Alpha & Omega Ministries Apologetics Blog
Jay Smith vs. Shabir Ally LIVE On Line TODAY, 2:30PM EDT
06/28/2008 - James WhiteI was just sent this information myself, so I apologize for the short notice. Jay Smith of London will be debating Islamic apologist Shabir Ally from Toronto today at 2:30 pm EDT. What is unusual (and something we need to be looking into!) is it will be live streamed in video here. I will be very interested in seeing if this will work on the technical side of things. To be honest, I've tried to watch such things in the past and inevitably they have failed for me, no matter how good a connection I had. So, we will see!
06/23/2008 - James White
The Canon was NOT Decided at Nicaea!
06/19/2008 - Tur8infanDr. White has been providing a number of video responses to Abdullah (who uses the screen name Mujtahid2006), a Muslim apologist currently residing in London, England. Having had the opportunity to review several of his videos, I'd like to respond to at a least one point that Abdullah raised. There are certainly many more things that could be said, and Dr. White has been busily preparing some of those statements in video form.
Abdullah, in Is the Bible Corrupt: 2 (a multi-part YouTube movie), provided an argument that appears to have been taken more or less directly from the pages of Isis Unveiled: a Master-Key to the Mysteries of Ancient and Modern Science, by H. P. Blavatsky, 6th ed. 1891, Volume 2, pp. 251-52. The argument relates to the council of Nicaea and, in essence, claims that the council of Nicaea was instrumental in selecting the gospels we have today from other competing gospels. It further claims (a) that the men of Nicaea were simpletons, and (b) that they used a form of divination to determine which gospels are authentic: they left all the candidate gospels in a closed room overnight, and only four gospels were on the table in the morning, the rest being under the table.
There were, nevertheless, some details of the argument that were not present in the edition of Isis Unveiled that I had located. Initially, I was ready to chalk them up to the creativity of Abdullah. For example, he claims that accounts (a) and (b) are from two respective eyewitnesses. Shortly later, however, I discovered a related source for those additional details. This source was Great Theosophists: Hypatia - The Last Of The Neoplatonists, THEOSOPHY, Vol. 25, No. 5, March, 1937 (Pages 197-207). (Number 12 of a 29-part series), which provides the additional elaboration claiming that Sabinus and Pappus, the two respective attributed authors of the critical comments, were eyewitnesses.
Here Abdullah must be taken to task as being excessively gullible with respect to the Theosophist propaganda, since neither Pappus nor Sabinus were eyewitnesses. Pappus lived long after the council (the Libellus Synodicus (from which the account is drawn) addresses 158 councils for the first nine centuries, down through the so-called Eighth Ecumenical Council in 869). Sabinus too lived after the council, his own history mostly addressing the period from 364-378 (whereas the Council of Nicaea was convened 50 years earlier in 325). He flourished around 425, according to Wace's Dictionary of Christian Biography and Literature to the End of the Sixth Century A.D., which is fully a century after the council of Nicaea. There's really no reason to suppose that Sabinus was an eyewitness or that his account was anything other than a party spirit, Sabinus being of a sect that asserted Christ to be of similar substance to the Father, rather than the same substance, as Nicene Christians confess.
Likewise there is no particular reason to give credence to the tale provided by Pappus. The author of the tale does append an account of the divination of the apocryphal works from the real Scriptures at the end of his very brief (less than 500 words) account of the council of Nicaea, but he cites no testimony as to how he arrived at this position, and we cannot seem to trace it back any further than him.
The passage in Latin reads:
Sacros etiam libros et apocryphos, hoc modo manifesto fecit. In domo enim Dei, inferiore loco juxta divinam mensam omnibus colloctis, Dominum invocans oravit: ut qui divinitus inspirati essent, superius; qui autem adulterini, inferius (quod et factum est) invenirentur.William Emmette Coleman translates it this way, (which seems a reasonable translation):
The council made manifest the canonical and apocryphal books in the following manner: Placing them by the side of the divine table in the house of God, they prayed, entreating the Lord that the divinely inspired books might be found upon the table, and the spurious ones underneath; and it so happened.There is nothing more: no context, no source, and nothing even to say which canonical books were found on the table. As Mr. Coleman noted in the article in which he provided this translation (The Bizzare, Notes and Queries, January 1888, volume V, no. 1, pp. 1-3), The narrative is merely one of the many legendary embellishments of the mediaeval ages, and is universally rejected by the world's scholarship as destitute of any historic foundation. This legend has no corroboration.
Mr. Coleman, however, provides two other helpful pieces of information. First, Pappus is simply the editor of the work in which the litany of councils appears, the work actually being the product of anonymous Greek author who lived, it is believed, in the late ninth century. Second, the Pappus quotation was popularized by Mr. Robert Taylor, an antichristian polemic of the first part of the 1800s. It was not popularized because of any historical merit, but simply due to its polemic value.
Essentially, what Abdullah has latched onto is a bit of Theosophist propaganda. There's no significant historical support for the idea that the Council of Nicaea either decided on the canon or sifted through 40 proposed gospels using some sort of divination technique. ...
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More in Response to Shadid Lewis on the Death of Jesus
06/18/2008 - James White
Surah 112 in Response to a Muslim Apologist
06/16/2008 - James White
Shadid Lewis and Swma Again
06/11/2008 - James White
More Bad Islamic Arguments
06/09/2008 - James White
Jesus in the Qur'an (Baldwin, Long Island Lecture Continued)
06/04/2008 - James White
Khalid Yasin: Further Straw-Man Arguments from a Leading Islamic Apologist/Speaker #4
06/02/2008 - James White
Conclusion of Response to Abdullah of the UK
06/01/2008 - James White