What did Jesus really say?
A book by Dr. Mishaal Abdullah Al-Kadhi
Chapter 2: Contradictions in the Bible
"Then woe to those who write the book with their own hands and then say: 'This is from Allah', to traffic with it for a miserable price. Woe to them for what their hands do write and for the gain they make thereby"
The noble Qur'an Al-Bakarah(2):79
"And when there came to them a messenger from Allah, Confirming what was with them, a party of the people of the book threw away the book of Allah behind their backs as if (it had been something) they did not know"
The noble Qur'an Al-Bakarah(2):101
"Ye shall not add unto the word which I (God) command you, neither shall ye diminish [ought] from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you."
2.1 Christian scholars recognize contradictions
(note: Many of the following quotations were obtained from the writings of Ahmed Deedat although many other sources were used as well)
Let us start from the beginning. No Biblical scholar on this earth will claim that the Bible was written by Jesus himself. They all agree that the Bible was written after the departure of Jesus peace be upon him by his followers. Dr. W Graham Scroggie of the Moody Bible Institute, Chicago, a prestigious Christian evangelical mission, says:
"..Yes, the Bible is human, although some out of zeal which is not according to knowledge, have denied this. Those books have passed through the minds of men, are written in the language of men, were penned by the hands of men and bear in their style the characteristics of men...."
"It is Human, Yet Divine," W Graham Scroggie, p. 17
Another Christian scholar, Kenneth Cragg, the Anglican Bishop of Jerusalem, says:
"...Not so the New testament...There is condensation and editing; there is choice reproduction and witness. The Gospels have come through the mind of the church behind the authors. They represent experience and history..."
"The Call of the Minaret," Kenneth Cragg, p 277
"It is well known that the primitive Christian Gospel was initially transmitted by word of mouth and that this oral tradition resulted in variant reporting of word and deed. It is equally true that when the Christian record was committed to writing it continued to be the subject of verbal variation. Involuntary and intentional, at the hands of scribes and editors"
Peake's Commentary on the Bible, p. 633
"Yet, as a matter of fact, every book of the New Testament with the exception of the four great Epistles of St. Paul is at present more or less the subject of controversy, and interpolations are asserted even in these."
Encyclopaedia Brittanica, 12th Ed. Vol. 3, p. 643
Dr. Lobegott Friedrich Konstantin Von Tischendorf, one of the most adamant conservative Christian defenders of the Trinity was himself driven to admit that:
"[the New Testament had] in many passages undergone such serious modification of meaning as to leave us in painful uncertainty as to what the Apostles had actually written"
Secrets of Mount Sinai, James Bentley, p. 117
After listing many examples of contradictory statements in the Bible, Dr. Frederic Kenyon says:
"Besides the larger discrepancies, such as these, there is scarcely a verse in which there is not some variation of phrase in some copies [of the ancient manuscripts from which the Bible has been collected]. No one can say that these additions or omissions or alterations are matters of mere indifference"
Our Bible and the Ancient Manuscripts, Dr. Frederic Kenyon, Eyre and Spottiswoode, p. 3
Throughout this book you will find countless other similar quotations from some of Christendom's leading scholars. Let us suffice with these for now.
Christians are, in general, good and decent people, and the stronger their convictions the more decent they are. This is attested to in the noble Qur'an:
"...and nearest among them (men) in love to the believers will you find those who say 'we are Christians': because amongst these are men devoted to learning and men who have renounced the world, and they are not arrogant. And when they listen to the revelation received by the messenger (Muhammad), you will see their eyes overflowing with tears for they recognize the truth: They pray: 'Our Lord! we believe; write us down among the witnesses'."
The noble Qur'an, Al-Maidah(5):82-83.
All biblical "versions" of the Bible prior to the revised version of 1881 were dependent upon the "Ancient Copies" (those dating between five to six hundred years after Jesus). The revisers of the Revised Standard Version (RSV) 1952 were the first biblical scholars to have access to the "MOST ancient copies" which date fully three to four hundred years after Christ. It is only logical for us to concur that the closer a document is to the source the more authentic it is. Let us see what is the opinion of Christendom with regard to the most revised version of the Bible (revised in 1952 and then again in 1971):
"The finest version which has been produced in the present century" - (Church of England newspaper)
"A completely fresh translation by scholars of the highest eminence" - (Times literary supplement)
"The well loved characteristics of the authorized version combined with a new accuracy of translation" - (Life and Work)
"The most accurate and close rendering of the original" - (The Times)
The publishers themselves (Collins) mention on page 10 of their notes:
"This Bible (RSV) is the product of thirty two scholars assisted by an advisory committee representing fifty cooperating denominations"
Let us see what these thirty two Christian scholars of the highest eminence backed by fifty cooperating Christian denominations have to say about the Authorized Version (AV), or as it is better known, the King James Version (KJV). In the preface of the RSV 1971 we find the following:
"...Yet the King James Version has GRAVE DEFECTS.."
