REVIEW OF THE BOOKS BY THE COUNCILS.
It is important to note that in 325 a great conference of Christian Theologians and religious scholars was convened in the city of Nicea under the order of Emperor Constantine to examine and define the status od this books. After thorough investigation it was decided that the Epistle of Jude was genuine and believeable. The rest of the books were declared doubtful. This was explicitly mentioned by Jerome (St. Jerome was a christian scholar and a great philosopher. He was born in 340 AD. He translated the Bible into Latin. He was a famos Bibliographer and wrote many books on Bible.) in his introduction to his book.
Another council was held in 364 in Liodicia for the same purpose. This conference of Christian Scholars and theologians not only confirmed the decesion of the council of Nicea regarding the authenticity of the Epistle of Jude but also declared that the following six books must also be added to the list of Genuine and believeable books: The Book of Eshther, The epistle of James, The second Epistle of Peter, The Second and Third Epistle of John, The Epistle of Paul to the Hebrews. This conference pronounced their decesion to the public. The book of Revelations, however remained out of acknowledged books in both the councils.
In 937 another great conference was held called the Council of Carthage. Augustine, the Grat Christian scholar, was among the one hundred and twenty six learned participants. The members of his council confirmed the decesions of the two previous councils and added the following books to the divine books: The Books of the Songs of Solomon, The Book of Tobit, The Book of Baruch, Ecclesiasticus, The First and the Second book of Macabees.
At the same time the members of the council decided that the book of Baruch was a part of the book of Jeremiah because Baruch was a deputy of Jeremiah. Therefore they did not include the name of this book in the list seperately.
Three more conferences were held after this in Trullo, Florence and Trent. The members of these meetings confirmed the decesions of the Council of Carthage. The last two councils, however, wrote the name of the book of Baruch seperately.
After these councils nearly all the books which had been doubtful among the Christians were included in the name of the acknowledged books.
THE BOOKS REJECTED BY PROTESTANTS
The status of these books remained unchanged until the Protestant Reformation. The Protestants repudiated the decesions of the councils and declared that the following books were essentially to be rejected: The book of Baruch, The book of Tobit, The letter of Jude, The Song of Solomon, Ecclesiasticus, The first and second books of Macabees. They excluded this following books from the list of acknowledged books.
Moreover, the Protestants also rejected the decesion of their forebears regarding some chapters of the book of Esther. This book consistes of 16 chapters. They decided that the first 9 chapters and the three verses from chapter 10 were essentially to be rejected. They based their decesion on the following six reasons:
1. These works were considered to be false even in original hebrew and Chaldaen languages which were no longer available.
2. The Jews did not acknowledge them as revealed books.
3. All the Christians have not acknowledged them as believeable.
4. Jerome said that these books were not reliable and were insufficient to prove and support the doctrines of faith.
5. Klaus has openly said that these books were recited but not in every place.
6. Eusebius specifically said in chapter 22 of his fourth book that these books have been tampered with, and changed. In particular the Second Book of Maccabees.
Reasons 1,2 and 6 are particularly to be noted by the readers of self-sufficient evidence of dishonesty and perjury of the earlier Christians. Books which had been lost in the original and which existed in translation were erroneously acknowledged by thousands of theologians as divine books. This state of affairs leads a non-Christian reader to distrust the Unanimous decisions of Christian scholars of both the catholic and the Protestant persuasions. The followers of Catholic faith still believe in these books in blind persuance of their forebears.
THE ABSENCE OF CERTAINTY IN BIBLE
It is prerequisite of believing in a certain book as divinely revealed that is proved through infalliable arguments that the book in question was revealed through prophet and that it has been conveyed to us precisely in the same order without any change through an uniterrupted chain of narrators. It is not at all sufficient to attribute a book to certain prophet on the basis of suppositions and conjectures. Unsupported assertions made by one or few sects of people should not be, and cannot be accepted in this connection.
