Page 1


ThE Bible,f The l3iblE ThE The Quran Qut'arr and Science -rnd kiEnc:e


BucaiDe Maurice Buceille

The Bible, l3iblef fhe The The Quran Qut'art and arrd kienf:e Science ul,aBlble "La Bible, Ie le Coran et la le Science" Science" THE HOLY SCRIPTURES SCBIPTUBES TIIE TNCT,Y EXAMINED LICET EXAMINED IN THE LIGHT OF KNOWI,EDGE UODEBN KNOWLEDGE OF MODERN

[tench Translated Trenslat€d from the French by by ,Alastair Prnncll It PalmeD Ahdalr D.

and rnd

The Anthe Thc Auth..


FRENCH FRENCE EDITIONS First Firrt French Freneh Edition, 19?6 Edition, May 1976 "La Bibler Ie le Science" le Coran Coran et Ie Science" "L,a Bible, Fourth F ourth French French Edition, September 197? September1977 Publishers 75725 Paris, Cedex Publisherr Seghers, 18. Seghers,3I Rue Rue Falguiere, FalguiEre,76726 Cedex15.

print) ARABIC TRANSLATION TBANSLATION (in print) Publishers Dar Al Ma'arif, Nil, Cairo, Egypt. Publirtrers Dsr Al Ma'arif, 1119 1119Corniehe Corniche El Nil,


Fo..ewo..d Toreword

In his his objeetive objective study of of the texts, Maurice Maurice Bucaille clears In Old the Olrl Testament, the the away many preconceived ideas about ideas preconceived &rvay many to Writings, of Gospels and the Qur'an. in this of Writings, collection in this He tries, Gospelsand Qur'an. product the what separate what belongs from what is product of from Revelation to separate what belongs light on the sheds new light error His study sheds the interpretation. His or human human interpretation. error or places gripping account, Holy Scriptures. At the end of a gripping account, he places the end Holy Seriptures. At continuity Believer before a point of cardinal importance: the continuity of importance: eardinal Believer before a exmodes with aa Revelation emanating from the same God, with modes of exsame God, Revelation us to meditate leads us pression It leads course of time. It differ in the course pression that differ uniteupon those factors which, in spiritually our day, should spiritually uniteshould day, which, ,rpott those rather than divide-Jews, Christians and Muslims. and divide-Jews, rather situation beeir in aa situation As often been has often surgeon, Maurice Bucaille has As aa surgeon, their but people's bodies, he was able to examine not only people's bodies, but their where only not to examine urhere he was able piety Muslim of souls. This is how he was struck by the existence of Muslim piety existence the by struck he was souls. This is how mavast mathe vast to the and unknown to remain unknown which remain Islam which of Islam aspectsof by aspects and by are which jority non-Muslims. In his search for explanations which are for explanations jority of his search of non-Muslims. In the studied and Arabic otherwise difficult to obtain, he learnt Arabic and studied the learnt he otherwise difficult to obtain, phenatural on Qur'an. In it, he was surprised to find statements on natural phestatements find to Qur'an. In it, he was surprised modern through modern nomena understood through be understood only be can only meaning can whosemeaning nomena whose scientifc knowledge. scientifc knowledge. writ' the writof the question of authenticity of He of the the authenticity to the the question theri turned turned to He then remonotheistic of the ings that constitute the Holy Scriptures of the monotheistic reings that constitute the Holy Scriptures eonproceeded to a he in the case of the Bible, he proceeded to a conligions. Finally, the Bible, ligions. Finally, in the case of data. scientific data. frontation andscientific writings and betweenthese thesewritings frontation between Revelation The results of his research into the Judeo-Christian Revelation Judeo-Christian The results of his research into the and the Qur'an are set out in this book. and the Qur'an are set out in this book.


CONTENTS CONTTENTS DUCT ION INTRO ITiITRODUCTION

i

TEST AMEN T OLD TESTAMENT Outlines Gener al Outlines I. General Origin Originss of the Bible

1 4

ent Testament OId Testam Books of the Old The Books II. IL The Pentat euch Th.e Th.eTorah or Pentateuch Books ical Books Histor Historical The Ttre tic Books Books ProPhetic The Prophe Wisdom and and Wisdom Poetry of PoetrY Books The The Books gs e Findin Findings and Scienc Scienoe ent and Testament Old Testam III. fire Old UI. The on of the World The Creation The Creati and on and Creation 's Creati World's the World Date of the The The Date on Earth rance on Appearance Man's Appea Date Date of Man's The Flood The Flood regard to rs with regard Authors ian Autho christian n of Christ Position IV. Positio Texts' Biblicall Texts. the Biblica fic Error Error in the Scienti Scientific nation Examination A Critica Criticall Exami

7 10 10 14 14 L7 17 18 18 21 21 22 22 29 29 32 32

3S 36

sions V. Conclu Conclusions

42 42

ELS THE GOSP GOSPELS uction Introduction I. Introd

44 44 44 44

and udeo-C hristia nity and der. JJudeo-christianity Reminder. ical Remin Historical II. Histor Paul Saint Saint Paul y History s and and Histor s. Source Sources Gospels. Four Gospel III. The Four III. The w Matthew ing to to Matthe According The GosPelAccord The Gospel Mark to ing to Accord The GosPelAecording The Gospel

49 49 64 54 58 58 6B 63


TheGospel GospelAccording Accordingto The toLuke Luke The GospelAccording Accordingto The Gospel toJohn John Sourcesof of the the Gospels Sources Gospels History of of the theTexts Texts History

rv. The TheGospels Gospelsand andModern IV. ModernScience. Science.The The Gehealogies of Jesus of Genealogies Jesus TheGenealogies Genealogies The of of Jesus Jesus Critical Examination Examinationof Critical of the the Texts Texts Commentaries Commentaries of of Modern ModernExperts Experts in in Exegesis Exegesis V. Contradictions Contradictionsand V. and Improbabilities Improbabilitiesin in the the Descriptions Descriptions Descriptionsof of the Descriptions the Passion Passion John'sGospel Gospeldoes John's doesnot not describe describethe the Institution of the the Eucharist Eucharist Appearancesof Jesus Appearances JesusRaised Raisedfrom from the the Dead Dead Ascensionof Jesus Ascension Jesus paracleteof Jesus'sLast Last Dialogues. Jesus's Dialogues.The The Paraclete John'sGospel Gospel John's VI. Conclusions Conclusions VI. THE THE QIIR'AN QUR'AN AND AND MODERN MODERN SCIEN;E SCIENCE I. Introduction Introduction II. II. Authenticity Authenticity of of the the eur'an. Qur'an. How How ItIt Came Came to to be be Written Written III'. III. The The creation Creation of of the the Heavens Heavens and and the the Earth Earth Differences Differences f'om from and and Resemblances Resemblances to to the the Biblical Biblical Description Description The The Qur'an Qur'an does does not not lav lay dorvn down aa seflnenee RPJlIlp.nr.p. for for the the Creation Creation of of the the Earth Earth and and Heavens Heavens The The Basic Basic Process Process of of the the Formation Formation of of the the Univer.se Universe and and the the Resulting Resulting Composition Composition of of the the Worlds Worlds Some Some Modern Modern Scientific Scientific Data Data concerning concerning the the Formation Formation of of the the Univer.se Universe

66 66 68 68 71 TI 77 77 82 82

83 88 88 88 92 92 94 94 94 94 95 95 98 98 100 100

102 10? 107 107 110 110 110 1 10 126 r26 133 138 133 138 137 137

139 139 142 L42


the Qur'an the Data in the Qur'an ntation with the Confro Confrontation on Creation ning the Creati concer concerning ions n Object Objections Certain rs to Certai Answe Answers

147 t47 149 149

omy in the Qur'an Astronomy IV. Astron IV. ning the Sky concerning tions concer Reflections Generall Reflec A. Genera nly Bodies HeavenlY Naturee of Heave B. Natur al Organ ization s CelestialOrganizations C. C. Celesti ns Heavens ion Evolution of the Heave D. Evolut SPace est of Space Conquest E. The Conqu

151 161 152 t6z 155 155 158 158 165 166 167 16?

Earth V. The Earth ents Statements ning Genera Generall Statem Containing Verses Contai A. Verses Seas CYcleand the Seas B. The Water Cycle Earth'ss Relief C. C' The Earth' phere AtmosPhere Earth'ss Atmos D. The Earth'

170 170 170 1?0 173 1?8 180 180 182 18?

ms Kingdoms ble Kingdo Vegetable Animall and Vegeta VI. VI. The Anima Life Originss of Life A. The Origin m Kingdo ble Kingdom Vegeta B. The Vegetable m Kingdom Animall Kingdo c. C. The Anima

185 185 185 185 187 187 190 190

uction n Reprod ReProduction Human VII. VII. Huma ts Basic Concep Conccpts n Basic der of Certai Certaiu Remin Reminder uction in the Qur'an n Reprod Reproduction Huma Httman tion Education Sex Educa and Sex The Qur'an and

198 t98 198 198 199 199

ATIONS NARRATIONS CAL NARR BIBLICAL AND BIBLI NIC AND QUR'A QUR'ANIC

207 207

211 211

es l Outlin Outlines General I. Genera 'll I\fodertt and-:Model /Gospe ls andel:: Qur'an Parall Parallel Qur'an/Gospels edge Knowl Knorvledge ent and and Testament /Old Testam Paralle Parallell:: Qur'an Qur'an/Old edge Knowl l{nowledge n Moder Modern

211 211

n. II.

214 zL4

Flood The Flood Flood and the Narrat ion of the Flood The Biblica Biblicall Nan'ation der Renrinclet' it-A Remin d at it-A sm Levele Leveled Critici Criticism irr ned in contained Flood contai the Flood ion of the The Narrat Narratiou the Qur'an

211 211 213 213

214 2r4 216 zr6


III. III. The The Exodu s Exodus The The Exodu s accord Exodus ing to the according the Bible The The Exodu s accord Exodus ing to the according the Quran eurran Confro ntation betwee Confrontation n Script between ural Data Scriptural and and Moder n Knowl Modern Knowledge edge 1. 1. Exami nation of certain details Examination details contai ned in the contained the Narrat ions Narrations 2. 2. The The point occupi ed by the oceupied the Exodu s in Exodus the the history of the the Pharao hs Pharaohs 8. 3. Rames Ramesses ses II, Pharao Pharaoh h of the the Oppres sion.; Oppression; Merne ptah, Pharao Merneptah, Pharaoh h of the the Exodu Eioduss 4. 4. The The descrip tion contain description contained ed in the the Holy pharaoh's Script ure of the Scripture the Pharao h's death death during the the Exodu Exodus s 5. 5. Pharao Pharaoh h Merne Merneptah's ptah's Mumm Mummy y

219 219 220 220 221 ?,2L 224 224 224 224 228 228 231 Zgl

237 Zg7 239 Zgg

QUR'A N, HADI HADITHS THS AND MODE QUR'AN, MODERN RN SCIEN SCIENCE CE

242 ':42

GENE GENERAL RAL CONC CONCLUSIONS LUSIONS

24g 249

TRAN TRANSLITERATION SLITE RATIO N OF OF THE ARAB ARABIC IC INTO LATIN LATIN CHAR CHARACTERS ACTE RS

258 253


od ud ion Ink lntrodrrction collec' possess its own collecns possesE religions heistic religio monotheistic Each Eseh of the three monot or ians Christ christisns Jews, ul-be they Jews, fsithful-be ures. For the faithf scriptures. tion tion of Script their their of tion foundation tute the founda constitute ents consti documents Tls-these docum Musli1 Muslir.s,-these of as divine ription -o! transcription al transc materisl For them they are the materi belief. For who who Moses, Moses, and am and Abraham caseof Abrah y, as 8{t in the ease directly, tion; directl Revela Revelation; as tly, indirec lf, or indireetly' as Himself, God Himse andments from God commendments d the comm receive received stated stated whom first of whom mad, the first Muhammad, and Muham Jesus and cgse of Jesus in the ease sâ‚Źcond the second and and , Father, Father the of name name the in ng speaki speaking was that he was that by him ed to imparted tion impart Revelation men the Revela itted to men transmitted of whom transm l. Gabriel. Archangel Gabrie Archangpl us religious ve facts facts of religio obiective eration the objecti consid consideration into take If wJtake If we the and s and Gospels the Gospel ent, the Testament, place the Old Testam we must place history history,, we RevelaRevelan writte written of ions collect collections being as being as level level same same the on Qur'an Qut'an'on s, the Musliml' le held principle held by Muslim attitudee is in princip gh this attitud Although tion. Althou ian Christ Judeo-Christian inantly Judeopredominantly under the predom West under faithfu fsithfull in the West book book a ter of a charactcr ascribe to the Qur'an Qur'an the charac refuse to ascribe ce refuse influen influence tion. of Revela Revelation. lieach reliposition eachre ned by the position be explai explained may be attitudee may an attitud Such Sueh an regprd to other two with regard to**"dss the other unity adopts adopt" toward gious comm eommunity gious ures. the Script Scriptures. difiers ic Bible. Bible' This differs Hebraic book the Hebra as its holy book has as m has Judais Judaism have have lattcr latter the that in ians Christ the christians of ent Testam old Testament from the Old practice' . In practice, Hebrew. exist in Hebrew whieh did not exist books which l books several ed severa included includ e. Judoctrine' nce to the doctrin difference any differe makes any ence hardly makes divergence this diverg uent to its subsequent ion subseq revelation any revelat er admit any howuue" doesnot howev daism daism does own. own. added and added ic Bible Bible for itself and Hebraic the Hebra has taken taken the ianity has Christ Christianity pubthe pubed all the er accept accepted however has not howev It has ments to it. It supplements aa few few supple n of Mission the Missio men the known to men d to make make known destined gs destine writings lished lished writin ion of profusion the profus cuts in the e cuts incisive has made made incisiv h has church The Churc Jesus. Jesus.The preonly prehas only It has gs of Jesus. Jesus'It teachings and teachin g the the life and relating books books relatin the ent, the Testament' New Testam the New gs in the writings r of writin number limited numbe served servedaa limited ian.. s. Christ Christian' ic Gospel Gospels' Canonic are the four Canon tant of which are importdnt most most impor and and Jesus to Jesus uent subseq subsequent tion revela revelation any of any t account no accoun takes no ity takes . Qur'an the out the rules rules ore Qur'an' therefore es. It It theref Apostles. his Apostl


ufi

THE THE BmLE BIBLE,, THE TIrE QUR'A N AND AND SCIEN CE SCIENCE QITRAN

The The Qur'an ic Revela tion appear Revelation Qur'anic ed six centur Bppeared ies after centuries afhr Jesus. Jesus.It It

resume s numer nesumes ous data numerous data found found in the Hebra Hebraic ic Bible and and the G0sGoE-

pels since pels ,Torah,r guotes very freque since it it quotes ntly from the 'Torah frequenily '! and ~ ilre 'Gorpels.' 'Gospe ls.' The The Qur'an direets all au Muslim Qut'an directs Mustims s to believe believein the Scrip.. scrip, tures turee that precede tttat preced (sura 4, e it it (sura 4, verse verte 186). ls6). It rt stresse s the imporstresses tant positi"o position n occupi occupied ed in the the Revela tion by God's Bevelation God'semissa ries, such emissaries, s-uch as prophets as Noah, Noah, Abrah am, Moses, Abratram, Moses,the Proph ets and aud Jesus, Jesus,to whom whom they allocate aa specia position. special l positio n. His birth birth is describ ed in the Qur'an described eur'an,, "Ilryltlikewi and and se in the likewise the Gospel s, as Gospels, as aa supern supernatural atural event. event. Mary is also Mary-is also given placg as speeial l place, as indica indicated ted by bv the fact that that sura 19 -givenaa specia ig bears U*"", her her.name. name. The fire above above facts concer concerning ning Islam Islem are not genera generally lly known in the the West. west. This is is hardly hardry surpri surprising, sing, when when we we consid er the way eonsider generations SO msny genera somany tions in the the West West were were instruc instructed ted in the religious the religious problems proble ms facing faeing human humanity ity and and the the ignora ignorance nce in which they were were kept about kept about anythi anything ng related related to Islam. Isram. The The use of use such such terms as as 'Mohammedan 'Mohammedans' 'Moha mmedan religio religion' n' and and 'Moha mmedans' has has been been instrumenta mental-even I-even to the present the presen t day-i day-inn mainta maintaining ining the the false false notion notion that beliefs beliefs were were involv involved ed that were were spread spread by ty the ttre work of man man among:which among which God God (in the the Christ christian ian sense) sense) had hla no no place. place. Many Many cultivated peopletoday cultiva ted people today are are interes interested ted in the philosophical, the philoso phical, social social political and politic and al aspect aspects s of Islam, Isram, but they they do pauseto inquir do not pause inquire e about the about the Islami Islamic c Revela Reveration tion itself, as as indeed indeed they thlv should should. . In what contem contempt pt the the Muslim Muslims s are are held held by certain Christ christian ian circles circles!! I experi experienced enced this when when Ir tried to start an an exchan exchange ge of ideas ideas arising arislng from aI compa comparative rative analys analysis is of Biblica Biblicar l and and Qur'an ic stories stories on Qut'anic on the the same sametheme. theme.I noted nnted aa system systematic atic refusal, refusal, evln fo; purposes even fqp the the purpos es of simple simprereflecti reflection, on, to take take any any accoun account t of what the what the Qur'an had to Qur'an had to say say on on the the subjec subject t in hand. hand. It rt is i* as as if if aa quotefrom the quote the Qur'an wereaa referen reference Qur'anwere ce to the the Devil Devil ! noticeable A noticea ble change chang:e seemshowev seems however er to be be under under way way these thesedays days the highes at the highest le'els of the t levels the Christ christian ian world. world. The The Office office for NonNonchristian Christ Affairss at the ian Affair the Vatica vatican produced has produc n has ed aa docum document ent resultresultfrom the ing from the Second second Vatica vatican n Counc council il under under the the French French tiile title Orientation^s Orienta tio'RS pour un un dialogu diul,ogue entre Chreti e entre Chrdtiens ens et et Musulmnruz Musulrnans 2 1. What what is meant by Torah are the first 1. first five books books of of the Bible, in in other other words the Pentate Pentateueh (Genesis, uch of Moses Moses (Genesi Exodus,, Leviticu s, Exodus Leviticus, s, Numberc Numbe rs and Deutero Deuteronomy). nomy). Z. Pub. Ancora 2. Ancora,, Rome. Rome.


In&oduclion lnfiodnrcfun

llliii

' (Orientations for for aa Dialogue Dialogue between between christians Christians and and Muslims) Muslims), (orientations prothe to witness bears third French edition dated 1970, which bears witness to the prowhich 19?0, dated third French edition found change change inin official official attitude. attitude. Once Once the the document document has has invited invited found from inherited image, the reader to clear away the "out-dated image, inherited from the away "out-dated the reader to clear Christians that slander" the past, or distorted by prejudice and slander" that Christians prejudice and by past, or distortâ‚Źd the have of of Islam, Islam, the the Vatican Vatican document document proceeds proceeds to to "recognize "recognize the the have past injustice injustice towards towards the the Muslims Muslims for for which which the the West, West, rvith with its its past misconthe criticizes also Christian education, is to blame". It also criticizes the misconIt blame'. to is bnti*U*n education, Christians h*ve have been been under under concerning concerning Muslim Muslim fatalism' fatalism, ceptions Christians ceptions unity in belief stresses Islamic legalism, fanaticism, etc. It stresses belief in unity of of It etc. fanaticism, Islemic legalism, the at was audience the God and reminds us how sUrflrised the audience was at the surprised how us God and ieminds Muslim University University of of Al Al Azhar, Azhar, Cairo, Cairo, when when Cardinal Cardinal Koenig Koenig Muslim conofficial an during this unity at the Great during official proclaimed Mosque Great at the proclaimed this unity ofvatican the that in March, 1969. It reminds that the Vatican Ofference also us reminds It ference in March, 1969. Musto wishes best their fice in 1967 invited Christians to offer their to Musto offer christians fice in 196? invited lims at at the end of of the Fast Fast of of Bamadan Ramadan with with "genuine "genuine religious religious lims

walth". wofthtt. relationship between Such preliminary steps towards a closer relationship steps towards such preliminary varifollorved by varibeen have the Roman Catholic Curia and Islam have been followed the Boriran between encounters ous manifestations and consolidated by encounters between the ous rlanifestations events publicity accorded two. There has been, however, little publicity accorded to events little has been, two. World, where they took of importance in the western world, such great importance of such communication in the and where there are ample means of communication place means ample are plaee and where form of press, radio and television. television. press, and radio form of of visit of offieial visit to the the official The coverag:e to g'ave little tittle coverage newspapers gave The newspapers Nonof Office Vatican Cardinal Pignedoli, the President of the Vatican Office of Nonthe of Cardinal Pignedoli, the President Saudi of Saudi Faisal of King Faisal to King Christian 1974,to April, 1974, 24th April, on 24th Affairs, on Christian Affairs, 19?4' April, 25th on Arabia. The French newspaper Le Monde on 25th April, 1974, Mond,e Le Arabia. The French newspaper contain, they news dealt with it in a few lines. What momentous news they contain, momentous dâ‚Źalt with it in a few lines. What the SoverSoverto the conveyedto however, Cardinal conveyed the Cardinal how the read how we read when we however,when of regards "the expressing eign a message from Pope Paul VI expressing "the regards of VI eign a message from Pope Paul of *niflcation in the belief profound His Holiness, moved by a profound belief in the unification of His Holiness, moved by a to God,to single God, of aa single worship of Islamic the worship in the worlds in and Christian Christian worlds Islamic and world". Islamic of the head His Majesty King Faisal as supreme head of the Islamic world". His Majesty King Faisal as supreme offithe offireceivedthe Popereceived the Pope Six 19?4,the in October October1974, later, in months later, Six months It Arabia' Saudi of Ulemaof Saudi Arabia. It cial Grand Ulema the Grand of the Vatican of theVatican to the visit to cial visit the on Muslims and occasioned Christians and MusHms on the between Christians dialogue between occasionedaa dialogue ne\Yspaper' ,'Cultural Rights Vatican newspaper, The Vatican "Cultural of l^glam".The in Is1am". Man in of Man Rights -Rom&na, \isthis hisreported 19?4, Observatore Oetober,1974, reported this 26th October, on 26th ObseruotoreRomano, on


iviv

THEBIBLE, THE BIBrr, THE THEQUR'AN ANDSCIENCE SCTENCE QITnANAND

toric event eventin pagestory inaafront front page storythat toric that took tookup upmore morespace specethan than the the rcport on the closing dayof report on the closing day of the the meeting meetingheld heldby uy the lhe Synod synod of of Bishopsin in Rome. Bome. Bishops The Grand Grandmema Ulemaof of Saudi The SaudiArabia Arabia were wereafterwards afterwards received received by the the Ecumenical EeumenicalCouncil council of by of Churches churctresof of Geneva Genevaand and by by the the r,ord Bishop Bishop of of Strasbourg, strasbourg, His Lord His Grace GraceEIchinger. Etchinger. The The Bishop Bishop join in invited them them to to join prayer before in midday midday prayer invited beforehim him in in his his catheeathedrsl. The The fact fact that that the the event event was dral. was reported reported seems seemsto to be be more more on on accountof of its its unusual unusualnature nature than account than because becauseof of its its considerable considerable religious significance. signifieance.At At all religious all events, events,among amongthose thosewhom queswhom II questioned about about this this religious religious manifestation, tioned manifestation, there there were were very very few few whoreplied repliedthat that they theywere wereaware who awareof of it. it popePaul paur VI The open-minded open-mindedattitude attitude Pope The vr has hastowards towards Islam Islam will will certainly become becomeaa milestone milestone in certainly relations between in the the relations betweenthe the two two religions. He He himself said said that he religions. he was was "moved profound be"moved by by aa profound belief in in the the unification unification of the the Islamic lief Islamic and and Christian Christian worlds worlds in the the wottshipof aa single single God". God". This reminder worship reminder of the the sentiments sentimentsof the of the head of the catholic chureh concerning head of the Catholic Church concerningMuslims Muslims is indeed indeednecesnecessiry. Far too too many msny Christians, sary. christians, brought up up in aa spirit spirit of open open hostitity, are are against ageinst any reflection reflection about Islam on principle. The hostility, about rslam on principle. The vatican document documentnotes notesthis with Vatican regret. It on accouni account of this with regret. It is on ttrat that they remain remain totally ignorent ignorant of what Islam is in reality, and and retain notions about the Islamic retain notions about Revelation which are are entirely Bevelation mistaken. mistaken. Nevertheless, aspect of the Revelation Revelation of of a a Nevertheless, when when studying an aspect monotheistie seems quite in in order to compare compare what the monotheistic religion, itit seerna other two have have to say on the same same subject. subject. A A comprehensive comprehensive study study of of aa problem problem is is more more interesting interesting than than aa eompartmentalized compartmentalized one. one. The The confrontation confrontation between between certain certain subjects subjects dealt dealt with with in in the the scriptures Scriptures and and the the facts facts of of zOth 20th century century science science will will therefore, therefore, in in this this work, work, inelude include all all three three religions. religions. In In addition addition itit will will be be useful to realize that that the the three three rerigions religions should should form form aa tighter tighter useful to realize block block by by virtue virtue of of their their eloser closer relationship relationship at at aa time time when when they they are all threatened are all threatened by by the the onslaught onslaught of of materialism. materialism. The The notion notion that that science science and and religion religion Bre are incompatibre incompatible is is as as equally equally prevalent prevalent in countries under in countries under the the Judeo-christian Judeo-Christian influence influence as as in in the the world world of of Islarn--+specially IsIatn--especially in in scientific scientific circles. circles. IfIf this this question question were were to to be be dealt dealt with with comprehensively, comprehensively, aa series series of of lengthy lengthy exposds exposes would would be benecessarr. necessary.rn Inthis thiswork, work, IIintend intendto totsckle tackleonly onlyLr" one*rpot aspectof ofit: it:


lntmilrgr',ian

the examination examination of of the the scriptures Scriptures themselves themselves in in the the light light of of the modern scientific scientificknowledge. knowledge. modern Before proceeding proceeding with with our our task, task, wâ‚Ź we must must ask ask aa fundamental fundamental Before are today's today's texts? texts? ItIt is is aa question question which which question:t Ho* How authentic authentic are question their surrounding entails an examination of the circumstances surrounding their circumstances the of entsils an examination us. to down come have composition and the way in which they have come down to us. they which in way the and composition In the the West Wt!st the the critical critical study study of of the the Scriptures Scriptures is is something something In to people content years were quite recent. For hundreds of years people were content to accept accept of quite reeent. For hundreds reading A was. it the Bible-both Old and New Testaments-as it was. A reading Testaments-as the Bible-both Old and New than remarks remarks vindicating vindicating it. it. ItIt would would produced nothing nothing more more than produced clergy The at it. have been a criticism sin to slightest criticism at it. The clergy slightest level the it"u" been sin to in that that they they were easily easily able to to have a comprewere priviledged priviledged in were of maiority the of while majority of laymen hensive knowledge while Bible, the of hensive liturgy' the or part sermon a heard only selected readings part of or the liturgy. of as readings hesrd only criticism textual to the the level of of a speeialized specialized study, textual criticism has Raised to Raised been valuable valuable in in uncovering and disseminating problems which which been it is therefore to read are very serious. How disappointing disappointing it serious. How often very sre often with very faced with works critical nature which, when faced so-called critical works of a so-called passages of an provide real passages of interpretation, merely real problems of interpretation, to contrives author apologetical which the author means of which nature by means apologetical nature and hide iudgment his dilemma. Whoever retains his objective judgment hide his power of thought at such will not find the improbabilsuch aa moment will can only reOne can ities less persistent. One and contradictions any the less iti*s and upholds reason' logical gret reason, upholds face of all gret an attitude which, in the face an attitude are they though even certain Scriptures even though they are Biblical Scriptures passagesin the Biblical cer-tain passages indamaging an extremely riddled exercise an extremely damaging incan exercise It can *"*o"t. It with errors. riddled with God' in to belief regard to belief in God. fluence with regard mind with cultivated mind the cultivated upon the fluence upon disto disare able few are able to even if if the the few Experience that even however that shows however Experience shows of christians majority tinguish vast majority of Christians the vast kind, the this kind, of this fallacies of tinguish fallacies their with their have incompatibilities with suchincompatibilities of such accountof any account taken any never taken have never elementary. very are often secular knowledge, even though they are often very elementary. secular knowledg:e,even though they in Gospelsin the Gospels to the Islam comparable to relatively comparable has something something relatively Islam has Muhamof sayings of Muhamsome the collected collectedsayings are the Theseare the Hadiths. Hadiths. These of the someof than other than nothing other are nothing mad Gospelsare The Gospels deeds.The his deeds. of his storiesof and stories mad and written were written Hadiths were this of Hadiths collectionsof the collections of the Someof for Jesus. Jesus.Some this for were just as Gospelswere the Gospels as the decades Muhammad' just of Muhammad, death of the death after the decsdesafter withuman witbear human they bear written In both both cases casesthey Jesus.In after Jesus. decadesafter writtcn decades what to contrary to what how, contrary ness past. We shall see seehow, We shall the past. in the to events events in nessto were Gospelswere Canonic Gospels many four Canonic of the the four authors of peoplethink, theauthors think, the many people


vl

THE TIIE BmLE, BIBLF,,THE TIIE QUR'AN AIYDSCIENCE SCIENCE QIJn'ANAND

not the the witnesses witnessesof of the the events not eventsthey relate.The they relate. The same true of of sameisis true the Hadiths Hadiths referred referred to to at the end at the the endof of this this book. book. Ifere the thecomparison comparisonmust mustend Here endbecause becauseeven evenif if the authenticity the authenticity of such-and-such such-and-such Hadith has of aa Hadith hasbeen beendiscussed discussedand and is is still still under under discussion,in in the the early early centuries centuriesof discussion, problemof of the the Church the problem of Church the the vast vast number number of of Gospels Gospelswas the was definitively definitively decided. decided.Only only four four proclaimedofficial, of them them were wereproclaimed of official,or or canonic, eanonic,in in spite spite of of the the many many points on on which whieh they they do do not points not agree, agree,and given for and order order was was given for the the restto to be beconcealed; concealed;hence hencethe rest Apocrypha'. the term term ,Apoerypha'. Another fundamental fundamental difference difference in Another in the the Scriptures Scriptures of of ChrisChristionity and and Islam Islam is is the the fact fact that tianity that Christianity Christianity does doesnot not have have text which which is is both both revealed revealedand aa text and written down. down. Islam, Islam, however, however, hasthe the Qur'an which fits fits this description. has description. Qur'an which The Qur'an the expression The is the expression of the Revelationmade the Revelation Qur'an madeto MuhamMuhammad by the the Archangel Arehangel Gabriel, mad Gabriel, which which was was immediately immediately taken taken down, and and was was memorized memorized'and down, and recited recited by the the faithful faithful in their prayers, especially especiallyduring the prayers, the month month of Ramadan. Ramadan.Muhammad Muhammad arranged it it into suras, suras, and these himself arranged and these were were collected collected soon soon death of the the Prophet, Prophet, to form, under after the death under the rule of Caliph Caliph prophet's death), (Lz to 24 years after the Prophet's uthman (12 24 years Uthman death), the text we we know today. today. fn In contrast contrast to this, the Christian Revelation Revelation is based based on on nunumerous merous indirect human human accounts. accounts. We do do not in faet fact have have an eyeeyewitness witness account account from the life life of Jesus, Jesus, contrary to what many Christians imagine. imagine. The question question of the authenticity of of the Christian and Islamic texts has has thus now been been formulated. formulated. The eonfrontation confrontation between between the texts of the Scriptures and seientific has always always provided provided man with with food food for for thought. scientific data has ItIt was st at first first held that that corroboration corroboration between between the scriptures and science science was a necessary necessary element element to the authenticity of of the sacred sacred tâ‚Źxt. text. Saint Augustine, Augustine, in in Ietter letter No. No. gp, 82, which which we we shall quote quote later later on, on, formally formally established established this this principle. principle. As As seience science progressed progressed however however itit beeame became clear clear that that there there were were discrepancies discrepancies between between Biblical Biblical Scripture Scripture and and science. science. ItIt was was therefore therefore decided decided that that eomparison comparison would would no no longer longer be be made. made. Thus Thus aa situation situation arose arose which which today, today, we we are are forced forced to to admit, admit, puts puts Biblical Biblical exegetes exegetes and and scientists scientists in in opposition opposition to to one one another. another. We We eannot, cannot, after after all, all, acaccept cept aa divine divine Revelation Revelation making making statements statements which which are are totally totally inaccurate. inaccurate. There There was was only only one one way way of of logieally logieally reeouciling reconciling ilre the I