They go on to caution us that:
"...That these defects are SO MANY AND SO SERIOUS as to call for revision"
The Jehovah's Witnesses in their "AWAKE" Magazine dated 8th September 1957 published the following headline: "50,000 Errors in the Bible" wherein they say "..there are probably 50,000 errors in the Bible...errors which have crept into the Bible text...50,000 such serious errors..." After all of this, however, they go on to say: "...as a whole the Bible is accurate." Let us have a look at only a very few of these errors.
In John 3:16 - AV(KJV) we read:
"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.."
But as seen in section 18.104.22.168, this fabrication "begotten" has now been unceremoniously excised by these most eminent of Bible revisers. However, humanity did not have to wait 2000 years for this revelation.
In Maryam(19):88-98 of the noble Qur'an we read:
"And they say 'Allah Most Compassionate has begotten a son!'. Indeed you have put forth a thing most monstrous! The skies are ready to burst (at such a claim), and the earth to split asunder, and the mountains to fall down in utter ruin. That they should ascribe a son to the Most Compassionate. But it is not befitting [the majesty of] the Most Compassionate that He should beget a son. Not one of the beings in the heavens and the earth but must come to the Most Compassionate as a servant. He has taken account of all of them and has numbered them all exactly. And every one of them will come to him singly on the day of judgment. On those who believe and work deeds of righteousness, will Allah most gracious bestow love. Verily, We have made this [Qur'an] easy in your tongue [O Muhammad] that you might deliver glad tidings to those who seek refuge [in Allah] and warn with it a people who are contentious. And how many a generation before them have we destroyed! Can you find a single one of them or hear from them so much as a whisper?"
In 1st Epistle of John 5:7 (King James Version) we find:
"For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost, and these three are one."
As we have already seen in section 22.214.171.124, this verse is the closest approximation to what the Church calls the holy Trinity. However, as seen in that section, this cornerstone of the Christian faith has also been scrapped from the RSV by the same thirty two Christian scholars of the highest eminence backed by fifty cooperating Christian denominations, once again all according to the "most ancient manuscripts." And once again, we find that the noble Qur'an revealed this truth over fourteen hundred years ago:
"O people of the book! commit no excesses in your religion: nor say of Allah aught but the truth. Christ Jesus the son of Mary was (no more than) a Messenger of Allah, and his Word, which he bestowed upon Mary, and a spirit preceding from him so believe in Allah and his messengers. Say not "Three" desist It will be better for you for Allah is one God Glory be to him Far exalted is he above having a son. To him belong all things in the heavens and the earth. And enough is Allah as a disposer of affairs."
The noble Qur'an, Al-Nissa(4):171
Prior to 1952 all versions of the Bible made mention of one of the most miraculous events associated with the prophet Jesus peace be upon him, that of his ascension into heaven:
"So then the lord Jesus, after he had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God"
and once again in Luke:
"While he blessed them, he parted from them, and was carried up into heaven. And they worshipped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy."
In the 1952 RSV Mark 16 ends at verse 8 and the rest is relegated in small print to a footnote (more on this later). Similarly, in the commentary on the verses of Luke 24, we are told in the footnotes of the NRSV Bible "Other ancient authorities lack "and was carried up into heaven'" and "Other ancient authorities lack 'and worshipped him'". Thus, we see that the verse of Luke in it's original form only said:
"While he blessed them, he parted from them. And they returned to Jerusalem with great joy."
It took centuries of "inspired correction" to give us Luke 24:51-52 in their current form.
As another example, in Luke 24:1-7 we read:
"Now upon the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they came unto the sepulcher, bringing the spices which they had prepared, and certain others with them. And they found the stone rolled away from the sepulcher. And they entered in, and found not the body of the Lord Jesus. And it came to pass, as they were much perplexed thereabout, behold, two men stood by them in shining garments: And as they were afraid, and bowed down their faces to the earth, they said unto them, Why seek ye the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen: remember how he spake unto you when he was yet in Galilee, saying, The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again."
Once again, in reference to verse 5, the footnotes say: "Other ancient authorities lack 'He is not here but has risen'" Also, please read entries 16 and 17 in the table in section 2.2.
The examples are far too numerous to list here, however, you are encouraged to obtain a copy of the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible for yourself and scan through the four gospels. You shall be hard pressed to find even two consecutive pages that do not contain the words "Other ancient authorities lack..." or "Other ancient authorities add..." etc. in the footnotes..
Let us now talk about the alleged authors of the New Testament. We will note that every Gospel begins with the introduction "According to....." such as "The Gospel according to Saint Matthew," "The Gospel according to Saint Luke," "The Gospel according to Saint Mark," "The Gospel according to Saint John." The obvious conclusion for the average man on the street is that these people are known to be the authors of the books attributed to them. This, however is not the case. Why? Because not one of the vaunted four thousand copies existent carries it's author's signature. It has just been assumed that they were the authors. Recent discoveries, however, refute this belief. Even the internal evidence proves that, for instance, Matthew did not write the Gospel attributed to him:
"...And as Jesus passed forth thence, HE (Jesus) saw a man, named Matthew, sitting at the receipt of custom: and HE (Jesus) saith unto HIM (Matthew), follow ME (Jesus) and HE (Matthew) arose, and followed HIM (Jesus)."
