Channel: Mohammed Hijab
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Muslims in Norway are now establishing a messaging and data center to enhance the Norwegian dollar if you donate to this cause you will insha Allah reap the rewards 1000s of Muslims coming back to Islam and many of those who become guides and invite slam so click the link and donate now and share the video for extra reward. So I come up with a lovely kettle. How're you guys doing and welcome on behalf of Islam net, in fact who she is in a widget organization organization which aims to create bridges between Muslim and non Muslim communities. They're doing some great work we are joined with an esteemed legendary, you know, Professor, Professor Bob ermine, many of you already know who he
is. But if you don't know I'm going to quickly tell you his has written or edited 33 books including six new New York Times bestsellers, how Jesus became God Misquoting Jesus.
God's problem Jesus interrupted forged, and the triumph of Christianity by is James, a grade distinguished professor of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina, Carolina Chapel Hill, where he has taught 1000s of students and won numerous awards.
Bart's work has been featured in The New York Times Washington Post, the New Newsweek is appeared on National Geographic, CNN, BBC, NBC, dateline and many other places as well. How are you today? Professor? Yeah, I'm doing well. Thanks doing well. I think many people will know who you are, especially from kind of our follower base because of your kind of work and how it's had an impact on kind of apologetics, whether it's Christian apologetics, Islamic apologetics, or otherwise, even New Atheists reference your work. And so it's really a pleasure to have you on. I think the first question I'd like to ask you regarding your line specialism is about the reliability of the New
Testament, okay? First and foremost, you you came to a conclusion in your own life and your own kind of development, that the New Testament is not reliable. Why did you come to that conclusion?
You know, and apart, I did come to a conclusion, I started out as a very conservative fundamentalist Christian who believe that every word in the Bible was completely true. And that there are no errors of any kind, scientific, geographical, historical, anything. And over time, I came to realize that that wasn't right. And in part, it was because I recognized I finally I was open, I was open to any point of view, I came, I came to recognize that in fact, there are discrepancies and and contradictions in the New Testament just say, between the Gospels and their accounts of Jesus, or between what the book of Acts as about Paul, what Paul says about Paul are about, so they're they're
discrepancies. And obviously, if they're discrepancies, they both both views stated can't can't be true. So the trick is that what does it mean to be unreliable? I mean, if you've got a, you know, if you've got a friend who, who's giving you directions, and about 10% of the time, they're wrong, you know, you don't know you can trust him or not. But it's not that he's like, completely unreliable. It's just you have to figure out once he wins, you got it right and not and that's how it is with that's how it is with the New Testament especially you've got to figure out where it's right, and and where their mistakes. And how, how can one figure that out? And in layman's terms, like if, if
now many Christians may be watching this and say, well, they object to this fact. And they believe that every word in every sentence of the Bible is in fact inspired by God and that they believe in biblical inerrancy. They don't believe that there's any such thing as an error in the Bible, they'll be very much taken aback by what you're saying and say, we find it objectionable in fact, so what would you do in order to prove to them that this is not the case? Well, you know that, as I said, that's how I started out to I, when I graduated from high school, I went to Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, which is a, it's a bastion of fundamentalism. And I was completely I was completely sold
for years. So this is absolutely there is not a word wrong in the Bible.
It was finally when I started, I learned Greek so I could read the New Testament in Greek. And I learned Hebrews, I could read the Old Testament in Hebrew. And I started and I started really studying these texts very closely. And I started finding that there are, you know, there, there are discrepancies. I mean, Mark will say one thing and Matthew will say something else, and it's the opposite thing. You don't know this unless you really look closely. But when you do that, then you see this and so, so yeah, how do you go about finding out what's right, well, you do it the way any historian finds out what happened in the past. I mean, if you're talking about, you know, Abraham
Lincoln or the Emperor Constantine or whatever, Churchill, you, you, you, you have to historians, look at all the evidence they consider who's writing it, they consider how close it is to the source, they consider how many sources they have. They see if they're consistent with each other. They, you know, they they try to work out what what it means
plausibly happened. And that's all you can do with the New Testament to you treat it like a historical source, if you want to know what happened historically.