llllrGdacflon Iffin

vli vii

two; itit lay lay in in not not considering considering Ia psssage passage containing containinl' uneceeptrbh unacceptable two; scientific data data to to be be genuine. genuine. This This solution solution was was not not adopted. adopted. InInscientific stead, the the integrity integrity of of the the text text was was stubbornly stubbornly maintlincd maintained rnd and steed, experts wene were obliged obliged to to adopt adopt aa position position on on the the truth truth of of the the Bib Bibe!ryerts lical Seriptures Scriptures which, which, for for the the scientist, is is hardly hardly tenrble. tenable. Hcal for the Bible, Islom Islam has has always always essumcd assumed Like Saint Augustine for Like sgrâ‚Źs' in were that the data contained in the Holy Scriptures in agreeHoly contained in thst Islamic the with scientific scientific fact. A A modern modern examination examination of of ment u/ith Revelation has not ceused caused a change change in in this this position. As we shell shall Bevelstion gee see later on, on, the Qut'an Qur'an deals deals with with meny many subiects subjects of interest to gcience, science, far far more in fact than the Bible. Bible. There There is no comparison comparison between the limitcd limited number number of Biblical staternents statements which leed lead to between profusion confrontation with with science, science, and and the profusion of subiects subjects menmena confrontstion tioned in the Qur'an thet that are of a scientific scientific nature. nature. None None of the tioned can be be contested contested from a scientific scientific point of view; this is the latter can basic fact that emerges emerges fmm from our study. study. We We shall shall see see at the end end basic arc Thesâ‚Źare Hadiths. These of this work that such casefor the Hadiths. such is not the case collections set aside aside from the Qur'anic sayings, set Qur'enic Prophet's saYings, collectionsof the Prophet's fire unacceptable.The Revelation, scientifically unacceptable. are scientifically certsin of which are Bevelation, certain accordancewith question have Hadiths in question study in accordance have been been under under study scienceand snd the strict principles principles of the dictate that science the Qur'an Qurtan which dictate them deprive them reason necessaryto deprive if necessary be referred to, to, if elways be reasonshould shouldalways of any authenticity. unaccepL acceptableor unaeceptThese scientifieally acceptable on the scientifically reflections on These reflections must It must explanetion.It someexplanation. able needsome Scripture need certain Scripture nsture of aa certain ablenature ic whrt is here, what discussedhere, be are discussed data are scientific data when scientific be stressed strcssedthat when out rules out considerstionrules meant estsblished.This consideration definitely established. dats definitely is data meant is phenome' any in illuminating illuminating aa phenomeonceuseful useful in theories,once explanatorytheories, any explanatory explrnr' further explanafor further non makeway way for to make dispensedwith to and easily non and easily dispensed to progress.What intend to What II intend tions scientificprogress. with scientific in keeping keepingwith more in tions more csn if science sciencecan and even consider evenif facts and incontrovertible facts here are are incontrovertible considerhere neverthelessbe sufficiently besufficiently only provideincomplete will nevertheless they will data,they incompletedata, only provide fesr of error. well of error. without fear usedwithout to be be used establishedto well established date evenan approximatedate Scientists haveeven 8n approximate example,have for example, not, for do not, Scientistsdo discovered have for man's appearance on Earth. They have however discovered They however Earth. for man's appearanceon shadow cansituate beyondaa shadow remains situate beyond we can which we worhswhich human works of human remainsof cannot we B.C. Hence of a doubt at before the tenth millenium B.C. Hence we cannot millenium tenth the of a doubt at before with to competible consider the Biblical reality on this subject to be compatible with subject be on this considerthe Biblieal reality geneelogie and the dates science. In the Biblical text of Genesis, the dates and I'enealo~es science.In the Biblical text of Genesis,


viii

THE THE BmLE, BIBI.E, THE THE QUR'AN AND SCIENCE SCIENGE QUN'AN AND

given would plaee man's would place (i.e. the given man's origins origins (i.e. the creation ereation of of Adam) Adsm) at at roughly thirty-seven thirty-seven centuries roughly centuries B.C. B.C. In In the the future, future, science sciencemay may be be provide us able to to provide able us with with data data that that are precise than are more more precise than our our present calculations, ealculations, but present it will but we we may may rest rest assured assured that that it wilt never never tell us us that that man man first tell first appeared appeared on on Earth years ago, Earth 5,736 E,?86years ag:o,as as does does the Hebraic Hebraic calendar calendar for Biblical data concerning the for 1975. 1975. The Biblical The data eoncerning the antiquity of of man man are are therefore antiquity therefore inaccurate. inaccurate. This confrontation This confrontation with with science science excludes excludes all religious proball religious lems in in the the true true sense senseof lems of the the word. word. Science Science does does not, for example, example, have any any explanation explanation of process whereby God have of the the process God manifested Himself to to Moses. Moses. The The same Himself same may be be said for for the mystery mystery surrounding the manner manner in which Jesus rounding the Jesus was born in the absence absence of aa biological father. The Scriptures Scriptures moreover give no material material explanation of such such data. This present study is concerned explanation concerned with with Scriptures tell us what the Scriptures us about extremely extremely varied varied natural natural phenomena, which they surround surround to aa lesser greater extent nomena, lesser or greater extent with with commentaries and explanations. explanations. With commentaries With this in mind, we must n)te nrte contrast between the rich rich abundance the contrast abundance of of information information on a given subject in the Qur'anic Revelation and of the given anrl the modesty of other two revelations on the same same subject. It was in a totally totally objective objective spirit, It without any preconspirit, and without ceived ideas ideas that that I first first examined examined the Qur'anic Revelation. rI was ceived Iooking for for the degree degree of of compatibility looking compatibility between the eur'anic Qur'anic text and the data of of modern text modern science. science. rI knew knew from from translations translations that the Qur'an that often made allusion allusion to all all sorts sorts of of natural natural pheQur'an often nomena, but nomena, but I had only only a summary summary knowledge of of it. it. ItIt was only only when II examined the text text very very closely in in Arabic Arabic that that II kept kept a list list of of them at at the end of of which which II had to to acknowledge the the evidence in in front front of of me; me: the Qur'an Qur'an did not not contain contain a single statement that that was assailable assailable from from a mocern modern scientific point point of of view. view. rI repeated the the same test test for for the the old Old Testament Testament and the the GosGospels, pels, always always preserving preserving the the $ame same objective objective ouflook. outlook. In In the the former former II did did not not even have to to go beyond beyond the the first first book, book, Genesis, Genesis, to to find find statements out of of keeping keeping with with the the cast-iron cast-iron facts facts of of statements totally totally out modern modern science, science. on On opening opening the the Gospels, Gospels, one one is is immediately immediately confronted confronted with with aa serious problem. the first first page page we we find find the the genealogy genealogy of of Jesus, Jesus, problem. on On the but but Matthew's Matthew's text text is is in in evident evident contradiction contradiction to to Luke,s Luke's on on the the same further problem problem in in that that the the latter,s latter's same question. question. There There is is aa further


Introduction Infiodwtkm

rx

data on on the the antiquity antiquity of of man man on on Earth Earth sre are incompatible incompatible with with data modern knowledge. modern existence of of these these contradictions, improbabilities improbabilities and ininThe existence not seem seem to me to detract from from the belief in in compatibilities does does not compatibilities one can say responsibility. No Noone God. They involve involve only man's responsibility. God. what the original original texts might might have been, been, or or identify identify imaginative imaginative what editing, deliberate manipulations manipulations of of them by men, men, or or unintenunintenediting, of the Scriptures. What What strikes strikes us today, tional modification of tional incompatibilities Biblical contradictions and incompatibilities when we realize Biblical with well-established well-established scientific data, is how specialists specialists studying studying with either pretend to be unaware of them, or or else else draw draw atthe texts either tention to these these defects defects then try try to camouflage camouflage them with with diatention acrobatics. When we come come to the Gospels Gospels according to lectic acrobatics. brilliant use use Matthew and John, I shall provide examples examples of this brilliant Matthew exegesis. phrase of apologetical turns of phrase eminent experts in exegesis. by turns apologetical Often the attempt improbability or a contracamouflage an improbability attempt to camouflage 'difficulty', is successful. explains diction, prudishly called a 'difficulty', suecessful.This explains called diction, condefects serious why so many Christians are unaware of the serious defects conso will reader will tained in the Old Testament Gospels. The reader Testament and the Gospels. and second first and second parts of precise examples find precise these in the first examples of these this work. appliunusual appliIn the third ped, there there is the illustration of an unusual third part, modern contribution of modern cation of science scienceto aa holy Scripture, the contribution verses in secular knowledge to aa better understanding of certain verses secular knowledge if not remained the Qur'an which until now have remained enigmatic, if have Qur'an when incomprehensible. Why should we be surprised at this when we be should incomprehensible. have been always that, for Islam, religion and science have always been we know science and Islam, we beginning, directed twin sisters? From the very beginning, Islam directed considered Islam the sisters? considered precept people the application applieation of this precept people to cultivate cultivate science; science; the during in seience brought with it the prodigious strides in science taken during strides with it before the which, the great of Islamic civilization, from which, before the from great era civilization, era of beconfrontation In Renaissance, the West itself benefited. In the confrontation bebenefited. the itself Renaissance,the West understanding point of tween the Scriptures and science a high point of understanding high and science a tween the Scriptures passages has light thrown on Qur'anic the light thrown on owing to to the reachedowing Qur'anic passages has been been reached passages were these by modern scientific knowledge. Previously these passages were knowledge. Previously by modern scientific could which obscure owning to the non-availability of knowledge which could of knowledge non-availability the obscure owning to help them. help interpret interpret them.


tI

ThE Old Old The TEstamEnt Testarrrcnt Gene..al Outlines Outlines General Who is the author of the Old Testsment? Testament? \Mho if asked asked One Testarnent,if Otd Testament, readers of the Old wonders how many readers One wonders had the above question, would repeating what they had would reply by repeating above question, that' snswer that, They might answer read Bible. They introduction to their Bible. read in the introduction GhosL even men inspired by the Holy Ghost, wri.tten by men it was was written though it even though the author was was God. God. presentation confines confines Sometimes, Bible's presentation the Bible's author of the the author Sometimes,the obseryation succinct observation himself reader of this succinct his reader informing his himself to informing he corrects questions.Sometimes corrects which Sometimeshe puts an an end endto all further questions. which puts be+nadded added havebeen it may'Subsequently subsequentlyhave detsils may it by warning him that details the litigious nonetheless,the to by men, men, but that nonetheless, to the the primitive text by 'truth' that general 'truth' the general character passsgedoes not alter alter the doesnot character of aa passage 'truth' The heavily. The very heavily. proceeds proceedsfrom is stressed stressed very This 'truth' is from it. it. This the body, with with the the only only body, Church it, being being the answer for for it, Church Authorities answer on faithful on the faithful assistance enlighten the able to to enlighten Holy Ghost, Ghost,able of the the Holy essistanceof was it was century,it guchpoints. Fogrth century, such the Fourth held in in the Councilsheld points.Since the Councils Sincethe the by the ratified by Books,ratified the Holy Books, list of of Holy the list issuedthe that issued the Church Church that First VatiVati(1546),and the First (1441),Trent and the Councils Trent (1546), of Florence Florence(1441), Councilsof the Canon. Canonasthe is known known as can (18?0),to what today todayis form what to form canCouncil Council(1870), Vatican the Second SecondVatican Just encyclicals,the 8o many many encyclicals, after so recently, after Just recently, exis exwhich is Revelationwhich Council the Revelation concerningthe publishedaa text text concerning Councilpublished (1962-1965)of of strenuous strenuous yesrs (1962-1965) tremely It took tookthree threeyears important.It tremelyimportant. 1


g

THE THE BmLE, BIBLF",THE TIIE QUR'AN AND SCIENCE SCIENCE QUR'ANAND

produce. The effort to to produce. The vast vast majority effort majority of the Bible's of the Bible's readers readers who who find this highly reassuring reassuring information this highly find information at at the the head head of modern of aa modern quite satisfied edition have have been guarantees of been quite satisfied with with the edition the guarantees of authenauthenpast tieity made madeover over past centuries ticity centuries and possiand have have hardly hardly thought thought it it possible to to debate them. debatethem. ble When one one refers refers however however to When to works works written written by by clergymen, clergymen, not not publication, one meant for for mass mass publication, question conmeant one realizes realizes that that the the question concerning the the authenticity authenticity of cerning of the the books books in in the the Bible Bible is is much much more more complex than than one pri,ori. For one might might suppose complex suppose ao priori. For example, when example, when one consults consults the publication in the modern modern publication one in separate separate installments installments of of the Bible Bible in French French translated translated under guidance of the the under the the guidance the Biblical School Schoolof Jerusaleml, Jerusalemr,the cal the tone appears to be tone appears be very different. different. realizes that the one realizes the Old old Testament, One Testament, like the the New Testament, Testament, problems with controversial raises problems controversial elements raises elements that, for the most most the authors authors of commentaries commentaries have part, the have not concealed. conceared. also find we also find highly precise precise data We data in more more condensed condensedstudies studies of objective nature, nature, such aa very objective such as as Professor Professor Edmond Edmond Jacob's Jacob's study; The The Old Old Testament Testament (L'Ancien Testament) study: 2. This book Testament)'. book gives an excellent general view. excellentgeneral view. gives people are unaware, Many people unaware, and and Edmond Edmond Jacob points this out, Jacob points that there were originally originally a number of texts and not just just one. one. Around the Third Thi'rd century B.C., 8.C., there were at least least three forms of the Hebrew text: text: the text text which was was to become become the Masoretic Masoretic text, the text which was used, used, in part part at least, least, for for the Greek Greek translation, and the Samaritan Pentateuch. Pentateuch. In In the First First century 8.C., B.C., there was a tendency tendency towards the establishment establishment of of a single text, but it it was tiot not until until a century after after Christ Christ that that the Biblical text text was was definitely established. established. If If we had had the three forrns forms of of the text, comparison comparison would have could have have reached reached an opinion opinion conconhave been been possible, possible, and we could cerning what the original might might have have been. been. unfortunately, Unfortunately, we do not not have have the the slightest slightest idea. idea. Apart Apart from from the the Dead Dead Sea Sea Scrolls Scrolls (Cave of Qumran) dating from from a pre-Christian pre-Christian era near near the the (Cave of time time of of Jesus, Jesus, aa papyrus papyrus of of the the Ten Ten Commandments Commandments of of the the SecSecond century A.D. A.D. presenting presenting variations variations from from the the classical classical text, text, ond century and and aa few few fragments fragments from from the the Fifth Fifth century century A.D. A.D. (Geniza (Geniza of of 1. 1. Pub. Pub. Cerf, Ced, Paris Paris 2. Pub. Presses 2. Pub. Presses universitaires Universitaires de de France, France, paris Paris ,.eue "Que sais-je?" sais-je?" colleetion collection


The Old Testamen'

3

Cairo), the the oldest oldest Hebrew Hebrew text text of of the the Bible Bible dates dates from from the the Ninth Ninth Cairo), century A.D. century A.D. the first first translation translation in in Greek. Greek. The Septuagint Septuagint was was probably probably the The dates from from the the Third Third eentury century B.C. B.C. and and was was written written by by Jews Jews ItIt dates in Alexandria. Alexandria. ItIt was was on on this this text text that that the the l'Iew New Testament Testament was was in based. ItIt remained remained authoritative authoritative until until the the Seventh Seventh century century A.D. A.D. based. The basic basic Greek Greek texts texts in in general general use use in in the the Christian Christian world world are are The Vatica'mn from the the manuscripts manuscripts catalogued catalogued under under the the title title Cod'en Codex Vaticanus from in the the Vatiean Vatican City City and Coden Codex Sinaiticus at the the British British Museum, Museum, Sinniticus at in They date from from the Fourth Fourth century century A.D' A.D. London. They At the beginning beginning of of the Fifth Fifth century century A.D., Saint Saint Jerome was At able to to produce a text text in in latin latin using Hebrew documents. documents. It It was able later to to be called the of its its universal distribudistributhleVulgate on account of later after the Seventh Seventh century century A.D. tion after For the record, Aramaic version and we shall mention the Aramaic For the Syriac (Peshitta) (Peshitta) version, but but these these are incomplete. incomplete. All of these versions have enabled specialists piece together All of these versions have enabled specialists to piece 'middle-of-the-road' becompromise so-called 'middle-of-the-road' texts, a sort of compromise bea, so-called have also collections tween the different versions. Multi-lingual collections have also versions. Multi-tingual tween Latin' Greek, Latin, been whieh juxtapose been produced which iuxtapose the Hebrew, Greek, case Syriac, Aramaic and even Arabic versions. This is the case of versions. even Arabic Syriac, Aramaic sake the famous Walton Bible (London, 1657). For the sake of 165?). the famous conceptions completeness, let us mention that diverging Biblical conceptions us completeness, churches are a"" responsible for the fact that the various Christian churches "e*ponsible until have do not all accept exactly the same books and have not until now books same accept do not The language. same the had identical ideas on translation into the same language. The into had identical ideas on translation of a is Ecumenical Translation of the Old Testament is a work of uniOId Testament of the Eatmeni,cal Translation experts Protestant experts and Protestant fication Catholic and numerous Catholic by numerous wriiten by fication written 1 of synwork result in a nearing completion and should result in a work of synnow should and now nearing completionr thesis. thesis. be to be is seen seen to Testament is Thus Old Testament the Old in the element in humau element the human Thus the from why understand to understand why from quite difficult to not difficult is not It is quite considerable. considerable. It the all the rvith all to translation, translation, with version translation to and translation version, and to version, version to original the possible for corrections was possible for the original it was resulting, it inevitably resulting, corrections inevitably than more than of more the course course of text during the transformed during been transformed have been to have text to two years. two thousand thousand years. Cerf du Cerf Editions du Les Editions f9?5 by by Les 1.l. Translator's December f975 Published December Note: Published Translator's Note: and Les Bergers et les Mages, Paris Paris Mages, et les Bergers and l.cs


41

TIIEBIBLE, THE AND BBI.F,,THE TIIEQUR'AN ANDSCIENCE SGAENCE QI,'R'AN

ORIGINS OF ORIGINS OF THE THE BIBLE BIBLE Beforeitit became becameaacollection collectionof Before of books, books,itit was urasaa folk folk tradition tradition that relied relied entirely entirely upon upon human that human memory, memory, originally originally the the only only passingon meansof of passing onideas. ideas.This This tradition means tradition was wassung. sung,. anelementary elementarystage, "At an stage,writes "At writes E. E. Jacob, peoplesings; Jacob,every errerypeople sings; in Israel, Israel, as as elsewhere, poetry preceded elsewhere,poetry precededprose. in prose.Israel Israel sang r"ng long long and well; well; led Iedby by circumstances circumstancesof and of his his history history to to the the heights treiehtsof of and the the depths depthsof ioy and of despair, despair,taking part with joy feeling taking part with intense intenseleeling in all all that that happened happenedto to it, it, for in for everything everything in in their their eyes eyeshad had aa sense,Israel gave its Israel gave its song songaa wide sense, wide variety variety of of expression". expression".They They sgng for for the the most most diverse diverse reasons sang reasonsand and E. E. Jacob Jacob mentions mentionsaa numberof of them them to to which which we number we find find the the accompanying accompanyingsongs songsin in the the Bible: eating eating songs, songs,harvest harvest songs, Bible: songs,songs songsconnected connectedwith with work, work, like the the famous famous Well (Numbers 21, well Song song (Numbers like zL, 17), 1r7),wedding wedding songs, songs, as in the the Song Songof Songs, Songs,and and mourning as mourning songs. songs.In the the Bible Bible there there are numerous numeroussongs songsof war and are and among among these these we we find find the the Song song (Judges 5, Deborah (Judges 5, 1-32) of Deborah 1-32) exalting Israel's fsrael's victory desired desired ,,Ahd whenever and led led by Yahweh YahwehHimself, (Numbers10, Himself, (Numbers and 10,35) 85) ;; "And whenever ,Arise, (of alliance) ttre ark (of alliance) set yahweh, set out, the out, Moses Moses said, said, 'Arise, oh oh Yahweh, snd let thy enemies enemiesbe be scattered; scattered; and and and let them them that hate hate thee thee fleebefore thee"'. flee before thee' ". There There are also also the Maxims Maxims and and proverbs Proverbs (Book (Book of proverbs, Proverbs, Proverbs Proverbs and and Maxims Maxims of the Historic Books), Books), words words of blessing blessing and curse, curse, and the laws decreed decreed to man man by the prophets Prophets on reception ception of their their Divine mandate. mandate. E. Jacobs Jacobs notes notes that that these these words were were either passed passed down down from from family family to family family or or channelled channelled through the sanctuaries sanctuaries in in the the form form of of an an account account of of the the history history of of God's God's chosen chosen people. people. History History quickly quickly turned turned into into fable, fable, as as in in the the Fable Fable of of Jotham Jotham (Judges (Judges g, 9, 7-z1-), 7-21), where where "the "the trees trees went went forth forth to to anoint anoint aa king king over over them; them; and and they they asked asked in in turn turn the the olive olive tree, tree, the the fig fig tree, the the vine vine and and the the bramble", bramble", which which allows allows E. E. Jacob Jacob to to note note ..ani"animated mated by by the the need need to to tâ‚Źtl tell aa good good story, story, the the narration narration was was not not perturbed perturbed by by subjects subjects or or times times whose whose history history was was not not well well known", known", from from which whichhe heconcludes: concludes : "rt "It is is proba,ble probs.ble thst that what what the the old Old restament Testament narrates narrates about about Moses Moses and and the the patriarchs patriarchs only only roughly roughly corresponds corresponds to to the the sucsuccession cession of of hisboric historic facts. facts. The The narrators narrators however, however, even even at at the the stage stage of of oral oral trsnsmigsion, transmission, wene were able able to to bring bring into into play play suctl such


rINOldr........, Trpol|dTffircnt

f5

grace and and imsgination imagination to to btend blend between between them them hishly highly varied varied epiepigmce able that when when all all is is said said and and done, done, they they were were able to to present present sodes, that sodes, as aa history history thtt that was was fairly fairly credible credible to to criticsl critical thinkers thinkers what what ar world". happened at at the the beginning beginning of of humanity humanity aud and the the world". heppened There is is good good 1re88on reason to to believe believe thst that after after the the Jewish Jewish people people Therc in Canean, Canaan, et at tlre the end end of of the the Thirteenth Thirteenth century century B.C., B.C., settled in settled There tradition. the preserve down writing was uaed to preserve and hand down the tradition. There hand and to us₏d was writtns was not not however however complete complete accurscy' accuracy, even even in in what what to to men men seema seems wes these, Among lgws. greatest the to demand the greatest durability, i.e. the laws. Among these, i.e. durability, the demand to own by God's written been the laws which are supposed to have been written by God's have to supposed sre the trrws which the Old in transmitt₏d the Commandments, transmitted in band, were Ten Commindments, hend, (20' Deuteronomy and 1-21) in two Exodus (20, 1-21) Deuteronomy Testament Exodus in versions; two Testrment leBO). Ttrey They are the same same in in spirit, spirit, but but the variations are (6, 130). a large written obvious. also concern keep written record keep to concern elso a is There obvious. (Judges, high ciff personalities of contracts, letters, of personalities (Judges, city of lists of contracts, [n plunder. and of ofrerings offerings and plunder. In officials, genealogical tables), lists ofrcials, genealogical provided documentation this way, archives were created provided documentation which thle way, archives were creatcd for the books books definitive works resulting in the for the later editing of detinitive difterent a of different we have today. Thus in each book there is a mixture eachbook there have todey. firus realiterary specialiststo find the reathe specialists genres: it be left it can can be left to the literary genres: IODS for this odd assortment of documents. odd assorlrnent documents. tons initially an initially upon an basedupon whole based The disparate whole Testsmentis aa disparate otd Testament The Old proeess the comperethe process oral therefore to compare ie interesting therefore It is onal tradition. It in another happen could happen another by which constituted with what could was constituted which it it was when aa primitive literature period placeat time when the time at the period and another place and another was born. waBborn. at the the literature at French literature Let of French birth of the birth example,the for example, ugtake, teke, for Lct us presided tradition oral time of the Frankish Royalty. The same oral tradition presided The same Rofatty. of Frankish tfue time in the the often in wars' often deeds: wars, over of important important deeds: presenration of the preservation over the heroes where events, defense of Ohristianity, various sensational events, where heroes sensational various defenseof C'tr"istianity, to later to centuries later destinedcenturies distinguished were destined that were themselves,that distinguishedthemselves, 'cycles'. vsrious of authors inspire court poets, chroniclers and authors of various 'cycles'. snd chroniclers inspire court Fffits, these onwards,these A.D. onw¡ards, In century A.D. Eleventh century the Eleventh ito* the wEY,from this way, In this were legend, with mixed narrative poems, in which reality is mixed with legend, were is reality poems, which in narative poetry' epic in to appear and constitute the first monument in epic poetry. monument first the to sppear and constitute de (La Chanson Chansonde Roland (La The of Roland songof theSong all isis the of all famousof mostfamous The most which in arms of feat a arms in which Roland) a biographical chant about a feat of about chant Roland) a biographical re&rcharlemagne'srearRoland Emperor Charlemagne's of Emperor coilrmanderof the commander was the Rolandwas sacriThe Sp'rin. in guard on its way home from an expedition in Sp:ain. The sacriexpedition an from gUerd on its wsy home


8S

THE BIBLE, BIBLE THE THE TIIE QUR'AN ANDSCIENCE SCIENCE QUR'ANAND

just an fieeof of Roland Roland is is not not just an episode episodeinvented lice invented to to meet meet the the needs needs of the place story. It took place on on 15th r5th August, of the story. It took August, 778. ??g. In In actual actual fact fact itit was an &nattack attack by by Basques Basquesliving living in was in the the mountains. mountains. This This literary litersn' just legend; work is not just legend; itit has hasaa historical work is not historical basis, basis,but but no no historian historisn would take take it it literally. literally. would parallel This between the the birth birth of This parallel between of the the Bible Bible and and aa secular secular literliterature seems to correspond exactly exactly with ature seems to correspond with reality. reality. It It is is in in no no way way meant to relegate the to relegate the whole whole Biblical meant Biblical text text as we know as we know it it today today to to the store store of of mythological mythological collections, the collections, as as do do so so many many of of those those who who systematieally negate negate the the idea idea of perfecfly possible systematically of God. God. It It is is perfectly possible to to believe in in the the reality reality of of the the Creation, believe Creation, God's God's transmission transmission to to Mosesof of the the Ten Ten Commandments, commandments, Divine Moses Divine intercession intercession in human in human afrairs, e.g. e.g. at at the the time time of of Solomon. affairs, solomon. This This does doesnot not stop stop us, tbe us, at at the time, same from considering that same time, from considering that what has has been been conveyed conveyed to to gist of these the gist us is the thesefacts, facts, and and that the detail in the us the description should be be subjected subjeeted to rigorous criticism, should eritieism, the reason reason for toi this ttris being that that the element element of human participation participation in the transcriptranscription of originally originally oral traditions traditions is so so great.


llII ThE Books I300ks of of the thE The Old Testarrrent T eslalDenl Old The Old Testament is a collection of of works works of of greatly greatly differing differing Ttre severrl length and many many different different genres. They They were written written in in -several length ye&rs' of more than nine hundred years, based based languages over a period of languages traditions. Many of of these these works were corrected and comon oral traditions. in accordance accordance with with events or or special requirements, requirements, often often pleted in at periods that that were very very distant distant from from one one another' another. at of This copious beginning of flowered at the beginning literature probably flowered copious literature It century B.C. It the Eleventh century Israelite Monarchy, Monarchy, around the Eleventh the Israelite appeared among the was at this period that scribes appeared that a body of scribes whose cultivated men whose members of the royal household. household. They were cultiVL\ted writings, incompiete writings, role writing. The first incomplete limited to writing. uras not limited r6le was period. mentioned date from this period. preceding chapter, chapter, may date mentioned in the preceding these works down; there There was writing these reason for writing special reason was aa special prophe(mentioned earlier), earlier), the prophewere songs (mentioned were aa certain number of songs on and, on Commandments and, tic Moses,the Ten Commandments and Moses, Jacob and oracles of Jacob tic oracles established aa aa more general level, level, the legislative texts which established more general these the law. law. All these of the religious formation of the formation before the tradition before religious tradition throughout there throughout and there here and texts scattered here fragments scattered constitute fragments texts constitute the Testament. Old Testament. of the the Old collections of various collections the various cenTenth cenpossibly during the Tenth during the It later, possibly little later, until aa little not until was not It was 'Yahvist" text Pentateuch the of text tury B.C., that the so-called 'Yahvist'l of the Pentateuch so-called the that 8.C., tury first the first of the backbone of the backbone was form the to form was to text was This text written. This was written. 'Elohist'2 text so-called five books ascribed to Moses. Later, the so-called 'Elohist'2 text the Later, to Moses. ascribed books five 'sacerdotal'3 version. The The was so-called'Sacerdota1'3 version. the so-called alsothe and also added,and was to to be be added, text' in this this text. Yahweh in 1.1 . So named Yahweh is named God is becauseGod called because So called text' this text. in this 2.2 . So Elohim in named Elohim is named God is becauseGod So called cslled because Jerusalem' at Jerusalem. 3.B. From Temple at preachers in the Temple in the the preachers Frorn the

1


8g

THEBIBLE, THE BrBr q THE rHE QUR¡AN ANDSCIENCE SCTENCE QUnAN AND

initial Yahvist Yahvist text text deals with the dealswith the origins initial origins of of the the world world up up to to the the death of Jacob. This This text taxt comes comes from from the death of Jacob. the southern southern kingdom, kinsdom, Judah, Judah. At the the end end of of the the Ninth Ninth century At century and and in in the the middle middle of of the the Eighth century prophetic influence 8.C., the the prophetic Eighth century B.C., influenceof of Elias Elias and and Elisha Elisha took shape shape and and spread. spread. We We have took have their their books books today. today. This This is is also also pentateuch which the time of the the Elohist Elohist text text of the time of of the the Pentateuch which covers covers a& much smaller period than small'er period than the the Yahvist much Yahvist text text because becauseit it limits limits itself itself to facts relating to Abraham, Abraham, Jacob to facts relating to Jacob and and Joseph. Joseph. The The books books of of Joshua and and Judges Judges date date from from this Joshua this time. time. The Eighth Eighth century century B.C. B.c. saw The saw the the appearance appearance of of the the writerwriterprophets: Amos and Hosea in in Israel, prophets: Amos and Hosea Israel, and and Michah Michah in in Judah. Judah. rn 721 8.c., the 721 B.C., the fall fall of put an of Samaria In samaria put an end end to to the the Kingdom Kingdom of of Israel. The Kingdom Kingdom of of Judah Judah took Israel. The took over over its religious heritage. heritage. The collection collection of Proverbs dates dates from this period, The period, distinguished distinguished particular by the fusion into aa single book in yahvist and in particular book of the the Yahvist and Elohist texts of the Pentateuch; in this way the Torah was was coneonstituted. Deuteronomy Deuteronomy was written written at this time. In the second second half half of the Seventh In seventh century B.C., 8.c., the reign of of Josiah coincided coincided with with the appearance Josiah appearance of the prophet Jeremiah, Jeremiah, but his work work did not take definitive shape but until a century later. shape until Before the first first deportation to Babylon in 598 B.C., there Egg 8.c., appeared Books of of zephaniah, Zephaniah, Nahum and Habakkuk. appeared the Books Ezekiel was already prophesying during during this this first first deportation. The The fall fall of of Jerusalem Jerusalem in in E8? 587 B.c. B.C. marked the beginning of of the the second second deportation which which lasted until until 5Bg 538 B.C. The Book of of Ezekiel, Ezekiel. the last great great prophet prophet and the prophet of of exile, was not not arranged into into its its present present form form until until after after tris his aeath death by by the the scribes scribes that that were were to to become become his his spiritual spiritual inlreritors. in!1eritors. These same third version, version, the the sososame scribes scribes were were to to resume resume Genesis Genesis in in aa third 'Sacerdotal' ealled called 'Sacerdotal' version, version, for for the the section section going going from from the the CreCreation ation to to the the death death of of Jacob. Jacob. In In this this way way aa third third text text was was. to to be be inserted of the the Yahvist Yahvist and and Elohist Elohist texts texts inserted into into the the eentral central fabric fabric of of of the the Torah. Torah. We We shall shall see see later later on, on, in in the the books books written written roughly roughly two two and and four four centuries centuries earlier, earlier, an an aspect aspect of of the the intricacies intricacies of of this this third third text. text. ItIt was was at at this this time time that that the the Lamentations Lamentations appeared. appeared. on On the the order order of of cyrus, Cyrus, the the deportation deportation to to Babylon Babylon came came to to an an end end in in 538 538 B.c. B.C. The The Jews Jews returned returned to to palestine Palestine and and the the Temple Temple