We have already seen how catholic and Protestant Scholars differ in the question of authenticity of certain books. There are yet more books on the Bible which have been rejected by Christians. They include the book of Revelation, the Book of Genesis, The book of Ascension, The Book of Mysteries, the Book of Testament and the Book of Confession, which are all ascribed to prophet Moses. Similarly a fourth Boom Ezra is claimed to be from Prophet Ezra and a Book Concerning Isiah's ascension and revelation are ascribed to him. In addition to the known book of Jermiah, there is another Boom attributed to Him. There are numerous sayings which are claimed to be from Prophet Habakkuk. There are many songs which are said to be from Prophet Solomon. There are more than 70 books, other than the Present ones, of the New Testament, which are ascibed to Jesus, Mary, the apostles and their disciples.
The Christians of this age have claimed that these books are false and forgeries. The Greek Church, Catholic Church and the Protestant Church are unanimous in this point. Similarly the Greek Church claims that the Third Book of Ezra is a Part of Old Testament and believes it to be written by the Prophet Ezra, while the Protestant and Catholic Churches have declared it false and fabricated. We have already seen th controversy of the Catholics and Protestants regarding the Book of Baruch, Tobit, Jude, the Song of Solomon, Ecclesiasticus and both the books of Maccabees. A part of the book of Eshther is believeable to be by Catholics but essentially rejected by Protestants.
In this kind of situation it seems absurd and beyond the bounds of reason to accept and acknowledge a book simply for a reason that it has been ascribes to prophet by a group of people withouth concrete support. Many times we have demanded renowned Christian scholars to produce names of the whole chin of narrators right from the author of the book to prove their claim but they are unable to do so. At a public debate held in India, one of the famous missionaries confessed to the truth of the absence of the authorative support for these books was due to distres and calamities of the christians in the first three hundred and thirten yers of history. We ourselves examioned and probed into their books and took great pains to find any such authorities but our findings did not lead beyond conjecture and presumption. Out impartial search in the sources of their books showed that most of their assertions are based on nothing but presumptions.
It has alreaady been said that presumption and conjecture are of no avail in this matter. It would be quite justified on our part if we refused to believe in these books until we had been given some arguments and authorities to prove their genuineness and authenticity. However, for sake of truth, we will still go forward to discuss and examine the authority of these books in this chapter. It is quite unnecessary to duscuss the authority of each and every book of the Bible and we intend to examine only some of them.
THE PRESENT PENTATEUCH IS NOT THE BOOK OF MOSES
The Pentateuch (Torah) included in the old testament is claimed to be the collection of the revealations of the Prophet Moses. We firmly claim that they do not possess any authority or support to prove that they were in fact revealed to Moses and they were written by him or through him. We possess sound arguments to support our claims.
THE FIRST ARGUMENT
The existance of Torah, Pentatuech, is not historically known before King Josiah (Josiah was the King of Judah in the period of Prophets Jermiah and Zephaniah. He became the King of Judah when he was only eight years old. He ruled in Jerusalem for thirty-one years.), the son of Amon. The script of Pentatuech which was found by a preist called Hilkiah 18 years after Josiah's ascension to throne is not believeable solely on the grounds that it was found by a priest. Apart from this obvious fact, this book had again dissapeared before the invasion of Jerusalem by Nebucchadnezzar.
Not only the Pentatuech, but also all the books of the old testament were destroyed (See the Second Book of Esdras (14:19-48) for the event of the burning of the books. The catholics still believe in these books while the protestants deny this event alltogether. However this incident described by the book of Nehemiah in chapter 8 confirms that Pentatuech was destroyed, and that Prophet Ezra had rewritten it and read it to the people. It is strange to note catholic Bible (Knox Version 1963) omits the chapter in which this event is metioned. In this edition the book of Esdras finishes with 13th chapter) in this historical calamity. History does not evince any evidence of the existance of this books after the invasion.
According to the Christians the Pentatuech was rewritten by Prophet Ezra. This Book along with all its copies wer again destroyed and burnt by Antiochus (Antiochus IV was a famos king who captured Jerusalem in 168 BC and destroyed it just like Nebuchadnezzar had done before him. The first book of Macabees describes his invasion of Jerusalem and the incident of Burning of Pentatuech and its copies (I Maccabees 1:59).) at the time of his invasion of Jerusalem.