I mean, just a bit of my background that at one point, when I was actually auditing a course at the University of Oxford, doing on text criticism, it's not something I actually specialized in myself, I did audit a text criticism course, as part of my
applied applied theology masters. And I knew for a fact that I was well over my kind of people were on a different level. I mean, you have to have, like you said, language skills. I think this is a specialism in and of itself, you need to have language skills, though, you know, polyglots, people have many different languages under their belt, like you said, Hebrew, and Greek, and sometimes other languages as well. And so I do really respect the level of work that comes into, you know, your line of specialism. Well, someone has to learn this language, and then manuscript kind of analysis and looking at trying to draw inferences from it and stuff like this. It really is the
work. You've been doing this for that many years. So obviously, it was only then really, when I started to realize how heavy this was, in terms of being able to be a great text text critic, it's not something that someone could just do in a year or two, it's something that one must actually dedicate a considerable chunk of their life. But I'm wondering why you decided to do so because when I was looking at some of the videos about your story, you left Christianity because of this reason from what I understand, but what kept you interested in this topic? So what so I got, I got interest, I got interested in text criticism. So some people may not know exactly what that means.
It doesn't really just mean to interpretation of text. As you said, it has to do with manuscripts. With the New Testament, we have 1000s of manuscripts, but they have many, many differences between them. And so since we don't have the originals, we have to look at these manuscripts to find out what the what the authors originally wrote. And so text criticism is not deciding whether what the authors wrote was true or not. It's just finding out what did they actually write. And it's not just the New Testaments, every book from antiquity is like this. So every every, you know, Shakespeare's like this or Chaucer, I mean, everybody, all these books, you've got to figure out the author wrote,
so I got interested in that, because I believe that the original words were inspired by God. And so I wanted to know what the words were, since we have all these manuscripts that have differences in them. So that's what got me going. What kept me going is, was somewhat different. I actually did leave the faith about 25 years ago, I stopped being a Christian. And it wasn't actually because of the scholarship. It, the reason I left the faith was, was not because I knew the Bible had mistakes, or I knew that for a long time. And I stayed a Christian for a long time, knowing that what that made me leave the faith was being I got to a point where I just couldn't believe that there was a
God who was in the world who was active, a loving, powerful God who's active in the world, given all of the massive suffering that people experience. I just thought, you know, I just don't believe it anymore. But then why do I continue being a New Testament scholar, I'm passionate about the New Testament, I'm passionate about the study of early Christianity. And largely, it's because it is such an important historical phenomenon of Christianity took over the entire Roman Empire and became the religion of the Western world, basically, I mean, the the dominant religion of the Western world, and there's still more Christians in the world than anything else is like, Whoa, it's really
important. And the New Testament is at the very root of it's the foundation of it. And so it's important for me to understand what the foundation is, and to try and teach other people what the foundation is because most people really don't know. And so that's why I'm passionate. Well, I mean, your work, as I've said, it's not just applicable or relevant to kind of Christians is very much relevant to Muslims as well, because, as you know, in the Islamic faith, Muslims believe in Jesus Christ, as well. And obviously, there's competing narrative ideas as to who Jesus Christ was, in fact, and the main I would say, the fundamental difference between the kind of Muslim faith and the
Christian faith in this regard, is that Muslims viewed Jesus Christ as a prophet and a message as a messenger prophet, and the Messiah, but not as God or the son of God. In fact, the you know, the Quran is very explicit that he doesn't,
he doesn't claim to be, he doesn't claim to be a God Himself, in fact, that this is seen as a fabricated or some kind of a contrivance on the on the narrative. And really, the the Islamic idea is that there cannot be someone it's not intelligible or conceivable or pardonable for someone with a date of birth to be referred to as God anyway, so, Jesus Christ will be disqualified from from that perspective. But this is why there's there's a lot of interest, I think, from the Muslim community, on
on your kind of work, because it's historical work that's being done. And many Muslims feel that kind of your vision of where your conclusions
historical traditions of who Jesus Christ is, is more commensurate with at least the Muslim idea than it is with the Christian one. To what extent would you agree or disagree with that notion?