T1uJ Boob Boob of of tlp Oae Old Old Ttutrlritt, TalGment Tho

09

at Jentsalem Jerusalem was was rebuilt. rebuilt. Ttre The prophets' prophets' activities activities began began again, again, at book third the resulting in in the the books books of of llaggai, Haggai, Zechariah, Zechariah, the third book of of resulting Isaiah, Malaehi, Malachi, Daniel Daniel and and Baruch Baruch (the (the last last being being in in Greek). Greek). Isaiah, The period period following following the the deportation deportation is is also also the the period period of of the the The around Books of of Wisdom: Wisdom: Proverbs Proverbs was was written written definitively definitively around 480 480 Books B.C., Job Job in in the the middle middle of of the the Fifth Fifth century century 8.C., B.C., Ecclesisstes Ecclesiastes or or 8.C., Koheleth dates from from the the Third Third century century 8.C., B.C., as do the the Song of of Koheleth Songs, Chronicles II & II, II, Ezra Ezra and Nehemiah; Nehemiah; Ecclesiasticus Ecclesiasticus or or Songp, Sirah appeared in in the the Seeond Second century century B.C.; B.C.; the Book of of Wisdom Wisdom Sirah the Book of of Maceabees Maccabees II & IIII $tere were written written one century century beand the fore Christ. Christ. The Books of of Buth, Ruth, Esther Esther and Jonah are not not easily fore true for for Tobit Tobit and Judith. Judith. All All these these dates dates datable. The same same is true datable. that there may have been been subsesubseare given on the understanding that circa one one century century before since itit was only cirea quent adaptations, since Christ that that form form was first first given given to the the writings writings of of the the Old TestaChrist For many this did not become become definitive until until one one century century ment. For after Christ. Christ. after literary monument to Thus the Old Testament appears as a literary appears as eoming of of Christianity. Christianity. the Jewish people, people, from from its origins origins to the coming The books it written, completed and revised it consists of of were written, B.C. This is in no between First centuries B.C. between the Tenth and the First composition. way aa personal history of its composition. personal point of view on the history The essential for this historical survey were taken from the essential data for SanP. Sanentry The J. P. Universalis' by J. Encyclopedia Universalist the Encyclopedia The Bible Bi.btein the droz, Saulchoir. To underprofessor at the Dominican Faculties, Faeulties, Saulchoir. droz, aa professor important to stand what the Old Testament represents, it is important Testament represents, highly retain this information, established today by highly eorrectly established information, correctly qualified qualified specialists. speeialists. possess we possess all we A Revelation in all thesewritings, but all all these is mingled mingled in Revelationis men These today is what men have seen fit to leave us. These men manipuus. leave fit seen have men today is what circumto the the circumlated according to please themselves, to please themselves,according the texts lated the texts to meet. to had stances they were in and the necessities they had to meet. they necessities the in were and stances they in found in those found with those When compared with are compared data are objective data these objective When these publication' mass for various prefaces to Bibles destined today for mass publication, today prefaces destined to Bibles various quite aa difdifin quite presented in in them one them in are presented facts are realizes that that facts one realizes the of writing the ferent way. Fundamental facts concerning the writing of the concerning facts ferent way. Fundamental the mislead which books are passed over in silence, ambiguities which mislead the ambiguities passed silenee, in over books are extent an extent to such such an reader minimalised to are minimalised facts are maintained, facts reader are are maintained, pp. 246-253. 1.1. Paris, 246'263. S,pp. Vol. 3, edition, Vol. 19?4edition, Paris, 1974


t0 10

THE BIBLE, THE IIIE BIBLE, THE QUR'AN AND SCIENCE SCIENCE QtrR'AN AND

that prethat aa false idea of false idea of reality reality is is conveyed. conveyed. A A large large number number of of prefaces or introductions introductions to the Bible faces or misrepresent reality to the Bible misrepresent reality in in this way. way. In In the (like caseof were adapted of books that were the case books that adapted several several times (like the the Pentateuch), Pentateueh), it it is is said said that details may eertsin details that certain may have have been been added added later later on. on. A passage of aa A discussion discussion of of an an unimportant unimportant passage book book is is introduced, introduced, but but crucial facts warranting warranting lengthy expocrucial facts expopassed over sitions sitions are are passed in silence. It is distressing to see over in silence. It see such such inaccurate information information on inaccurate on the Bible maintained for mass mass publication. cation. THE TORAH THE TONAII OR PENTATEUCH PENTATEUCH Torah is the Semitic name. n&me. 'Pentateuch', The Greek Greek expression, gives us The expression, which in English gives us 'Pentateuch', designates a& work in five designates five parts; Genesis, Genesis, Exodus, Exodus, Leviticus, and Deuteronomy. These were to form the five primary Deuteronomy. These Numbers and primary elements of the collection collection of thirty-nine thirty-nine volumes elements volumes that that makes makes up Testament. the Old Testament. This group of texts deals with the origins deals with origins of the world up to people into Canaan, entry of the Jewish people the entry Canaan, the land promised after their their exile in Egypt, until the death to them after Esypt, more precisely until Moses. The narration narration of these of Moses. as a gengenthese facts serves serves however as framework for for a description of eral framework of the provisions made made for for the social life life of the Jewish people, religious and social people, hence hence the name name Law or Torah. Law Christianity for Judaism and Christianity for many centuries considered considered that that the author was Moses Moses himself. Perhaps this this affirmation affirmation was basedon the fact that that God God said said to Moses Moses (Exoclus (Exodus 17, "Write based 17, 14) L4):: "write this (thg (the defeat defeat of of Amalek) as as a memorial in in a book", or or again, talking their talking of of the Exodus from from Egypt, Egypt, "Moses wrote wrote down their starting starting places" places" (Numbers 33, 2), 2), and finally "And "And Moses Moses wrote wrote this law" law" (Deuteronomy (Deuteronomy 31, 31, g). 9). From From the First First century B.c. B.C. onwards, the theory that onwards, that Moses Moses wrote wrote the pentateuch Pentateuch was upupheld; held; Flavius Josephus Josephus and Philo of of Alexandria Alexandria maintain maintain it. it. Today, Today, this this theory has been been completely completely abandoned; abandoned; everybody everybody is in agreement on this this point. point. The The New New Testament Testament nevertheless nevertheless is in ascribes Letter to to the the ascribes the authorship authorship to to Moses. Moses. paul, Paul, in in his his Letter (10, Romans quoting 5) from Romans (10, from Leviticus, affirms affirms that that .,Moses "Moses writes that the the man man who who practices practices righteousness righteousness which which is is based based writes that on the law . . ." etc. in his his Gospel Gospel (5, (5,46-47), makes Jesus Jesus on the law ..." etc. John, in 46-47), makes


TIle r........, tlu Old ThcBoob tub 01 of 1M OldTarlunnla

11 ll

you would you believed say ssy the following: "If Moses,you would believe believe believed Moses, "ff you you do me, me, for he he wrote of me. me. But if if you do not believe writings, believe his writings, you believe how will wi[ you have here an example example of believe my words?" words?" We here an We have editing, because becausethe Greek Greek word that corresponds correspondsto the original (written in Greek) (written so epi,steu,ete, so that the Evangelist Evangelist is putting Greekl is episteuete, 'that is totally wrong: an affirmation afrruetion into Jesus's Jegug'smouth mouth ,that wrong:: the following demonstrates demonstratesthis. I am am borrowing the the elements elements of this demonstration demonstration from He Father de erosalem. He de Vaux, Vaux, Head Head of the Biblical School Schoolof JJerusalem. prefaeedhis French prefaced Frâ‚Źnch translation of Genesis 1962with aa General General Genesisin 1962 Introduction to the the Pentateuch Pentateuchwhich which contained valuable argueontained valuable ments. These ran contrary to the affirmations affirmations of the Evangelists Evangelists ments. These question. Father de on on the authorship authorship of the the work in question. de Vaux rereminds us us that the "Jewish tradition which was minds followed by was followed and his Apostles" the Christ and the end end of the Apostles" was was accepted acceptedup to the person to contest Ages. The Middle Middle Ages. The only person was AbeAbecontest this theory theory was nezra Twelfth century. eentury. It It was neara in the Twelfth was in the Sixteenth Si:rteenth century the accould written the acthat noted that Moses have written Mosescould not have thst Calstadt Calstadt noted (84, author count of his own death in Deuteronomy (34, 5-12). The author ou/n 5-12). The desth Deuteronomy count quotesother critics who refuse to ascribe Mosesaa part, then who refuse ascribe to Moses then quotes the at least, of the Pentateuch. It was above all the work of Richard It least, Pentateueh. was above the Riehard Simon, father of the Oratory, Critical History of the Old Old,TestaTestathe Oratory, Cri,tical Historg af Simon, ment (Histoire critique du Vieux Testament) 1678, that underdu underVieux Testament) 1678, rnont critique repetitions, the the confusion confusion lined the repetitions, difficulties, the chronologicaldifficulties, lined the chronological The Pentateuch. of the stories and stylistic differences in the Pentateuch. The and stylistie diferences the stories was barely book caused a scandal. R. Simon's line of argument was barely argument book causeda scandal.R. Simon's line Eishteenth followed beginning of the Eighteenth followed in history books books at the beginning prooften procentury. referencesto antiquity very often the references century. At At this time, time, the had written". written". ceeded ceededfrom what "Moses "Moseshad legend was to combat combataa legend One how difficult it was difficult it easily imagine imaginehow can easily Onecan supported we have seen,supported strengthened have seen, who, as as we Jesushimself who, strengthenedby Jesus doctor, Louis XV's doctor, it Astruc, Louis It is to Jean Jean Astruc, Testament.It it in the the New New Testament. that we decisiveargument. argument. the decisive owe the we owe wri,t' originnl writthe original By publishing, on the publishing in 1753, Conieetureson 1?63,his Conjectures Gene$,s Boolt of Genesis ings to compose eomposethe the Book usedto llfosesused it appears appea,rsMoses whiehit ingswhich que dont il parait que (Conjectures originaux dont (Conjecturessur M}moires originaux les Memoires sur les placed he placed pour composer le livre de Moyse de la Genese), Genese),he composerIe s'estservi servi pour Moysds'est probably not not the the was probably the He was sources.He the plurality of sources. accenton on the the accent have the courage courageto first to have he did however however have noticed it, but he have noticed


L2 12

THE THE BIBLE, BrBLF,'THE TIIE QUR'AN AND SCIENCE SCIENCE QUn'AN AND

public an prime importance: make make public an observation observation of of prime importance: two two texts, texts, each each denoted by way in denoted by the the way in which named either which God God was was named either Yahweh Yahweh or present side Elohim, were Elohim, were present by side side by side in in Genesis. The latter latter therefore Genesis.The therefore ju:<taposedtexts. contained two two juxtaposed contained (1?80-l?8S) made texts. Eichorn Eichorn (1780-1783) msde the discovery for same discovery same for the the other other four (l?g8) four books; books; then Ilgen (1798) noticed that that one one of noticed texts isolated of the the texts isolated by Astruc, Astruc, the one one where named Elohim, is named Elohim, was God God is was itself itself divided into two. The PentaPentaliteral\y fell teuch literally teuch fell apart. apart. The Nineteenth Nineteenth century The century saw saw an even even more minute minute search sesrch into the sources. sources. In In 1854, 1854, four the four sources sources were recognised. recognised. They were the Yahvist called the Yahvist version, the Elohist called Elohist version, Deuteronomy, Deuteronorly, and the the Sacerdotal Sacerdotal version. It and possible to date them It was even even possible them:~ 1) The Yahvist plaeed in the Ninth Yahvist version was placed 1) Ninth century century (written in Jud.ah) B.C. (written B.C. Judah) was probably a little 2) The Elohist version was little more recent (written in Israel) (written 3) Deuteronomy Deuteronomy was was from from the Eighth Eighth century B.C. B.c. for for some some (E. Jacob), and from the time of Josiah (Father for others (Father Josiah for deVaux) Vaux) de 4l The The Sacerdotal Saeerdotalversion version came of exile or or 4) came from the period of the exile: exile: Sixth after the centuryB.C. Sixth century B.C. It can can be be seen seenthat the the arrangement arrangementof the It the text text of of the Pentateuch spans spansat least least three three centuries. teuch centuries. is, however, however, even The problem is, complex. In In 1941, A. Lods Lads even more complex. 1941, A. sources in singled out three sources in the Yahvist Yahvist version, four four in in the version, six in Deuteronomy, Elohist version, Deuteronomy, nine in in the Sacerdotal Sacerdotal version, "not including the additions spread out among eight eight differdiffersion, "not including ent authors" authors" writes writes Father Father de Vaux. More reeently, recently, itit has been been thought that that "many "many of of the constitutions or or laws contained in in the Pentateuch Pentateuch had parallels outside the Bible going going back much further further than the dates dates ascribed ascribed to the documents documents themselves" and that that "many "many of of the stories of of the Pentateuch presupposed presupposed a background that that was different different frsrn-4nd from-and older than-the than-the one one from from which these these documents documents were supposed supposed to to have have come". This This leads "an interest in in the formation formation of of traditions". traditions". The The leads on to "an problem that nobody nobody knows knows where where problem then appears appears so complicated that he is anymore. anymore. The multiplicity of sources sources brings'with brings' with itit numerous numerous disagreedisagreemultiplicity of ments and repetitions. repetitions. Father Father de de Vaux Vaux gives gives examples examples of of this this


Boob of oI the tllc Old Testament The Tlu Boob Teetamcnl

r3 13

overlapping kidnapoverlapping of of traditions trsditions in the case case of of the Flood, the kidnapping of ping names Egypt, disagreement of names of Joseph, Joseph, his adventures in in Egypt, relating relating to the same imporsame character, differing differing descriptions of important tant events. Thus the Pentateuch is shown to be formed from tra- . from various traditions brought less skillfully skillfully by its authors. brought together more or less The latter sometimes juxtaposed their somelatter sometimes their compilations and sometimes adapted sake of synthesis. allowed adapted the stories for for the sake synthesis. They allowed improbabilities improbabilities and disagreements to appear in the texts, however, which whieh have heve led modern man to the objective study of the sources. soureeg. As far far as as textual criticism concerned, the Pentateuch Pentateueh procriticism is concerned, vides obvious example adaptations vides what is probably the most obvious example of adaptations made by the hand of man. made made at different times in man. These These were made people, taken from oral traditions the history history of the Jewish people, traditions and generations. It texts handed handed down from It was begun from preceding generations. begun in the Tenth or Ninth rrith the Yahvist Yahvist tradition B.C. with tradition Ninth century B.C. which its very beginnings. The latter latter which took the story from its story from particular destiny to "fit sketches it back into God's it sketches Israel's fsrael's own particular God's "fit Grand Design It was was conconhumanity" (Father de de Vaux). Design for for humanity" Vaux). It tradition that that cluded cluded in the Sixth B,C. with rsith the Sacerdotal Sixth century B.C. Sacerdotaltradition 1 genealogies.' preeise mention is meticulous in its precise rnention of dates dates and genealogies. tradition Father de Vaux writes that "The few stories this tradition that writes Father de preoccupations: Sabbatical has Sabbatical has of of its own bear witness to legal preoccupations: with Noah, rest at the completion of the Creation, the alliance with purchase the alliance with circumeision, the purchase with Abraham and the circumcision, gave of the Cave Canaan". Patriarchs land in Canaan". that gave the Patriarchs Cave of Makpela that from We must bear in mind that tradition dates dates from that the Sacerdotal Saeerdotal tradition Palesthe time of the deportation to Babylon and the return return to Palesmixture of religious tine starting 638 B.C. B.C. There is therefore a mixture starting in 538 political problems. problems, and purely political sourees For For Genesis alone, the division of the Book into three sources Genesisalone, has de Vaux in the commentary firmly established: established: Father de been firmly has been passagesin the present to his translation each source source the passages for each translation lists for gee in the next scienwith modern scien1. next chapter, when confronted with shell see 1. We shall authors of tific narrative errors errors committed by authors tific data, the extent of the narrative Earth, the Sacerdotal version on the subject of the antiquity antiquity of man on Earth, his course of the Creation. They are obviously hie situation situation in time and the course texts. errors of the texts. manipulation of from manipulation errlort arising arising from


14 l{

THE TIIE BIBLE, BIBI,E, THE AND SCIENCE THE QUR'AN QUR'AN AND

text of of Genesis that rely on on them. On the evidence these data evidence of these Genesis that possible to pinpoint pinpoint the contribution it contribution made it is possible made by the various sources Bourcesto anyone any one of the chapters. ehapters. For example, in the case case of For example, the Creation, the Flood and the period that goes from from the Flood that goes to Abraham, occupying as as it does the first eleven eleven chapters of it does Genesis, we can can see alternating in the Biblical text a section Genesis,we see alternating section of the Yahvist and and aa section section of the Sacerdotal Sacerdotal texts. The Elohist Elohist present in the first eleven text is not present eleven chapters. chapters. The overlapping of Yahvist and Sacerdotal contributions is here quite clear. Sacerdotal contributions For clear. For (first five chapters), the arrangethe Creation and up to Noah (first passage alternates with ment is simple: aa Yahvist Yahvist passage with a Sacerdotal Sacerdotal passage from beginning to end passage end of the narration. nanation. For For the Flood and especially especially chapters chapters 7 and and 8 moreover, moreover, the cutting cutting of text of the text passages according aecording to its source source is narrowed down to very short passages even to aa single sentence. and even In the space sentence. In space of little little more than aa hundred lines lines of English seventeentimes. English text, the text changes changesseventeen It is from from this that the improbabilities It improbabilities and contradictions arise present-day text. (see (see Table on page when we read the present-day when page 15 for for distribution of sources) schematic distribution schematic sources) THE HISTORICAL ITISTOruCAL BOOKS THE BOOKS history of In these these books books we enter into In people, into the history of the Jewish people, (which is most from the time they came came to the Promised Land (which from likely to have been been at the end of Thirteenth century B.C.) likely of the Thirteenth to the deportation to Babylon in the Sixth century B.C. Sixth century Here stress might call the 'national 'national stress is laid upon what what one one might presented as as the fulfilment fulfilment of event' which is presented of Divine Divine word. In In narration however, rather however, historical historical accuracy has been the narration rather been aceuraey work such as the Book of brushed aside aside:: a work brushed of Joshua Joshua complies complies first first and foremost with theologieal intentions. With with theological With this this in mind, E. obvious contradiction Jacob underlines the obvious Jacob contradiction between between archaeology archaeology case of and the texts in the case of the supposed supposed destruction of of Jericho and Ay. andAy. of Judges Judges is centered The Book of centered on the defense defense of of the chosen chosen people against against surrounding enemies people enemies and on the support given to them by God. God. The Book was was adapted adapted several several times, times, as as Father Father A. great notes his with great objectivity Preamble to the LefEvre notes with Lefevre objectivity in prefaces Crampon Bible: the various prefaces in the text text and the appenappenCrampon


Ths B@b Boob of of ,rE the Olilfierrtrrrlwnt Old TaftJment Tlc

tE 15

TABLE OF OF THE THE DISTBIBUTION DISTRIBUTION OF OF THE THE YAHVIST YAHVIST AND AND TABLE SACERDOTAL TEXTS TEXTS IN IN CHAPTERS CHAPTERS 1 TO TO 11 in in GENESIS) GENESIS) SACERDOTAL The first first figure figure indieates indicates the the chapter. chapter. The The second second figure figure in in brackets brackets indicat€s indicates the the number number of of phrases, phrases, The sometimes divided divided into into two two parts parts indicated indicated by by the the letters letters aa and and b. b. sometimes Letters: Y Y indicates indicates Yahvist text text Letters: text Sacerdotal text S indicates Sacerdotal first line of of the table indicates: indicates: from Chapter Chapter Example: The fust phrase 1 to Chapter 2, phrase 4a, 4a, the text text published published in in preeenL present1, phrase text. Bibles is the Sacerdotal Sacerdotal tet(t day Bibles CluJpter Clwptcr

I1 2 5 6 6 6 7 71 7 7 77 7 77 7 7T 7 88 8I 8I 8I 88 8I 8I 9I 9s 9I 10 10 10 l0 ro 10 10 10 11 1l 11 l1

CluJpter Clwptar

phrou,c pkrfUle

tcxt uzt

2 {4 5 E 6 6 7

(da) (4a) (2e1 (26)

Y

((8) 8) (22) (22) (6) (5)

Y sS Y

7

(10) (10)

( 18) (18)

7

(1Gb) (16b) (18) (18) (22) (221 (24) (21) (2b) (2b) (8) (8) (6) (6) (184) (18a) (18b) (18b) (14) (111 (20) (20) (1) (1) (18) (18)

7I 7 77 8

(r6a) (16a) (1?) (17) (2r) (21)

pkrfUle phror,c

(1) (r) (4b) ({b} ((1) 1) ((1) 11 (9) (e) ((1) 1) (6) (6) (7) (?)

(rr1 (11)

to tn

(s2) (82)

sS sS

s S

adapted Y adapted

s S Y

(12) (12)

(2s) (23) (2a) (2a)

s S

Y

s S

Y Y

Ss

Y Y

8I

8g

8I 88 9I 9I 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 w 10 10 11 11 11 11

(6) (5)

Ss

(1 0 ) (19)

Ss Y Ss

(Lz's (12)

(nl (22)

(1?) (17) (2?) (27) (11 (28) (7) (s8) (ls1 (8) (19) (8) (241 (20) (23) (20) (s0) (211 ~~ (~) (821 (81) (32) (8r1 (e) (1) (9) (1) (82) (10) (32) (r0) way the way of the What be of there be can there illustration can simpler illustration What simpler

manipulated Scriptures? Biblical Scriptures? the Biblical manipulst€d the

Y

Y Y SS Y Y

Ss Y Y Ss Y Y Ss Y Y Ss have men have men


t0 18

THE THE BmLE, BIBLE, THE THE QUR'AN AND SCIENCE SCIENCE QUHAN AND

dices bear dices bear witness witness to to this. this. The The story story of of Ruth Ruth is is attached attached to the to the narrations contained conteined in narrations in Judges. Judges. Book of The The Book of Samuel and the Samueland two Books the two Books of of Kings Kings are are above all above all biographical collections collections concerning biographical concerning Samuel, Samuel, Saul, Saul, David, David, and and Solornon.Their Their historic Solomon. historic worth worth is is the the subject subject of of debate. debate. From From point of this point of view view E. this E. Jacob finds numerous Jacob finds numerous errors errors in it, because in it, beeause there are are sometimes sometimes two there two and and even even three three versions versions of the the same same prophets Elias, event. The The prophets also figure event. Elias, Elisha Elisha and and Isaiah Isaiah also figure here, here, mixing elements elementsof mixing of history history and and legend. legend. For For other commentators, commentators, sueh as as Father Father A. A. Lefevre, historical value of these such Lefdvre, "the historical "the these books books is fundamental." fundamental." Chronicles II & II, the Book Chronicles & II, Book of Ezra Ebra and and the Book Book of Nehemiah Nehemiah ,the Chronicler', writing have aa, single single author, called have called 'the writing in the Fourth century B.C. resumes the whole B.c. He resumes Fourth whole history history of the Creperiod, although his genealogical up to this period, genealogical tables ation up tables only go up to David. In actual fact, he he is using above above all the Book of samuel and and the Book Book of Kings, "mechanically copying them out Samuel without regard to the inconsistencies" inconsistencies" (E. Jacob), but he neverwithout theless precise facts that have adds precise theless adds archaehave been been confirmed conflrmed by archaeology. In In these these works care is taken to adapt history needs ology. history to the needs ,,sometimes writes of theology. theology. E. Jacob Jacob notes notes that writes that the author "sometimes history according to theology". "To history that King King "To explain the fact that Manasseh, who was a sacrilegious persecutor, Manasseh, persecutor, had a rong long and prosperous reign, he postulates of the King King during during prosperous postulates a conversion conversion of a stay in Assyria Assyria (Chronicles II, II, gg/tl) 33/11) although there is no mention of of this in any Biblical or non-Biblical souree". source". The Book of Ezra and the Book of of Ezra of Nehemiah have been been severely criticised criticised beeause full of of obscure obscure points, and because because the period period because they are full they deal with (the (the Fourth Fourth century century B.c.) B.C.) is itself itself not not very very well well deal with known, there being few few non-Biblical non-Biblical documents documents from from it. it. The Books of of robit, Tobit, Judith Judith and Esther Esther are classed classed among among the the Historical In them very very big big liberties liberties are are taken taken w.ith with Historical Books. Books. rn history: history: proper proper names names are changed, changed, eharacters characters and and events events are are invented, all all for for the the best best of of religious religious reasons. reasons. They They are are in in fact fact stories designed designed to to serve aa moral moral end, end, peppered peppered with with historical historical improbabilities improbabilities and and inaccuracies. inaccuracies. The Books of Maecabees Maccabees are are of of quite quite aa different different order. order. They They Books of provide provide aa version version of of events events that that took took place place in in the the Second Second century century B.c. as exact exact aa record record of of the the history history of of this this period period as as B.C. which which is is as


The Books Boob of of tthe Old Tectament TeaftJment E Old Tho

17 17

may be be found. found. ItIt is for for this this reason reason that that they they constitute constitute accounts accounts may of great great value. value. of collection of of books books under under the heading heading 'historical' 'historical' is therethereThe collection disparate. History is treated treated in both both a scientific scientific and and a fore highly disparate. whimsical fashion. fashion. whimsical

THE THE PROPHETIC PNOPHETIC BOOKS Under this this heading we find the preachings of of various prophets Under who in in the the Old Testament Testament have been been classed classed separately from from the first first great great prophets such as Moses, Moses, Samuel, Samuel, Elias Elias and Elisha, whose teachings are referued referred to in in other other books. books. The prophetic prophetic books cover the period period from from the Eiehth Eighth to the Second century B.C. Secondcentury In the Eighth Eighth century 8.C., B.C., there were the books books of Amos, Amos, In his for these Hosea, Isaiah and Michah. The first of these is famous for first Hosea, religious for condemnation of social inj ustice, the second for his religious second injustice, of (for being forced foreed corruption leads him to bodily suffering (for corruption which leads for to marry a sacred harlot of a pagan cult), like God suffering for God cult), saered harlot marry love. granting them His love. people but still the degradation of His people still granting political history: Isaiah is a figure of political consulted by kings history: he is consulted and dominates events; he is the prophet of grandeur. In addition he dominates events; published by his disciples disciples to his personal personal works, his oracles oracles are published protests iniquities' right up until the Third century B.C.: protests against iniquities, Third right until proclamations of liberation at the time fear of God's God's judgement, proclamations It is Palestine. It of exile and later on the return return of the Jews Jews to Palestine. later that in the case of the second and third third Isaiah, the procertain and second case certain are paralleled phetic intention is paralleled by political considerations considerations that are intention a as clear as daylight. The preaching of Michah, a contemporary of Michah, as as Isaiah, follows the same general ideas. ideas. same fsaiah, follows In the Seventh Zephanish, Jeremiah, Nahum 8.C., Zephaniah, Seventh century B.C., preachings. and Habakkuk distinguished themselves and Habakhuk distinguished themselves by their preachings. Baruch by Baruch Jeremiah became a \rvere martyr. His oracles were collected by collected oracles Jeremiah became a martyr. His who is also perhaps the author of Lamentations. Lamentations' perhaps sf author the who is also the Sixth of the Sixth the beginning begfnning of The at the Babylon at in Babylon period of exile in of exile The period prophetic Ezekiel activity. century B.C. gave birth to intense prophetic activity. Ezekiel gsve intense birth to century B.C. inspiring brothers" inspiring his brothers, figures of his consoler of the consoler as the importantly as figures importantly of Book Obsdish The are famous. The Book of Obadiah hope among them. His visions hope among them. IIis visions &re famous. deals with Jerusalem. the misery of a conquered Jerusalem. deals with the misery of a conquered


18 18

THE THEBIBLE, BIBLE,THE THEQUR'AN ANDSCIENCE SCIENCE QUR'ANAND

After the the exile, exile,which After whieh came cameto to an an end prophetic endin in 538 bggB.C., 8.c., prophetic activity resumed resumedwith activity with Haggai Haggai and and Zechariah Zechariah who who urged the re¡ urged the reeonstruction of of the the Temple. Temple. When construction When itit was was completed, completed,writings writings goingunder underthe thename nameof going of Malachi Malachiappeared. appeared.They They contain containvarious various oraclesof of aaspiritual spiritual nature. oracles nature. wonders why one wonders why the One the Book Book of of Jonah Jonah is is included included in proin the the prophetic books bookswhen when the the Old phetic old Testament Testament does give it doesnot not give it any any real real text to to speak speakof. of. Jonah Jonah is text is aa story story from from which which one p'incipll fact one principle fact emerges:the necessarysubmission the necessary emerges: submissionto to Divine Divine Will. will. Daniel was was written written in in three Daniel three languages languages (Hebrew, (Hebrew, Aramaic Aramaic and and ,disconGreek). According According to to Christian Greek). is Christian commentators, eommentators,it it is aa 'disconcerting'Apocalypse from an certing' Apocalypse from an historical historical point point of of view. view. It probIt is is probably aa work work from from the the Maccabaean Maceabaeanperiod, ably century period, Second seconrl century B.C. B.c. Its author author wished wished to to maintain maintain the Its the th0 faith faith of his his countrymen, countrymen, at at the 'abomina,tion time of of the the 'abomination time of desolation', convincing them that desolation',by by convincing them that the moment moment of deliverance deliverance was the was at hand. hand. (E. Jacob) Jacobi THE BOOKS OF POETRY THE POETRY AND AND WISDOM WISDOM These form collections collectionsof unquestionable These unquestionableliterary literary unity. psalms, the greatest Foremost among among them are the Psalms, Foremost greatest monument monument poetry. A to Hebrew poetry. A large number were composed composed by David and the others others by priests the priests and levites. levites. Their Their themes themes are praises, praises, supsupplications meditations, and they served served a liturgical liturgical function. plications and meditations, The book book of of Job, Job, the book book of of wisdom and piety piety pal' excellence, po,refrcellenne, probably dates probably dates from from 400-b00 400-500 B.C. The The author author of of 'Lamentations' 'Lamentations' on the fall fall of of Jerusalem Jerusalem at at the the beginning of of the sixth Sixth century B.c. B.C. may may well well be be Jeremiah. Jeremiah. we We must must once once again again mention mention the the song Song of of songs, Songs, allegorical allegorical chants mostly about chants mostly about Divine Divine love, love, the the Book Book of of proverbs, Proverbs, aa colleccollection tion of of the the words words of of Solomon Solomon and and other other wise wise men men of of the the court, court, and and Ecclesiastes Ecclesiastes or or Koheleth, Koheleth, where where earthly earthly happiness happiness and and wiswisdom are debated. debated. dom are

we We have, have, therefore, therefore, aa collection collection of of works works with with highly highly disparate disparate contents contents written written over over at at least least seven seven centuries, centuries, using using extremely extremely varied varied sourees sources before before being being amalgamated amalgamated inside inside aa single single work. work. was How How was this this collection collection able, able, over over the the centuries, centuries, to to constitute constitute an an


The Boola Boobof01 thc theOld Old Tectamrlzfi Testament Tlw

le19

inseparable whole whole and-with and-with aa few few variations variations according accordingtoto comcominseparable munity-become the the book book containing containing the the Judeo-christian Judeo-Christian ReveRevelnooity-uecome lation? This book book was was called called inin Greek Greek the the 'canon' 'canon' because because of of the the ? This lation idea of of intangibilitY intangibility itit eonveYs. conveys. idea not date date from from the the Christisn Christian period, period, but but The smalgam amalgam does does not The from Judaism Judaism itself, itself, probably probably with with aa primary primary stage stage in in the the SevSevfrom enth century century B.C. B.C. before before later later books books were were added added to to those those already already enth accepted. ItIt is is to to be be noted noted however however that that the the first first five five books, books, formformaccepted. pride given of been ing the Torah or Pentateuch, have always been given pride of always have Pentateuch, or Torah ihe ing place. Once Once the the proclamations proclamations of of the the prophets prophets (the (the prediction prediction of of plice. chastisement commensurate commensurate with with misdemeanour) misdemeanour) had had been been fulfulaa chastisement filled, there there was was no no difficulty difficulty in in adding adding their their texts texts to to the the books books filled, that had had already already been been admitted. The same same was was true true for for the the that Second By the prophets. assurances of hope these prophets. By Second given these by hope of assurances century 8.C., B.C., the the 'Canon' 'Canon' of the prophets prophets had been been formed. formed. century funcliturgieal their of Other books, e.g. Psalms, account their liturgical funcon account Psalms, e.g. other books, Lamas such writings, tion, were integrated along with further such as Lamfurther with along tion, were entations, Book of Job. Job' Wisdom and the Book Book of Wisdom the Book entations, the been has been Christianity, which was initially Judeo-Christianity, has Judeo-Christianity, was initially Christianity, authors, on-by studied-as we shall see later on-by modern authors, carefully see carefully studied-as we under was transformed under such it was Before it Dani6lou. Before as Cardinal Cardinal Danielou. such as Old the Paul's influence, Christianity accepted the heritage of the Old accepted Paul's influence, Christianity adthe Gospels Testament without difficulty. The authors of the Gospels adauthors The Testament without difficulty. 'purge' has been has a hered very strictly to the latter, but whereas a 'purge' been whereas hered very strictly to the latter, 'Apoct'ypha', the same the same made the 'Apocrypha', out the ruling out by ruling Gospelsby of the the Gospels made of Testament. old the for selection has not been deemed necessary for the Old Testament. selection has not been deemed necessary accepted' been accepted. Everything, has been everything, has nearly everything, or nearly Everything, or disparate this disparate of this aspectsof Who any aspects dispute any dared dispute have dared would have who would at the West at Ages-in the West amalgam Middle Ages-in the Middle of the end of the end before the amalgam before end the From nobody.From the end least? almost nobody. or almost nobody,or answer isis nobody, The answer least? The or oneor times,one moderntimes, of modern of beginning of the beginning to the up to Agesup Middle Ages of the the Middle the seen, already have already seen, the two we have as we but, as appear; but, to appear; beganto critics began two critics own their own having their Church inin having succeeded always succeeded have always Authorities have Church Authorities textual of genuine body way. doubtaagenuine body of textual without doubt thereisiswithout Nowadays,there way.Nowadays, many devotedmany havedevoted criticism, specialistshave ecclesiasticspecialists evenifif ecclesiastic but even crilicism, but they points, detailedpoints, they of detailed of multitude of to examining examiningaamultitude effortsto of their their efforts euphemistithey euphemistiwhat they into what have gotoo too deeply deeptyinto to go not to preferred not havepreferred them 'difficulties'.They studythem disposedtoto study seemdisposed cally hardly seem Theyhardly call'difficulties'. callycall paralestablishparalwellestablish maywell inin the Theymay knowledge.They ofmodern modernknowledge. light of ttrelight


to

THE AND THEBIBLE, BIBLE,THE THEQUR'AN ANDSCIENCE SCIENCE QUR'AN

lelswith with history-principally history-principally when leis whenhistory history and and Biblical Biblical narranarration appear appearto to be bein in agreemeJ1lt--but tion far they have agreement-but so so far they havenot not comcommitted themselves themselvesto to be beaa frank mitted frank and andthorough thoroughcomparison comparisonwith with scientificideas. ideas.They Theyrealize reslizethat scientific that this this would wouldlead peopleto leadpeople to concon'testnotions notionsabout aboutthe thetruth truth of .test of Judeo-Christian Judeo-christianScriptures, scripto"*r, which which haveso sofar far remained remainedundisputed. have undisputed.


