Friday, January 16, 2015

The Bible vs the Quran - Jay Smith vs Shabir Ally

This is one of the best Christian vs Muslim debates I've ever seen. Drawing on the latest exciting discoveries in Quranic textual criticism Jay Smith lovingly and persuasively demolishes one of the core claims that is central to the very foundations of Islam - the claim that the Quran has been perfectly preserved by Allah and is therefore the word of God. No informed Muslim can now honestly stand by the claim that the Quran today is the same as the original Quran.

Over the last few centuries the Bible has been hammered by biblical critics and investigated using textual criticism. Bibles do not hide the fact that there are textual variations and nearly all Bibles have footnotes where there are textual variants.

In contrast the Quran has been shielded from criticism and until recently no outside scholars had been able to examine the most ancient Quranic manuscripts. The Quran does not include footnotes pointing out the vast number of textual variants and so nearly all Muslims believe the popular myth that the Quran is perfect and unchanged. In the last few years though scholars have been able to examine some of the earliest Quranic manuscripts, and over 800 changes have been found.

Here's the video:

And here is a post-debate response: Jay Smith Responds to Shabir Ally's evaluation of their debate in Toronto.

In Jay's response he says:

Moving on to the manuscripts themselves, Shabir does admit that the Qur’an would not be ‘magical’ if we could prove that “someone was deliberately and calculatedly putting the patterns in the Quran [manuscripts]”. But that is exactly what Dr. Brubaker has proved with the over 800 corrections he has found and catalogued in his doctoral thesis, many of which continue up to and including the 9th century.
Dr. Brubaker shows 7 different forms of corrections; including tapings, insertions, erasures, erasures overwritten, overwriting without erasures, selective coverings, and selective coverings which were overwritten, many with the apparent intention of standardizing the script to one unified and conformed text sometime in the 8th or 9th centuries, or possibly later. What’s more, these are not simple variant ‘readings’ of the text, but consonantal differences within the 10 manuscripts Dr. Brubaker examined. Thus, many of these manuscripts at one time included words and phrases which are different from the 1924 Egyptian text, supporting once again that the Qur’an could not be the ‘Word of God’, but merely evolving words of men.
Finally, Shabir claims that the debate was not about the manuscript evidence; whether the early manuscripts are exactly the same as the present 1924 edition, and that this was merely a ‘red herring’ which I introduced…yet, that is exactly what this debate was about, and still is! The fact that on just the two official E & AM sites over 25,000 people have already watched this debate in the last month proves that this debate has been a real game-changer for both Muslims and Christians, and especially for those of us who are holding Islam to account. I have never had as many affirmative e-mails as I have since Sept. 27th, nor as many vitriolic responses from Muslims upset with the material presented. It is this groundswell of interest (both for and against) which I believe has led Shabir to write up his ‘Evaluation of the Debate’, something he has never done before with any of our previous 5 debates.

For Further Reading / Research:

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