It does not take a rocket scientist to see that neither Jesus nor Matthew wrote this verse of "Matthew." Such evidence can be found in many places throughout the New Testament. Although many people have hypothesized that it is possible that an author sometimes may write in the third person, still, in light of the rest of the evidence that we shall see throughout this book, there is simply too much evidence against this hypothesis.
This observation is by no means limited to the New Testament. There is even proof that at least parts of Deuteronomy were neither written by God nor by Moses. This can be seen in Deuteronomy 34:5-10 where we read
"So Moses....DIED... and he (God Almighty) BURIED HIM (Moses)... He was 120 years old WHEN HE DIED... and there arose not a prophet SINCE in Israel like unto Moses...."
Did Moses write his own obituary? Joshua also speaks in detail about his own death in Joshua 24:29-33. The evidence overwhelmingly supports the current recognition that most of the books of the Bible were not written by their supposed authors.
The authors of the RSV by Collins say that the author of "Kings" is "Unknown." If they knew it to be the word of God they would have undoubtedly attributed it to him. Rather, they have chosen to honestly say "Author....Unknown." But if the author is unknown then why attribute it to God? How can it then be claimed to have been "inspired"? Continuing, we read that the book of Isaiah is "Mainly credited to Isaiah. Parts may have been written by others." Ecclesiastics: "Author. Doubtful, but commonly assigned to Solomon." Ruth: "Author. Not definitely known, perhaps Samuel." and on and on.
Let us have a slightly more detailed look at only one book of the New Testament:
"The author of the Book of Hebrews is unknown. Martin Luther suggested that Apollos was the author...Tertullian said that Hebrews was a letter of Barnabas...Adolf Harnack and J. Rendel Harris speculated that it was written by Priscilla (or Prisca). William Ramsey suggested that it was done by Philip. However, the traditional position is that the Apostle Paul wrote Hebrews...Eusebius believed that Paul wrote it, but Origen was not positive of Pauline authorship."
From the introduction to the King James Bible, New revised and updated sixth edition, the Hebrew/Greek Key Study, Red Letter Edition
Is this how we define "inspired by God"?
As seen in chapter one, St. Paul and his church after him, were responsible of making wholesale changes to the religion of Jesus (pbuh) after his departure and were further responsible for mounting a massive campaign of death and torture of all Christians who refused to renounce the teachings of the apostles in favor of the Pauline doctrines. All but the Gospels acceptable to the Pauline faith were then systematically destroyed or re-written. Rev. Charles Anderson Scott has the following to say:
"It is highly probable that not one of the Synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke) was in existence in the form which we have it, prior to the death of Paul. And were the documents to be taken in strict order of chronology, the Pauline Epistles would come before the synoptic Gospels."
History of Christianity in the Light of Modern Knowledge, Rev. Charles Anderson Scott, p.338
This statement is further confirmed by Prof. Brandon:
"The earliest Christian writings that have been preserved for us are the letters of the apostle Paul"
"Religions in Ancient History," S.G.F. Brandon, p. 228.
In the latter part of the second century, Dionysius, Bishop of Corinth says:
"As the brethren desired me to write epistles(letters), I did so, and these the apostles of the devil have filled with tares (undesirable elements), exchanging some things and adding others, for whom there is a woe reserved. It is not therefore, a matter of wonder if some have also attempted to adulterate the sacred writings of the Lord, since they have attempted the same in other works that are not to be compared with these."
The Qur'an confirms this with the words:
"Then woe to those who write the book (of Allah/God) with their own hands and then say: 'This is from Allah', to traffic with it for a miserable price. Woe to them for what their hands do write and for the gain they make thereby"
The noble Qur'an Al-Bakarah(2):79
Victor Tununensis, a sixth century African Bishop related in his Chronicle (566 AD) that when Messala was consul at Costantinople (506 AD), he "censored and corrected" the Gentile Gospels written by persons considered illiterate by the Emperor Anastasius. The implication was that they were altered to conform to sixth century Christianity which differed from the Christianity of previous centuries (The Dead Sea Scrolls, the Gospel of Barnabas, and the New Testament, by M. A. Yusseff, p. 81)
These "corrections" were by no means confined to the first centuries after Christ. Sir Higgins says:
"It is impossible to deny that the Bendictine Monks of St. Maur, as far as Latin and Greek language went, were very learned and talented, as well as numerous body of men. In Cleland's 'Life of Lanfranc, Archbishop of Canterbury', is the following passage: 'Lanfranc, a Benedictine Monk, Archbishop of Canterbury, having found the Scriptures much corrupted by copyists, applied himself to correct them, as also the writings of the fathers, agreeably to the orthodox faith, secundum fidem orthodoxam."
History of Christianity in the light of Modern knowledge, Higgins p.318
In other words, the Christian scriptures were re-written in order to conform to the doctrines of the eleventh and twelfth centuries and even the writings of the early church fathers were "corrected" so that the changes would not be discovered. Sir Higgins goes on to say:
"The same Protestant divine has this remarkable passage: 'Impartiality exacts from me the confession, that the orthodox have in some places altered the Gospels."
The author then goes on to demonstrate how a massive effort was undertaken in Costantinople, Rome, Canterbury, and the Christian world in general in order to "correct" the Gospels and destroy all manuscripts before this period.
