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Yes, your comments are clear

Reader comment on item: Istinja' with the Torah and New Testament
in response to reader comment: corrupted

Submitted by Kepha Hor (United States), Oct 11, 2010 at 18:44

I understand your English well. But, here's my question:

It's one thing to say the Bible (the Old and New Testaments) is corrupted. It is quite another to point to the actual evidence. Neither you nor Ahmed Deedat nor anyone else has shown me the actual corrupted texts.

Muslims say that different Christian movements have large differences in their Bibles. If you're saying that the Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholics include the Apocrypha (a group of 14 intertestamental books that were traditionally included in the Greek Septuagint but not in the Hebrew canon), I would agree that that is a significant difference. But even this is qualified by Hieronymus--the man who gave us the Roman church's Latin Vulgate--who saw the apocrypha as having a lesser status than the Hebrew books.

But, if I compare a Roman Catholic or Eastern Orthodox New Testament or portion of the Old Testament taken from the Hebrew, I have to work very, very hard to find very minor differences--ones which make no difference to story, doctrine, or ethics. For instance, no manuscript of the New Testament supports that Jesus did not die on the cross, as the Qu'ran claims. Similarly, I know of no manuscript of either the Old or New Testament that puts Mary and Jesus in the line of Amram ('Imran), who was of the line of Levi rather than in that of Judah via David. Nor do I know of any version of the New Testament that fails to put Jesus in the House of Judah (via David) and puts him in that of Levi via Amram.

Indeed, when I as a Protestant argue with a Roman Catholic or Eastern Orthodox brother about points of doctrine or ethics, I find that their position depends on accepting post-biblical tradition as a source of revelation--not because we have radically different Bibles.

Further, if I read a Jewish translation of the Tanach (Torah, Prophets, and Hagiographa), the main difference between it and the Old Testament that occupies 3/4-4/5 of my Christian Bible is that the order of books is somewhat different. But if I read the Jewish translation of Proverbs, Psalms, Jeremiah, Genesis, or Deuteronomy, etc. (individual books of the Old Testament), I quickly realize that I am reading the same story, prophecy, or aphorism that I read in my Christian version of the Old Testament. Indeed, if I read Rabbi Leeser's English translation, I find that about 85-90% is virtually verbatim the same as the version King James' Protestant Christian translators produced 1604-1611 A.D. This is not to accuse R. Leeser of laziness or plagiarism, for he plainly stated that he saw no reason to change points where he thought that the Christian translators had done a good job translating the Hebrew--yet Christians of his day would not have hesitated to say Leeser was in error for refusing to recognize Jesus as Messiah; while Leeser would have readily seen the Christians as following a false Messiah.

So, if the Jews and Christians corrupted the Old Testament while they refused to cooperate with each other, how come they ended up reading the same Hebrew text? As for Leeser, his cooperation with Christians was limited to the Christians' willingness to sell him a copy of theKing James version.

And, in an earlier post, it was noted that many Christian denominations let stand points in the Geek text of the New Testament that witness against their practices and beliefs. For instance, those who teach the perpetual virginity of Mary still publish New Testaments (even in translation for simple laypeople!) where Jesus is described as Mary's "firstborn" in Matthew and which state that Jesus had brothers and sisters in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke. Those who believe in one bishop per city still publish Paul's letter to the Philippians in which plural bishops in ancient Philippi are addressed right at the beginning. And, since such churches were responsible for the manuscript transmission of the text for a millennium before printing came to the West, I am very, very hesitant to accuse them of tampering with the original text, even when I hold [more biblical] doctrines that contradict theirs. I see those monkish transmitters as too devout to lie about the text, even when lying could have served their purposes better.

This is why I say that the Muslims assert, but give no proof.

And, I believe that I have given some evidence that the book on some Christian shelf is a basically trustworthy translation of a faithful transmission of the Hebrew and Aramaic text of the Old Testament and Greek text of the New. Yes, there are translations which I will not buy, because I think they are badly done, and by persons unskilled or inattentive to the originals languages; but I recognize that the real message can be had from most of the major translations.

And as for the minor differences in the manuscripts, what would we see with the Qu'ran when we take into account certain North African rescensions and special readings recognized only by the Shi'ah?

Finally, since you state you will not perform istinja with the Bible because of names it contains, I would urge you to buy a copy in your own language and read it very seriously.

Submitting....

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