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Muslims claim Jews and Christians changed the original message of God.

Is there historical/scientific evidence that, as claimed by Islam, the Bible (both Old Testament [the Jew bit] and New Testament [the Christian bit]) altered the original message of God in, by definition, everything that contradicts the Quram?

Types of evidence I can think of (not-exclusive list):

  • manuscripts dated before the official ones with a version not contradicting the Quram.
  • written evidence that the message of Jesus was different from the one reported by the New Testament. Notice the Gospel of Barnabas (which some claim to be closer to the original message of Jesus) was mentioned first as late as the 6th century and the oldest manuscript is from the 18 century, much later than the rest of the documents.
  • Paul is often regarded as a distorter but he is pretty much in line with the rest of the apostles of Jesus. So perhaps we are looking at evidence of Apostles' early writings with a different message?
  • But if apostles were also corrupted from the beginning, any writing that gives evidence of this.

I am sure you understand that anyone can come with a allegedly "true word" of God and claim that, by definition, anything from before that contradicts this new word has been altered from the "original message", which was "naturally" fully in line with this "corrected" word of God.

Also, from a mere logical point of view, the lack of this evidence of course does not invalidates the claim of Islam regarding the Bible, but it does put a very heavy burden of proof on Islam for such claims.

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    Sure there is. Biblical scholars are well aware of "Tiqqune Sopherim" i.e., "Corrections by Scribes" whereby some verses were altered. Do some preliminary research. I know pastors generally don't discuss this. – Muslimah يا رب العالمين Nov 22 '19 at 0:10
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    I'd be interested to know how the book of Isaiah specifically was corrupted. – curiousdannii Nov 22 '19 at 0:39
  • By "sure there is" you mean "of course there must be but I am not quite aware of an exact answer to your question"? Because what you refer to is not evidence that the original message was consistent with the Quran. It only refers to a debate about some specific text alterations, for some books only, and in no way in connection to some "former, more accurate truth, which might be that of Islam". You cannot mention something like that in passing and use it as a solid defense against my request. If you think otherwise, please provide a detailed answer. @Muslimahياربالعالمين – luchonacho Nov 22 '19 at 12:41
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    As a comment, it is not claimed in the Quran that the bible or old testament has been altered, but rather some of the followers bending the words, ignoring or taking things out of context. It might indirectly claim the bible was corrupted since the Quran clearly marks the position of Jesus just being a prophet. So it might have been the case that phrases like son of god could have been accepted as metaphors or bad translations by muslims. But the Quran does not go into depth in this subject. – Kilise Nov 22 '19 at 23:16
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    @Kilise Thanks. Perhaps the Quran doesn't refer to this, but surely scholars do. For instance, in the New Testament, Jesus dies in a cross, resurrects and go to heaven. This contradicts the account of the Quran. So one of the two (or both) must be false, if we assume Jesus left a message from God. So, even if the Quran does not deal with this, the struggle exists and "must" be dealt with by Christian and Muslim theologians. I imagine there is a significant amount of theological debate within Islam (know nothing about it), perhaps also using science (e.g. archeology, etc). – luchonacho Nov 23 '19 at 19:48
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First of all, no, I do not think or at least have not seen that there is too much historical evidence to that effect. This is simply because there is very little record of Jesus (AS)'s life in general except for the Gospels themselves (which are being accused of corruption).

But, to put emphasis again, the lack of historical evidence is not a demonstration that there was no corruption, but it is a demonstration of the lack of historical records themselves.

It is similar to me giving you a few books from, for example, South America all of them written by priests of a certain religion in the year 300. Those books all claim that the "sun god" came down to Earth in 280 and built a temple there. What would you believe of these books in this scenario?

If you say, you do not believe it, then what if a follower of this religion asked you if you had any historical record to prove that the books were corrupted by later followers?

If these books were given to me, I would automatically disbelieve in the story simply because it makes no sense. Then, I would conclude that the books either completely made it up (i.e. it is completely corrupted), or that a king or prophet really did exist who built the temple but the claim that he was a sun god was a corruption by himself or his followers (i.e. half corrupted). I would believe this regardless of the lack of evidence. Absence of evidence is, after all, not evidence of absence. In the presence of a largely undocumented story except for one perspective it is not at all far-fetched to believe that the one perspective is corrupted or false when it goes against all reason.

In other words, the absurdity of the claims is itself evidence of corruption.

In this case, Muslims are given the same thing except with Christianity. Jesus (AS) teaching that he himself was the son of God or even the concept of anyone being the son of God is as absurd to us as a sun god building a temple in South America.

Allah says in the Quran:

The disbelievers say, ‘The Lord of Mercy has offspring.’ How terrible is this thing you assert: it almost causes the heavens to be torn apart, the earth to split asunder, the mountains to crumble to pieces, that they attribute offspring to the Lord of Mercy.

