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I am not sure if I explained the controversy properly. The idea rests on the use of word only in that line in Genesis 22. The idea rests that if Person has 2 sons, than request of bringing the only son does not make sense because there is 2 sons, which one is only. Only grammatically applies to something that there is only one of. If there was one son than request would have made sense.

I understand what you are saying, but the logic doesn't work.  By "chapter 22" Isaac had already been born.  Either way it can't mean what Islam interprets it to mean, which is that Avraham only had one son at that time.  You mentioned earlier that you believed Isaac was just a baby.  Yet Ishmael is born at the end of one chapter (Abraham is 86) and is 13 (Abraham is 99) the next chapter.  The next five "chapters" cover mostly the span of one year.  Sarah gives birth to Isaac at 90.  The next chapter is the binding of Isaac.  Then the beginning of the very next chapter right after the binding of Isaac it records that Sarah died at 127 years.  That means there are 37 years between chapter 21 when Isaac is born and 23 when Sarah dies.

The fact is that at that point Ishmael and Hagar had been sent away.  Abraham had only one son with him.  There is no textual of linguistic or internal problem here whatsoever.

I am just explaining the claim and where it stands rather than arguing its truth. But the discussion is helpful since it is helping to clarify some things.

Fair enough.  I am not interested in converting you or anything like that, that is not what Jews are about.  But I had to chime in on what I see as misrepresentations of what the Torah says and means.

Now the problem with criticism of Koran lies with the fact that is recorded by followers of Muhammad as he is saying it. While the Bible is recorded after the events. Second Muslims point out that the in Koran it says that God protects the Book from alterations and discrepancies.

The Torah and Tanach, Jews, and Judaism have our own traditions and beliefs regarding how they were recorded.  The entirety of the Torah was dictated to Moshe by G-d and committed to writing by Moshe save perhaps the last few lines which would've been recorded by Y'hoshua.  The rest of the books have various authors between Y'hoshua and Ezra and Nechemiyah.

As for Muhammad being recorded by his followers, that's nice.  Like I said, I have no interest in making you believe something other than Islam.  But don't you think this point is a little ridiculous in light of the criticisms launched against the Hebrew Bible?  With the exception of the parts of the Koran which speak of Muhammad's life and surroundings he is re-telling stories about the Jewish patriarchs, prophets, etc. which precede him by thousands of years.  He is speaking about things which have been in writings for 2,000 years by that point.

How is that not recording "after the events"?  Because he had a revelation?  Whether by oral tradition or revelation there are centuries and millenium more time between Muhammad and the ancient stories he is re-telling than between the events in the Hebrew Bible and their recording.

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As for Muhammad being recorded by his followers, that's nice.  Like I said, I have no interest in making you believe something other than Islam.  But don't you think this point is a little ridiculous in light of the criticisms launched against the Hebrew Bible?  With the exception of the parts of the Koran which speak of Muhammad's life and surroundings he is re-telling stories about the Jewish patriarchs, prophets, etc. which precede him by thousands of years.  He is speaking about things which have been in writings for 2,000 years by that point.

How is that not recording "after the events"?  Because he had a revelation?  Whether by oral tradition or revelation there are centuries and millenium more time between Muhammad and the ancient stories he is re-telling than between the events in the Hebrew Bible and their recording.

Muslims rest on the idea that historians and archaeologists claim that Torah was actually committed to writing after their exile to Babylon. This was done to prevent the loss of culture and religion in the melting pot of the Babylon.

Muhammad when he speaks to his followers is not retelling the stories as he knows them from Torah, in Muslim viewpoint he is telling them as angel Gabriel is passing them down from Allah. Thus according to Muslims this stories are not retelling of what was written before but stories as they are told by God.

Now from non-religious perspective it is easy to say that as Muhammad was in charge of large caravan trading company he was in contact with other religions and so picked stuff up from them that he liked and saw as most applicable and any discrepancies are could be due to his retelling or how the story was originally told to him.

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Muslims rest on the idea that historians and archaeologists claim that Torah was actually committed to writing after their exile to Babylon. This was done to prevent the loss of culture and religion in the melting pot of the Babylon.

Even some of the most minimalist historians believe that the Torah was compiled from a couple already long-existing texts.  However, these theories show a complete lack of understanding of the Hebrew, and stem largely from extremely anti-Jewish periods in Germany.  They are mostly attempts to resurrect the already long-ago defeated Wellhausen theory of various sources.  Needless to say observant Jews reject these theories.