lll III

The Otd Old festarnent T eslaDlenl and and fhe Sc:iEnf:e. Scierrce. Find,uls Findings Few of of the subiects subjects dealt within within the Old Testament, and Few likewise the the Gospels, Gospels, give give rise rise to to a confrontation confrontation with with the the data likewise beoccur does of modern knowledge. knowledge. When an incompatibility incompatibility does of on extremely it is Biblical text text and science, science, however, however, it tween the Biblical tween important points. important historical As seen in the preceding chapter, historical have already seen we have As we of quoted several have quoted several of errors were found in the Bible and we have errors were The exegesis. experts in exegesis. The these and Christian christian experts pinpointed by Jewish Jewish and thesepinpointed importance the importance latter tendency to minimize the had aa tendency have naturally had latter have to sacred quite natural for aa sacred author to of find it quite They find errors. They of such such errors. to write and theologlyand with theology present write accordaneewith present historical fact in accordance case the case on' in the further on, seefurther history shall see We shall needs.We certain needs. to suit certain iri*to.y to taken liberties taken the same same liberties of Matthew, the to Matthew, according to the Gospel Gospel according of the admaking adat making aimed at with commentariesaimed same commentaries the same reality and and the with reality and logical it. A to it. A logical and missible in contradiction contradiction to is in what is reality what as reality missible as procedure. this procedure. objective with this be content content with cannot be mind cannot objective mind number large number out aa large possihteto single out From to single is possible it is angle,it logical angle, i-to* aa logical different of existenceof different The existence of improbabilities. The and improbabilities. contradictionsand of contradictions description of aa description the writing writing of sources in the usedin beenused havebeen might have that might soureesthat the same same of the presentationsof may different presentations two different of two origin of at the the origin beat may be the to additions to the later additions fact. adaptations,later ditr*rent adaptations, not all; different This isis not fact. This "it; included then posteriori,then included text addedaa posteriori, commentariesadded thecommentaries likethe itself, like text itself, perare permade-these are was made-these in copy was new copy whe$ aa new on wheJ} later on text later the text in the very and criticism and very fectly textual criticism in textual specialistsin by specialists recognizedby fectly recognized Pentateuch the Pentateuch of the caseof thecase frankly In the of them. them.In someof bysome underlinedby ir"ni.tv underlined gl 21


22 22

THE THEBIBLE, BIBLq THE THEQUR'AN ANDSCIENCE SCIENCE QUN'ANAND

alone,for for example, example,Father Father de alone, deVaux vaux in in the the General Introduction GeneralIntroduction precedinghis histranslation translationof (pages13 ofGenesis preceding Genesis(pages lB and and14), 14),has hasdrawn drawn attention to to numerous numerous disagreements. disagreements.We attention quote them We shall shall not not quote them here since since we quoting several we shall shall be be quoting here severalof of them them later later on on in in this this general impression study. The The general impression one gains isis that study. one gains that one one must must not not follow the thetext text to to the the letter. letter. follow Here is is aa very very typical typical example: example: Here (6, 3), In Genesis just before Genesis(6, B), God In God decides decidesjust before the Flood hencethe Flood heneeforth to limit man's to limit man's lifespan lifespan to forth to one one hundred hundred and years, and twenty twenty years, his days ". . . his daysshall shall be be aa hundred hundred and "... and twenty years". Further twenty years". Further on on however,we we note note in (ll, 10-32) in Genesis however, Genesis(11, r0$z) that that the the ten ten descendants descendants of Noah Noah had had lifespans lifespans that of that range range from from 148 years (see l4g to (see to 600 600 years table in in this this chapter chapter showing showing Noah's table to AbraNoah's descendants descendantsdown down to Abraham). The The contradiction contradiction between ham). between these passagesis these two two passages quite is quite obviouq.The The explanation explanation is elementary. obvious.. elementary. The passage (GeneThe first passage (Genesis 6, 6, 3) is aa Yahvist text, probably probably dating as sis as we we have have already already seenfrom the the Tenth century B.C. seen passage in Genesis B.c. The passage The second second Genesis (11, 10-32) 10-3U) is aa much much more more recent (11, recent text (Sixth century century B.C.) B.C.) from the Sacerdotal Saeerdotal version. version. This version is at the origin of these from origitt if th"** genealogies,which are as as precise genealogies, precise in their their information on on lifelifespans as as they are improbable improbable when spans en ?nusse. masse. when taken en It is in Genesis It Genesis that we find find the most most evident evident incompatibilities with with modern modern science. science. These These coneern concern three essential essential points: 1) 1) the Creation Creation of of the world and its stages; stages; 2l 2) the date of of the creation Creation of of the world ancl and the date of of man's man's appearance appearance on earth; earth; 3) 3) the the description of of the the Flood. Flood. THE THE CNEATION CREATION OF OF THE THE WORLD WORLD ,.starts As As Father Father de de Vaux Vaux points points out, out, Genesis Genesis "starts with with two two juxta_ juxtaposed posed descriptions descriptions of of the the creation'.1. Creation'!. when When examining examining them them from from the the point point of of view view of of their their eompatibility compatibility with with modern modern scientifie scientific data, must look look at at each each one one separately. separately. data, we we must First First Description Description of of the the Crcatimr Creation The The first first description description occupies occupies the the first first chapter chapter and and the the ver.y very first of the the second second chapter. chapter. ItIt isis aa masterpieee masterpiece of of inaecuinaccufirst verses verses of racy racy from from aa scientific scientific point point of of view. view. ItIt must must be be examined examined one one


The OldTetwrcnt Old Tatornentud tJfId Sctercc Science Thc

23

paragraph atat aa time. time. The The text text repnoduced reproduced here here isis from from the the BeReparsgmph l vised $tandard Standard Version Version of of the the Bible.' Bible. vised Chapter1, 1,verges verses|1&21 & 2: Chapter .,In "Inihe the beginning beginning God God ereated created the the heavens heavens and and the the earth. earth. The The was earth *"" was without without form form and and void, void, and and darkness darkness was upon upon the the earth face of of the the deep; deep; and and the the spirit Spirit of of God God was was moving moving over over the the faee face fece ofthe the waters." waters." of is quite quite possible possible to to admit admit that that before before the the Creation Creation of of the the ItIt is covwas it know we as Earth, what was to become the Universe as we know it was covUniverse the to become was what Earth, ered in in darkness. darkness. To To mention mention the the existence existence of of water water at at this this period period ered in see shall We is however quite simply pure imagination. We shall see in the the pure imagination. quite simply is however the at that indication every third part of this book how there is every indication that at the is there how part book tttir of ifti"a initial stage stage of of the formation formation of of the the universe a gaseous gaseous m&ss mass initial it. existed. It is an error to water in it. in place water to error an It is existed. Verses 33 to to 5: 5: Verses 'Lâ&#x201A;Źt "And God said, 'Let there be light', light', and there was light' light. And And said, God "And light the good; separated God saw that light God separated light God and was light the that God saw he darkness he from light Day, and the darkness called the light God called darkness. God the darkness. from the one was and there was morning, one called Night. And there was evening ealled Night. day." day." complex The universe is the result of complex circulating in the Universe lish,t circulating The light third in the stars. We shall come back to them in the third reactions come reaction* itt ttt* accordhowever, part of this work. At this stage in the Creation, however, accordthe Creation, stage of this work. 'lights' of the The 'lights' formed. The ing of the were not yet formed. the stars stars were Bible, the to the the Bible, ing to they when 14, verse firmament are not mentioned in Genesis until verse 14, when they until in Genesis mentioned not firmament are the from day the separate were created on the Fourth day, "to separate the day from the day, "to the Fourth on were created is accurate' which of night", "to give light upon earth"; all of which is accurate. all give earth"; upon light night", "to first (lieht) on the first on the result (light) It the result to mention mention the however, to illogieal, however, Itlsis illogical, later' days three created three days later. day, when the cause of this light was created was light this day, when the cause of placedon on is placed morning is and morning The of evening evening and existenceof the existence that the fact that The fact of existence the the first day is moreover, purely imaginary; the existence of purely imaginary; the first day is moreover, conis only day a single evening and morning as elements of a single day is only conof evening and morning as elements the underthe rotation under its rotation and its after ceivable earth and of the theearth creationof thecreation after the ceivabl,e light of its own star, the Sun! light of its own star, the Sun ! -verses -verses 66to to88 'Let there the of the midst of ,,AndGod the midst in the firmament in "And beaafirmament therebe said,'Let Gods2.id, God And waters'' the from waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.' And God the waters waters, and let it separate Society' Bible Society, Foreign Bible and Foreign 1.l--prU. Pub. W. British and for the the British Sonsfor nl. Collins Collins&& Sons W. M. 1952. 1952.


,U

THE THE BIBLE, BIBT.R,THE TIIE QUR'AN AND SCIENCE SCIENCE QUR'AN AND

madethe the firmament firmament and made and separated separatedthe the waters waters which whieh were were under under the firmament ftrmament from from the the waters the which were above the firmament. waters which were above the firmament. And itit was wasso. so.And And God And calledthe Godcalled the firmament firmament Heaven. Heaven.And And there there was evening evening and and there there was was morning, a second day." was morning, a second day." The myth myth of of the the waters The waters is is continued continued here here with with their their separation separation into two layers by by aa firmament into two layers firmament that that in in the the description description of of the the Flood allows allows the the waters waters above passthrough Flood aboveto to pass through and and flow iiow onto onto the the earth. This This image image of of the earth. the division division of of the the waters waters into into two two masses masses is scientifically unacceptable. is scientifically unacceptable. -verses 9I to to 13 13 -verses 'Lâ&#x201A;Źt the "And God God said, said, 'Let "And the waters waters under under the the heavens gathered heavens be be gathered together into place,and into one one place, and let together the dry land appear.' let the dry land appear., And it it Was was so.God Godcalled calledthe the dry dry land land Earth, so. the waters that were Earth, and and the were gathered together together he he called called Seas. ered seas. And And God God saw saw that it was good. And was good. Antl 'r-Et God said, ssid, 'Let earth put forth God the earth vegetation, plants yielding forth vegetation, yielding seed,and and fruit fruit trees trees bearing fruit seed, fruit in which is their their seed, ***d, each each according to its kind upon the earth.' And it according it was was so. so. The earth earth brought forth forth vegetation, vegetation, plants yielding yielding seed seed according to to their their kinds' and trees trees bearing fruit own kinds, their seed, each fruit in which is their seed, each aecording: to its kind. And according God that itit was good. good. And And there there God saw that was evening evening and there was morning, was morning, a third third day." day." ?he fact that The that continents emerged emerged at the period in in the earth's earth's history, history, when itit was still still covered covered with with water, is quite acceptable acceptable scientifically. IVhat scientifically. What is totauy totally untenabre untenable is that that a highly highly organized organized vegetable vegetable kingdom with with reproduction reproduction by by seed seed could could have have apappeared peared before before the existence existence of of the sun (in (in Genesis Genesis itit does does not not appear appear until until the fourth fourth day), day), and likewise likewise the the establishment establishment of of alternating alternating nights nights and days. days. -verses -verses 14 14 to to 19 "And "And God God said, said, 'Let 'Let there there be be rights lights in in the the firmaments firmaments of of the the heavens to separate the day from heavens to separate the day from tight; :night; and and let let them them be be for for signs signs and and for for seasons seasons and and for for days days and and years, years, and and let let them them be be lights lights in in the the firmament firmament of of the the heavens heavens to to give give light light upon upon the the earth.' earth.' And And itit was was so. so. And And God God made made the the two two great great lights, lights, the the greater light rule to the greater light to rule the day, day, and and the the lesser lesser light light to to rule rule the the night; night; tre ite made made the the stars stars also. also. And And God God set set them them in in the the fir'mament firmament of of the heavens give to the heavens to give light light upon upon earth, earth, to to rule rule ovei. over the the day day and and over over the the night, night, and and to to separate separate the the light light from from the the dar.kness. darkness. And And


tlu OlitTrrrtcrlrlntonitSdcte

It

God ssw saw thst that itit was was good. good. And And there there was was evening evening and and there there was was God fourth daY." day!' morning, aa fourth morning, Here the the Bibtical Biblical author's author's description description is is acceptable. acceptable. The The only only Here at this this pagssge passage is is the the lnsition position itit occu' occucriticism one one could could level level at criticism the description description as as aa whole. whole. Earth Earth and and Moon Moon emanated, emanated, as as pies in in the pies place their original original Btar, star, the the Sun' Sun. To To place the the creation creation we know, know, from from their ie of the the Sun Sun and and Moon Moon after after the the creation creation of of the the Earth Earth is is contrary contrary of to the the most most ftrmly firmly estsblished established ideas ideas on on the the formation formation of of tlre the to elements of of the the Solrr Solar SYstem. System. elements -verses 20 to to 80 30 -verses 'Iret God said, bring forth forth swarms swarms of of living living "And "Aud God said, 'Let the waters bring firmament the seross and birds above earth across creatures, esrth the above fly let birds creatures, of the heavens.' heavens.' So So God God created created the great sea sea monsters monsters and every of waters swarm, the that moves, with swarm, 8c' acliving creature which with moves, Iiving creature that to its according bird their kinds, and every winged bird according cording to winged every their kinds, and eording kind. And God God saw saw that itit was was good. good. And God God blessed blessed them them saysay'Be fruitful and seas,and multiply and waters in the seas, ing, 'Be and fill the waters and multiply fruitful and there and was evening the earth.' there was evening and there let birds multiply on And there Uirds multiply on . was day." fifth day." morning, aa fifth was morning, which are unacceptable. are unacceptable. This passage contains assertions which T|1is passagecontains assertions ap' the apkingdom begpn to Genesis, the animal kingdom began with the According animal the According Genegis, Biblicsl The winged birds. of the sea and winged birds. The Biblical pearance of creatures and the ses peerance creatures we day-as we the next day-as description not until the was not us that it was deseriptioninforms us popuwas earth the the following verses-that the earth itself was popushall see in verses-that shall see the lated animals. latedby by animals. this but this the sea, sea,but from the It life came camefrom of life the origins origins of that the is certain It is eerteinthat book. part this of third the third part of this book. question with until until the dealt with questionwill be dealt not be will not the animal animal by the it were, were' by as it From was colonized, colonized,as the earth earth was sea,the ttre sea, F"o* the the earth, of surface the It is from animals living on the surface of the earth, kingdom. kingdom. It is from animals living on the in lived reptile which and in particular from one species of reptile which lived in the of *t d in particular from one species Numerous originated. Second the birds birds originated. Numerous is thought thought the that itit is era, that secondera, this dedemakethis speciesmake both species biological to both commonto charaeteristicscommon biologicalcharacteristics menhowever not are not however menduction earth are the earth of the beastsof possible.The The beasts ductionpossible. of appearanceof the appearance after the tioned in Genesis; Genesis;after day in sixth day the sixth ut tit the tioneduntil after earth the of the earth after beastsof the beasts appearance, of appearance, order of This order birds. This the birds. birds, acceptable. nottherefore thereforeacceptable. birds,isisnot -verses -verses 24 31 to31 24to 'I-â&#x201A;Źtthe ,.AndGod &ccreaturesacliving creatures forth living "And bring forth earthbring theearth said,'Let Godsaid, of beasts and things cording to their kinds: cattle and creeping things and beasts of creeping and cording to their kinds: cattle


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THE TIIE BIBLE, BIBI.F,|,THE THEQUR'AN ANDSCIENCE SCIENGE QI'N'ANAND

the earth earttr according accordlng to to their their kinds.' the kindg.' And And itit was wasso. so.And And God Godmade made the beasts beasts of of the the earth earth according according to the and the to their their kinds kinds and the cattle catfle according to to their their kinds, kinds, and according and everything everything that that creeps ereeps upon upon the the ground according eecordins to to its its kind. kind. And ground saw that it was good." And God God saw that it was good." 'Lâ&#x201A;Źt us Godsaid, said, 'Let "Then God "Then our likeusmake make man man in in our our image, image, after afterour likeness; and and let let them them have have dominion (sic) over the fish of dominion (sic) ness; over the fish of the the sea, sea, and over over the the birds birds of of the the air, and air, and and over over the the cattle, catile, and and over over all all the the earth and and over over every every creeping creeping thing earth thins that that creeps creeps upon upon the the earth". earth". Godcreated created man "so God man in in his "So his own own image, image, in in the the image image of of God he God he created him; male and female he hecreated created him; male and female createdthem." them." .Be fruitful blessedthem, God blessed them, and "And God and God "And God said said to to them, them, 'Be fruitful and and multiplS and fill the earth and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue subdue it; it; and and have have dominion dominion over the the fish fish of of the the sea sea and and over over over the the birds birds of of the the air air and and over over living every thing that moves moves upon said, every living thing that upon the the earth.' earth.' And God God said, 'Behold, have given you 'Behold, I have given every plant yielding seed seedwhich is is upon upon the face fsce of the earth, and every tree with the with seed seed in its fruit; you fruit; you shall have them for for food. And to every beast beast of the earth, and and to to every bird bird of the air, and to everything every everythins that that creeps creeps on on the the earth, earth, everything that that has the breath breath of life, everything life, I have given siven every green plant for food." And it it was so. plant for so. And God God saw everything everything that that he he had made, made, and behold, good. And there was i! was very good. had behold, it *"J evening evening and and there was morning, morning, a sixth day." sixth day." This This is is the description of of the culmination culmination of of the creation. Creation. The The author author lists lists all all the living living creatures not rnentioned mentioned before before and and describes describes the the various kinds of of food for for man and beast. beast. As As we have seen, seen, the enor error was to to place the appearance appearance of of beasts beasts of of the the earth earth after after that that of of the the birds. birds. Man's Man's *pp""rrnce appearance is is however however correctly correctly situated situated after after the the other other species species of of living living things. things. The The Cescription description of of the the creation Creation finishes finishes in in the the first first three three verses verses of of Chapter Chapter p: 2: "Thus the heavens heavens and and the the earth earth were were finished, finished, and and all all the the "Thus the host host (sic) (sic) of of them. them. And And on on the the seventh seventh day day God God finished finished his his work work which which he he had had done, done, and and he he rested rested on on the the seventh seventh day day from from all all his his work work which which he he had had done. done. so So God God blessed blessed the the seventh seventh day day and and hallowed God rested rested from from all all his his work work which which he he hallowed it, it, because because on on itit God had had done done in in creation; creation; These are the the generations generations of of the the heavens heavens and and the the ear.ilr earth rvhen when These are they were created." they were created." This This description description of of the the seventh seventh day day calls calls for for some some comment. comment.


?I'h.OldTlrrtomlrln crdiGiancc

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Firstly the the mesning meaning of of certain certain words. words. fire The text text isis tsken taken from from Firstty the Bevised Revised Stendard Standard Version Version of of the the Bible Bible mentioned mentioned above. above. The The the in all all probability, probability, the the multitude multitude of of bebeword trosf, 'host' sig1nifiee signifies here, here, in word ings created. created. Ag As for for the the expression expression 'he 'he rested', rested', itit isis aa manner manner of of ings translating the the Hebrew Hebrew word word 'shabbath', 'shabbath', from from which which the the Jewish Jewish translsUng day for for reet rest is is derived, derived, hence hence the the expression expression in in English English 'sabbath'. 'sabbath'. day is quite quite clear clear that that the the 'rest' 'rest' that that C'od God is is said said to to have have taken taken ItIt is after his his six six days' days' work work is is aa legend. legend. There There is is nevertheless nevertheless &n an exexafter for this. this. We We must must bear bear in in mind mind that that the the description description of of planation for planation the creation creation examined examined here here is is tsken taken from from the the so-called so-called Sacerdotal the version, written written by by priests priests and and scribes who who were were the the spiritual spiritual veruio& successors of of Ezekiel, Ezekiel, the the prophet prophet of of the the exile exile to Babylon Babylon writing writing suecessors in the the Sixth Sixth century century B.C. We We have already already seen seen how how the the priests priests in remodelled and of took the Yahvist Elohist of Genesis Genesis versions Elohist and Yahvist the took them after after their their own own fashion fashion in in accordanee accordance with with their their o\iln own preprethem 'legalist' charthe that occupations. Father Vaux written that 'legalist' has written de Vaux Father occupations. of this outline of acter writings was very very essential. An outline this has essentisl. An of these writings acter of already been given above. given above. been already cenwritten several cenWhereas text of the Creation, written Yahvist text Whereas the Yahvist God's mention turies before the Sacerdotal text, makes no mention of God's turies before sabbath, after the fatigue fatigue of aa week's labor, the authors of sabbath, taken after description. They divide the Sacerdotal text bring it their description. it into their bring the sacerdotal precise indication indication of the latter into separate days, with the very precise with days, the latter into the days of the week. They build it around the sabbatic day of it week. the days out pointing faithful rest which they have to justify to the faithful by pointing out have rest iustify practical this to that God was the first to respect it. Subsequent to this practical it. Subseguent respect thst God wss the first to log,ical an apparently apparently logical has an necessity, follows has that follows description that the description necessity, the qualify the permit to us religious order, but in fact scientific data permit us to qualify the data scientific in fact but religious order, latter as being of a whimsical nature. nature. whimsical latter as being of a the by the as seen seenby phasesof Creation' as The the Creation, of the successivephases that successive idea that The idea religious people to incite people to religious Sacerdotal to incite desire to in their their desire authors in Sacerdotal authors one of one space of the space into the observation, compressed into have been been compressed could have observation, could point of a from a scientific scientific point of week defended from be defended cannot be that cannot one that is one week is the of the formation that are perfectly aware that the formation of the view. Today we view. Today we are perfectly aware very for very lasted for that lasted Universe placein stagesthat in stages took place Earth took the E'arth and the universe and shall present work, we part of the present work, we shall long of the (In the third part periods. (In the third long periods. data at the the Qur'anic look at to look examine this cometo Qur'anic data questionwhen we come when we this question o*itt" close to a came description came to a close concerning the description Even ifif the the Creation). Cneation). Even concernins the seventh the seventh mentioning the on without mentioning day, without sixth day, the sixth of the *veniog of the evening on tile


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TIrEBIBLE, BIBLF.,THE THE AN AND rEE QUIr ANDSCIENCE SGXB{CE QIIRAITI

'sabbath'when dan the the 'sabbath' whenGod Godisis said day, rested, ssid to to have h^Bve rested,and snd even evenif, if, asin in the the Qur"anie description,we perrnittodto \re'wgne as were permitted Qurhnic description, ttlink that to think thrt they were w'erein in fact fact undefined periodsrather undefinedperiods they rather than than actual actu*l days, day+ the the Sacerdotaldescription description would would still Sacerdotal stiu not not be be any any more morâ&#x201A;Ź acceptable. rcceptable. Thesuccession sueeession of episodes episodesitit contains containsis of The is an anabsolute absolutecontradiction contradiction with elementary elementaryscientific scientificknowledge. with knowledge. It may may be beseen seentherefore therefore that It that the the Sacerdotal Saeerdotaldescription description of of the the creation stands standsout out as asan an imaginative imaginativeand Creation andingenious ingeniousfabrication. fabricafion. purposewas Its purpose guite different was quite different from Its from that that of of making making the the truth truth known. known. SecordDewvipfu Second Description The second descriptionof of the The second description the Creation creation in Genesis Genesisfollows follows immediately upon the first first without comment mediately upon the cornmentor transitional paspassage.It It does provokethe doesnot not provoke the same sage. sameobjections. objections. we must must remember rememberthat this description We description is roughly roughly three three cencenturies older older and and is very short. short. It more space It allows_ allows.more spaceto the the creation ereation of m'an man and and earthly paradise paradise than to¡the to'the creation creation of the the Earth and Heavens. Heavens.It It mentions mentions this very briefly (Chapter and (chapter 2, E, 4b-7): 4biTl z "rn the day tha't tha,t Yahweh Yahweh God "In God made made the earth and and the heavens, heavens, when field was when no no plant plant of the field was yet in the earth no herb of the esrth and and no field field had had yet yet sprung up-for up-for yahweh Yahweh God God had had not caused caused it it to rain upon upon the earth, earth, and and there there was was no no man man to till till the ground; ground; bu't but a flood flood went up from earth and and wstered watered the whole whole face face of of the ground-then ground-then Yahweh Yahweh God God formed'man formed-man of of dust from the ground, ground, and and breathed breathed into his nostrils the bresth breath of of life; life; and man became became a living living being." being." This is the Yahvist text that that appears appears in in the the text text of of presenL presentday Bibles. Bibles. The Sacerdotal Sacerdotal text text was was added added to to itit later later on, on, but but one one may may ask ask ifif itit was was originally originally so so brief. brief. Nobody Nobody is is in in aa position position to to say say whether whether the the Yahvist Yahvist text text has has not, not, in in the the course course of of tirne, time, been been pared pared down. down. We We do do not not know know ifif the the few few lines lines we we possess possess represent represent all all that that the the oldest oldest Biblieal Biblical text text of of the the creation Creation had had to to say. say. The The Yahvist Yahvist description description does does not not mention mention the the actual actual formation formation of of the the Earth garth or or the the Heavens. He'avens. ItIt makes makes itit clear clear that that when when God God ereated created man, man, therre there was was no no vegetation vegetation on on Earth Earth (it (it had had not not yet yet rained), rained), even even though though the the waters waters of of the the Earth Earth had had covered covered its its surface. surface. The The sequel sequel to to the the text text confirms confirms this; this: God God planted planted aa gprgarden den at 'at the the same same time time as as man man was was created. created. The The vegetable vegetable kingdom kingdom


rise Old relttJmenl and SctcrroD amil SciBrace Trrc OldTectarrrcnt

20

therefore appears on Earth Earth at at the the seme same time time as man. This This is is therefore a until Earth scientifically inaccurate; man did not appear Earth until on appear did not man scientifically inaccurate; growing not do it. We after vegetation had been growing it. not on long time been long time after vegetation know how how meny many hundreds of of millions millions of of years separate the two two know events. This is the only only critieigm criticism that that one can level at a:t the Yahvist Yahvist text. text. This fact that that itit does does not place the creation of of man in in time time in in reThe fact formation of of the world world and the earth, earth, unlike unlike the lation to the formation lation Sacerdotal text, text, which which places places them in in the same same week, frees itit from the serious obiections objections raised against against the latter. latter. from

THE OF THE THE WORLD"S WORLD~S CNEATION CREATION AND AND THE THE DATE OF THE DATE ON EARTH. EANTH. DATE MAN'S APPEARANCE DATE OF OF MAATS APPEANANCE ON The contained in the calendar, which follows the data contained Ttre Jewish calendar, Old Testament, places the dates precisely. The above very precisely. dates of the above Testament, places besecond eorresponds to the be1975 corresponds half of the Christian second half Christian year 1975 ginning of the 5,736th ginning 5,736th year of the creation of the world. The has the creation of man followed several so that that he has days later, so several days years, as ealendar. same as in the Jewish Jewish calendar. same numerical numerieal age, counted in years, age, counted There is probably a correction be made made on account account of the fact correetion to be years, while the calcalthat time was calculated in lunar years, originally calculated was originally years. This correction correction endar based on on solar solar years. used in the West is based endar used exact, but would have be absolutely absolutely exact, one wanted to be be made if one made if have to be little consequence. as consequenee.To simit is of very little 3To, it as it it represents represents only 3%, disregard it. \Vhat lVhat matters plify plify our calculations, easier to disregard calculations,it is easier little importance here It is therefore of little here is the order of magnitude. It years out. out. years, our calculations are thirty thirty years if~ ealculationsare if. over over aa thousand thousand years, estimate of We are nearer the truth following this Hebraic estimate truth in following it happened happened roughly the creation of the world if say that it if we say thirty-seven centuries centuries before before Christ. to reply difficult to would be be difficult What does It would us? It scieneetell us? modern science doesmodern we to the the Universe. Universe. All we questionconcerning the formation forrnation of the the question concerning the system solar system when the solar can figures for is the era in time when can provide figures reasonable approximapossible to arrive at aa reasonable was It is possible was formed. It present is estimated at estimated at tion of this. the present and the betweenit and The time between this. The measurethe the maryears. We therefore measure four can therefore We can four and and aa half billion years. and today and we know today gin separating establishedreality we firmly established the firmly separating the on expand shall data taken from the Old Testament. We shall expand on this the We Testament. Old from the taken data the


THE THE BOLE, BIBT.T, THE THE QUR'AN AI{D SCIENCE SCIENCE QUR'AN AND

30 30

pert of in the the third third part present work. in of the the present work. These These facts facts emerge emergâ&#x201A;Ź from from a elose scrutiny a close scrutiny of of the provides very Biblical text. the Biblical text. Genesis preGenesis provides verr preinformation on cise information cise on the the time time that that elapsed elapsed between between Adam Adam and and Abraham. For period from For the the period Abraham. from the the time time of of Abraham Abraham to to the the bebeginnings of of Christianity, ginnings Christianity, the provided is the information information provided is insufficient. insufficient. It must must be besupported supported by It by other other sources. sources. L From From Adam Adnmto Abtaham 1. to Abraham provides extremely Genesis provides precise genealogical genealogical data Genesis extremely precise data in ChapChapters 4, 4, 5, 5, 11, 11, 21 21 and and 25. ters 25. They They concern concern all all of of Abraham's Abraham's ancestors aneestors in direct direct line line back back to to Adam. give the length of time each in Adam. They They give each person lived, lived, the the father's father's age person age at the birth birth of the son son and and thus make it possible to ascertain it easily easily possible make ascertain the dates dates of birth birth and death death of each eaehancestor ancestor in relation to the creation of Adam., of Adam., as as the table indicates. indicates. All the data used used in this table come come from All from the Sacerdotal Sacerdotal text Genesis, the only Biblical Biblical text that of Genesis, provides information that information of of It may be be deduced, deduced,according to the Bible, that this kind. It that AbraAbrawas born 1,948 1,948years after after Adam. ham was

ABRAHAM's GENEALOGY GENEALOGY

1. Adam Adam Seth Enosch Kenan Kenan Mahalaleel Mahalaleel Jared Jared Enoeh Enoch Methuselah Methuselah Lamech Lamech 10. Noah Noah Shem Shem Arpaehshad Arpachshad Shelah Shelah Eber Eber Peleg Peleg

date ol birth 0/ birth alter after orea,tion creation of 0/ Adam Adam

length langth of 0/ life life

date of 0/ dea,th death after creation af ter creation 0/ Ad,am Adam of

130 236 235 325 325 395 460 460 622 687 687 874 1056 1056 1556 1556 1658 1658 1693 1693 t72g 1723 t757 1757

930 912 9L2 905 905 910 910 895 895 962 365 865 969 969 777 TT7 950 950 600 600 438 438 433 433 464 239 239

930 1042 1140 1140 1235 1235 1290 1290 1422 t422 987 98? 1656 1656 1651 1651 2006 2006 2156 2156 2096 2096 2122 2122 2187 2L87 1996 1996


3l 31

TIte Oldfietfurlrpttt Old TeatDmetaI &d tmtl Scfgllrcc Scisnce Trlc

Beu Reu Serug Sentg Nahor Terah Teratr Abraham 20. Abrsham 90.

