Monday, October 22, 2012

Textual criticism on Arabic video

On a site 'liked' by over 65,000 people there are some videos on New Testament Textual Criticism: one, two, three, and there are some more on the OT on a site called Islam Explained: four, five. It's basically lecture, and I can't make out its reliability. If you don't speak Arabic the main reason to click is for the 20 seconds of introductory music to each episode.


  1. well, someone speaking Arabic has to translate it so that its reliability can be assessed and a response be provided. this is of critical importance for mission to the Muslim world in the east as well as in the west.

    serge poirier

  2. You could try to get James White's Arabic teacher (I think he is a Christian pastor from Syria) to translate it or give a report on what it is saying.

    Or send the link to - there are several former Muslims and other Arabic speaking Christians there who do apologetics to Muslims that could translate it or give a summary of its teaching.

    It appears to be an apologetic type of class supporting the Bible vs. Islam.

  3. I contacted a professor that is currently translating two of my publications into Arabic, and asked him for a brief summary to share with y'all. Here is what he said about the videos:

    The first video:

    1- the scholar name is Dr. Ashraf Azmy, he is teacher of OT (unfortunately i don't know in which college but i asked him)

    2- he is conservative in his dates the new testament from 48 A.D. to 92 A.D.

    3- his presentation in the first video is quite like the presentation of Dr. Daniel Wallace in (Reinventing Jesus)

    (when he compares between the number of MS of the Ancient literature and the number of MS of the NT : 5700 Greek ......etc )

    The second video:

    4- the second lecture he talks about the different MS (Chester Betty, B, Sinaiticus,C, D, D2, A)

    5- his arguments are addressed to the Islamic mind that often talks about corruption of the NT , so he his arguments are:

    a- it is hard even illogical to collect all the MS of NT (which are thousands 25000 ,with the translation) and burn them to corrupt the NT (an analogy which allude to what Othman Ibn Affan did with the Quran MS)

    b- he ask questions like when it was corrupted

    6- he talks about the variants in the NT manuscripts , but unfortunately he counts the variants like Dr. Norman Giesler's Way (which Dr. Daniel Wallace talked about in article

    7- he talks about the reasons of the variants

    a- copied by hand

    b- the long time of the copying till the 15th century

    c- Most of the variants is in Grammar and spelling (he gave example 1 Timothy 3:16, where he say neither of the variants affect the Doctrine of incarnation, he also talks about Nomina Sacra)

    d- he talks about the "v" in 1 Thessalonians 2:7

    the third video

    8- he talks about Romans 5:1 (he say that both readings doesn't affect the theology of Romans or the teachings, and he adds that the person could choose from both readings)

    9- he talks about the Greek language that give article to the names "the jesus" , "the mary" which cannot be translated into arabic

    10- he gave example about the ability of the greek language to write one sentence in different forms , he gave this sentencse "jesus love his own" in 16 ways

    11- canons of textual criticism (he say they are not absolute there are exceptions)

    a- the reading which is supported by the older MS is better
    b- the reading which is supported by the most of the MS
    c- the harder reading is the best
    d- the shorter reading is best

    12- he talks about the short/long ending of mark, then after discussing the MS that support both reading (short & long), church fathers, he then concluded that it is difficult to determine which reading is the right one, but he prefer that it is not probable for mark to end with verse 8 , it may be lost but it is not probable that it end with verse 8, and he adds , that verses from 9-12 is compatible with the rest of the Gospels, anyway if the ending is short or long it doesn't affect our faith

    13- he talks about the women caught in adultery , he mentions the both cases,then he mentions Dr. Bruce Metzeger's Opinion about it's historicity (which imply that he believe it is canonical as Dr. Bruce Metzeger mentioned)

    Overall he is the first one to address these issues on T.V. in our arab world, unfortunately when other books which defend the bible, they somehow don't mention these issues about textual criticism , it gave the reader that the MS are identical (in fact i got that impression in the beginnings , and i was shocks to see that the johannine comma is not in the bible), in fact it is really good job

    Hope this helps!

  4. Brian,

    thanks to you and your professor for the work on this.