THE SECOND ARGUMENT
It is an accepted notion that all Jewish and Christian scholars that the First and the Second Chronicles were written by Ezra with the help of Prophets Haggai and Zachariah, but we notre that seventh and eight chapters of the book consistes of descriptions of the decendants of Benjamin which are mutually contradictory. These descriptions also contradict statements in th Pentatuech, firstly in names, and secondly in counting the number of decendants. In chapter 7 we read that Benjamin had three sons and in chapter 8 we find he had 5 sons while the Pentatuech claims he had 10 sons.
Both the Christian and the Jewish scholars are unanimous on the point that the statement made by the First Book of Chronicles is erroneous, and they have justified this error by saying that the Prophet Ezra could not distinguish and seperate the sons from the grandsons, because of the genealogical tables from which he quoted were defective and incomplete.
It is true that the three prophets (who wrote Pentatuech) were sincere followers of the Pentatuech. Now if we assume that pentatuech of Moses is the same as written by these people, it seems quite illogical that they should deviate or make mistakes in the divine book, neither was it possible that Ezra would wrongly trusted an incomplete and defective table of genealogy in such a matter of importance.
Their claim that three prophets commited mistakes in copying the names and the numbers of the sons of Benjamin leads us to another obvious conclusion that according to the Christians, the prophets are not protected from wrong action and can be involved in commiting major sins, similarly they can make mistakes in writing or preaching holy books.
THE THIRD ARGUMENT
Any reader of the Bible making a comparison between chapters 45 and 46 of the Books of Ezekeil, and chapters 28 and 29 of the book of Numbers, will find that they contradict each other in religious doctrine. It is obvious that the prophet Ezekeil was a follower of the doctines of Pentatuech. If we presume that Ezekiel had the present Pentateuch how could he have acted upon those doctrines withouth deviating away from it.
THE FOURTH ARGUMENT
The study of the books of Psalms, Nehemiah, Jermiah and Ezekiel testifies that the style of writing in that age was similar to the present style of Muslim Authors; that is to say, readers can easily distinguish between the personal observations of the author and his quotations from other writers.
The Pentatuech in particular, is very different in style, and we do not find a single place to indicate that its author was Moses. On the contrary it leads us to believe that the author of the books of Pentatuech is someone else who is making collection of current stories and customs of Jews. However, in order to seperate the statements which he thought were the statements of God and Moses, he prefixed them with the phrases, "God Says" or "Moses said". The third person has been used for Moses in every place. Had it been book from Moses, he would have used first person for himself. Atleast there would have been one place where we could find moses speaking in the first person. It would certainly have made the book more respectable and trustworthy ti its followers. It musts be agreed that a statement made by the author in forst person carries more weight and value than his statement made by someone else in third person.
THE FIFTH ARGUMENT
The present Pentatuech includes within its chapters some statements which are historically impossible to attribute to Moses. Some verses explicitly denote that the author of the book cannot have existed prior to Prophet David but must be either contemporary of David or later than him.
The Christian scholars have tried to justify the opinion that these sentences were added later on by Prophets. But this is a mere assumption which is not supported by any argument. Moreover, no prophet ever said in Bible that he added certain things to a particular chapter.
THE SIXTH ARGUMENT
Dr. Alexander Gides, and acknowledged Christian writer, has said in the introduction to the new Bible:
" I have come to know three things beyond doubt through some convincing arguments:
1. The present Pentatuech is not the bookk of Moses.
2. This book was written either in Canaan or Jerusalem. That is to say, it was not written during the period when the Israelites were living in the wilderness of the desert.
3. Most Probably this book is written in the period of Prophet Solomon, that is, around 1000 years before Christ, the period of poet Homer. In short, its composition can be proved to be around 500 years after the death of Moses."
ERRORS IN THE CALCULATION OF ISRAELITES NUMBERS
We read in the book of numbers (1:45-47) this statement "So were all those that were numbered of the Children of Israel, byt their house of fathers, from twenty years old and upwards, all that were able to go forth to war in Israel; even all they that were numbered were six hundred thousand and three thousand and five hundred and fifty. But the Levites after the tribe of their fathers were not numbered among them."