1787 178? 1819 1819 1849 f849 1878 18?8 1948 1948

239 239 230 280 148 148 206 205 t76 175

20?;6 2026 2049 2049 r997 1997 2083 2083 2l?.9 2123

Cfubtinnitrry J. From Abraham to Tlw The Beginnings Of Christianity Beginning Ot 2. Front Abralwm The Bible does does not provide any numerical information information on this this fire period that that might lead lead to such such precise precise estimates estimates as as those those found found period in Genesis Genesis on Abraham's Abraham's ancestors. ancestors. We must look look to other from Jesus. to estimate the time separating from Jesus. At At sources Abraham sources estimate Abrstime of the of present, allowing for a slight margin error, Abrapresent, for ham is situated situated at roughly eighteen eighteen cgnturies centuries before before Jesus. Jesus. Com' Comseparating bined with information in Genesis on the separating interval on Genesis bined with thirtyAbraham and and Adam, Adam, this would would place place Adam Adam at roughly thirtyAbraham eight centuries before Jesus. Jesus. This estimate undeniably wTong: wrong: estirnatâ&#x201A;Źis undeniably centuriesbefore mistakes in the the mistakes the origins arise from the inaccuracy arise orisins of this inaccuracy still tradition still period. Bible on The Jewish Jewish tradition Adam-Abraham period. The on the the Adam-Abraham challenge founds can its calendar on this. Nowadays, we can challenge the calendar on this. Nowadays, we founds the traditional defenders of Biblical truth with the incompatibility truth defenders priests Jiving the Jiving in the between Jewish priests whimsical estimates estimatesof Jewish the whimsical betweenthe events the Sixth centuries, the events data. For centuries, modern data. B.C. and and modern century B.C. Sixttt century accordingto time according of antiquity situatedin time relating to to Jesus were situated Jesuswere antiquity relating information theseestimates. estimates. on these information based basedon provided frequentfyprovided Before Bible frequently the Bible times,editions editionsof the moderntimes, Beforemodern sequâ&#x201A;Źnce preamble historical sequence the the historical explaining the reader with aa preamble explaining the reader the world of pass creation the world of events the creation betweenthe had come eometo to pass between eventsthat had vary figures and the time when the books were edited. The figures The vary and the time when the books were edited. Vulthe Clementine slightly according to the time. For example, the Clementine Vulexample, slightly accordingto the time. place Abraham did gate, 1621, gave this information, although it did place Abraham gavethis information,although ga,te,1621, B.C. cerituryB.C. aa little earlier roughly the 40th ceritury the 40th at roughly the Creation andthe Creationat esrlier and addiin produced l?th century, century, in addiWalton's the 17th polyglot Bible, in the Bible, produced in Walton's polyglot gavethe tables readertables the reader tion languagps'gave in several texts in severallanguages, Biblicaltexts to Biblical tion to Almost ancestors.Almost for Abraham's Abraham'sancestors. similar here for shownhere oneshown to the the one similar to given here. the With the here.With all figuresgiven the figures with the coincidewith the estimates estimatescoincide all the to maintain longerable ableto maintain no longer arrival wereno editorswere times,editors moderntimes, of modern arrival of goingagainst disscientificdisagainstscientific such without without going chronologies whimsicalchronologies suchwhimsical were They date.They were covery earlierdate. placedthe muchearlier at aa much theCreation Creationat that placed coverythat avoided they avoided preambles,but but they content and preambles, tablesand thesetables abolishthese to abolish contentto


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TIIE BIBLE, 'IHE BIBI.q THE TIG QUB'AN ANDSCIENCE SCIENCE QUN'ANAND

warning the the reader reeder that that the the Biblical warning Biblical texts texts on on which which these these chroehronologies were were based basedhad had become becomeobsolete nologies no obsoreteand and could could no longer longer be be consideredto to express expressthe the truth. truth. They preferred to considered They preferred to draw draw aamodest modest veil over over them, them, and and invent invent set-phra"ses veil set-phra'sesof of cunning eunning dialectics dialeetics that thet would make make acceptable acceptablethe the text would as it had formerly been, text as it hsd forrnerly been,without without eny subtractions subtractions from from it. it. any This genealogies is why the This is why the genealogies contained contained in in the the Sacerdotal Sacerdotal text text of of the Bible Bible are &re still still honoured, honoured, even the even though thoush in in the the Twentieth Twentieth cencentury one one cannot eannot reasonably reasonably continue tury continue to to count count time time on on the the basis basis of such fiction. of such fiction. Modern scientific seientific data data do do not not allow Modern allow us us to to establish establish the the date date of of man's appearance on earth earth beyond man's appearance on beyond aa certain certain limit. limit. We we may may be be certain that that man, man, with with the the capacity certain capacity for for action action and and intelligent intelligent thought that distinguishes him from thought that distinguishes from beings that that appear appesr to t,o be be ana'tomically similar similar to him, existed anatomically existed on Earth Earth after after aa certain estiestimable date. date. Nobody however can mable can say sey at what exact date date he he apappeared. What we can say today is that peared. What that remains have been been found found of aa humanity humanity capable capable of human thought of thought and action whose whose age agp may be calculated calculated in tens of thousands may be thousands of years. years. This approximate approximate dating dating refers This prehistoric human refers to the prehistoric human species, the most recently recently discovered beins species, being the Cro-Magnon Cro-Magnon Man. Man. There There have of of course been been many many other other discoveries ali all over the the world world of of remains remains that that appear to be human. These relate relate to to less less highly highly evolved evolved species, species, and their their age could be somewhere somewhere in in the the hundreds of thousands thousands of of years. But But were they genuine men men?? hundl1!ds of whatever the answer answer may may be, scientific scientific data data are sufficienfly sufficiently Whatever the precise precise coneerning concerning the the prehistoric prehistoric species species like like the Cro-Magnon Man, Man, to to be be able able to to place place them them much much further further back back than than the the epoch epoch in in which which Genesis Genesis places places the the first first men. men. There There is is therefore therefore an an obvious obvious incompatibility incompatibility between between what what we we can can derive derive from from the the numerical numerical data data in in Genesis Genesis about about the the date date of of man's man's appearance appearance on on Earth Earth and and the the firmly firmly established established facts facts of of modern modern scientific scientific knowledge. knowledge. THE THE FLOOD FLOOD Chapters Chapters s, 6, 77 and and 88are are devoted devoted to to the the clescription description of of the the Flood. Flood. In In actual actual faet, fact, there there are are tvyo two descriptions; descriptions; they they have have not not been been placed placed side side by by side, side, but but are are distribrited distributed all all the the way way through. through. pasPas-


Tlas TeaftJmenI and ffid Science Scta'nce O|dTgrltoment Trrc Old

33

sages give the appearance suecoherent sucintertroven to give appearanceof aa coherent sre interwoven sagesare cession there are, are, in three chapters thesethree chaptersthere episodes.In these cessionof varying episodes. reaJi.ty, lies in here again explanationlies again the explanation reali'ty, blatant contradictions; contradictions; here quite distinct sources: the Sacthe Yahvist and and Sacsources:the existenceof two quite the existence erdotal versions. erdotal versions. It amalformed aa disparate earlier that they they formed disparate amalIt has has been beenshown shown earlier gam; paragraphs gam; each has been broken down down into paragraphs been broken each original text has phrases,elements or phrases, the other, other, one source elementsof one source alternating with the go from so we go complete description, description, lve so that thst in the course eourse of the complete one lines of hundred lines times in roughly one one hundred another seventeen one to another seventeentimes English Engilish text. tâ&#x201A;Źxt goesas Taken the story goes as follows: Takenas asaa whole, whole,the had become widespread, Man's corruption beeome had widespread,so so God decidedto Man'e God decided annihilate him along with all the other living creatures. He other creatures. He annihilate along he and told him to construct the Ark into which he warned Noah which construct Ark warned Noah and with was his wife, his three sons and their wives, along was to take three along take sons and wives, latter: one other one sourcesdiffer for the latter: other living creatures. ereaturgs.The The two sources passsge (Sacerdotal) pair passage (Sacerdotal) says of each each take one was to take one saysthat Noah Noah was passagethat follows (Yahvist) it stated SPeCies; it is stated rpeeies;then then in the the passage follows (Yahvist) that God ordered him to take females seven males males and and seven seven females God ordered take seven 'pure' animal from each single pair eschof the so-called so-called'pure' animal species, and aa single speeies,and the'impure' from the 'impure' species. species.Further on, however,it stated that on, however, it is stated eetually took Noah actually took one such as Noah as one pair of each each animal. animal. Specialists, Speeialists,such passagein question question is from an Vaux, state Father de an de Vawe, state that the the passage adaptation adaptetionof the the Yahvist description. description. given the agent Rainwater as the one (Yahvist) agent of the Flood Flood in one Bainwater is given as (Sacerdotal), given passage, passage, but in another double Flood is given aa double snother (Sacerdotal), the Flood rainwater and and the waters cause: rainwater wsters of the Earth. cause: right up and above abovethe The the mountain mountain submergedright up to and was submerged The Earth was year, when perished. After peaks.All life perished. the waters one year, when the peaks. waters had had After one Ark that had come to rest on emergedfrom the Ark had come receded, on receded,Noah Noetr emerged Ararat. Mount Ararat. lengths of time thst the lasted differing lengths One Flood lasted add that the Flood Onemight add the Yahvist version soureeused: used: forty forty days days for the according version accordingto the the source fifty in the Sacerdotal onehundred hundredand and fifty Sacerdotaltext. and one and event took place when the event doesnot tell us us when The place version does Yshvist version The Yahvist tells us us that he the Sacerdotal Sacerdotsltext tells in Noah's he was was six Noah's life, but the provides information information in its years old. The latter also also provides hundred old. The hundred years and Abraham. Adam and geuealogiesthat situates relation to Adam genealogies Abraham. situateshim in relation


u 34

THE BIBLE, THE THE BIBLE, THE QUR'AN AND SCIENCE SCIENCE QUR'AN AND

If If we we calculate ealculateaccording according to to the the information information contained in Genesis, contained in Genesis, years after (see table Noah Noah was born 1,056 1,056years was born after Adam Adam (see table of of Abraham's Abraham's Genealogy) and the the Flood place 1,656 Genealogy) and years after Flood therefore therefore took 1,656 years took place after the the creation creation of In relation of Adam. Adam. In places relation to Abraham, Genesis Genesis places to Abraham, years before the 292 years the Flood Flood 292 before the the birth birth of this Patriarch. of this According to Genesis, According to Genesis, the Flood affected the Flood affeeted the the whole whole of the race and human race human and all all living living creatures creatures created created by God God on face on the face of the the Earth Earth were of were destroyed. destroyed. Humanity Humanity was was then reconstituted by Noah's Noah's three three sons sonsand by and their wives so so that when when Abraham was was roughly three centuries born roughly born centuries later, he he found aa humanity humanity that that was was re-formed into separate already re-formed already separate communities. communities. How Horv could eould this replace in such construction have have taken construction taken place such aa short time? This simple simple observation deprives deprives the narration narration of all verisimilitude. observation verisimilitude. Furthermore, historical data show Furthermore, show its incompatibility incompatibility with with modern knowledge. knowledge. Abraham is placed placed in the period period 1800-1850 modern 1800-1880 8.C., and and if if the Flood place, as Flood took place, B.C., geneas Genesis Genesissuggests suggests in its genealogies, roughly three centuries before Abraham, we would have alogies, place him somewhere to place somewhere in the Twenty-first to¡ Twenty-first to Twenty-second Twenty-second century B.C. B.C. Modern historical knowledge knowledge confirms eonfirms that that at this period, civilizations had had sprung up in several period, world; several parts of the world; for their their remains have have been left to posterity. for been left ease of Egypt Esypt for for example, In the case correspond to example, the remains correspond period preceding preceding the Middle Kingdom (2,100 the period (2,100 B.C.) at roughly date of the First First Intermediate Intermediate Period before the Eleventh the date In Babylonia it it is the Third Third Dynasty Dynasty at at Ur, Ur. We know know Dynasty. In for certain that for that there was no break in in these these civilizations, so so that that there eould could have have been been no destruction affecting affecting the whole of of humanity, as as itit appears appears in the Bible. Biblf'. We cannot therefore consider that that these these three Biblical Biblical narranarrations provide man with with an account of of facts that that correspond to the truth. truth. we We are obliged to admit admit that, that, objectively speaking, the the texts which have come come down to to u's us do not not represent the the expresion of of reality. We may ask ourselves ourselves whether itit is possible possible for for God to have revealed revealed anything anything other other than than the truth. truth. ItIt is difficult difficult to to entertain entertain the idea that that God taught taught to to man man ideas ideas that that were were not not only fictitious, fictitious, but but contradictory. We naturally naturally arrive arrive therefore therefore at at the hypothesis hypothesis that that distortions occurred occurred that that were were made made by by man or or that that arose arose from from traditions traditions passed passed down down from from one one generageneration tion to to another by by word word of of mouth, mouth, or or from from the the texts texts of of these these tratra-


The OtdTedamen Old Tetftnruml anitscJcrct IJtItI Science TtE

3f 35

ditions once once they they were were written written down. down. When When one one knows knows that that ra ditions period of over a twice work such as Genesis was adapted at least twice over a period of leest at was adapted work such as Genesis imfind to surprising not less than three centuries, it is hardly surprising to find imhardly is it centuries, three not less thsn probabilities or or descriptions descriptions that that are are incompatible incompatible with with reality. reality. probabilities enhas hum.an knowledge This is because the progress made in hum,an knowledge has enprogress in msde This is becausethe certain about least at if not everything, enough at least abled us to know, enough everything, know, if abled events to be be sble able to judge judge the degree degree of of compatibility between between events our knowledge knowledge and the ancient ancient descriptions descriptions of of them. them. There is nothing more more logical logical than to maintain this interpretation of of Biblical errors which only implicates implicates man himself. It It is a great pity pity and Christisn' that the majority majority of commentators, commentators, both Jewish Jewish and Christian, that with it. it. The arguments arguments they use use nevertheless nevertheless desenre deserve do not hold with attention. careful attention.


I~ IY

Position Of Position i~lian Of Ch.. Christian Authors Wilh 4ulho..s lfith R.eaard R*grrd To To Sl:ienlific: Scientific E....o.. frror In fhe ln The Biblical T l3iblil:al exb. Texls. Critical fxarrrinatiorr. 4A C.. ilil:al ExaDlination. One is struck by the diverse diverse nature of Christian One Christian commentators' reactions to the existence existence of these improbreactions these accumulated accumulated errors, improbabilities and contradictions. Certain commentators acknowledge acknowledge some of them and do do not hesitate in their some their work work to tackle thorny thorny problems. Others others pass lightly over unacceptable problems. pass lightly unacceptable statements and insist on defending the text insist text word for for word. The latter latter try try to to convince people people by apologetic apologetic declarations, declarations, heavily reinforced reinforced by by arguments which are often often unexpected, unexpected, in in the hope that that what what is is logically logically unacceptable unacceptable will will be forgotten. forgotten. In In the Introduction Introduction to his translation translation of of Genesis, Genesis, Father Father de Vaux existence of of critical critical arguments arguments and and even even Vaux acknowledges acknowledges the existence expands their cogency. cogency. Nevertheless, Nevertheless, for for him him the the objective objective expands upon their reconstitution of of past p~st events events has has little little interest. interest. As As he he writes writes in in his notes, the fact notes, fact that that the the Bible Bible resumes resumes "the "the memory memory of of one one or or two two disastrous disastrous floods floods of of the the valleys valleys of of the the Tigris Tigris and and Euphrates, Euphrates, enlarged by by tradition tradition until until they they took took on on the the dimensions dimensions of of aa uniuniversal here nor nor there; there; ,'the "the essential essential thing thing versal cataclysm" cataclysm" is is neither neither here is, is, however, however, that that the the sacred sacred author author has has infused infused into into this this memory memory eternal eternal teachings teachings on on the the justice justice and and mercy mercy of of God God toward toward the the malice malice of of man man and and the the salvation salvation of of the the righteous." righteous." 36 36


AGr{delErrllnffir

37

In this this way way justification justification is is found found for for the the transformation transformation of of da In popular legend into into an event of of divine divine proportions-and proportions-and itit is as popular that itit is is thought thought fit fit to to present the the legend to to men's fsithfaithsuch that following the the principle principle that that an author author has made use of of itit to to illusillus... following trate religious religious teachings. teachings. An An apologetic position of of this this kind kind iusjustrate tifies all all the liberties liberties taken taken in in the eomposition composition of of writings writings which which tifies supposed to be sacred and to contain contain the word word of of God. God. IfIf one are supposed interference in in what what is divine, all all the acknowledges such human interference manipulations of of the Biblical Biblical texts will will be accounted accounted for. for. human manipulations If there are theological theological intentions, all all manipulations manipulations become become leIf gitimatâ&#x201A;Ź; gitimate; so that that those of of the 'sacerdotal' 'Sacerdotal' authors authors of of the Sixth Sixth century are justified, justified, including including their their legalist preoceupations preoccupations that that century seen. turned into have already seen. into the whimsical descriptions we have.already turned A large number of it more have found it A of Christian Christian commentators have ingenious to explain errors, improbabilities improbabilities and contradictions in Biblical descriptions by t:sing psing the excuse that the Biblical Biblical excuse that in Biblical social facauthors were expressing ideas with the social ideas in accordance accordance with defiarose the defitors of a different From this arose mentality. From different culture eulture or mentality. 'literary genres' genres' which was introduced into nition respective 'literary nition of respective for all accounts for the subtle dialectics it accounts so that of commentators, so that it dialecties of two texts are difficulties. Any between two. Any contradictions there are between expressed then explained by the difference eaehauthor expressed difference in the way each 'literary genre'. genre'. This argument is particular 'literary ideas ideas in his own particular gravnot, of course, it lacks lacks graveverybody because becauseit acknowledged by everybody course, acknowledged we ity. however, and we disuse today however, It has entirely fallen into disuse ity. It has not entirely as an attempt shall see use as extravagant use seein the New Testament its extravagant to explain blatant Gospels. blatant contradictions in the Gospels. rejected by be rejected Another acceptable what would be Another way of making acceptable the text in logic when applied to a litigious text, is to surround a litigious logie question considerations. The reader's attention The reader's question with urith apologetical eonsiderations. apologetical problem of the the truth truth of the text is distracted from the crucial problem problems. itself and deflected deflected towards other problems. itself and mode Cardinal Danielou's reflections on the the Flood Flood follow this mode on Dani6lou's reflections (Dieu God review Liai,ng of expression. They appear in the review Living God (Dieu the appear expression. 'Flood, Baptism, (Ddluge, Vivant) Judgment', (Deluge, Baptism, Judgment', the title: 'Flood, under the Vivant)'1 under of Bapteme, Jugement') where he writes "The oldest tradition of oldest BWtdme, Jugement') where he image an Flood the the Church has seen in the theology of the Flood an image of of the theology the Church has seen great significance significance" of great Christ episodeof is "an the Church". Church". It is "an episode and the Christ and 11

pp.95-112) 1. 95-112) No.38, 1974,pp. 38,1974, 1. No.


$E 38

THE TIrE BIBLE, BrBLF,,THE THE QUB'AN AND SCIENCE SCTENGE QItn'AN AND

judgment striking ... quoted . . . u"B striking the the whole whole human human race." a judgment race." Having Having quoted from from Origen in his his Homilies Origen in Homilies on on Ezekiel, Ezehinl, he he talks talks of shif of "the "the shipwreck the entire wreck of of the entire universe universe saved saved in in the the Ark", Ark", Cardinal DanCardinel Danielou i6lou dwells dwells upon upon the the value the number vslue of of the number eight eight uexpressing the "expressing the peoplethat number of of people (Noah and number that were were saved savedin in the the Ark Ark (Noah wife, and his his wife, his three three sons his son$and and their their wives)". wives) ". He He turns turns to to his his own use Justin's own use Justin's urritings in writings in his his Dialogue: Dial,ogue: UThey represent the the symbol symbol of "They represent of the eighth day day when eighth when Christ rose from christ rose from the the dead" dead" and first and "Noah, "Noah, the first of aa new new creation, born of born creation, is image of is an &n image of Christ christ who was do in was to do reality what prefigured." He continues the comparison what Noah had prefigured." reality Noah had between Noah Noah on on the the one between one hand, hand, who was was saved saved by the ark made made of wood wood and and the ( "water of the Flood the water of water that that made made it it float ("water from which aa new humanity from humanity was born"), born"), and on the other, the cross made made of wood. wood. He stresses stresses the value of this symbolism and cross concludes by underlining concludes underlining the Hspiritual and doctrinal wealth of "spiritual and of saeramentof the Flood" (sic). the sacrament that one one could say about such apologetical comThere is much that parisons. We should always remember that that they are commeneommentaries on an event that possible to defend as reality, that it it is not possible taries reality, either on aa universal universal scale scale or in terms of either which the of the time time in which places it. With with a commentary eommentary such Bible places as Cardinsl Cardinal Dani6lou's Danielou's such as Middle Ages, where the text we are back in the Middle text had to be accepted accepted as it it was and any discussion, discussion, other than conformist, as conformist, was off off the point. point. rt is nevertheless reassuring It reassuring to to find that that prior prior to that that age of of imposed obscurantism, hishly imposed obscurantism, highly logical attitudes attitudes were adopted. adopted. one One might might mention those those of of Saint Saint Augustine Augustine which which proceed proceed from from his his thought, that was singularly thought, that singularly advaneed advanced for for the the age he lived lived in. in. At At the time time of of the Fathers Fathers of of the Church, there must must have been been problems of textual textual criticism criticism because because Saint Saint Augustine Augustine raises raises problems of them in in his letter letter No. 82. The most typical typical of of them them is is the the followfollowpassage: ing ing passage: "rt "It is solely to to those books books of of Scripture Scripture rvhich which are are called called 'canonic'that I have learned 'canonic' that I have learned to to grant grant such such attention attention and and respect respect that that II firmly firmly believe believe that that their their authors authors have have made made no no errors errors in in writing writing them. them. When When rI encounter encounter in in these these books books aa statement statement which which seems seems to to contradict contradict reality, reality, II am am in in no no doubt doubt that that either either the the text text (of (of my my copy) copy) is faulty, faulty, or or that that the the translator translator has has not not been been faithfaithful or that that my my understanding understanding is is deficient." deficient." ful to to the the original, orig:lnal, or


A CriticDl EmmitItJeion AfifificotBlolmitwfut

30 39

was ineonceivable inconceivable to to Saint Saint Augustine Augustine that that aa sacred sacred text text ItIt was very might contain contain an an error. error. Saint Saint Augustine Augustine defined defined very clearly clearly the the might dogma of of infallibility infallibility when, when, confronted confronted with with aa passage passage that that dogma seemed to to contradict contradict the the truth, truth, he he thought thought of of looking looking for for its its seemed fault. cause, without without excluding excluding the the hypothesis hypothesis of of aa human human fault. This This cause, is the the attitude attitude of of aa betiever believer with with aa critical critical outlook. outlook. In In Saint Saint AuAuis a confrontation gustine's day, day, there there was was no no possibility possibility of of a confrontation bebegustine's tween the the Biblical Biblical text text and and scienee. science. An An open-mindedness open-mindedness akin akin to to I***tt his would would today today eliminate eliminate aa lot lot of of the the difficulties difficulties raised raised by by the the his confrontation of of certain certain Biblieal Biblical texts texts with with scientific scientific knowledge. knowledge. confrontation go Present-day specialists, specialists, on on the the contrary, contrary, go to to great great trouble trouble to to Present-day defend the the Biblical Biblical text text from from any any accusation accusation of of error. error. In In his his inindefend troduction to to Genesis, Genesis, Father Father de Vaux Vaux explains the reasons reasons comtroduction quite obviously, defend the text text at at all costs, costs, even even if, if, obviously, pelling him to defend us not asks is hirtorically historically or or scientifieally scientifically unacceptable. unacceptable. He not to to itit i* study historical view Biblical Biblical history history "according "according to the rules of of view observed by people people today", as as ifif the existence existence of several several different observed it when of writing writing history was was possible. possible. History, it is told in in ways of ways hisan becomes a his(as anyone anyone will admit), becomes fashion, (as inaccurate fashion, an inaccurate the with the comply with have to comply torical does not have it does however, it novel. Here however, torical novel. commenBiblieal commenThe Biblical standards conceptions.The establishedby our conceptions. standards established descriptions through tator Biblical descriptions rejects any verification of Biblical tator rejects not is not Bible is data. "The Bible prehistorical data. geology, paleontology or prehistorical geology, paleontology confront to one confront were one and were answerable disciplines,and these disciplines, any of these to any answerableto lead only lead would only it would sciences,it it thesesciences, from these obtained from data obtained the data it with with the might One concordance."'One might to an artificial artificial concordance."1 or an oppositionor an unreal unreal opposition to an is Genesis,is in Genesis, what, in on what, point made on are made reflectionsare these reflections point out that these out that case this data-in scientific data-in this case in modern scientific with modern harmony with in harmony way in ,ro way in no present day, day, aa in the the present the however, in when however, chapters. When elevenchapters. first eleven the first certain case this in verifled, in this case certain perfectly verified, few beenperfectly have been descriptionshave few descriptions fail not fail doesnot author does patriarchs, the the author episodes the patriarchs, of the time of the time from the episodesfrom "The knowledge' modernknowledge. "The to with modern Bible with the Bible of the truth of the truth support the to support favorable yield to the favorable to the doubt cast upon these descriptions should yield should descriptions these upon cast doubt In them'"' bear witness archaeologybear them."2 In eastet'narchaeology and eastern history and that history witness that deBiblical the confirming the Biblical deother in confirming useful in scienceisis useful words: ifif science other words: reference latter' reference the latter, scription, invalidatesthe but ifif itit invalidates invoked,but scription, itit isis invoked, to not,permitted. toitit isisnot Permitted. 35' 1.1 . Introduction Genesis,page Page35. Introduction toto Genesis, 2.2. Ibid., page34 34 Ibid.,page


40 iIIT

THE THE BmLE BIBI,4 , THE N AND THE QUR'A AND SCIEN SCIENCE CE QUN'AN

To reconc ile the irrecon reconcile cilable, i.e. irreconcilable, i.e. the theory of the truth truth of of the Bible with rate nature of certain facts inaecurate with the inaccu faets report reported ed in the descrip tions in the Old Testam descriptions ent, moder Testament, modern n theolo theologians gians have have applie d their applied their efforts to aa revisio n of the classic revision classical al concep concepts ts of truth. truth. It It lies e the scope lies outsid outside scope of this book book to give a detaile detailed d expose exposdof the subtle subtle ideas ideas that that are develo developed ped at length in works dealing dealing with with the truth truth of the Bible; Bible; such such as as O. o. Loretz Loretz's 's work work (1972) (1972) What whet is the Truth Truth of the Bible? (QueU (euellee est la Verite v6rit6 de judgment ) 1. This judgm de la Bible? Bible?)r. ent concer ning science concerning science will will have have to suffice : suffice: The author remark ,,has remarkss that that the Second Second Vatica vaticann Counci councill Hhas avoide providing d provid avoided ing rules to disting uish betwee distinguish between n error error and truth truth in the Bible. Bible. Basic Basic consid considerations eration s show show that this is imposs impossible, ible, becaus e the Churc because churchh cannot cannot determ determine ine the the truth truth or otherw otherwise ise of scienti fic metho seientific methods ds in such such aa way as as to decide decidein principle princip le and and on a general genera l level level the question the questio n of the truth truth of the Script ures". Scriptures". It rt is obviou obvious s that the Church church is not in a positio position n to rnake make a ,method' pronouncement pronou nceme nt on on the value value of scienti scientific fic 'metho d' as as a means rneansof access accessto knowle knowledge. dge. The The point here here is quite differe different. nt. It It is not a question questio n of theorie theories, s, but of firmly establi established shed facts. facts. In our day and age, and age,it is not necess necessary ary to be be highly learne learned d to know that the world was was not created ereatedthirtythirty-seven seven or thirtythirty-eight eight centur centuries ies ago. ago. We we know that man man did not appear appear then then and and that the Biblica Bibricar l genealogies geneal ogies on on which this estima estimate te is based based have have been been proven proven wrong beyond beyond any shadow shadow of aa doubt. doubt. The author quoted quoted here here rnustb must be e aware aware of this. this. His statem statements ents on on science scienceare are only aimed aimecl at side-st side-stepping epping the the issue issue so so that he he does doesnot have have to deal deai with with it it the the way way he he ought ought to. to. The remind reminder er of all these these differe different attitudes nt atti~ud es adopte adopted d by Chrischristian author authors s when when confro confronted nted with the scienti scientific fic errors of Biblical Iical texts texts is aa good good illustra illustration tion of the the uneasi uneasiness ness they engend engender. er. recalls the It recalls It the imposs impossibility ibility of definin defining g aa logical logical positio position n other than by recogn reeognizing izing their human human origin originss and and the imposs impossibility ibility acknowledging of acknow ledging that they form part of a Revela Revelation. tion. The uneasi The uneasiness prevalent ness preval ent in Christ christian ian circles cireles concer concerning ning the Revela Revelation tion becam became elear at the e clear the Second second Vatica vatieann Counci councill (1962tigog1965) where 1965) where it it took took no no less less than five five drafts before before there there was was any agreement agreem on the the final ent on final text, text, after three three years years of discuss discussions. It ions. It 1. Pub. P"b. Le 1. L. Centuri C-nturion, on, Paris


A CritictJl Erorm/lngdion Emmincdion AGrifirnl

1l 41

was only only then then that that "this "this painful painful situation situation threatening threatening to to engulf engulf was the Council" Council" came came to to an an end, end, to to use use His His Grace Grace Weber's Weber's expresexpresthe sion in in his his introduction introduction to to the the Conciliar Conciliar Document Document No. No. 44 on on the the sion Revelation1. Revelation'. Two sentences sentences in in this this document document concerning concerning the the OId Old Testament Testament Two IV, page page 53) describe describe the the imperfections imperfections and obsolescence obsolescence (chap IV, of certain certain texts texts in in a way way that that eannot cannot be be contested: of prevailing "In view of situation prevailing before Christ's Christ's situation human the view of "fn foundation of of salvation, the Boohs Books of of the t"he Old Testament enable enable foundation everybody to to know know who is God and who is man, and also the the way way everybody in whieh which God, God, in in his justiee justice and mercy, hehaves behaves towards men. in These books, books, eaen even though theA they contuin contain material material which which is imperimperThese divine truly to nevertheless truly fect and obsolete, witness bear nevertheless obsolete, and, fect teachings." better statement than the use use of of the adiectives adjectives There is no better 'imperfect' 'imperfect' and 'obsolete' 'obsolete' applied to certain texts, to indieate indicate be ahan' even that the latter are open criticism might even abanand might critieism sre open to latter that doned; the principle principle is very clearly acknowledged. acknowledged. was defindefingeneral declaration which was This text part of a general text forms part might one 6; nevertheless, one might itively ratified by 2,344 votes to nevertheless, votes 2,344 itively question unanimity. In actual fact, in the question this almost almost total unanimity. Weber, of the official document signed commentaries Grace Weber, signed by His Grace document official commentaries corrects in particular which obviously corrects the there is one phrase particular obviously phrase one there the obsolescence of certain solemn affirmation of the council on on obsolescence eouneil solemn have aa temporary texts: "Certain books of the Jewish Bible have "Certain books application and irnperfect in them." something imperfect have something and have 'Obsolete',the is declaration, is the official official declaration, 'Obsolete', used in the expression used the expression 'temporary application', the comuse to hardly a synonym for 'temporary to use the comapplication', hardly a synonym 'jewish' which latter the latter which the mentator's epithet 'jewish' phrase. As for the epithet for the mentator's phrase. criticized only text curiously adds, it suggests that the conciliar text only criticized the conciliar that it suggests curiously adds, indeed It is is indeed all the the case. case.It the not at at all is not This is Hebrew. This in Hebrew. version in the version was the the Council, the Christian Old Testament alone that, at the Council, was the at that, alone Testament Old the Christian obsolesand judgment imperfection object of a judgment concerning the imperfection and obsolesthe eoncerning object of a cence parts. certain parts. of certain cenceof

1. Paris. 1966, Paris. Lâ&#x201A;Ź Centurion, Centurion, 1966, Pub. Le 1. Pub.


Conf:lu~ion~ Conclusiorrs The Biblical Biblical Scriptures seriptures must The must be be examined examined without without being being emembellished artificially artificially with qualities one bellished with qualities would like one would like them them to have. have. firey must must be be seen seen objectively They objectively as as they they are. &re. This implies not only aa knowledge knowledge of of the the texts, only texts, but also also of their their history. The possible to form an latter makes makes it possible latter an idea idea of the circumstances circumstances whieh brought about textual adaptations adaptations over the centuries, which centuries, the slow formation forrnation of the collection eollection that slow that we have have today, today, with with its numerous substractions substrsctions and additions. numerous above makes possible to believe makes it it quite possible The above believe that that different different versions of the same same description can be found in versions in the old Old Testamenf as as well as as contradictions, contrsdietions, historical ment, improbabilities historical errors, improbabilities end incompatibilities incompatibilities with with firmly firmly established and established scientific data. They quite natural are quite natural in human works works of of a very very great great -age. 'age. How How fail to find them in in the books books written written in in the same same concould one one fail in which which the Biblical Biblical text text was composed composed?? ditions in At At sa time time when itit was not yet yet possible possible to ask scientific quesquestions, tions, and one could only only decide decide on improbabilities improbabilities or or contradiccontradictions,ra tions"a man of of good good sense, sense, such such as Saint'Augustine, Saint' Augustine, considerecl considered that that God could not not teach man man things things that that did did not not correspond correspond to to reality. reality. He He therefore therefore put put forward forward the the principle principle that that itit was was not not possible possible for for an an affHrmation affirmation contrary contrary to to the the truth truth to to be be of of divine divine origin, origin, and and was was prepared prepared to to exclude exclude from from all all the the sacrecl sacred texts texts anything anything that that appeared appeared to to him him to to merit merit exclusion exclusion on on these these grounds. grounds. Later, at aa time time when when the the ineompatibility incompatibility of of eertain certain passages passages Later, at of the Bible Bible with with modern modern knowledge knowledge has has been been realized, realized, ih* the *.*e same of the attitude attitude has has not not been been followed. followed. This This refusal refusal has has been been so so insistent insistent that that aa whole whole literature literature has has sprung sprung up, up, aimed aimed at at justifying justifying the the 42 42