Muhammad when he speaks to his followers is not retelling the stories as he knows them from Torah, in Muslim viewpoint he is telling them as angel Gabriel is passing them down from Allah. Thus according to Muslims this stories are not retelling of what was written before but stories as they are told by God.

Now from non-religious perspective it is easy to say that as Muhammad was in charge of large caravan trading company he was in contact with other religions and so picked stuff up from them that he liked and saw as most applicable and any discrepancies are could be due to his retelling or how the story was originally told to him.

Yes, and when Moshe is recording the earliest stories in Bereshit (Genesis) he is recording it as G-d is telling him at Sinai.  Not to mention the fact that the stories of the patriarchs are still recent at that point.  However, he is not taking them from already existing books and doing so thousands of years after the fact.

You are trying to distinguish between Muhammad receiving a relelation and Moshe receiving a revelation as well as having the oral tradition already. 

If I say that I received a revelation about Muhammad from Gavriel where I record a bunch of information that is already recorded the world over for 1,400 years with some slight tweaks here and there, I can't wish away the fact that this stuff is already well known and recorded.

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Purge, just because something is written down does not mean it is fixed. Unless you have the version of the Torah in Moshe's own hand, then there is scope for transmission error. Precisely what types of error we can expect to find will depend on the exact manuscript history, but your arguments about when things were written down do not hold water.

"By "chapter 22" Isaac had already been born"

This, as with the other paragraphs, might be exegetic interpolation.

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Purge, just because something is written down does not mean it is fixed. Unless you have the version of the Torah in Moshe's own hand, then there is scope for transmission error. Precisely what types of error we can expect to find will depend on the exact manuscript history, but your arguments about when things were written down do not hold water.

My point was that even most minimalists regard the Torah as a compilation of much much older documents, and not something suddenly recorded for posterity during/after the Babylonian exile.

Torah scrolls the world over are and have been exactly the same.  The biggest variation between Torahs is probably with the Yemini Torah which has something like 7-9 variations, none of which change the word or meaning of the word (for instance, a word ending with an alef rather than a heh, etc).  It's easy to make accusations against something based on the possibility that such and such could or may have been capable of happening, but there's no support for it, no proof.

"By "chapter 22" Isaac had already been born"

This, as with the other paragraphs, might be exegetic interpolation.

How so?

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Purge, how old are the oldest extant Torah and supporting (quoting) manuscripts (like the Talmud)?

I've read more about the New Testament ("More variant readings than there are words in it!") than the Tanakh, mainly because the ChristoPaulians, like the Mohammedans, carry a more virulent pathogenic meme than you Jews. (I really must say, as religions go, Judaism really is quite nice and definitely not "pushy". The whole "Chosen People" thang does tend to work itself out negatively in the personalities of some individual believers, but humans...what can you do, right? Pity about the two butt ugly daughter religions, though. Still, happens in the best of families.)

What was the deal with the forgotten texts found in the ruins of the Temple and incorporated into the scriptures? Or am I muddling the story of the finding of the trove of old Qur'ans that should have been burned? Anyway, are you following the Talmud version for the dating of the completion and canonization of the Tanakh?

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"Torah scrolls the world over are and have been exactly the same"

That only tells us that they were standardised at some point, it does not tell us when. And indeed, as I understand it, the Torah does get standardised throughout its history.

"How so?"

An exegetic interpolation is when a note accompanying a text to explain it ends up being incorporated into the text, usually by being mistaken for an authentic part of the text in written works, or by being a 'useful' part of the text in oral transmission.

Here, if the Muslim scholarship is correct, and calling Isaac the only son is confusing to the reader, then what might have happened would be that the passages that you say corroborate reading Isaac were not originally there, but were introduced to explain Isaac.

"It's easy to make accusations against something based on the possibility that such and such could or may have been capable of happening, but there's no support for it, no proof."

Sure, sure, but what's being offered is a contradiction - albeit one you don't accept - where the text itself (according to some) demonstrates a problem. All I'm saying is that your objections, that the Torah was written down a long time ago, that another passage contradicts the proposed reading, can themselves be countered. If the text as it stands is indeed contradictory, then the text as it stands is wrong and must be corrected.

If the Torah contained a passage that read something like "And Moses went up to the mutton, from which high point he received some instructions, and he had the sheep for dinner, and he conveyed the instructions back down to his mates", we can see that going up to the mutton to receive instructions makes no sense, and that the correct word there is mountain. But how do we account for his reported meal? Interpolation. It doesn't matter if every Torah the world over has the word mutton there, it doesn't matter how long ago the Torah was written or who noticed the mistake and why - the text should in this example be "And Moses went up to the mountain, from which high point he received some instructions, and he conveyed the instructions back down to his mates".

