriptions as well as non-Arabic literary sources in a wide array of languages (Aramaic, Armenian, Coptic, Greek, Hebrew, Latin, and Syriac). This approach leads Crone and Cook in wild new directions. In their account, Mecca's role is replaced by a city in northwestern Arabia and Muhammad was elevated "to the role of a scriptural prophet" only about a.d. 700, or seventy years after his death. As for the Qur'an, it was compiled in Iraq at about that same late date.

While these ideas are fraught with implications for the Islamic religion, many of them potentially beneficial, believing Muslims have for the most part studiously avoided paying any attention to this line of research. And so a strange-and ultimately unsustainable-duality now exists, with the scholars in the role of termites, eating away at the magnificent traditional structure and the believers acting as though the beams and joints were as strong as ever."

http://www.danielpipes.org/article/316
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