Gqu**

a:t 43

fact thtq that, in in the the face face of of all all opposition, opposition, texts texts have have been been retained retained in in fest that hgve have no no reason reason to to be be there. there. the Bible Bible that the The Second second Vatican Vatican Council Council (1962-1966) (1962-1965) hss has greatly greatly reduced reduced The about reservstions this uncompromising attitude by introducing reservations about introducing by ettitude uncompromising tlis thst material that the "Books of the Old Testament" which "contain material which Testament" "contain the Otd of tlts "BmkB remain aa will this if is imperfect and obsolete". One wonders if this will remain wonders One obsolete". and is imperfect or ifif itit will will be be followed followed by by aa change change in in attitue attitne towerds towards pious wish wish or pious material whiclr, which, in in the Twentieth Twentieth century, is is no longer longer acceptacceptruaterial human any ssve for in the books of In actual save for human able fact, ectual In Bible. of the books able in of be the to "witness manipulation, the latter destined be of destined were lattcr manipulation, true teachings coming from from God". tnre tcachings


II

The Gospels Inl~odu(;lion I Many readers readersof the Many the Gospels embarrassedand are embarrassed Gospelsare and even evenabashed abashed when they stop stop to think when think about meaning of certain about the meaning descripcertsin descriptions. The The same same is true when make comparisons tions. when they they make comparisonEbetween between difrerent versions versions of the different same event event found the same found in several several Gospels. Goepels. obseryationis made This observation madeby Father Roguet Roguet in his book book Initiation Initiatian (Initiation a the Gospels to the Goapels(Initiation ir l'Evangile)t. I'Evangile)'. With the rvide experithe wide experigained in his many years of answering ense he he has has gained perturbed ence many years answering perturbed readers' letters in ae Catholic ieeklg, he he has readers' Catholic weekly, has been been able asgesg able to assess just just how greatly they have have been been worried by what they have have questionerscome read. read. His questioners come from widely varying social socisl and and cultural tural backgrounds. backgrounds. He notes notes that their their requests requests for explanations explanations concern are 'considered abstruse, abstruse, ineomprehensible, incomprehensible, ifif concern texts that are'considered not eontradictory, contradictory, absurd absurd or scandslous'. scandalous'. There There ean can be be no no doubt doubt that a complete complete reading reading of the Gospels Gospels is likely to disturb Christians profoundly. profoundly. This obseruation Roguet's book book was was observation is very reeent: recent: Father Roguet's published Chrispublished in 19?8. 1973. Not so so very long ago, ago, the majority of Christians knew only selected of the Gospels Gospels that were read read selected sections sections of during services commented upon upon during serrnons. sermons. with With the exservices or commented ception of the Protestants, Protestants, itit was was not customary customary for for Christians to ception of read Gospels in their their entirety. Books Books of of religious instruetion instruction read the Gospels only contained extracts; the in in eutenso extenso text hardly circulated circulated at contained extrscts; 1. Pub. Pub. Editionr Editions du Seuil, Seuil, Parir, Paris, lg?B 1973

u


Th. Gorpch

15

all. At At a Boman Roman Catholie Catholic school II had eopies copies of of the the works works of of Virgil Virgil all. and Plato, Plato, but but II did did not not hsve have the the New New Testament. Testament. The The Greek Greek text text and of this this would would nevertheless hsve have been been very very instructive: instructive: itit wrs was of later on that that II reslized realized why why they they had had not not set ug us only much much later only translations of of the the holy holy writings writings of of Christianity. Christianity. The latter latter translations our teschers teachers questions they they would would have could have led us to ask our found itit difficult difficult to to answer. found critical ouUook outlook during during a These discoveries, made ifif one has a critical firese reading in in extenso of the the Gospels, Gospels, hsve have led the the Church Church to to come erteriu,o of reading aid of of readers by helping helping them overcome their their perplexity. perplexity. to the eid "Many Christians Christians need need to learn learn how how to read the Gospels", Gospels", notes "Many Father Boguet. Roguet. Whether Whether or or not one a,grees agrees with with the explanations explanations Fether greatly to the author's actually that he actually credit that author's credit he gives, it it is greatly tackles these these delicate problems. Unfortunately, Unfortunately, it alweys it is not always teckles this in many writings writings on the Christian like in many Christian Revelation. like this In editions of produced for widespread publication, for widespread In of the Bible produced introductory notes more often than not set out a collection of often introductory notes would tend to persuade the reader that ideas that that the Gospels Gospels that personalities of the hardly raise any problems concerning the personalities of eoncerning hardly authors of the various books, the authenticity of the texts and books, authenticity the truth of the descriptions. In spite of the fact that there are descriptions. truth ere identity we are so whose identity so many unknowns concerning authors of whose precise not at all sure, we find a wealth of precise information in this information sure, kind of introductory certainty what as a certainty note. Often they present as introductory note. evangelist is pure hypothesis, or they state that such-and-such an an evangelist such-and-sueh hypothesis, was an eye-witness of the events, while specialist works claim the specialist events, eye-witness w&s opposite. The time end that elapsed between the end of Jesus' minJesus' between elapsed opposite. reduced. istry and the appearance of the texts is drastically reduced. They istry appearance taken would have were written written by one one man taken these were believe that these one believe have one pointed from an oral tradition, have when in fact specialists have pointed out speeialists tradition, when adaptations to the texts. Of course, certain difficulties of interdifficulties course, texts. pretation pretation are mentioned here and there, but they ride rough anyone who shod glaring contradictions that must strike anyone shod over glaring glossaries apthinks about them. among In the little glossaries one finds among the apone finds little the about them. how prefacen one observes pendices complementing a reassuring preface, one observes how pendices complementing a been hidhave been improbabilities, contradictions errors have contradictions or blatant errors nature' den an apologetic or stifled under clever arguments of an apologetic nature. clever arguments stifled den nature This disturbing state the misleading misleading nature up the shows up aftairs shows state of affairs of such such commentaries.


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The ideas ideas to The to be be developed pages will developed in in the coming pages the coming wilt without without doubt leave leave any any readers unaware of these problems doubt readers still un&ware still of these problems quite quite amazed.Before going into Before going amazed. into detail detail however, however, Ir will provide an will provide an imimmediate illustration illustration of mediate of my my ideas ideas with with an sn example example that that seems seemsto to quite conclusive. me quite eonelusive. me Neither Matthew lllatthew nor Neither nor John John speaks speaks of of Jesus's Jesus's Ascension. Aseension. Luke Luke in his plaeesitit on his Gospel Gospelplaces in day of the Resurrection on the the dsy of the Resurreetion and and forty forty days later later in in the the Acts Acts of days of the the Apostles Aposiles of of which which he he is is said said to to be be the author. author. Mark Mark mentions (without the (without giving a date) in a mentions it giving a date) in a conit conclusion considered considered unauthentic clusion unauthentic today. today. The The Ascension Ascension therefore therefore has no no solid solid scriptural seriptural basis. has Commentators basis. commentators nevertheless nevertheless apapproach this this important question with important question proach with incredible ineredible lightness. lightness. A. Tricot, Tricot, in in his his Little Little Dictionary A. Dictionary of of the the New New Testament (petit Teitq,meat (Petit Dietionnaire du du Nouveau Nouveau Testament) Dictionnaire in the Crampon Testament) crampon Bible, bibl", (1960 edition)!, edition) r, aa work produced produced for mass (1960 publicatioi, does mass publication, not does not devote an an entry to the Ascension. Ascension. The devote The Synopsis synopsis of of the Four irou, GOBGospels (Synopse (Synopsedes desQuatre Evangiles) by Fathers Benoit pels Benoit and and BoisBoismard, teachers mard, teachers at the Biblical SchOOl sehool of Jerusalem, (lg?z ediJerusalem, (1972 edition)z, informs us us in volume volume II, pages pages 451 the contion)2, 4El and 452, 4sz, that thattheeontradietion between between Luke's Gospel the Aposiles Apostles tradiction Gospel and the Acts of the 'literary artifice': may be explained may be explained by a 'literary this is, to to say say the the least, least, artifice': this difficult to follow! follow ! difficult In all probability, In probability, Father Father Roguet in in his Ini.ti,ation Initiation to to the the GosGospel, t973, (pg pel, 1973, (pg rs?) 187) has not been been convinced convinced by the above above arguargument. ment. The explanation he gives us is curious, to to say the the least: least: "Here, "Here, as in in many similar similar cases, cases, the the problem problem only only appears appears ininsuperable Biblical statements literally, literally, and and forgets forgets superable ifif one takes Biblieal their their religious religious significance. significance. ItIt is is not not aa matter matter of of breaking breaking down down the factual the factual reality reality into into aa symborism symbolism which which is is inconsiste]nt, inconsistent, but but rather rather of of looking looking for for the the theological theological intentions intentions of of those those revealing revealing these these mysteries mysteries to to us us by by providing providing us us with with facts facts we we can can appreapprehend with our senses senses and and signs signs appr.opriate appropriate to to our onr incarnate incarnate hend with our spirit." spirit." How How is is itit possible possible to to be be satisfied satisfied by by an an exegesi.s exegesis of of this this kind. kind. persou only a Only a perSOll who who accepted accepted everything everything uneonditionally unconditionally would would find find such such apologetic apologetic set-phrases set-phrases acceptable. acceptable. 11.. Pub. Pub. Descl6e Desclee and and Co., Co., Paris. Paris. 2. Pub. Pub. Editions Editionsdu du Cerf, Cerf, Paris Paris

a,


Trra@lc

{I47

Another intenesHng interesting ItDect aspect of of Father Father Roguef,r Roguet's commentary commentary iris Another 'mlny similsr' e88es'; his admission that there are 'many similar cases'; similar, thst that similar his admission that there are to has problem therefore is, to the Ascension in the Gospels. The problem therefore has to The is, to the Ascension in the Gospels. would It in depth. be approached as a whole, objectively and in depth. It would be approached as a whole, obiectively and seem reasoneble reasonable to to look look for for an an explanation explanation by by studying stu<Jying the the goneonBeem the rellgious or ditions attendant attendant upon upon the the writing writing of of the the Gospels, Gospels, or the religious ditions atmosphere prevsiling prevailing at at the the time. time. When When adaptations adaptations of of the the atmosphere pointed out' original writings writings taken taken from from oral oral traditions traditions are are pointed out, and original we seie see the the way way texts texts handed handed down down to to us have have been eorrupted, corrupted, the the we presence of of obscure, incomprehensible, incomprehensible, contradictorlr, contradictory, improbimprobpresenee able, and even absurd absurd passages passages comes comes as much less of of a surprise' surprise. able, The same may may be said of of texts texts which which are incompatible incompatible with with totoThe progress. Observations to scientific scientific day's proven proven reality, reality, thanks thanks to day's these denote denote the element of of human human participation participation in in the such as these writing and modification of of the texts. writing Admittedly, in in the last few few decades, decades, objective objective resesrch research on the Admittedly, in the Scriptures book, Fnith Faith in In a recent book, attention. In Scriptures has gained attention. l (Foi en la Resurrection, R6surrection, Resurrection, Resurrection of Faith Fuithr (Foi ResurTeetion, Resurrection Kannengiesser, a professor at Father Kannengiesser, foi), 'Father de la foi), Rdsurreetion de change in the Catholic Institute Institute of Paris, outlines this profound change revothat aa revothe following hardly aware that faithful are hardly following terms: "The faithful place in methods since the lution has exegesis since methods of Biblical Biblical exegesis has taken place mentions is time of Pious 'Revolution' that the author mentions The'Revolution' Pious XII"2. The therefore teaehextended to the teachIt is beginning beginning to be extended therefore very recent. It who least, who ing of the faithful, specialists at least, faithful, in the case caseof certain specialists the are animated by this spirit spirit of revival. "The overthrow of the most prospects of the the pastoral tradition," tradition," the author most assured assured prospects methods writes, revolution in methods lessbegun begun with this revolution writes, "has "has more more or less of of exegesis." exegesis." 'one should litertake literFather should not take that 'one Kannengiesser warns that Father Kannengiesser they are are ally' becausethey the Gospels, by the Gospels,because Jesusby about Jesus reported about facts reported ally' facts 'to combat', 'writings suited authors whose authors 'writings combat', whose or 'to occasion'or to an an occasion' suited to 'are writing about community about 'are own community of their their own traditions of the traditions down the writing down the subsubis the which is Jesus'. Jesus,which of Jesus, Resurrection of the Resurrection Concerning the Jesus'.Concerning the GosGosof the ject of authors of ject of the the authors none of that none he stresses stressesthat book,he of his his book, as that, as intimates that, He intimates pels pelscan havebeen an eye-witness. eye-witness.He beenan to have can claim claim to must the same samemust public life concerned,the far is concerned, life is rest of of Jesus's Jesus'spublic as the the rest far as 'Le Point 1.1 . Pub. Paris, 1974 1974 Point theologique', theologique',Paris, Coll. 'Le Beauchesne,ColI. Pub. Beauchesne, 2.2 . Pious 1969 1989to from 1939 to 1969 Popefrom was Pope Pious XII XII was


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betrue tme because, because, be according none accordinsto to the the Gospels, noneof Gospets, of the the ApostlesAposiles-

apart from from Judas apart JudasIscariot--Ieft Iscariot --left Jesus Jesusfrom from the the moment momenthe he first first followedHim Him until followed last earthly manifestations. until His His last earthly manifestations. we have havecome We comeaa long long way from the wsy from the traditional traditional position, position,which which wasonce onceagain againsolemnly was by the Second solemnlyconfirmed eonfirued by the SeeondVatican Vatican CounCounyears ago. cil only only ten ten years cil This once ago. This onceagain again is resumedby is resumed by modern modern popularization destined works of of popularization works to be destined to read by be read by the the faithful. faithful. Little by little the by little the truth is coming to light however. Little truth is coming to light however. grasp,because It is is not not easy easyto It to grasp, becausethe the weight weight of of such suchaa bitterly bitterly dedefended tradition is fended tradition is very hearryindeed. very heavy indeed.To To free free oneself oneselffrom it, one one has to to strike strike at at the the roots problem, Le. roots of has of the the problem, i.e. examine examine first the the circumstances that circumstances that marked marked the the birth of Christianity.


llII Hislo..i~al Renrinder lteRlinde.. Historical JudEO-ÂŁh..islianit" Judeo-Chrislianity and Saint Saini Paul I>aul and The majority majority of of Christians Christians believe that that the Gospels Gospels were writwritTfue ten by direct direct witnesses of of the life life of of Jesus Jesus and therefore therefore constihigh-lishting tute concerning the events high-lighting evidence concerning tute unquestionable evidence presence thii His life and One wonders, in the presence of such in preachings. One His lifJ possible discuss guarantees of authenticity, how it is possible to discuss the teachit gUarantees authenticity, upon ings derived from them and how one caD cast doubt upon the one can from validity of the Church as an institution applying the general applying institution as validity gave. Today's popular editions of the instructions Himself gave. instructions Jesus Jesus Himself ideas these ideas Gospels aimed at propagating these commentaries aimed Gospelscontain commentaries among the general public. eye-witnessesis have as as eye-witnesses The value Gospelshave value the authors of the Gospels always presented to the faithful as axiomatic. In the middle of presented the faithful as Gospels all, the Gospels call the Second century, Saint Justin did, after all, call the did, Saint Second 'Memoirs of the Apostles'. deso the 'Memoirs There are moreover so many deare moreover Apostles'. wonder that is a tails proclaimed concerning the authors that it is a wonder that it that tails proclaimed eoneerning the authors was aa well-known one Matthew was their accuracy; accurscy; Matthew ever doubt doubt their could ever one could customs or customs tollgate character 'a customs officer employed at the tollgate or at the character'a customs officer employed and Aramaie house at Capharnaum'; it is even said that he spoke Aramaic and he spoke that said house at Capharn&um'; it is even there colleague; Peter's Greek. Mark is also easily identifiable as Peter's colleague; there as Greek. Mark is also easily identifiable 'dear is the Luke is the 'dear is eye-witness. Luke an eye-witness. was an too was he too that he doubt that is DO no doubt preis very very prehim is on him physician' information on talks: information physician' of Paul talks: whom Paul of whom of son to near Jesus, the Apostle who was always near to Jesus, son of cise. John is always was eise. John is the Apostle who Zebedee, fisherman on the Sea of Galilee. Galilee. Zebedee, fisherman on the Sea of 49 4g


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THE TIIE BIBLE, BIBI.F"THE TIIE QUB'AN ANDSCIENCE SCIENCE QT'N'ANAND

Modern studies studies on Modern on the the beginnings beginnings of of Christianity Ghristianity show show that that this way presenting things way of of presenting this things hardly hardly corresponds corresponds to reality. We to reality. we shall see seewho whothe the authors shall authors of of the the Gospels Gospelsreally reaily were. were. As As far far as asthe the decadesfollowing following Jesus's decades Jesus's mission mission are are concerned, concerned, itit must must be be ununderstood that that events events did derstood did not not at at all all happen happen in in the the way way they they have hsve peter's arrival beensaid said to to have have taken place and been taken place and that that Peter's arrival in irt-Rome Rome in no no way rpaylaid laid the the foundations foundations for in for the the Church. Church. On the contrary, on the contrary, from the the time time Jesus Jesus left left earth from earth to to the the second secondhalf half of of the the Second second century, there there was was aa struggle century, struggle between between two two factions. factions. One one was was whet one one might might call call Pauline what Pauline Christianity christianity and and the the other other JudeoJudeoChristianity. It It was was only Christianity. only very very slowly slowly that that the the first first supplanted supplanted th^- second, Becond,and and Pauline Pauline Christianity the Christianity triumphed triumphed over ou"" JudeoJudeoCfiristianiW. Cfiristianity. A large large number number of of very very recent A recent works are are based based on on contempoeontemporary discoveries about Christianity. rary discoveries a})out Christianity. Among them we we find find CardiCardinal Danielou's Dani6lou'sname. name. In December December1967 nal published an article 1g6?he he published article in in the review Studies studies (Etudes) entitled: the fA New entiiled: 'A New Representation Representa,tion01 ol the Origins origi,ns 01 of Christianity: chri,stianity: Judea-Christianity'. the Judeo-christi,anity'. (Une (une vision vision nouvelle des des origines origines chretiennes, chrâ&#x201A;Źtiennes, Ie judeo-christianisme). Here Here nouvelle le juddo+hristianisme). he reviews past past works, retraces its history history and enables enables us us to to he place the appearance appearance of of the Gospels Gospels in in quite a different different eontext context place from the one that emerges emerges on reading accounts accounts intended for for from one that publication. m&ss mass publication. what What follows is a condensed condensed version of of the the essential essential points points made made in in his artiele, article, incruding including many quotations quotations from from it. it. After After Jesus's Jesus's departure, the the "litfle "little group group of of Apostles" Apostles" formeci formeci aa "Jewish sect that remained remained faithful faithful to to the the form form of of worship worshi y sect that practised practised in in the the Temple". Temple". However, However, when when the the observances observances of of converts from from paganism paganism were were added added to to them, them, aa ,special 'special system' system' was were: the the Council Council of of Jerusalem Jerusalem in in 4g 49 was offered offered to to them, them, as as itit were: A.D. A.D. exempted exempted them them from from circumcision circumcision and and Jewish Jewish observances; observances; "many "many Judeo-christians Judeo-Christians rejected rejected this this concession". concession". This This group group was was quite quite separate separate from from Paul's. Paul's. What What is is more, more, paul Paul and and the the Judeo-Christians J udeo-Christians were were in in conflict conflict over over the the question question of of pagans pagans who (the incident incident of of Antioch, Antioch, 49 49 who had had turned turned to to christianity, Christianity, (the A.D.). Paul, the "For circumcision, A.D.). "For Paul, the circumcision, sabbath, Sabbath, and and form form of of worworship ship practised practised in in the the Temple Temple were were henceforth henceforth old old fashioned, fashioned, even even for for the the Jews. Jews. christianity Christianity was was to to free free itself itself from from its its politipoliti-


B;'toncal Reminder. Judeo-Chmtianity atd and SaintPaul Saint Paul Hhtodcalftemhdet.Iudeo'Chfictianitg

5l51

cal-cum-religious adherence adherence to to Judaism Judaism and and open open itself itself to to the the cal-cum-religious Gentiles." Gentiles." For those those Judeo-christians Judeo-Christians who who remained remained 'loyal 'loyal Jews,' Jews,' Paul Paul For 'enemy', an him call traitor: Judeo-Christian documents call him an 'enemy', was a documents was a traitor: Judeo-Christian accuse him him of of 'tactical 'tactical double-dealing', double-dealing', . . . "Until "Until ?0 70 A'D.' A.D., accuse end Church" the of Judeo-Christianity represents the majority of the Church" and majority the Judeo-Christianity represents at community of the head "Paul remains an isolated case". The head of the community at The "Paul remains an isolated case". Peter were him With that time was James, a relation of Jesus. With him were Peter Jesus. that time was James, a relation of (at the the beginning) beginning) and and John. John. "James "James may may be be considered considered to to reprerepre(at Judato clung sent the Judeo-Christian camp, which deliberately clung to Judadeliberately sent the Judeo-Cfuristiancamp, which sa has family Jesus's ism as opposed to Pauline Christianity." Jesus's family has ism as opposed to Pauline Christianity." of JerusaChurch very important place in the Judeo-Christian Church of in Judeo-Christian very important "James's tsUgcessor 'Successor was Simeon, Simeon, SOn son Of of CleOpaS, Cleopas, a COuSin cousin lem. "James's lem. the L,ord". Lord". of the of Cardinal Danielou here quotes quotes Judeo-christian Judeo-Christian writings writings which cardinal which express the views on Jesus of this community initially Jesus of this community which initially express ( coming the Hebrews formed around around the apostles apostles:: the Gospel Gospel of (coming formed of writings the from Egypt), writings of Judeo-Christian community in Egypt), from aa Judeo-Christian 'Hypotyposeis', Second the Clement: Second Recognitions, 'Hypotyposeis', Clement: Homilies and Recognitions, JudeoApocalypse Thomas.' "It "It is to the JudeoGospel of Thomas.] James, the Gospel Apocalypse of James, Christian of writings Christians Christian oldest writings ascribe the oldest rnust ascribe one must Christians that one literature." mentions them in detail. Danidlou mentions Iiterature." Cardinal Danielou ,,It was Judeo-chris' "It just in Jerusalem Palestine that Judeo-Chrisand Palestip.e Jerusalem and was not just the years of the hundred years of tianity predominated during the first hundred tianity predominated have to everywhere to have seemseverywhere Church. mission seems Judeo-Christian mission The Judeo-Christian Church. The exthe excertainly the is certainly developed This is mission. This Pauline mission. the Pauline before the developedbefore conflict'" a to allude to a conflict." Paul allude planation of Paul letters of the letters that the the fact fact that ptanation of of the in everywhere: in meet everywhere: They to meet was to he was adversaries he the same same adversaries were the bnty were Antioeh' Galatia, and Antioch. Rome and Colossae,Rome Corinth, Colossae, Galatia, Corinth, was JudeoJudeoAntioch was to Antioch The Gazato from Gaza coast from Syro-Palestinian coast The Syro-Palestinian ,nas clemand Apostles and ClemChristian of the the Apostles Acts of the Acts by the witnessed by christian "as witnessed of Judeo-Chrisexistence of Judeo-Chrisentine the existence Minor, the Asia Minor, Iri Asia writings". IIi entine writings". Colossians. and Colossians. tians Galatiansand the Galatians to the letters to in Paul's Paul'sletters indica[ed in is indicated tians is Judeo-Christianity Papias's about Judeo-Christianity give us information about us information writings give Papias's writings menthe Corinthians Corinthisns menin to the letter to first letter Paul's first In Greece, Gte*ce,Paul's ithrygia. In in Phrygia. ee cle$ed as beclassed to be later to were later 1.l. One writings were thesewritings all these that all hel.ethat note here could note Onecould which church which victorious Church Apocrypha, by the the victorious beconcealed concealedby to be hadto i.e.they they had Apocryphs, i.e. in the the excigionr in obvious excisions rfiadeobvious was Church rt(ade This Church sueeess.This of Paul's Paul'a success. norn of war born Goepels. canonic Gospels. four Canonic Gospel the four only the retained only and retained literoture and Goepelliterature


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tionsJudeo-Christians, Judeo-christians,especially tions espeeiallyat at Apollos. Apoilos.According Aceording to to Clemclem,imporletter and ent's letter and the the Shepherd ent's of Hermas, Rome was an Shepherd of Hermas, Rome was an 'important centre'. centre'. For For Suetonius tant suetonius and and Tacitus, Tacitus, the the Christians christians repre¡ r.epresentedaa Jewish Jewish sect. seet. Cardinal sented Danielou thinks cardinal Danidlou thinks that that the the first first evangelizationin in Africa Africa was evangelization was Judeo-Christian. Judeo-christian. The The Gospel Gospelof of the the Hebrewsand andthe writings of the writings Hebrews of Clement clement of of Alexandria Alexandr.ialink link up up with with this. this. It is is essential essentialto to know know these It thesefacts facts to to understand understand the the struggle struggle betweencommunities communitiesthat that formed between formed the the background baekgrounrlagainst against which whieh the Gospels Gospelswere were written. written. The the today, after The texts texts that that we rve have have 1oday, after. many adaptations adaptations from from the many the sources, sources,began began to to appear appear around around 70 ?0 4.D., the the time time when when the A.D., the two two rival rival communities communitieswere were engaged engagedin in fierce struggle, struggle, with with the aa fierce the Judeo-Christians Judeo-christians still still retaining the the upper hand. hand. With the Jewish With the Jewish war upper war and and the the fall of Jerusalem Jerusalem in in 70 A.D. A.D. the the situation situation was was to be 70 be reversed. reversed. This is is how hory Cardinal cardinal Dani6louexplains explainsthe the decline: decline: Danielou the Jews "After the Jews had had been been discredited "After discredited in the Empire, the the Chrischristians tended tended to detach detach themselves themservesfrom them. tians The Hellenistic them. peoples of Christian persuasion then gained christian persuasion hand: peoples gained the upper hand: Paul won aa posthumous posthumous victory; victory; Christianity Paul separated itself Christianity separated itself politically and sociologically sociologically from Judaism; it litically it became became the third third people. All the same, people. All same, until until the Jewish revolt in in 140 140 A.D., JudeoJudeochristianity continued Christianity continued to predominate predominate culturally.', culturally." From A.D. ?0 period to a From 70 period sometime sometime before before 110 110 A.D. the the GosGospels of Mark, Mark, Matthew, Luke and John were were produced. produced. They They do do pels of not first written written Christian Christian documents: documents: the the letters letters not constitute constitute the first of of Paul Paul date from from well before before them. them. According According to to o. O. culm&nn, Culmann, probably Paul Paul probably wrote wrote his his letter letter to to the the Thessalonians Thessalonians in in E0 50 A.D. A.D. He He had had probably probably disappeared disappeared several several years years prior prior to to the the complecompletion tion of of Mark's Mark's Gospel. Gospel. Paul Paul is is the the most most controversial controversial figure figure in in Christianity. Christianity. He He was was considered considered to to be be aa traitor traitor to to Jesus's Jesus's thought thought by by the the latter's latter's famfamily ily and and by by the the apostles apostles who who had had stayed stayed in in Jerusalem Jerusalem in in the the circle circle around around James. James. Paul Paul created created christianity Christianity at at the the expense expense of of those those whom Jesus had had gathered gathered around around him him to to spread spread his his teachings. teachings. whom Jesus He He had had not not known known Jesus Jesus during during his his lifetime lifetime and and he he proved proved the the legitimacy legitimacy of ofhis his mission mission by by deelaring declaring that that Jesus, Jesus, raised raised from from the the dead, dead, had had appeared appeared to to him him on on the the road road to to Damascus. Damascus. ItIt isis quite quite reasonable reasonable to to ask ask what what christianity Christianity might might have have been been without without


Hiatorical Reminder. /udeo-Chriatianityand SaintPaul Paul atd saint HhroficalFremh1d,et.Itd,eo-chthtianitg

53 53

paul Paulsnd and one one could could no no doubt doubt construet construct sll all sorts sorts of ofhypotheses hypotheses on on it isis however, concerned this subject. As far as the Gospels are concerned however, it are the Gospels as far ihis suUject.As combetween struggle of almost certain that if this atmosphere of struggle between comatmosphere this if almost certsin that munities had had not not existed, existed, we we would would not not have have had had the the writings writings munities bestruggle fierce of time we possess today. They appeared at a time of fierce struggle beat a appeared we possesstoday. They 'combat Father as writings" between the two communities. These 'combat writings', as Father These betweenthe two communities. Kannengiesser calls calls them, them, emerged emerged from from the the multitude multitude of of writwritKannengiesser of style Paul's when time ings on Jesus. These occurred at the time when Paul's style of the at ings on Jesus.Theseoccurred colown its created Christianity won through definitively, and created its own coland Ctrlistianity won through definitively, lection of of official official texts. texts. These These texts texts constituted constituted the the 'Canon' 'Canon' which which Iection doeuments other any condemned and excluded as unorthodox any other documents excluded as unorthodox condemned that were not suited to the line sdopted 'adopted by the Church. Church. thet as The Judeo-Christians have now disappeared as a communiff community disappeared The Judeo-Christianshave them about people talking with any influence, but one still hears people talking about one still hears with any influence, 'Judaistic'. Cardinal how is This under the general term of 'Judalstic'. how Cardinal under ihe general Danielou describes describes their disappearance disappearance:: Danidlou .,when "When they they were were cut off from the Great Great church, Church, thst that gradugradupetered out they ally petered out attachments, Jewish attachments, freed itself from its Jewish ally freed possible to is it however very possible to East however the East West. In the the West. quickly in the very quickly esA.D., Centuries find and Fourth Centuries A.D., esthe Third and them in the tiaces of them find traces Syria-and pecially and MesopoMesopoTransjordania,Syria Arabia, Transjordania, p"*i*tty in Palestine, Palestine,Arabia, the Church, Great Church, at the tamia. the Great joined in the orthodoxy of the the orthodoxy Others joined tamie. Others these of some culture; some same these Semitic culture; traces of Semitic preservingtraces time preserving sametime chaldea". and Chaldea". still Ethiopia and of Ethiopia churchesof persistin in the the Churches still persist


III lll

Th Thee Fo Forrr u.. Go spe ls. Gospels. So u... :es an Sourcc$ andd His History, lor y. In the the writin writings gs that come comefrom the the early stages stagesof Christ christianianity, the Gospel tne s are Gospels are not mentio mentioned ned until long long after the the works of 1tr' Paul. Peul. It It was wes not not until the the middle middle of the the Second second centur century y A.D., A.D., after sfter 140 140 A.D. A.D. to be precise, be precise , that accoun aecounts ts began began to appea appear r conconcernin eerning g aa collect .,from ion of Evang collection Evangelic elic writin gs. In spite of this, "from writings. the be$nning ing of the the Second secondcentur y A.D., century A.D., many many Christ chrigtian ian auaulle beginn thorg clearly thors clearly intima intimatc te that they paul's letthey knew knew aa great many many of Paul's ter8." These ters." Theseobserv observations ations are are set set out in the Introduction ttre Introd uction to the Etumenieal Ecume nical Tro,na Trowlati,on lation 01 of tke the Bible, Biblc, New Neur Testam (IntroducTestamemt ent (Introd uction a l la la Tradu Traduction ction oecum oecumdnique enique de de la Bible, Bible, Nouve Nouveau au TestaTestement) edited ment) edited 1972). rgzg'. They They are are worth mentio rnentioning ning from the outset, outset, and it is useful and uEefulto point out here here that the work referre referred d to is the result of aa collect result collective ive effort which which brough broughtt togeth together er more more than protestant bne hundre hundred hne d Cathol catholic ic and and Protes tant specia specialists. lists. The Gospel The Gospels, s, later to becom become e official official, , Le. i.e. canoni canonic, c, did not bebecome come known known until fairly fairly late, late, even even though though they were were comple completed ted at the the beginn beginning ing of the the Second secondcentur centu"y y A.D. e.o. hccording According L to flr" the Ecumenical Ecume nical Transl rranslation, ation, stories stories belong belonging ing to them them bee;'n began to be be quotedaround quoted around the the middle middle of the the Second secondcentur century y A.D. A.D. NevertheNevertheless,"it less, is nearly nearly always "it is alwaysdifficu difficult lt to decide decidewheth quotations whether the quotat er the ions come comefrom writte writtenn texts textg that the the author authors had next to them s had them or if if the latter were the were conten oontent t to evoke evokethe the memor memory y of fragm fragments ents of the oral traditi oral tradition." on." "Befor e 140 r40 A.D." we "Before we read read in the the comm commentaries entaries this translatransla ,,there was, tion of the the Bible Bible contai contains, ns, "there was, in any any case, case,no no accoun sccount, t¡ t. Pub. 1. Prb. Edition Ed*onr s du Cerf parig. cerf et Lea Ler Bergers et les Mages, Paris.