However, it all hinges on the one semantic point of whether the sentence makes sense. And, as I say, it's up to you to decide.

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Purge, how old are the oldest extant Torah and supporting (quoting) manuscripts (like the Talmud)?

The oldest scrolls are obviously those which were found at Qumran (most of which date from between the 5th century BCE to the 1st century BCE), which were not subject to the burnings, persecutions, etc. which those in Jewish communities were from the Babylonians down thru to recently.

There are some more recent manuscripts written by the masoretes which incorporate the trop and vowel points which date to the 10th or 11th century CE.

I've read more about the New Testament ("More variant readings than there are words in it!") than the Tanakh, mainly because the ChristoPaulians, like the Mohammedans, carry a more virulent pathogenic meme than you Jews. (I really must say, as religions go, Judaism really is quite nice and definitely not "pushy". The whole "Chosen People" thang does tend to work itself out negatively in the personalities of some individual believers, but humans...what can you do, right? Pity about the two butt ugly daughter religions, though. Still, happens in the best of families.)

TBH, the "chosen people" thing is completely misinterpreted more often than not.  Unfortunately, some Jews who are not all that familiar with Judaism and Jewishness who aren't completely put off by it may be likely to mis-state what it actually means.  In truth, "choseness" was for the purpose of bringing knowledge of ethical monotheism to the world.  Not by trying to convert them to all to Jews (although we welcome all sincere converts, and at one point Judaism was extremelty popular in the Roman Empire during the first century), but to serve as an example.

Israel was situated at the crossroads between Africa, Europe, and Asia, and so every large empire inevitably came into contact with us and our peculiar God and laws.  Jews were never meant to be isolated from interaction with other peoples, but just to isolate ourselves ritually.  Not to worship the gods of other nations, not to intermingle with their religions and customs which went against our Torah, and to be respectful of their laws when under them, but to also keep our laws when in the exile and not in our own land.

So choseness does not mean we think we are better, or more human, or this or that.  We were chosen for these laws which no other nation did or has ever accepted upon themselves, and this is our obligation.  But there have been great and righteous non-Jews through all ages, and we recognize that.

What was the deal with the forgotten texts found in the ruins of the Temple and incorporated into the scriptures? Or am I muddling the story of the finding of the trove of old Qur'ans that should have been burned? Anyway, are you following the Talmud version for the dating of the completion and canonization of the Tanakh?

You are speaking of the scroll found in the Temple during the time of Josiah.  According to Jewish tradition he didn't find a missing scroll in the sense that the contents of the scroll they found was unknown to them, but rather they found the original scroll of Deuteronomy written by Moshe.  Because it was the one particularly written by Moshe, and because it was turned to a specific part of the scroll which spoke of the curses for not following the scroll (which Josiah's forefather Amon, and his father Menashe for the first part of his life had not followed as kings).

Of course, as Jew I regard the oral Torah and tradition as recorded in the Mishnah and G'marah as important.  Of course as an observant Jew I follow the tradition that the Torah was written and completed by Moshe and was in use from that point forward.  The prophecies of the prophets were spoken and recorded at various points depending on the prophet and the time.  The writings (Psalms, Proverbs, Job, Ruth, Ester, Chronicles, etc) were finalized by the Men of Great Assembly in the 6th or 5th century, though made up of writings which had already existed for different amounts of time (Job written by Moses, Ruth written by Samuel, Chronicles written by Ezra and Nechemiah, etc.)

Of course anyone can argue that it is not the case, and there is no physical way to prove or disprove it.  We have our scrolls, we have our manuscripts, we have our traditions, and archaeology supports the time lines even if it can't support the every day happenings and supernatural claims of the Tanach.

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That only tells us that they were standardised at some point, it does not tell us when. And indeed, as I understand it, the Torah does get standardised throughout its history.

This is no support for the notion that the Jews changed Ishmael into Isaac.  It is a claim with no support in the text or in any tradition.  Such a claim only comes in the commentary on the Quran long after the fact, after the Torah, not to mention after Muhammad himself (who never makes such a claim).

An exegetic interpolation is when a note accompanying a text to explain it ends up being incorporated into the text, usually by being mistaken for an authentic part of the text in written works, or by being a 'useful' part of the text in oral transmission.

I wasn't asking what an exegetic interpolation is, I was asking for some support for such a claim.

Here, if the Muslim scholarship is correct, and calling Isaac the only son is confusing to the reader, then what might have happened would be that the passages that you say corroborate reading Isaac were not originally there, but were introduced to explain Isaac.