Theodore Zahan, illustrated the bitter conflicts within the established churches in Articles of the Apostolic Creed. He points out that the Roman Catholics accuse the Greek Orthodox Church of remodeling the text of the holy scriptures by additions and omissions with both good as well as evil intentions. The Greek Orthodox, on the other hand, accuse the Roman Catholics of straying in many places very far away from the original text. In spite of their differences, they both join forces to condemn the non-conformist Christians of deviating from "the true way" and condemn them as heretics. The heretics in turn condemn the Catholics for having "recoined the truth like forgers." The author concludes "Do not facts support these accusations?"
"And from those who said: "We are Christians," We took their Covenant, but they forgot a good part of the message which was sent to them. Therefore We have stirred up enmity and hatred among them till the Day of Resurrection, and Allah will inform them of what they used to do. O people of the Scripture! Now has Our messenger (Muhammad) come to you, explaining to you much of that which you used to hide in the Scripture, and forgiving much. Indeed, there has come to you a light from Allah and a plain Scripture. Wherewith Allah guides him who seeks His good pleasure unto paths of peace. He brings them out of darkness by His will into light, and guides them to a straight path. They indeed have disbelieved who say: Lo! Allah is the Messiah, son of Mary. Say: Who then has the least power against Allah, if He had willed to destroy the Messiah son of Mary, and his mother and everyone on earth? And to Allah belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth and all that is between them. He creates what He will. And Allah is Able to do all things. The Jews and Christians say: We are sons of Allah and His loved ones. Say; Why then does He punish you for your sins? No, you are but mortals of His creating. He forgives whom He will, and punishes whom He will. And to Allah belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth and all that is between them, and unto Him is the return (of all). O people of the Scripture! Now has Our messenger (Muhammad) come unto you to make things plain after a break in (the series of) the messengers, lest you should say: There came not unto us a messenger of cheer nor any Warner. Now has a messenger of cheer and a Warner come unto you. And Allah is Able to do all things."
The noble Qur'an, Al-Maidah(5):14-19
St. Augustine himself, a man acknowledged and looked up to by both Protestants and Catholics alike, professed that there were secret doctrines in the Christian religion and that
"there were many things true in the Christian religion which it was not convenient for the vulgar to know, and that some things were false, but convenient for the vulgar to believe in them."
Sir Higgins admits:
"It is not unfair to suppose that in these withheld truths we have part of the modern Christian mysteries, and I think it will hardly be denied that the church, whose highest authorities held such doctrines, would not scruple to retouch the sacred writings" (The Dead Sea Scrolls, the Gospel of Barnabas, and the New Testament, M. A. Yusseff, p.83)
Even the epistles attributed to Paul were not written by him. After years of research, Catholics and Protestants alike agree that of the thirteen epistles attributed to Paul only seven are genuinely his. They are: Romans, 1, 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Philipians, Philemon, and 1 Thessalonians.
Christian sect are not even agreed on the definition of what exactly is an "inspired" book of God. The Protestants are taught that there are 66 truly "inspired" books in the Bible, while the Catholics have been taught that there are 73 truly "inspired" books, not to mention the many other sects and their "newer" books, such as the Mormons, etc. As we shall see shortly, the very first Christians, for many generations, did not follow either the 66 books of the Protestants, nor the 73 books of the Catholics. Quite the opposite, they believed in books that were, many generations later, "recognized" to be fabrications and apocrypha by a more enlightened age than that of the apostles.
Well, where do all of these Bibles come from and why the difficulty in defining what is a truly "inspired" word of God? They come from the "ancient manuscripts" (also known as MSS). The Christian world today boasts of an excess of 24,000 "ancient manuscripts" of the Bible dating all the way back to the fourth century after Christ (But not back to Christ or the apostles themselves). In other words, we have with us gospels which date back to the century when the Trinitarians took over the Christian Church. All manuscripts from before this period have strangely perished. All Bibles in existence today are compiled from these "ancient manuscripts." Any scholar of the Bible will tell us that no two ancient manuscripts are exactly identical.
People today generally believe that there is only ONE Bible, and ONE version of any given verse of the Bible. This is far from true. All Bibles in our possession today (Such as the KJV, the NRSV, the NAB, NIV,...etc.) are the result of extensive cutting and pasting from these various manuscripts with no single one being the definitive reference. There are countless cases where a paragraph shows up in one "ancient manuscript" but is totally missing from many others. For instance, Mark 16:8-20 (twelve whole verses) is completely missing from the most ancient manuscripts available today (such as the Sinaitic Manuscript, the Vatican #1209 and the Armenian version) but shows up in more recent "ancient manuscripts." There are also many documented cases where even geographical locations are completely different from one ancient manuscript to the next. For instance, in the "Samaritan Pentateuch manuscript," Deuteronomy 27:4 speaks of "mount Gerizim," while in the "Hebrew manuscript" the exact same verse speaks of "mount Ebal." From Deuteronomy 27:12-13 we can see that these are two distinctly different locations. Similarly, Luke 4:44 in some "ancient manuscripts" mentions "Synagogues of Judea," others mention "Synagogues of Galilee." This is only a sampling, a comprehensive listing would require a book of it's own.