It does not befit the Lord of Mercy [to have offspring]: there is no one in the heavens or earth who will not come to the Lord of Mercy as a servant- (19:88-93)

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  • Thanks. Fully agree with "Absence of evidence is, after all, not evidence of absence", as I also suggested in my question. I just wanted to know what's the latest status of the issue. The analogy you give is of course an exaggeration that cannot compare with this particular case (christianity being totally absurd). Christian theology has defended so many times its reasonability. It cannot be called irrational, but of course it can be inconsistent with other religions, as islam is with judaism and etc. But that is an established debate, and way beyond the point of the question. Thanks again. – luchonacho Nov 30 '19 at 21:18
  • @luchonacho It may seem like it is an exaggeration to you, but not to Muslims :). The amount of times something has been defended doesn't necessarily make it less absurd. – The Z Dec 1 '19 at 0:10
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Unlike engineering and positive sciences, historical phenomenon cannot be experimented in a laboratory setting. History, though, has its own means to reach at facts one of which is reliable documentations. As stated by another answer, Christianity unfortunately lacks a documentation tradition until the 2nd century. The situation is the exact opposite for Islam. Quran have been memorized by hafiz's and was also written by the companions of Rasulullah (PBUH) as new verses were revealed to him. Even the order of the verses were revealed to Rasulullah and companions memorized Quran cover to cover according to this order.

After Rasulullah (PBUH) passed away, due to many hafiz's being martyrized at the battle of Yamama and similar incidents, it became imperative to collect all the verses in a single book, ie. mus'haf. This happened at the time of Abu Bakr (RA), the first caliph of Islam. So there is no time gap between the revelation, Quran being memorized and scribed and then eventually collected in a single physical book.

When the authenticity of Quran, Bible and Torah are considered, Quran is unmatched. If Quran is taken as the point of reference, any book with its even single word is changed, is distorted.

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As I mentioned previously, "Tiqqune Sopherim" i.e., "Corrections by Scribes" is one example of Judeo-Christian tampering of their religious texts (the debate being mostly over how many times this has occurred) to "fix" issues that they thought existed in the religious texts. This alone supports the Islamic description of corruption.

But for some reason, you're asking for an answer that excludes all examples of corruption except those that specifically contradict the Qur'an, only. (Note: Even if things added by scribes coincidentally agreed with the Qur'an or were neutral [not in agreement or disagreement] but were not inspired by God, it would still be corruption and rejected by Muslims). Nevertheless, there are examples of that as well. Two significant examples that come to mind:

  • Qur'an says God is One Alone, not three. Some Biblical texts contain a passage called Comma Johanneum (1 John 5:7-8) which contains wording (" the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one"). Some preliminary research would show you that this wording was a later addition not found in earlier Greek texts.

"The presence of the Comma Johanneum in Greek manuscripts is actually quite rare until the 15th century A.D." (...) "Some ancient scribe, either intentionally or accidentally added it to a Latin manuscript, and then that addition was copied thousands upon thousands of times." (Source).

  • As per Islam, adulterers are stoned to death. Biblical texts contain a widely circulated story (aka pericope adulterae) of Jesus forgiving an adulteress despite the law being that she be stoned. John 8:1-11. Preliminary research also shows that this was an addition.

"The Greek manuscripts show fairly clear evidence that John 7:53—8:11 was not originally part of John’s Gospel. Among the manuscripts that do contain the section, either wholly or in part, there are variations of placement." (...) "somewhere along the way, a scribe added this story of Jesus into John’s Gospel in a place he thought it would fit well." (Source)

In both cases, the conclusion is... a scribe added things to the Bible. This is what Islam said 1400+ years ago and it was God who said it, not Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) who had no ability to read Biblical Greek/Latin texts, let alone study them.

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    Regarding your first example, the argument for Jesus being God is based on a multitude of texts, both from the OT and NT, and in no way depend on the Comma Johanneum. If that is an addition, are also the rest? No. The others are integral part of the texts. So the Comma in no way proves the core message was altered. Regarding your second example, Jesus' teaches mercy in many other passages. Even if that story was added, it is 100% consistent with Jesus's message. Just to say it again, a mere addition (provided we agree they are such things) in no way means the original message was changed. – luchonacho Nov 24 '19 at 21:20
  • (1) There's no direct evidence in the Bible that says Jesus is God. Until you can provide that explicit evidence, you have not established the "true message of God". There are many Biblical verses that differentiate between Jesus and God, which is why there are Christians who don't believe Jesus is God, too. (2) The showing of mercy to an adulterer contradicts the Law of God as taught by Moses. You cannot apply general verses on mercy to a story about stoning and then say it's "consistent". Again, it's NOT consistent with the explicit Biblical punishment of stoning adulterers. – Muslimah يا رب العالمين Nov 27 '19 at 21:51
  • "There's no direct evidence in the Bible that says Jesus is God". That is only one position of the theological debate.There is the other too (e.g. see here In any case, that debate is beside the point of this answer. By "true message of God" I mean the "new revelation" that prophet Isa brought to Israel. – luchonacho Nov 28 '19 at 13:50
  • Regarding point (2), that is another debate, about the status of the Law of Moses after Jesus. Consistency is perfectly possible (e.g. see here). But, let me go back to the question, now focusing on Judaism. Your and their dietary laws are inconsistent (e.g. see here). Take alcohol. Did jews scholars altered the "true message of God" delivered by Moses? I want to see historical/scientific evidence of this. – luchonacho Nov 28 '19 at 13:55

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