These verse imply that the number of fighting people of the Israelites were more than six hundred thousand. This number excludes the men, women and children of Levi tribe and all the women of other tribes of Israelites and all the children under 20 years of age. If we include all the people of Israelites excluded from this enumeration, their total should not be less than twenty-five hundred thousand. This statement is wrong for five reasons.
THE FIRST REASON
The total number of men and women of Israelites were 70 at the time of their arrival to egypt. This is evident from Genesis 46:27, Exodus 1:5 and Duet 10:22. The greatest possible stay in egypt is 215 years. It cannot be more.
It has been mentioned in the first chapter of the Book of Exodus that the sons of the people of Israel were killed and their daughters left to live, 80 years before the liberation from Egypt.
Now keeping in mind their total number at their arrival in Egypt, the durattion of stay in Egypt, and the killing of their sons by the king, if we were to assume that aftr every 25 years they doubled in number would not reach twenty-five thousand in the period of their stay in Egypt let alone twenty-five hundred thousand. If we keep in view their killing of sons, this number becomes physical impossibility.
THE SECOND REASON
It must be far from truth that their number increased from seventy to twenty five hundred thousand in such a short period, while they were subjected to the worst kind of persecution and hardships by the King of Egypt. In comparison, the Egyptians who enjoyed all comforts of life did not increase at this rate.
The Israelites lived a collective life in Egypt. If they are believed to be around 25 hundred thousand it would be a unique example in the history that a population of this size is oppressed and persecuted and their sons killed before their eyes withouth a sign of resistance and rebellion from them. Even animals fight and resist to save their offsprings.
THE THIRD REASON
The Boom of Exodus chapter 12 (12:39)describes how the Israelites had taken with them the cattle herds an flocks, and the same book (5:19) also informs us that they crossed the river in a single night; and that they used to travel every day (13:21), and that Moses used to give them verbal orders to march (14:1)
THE FOURTH REASON
If the numbers would have been correct it would necessiate that they had a place for thir camp large enough to accomodate twenty five hundred thousand people along with their herds or cattle. The fact is that the area surrounding Mount Sinai, and the area of the twelve springs in Elim are not sufficiently large to accomodate the Israelites and their cattles.
In view of the above arguments, it is obvious that "the People of the Book" do not possess any arguments to support their claim tbat the books of Pentatuech were writtenor conveyed by Prophet Moses.
THE STATUS OF THE BOOK OF JOSHUA
We have already seen that the Pentatuech, which enjoys the status of being fundamental book of the Christian faith, cannot be proved to be authentic and believable. Let us not proceed to find out the truth about the book of Joshua, the next book in importance.
First of all, the name of the author of this book is not known with certainty, qnd the period of the composition is unknown. (The Encycopedia Britannica (vol. 3 page 154), admits that the author of this book is someone who had witnessed all the events that the book deals with. He was a citizen of the city of Edessa who must be living in the period when this city was invaded by Persian forces).
The Chriatian scholars profess five different opinions:
1. Gerrard, Diodat Huet, Albert Patrick, Tomlin and Dr. Gray believe that this book was written by Prophet Joshua himself.
2. Dr. Lightfoot claims that Phineas (grandson of Prphet Aaron, see joshua 22:13) is the author of the book.
3. Calvin says it was writen by Eleazar
4. Moldehaur and Van Til believe it to be written by Samuel.
5. Henry claimed that it was written by the Prophet Jermiah
So we leave it upto them to finally figure out who wrote this. Christians please note that Joshua and Jermiah were seperated by 800 years. In my opinion the author of the Book of Joshua must have lived after Prophet David, which can be supported by statemnts as given in the case of Pentatuech.
THE STATUS OF THE BOOK OF JUDGES
The third most respected book of the Old Testament is again faced with the same problem.
Some Christian writers claim it to be the book of Phineas, while some other believe it to be written by Hezekiah. In neither of the cases can it be said to be revealed book because neither Phineas nor Hezekiah are Prophets. Hezekiah was the King of Judah, (2 Kings 18 and Chr. 32)
Some other writers have asserted that this book was written by Ezra. It may be noted that the difference between Ezra and Phineas was nine hundred years.