There are countless examples in the Bible where verses of a questionable nature are included in the text without any disclaimer telling the reader that many scholars and translators have serious reservations as to their authenticity. The King James Version of the Bible (Also known as the "Authorized Version"), the one in the hands of the majority of Christendom today, is one of the most notorious in this regard. It gives the reader absolutely no clue as to the questionable nature of such verses. However, more recent translations of the Bible are now beginning to be a little more honest and forthcoming in this regard. For example, the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible, by Oxford Press, has adopted an extremely subtle system of bracketing the most glaring examples of such questionable verses with double square brackets ([[ ]]). It is highly unlikely that the casual reader will realize the true function these brackets serve. They are there to tell the informed reader that the enclosed verses are of a highly questionable nature. Examples of this are the story of the "woman taken in adultery" in John 8:1-11, as well as Mark 16:9-20 (Jesus' resurrection and return), and Luke 23:34 (which, interestingly enough, is there to confirm the prophesy of Isaiah 53:12).....and so forth.
For example, with regard to John 8:1-11, the commentators of this Bible say in very small print at the bottom of the page:
"The most ancient authorities lack 7.53-8.11; other authorities add the passage here or after 7.36 or after 21.25 or after Luke 21.38 with variations of text; some mark the text as doubtful." (emphasis added).
With regard to Mark 16:9-20, we are, strangely enough, given a choice of how we would like the Gospel of Mark to end. The commentators have supplied both a "short ending" and a "long ending." Thus, we are given a choice of what we would prefer to be the "inspired word of God". Once again, at the end of this Gospel in very small text, the commentators say:
"Some of the most ancient authorities bring the book to a close at the end of verse 8. One authority concludes the book with the shorter ending; others include the shorter ending and then continue with verses 9-20. In most authorities, verses 9-20 follow immediately after verse 8, though in some of these authorities the passage is marked as being doubtful."
Peake's Commentary on the Bible records;
"It is now generally agreed that 9-20 are not an original part of Mk. They are not found in the oldest MSS, and indeed were apparently not in the copies used by Mt. and Lk. A 10th-cent. Armenian MS ascribes the passage to Aristion, the presbyter mentioned by Papias (ap.Eus.HE III, xxxix, 15)."
"Indeed an Armenian translation of St. Mark has quite recently been discovered, in which the last twelve verses of St. Mark are ascribed to Ariston, who is otherwise known as one of the earliest of the Christian Fathers; and it is quite possible that this tradition is correct"
Our Bible and the Ancient Manuscripts, F. Kenyon, Eyre and Spottiswoode, pp. 7-8
Even at that, these verses are noted as having been narrated differently in different "authorities." For example, verse 14 is claimed by the commentators to have the following words added on to them in some "ancient authorities":
"and they excused themselves saying 'This age of lawlessness and unbelief is under Satan, who does not allow the truth and power of God to prevail over the unclean things of the spirits. Therefore, reveal your righteousness now' - thus they spoke to Christ and Christ replied to them 'The term of years of Satan's power has been fulfilled, but other terrible things draw near. And for those who have sinned I was handed over to death, that they may return to the truth and sin no more, that they may inherit the spiritual and imperishable glory of the righteousness that is in heaven'.".
Dr. Lobegott Friedrich Konstantin Von Tischendorf was one of the most eminent conservative biblical scholars of the nineteenth century. He was also one of the staunchest most adamant defenders of the "Trinity" history has known. One of his greatest lifelong achievements was the discovery of the oldest known Biblical manuscript know to mankind, the "Codex Sinaiticus," from Saint Catherine's Monastery in Mount Sinai. One of the most devastating discoveries made from the study of this fourth century manuscript was that the gospel of Mark originally ended at verses 16:8 and not at verse 16:20 as it does today. In other words, the last 12 verses (Mark 16:9 through Mark 16:20) were "injected" by the church into the Bible sometime after the 4th century. Clement of Alexandria and Origen never quoted these verses. Later on, it was also discovered that the said 12 verses, wherein lies the account of "the resurrection of Jesus," do not appear in codices Syriacus, Vaticanus and Bobiensis. Originally, the "Gospel of Mark" contained no mention of the "resurrection of Jesus" (Mark 16:9-20). At least four hundred years (if not more) after the departure of Jesus, the Church received divine "inspiration" to add the story of the resurrection to the end of this Gospel.
The author of "Codex Sinaiticus" had no doubt that the Gospel of Mark came to an end at Mark 16:8, to emphasize this point we find that immediately following this verse he brings the text to a close with a fine artistic squiggle and the words "The Gospel according to Mark." Tischendorf was a staunch conservative Christian and as such he managed to casually brush this discrepancy aside since in his estimation the fact that Mark was not an apostle nor an eye witness to the ministry of Jesus made his account secondary to those of the apostles such as Matthew and John. However, as seen elsewhere in this book, the majority of Christian scholars today recognize the writings of Paul to be the oldest of the writings of the Bible. These are closely followed by the "Gospel of Mark" and the "Gospels of Matthew and Luke" are almost universally recognized to have been based upon the "Gospel of Mark." This discovery was the result of centuries of detailed and painstaking studies by these Christian scholars and the details can not be repeated here. Suffice it to say that most reputable Christian scholars today recognize this as a basic indisputable fact.