54 S4


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ordfilffit

tU 55

by which ODe might have recognised a collection of evangelic bywhichonemighthaverecognlgedaeollecfronofgvsngpllc writings". firie This stat€m€nt statement isis the the opposite opposite of of what what A. A. Tricot TricOt #tings". of translation in the the comlnentaty commentary to to his his translation of the the New New writes (1960) (1960) in writ€E the begiinning beginning of of th9 the Second Second Testament: "Very "Very eerly early on, on, from from the Tegtoment: A.D., itit became becameaa habit habit to to say say 'Goapel' 'Gospel' meaning meaning the the books books century A.D., century 'Ttre called aleo that Saint Saint Justin Justin around around 160 150 A.D. A.D. h8d had also called 'The Memoirs Memoirs thet of the the Apoetles'." Apostles'." Unfortunately, Unfortunately, assertions assertions of of this this kind kind anc are of tfie on sufticiently common common for for the the public publie to to have have ideas ideas on the date date of of sgfrciently the Goepels Gospels which whieh ere are mistaken. mistaken. the The Gospels Gospels did did not not form form aa c'omplete complete whole whole 'very 'very eerly early on'; on'; The end the did not not happen happen until until more more than than aa centurt' centurY after after end of of itit did Bibln esti' Jesus's mission. mission. The Ecrtmertcal Ecumenical Ttawlntimt Translation of of the Bible estiJesus's four Gospels Gospels acguired aequired the status of of canonic canonie mates the date the four mates literature at arsund around 1?0 170 A.D. literature Justin's statement statement which calls calls the authors authors 'Apostles' ·Apostles' is not Justin'g aceeptable either, as as w€ we shall see. see. acceptable far as as the dste date the Gospgls Gospels were written written is concerned, eoncerned, A' A. As far and Luke's Luke's Gospels Gospels were were Tricot Mstthew'g, Mark's and ststes that Matthew's, Trieot states exceptperhaps written perhaps acceptable,exeept ?0 A.D.: but this is not acceptable, before 70 written before goesout of for Mark. Following many commentatorgoes thie commentator others, this many others, apostlesor the apostles as the Gospelsas his way to present the Gospels pres€nt the authors of the the authors detes of suggestsdates he suggests the reason he Jesus.For this reason companiottsof Jesus. the companions lived. As for Jesuslived. As time Jesus writing the time near to the placethem them very near tttst plaee writing that A.D.' 100A.D., roughly 100 lived until roughly John, us believe believelived hasus A. Tricot has *tto* A. John,whom being as depictedas being him depicted Christians to seeing seeinghim usedto beenused havealways slwaysbeen christians have difficult very difficult is very It is very occasions.It ceremonisloccasions. on ceremonial to Jesus Jesuson near to very near bears that Gospelthat bears of the the Gospel however author of the author he is is the that he sssert that to assert howeverto the Apostle Apostle commentators, his the other commentators, asfor for other Tricot, as A. Tricot, For A. his name. name.For of the the qualifiedwitness witnessof John offieisllyqualified (like Matthew) the officially was the Matthew) was John (like supnot supdo not critics do of critics facts majority of the majority althoughthe recounts,although he recounts, fects he Gospel. fourth Gospel. the fourth wrote the port he wrote sayshe which says port the hypothesiswhich the hypothesis be reasonablybe questioncannot cannotreasonably If in question four Gospels Gospelsin the four howeverthe If however 'Memoirs' of or companions companionsof regarded apostlesor the apostles of the the 'Memoirs' of as the regardedas Jesus, from ? comefrom? theYcome dothey wheredo Jesus,where (Le Nouveau Nouveau Testament(Le O. Culmann, in his book The NewTestament The New his book in culmann, o. the only the were only evangelistswere Testament) \ says the evangelists that the of this this that seysof Testament)', wrote ,,spokesmen whichwrote eommunitywhich "spokesmen of earlyChristian christian community theearly of the years' GostheGosor forty For thirty or forty years, the down the oral tradition. thirty For tradition. oral the down 1967 Paris, 1967 1.1. Pub. Fr'nce, Paris, de France, Univereitsires de FreEE€sUniversitaires P"b. Preases


58 t0

THE TrIE BmLE BIELF,', THE TIIE QUR'A CE SCTENCE QUn?NN AND SCIEN

pel had existed pel existed as as an almost exclus ively oral traditi exclusively tradition: on: the latter latter only transm itted saying transmitted sayingss and isolate isolated d narrati narratives. ves. The evange lists strung evangelists strung them togeth together, er, each eaeh in his own way way accordin g to his own charac cording ter and theolog character ical preoccupations. theologieal preoccupations. They linked up the narrat ions and saying narrations s handed sayings handed down by the prevai prevailing ling traditi on. The groupi tradition. grouping ng of Jesus's Jesus's saying sayingrs and and likewi se the sequen likewise ce of narrat sequence narratives ives is made made by the use use ,after this', 'when of fairly fairly vague ,when vague linking phrases linking phrase s such such as as 'after .framework' he he had' had'etc. etc. In rn other words, words, the 'frame work' of of the Synop tic synoptic Gospel st is of aa purely literar Gospelsl literaryy order and is not based based on history history." ." The same sameauthor contin eontinues ues as as follow followss:: ''It "rt must be be noted noted that that the needs preaching, needs of preach ing, worshi worshipp and teachin teaehing, g, more than biogra biographicar phical consid considerationsn erations, were what guided the early commu guided community nity when it it wrote down the tratradition of the life of Jesus. Jesus. The apostle apostles s illustr illustrated ated the truth truth of the faith faith they t!"y were preach preaehing ing by describ deseribing ing the events events in the life life of Jesus. Jesus. Their Their sermon Be"rnons s are what caused caused the dedeseriptions scripti ons to be be writte writtenn down. down. The saying sayings s of Jesus Jesus were transmitted, transm itted, in particu partieular, lar, in the teachin teaching g of the catech ism catechism of the early Church Church." ." This is exactly how the comm commentators entato rs of the Ecumen{,eal Ecumenical Translation Transl ation of the the Bible Bibte (Tradu (Traduction ction oecum{ oecumâ&#x201A;Źnique mique de de la Ia Bible) describe describ e the writin writingg of the Gospe Gospers: ls: the format formation ion of an oral orar tradition traditi influenced on influen ced by the preach preaehingr ings of Jesus's Jesus,s discipl disciples es and preachers; other preach preservation ers; the preser vation by- preach preaching ing of this materi materiar, al, which is in actual fact faet found in the Gospel Gospels, s, by preaching, preaching, Iiturgy,, and teachi liturgy teaching ng of the faithfu faithful;l; the slende slenderr por*ilititv possibility of of a concrete concre te form given by writin writings gs to certain câ&#x201A;Źttain c0nfes confessions sions of faith, faith," sayings saying passion Jesus, descrip s of Jesus, deseriptions tions of the Passio n for for examp example; le; the fact that the evange evangelists lists resort to variou variouss writte writtenn forms as as well wen as data as data contai contained ned in the oral traditi tradition. on. They resort to these these to produce produc texts which e texts which "are suitabl suitable various e for variou circles, s circles , which meet meet the needs needsof the the the Church church,, explai explain observations n observ ations on on the Scriptu scriptures, res, correctt errors and correc and even, even, on occasio oceasion, answer n, answe adversaries' r advers aries' objecobjections. tions. Thus Thus the evange evangelists, lists, each each accord according ing to his own outlook ouilook,, have collect have collected and record recorded ed and writingg the materi ed in writin material al given to them the oral traditi by the tradition". on". 1. The three Gospels 1. Goepelsof Mark, Mark, Matthew and Luke.


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This position position has has been been collectively collectively adopted adopted by by more more than than one one This hundred experts experts in in the the exegesis exegesis of of the the New New Testament, Testament, botr both hundred Catholic snd and Protestant. Protestant. ItIt diverges diverges widely widely from from the the line line estab estabCatholic lished by by the the Second Second Vatican Vatican Council Council in in its its dogmatic dogmatic constitution constitution Iished on the the Revelation Revelation drawn drawn up up between between 1962 and and 1966. 1965. This This con' conon ciliar document has has already already been been referred referred to to once above, above, when when ciliar talking of of the the Old Testament. Testament. The The Council Council was able to to declare talking of the the latter latter that that the the books which which compose itit "contain "contain material material of which is imperfect imperfect and obsolete", but but itit has not not expressed expressed the the which same reservations reservations about about the the Gospels, Gospels. On the contrary' contrary, 8s as we same in the the following: following: read in "Nobody fact that, that, among all all the Scriptures' Scriptures, ean "Nobody can overlook the fact of the New New Testament, the Gospels Gospels have a well-deeven those of of superiority. superiority. This This is by virtue virtue of of the fect fact thst that served position of senred they represent the most pre-eminent pre-eminent witness to the life life and they teachings of of the Incafnate Incarnate Word, Our Saviour. At At all times and teachings meintains the still maintains in all places places the Church has maintained and still aetually apostles actually apostolic What the apostles Gospels. What origin of the four four Gospels. apostolic origin their folpreached on Christ's Christ's orders, both they and the men in their inspiration of lowing with the divine inspiration transmitted, with lowing subsequently transmitted, i.e. the Spirit, writings which are the foundation of the faith, i.e. Spirit, in writings snd the fourfold Gospel according to Matthew, Mark, Luke and fourfold Gospel John." and still "Our has firmly firmly maintained and Church, has "Our Holy Mother, the Church, these four Gospels, Gospels, maintains with greatest constancy, constancy, that these with the greatest authentic, which it unhesitatingly confirms historieally authentic, confirms are historically and faithfully Son Of God, Jesus, Son God, actually did and transmit what Jesus, faithfully transmit taught men for their eternal salvation his life among among men taught during his The heavens. . . The until the into the the heavens.... up into taken up when He He was was taken the day day when in such sueh aa Gospels in sacred four Gospels the four composedthe therefore composed authors therefore sacred authors the life life on the way information on give us frank information true and and frank us true to always always give as to way as of of Jesus". Jesug". which with which fidelity with This of the affirmation of the fidelity is an an unambiguous unambiguous affirmation This is the of Jesus. Jesus' sayings of and sayings the acts acts and transmit the Gospelstransmit the Gospels afCouncil's afthe Council's There between the compatibility between any compatibility is hardly hardly any There is particular In quoted claim. what the authors quoted above claim. In particular firmation and above the authors firmation and what the following: the following: ste uwritings they are The "usri'tings literallg" they be taken taken literally" not to to be "are not The Gospels GospelsHare "d're aUthOrs Their suited to an occasion" or ucombat writings". Their authors Hare sutted,tO an occASiOn"Ot "cornbat Writingy".


saTE

THE QUR'AN AND THEB18LE, BI8I.F'TIlE TTilE ANDSCIENCE SCIENCE QIJN'AN

ufit@. down d'owntM ttwtroditi0ft8 traditiotrt of mUng of tMir tlwir own owncommunity eoftrrnuni,tyconcerning ctnccrning (Father Kannengiesser). Junt". (Father l(annengiesser). JUUB". TheGospels Gospelsare eretexts texts which which "are The suitablefor "are suitable for various various circles, circles, meetthe theneeds needeof of the theChurch, church,explain meet explainobservations observationson onthe theScripscriptutrt, correct eorrectenors ertorB and and even, tures, even,on on occasion, occasion,answer answeradversaries' adversaries' objections.Thus, Thus,the theevangelists, evangelistE, objections. each eaehaccording aecordingto to his his own ownoutouL look,have hsvecollected collectedand raecorded and recorded look, in in writing writing the th; material given material given to them them by by the the oral oral tradition". (Ecumeni,eal, tradition". (Ecumenical to TranBlation Translation of n" if the Biblal. Bible). quite clear rt is is quite clear that that we we are It are here here faced faced with with contradictory contradictory statements: the declaration deelarationof statements: the of the the Council Councilon the one on the onehand, hand,and and rucently adopted gore recently adoptedattitudes attitudes on more on the the other. other. According According to to the the declarationof of the the Second secondVatican vatican Council, declaration couneil, aa faitltful faithful account accountof of the actions actionsand and words words of of Jesus Jesusis is to the to be befound found in in the the Gospels; cospets;but but it is ia impossible impossibleto to reconcile reconeilethis with the it the existence existencein the ttre text of of eontredictions, improbabilities, things contradictions, improbabilities, thinep which which are are materially imim_ posgibleor statements statementswhich run contrary pouible contrgrr to firmly established estabiished rnality. reality. rf' on on the the other hand, hand, OBe one chooses If, choosesto regard regard the the Gospels Gospelsas as erpressing expressing the personal personal point of view of those those who who collected colloLo the tn* orel oral treditionetraditions that belonged belonged to various various communities, communities, or or ag as writingr writings guited suited to an occasion occasion or combat-writings, combat-writings, itit does does not not oomâ&#x201A;Ź come 8a as a gurprise surprise to find faults in the Gospels. Gospels. All All these these faulh faults rre the are the sign that that they were were written written by men men in circumstances circumstances gueh such es as these. these. The writers writers may have have b*tt been quite sincere, sincere, even even though though they they relate faets facts without without doubting their their inaccura*y. inaccuracy. rn*y They provide provide u$ US' with with descriptions descriptions which which contradiet contradict other other authors' authors' nrrrationE, narrations, or or are are influeneed influenced by by reasons reasons of of religious religious rivelry rivalry bebetween tween cornmunities. communities. They They therefore therefore present present stories stories about about the the life life of of Jesus Jesus from from aa completery completely different different angre angle than than their their adversaries. adversaries. rtIt hss has already already been been shown shown how how the the historical historical context context is is in in herrnony harmony with with the the second second approach approach to to the the Gospels. Gospels. The The data data we we hsve have on on the the tâ&#x201A;Źxts texts themselves themselves definitively definitively confirms confirms it. it. THE THE @SPEf, GOSPEL ACCOrc,ING ACCORDING TO TO MATTHEW MATTHEW Mstthew's Matthew's isis the the first first of of the the four four Gospels Gospels as as they they appear appear in in the New Testament. the New Testament. This This position position isis perfecily perfectly justined-by justified by the the faet faet that that itit isis ea prolongation, prolongation, as as itit were, were, of of the the oltl Old restament. Testament.


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waswrittcn writtento to show showthat that"Jesus "Jesusfulfilled fulfilled the thehistory history of of fsr&e!", Israel", ItItwss Bibl'e the af Trs,nglf,,tion as the commentators of the Ecumenical Tra.nslation of the Bible Eeu,rnenied, the of commentatorg es the sor do To heavily. note and on which we shall be drawing heavily. To do so, be drawing shall we whieh note and on Testament Old the from quotations Matthew constantly refers to quotations from the Old Testament to refers constsntly Matthew which show show how how Jesus Jesus acted acted 8s as ifif he he were were the the Messiah Messiah the the Jews Jews which were awaiting. were awaiting. This Gospel Gospel begns begins with with aa genealogy genealogy of of Jesus'. Jesus 1 â&#x20AC;˘ Matthew Matthew traces traces This in fault the presently see it back to Abraham via David. We shall presently see the fault in shall we via David. to Abraham it back obMatthew's ignore. the text that most commentators silently ignore. Matthew's obsilently most commentators the text that vious intention intention was was nevertheless nevertheless to to indicate indicate the the general general tenor tenor of of vious descendants' of line this his work straight away by establishing this line of descendants. by establishing away his work straight The authot author .otttinues continues the the same line line of of thought thought by by constantly constantly The law, Jewish toward bringing to the forefront attitude toward Jewish law, the the attitude Jesus's forefront the to bringing chardispensing (praying, and main principles of which (praying, fasting, dispensing charfasting, principles which of main ity) are summarized summarized here. are ity) -Jesus Jesus addresses addresses His His teachings first first and foremost foremost to His His own own people. This This is how He speaks speaks to the twelve Apostles: "Go nopeople. Samaritensz2 of the Samaritans where town of Gentiles, and enter no town smong the Gentiles, whire among (Matthew Israel." (Matthew house of IsraeI." but of the house sheep of rsther to the lost sheep but go rather Israel"' house 10,5-6). "I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel". sheep "I wgs 10, 6-6). place, second place, (Matthew Gospel, in second At the end of his Gospel, (Matthew 15, L6, 24). 24',). At disciples first disciples Matthew Jesus's first Matthew extends the apostolic mission of Jesus's following order: "Go to Jesus give the following makes Jesus nations. He makes all nations. to all 19) ' (Matthew 28, 28' 19), therefore disciples of all nations" (Matthew make disciples and make therefore and 'house of A' Israel'' of the but the primary destination must be the ~house Israel'. A. be primary destination the but flesh garb, the the flesh Greek garb, its Greek Tricot of this lhis Gospel, Gospel, "Beneath "Beneath its says of Tricot says has aa it has its spirit; is its spirit; it so is and and so Jewish, and are Jewish, book are this book of this bones of end bones Jewish signs". distinctive signs". its distinctive and bears bears its feel and Jewish feel of origins of the origins alone, the On the basis of these observations alone, observations of these basis the On Judeos of a Judeotradition of placed in the tradition in the Matthew's be placed may be Gospel may MattheCs Gospel community this Christian community. According to Culmann, O. Culmann, this community to O. Aceording co1Rmuniff. Christian time sametime the at while "was trying to break away fromJudaism while at the same Judaism from away bresk to "was trying premain preThe main Testament' The preserving the Old Testament. the Old of the continuity of ttt" continuity p"***itg point towards Gospelpoint towards this Gospel occupations of this genlral tenor tenor of the general and the occupationsand aastrained situation." situation." streined with dealt with bedealt will be Gospelwill Luke's Gospel 1.1. The with Luke's contrediction with in contradiction that itit isis in fact that Thefact inin aaseparate chePter. rePaf,atechapter. lived they lived Pentateuch; they or Pentateuch; Torah or 2.z. The religious code the Torah wasthe codewas Scmeritens'ieligious The Samaritans' Jewish most to faithful were inin the expectation of the Messiah and were faithful to most Jewish and the expectation ol th" Messiah at Jerusalem. Jerusalem' oneat the one Temple toto the observances, rival Temple built aarival hadbuilt they had but they obreryances, but


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There are also politic political al factors to be be found in the text. The Roman Roman occupa oceupation tion of Palest ine natura Palestine naturally lly height heightened ened the desire desire of this countr countryy to see see itself itself liberat liberated. ed. They prayed for for God God to interve intervene ne in favour of the people people He had chosen chosenamong alI all others others,, and as as their their omnip omnipotent otent sovere sovereign ign who could could Biv~ givg direct suppo support rt to the affairs of men, men, as as He had alread already y done done-many many times in the course course of history history.. What what sort of person person was was Matthe Matthew w?? Let us us say straig straight ht away that that he he is no longer acknow acknowredged ledged to be be one one of Jesus's Jesus's compa compannions. ions. A. Tricot Tricot nevert nevertheless presents heless presen ts him as as such such in his comcommenta mentary ry to the transla translation tion of the New Testam Testament, ent, 1960: tg60: "Matth ew alias, alias, Levi, was "Matthew was aa custom customs s officer officer employ employed ed at the tollgate or custom customs s house house at Capha capharnaum rnaum when Jesus Jesus called called him to be be one one of His disciple disciples." s." This is the opinio opinion n of the Father Fatherss of the Church church,, Origen origen,, Jerom Jerome e and and Epipha Epiphanes. nes. This opinio opinion n is no longer held held today. today. One one point which is uncont uncontested ested is that the author is writin writingg "for peoprewho speak "for people speak Greek, Greek, but nevert nevertheress heless know Jewish Jewish custom customs s and and the Arama Aramaic ic langua language.,, ge." It would seem It seem that for for the comm commentators entato rs of the Ecume Ecumenicar nical Transl Translation, ation, the origin originss of this Gospel Gospel are as as follow follows: s: "It normally "rt is norma lly consid considered ered to have have been been writte writtenn in Syria, p€r_ syria, perhaps at Antioc haps phoenicia, Antioch (. . . ), or in Phoeni h (... cia, becaus because e a great many Jews Jews lived in these these countr countries.r ies. l ((.• •. •.)) we have have indica tions of a indications polemic polemi c agains againstt the orthod orthodox ox Judais Judaism m of the Synag ogue and the synagogue Pharasees Pharas ees such such as as was was manife manifested sted at the synago synagogal gal assemb ly at assembly Jamina Jamin a circa circa 80 80 A.D." A.D." In such such conditi conditions, ons, there there are many author authors s who date date the first of the Gospel g0-g0 A.D., Gospels s at about 80-90 perhaps A.D.; perhap s also also aa little little earlier earlier;; it possible it is not possibl e to be be absolu absolutely tely definit definite e about this ... about . . . since since we do do not know the author author's 's exact name, name, we must be be satisfie satisfied d with with a few outline ouflines s traced in the Gospel Gospel itself: itself : the author can can be be recogn recognized ized by his profes profession. sion. He is well-v well-versed ersed in Jewish writin writings gs and and traditi traditions. ons. He knows knows,, respec respects, ts, but vigorvigor_ ously ously challen challenges ges the religio religious us leader leaders s of his people people. . He is a past maste masterr in the art art of teachi teaching ng arid artd makin makinsg Jesus Jesus unders understandable tandab le to his listene listeners. rs. He always arways insists on the practic practical al conseq consequences uences of his teachin teachings. gs. He would fit fairly fairly well the descrip description' tion of an 1. t' It tt has t* been t*" thought thought that that the Judeo-C Judeo-Christian hristian commu community nity that that Matthew Matthes belonge belonged just as easily d to might might just eeairy have been been situated at Alexan Alexandria. dria. O. o. Cubnan culmannn refers refers to this hypothe hypothesis sis along along with with many many others. otherr.


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educated Jew Jew turned turned Christian; Christian; aa householder householder "who "who brings brings out out of' of educated his treasure treasure what what is is new new and and what what is is old" old" as as Matthew Matthew says says his servant at at CapharCaphar(13,52). This This is is aa long long way way from from the the civil civil servant (1g,52). naum, whom whom Mark Mark and and Luke Luke call call Levi, Levi, and and who who had had become become one one naum, of the twelve Apostles ... . . ' Apostles twelve of the Everyone agrees agrees in in thinking thinking that that Matthew Matthew wrote wrote his his Gospel Gospel Everyone using the the same same sources sources as as Mark Mark and and Luke. Luke. His His narration narration is, is, as as using we shall see, see, different different on several essential points. points. In In spite of of this' this, Matthew borrowed borrowed heavily heavily from from Mark's Mark's Gospel Gospel although although the the Matthew (O. ' latter was one of Jesus's disciples (0. Culmann). Culmann) disciples not of Jesus's one latter Matthew takes very very serious liberties liberties with with the text. text. We shall Matthew to the in relation see this when discuss the Testament in relation the Testament Old the discuss we see this genealogy of of Jesus Jesus whieh which is placed placed at at the beginning beginning of of his Gospel. Gospel. genealogy He inserts into into his book deseriptions descriptions which which are quite literally literally incredible. This This is the adjective used used in in the work work mentioned mentioned above above Resurthe in an episode by Father Kannengiesser referring episode Resurto referring Kannengiesser by Father rection; the episode episodeof the guard. He points out the improbability of the story referring military guards at the tomb, "these referring to military of superiors, Gentile soldiers" who "report, not to their hierarchical superiors, Gentile soldiers" howadds howbut to the high priests who pay them to tell lies". He adds Mattherv's ever: "One must not laugh at him because Matthew's intention because laugh "One incorporates ancient he incorporates was serious. In his own way he was extremely serious. scenario data from the oral tradition written work. The scenario tradition into his written is nevertheless Supersiar."' JesusChrist Superslar,!" worthy of Jesus neverthelessworthy comes from Let us on Matthew comes us not forget that this opinion on P*ris Institute of Paris an Catholic Institute at the the Catholic teaching at theologian teaching eminent theologian an eminent (Institut Paris). (Institut Catholique de Paris). Catholiquede the accompanying the events accompanying Matthew the events narration the his narration relates in in his Matthew relates imaS:ination' his of death of Jesus. They are another example of his imagination. example another are They of Jesus' death from two, from in two, torn in was torn "And temple was the temple of the the curtain curtain of behold, the "And behold, the split; rocks'were top to bottom; and the earth shook, and the rocks¡ were split; the the and shook, earth the and top to bottom; had saints who the of tombs also were opened, and many bodies of the saints who had bodies many and opened, were tombs also his after his tombs after of tombs out of fallen coming out and coming raised, and were raised, asleep were fallen asleep many"' to many." appearedto and appeared resurrection city and holy city into the the holy went into they went resurrection they corresponding has no no corresponding (27,61-53) This 51-53) has Matthew (27, pflssagefrom from Matthew This passage bodies the bodies how the to see passage in the other Gospels. It is difficult to see how difficult It is Gospels. the other p*rt"g* in -ot the deadat at the from the raisedfrom the dead of the haveraised questioncould couldhave in question saints in ttte saints eve the on was it time of Jesus's death (according to the Gospels it was on the eve the (according Gospels to d,eath of Jesus's time life of of Jesus. Jeeus' 1.1. An parodies the the life which parodies film which American film An American


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of the the Sabba th) and sabbath) and only only emerg emerge e from their tombs tombsafter his his resresurrect (according uveetion ion (accor ding to the the same samesource sources s on on the the day day after the the Sabba Sabbath). th). The fire most most notabl notable e improb improbabiliF ability is perhap perhaps s to to be be found found in Matthew. thew. It It is the the most most difficu difficult lt to rationa rationalize lize of all that the the Gospel Gospel author authors s claim claim Jesus Jesus said. said. He He relates relates in chapte chapter r 12, lz, 38-40 Bg-40 the the episod episode e concem concerning ing Jonah' Jonah's s sign: sign: Jesus Jesuswas was among amongthe the scribes scribesand pharisees and pharis ees who who addres addressed sed him him in the the follow following ing terms: terms: "Teach er, we we wish "Teacher, wish to see seeaa sign sign from you." you.,' But he he answe answered red them, them, "An evil and and adulte generation adurterous rous genera tion seeks seeksfor aa sign; but no no sign sign shall given to it except shall be be given exeeptthe the sign sign of the propheiJonah. the prophe t Jonah. For as as Jonah Jonahwas was three three days days and and three thre* nights night, in the the iely belly of the the whale, whale, so so will the the Son son of Man Man be be three three days d"yr and and three three nights nishts in the heart of the the the earth." Jesus Jesustheref therefore proclaims ore procla ims that he he will will stay stay in the the earth three three days days and and three three nights nights.. So so Matthe Matthew, w, along along with Luke Luke and and Mark, place the place the death death and and burial of Jesus Jesus on on the the eve eve of the the Sabba sabbath. th. This, of course This, course, , makes makes the the time spent spent in the the earth three three days days (treis emeras (treiB 6mera,e in the the Greek Greektext), but this period period can eanonly only include inelude two and and not not three three nights l nights (treis (treis nuktas nuktas in initre the Greek Greektext texi,;. ) . 'Father Gospel comm Gospel commerrtators entators freque frequenily ntly ignore ignore this episod e. Fathe r episode. Roguet Rogue nevertheless t nevert points out heless points out this improb improbability ability when when he he notes notes that Jesus Jesus "only stayed stayed in the the tomb" three three days (one of them days (one them complete) comple .,it is te) and and two nights nights. . He He adds addshowev however er that ttrat "it is aa set exset expression pressio n and and really really means meansthree three days". days". It rt is disturb ing to see disturbing see commentators comm entators reduce reduced d to using using argum arguments ents that do do not not contai n contain positive any positiv any e meanin meaning. g. It It would would be be much much more more satisfy ing intellec satisfying intellectually to say say that aa gross g:rosserror such such as as this was was the the result of aa scribe's scribe' s mistake mistak e!! Apart from these these improb improbabilities, abilities, what mosily mostly disting distinguishes uishes Matthe lt[atthew's w's Gospel Gospelis that it it is the the work of a a JudeoJudeo-Christian Christ ian commu community nity in the the process process of breaking breaki ng awey away from Judaism Judais m while while remaining remain ing in line with the the ord Old Testameni. Testament. From the the point of view view of Judeo-christian Judeo-Christian history history it it is very import important. ant. 1. 1JfiIn 8fith-er another part part of'his of his Gospel Gospel Matthew Matthew again refers refers to this this episode episode but but without being precise about the time *ithout time (ro, (16, 1-4). r-l). The same same is true true for for Luke (11,29-sz). (11, 29-32). we We shall see see rater later on how in Dlark, Mark, Jesus Jesus is saia said to heve have declared that that no sign wourd would be given given to that that s*rr*""ti* generat ion rlt*"t (Mark 8 8,, 11-12). 1t-12).


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THE GOSPEL GOSPEL ACCORDINC TO MANK MAlU< ACCOIf,.ING TO THE also It is This is the shortest of the four Gospels. It is also the the oldest' oldest, This is the shortest of the four Gospels. best At apostle. an by but in spite of this it is not a book written by an apostle. At best written but in spite of this it is not a book it was written by an apostle's disciple. disciple. it was written by an apostle's O. Culmann Culmann has has written written ttrat that he he does does not not consider consider Msrk Mark to to be be O. those points to out, a disciple of Jesus. The author nevertheless points out, to those nevertheless s disciple of Jesus. The author the ascription ascription of of this this Gospel Gospel to to the the who have have misgivings misgivings shut about the who thie used have not Apostle Mark, that "Matthew and Luke would not have used this would Apostle Mark, that "Matthew and Luke Gospel in in the the way way they they did did had they they not not known known that that itit was indeed Gospel based on the the teachings teachings of of an apostle". apostle". This This argument argument is is in in no expresses he Culmann backs up the the reseruations reservations expresses way decisive. decisive. O. Culmann way by saying saying that that he frequently frequently quotes from from the the New New Testament Testament the the by 'John quotations These Mark'. of a certain certain 'John nicknamed nicknamed Mark'. quotations sayings of do not not however however mention mention the name of of a Gospel Gospel author, author, and the the text of Mark itself does not name any author. author. text of Mark itself does not of information information on this this point point has led commentators paucity of The paucity preto dwell on details that rsther extravagant: extravagant: using the prer seem rather thst seem text, wss the only evangelist to relate that Mark Mark was for example, text, for example, that in story of the young man who of the Passion the story deseription of in his description seized, and, when seized, had nothing but aa linen cloth about his body and, (Mark 6L-62) t4, 51-52),' they left left the linen cloth and ran away naked (Mark 14, faithful Mark, "the conclude been Mark, "the faithful men must have been that the young man conclude that (Ecumenical Transladisciple disciple who tried to follow the teacher" tion). see in this "personal memory aa sign tion). Other commentators see that of authenticity, an anonymous signature", which "proves "proves that authenticity, en anonymous signature", he was an eyewitness" (0. Culmann). (O. Culmann). he was an eyewitness" phrase corroborate corroborate of phrase O. turns of that "many considers that "m&ny turns O, Culmann Culmann considers the but the origin," the Jewish origin," but was of of Jewish author was that the the author hypothesis that the hypothesis written he had presence that he had written suggest that might suggest presenceof expressionsmight of Latin Latin expressions to Chris~ Chris:'.. moreover to his himself moreover addresseshimself in Rome. Rome. "He Gospel in his Gospel "He addresses the Aramic to explain explain the Aramic tians is careful careful to and is in Palestine Palestine and not living living in tians not expressians he uses." uses." expressionshe companion as Peter's Peter's companion Tradition Mark as to see seeMark tended to indeed tended has indeed Tradition has letter first letter of Peter's Peter's first in final section section of the final on the founded on It is is founded Rome. It in Rome. in wrote Peterwrote in (always the author). author). Peter wasindeed indeedthe hewas (alwayssupposing that he supposingthat likeis which is likeat Babylon, Babylon, which his is at which is community which letter: "The his letter: "The community sonMark." Mark." "By my son "By wise yougreetings; greetings; and sodoes doesmy andso sendsyou chosen,sends wisechosen, comthe comread in in the we read Rome" we Babylon, probably meant meant isis Rome" is probably what is Babylon, what comthe comthis, the From this, mentar~ Translation. From Ecumenical Translation. the Ecumenical to the mentary to


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mentators then then imagine imagine themselves mentators themselvesauthorized authorized to to conclude coneludethat that peter Mark, who was supposed Mark, who was supposed to to have have been beenwith with Peter in in Rome, Rome, was was the Evangelist 'fuasnot Evangelist ...One . . .one wonders the wonderswhether whether itit was not the the same sameline line reasoning that of reasoning that led led Papias, of Papias, Bishop Bishop of of Hierapolis Hierapolis in in circa circa 150 160 .peter's interpreter' 4.D., to to ascribe ascribe this A.D., this Gospel Gospelto to Mark Mark as as IPeter's interpreter' and and paul. possiblecollaborator the possible collaborator of the of Paul. point seen from this Seen from this point of of view, view, the the composition composition of of Mark's Mark's Gospel Gospel placedafter couldbe beplaced after Peter's eould Peter's death, death,Le. i.e.at at between between65 66 and and 70 A.D. ?0 A.D. for the the Ecumenical EcumenicalTranslation rranslation and for and circa circa 70 ?0 A.D. A.D. for for O. o. Culmann. Culmann. The text text itself itself unquestionably unquestionably reveals The râ&#x201A;Źveals aa major major flaw; flaw; it it is is writwritten with a total disregard to ten with a total disregard to chronology. chronology. Mark Mark therefore plaees, thereiore places, at the the beginning beginning of of his (1, 16-20), at his narration narration (1, 16-20), the the episode episodeof of the tt* four fishermen whom Jesus four fishermen whom Jesusleads leads to to follow follow him him by simply simply saying saying you become will make make you "I will become fishers "I fishers of of men", though they th;i do do not not even know Him. The The evangelist evangerist shows, even know Him. shows, among among other things, ihingr, a, completelack of plausibility. plausibility. complete 'a clumsy writer', 'the Roguet has has said, As Father Roguet said, Mark Mark is la writer,, .the weakest *ll the evangelists'; he weakest of all he hardly hardly knows how to write write aa nerrative. The commentator reinforces his observation narrative. by quotobservation by passag:eabout ing aa passage sbout how the twelve Aposfles ing Apostles were selected. selected. literal translation: Here is the literal translation: "And he went up into "And into the hills, and called to him him those whom whom he desired; and they came came to him. And And he made that that the twelve he were were to be with with him, him, and to be sent out out to preach and have auauthority thority to cast out out demons; and he made the twelve and imposed the the name name Simon on Peter" Peter" (Mark, (Mark, g, 3, 18-16). 13-16). He He contradicts contradicts Matthew Matthew and Luke, Luke, as as has has already already been been noted noted above, above, with with regard regard to to the the sign sign of of Jonah. Jonah. on On the the subject subject of of signs signs grven given by by Jesus Jesus to to men men ln in the the course c<lurse of of Iris His mission mission Mark Mark (g, (8, 11-18) 11-18) describes describes an an episode episode that that is is hardly hardly credible: credible: "The "The Pharisees Pharisees came came and and began began to to argue argue with with him, him, seeking seeking from test him. him. And And he he sighed sighed deeply deeply from him him aa sign sign from from heaven, heaven, to to test in in his his spirit, spirit, and and said, said, 'why 'Why does does this this generation generation seek seek aa sign? sign? Truly, say to to you, you, no no sign sign shall shall be be given given to to this this generation.' generation.' And And Truly, II say he he left left them, them, and and getting getting into into the the boat boat again again he he departed departed to to the the other other side." side." There be no no doubt doubt that that this this isis an an affirmation affirmation coming coming from from There can can be Himself Jesus about his intention Jesus Himself about his intention not not to to commit commit any any act act which which might might appear apPear supernatural. supernatural. Therefore Therefore the the commentators commentators ofof the the


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Ecumenical Translation, Translation, who who are are surprised surprised that that Luke Luke says says Jesus Jesus Ecumenical Gospel), Matthew's see will only give one sign (the sign of Jonah; see Matthew's Gospel), (the of Jsnah; sign give sign one will only 'paradoxical' that that Mark Mark should should say say "no "no sign sign shall shall be be consider itit 'paradoxical' consider that the note, given to this generation" seeing, as they note, the "miracles that "miracles 8s they generation" seeing, given to this 1'20) Jesus himself himself gives gives as as aa sign" sign" ((Luke Luke 77,22 ,22 and 111,20). Jesus Mark's Gospel Gospel as as aa whole whole is is officially officially recognised recognised as as being being Mark's (16'19Gospel canonic. All All the the same, same, the the final final section section of of Mark's Mark's Gospel (16,19eanonic. 20) is is considered considered by by modern modern authors authors to to have have been been tacked tacked on on to to 20) quite explicit the basic basic work: work: the the Ecumenical Ecumenical Translation Translation is is quite explicit the about this. this. about This final section is not not contained in in the two two oldest complete complete This Codex lhe and Vaticanus of Gospels, Codex the Codex manuscripts the Coder the of Gospels, manuscripts O. Culmann A.D. that date from th~ Fourth century O. Sinaiticus century the Fourth from Sirnitieus that notes on this this subiect subject that: that: "More "More recent Greek Greek manuscripts and notes on appearances point conclusion certain versions at this point added a conclusion appearances added certain Gospels." which is not drawn Mark but from In from the other Gospels." In from Mark drawn from which In the numerous. In fact, added ending are very numerous. verrsionsof this added fact, the versions reproduced in texts versions (both are reproduced texts there are long and short versions 1952). Sometimes Sometimesthe long the Version, 1952). Standard Version, Revised Standard the Bible, Bible, Revised version has some someadditional material. version has on the comments on Father makes the following comments Kannengiesser makes Father Kannengiesser when surpressed ending: "The last verses must have been surpressed when his have been verses ending: "The the in it) of popular (or version of it) in the version work the received (or the offieially received was officially work was Luke Matthew, Luke Neither Matthew, community guaranteed its validity. Neither its validity. that guaranteed community that gap the gap Nevertheless, the or section. Nevertheless, missing section. the missing saw the John saw ot at fortiori fortior"aJohn of writings of the writings when the was time afterwards, afterwards, when A long long time unacceptable.A was unacceptable. circulain been had and John, all of them SImilar, had been in circulaMatthew, Luke similar, Matthew, Luke and John, all of them were Its elements elementswere tion, was composed. composed.Its Mark was to Mark ending to worthy ending tion, aa worthy be It would would be other Gospels. Gospels. It taken the other throughout the taken from from sources sources throughout Mark puzzle by by enumerating enumerating Mark piecesof easy the puzzle of the the pieces recognisethe easy to to recognise wsy free the of idea (16,9-20). One would gain a more concrete idea of the free way gain a more concrete (16,9-20). One would hanwas narration genre of in the evangelic of the evangelic narration was hanliterary genre in which which the the literary A'D'" dled century A.D." the Second Secondcentury of the beginnings of dleduntil until the thebeginnings the thoughts thoughts in the here,in gdmissionisis provided provided for ushere, What for us blunt admission what aablunt texts in the texts exists of a great theologian, that human manipulation exists in the manipulation human that of a great theologian, of the Scriptures of the Scriptures ! !