Again, there is no support for this claim.  It is just an attempt to retro-fit a 8th or 9th century CE belief to a BCE text.  The phrase is not confusing, but when translating a word which has particular meanings into a word in another language which comes with its own meanings and baggage causes people to misinterpret what is being said.  The text is internally consistent through and through, and the phrase is not ambiguous.  The previous "chapter" establishes the birth of Isaac and sending away of Ishmael, the chapters before that speak of the coming brith of Isaac to take on the covenant and the blessings, etc. and the narrative of chapter 22 speaks of Isaac a number of times never mentioning Ishmael.  In fact, Ishmael is not mentioned again until Avraham dies - 38 years after the incidents in chapter 22 - as recorded in chapter 25.

Sure, sure, but what's being offered is a contradiction - albeit one you don't accept - where the text itself (according to some) demonstrates a problem. All I'm saying is that your objections, that the Torah was written down a long time ago, that another passage contradicts the proposed reading, can themselves be countered. If the text as it stands is indeed contradictory, then the text as it stands is wrong and must be corrected.

It's not a contradiction.  The word used is perfectly acceptable to convey the situation of one son living with his father while the other son has been sent off and is not with them.  Saying your son your lone one who you love Isaac is a specification.  Muslims have to jump through hoops and come up with a convoluted mess of conspiracies to come up with any attempt to discredit the text as it is written.  The Hebrew is clear, there is no contradiction in it.

If the Torah contained a passage that read something like "And Moses went up to the mutton, from which high point he received some instructions, and he had the sheep for dinner, and he conveyed the instructions back down to his mates", we can see that going up to the mutton to receive instructions makes no sense, and that the correct word there is mountain. But how do we account for his reported meal? Interpolation. It doesn't matter if every Torah the world over has the word mutton there, it doesn't matter how long ago the Torah was written or who noticed the mistake and why - the text should in this example be "And Moses went up to the mountain, from which high point he received some instructions, and he conveyed the instructions back down to his mates".

There is no such problem in this text.  Again, not even the Koran says that Ishmael was the son involved in this story, rather a later commentary says so.  Meanwhile, the Torah is clear on who it was, it is written clearly, it is all internally consistent, and no amount of retro-fitting or revisionism can change that.

However, it all hinges on the one semantic point of whether the sentence makes sense. And, as I say, it's up to you to decide.

No, it hinges on a mistaken assumption in the first place, compounded by the mistake of interpreting into the meaning of the english word which is commonly used in Christian bibles, rather than the meaning of the Hebrew word used.  There is no inconsistency.  It's not a problem with the Hebrew text that is a problem, but of a theology not found until the Muslim commentaries on the Koran which misinterprets the Torah to create room for apologetics.

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It may be a mere pragmatic change in Revelations. God could have expected Arabs will have greater numbers in times of Muhammad; so His new Revelation simply changed a historical fact. I think, why not? God is (in both muslim and jewish traditions) omnipotent, He can change anything, including the fact I wrote this post.

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I was sure you would like that argument ;D  in fact there really have been books written on whether God can change past. Of course, this idea becomes relevant only if we don't presume that Tora and Quran are products of tribal opinions.

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Unchangeability of past became doubted with the relativist physics, so I wouldn't call it a waste. I read about it in a 60s' book from Nasr, so to compare it with an allegory of angels on pinheads is a shallow anachronism. Just most people are unable to comprehend a difference between things dependent and independent on time. Of course, this is just an attempt to overcome difference of cultures, it depends on both sides of the dialogue if they develop it in this way, or try to weaken the other one.

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Relativist physics, was it?

<i>"Assume for the moment we have a black body in..."

"Hey, what are you talking about, a BLACK body?"

"Huh? It's called a black body because it doesn't reflect..."

"Don't call it black. It only looks black to you. You're applying your standards and definitions. They need not apply for me!"</i>

Ahem...yes? You meant <b>relativistic</b> physics, no? Maybe you might try reading something on the subject written since the '60s?

I see no difference between speculation on whether god can change the past or ten million angels can dance on the head of a pin. Both refer to FICTIONAL ENTITIES and their characteristics and/or abilities.

More seriously, with regard to the formulation of your reply, are you able, after the flow of words begins, to pinch it off and stop yourself? Or do you have to just wait until you've emptied out?

(Don't forget to shake.)