Today, the translators and publishers of our modern Bibles are beginning to be a little more forthright and honest with their readers. Although they may not simply openly admit that these twelve verses were forgeries of the Church and not the word of God, still, at least they are beginning to draw the reader's attention to the fact that there are two "versions" of the "Gospel of Mark" and then leave the reader to decide what to make of these two "versions."
Now the question becomes "if the Church has tampered with the Gospel of Mark, then did they stop there or is there more to this story?. As it happens, Tischendorf also discovered that the "Gospel of John" has been heavily reworked by the Church over the ages. For example,
(For more on this topic please read 'Secrets of Mount Sinai' by James Bentley, Doubleday, NY, 1985).
Much of the discoveries of Dr. Tischendorf regarding the continuous and unrelenting tampering with the text of the Bible over the ages has been verified by twentieth century science. For example, a study of the Codex Sinaiticus under ultraviolet light has revealed that the "Gospel of John" originally ended at verse 21:24 and was followed by a small tail piece and then the words "The Gospel according to John." However, some time later, a completely different "inspired" individual took pen in hand, erased the text following verse 24, and then added in the "inspired" text of John 21:25 which we find in our Bibles today.
The evidence of tampering goes on and on. For example, in the Codex Sinaiticus the "lord's prayer" of Luke 11:2-4 differs substantially from the version which has reached us through the agency of centuries of "inspired" correction. Luke 11:2-4 in this most ancient of all Christian manuscripts reads:
"Father, Hallowed by thy name, Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so upon earth. Give us day by day our daily bread. And forgive us our sins, as we ourselves also forgive everyone that is indebted to us. And bring us not into temptation."
Further, the "Codex Vaticanus," is another ancient manuscript held by the scholars of Christianity in the same reverent standing as the Codex Sinaiticus. These two fourth century codices are together considered the most ancient copies of the Bible available today. In the codex Vaticanus we can find a version of Luke 11:2-4 even shorter than that of Codex Sinaiticus. In this version even the words "Thy will be done, as in heaven, so upon earth." are not to be found.
Well, what has been the official Church position regarding these "discrepancies"? How did the Church decide to handle this situation? Did they call upon all of the foremost scholars of Christian literature to come together in a mass conference in order to jointly study the most ancient Christian manuscripts available to the Church and come to a common agreement as to what was the true original word of God? No!
Well then, did they immediately expend every effort to make mass copies of the original manuscripts and send them out to the Christian world so that they could make their own decisions as to what truly was the original unchanged word of God? Once again, No!
So what did they do? Let us ask Rev. Dr. George L. Robertson. In his book "Where did we get our Bible? he writes:
"Of the MSS. of Holy Scripture in Greek still existing there are said to be several thousand of varying worth ... Three or four in particular of these old, faded out, and unattractive documents constitute the most ancient and the most precious treasures of the Christian Church, and are therefore of special interest." First in Rev. Richardson's list is the "Codex Vaticanus" of which he says: "This is probably the most ancient of all Greek MSS. now known to exist. It is designated as Codex 'B.' In 1448, Pope Nicholas V brought it to Rome where it has lain practically ever since, being guarded assiduously by papal officials in the Vatican Library. It's history is brief: Erasmus in 1533 knew of its existence, but neither he nor any of his successors were permitted to study it... becoming quite inaccessible to scholars, till Tischendorf in 1843, after months of delay, was finally allowed to see it for six hours. Another specialist, named de Muralt in 1844 was likewise given an aggravating glimpse of it for nine hours. The story of how Dr. Tregelles in 1845 was allowed by the authorities (all unconscious to themselves) to secure it page by page through memorizing the text, is a fascinating one. Dr. Tregelles did it. He was permitted to study the MS. continuously for a long time, but not to touch it or to take notes. Indeed, every day as he entered the room where the precious document was guarded, his pockets were searched and pen, paper and ink were taken from him, if he carried such accessories with him. The permission to enter, however, was repeated, until he finally had carried away with him and annotated in his room most of the principle variant readings of this most ancient text. Often, however, in the process, if the papal authorities observed he was becoming too much absorbed in any one section, they would snatch the MS. away from him and direct his attention to another leaf. Eventually they discovered that Tregelles had practically stolen the text, and that the Biblical world knew the secrets of their historic MS. Accordingly, Pope Pius IX ordered that it should be photographed and published; and it was, in five volumes which appeared in 1857. But the work was very unsatisfactorily done. About that time Tischendorf made a third attempt to gain access to and examine it. He succeeded, and later issued the text of the first twenty pages. Finally in 1889-90, with papal permission, the entire text was photographed and issued in facsimile, and published so that a copy of the expensive quartos was obtainable by, and is now in the possession of all the principle libraries in the biblical world."
