Alpha & Omega Ministries Apologetics Blog
We Continue with the Shabir Ally vs. Sam Shamoun Debate Today
10/18/2005 - James WhiteWe continue reviewing the Ally vs. Shamoun debate today. I note we have a number of Muslims listening, for evidently, Sam has quite the fan club out there. Evidently, the Muslims have their own versions of Ruckman and Riplinger in their "apologetics" community. But, happy to have them listening. Maybe the Lord will be merciful and open some eyes to the glory of Christ. In any case, be listening at 2pm EDT.
Islamic Apologetics and New Testament Transmission (#25)
10/10/2005 - James WhiteThe next variant in a noted by Bentley and repeated by Saifullah and Azmy is found by comparing Luke 15:19 with vs. 21. Bentley claims, "Now the delightful change in later manuscripts is that the son, himself so unexpectedly welcomed by his father, prudently omits to offer himself as a hired servant!" Delightful? In any case, there is a fair amount of evidence for the inclusion of the phrase in verse 21, however, once again Bentley shows his unfamiliarity with textual sources in that he says "later manuscripts...omit" the reading. Except that P75, which clearly pre-dates a, likewise does not contain the phrase in question. More probably you have a common textual variant here: same phraseology in both verses, and given the familiarity of a scribe with v. 19 and the inclusion of the phrase leads to its inclusion in v. 21; on the other hand, a good argument could be made that since the phrase in question ends in sou and the final phrase preceding it likewise ends in sou, a normal example of "similar endings" could be in play. In any case, we must again remind the reader: at least the Christian has the manuscript evidence to see the variation: how many of these existed in the pre-Uthmanian Qur'anic manuscripts which went up in flames?
At this point Bentley (whose track record so far has been pretty miserable) transitions into a brief discussion of Mark 16:9-20 relevant to the resurrection account. Specifically, after citing an encouraging statement from Tischendorf concerning Christian faith, our authors once again begin beating upon the "longer ending of Mark" drum. Though Mark 16 does proclaim the resurrection, since there is no post-resurrection appearance of Jesus, this, it seems, is a terrible blow to Christian belief (the assumption being, of course, that every gospel has to record the same details in the same fashion, a common error of anti-Christian polemicists, religious and non-religious alike). The idea that Mark may have had sufficient reasons unto himself to end where he did does not seem to cross the mind of zealous critics, nor do they seem to allow for the possibility that God is more than sufficiently in control of His creation, let alone the creation of His Scriptures, to make sure we get the message with more than enough repetition (the God who inspired Mark well knew about Matthew, Luke, John, Acts, 1 Corinthians, etc.). In any case, I have addressed the various endings of Mark in The King James Only Controversy. Suffice it to say, a is not alone in raising questions concerning the ending of the Gospel of Mark.
Amazingly, after all this time, we finally come to the end of the citation of Bentley on the part of Saifullah and Azmy. After working through his many less-than-factual statements and his general misunderstanding of textual issues, we are left with little basis upon which to accept S&A's smug statement, "Now that we know that the contents of Codex Sinaiticus are different from modern day Protestant Bibles, we have provided Campbell with good reasons to cry. His cornerstone for the historical proof of textual integrity of the Bible lies shattered before his own eyes when tangible and touchable evidences are presented. Unfortunately for him, emotionalism and sob-stories are not substantive proofs for the textual integrity of the Bible." Of course, S&A have done little more than plagiarize a poor source, and evidently lack the acumen to identify the problems in the materials they are using. One truly wonders if they accept any of the testimony regarding the early textual problems with the Qur'an? Or do they apply a completely different standard to the Qur'an than they apply to the Bible? It has been my experience that Islamic apologists do indeed utilize glaring double standards in this arena.
We will continue with our examination of Saifullah and Azmy's article, though our progress should speed up now that we are not dealing with the Bentley citation one variant at a time.
Islamic Apologetics and New Testament Transmission (#24)
10/07/2005 - James WhiteI know, I know, I started this in December of 2004. I continue with my response to Saifullah & Azmy's article on the transmission of the text of the New Testament, focusing upon their almost plagiaristically long citation of Bentley's work on Sinaiticus (see the 23 previous installments for background details). Bentley writes,
It must not be supposed from these examples that Codex Sinaiticus invariably supports an 'unorthodox' view of Jesus. On the contrary, in the genealogy of Jesus given by St Matthew, for instance, Codex Sinaiticus is (unlike some other manuscripts) one that carefully supports the doctrine of the virgin birth of Jesus, ending the list of his ancestors with the words, 'Jacob begat Joseph, the husband of Mary of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ'.A quick glance at the textual data immediately reveals that while a with the vast majority of the textual tradition, the minor variations present in the text do not, in fact, contradict the doctrine of the virgin birth. Hence I confess to being a bit lost as to what Bentley is trying to insinuate, outside of the already documented error on his part of assuming a manuscript (especially one like a) can be said to "support" or "deny" a particular viewpoint. A particular reading may be said to "support" or "deny" only upon one's reading of the text and one's theology. In any case, the insinuation seems to be that a is purposefully "supporting" the doctrine of the virgin birth, as if the author of the manuscript was altering his text so as to communicate a particular theological belief. And surely if that is the accusation being made, the text of Matthew 1:16 in a is hardly a good place to attempt to base your case.
Often, too, the additions to the text which are found in later documents but not in Sinaiticus are merely harmless, and indeed sometimes positively useful additions. Two such examples may be cited from St John's Gospel. In chapter 4 a woman of Samaria is asked by Jesus for a drink. She answers 'How do you, a Jew, ask a drink from me, a woman of Samaria?' Later scribes add an explanation to the original authentic text: 'for the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans'.
Similarly in chapter 5 of John's Gospel, Jesus comes across a great many sick persons lying by a pool. A later scribe has added an explanation not found in Codex Sinaiticus: 'for an angel went down at a certain season into the pool and troubled the water whosoever then first after the troubling of the water stepped in was made whole of whatever disease he had'. ...
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