This difference of opinion could not arise if the christians possessed any real evidence concernign it. According to the Jews all this claims and assertions are wrong. They on the basis of conjecture, attribute it to Samuel. So there are six differnt opinions about it.
THE BOOK OF RUTH
This book, too, is the subject of great differencees of opinion. Some chritians think that it was written by Hezekiah, in which case it was not a revealed book. Some others hold the opinion that the author is Ezra. All other christians and Jews attribute it to Samuel.
It is stated in the introduction to the Bible printed in Strasbourg in 1819 that the book of Ruth is a collection of family stories and the Book of Job is just a tale.
THE BOOK OF NEHEMIAH
The same kind of difference is present regarding the author and the period of this book. The ost popular opinion is that it was written by Nehemiah. Athanasius, Epiphanisus and Chrysostome believe it to have been written by Ezra. According to popular opinion it cannot be accepted to be a revealed book.
The first 26 verses of chapter 12 are different from the rest of the book of Nehemiah since in the first eleven chapters Nehemiah is referred to by as the first person, while in this chapter he is referred to as the third person. Furthermore, we find Darius, the King of Persia being mentioned in verse 22 of the same chapter, which in fact lived one hundred years after the death of Nehemiah. The christian commeentators have declared this anonymously as a latter addition. The arabic translator of the Bible has omitted this Altogether.
The same statements can be said about the other books. A carefull study will reveal a lot of details to prove that these books are not revealed books.
THE NEW TESTAMENT AND THE STATU OF THE FOUR GOSPELS
THE GOSPELS OF MATTHEW, LUKE AND MARK.
All the ancient Christian writers and a great number of modern writers are unanimous on the point that the Gospel of Matthew was originally written in Hebrew language and has been completely obscured due to distortions and altercations made by Christians. The present Gospel is merely a Translation and is not supported by any argument of authority. Even the name of its translator is not definitely known. There are only conjectures that possibly this or that person might have translated it. This kind of argument cannot be acceptable to a non-Christian reader. This book cannot be attributed to its authors only on basis of its uncertain calculations.
The Penny Encyclopedia says regarding the Gospel of Matthew:
"This Gospel was written in the Hebrew Language and in the language which was in vogue between Syria and Chaldea in 41 AD. Only the Greek translation is available. At present the Hebrew version is the translation from the Greek Version."
Thomas Ward, a Catholic writer says in his book:
"Jerome explicitly stated in his letter that some ancient scholars were suspicious about last chapter of the Gospel of Mark; and some of them had a doubt about some verses of chapter 23 of the Gospel of Luk; and some other scholars were doubtful about the first two chapters of this Gospel. These two chapters have not been included by Marchionites (It is a sect in Christianity. They do not acknowledge the books of Old Testament as Genuine. They believe in two gods. The creator of Good and the creator of evil. To them, the books of the Old Testament are send by the second God. The chapters in the books of the New Testament which contains references to the Old testament have been removed by them) in their book."
Norton writes in his book printed in 1837 in Boston:
"This Gospel contains a passage running from verse nine to the ennd of the last chapter which callsfor research. It is surprising that Griesbach had not put any sign of doubt about its text, since he has presented numerous arguments to prove that this part was an addition by some latter people."
Later in his book, giving some more arguments he said:
"This proves that the passage in question is doubtful, espacially if we keep in mind the habit of the writers in that they usually prefer to add a text rather than to omit from it."
Griesbach is one of the most reliable scholars of the Protestant faith.
THE INAUTHENTICITY OF THE GOSPEL OF JOHN
There is no authority for the claim that the Gospel of John is the Book of Apostle John to whom it has been attributed. On the contrary, there are several arguments that strongly refute this claim.
THE FIRST ARGUMENT
Before and after the period of Prophet Jesus, the style of writing and the method of compiling books was similar to the style of the present Muslim writers. It does not appear from the Gospel that John was making his own statements. That means, if John was the writer, he would not have reffered himself as a third person.
This is obvious evidence and one cannot refute it, unless some really strong arguments are presented.
THE SECOND ARGUMENT
The Gospel contains this statement in 21:24
"This is the disciple which testifieth of these things: and we know that this testimony is true," describing the apostle John. This denotes that the writer of the text is not John himself. It leads us to guess that the writer has found some script written by John and has described the contents in his own language making some omissions and additions to the contents.