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As one can understand my attitude from both views, I won't choose either option  ;D   But, do you SandChigger think that all speculation concerning "fictional entities" are the same, would you put theology on the same level as linguistics, psychology, theoretical physics, any esthetical art? Yes, I refer to a work from 60s (well, newer works of Greene or Hawking are rather avoiding theological questions) and there can be found surely better texts if we wanted to understand either muslim theology or relativist physics... but you seem to prefer an 18th century satire instead of the real composition of primary texts (not including notions of needles and angels), so I guess you would allow me to choose my sources for arguments freely as well?

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  • 1 month later...

One question, I have heard there are more then one version of bible and till the fact I know there was supposed to be only one bible but then again why did seprate versions come along and each one is different and why is this so and which one is real as each one seems different?

But there has been aand still is only one quran why is this so...

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Some thing very interesting I would like you guys to know bout Quran:-

What today modern sicence has been discovering quran has answered that before for example the earth revolving around the sun, all humans having different finger prints or other galaxies beyond our solar system , and lots more to know what modern scince has been discovering century back Quran has answered it 4000 years back!

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Sand, the bible consists of two testaments, each with several books in them, most of which have separate textual histories. As with all old documents, there are multiple variations because of mis-copying and other errors, although they are also frequently standardised, so many variations are lost (unless we find manuscripts that predate standardisation). There is also debate as to what is considered canonical within the bible - Jews accept only the Torah, and reject the New Testament, Christians adopt a verison of the Torah which they call the New Testament; different Christian groups include different books to make up what they call the bible.

The Qur'an seems to derive from a syriac bible which has since been lost. The Qur'an was not written until the 7th Century AD.

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It seems to me more relevant that Muhammad's (or Moses', Jesus'...) audience didn't care a lot about questions like whether Earth revolves around the sun or if there are any other galaxies, as such "facts" aren't parts of the ethical teaching. Could be, yes. People are different and focus on different things.

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One question, I have heard there are more then one version of bible and till the fact I know there was supposed to be only one bible but then again why did seprate versions come along and each one is different and why is this so and which one is real as each one seems different?

But there has been aand still is only one quran why is this so...

That's not true.

There is one and only one Hebrew Bible.

It consists of three sections, and 24 books, or scrolls.  Below I will list their true Hebrew name/transliteration and in parenthesis I will put the name they are known as in English.

Torah

1. B'reishit (Genesis)

2. Sh'mot (Exodus)

3. VaYiqra (Leviticus)

4. B'midbar (Numbers)

5. D'varim (Deuteronomy)

Nevi'im (Prophets)

6. Y'hoshu'a (Joshua)

7. Shoftim (Judges)

8. Sh'muel (Samuel)

9. Melachim (Kings)

10. Y'sha'yahu (Isaiah)

11. Yirm'yahu (Jeremiah)

12. Y'hezqel (Ezekiel)

13. Trei Asar (the Twelve)

- Hoshe'a (Hosea)

- Yoel (Joel)

- 'Amos (Amos)

- Ovad'yah (Obadiah)

- Yonah (Jonah)

- Michah (Micah)

- Nahum (Nahum)

- Havaquq (Habakkuk)

- Tz'fan'yah (Zephaniah)

- Haggai (Haggai)

- Z'char'yah (Zechariah)

- Malachi (Malachi)

K'tuvim (Writings)

14. T'hillim (Psalms)

15. Mishlei (Proverbs)

16. Iyov (Job)

17. Shir HaShirim (Song of Songs)

18. Rut (Ruth)

19. Eichah (Lamentations)

20. Qohelet (Ecclisiastes)

21. Ester (Esther)

22. Daniyyel (Daniel)

23. 'Ezra/N'hem'yah (Ezra/Nehemiah)

24. Divrei HaMayim (Chronicles)

This is the entirety of the Hebrew Bible, which is called the Tanach (an acronym for Torah, Nevi'im, and K'tuvim).  Nothing more and nothing less.  It is written entirely in Hebrew with some Aramaic (particularly in Daniyyel and Ezra), in their original languages.

The Christian bible has at different points consisted of different books as illustrated by the Codex Sinaiticus and Codex Vaticanus, and even in modern bibles between different sects.  Their "OTs" in particular are translations from other languages, and thus are translated in a number of different ways in a number of different bibles.  Some are translated from King James English, translated from Latin, translated from Greek, etc.

It is worth noting that the original Septuagint (translation by 70 Jewish scholars for Ptolemy of Torah from Hebrew into Greek) was only a translation of the five books of Moses (Torah), and not of the remaining 19 books (prophets or writings).

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I think what is meant by different versions of Bible is misunderstanding of the different translations of the

Bible which are called by the name of the translator or person who ordered the translation like King James's Bible. However this doesn't mean there are different Bibles it just that translations are hard to do.

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