"Where did we get our Bible?", Rev. Dr. George L. Robertson. Harper and Brothers Publishers, pp.110-112
What were all of the Popes afraid of? What was the Vatican as a whole afraid of? Why was the concept of releasing the text of their most ancient copy of the Bible to the general public so terrifying to them? Why did they feel it necessary to bury the most ancient copies of the inspired word of God in a dark corner of the Vatican never to be seen by outside eyes? Why? What about all of the thousands upon thousands of other manuscripts which to this day remain buried in the darkest depths of the Vatican vaults never to be seen or studied by the general masses of Christendom?
"[And remember] When God took a Covenant from those who were given the Scripture: You shall make it known and clear to mankind, and you shall not to hide it; but they flung it behind their backs, and purchased with it a miserable gain! How evil was that which they purchased!"
The noble Qur'an, A'al-Umran(3):187
"Say: 'O people of the Book! exceed not in your religion the bounds [of what is proper], trespassing beyond the truth, nor follow the vain desires of people who went astray in times gone by, who misled many, and strayed [themselves] from the straight path.'"
The noble Qur'an, Al-Maida(5):77
Returning to our study of some of the "discrepancies" to be found between our modern Bibles and between the most ancient copies of the Bible available to the chosen few, we find that the verse of Luke 24:51 contains Luke's alleged account of the final parting of Jesus (pbuh) and how he was "raised up into heaven." However, as seen in previous pages, in the Codex Sinaiticus and other ancient manuscripts the words "and was carried up into heaven" are completely missing. The verse only says:
"And it came to pass, while he blessed them, he was parted from them."
C.S.C. Williams observed, if this omission were correct, "there is no reference at all to the Ascension in the original text of the Gospel."
Some other "inspired" modification of the Church to Codex Sinaiticus and our modern Bibles:
In all, Tischendorf uncovered over 14,800 "corrections" to the manuscript by nine (some say ten) separate "correctors," which had been applied to this one manuscript over a period from 400AD to 1200AD (see Fig. 1). Although he was well known to be quite ruthless and unscrupulous in his dealings with his fellow Christian, still, he strove in his dealings with his holy texts themselves to be as honest and sincere as humanly possible. For this reason he could not understand how the scribes could have so continuously and so callously
"allow themselves to bring in here and there changes, which were not simple verbal ones, but materially affected the meaning" or why they "did not shrink from cutting out a passage or inserting one."
Fig. 1 14,800 "corrections" to only one Biblical manuscript
In the book "The Story of the Manuscripts" by Rev. George E. Merrill, the good Reverend quotes Prof. Arnold as stating:
"there are not more than fifteen hundred to two thousand places2,000 errors in which there is any uncertainty whatever as to the true text.."
this number being in the respected Professor's estimation quite minuscule. Prof. Arnold then goes on to explain how all of these "variant readings" are undeserving of his attention with only about a dozen being of any doctrinal importance. In this manner, many thousands of additions, omissions, and "corrections" of the church over the ages are suddenly transformed to only a dozen and then quickly reduced to none. Notice how casually and quickly centuries of tampering with the text of the "inspired word of God" is brushed off and justified?.
The reader is encouraged to go back and read all of these inserted verses that the conservative Trinitarian scholars themselves now admit were later forgeries of the Church. Notice the intricate detail that is to be found in them. Notice the attention to the minutest aspect that is lavished upon these inserted verses. Notice how "spiritual" they are. Notice how truly "inspired" they are. What does all of this tell us?
Please keep in mind that these are only but a few of the most outstanding of these discrepancies. In many cases the translators appear to have been unable to determine the true wording in any truly scientific and unbiased fashion, thus, they appear to have been reduced to such actions as choosing the version adopted by the majority of the "ancient authorities." I am sure no one will mistake this for a truly scientific determination (e.g. perhaps the minority version is found in the most ancient manuscripts, as seen above). Think about it.
"O People of the Book! Our messenger has come to you revealing to you much of what you used to hide of the Book and forgiving much. There has come to you from Allah a light and a plain scripture"
The noble Qur'an, Al-Maida(5):15
As we have seen, these are not simply the ramblings of a small number of obscure crackpot Christian-haters. This information has become so well recognized and acknowledged in the Christian West today that even their own encyclopedias affirm it, and although no one will ever mistake an encyclopedia for an official Christian reference, still, this does go to show the extent that this information has become accepted in the West today. Grolier's encyclopedia says under the heading "Jesus Christ":
"The Gospels According to Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, the first four books of the New Testament of the Bible, are the principal sources for the life of Jesus. These works are primarily testimonies to the faith of the early Christian community, however, and have to be used critically as evidence for the historical Jesus. The methods include source, form, and redaction criticism...These methods provide criteria to sift through the redaction and tradition and reconstruct the message and the mission of the historical Jesus...Application of the critical methods described above reveals that the gospel tradition apparently started originally with Jesus' baptism by John the Baptist (Matt. 3:13-17; Mark 1:9-11; Luke 3:21-22; John 1:29-34). The stories concerning the birth of Jesus were probably later additions. These stories--the annunciations to Mary and Joseph, their journey to Bethlehem for the Roman census, and Jesus' birth there (Luke 2:1-7); the visits of the shepherds (Luke 2:8-20) and the three magi from the East (Matt. 2:1-12); and the flight of the family to Egypt to escape the massacre of young boys that had been ordered by King Herod (Matt. 2:13-23)--may be characterized conveniently, if loosely, as 'Christological midrash,' expressions of Christological faith cast into narrative form. If there are any factual elements in them, these will be found among the items on which Matthew and Luke agree: the names of Mary, Joseph, and Jesus; the dating of Jesus' birth toward the end of the reign of Herod the Great (d. 4 BC); and, less certainly, the Bethlehem location of the birth" (emphasis added).