THE THIRD ARGUMENT
The Allogin, a sect of the Christians in second Century AD, disowned this Gospel and all the writings of John.
THE FOURTH ARGUMENT
In the second century AD when the authorities refused to accept this Gospel as a book of John, Irenaeus, a disciple of Polycarp, the disciple of John was living. He did not make any statement to negate those who refused to accept this book and did not testify that he had heard Polycarpsaying that this Gospel was from John, the Apostle. Had it been from John, Polycarp must have known it.
THE FIFTH ARGUMENT
The Catholic Herald printed in 1844, includes the statement in vol. 3 on page 205 that Stapelin said in his book that the Gospel of John was undoubtedly written by a student of the school of Alexendria. See how Blatantly he claims it to be a book fro a student.
THE SIXTH ARGUMENT
Bertshiender, a great scholar said:
"The whole of this Gospel and all teh Epistles of John were not written by him but some other person in second century AD."
THE SEVENTH ARGUMENT
Grotius, a famos scholar admitted:
"There used to be twenty chapters in this Gospel. The twnety first chapter was added after the death of John, by the Church of Ephesus.
THE EIGHT ARGUMENT
The first 11 verses of chapter 8 are not accepted by any of the Christian writers and they did not exist in Syriac version.
THE NINTH ARGUMENT
Horne, in chapter 2 of Vol. 4 of his commentry says:
"The information that has been conveyed to us by the historians of the Church regarding the period of the four Gospels is defective and indefinite. It does not help us to reach any meaningful conclusion. The ancient theologians have confirmed absurd statements and written them down. Subsequent people accepted them just out of respect for them. The false statements were thus communicated from one writer to another. A long period of time has passed, and it has become very difficult to find out the Truth."
Further in the same volume he says:
"The first Gospel was written either in 37 AD or in 38 AD or in 43 AD or in 48 AD, or in 61,62,63 and 64 AD. The second Gospel was written in 56 AD or at any time uptill 65 AD and most possibly in 60 or 63 AD. The third Gospel was written in 53 or 63 or 64 AD. The fourth Gospel was written in 68,69,70 or in 89, or in 98 AD.
THE EPISTLES AND REVELATIONS
The Epistle to the Hebrews, the Second epistle of Peter, the second and the third Epistle of John, the Epistle of Jacob, the Epistle of Jude are all wrongly attributed to apostles. This books considered to be doubtful till 363 AD, and are still considered to be doubtful by majority of the christian writers and scholars.
Horne says in the second volume of his commentry on pages 206 and 207:
"The following Epistles and verses have not been included in the Syrian version and the same was the case with Arabian churches: the second epistle of peter, the Epistle of Jude, both Epistles of John, the Revelation, the verses 2-11 of Chapter 8 of the Gospel of John and the chapter 5 verse 7 of the First Epistle of John. The translator of the Syrian version omitted them because he did not believe them to be Genuine." Ward confirms this in his book (1841) on page 37".
Rogers , a great scolar of the Protestant Faith has mentioned the name of a number of Protestant scholars who has declared this book to be false and excluded thm from the Holy Scriptures.
The Catholic Herald (1844) contains the following statement on page 206 of Vol. 7:
"Rose has written on page 161 of his book that many Protestant scholars considers the book of Revelation to be non-believeable. Professor Ewald has produced powerful arguments to prove that the Gospel of John and the Epistles of John and the Revelations of John cannot be writingsof same person."
Eusebius makes the folowing statement in chapter 25 of Vol. 7 of his history:
"Dionysius says that some ancient writers excluded this book of revelation from the holy scriptures and have completely refuted it. He said that this book is meaningless and a great example of ignorance. An association of this book with John or with a righteous man or with any Christian id wrong."
There are infinite arguments we can present to reject all the claims of the Christians regarding the authority of the books of the New Testament and the Old testament. This particular article was just written with the hope that it may show light to some people. This article was taken mainly from the book, Izhar-Ul-Haq, by Maulana M. Rahamatullah Kairanvi.