"The Five Gospels," is a 550 page book containing translations of the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. It was the result of a six year study by 24 Christian scholars from some of the most prestigious universities the Western world. They decided to produce a translation of the Gospels which would be uncolored by the translator's personal faith. It was decided that this translation was to give the reader an honest picture of what Jesus (pbuh) truly said. They scanned the text for the words of Jesus (pbuh), and collect an index of over 1,500 such sayings. They then tested the validity of each of these sayings, one at a time, to see whether Jesus (pbuh) truly said each one. They then produced a fresh translation, color-coded to show authentic Jesuit sayings and those of an unreliable nature. Their conclusion (page 5) was:
"Eighty-two percent of the words ascribed to Jesus in the gospels were not actually spoken by him."
They go on to reveal that:
"biblical scholars and theologians alike have learned to distinguish the Jesus of history from the Christ of faith. It has been a painful lesson for both the church and scholarship. The distinction between the two figures is the difference between a historical person who lived in a particular time and place...and a figure who has been assigned a mythical role, in which he descends from heaven to rescue humankind and, of course, eventually returns there."
Well then, if 82% of the "words of Jesus" found in the Bible were apparently never spoken by him then where did they come from? Some of the sources demonstrated by the authors are:
"The concept of plagiarism was unknown in the ancient world. Authors freely copied from predecessors without acknowledgment. Sages became the repository of free-floating proverbs and witticisms. For the first Christians, Jesus was a legendary sage: it was proper to attribute the world's wisdom to him. The proverb in Mark 2:17, for example, is attested in secular sources (Plutarch and Diogenes for example)...in the parallel to the Markan passage, Matthew adds a sentence taken from the prophet Hosea (Matt 9:13)."
"Hard sayings are frequently softened in the process of transmission to adapt them to the conditions of daily living...Variations in difficult saying often betray the struggle of the early Christian community to interpret or adapt sayings to it's own situations... Matthew's version of the aphorism "The last will be first and the first last"(Matt 20:16) is softened in Mark 10:31 to "MANY of the first will be last, and of the last MANY will be first"."
And probably most revealing:
"Christian conviction eventually overwhelms Jesus: he is made to confess what Christians had come to believe...The contrast between Christian language or viewpoint and the language or viewpoint of Jesus is a very important clue to the real voice of Jesus, the language of Jesus was distinctive, as was his style and perspective."
The above is only a very small sampling of the very large cache of evidence clearly showing the Bible to have been seriously distorted and altered. To this day it is being continuously edited, corrected, and modified. This is not to say that Christians are not good and honest people in search of the truth. Quite the opposite. Among them are some of the most decent and moral people on this earth. The goal of this book is only to show that the Christian faith as it stands today is not the same one preached by Jesus peace be upon him to his followers nineteen hundred years ago. This is exactly what the Qur'an has been asserting for over fourteen hundred years now.
"O People of the Book! Why do you reject the Signs of God, when you [yourselves] bear witness [to their truth] ?. O People of the Book! Why do you clothe Truth with falsehood, and conceal the Truth, while you have knowledge?"
The noble Qur'an, A'al-Umran(3):70-71
"Say: 'O People of the Book! Why do you reject the Signs of God, when God is Himself witness to all you do?' Say: 'O People of the Book! Why do you obstruct those who believe from the path of God, Seeking to make it crooked, while you were yourselves witnesses? But God is not unaware of what you do'"
The noble Qur'an, A'al-Umran(3):98-99
"Truly, the Religion in the Sight of God is Islam (literally: "the submission"). Nor did those who were given the scripture dissent therefrom except after knowledge had come to them, through envy of each other. But whosoever disbelieves in the Signs of God, [then surely,] God is swift in calling to account."
The noble Qur'an, A'al-Umran(3):19
"They are not all alike. Of the People of the Scripture there is a party who stand [for that which is right], they recite the revelations of Allah throughout the night, falling prostrate [before Him]."
The noble Qur'an, A'al-Umran(3):113
"And there are, certainly, among the People of the Book, those who believe in God, and in that which was sent down unto you, and in that which was sent down unto them, humbling themselves before God: They will not sell the Signs of God for a miserable gain! For them is a reward with their Lord, and God is swift to take account."
The noble Qur'an, A'al-Umran(3):199
"O people of the Book! Now has come unto you Our messenger, revealing to you much of what you used to hide in the Book, and passing over much. Indeed, there has come to you from God a light and a plain Scripture"
The noble Qur'an, Al-Maida(5):15
To read the rest of this book, please visit: Page 11
To go back to the Table of Contents of this book, please visit: What did Jesus really say?