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THE GOSPEL THE GOSPEL ACCORDING ACCORDING TO TO LUKE LUKE 'chronicler', For O. o. Culrnann, culmann, Luke Luke is For is aa 'chronicler', and and for for Father Father KanKan'true novelist'. nengiesserhe he isis aa 'true nengiesser novelist'. In prologueto In his his prologue to Theophilus, Theophilus, Luke warns warns us that he, usthat Luke he,in in his his turn, turn, following following on on from from others others who who havewritten written accounts accountsconcerning write have concerningJesus, going to Jesus,is is going to write aa narnarrative of of the the same samefacts facts using rative using the the accounts accounts and and information information of of eyewitnesses-implying that eyewitnesses-implying not one-including that he he himself himself is is not one-including information from from the apostles' preachings. preachings. It information the apostles' It is is therefore therefore to to be be pieceof methodical piece of work aa methodical in the following work which which he he introduces introduces in the following terms: terms: "rnasmuch as as many many have have undertaken "Inasmuch undertaken to to compile compile aa narrative narrative of of the things things which which have have been the among us, just as beenaccomplished accomplishedamong us, as they they were delivered delivered to to us us by by those were those who wlio from the beginning were eyeeyewitnessesand and ministers ministers of the word, witnesses word, it seemed good to me seemedgood me also, also, having informed informed myself about having about all things from their beginnings, beginnings, to write an orderly account you, most excellent to write an account for you, excellent Theophilus, Thlophilus, you may know the truth that you truth concerning things of which you that have beeninformed." informed," have been From the very first line one From that separates Luke one can see see all that separates Luke from the the'scribbler' Mark to whose 'scribbler' Mark work we have have just just referred. whose work Luke's Gospel incontestably a literary Gospelis incontestably Luke's literary work written written in classical classical Greek free from from any barbarisms. Greek Luke was a cultivated Gentile Gentile convert to Christianity. Christianity. His His atattitude titude towards the Jews Jews is immediately apparent. apparent. As o. O. Culmann Culmann points points out, out, Luke leaves leaves out Mark's Mark's most Judaic verses verses and highhighliehts the Jews' incredulity incredulity at at Jesus's Jesus's words, throwing throwing into into relief relief lights his good good relations with with the samaritans, Samaritan~, whom whom the the Jews Jews detested. detested. Matthew, Matthew, on the the other other hand, hand, has has Jesus Jesus ask ask the the aposiles apostles to to flee flee from from them. This This is just just one of of many many striking striking examples examples of of the the fact fact that that the the evangelists evangelists make make Jesus Jesus say say whatever whatever suits suits their their own own personal personal outlook. outlook. They They probably probably do do so so with with sincere sincere convicconviction. tion. They They give give us us the the version version of of Jesus's Jesus's words words that that is is adapted adapted to to the the point point of of view view of of their their own own community. community. How How can can one one deriy deny in the in the face face of of such such evidence evidence that that the the Gospels Gospels are are ,combat 'combat writwrit'writings ings' ings' or or 'writings suited suited to to an an occasion', occasion', as as has has been been mentioned mentioned already? already? The The comparison comparison between between the the general general tone tone of of Luke's Luke's Gospel Gospel and and lvlatthew's Matthew's isis in in this this respect respect aa good good demonstration. demonstration. who Who was was Luke? Luke? An An attempt attempt has has been been made made to to identify identify him him with with the the physician physician of of the the same same name name referred referred to to by by paul Paul inin sevsev-


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eral of of his his letters. letters. The The Ecumenical Ecumenical Translation Translation notes notes that that "sev"several the of occupation medieal eral commentators have found the medical occupation of the the eral commentators have found he which precision with author of this Gospel confirmed by the precision with which he by the author of this Gospel confirmed out exaggerated fact is in describes the sick". This assessment is in fact exaggerated out describes the sick". This assessment of all all proportion. proportion. Luke Luke does does not not properly properly speaking speaking 'describe' 'describe' of cultivatcd a of is that he of this kind; "the vocabulary he uses is that of a cultivated things uses thingp of tt ir kind; "the vocabulary man of of his his time". time". There There was was aa Luke Luke who who was was Paul's Paul's travelling travelling man thinks person? O. but was he the same person? Culmann thinks he he companion, companion, but was. was. The date date of of Luke's Luke's Gospel Gospel can be estimated according to sevThe eral factors: factors: Luke Luke used used Mark's Mark's and Matthew's Matthew's Gospels. Gospels. From From ersl it what we we read in in the Ecumenical Translation, Translation, it seems seems that that he what witnessed the siege siege and destruction of of Jerusalem by by. Titus's Titus's witnessed armies in in ?0 70 A.D. The Gospel Gospel probably dates dates from from after after this this armies Present-day critics critics situate the time time itit was written written at circa time. Present-day 80-90 but several several place place itit at an even even earlier earlier date. date. 80-90 A.D., but differences important differences The various narrations narrations in Luke show important predecessors. An outline of this has already when compared compared to his predecessofs. pages been Translation indicates them on pages Ecumenieal Translation been given. The Ecumenical (Le Testament (Le 181 The New Testament book, The sec. O. O. Culmann, Culmann, in his book, 181 et sec. Gospage 18, Nouveau descriptions in Luke's Goscites descriptions 18, cites Nouveau Testament) page pel else. And they are not pel that are not to be be found anywhere else. about detail. about minor points of detail. Gosunique to Luke's GosThe descriptions are unique childhood are Jesus'schildhood descriptions of Jesus's Luke, differently from Luke, pel. ehildhood differently pel. Matthew describes describes Jesus's Jesus's childhood and all' at all. it at mention it doesnot mention Mark does and Mark genealogiesof of Jesus: Jesus: Matthew and Luke both provide different provide different genealogies Matthew and Luke both great, so improbabilities the contradictions are so large and the improbabilities so great, and the so large are the contradictions this book of chapter from a scientific point of view, that a special chapter of this book special point a that view, of from a scientific why explain possible to has been devoted to the subject. It is possible to explain why is It to the subject. has been devoted the begin should Jews, Matthew, who was addressing himself to Jews, should begin the to himself addressing Matthew, who was Luke, that it, in and genealogy at Abraham, and include David in it, and that Luke, David include and genealogy at Abraham, We go back farther. We even farther. to go back even as want to should want Gentile, should converted Gentile, as aa converted other eaeh genealogies contradict shall see however that the two genealogies contradict each other two shall see however that the from onwards. David onwards. from David points by by many points on many Jesus's differently on described differently is described mission is Jesus's mission Luke, Mark. and Mark. Matthew and Luke, Matthew inthe inas the great importance to Christians Christilns as An importance to such great of such event of An event Luke between gives rise to variations rise to stitution variations between Luke the Eucharist Eucharist gives of the stitution of


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1 Father andthe the other other two two evangelists. evangelists.r and Father Roguet Roguetnotes notesin in his book his book Initi'ation to to the the Gospel (Initiation ai ]'Evangile) Gospel(Initiation Initiation l,Evangile) page page75 ?8, that that the words words used usedto to institute institute the the Eucharist the Eucharist are are reported reported by by Luke Luke (22,L9-24) in in aaform form very very different different from (22,19-24) from the the wording wording in in Matthew ulttnew (26,26'29) and in in Mark (l4,zz-24) which Mark (14,22-24) (26,26-29) and which isis almost almost identical. identical. the contrary" "on the contrary" he he writes, writes, "the "On wording transmitted "the wording transmitted by by Luke Luke very similar paul" (First similar to to that that evoked evokedby isis very by Saint (First Letter saint Paul" Letter to to the the Corinthians, 11,23-25). 11,23-96). Corinthians, As we we have have seen, seen,in in his his Gospel, As Gosper,Luke Luke expresses expressesideas ideas on on the the subject of of Jesus's Jesus's Ascension Aseension which subject he says which contradict contr*a-i*t what what he says in in the Acts Acts of of the the Apostles. Apostles. He He is the is recognized recognized as as their their author author and and they form form an an integral integral part part of they of the the New New Testament. Testament. In In his his Gospe] Gospel he situates situates the the Ascension Ascension on on Easter he and in the Acts Easter Day, Day, and in the Acts forty forty days later. later. We we already already know know to days to what what strange strange commentaries eommentaries this this contradiction has has led led Christian christian experts contradiction experts in in exegesis. exegesis. commentators wishing wishing to be Commentators be objective, objective, such such as as those those of of the the Ecumenical Translation rranslation of the Bible, have Ecumenical obliged to have been been obliged to recogrecog,,the main nise as general rule the fact that for as aa general nise for Luke "the preoccu**in preoccupation was was not to write write facts faets corresponding to material pation materi"l accu*..uracy". When when Father Father Kannengiesser Kannengiesser compares racy". compares the descriptions in in the Acts Acts of the of the Apostles written written by Luke himself himself with with the the dedeseription scription of of similar similar facts on Jesus Jesus raised from from the dead dead by by paul, Paul, he he pronounees pronounces the following following opinion on Luke: Luke: ,,Luke "Luke is the the most most sensitive literary of of the four four evangelists, evangelists, he has all all the the qual_ qualsensitive and literary ities ities of of a true true novelist". 1

THE ACCONDINC TO THE GOSPEL GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN IOHN John's John's Gospel Gospel is is radically radically different different from from the the three three others; others; to to such such an an extent extent indeed indeed that that Father Father Roguet Roguet in in his his book book Initiation Initiation to to the the Gospel Gospel (Initiation (Initiation ia I'Evangile), l'Evangile), having having commented commented on on the the other other three, three, immediately immediately evokes evokes aa stariling startling image image for for the the fourth. fourth. He He calls calls itit '' different different world'. world'. ItIt is is indeed indeed aa unique unique book; book; differdifferent ent in in the the arrangement arrangement and and choice choice of of subject, subject, description description and and speech; speech; different different in in its its style, style, g:eography, geography, chronology; chronology; there there are are even even differences differences in in theological theological ouilook outlook (o. (0. Culmann). Culmann). Jesus's Jesus's 1. 1. ItIt isis not not possible possible to to establish establish aa comparison comparison with with John John because because he he does does not not refer refer to to the the institution institution of of the the Eueharist Eucharist during during the the Last Last supper Supper prior priortotothe the Passion. Passion.


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words are are therefore therefore differently differently recorded recorded by by John John from from the the other other words evangelists: Father Father Roguet Roguet notes notes on on this this that that whereas whereas the the synopsynopevengelists: tics record record Jesus's Jesus's words words in in aa style style that that is is "striking, "striking, much much nearer nearer tics to the the oral oral style", style", in in John John all all is is meditation; meditation; to to sueh such an an extent extent ininto that "one "one sometimes sometimes wonders wonders ifif Jesus Jesus is is still still speaking speaking or or deed that deed whether His His ideas have have not not imperceptibly imperceptibly been been extended by by the the whether Evangelist's own own thoughts". thoughts". Evangelist's author?? This This is a highly highly debated debated question and Who was the author on this extremely varying been expressed this subject. expressed have been opinions varying extremely camp does a that to A. Tricot and Father Roguet belong that does not not A. Tricot snd Father have the slightest misgivings: John's Gospel Gospel is the work work of of an eyewitness, its its author author is John, son of of Zebedee Zebedee and brother brother of of eyewitness, out are set and are known about this apostle James. Many details this known James. Many in works works for for mass mass publication. Popular Popular iconography puts him him in eould prior Who Passion. Jesus, as as in the Last Last Supper prior to the Passion. could near Jesus, that John's Gospel Gospel was not the work work of John the Apostle imagine that whose so familiar? familiar ? whose figure is so so late is not a written so The fact that Gospel was written fourth Gospel that the .fourth serious serious argument against this opinion. The definitive version A-D. First century A.D. was end of the First written around the end was probably written Jesus years after Jesus To situate the time it written at sixty years after it was was written young at the the would be was very young apostle who was with an apostle keeping with be in keeping hundred. time of Jesus almost aa hundred. be almost and who who lived to be Jesusand Resurrection, arFather on the Resurrection, Kannengiesser, in his study on Father Kannengiesser, authors, Testament authors, rives at the conclusion none of the New Testament eonclusion that none ResurJesus'sResurgavePaul, save have been eyewitnessesto Jesus's to have been eyewitnesses claim to can claim PaUI,can rection. appearanceto aa number of the appearance related the neverthelessrelated rection. John John nevertheless member, in the was probably aa member, he was apostles,of which he assembledapostles, the assembled the to the later days (Z0,Lg-24), the -absence of Thomas (20,19-24), then eight days later to eight then Thomas of absence the (20,25-29). full group of apostles (20,25-29). group apostles of full subscribe not subscribe doesnot O. Testamenfdoes NeusTestament The New work The in his his work Culmann in O. Culmann to this view. to this view. mathe mathat the BiItIe states The states that the Bible of the Translntion of Ecumenieal T1'anslation The Ecumenical was Gospel the that jority of critics do not accept the hypothesis that the Gospel was hypothesis the jority of critics do not accept entirely be possibility cannot written by John, although this possibility cannot be entirely written by John, although this the that the fact that towards the the fact ruled points however however towards Everything points out. Everything ruled out. the that probable is text we know today had several authors: "It is probable that the "It authors: text we know today had several author's the author's put into by the circulation by Gospel into circulation was put today was asitit stands standstoday Gospelas annotaseveral very likely disciples and very likely SEveral annota21 and chapter 21 who added added chapter disclples who


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THE THE BIBLE BIBT F,, THE THE QUR'A AND SCIEN SCIENCE CE QURANN AND

tions (i.e. (i.e. 4,2 perhaps 4,2 and s 4,1; and perhap 4,1 ; 4,44; 7,37b; T,g7b; 11,2; l1,Z; 19,35) lg,BE).. With With regard to the story of the adulte rous woman (7,53-8 adulterous (?,69-g,ll), ,11), every*u""yone one agrees agrees that that it it is aa fragm ent of unkno fragment wn origin unknown origin inserte insertedd later later (but (but nevert heless belong nevertheless passage ing to canoni belonging c Script canonic scripture) ure)". Passag e ". 'signature' .eyewitness' 19,35 19,35 appear s as appears &s aa 'signa ture' of an 'eyewi tness' (0. (o. Culma culmannJ, nn), the only explic it signat explicit ure in the whole signature wtrole of John's Johnis Gospe l; bui Gospel; but comm entato rs believe commentators believe that that it probably it was probab ly added added later. later. O. nn thinks that O. Culma Culmann that latter latter additio additions ns are obviou obvious s in this this Gospe l; such ,,disGospel; such as as chapte chapterr 21 probably zl which is probab ly the work work of of a "disciple who may well have have made made slight slight alterat alterations ions to the main body of the Gospel ". Gospel". It It is not necess necessary ary to mentio mentionn all the hypoth hypotheses eses sugges suggested ted by expert expertss in exeges exegesis. is. The remark remarkss record recorded ed here made **a" by the most emine eminent nt Christ ian writer christian writerss on the questio questions ns of of the author author-ship of the fourth fourth Gospel Gospel are suffici sufficient ent to show show the extent of of the confus confusion ion reigni reigning ng on the subjec subjectt of its author authorship. ship. The histori historical cal value value of John's stories has has been been contes eontested ted to a great extent extent.. The discrep discrepancy ancy betwee between n them and the other three Gospel Gospels s is quite blatan blatant. t. O. o. Culma culmann offers an explan explanation ation for for this; this; he sees sees in John aa differe different nt theolog theological ical point of view from from the other evange evangelists. lists. This aim "direc ts the choice "direcis choice of stories from from the Logia Logia'1 record recorded, ed, as as well as as the way in which they are reproduced ... duced . . . Thus the author often prolon p"oiorg* gs the lines and makes makes historical the histori cal Jesus Jesus say what the iTolv Holy Spirit slpirit Itself Itself reveale revealed d to Him". This, Him". This, for the exeget exegete question,'is e in questio n, is the reason reason for for the discrepancies. discrep ancies. It is of course It course quite concei conceivable vable that that John, who was writin writingg after the other evange after evangerists, lists, should should have have chosen chosen certain stories suitable suitab le for illustr illustrating ating his own theorie theories. s. One one should should not be be sursur_ prised by the fact that certain descrip prised deseriptions tions contain contained ed in the other Gospels Gospel s are missin missing g in John. John. The The Ecume Ecumenical nical Transl Translatr.on ation picks out aa certain numbe numberr of such such instanc instances (page 282). es (page zgz). Certai gaps certainn gaps hardly seem seemcredib credible however, le howev er, like the fact that th"t the ttr" Institu Institution tion of the Eucha Eucharist the rist is not describ deseribed. It is unthin ed. It unthinkable kable that an episod episode e so basic basic to Christ so christianity, ianity, one one indeed indeed that was was to be be the rnainstay mains tay of its liturgy liturgy,, i.e. i"e. the the mass, mass, should should not be be mentio mentioned ned by John, John, the pre-eminently most pre-em most infmtly medita meditative tive evange evangelist. list. The fact is, is, he limits himself, himsel the narrat f, in the narrative passion, ive of the the supper supper prior prior to the Passio n, to 1. Words. W""drl 1.


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simply describing describing the the washing washing of of the the disciples' disciples' feet, feet, the the predicpredicsimply tion of of Judas's Judas's betrayal betrayal and and Peter's Peter's denial. denial. tion In contrast contrast to to this, this, there there are are stories stories which which are are unique unique to to John John In and not not present present in in the the other other three. three. The The Ecumenical Ecumenical Translation Translation and mentions these these (page (page 2S3). 283). Here Here again, again, one one could could infer infer that that the the mentions three authors authors did did not not see see the the importance importance in in these these episodes episodes that that three John saw saw in in them. them. ItIt is is difficult difficult however however not not to to be be taken taken aback aback John when one finds in in John John a description description of of the the appearance appearance of of Jesus Jesus when from the deud, dead to to his his disciples disciples beside beside the the Sea of of Tiberias Tiberias raised ra,ised,from 21,1-14). The description is nothing nothing Iess less than than the repro(John 21,1-14). (with numerous added added details) of of the miracle miracle catch of of duction (with which Luke Luke (5,1-11) presents as an episode episode that that oceurred occurred fish which Jesus's life. In his description Luke alludes alludes to the presence presence during ,Iesus's lif e.Inhis duri,ng of the Apostle John who, as tradition tradition has it, it, was the evangelist. evangelist. of this description in in John's Gospel Gospel forms part part of of chapter 21, 21, Since this Since that the imagine later one that agreed be easily can one later addition, to a agreed reference to John's name in Luke could have led to its its artificial artificial transforming a inclusion in the fourth necessity of transforming fourth Gospel. Gospel. The necessity posthumous description in no description from life to a posthumous Jesus's life from Jesus's way prevented from being manipulated. prevented the evangelical text from evangelical text from Gospel differs from Another important John's Gospel important point on which John's mission. Mark, Matthe other three the duration of Jesus's Jesus'smission. three is in the spreads place it over aa period of one thew and Luke one year. John spreads tuke place subject it over two years. O. Culmann notes this fact. On this subject the On years. fact. notes Culmann O. over : Ecumenical Translation expresses the following: following expresses the Ecumenical period in Galilee followed by aa Galilee followed "The long period describeaa long synoptics describe "The synoptics finally and finally prolonged Judea, march that was more or less prolonged towards Judea, and less towards or more march that was fredescribes hand, aa brief stay in Jerusalem. John, on the other hand, describes frethe other on John, brief stay in Jerusalem. long mentions aa long journeys from quent to another another and and mentions area to quent journeys one area from one (1,L9-51; 2,13-3,36; 5,12,13-8,36;5,1stay in Jerusalem Jerusalem (1,19-51; especiallyin in Judea, Judea,especially stay in (2'13; celebrations Passover 47; 14,20-31). He mentions several Passover celebrations (2,13; several 47; L4,20-31).He mentions more lasted more that lasted ministry that 5,1; suggestsaa ministry thus suggests and thus 11,55) and 6,4; 11,55) 5,1; 6,4; than two years". than two years". Luke Matthew, Luke Which believe-Mark, Matthew, one believe-Mark, them should should one of them one of Which one or John? or John? GOSPELS SOURCES THE GOSPELS OF THE SOURCES OF Gospels the Gospels given here of the here of The general outline that has been The general outline that has beengiven tends texts of the and which emerges from a critical examination of the texts tends and which emergesfrom a critical examination


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THE THE TIIE BmLE, BIBT,E, THEQUR'AN ANDSCIENCE SCIENCE QUR'ANAND

,,disjointed, with a to mak~ maku one onethink think of of aa literature literature which to which isis "disjointed, with a ,'seemingly plan that lacks lacks continuity" continuity" and plan that and "seemingly insnperable insuperahle contracontradictions". These judgement passed ?heseare are the the terms terms used dictions". usedin in the the judgement passedon on them by by the the commentators commentators of the Ecumenical them of the Ecumenical Translation Translation of the of the Bible.It importan't to to refer refer to Bible. It isis important to their their authority authority because becausethe the conconsequencesof of an an appraisal appraisat of of this sequences this subject subject are are extremely extremely serious. serioug. It has has already already been beenseen how aa few seenhow It few notions notions concerning concerning the the rereIigious history history of of the the time tirne when when the ligious helped the Gospels Gospelswere were written written helped to explain explaln certain certain disconcerting disconcerting aspects to aspects of of this this literature literature apapparent to to the the thoughtful thoughtful reader. reader. It parent continue, It is is necessary necessaryto to continue, howhow_ ever' and and ascertain ascertain what present-day works what present-day ever, works can can tell tell us us about about the the sourcesthe the Evangelists Evangelists drew drew on sources texts. on when when writing writing their their texts. It It is is also interesting interesting to to see seewhether whether the also the history history of of the the texts texts once once they they were established establishedcan can help help to to explain were explain certain certain aspects present aspectsthey they present today. today. problem of sources The problem sources was \ilas approached The approaehed in aa very simplistic simplistic fashion at the time of the Fathers Fatheis of the Church. fashion early church. In the the'early centuries of Christianity, christianity, the only source centuries available was the source was the GosGospel that that the complete complete manuscripts provided first, Le. pel i.e. Matthew's Matthew,s Gospel. of sources sources only concerned Gospel. The problem problem of concerned Mark Mark and and Luke Luke beeauseJohn eonstituted because constituted a quite separate separate case. case. Saint Augustine saint Augustine held held that that Mark, Mark, who appears appears second second in in the traditional traditional order order of of presentation, presentation, had been been inspired inspired by Matthew Matthew and had summarized summarized his his work. work. He further further considered considered that that Luke, who comes comes third third in in tfte the manuscripts, manuscripts, had used used data from from both; both; iri. his prologue suggests suggests this, this, and and has has already already been been diseussed discussed. The The experts experts in in exegesis exegesis at at this this per.iod period were were as as able able as as we we are are to to estimate estimate the the degree degree of of corroboration corroboration between bptween the the texts texts and and find find aa large large number number of of verses verses common common to to two two or or three three synoptics. synoptics. Today, Today, the the commentators commentators of of the the Eeumenical Ecumenical rranslatiin Translation of of the the Bible Bible provide provide the the following following figures: figures: verses verses common common to to all all three three synoptics synoptics ___--_---___..__330 ---..--Bg0 verses verses common common to to Mark Mark and and Matthew Matthew 178 ..-_-_---1?g verses ._. 100 verses common common to to Mark Mark and and Luke Luke ---__-__ 100 verses verses common common to to Matthew Matthew and and Luke Luke ._ .. __. 230 230 The of the the first first three three Gospels Gospels are are as as folfolThe verses verses unique unique to to each each of Iows: lows: Matthew Matthew3S0, 330,lllark MarkEB, 53,and and Luke Luke800. 500. From From the the Fathers Fathers of of the the church Church until until the the end end of of the the EighEightcenth teenthcentury centuryA.D., A.D., one one and and aa half half millenia millenia passed passed without without any any


73

The Sotncet and atrldHiatOf'!/ Hhtory TIu Four Forar,GOBpez.. Goapch, Source,

being raised on the sources sources of of the evangelists: new problems being to follow follow tradition. tradition. ItIt was not not until until modern continued to people eontinued times that that itit was realized, on the the basis of of these data, how how each times material found in in the others and compiled evangelist had taken material his own specific specific narration narration guided by his own personal views. his Great weight weight was attached to to actual actual collection collection of of material material for for the Great narration. It It came came from from the oral oral traditions traditions of of the communities narration. from which which itit originated originated on the one one hand, and from from a common common from written Aramaic Aramaic source source that that has not been been rediscovered rediscovered on the written This written written source source could have formed a compact compact mass mass or or other. This been composed composed of of many fragments fragments of of different different narrations narrations have been used by each each evangelist to construct his own original original work. used in circa the last hundred years have led studies in More intensive studies even which are more detailed and in time will will become become even to theories which so-called first of of the modern theories is the so-called more complicated. complicated. The first 'Holtzmann Two Sources ( 1863) . O. 'Holtzmann O. Culmann and the Sources Theory', (1863). this theory, Ecumenical Translation Translation explain that, according to this one Mark on the one¡ Matthew been inspired by Mark Matthew and Luke may have been which has since hand and on the other by a common document which sources, This been first two moreover each each had his own sources. been lost. The first leads leadsto the following diagram: Mark Mark

Matthcw's own

Document Common Comtnon Document

.Luke'e own ou)n source, Eourccs Luke-Luke's Luke-

Culmann the above aboveon on the following points: Culmann criticises criticises the was prob1. and Matthew, was used by both Luke and 1. Mark's work, used version. ably an earlier version. author's Gospel ably not the author's Gospelbut an on the oral emphasis on 2. enough emphasis does not lay enough The diagram does 2. The beparamount importance importance betradition. This appears be of paramount appears to be the descriptions descriptions and the cause preservedJesus's words and Jesus'swords alone preserved causeit alone years' forty years, thirty or forty of mission during aa period of thirty of his mission for spokesman for the spokesman as was only the Evangelists was of the the Evangelists as each each of tra' oral trathe oral down the the community which wrote down the Christian Christian community dition. dition.


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This isishow possibleto how itit isis possible This to conclude concludethat that the posthe Gospels Gospelswe we possess today are refleetion sess today are aa reflection of of what what the the early early Christian Christian communicommunities knew knew of of Jesus's Jesus'slife ties life and and ministry. ministry. They They also also mirror mirror their their beliefs and theological beliefs and theological ideas, ideas,of of which which the the evangelists evangelists were were the the spokesmen. spokesmen. latest studies The latest studies in The in textual textual criticism criticism on on the the sources sources of of the the Gospelshave have clearly elearly shown Gospels shown an an even even more more complicated complicated formation formation processof of the the texts. texts. A process A book book by by Fathers Fathers Benoit Benoit and and Boismard, Boismard, professors both at the the Biblical both professors at Biblical School schoolof of Jerusalem (lg?p-lg?B), Jerusalem (1972-1973), called the the Synopsis Sgnopsis 01 of the the Four called Four Gospels (Synopse des Gospels (Synopse quatres des quatres Evangiles) stressesthe the evolution EvangiIes) stresses evolution of of the the text p"""u"l to text in in stages *iag*r parallel to the evolution evolution of of the the tradition. tradition. This the This implies implies the the conquences conquencesset set out by by Father Father Benoit Benoit in his introduction out in his introduction to to Father Father Boismard's part of the the work. presents them work. He He presents part of them in the the following following terms: terms: . .) the wording "(. and "(. . .) the wording and form of description description that result result from aa long long evolution evolution of tradition from tradition are not as as authentic as as in the the original. original. Some readers of this work will some readers in perhaps be will perhaps be surprised or embarrassed embarrassed to learn that certain surprised eertain of of Jesus's Jesus's parables, sayings, were not not sayings, parables, or predictions of His destiny were expressed in the way we read them today, but were were altered altered expressed and adapted adapted by those those who transmitted us. This This may may and transmitted them to us. come 8s a source come as source of amazement amazement and even even scandal scandal to to those those not not used used to this this kind kind of of historical historical investigation." investigation." The The alterations alterations and adaptations to the texts made by by those those transmitting transmitting them to us were done done in in a way way that that Father Father BoisBoismard mard explains by means means of of a highly highly complex complex diagram. ItIt is is aa development development of of the so-ealled so-called 'Two 'Two Sour*** Sources ttt*ory', Theory', and and is is the the product of examination examination and and comparison comparison of of the the texts texts which which itit is is product of not are interested interested not possible possible to to summarize summarize here. here. Tnose Tnose readers readers who who are in in obtaining obtaining further further details details should should consult consult the the original original work work published published by by Les Les Editions Editions du du Cerf, Cerf, paris. Paris. Four Four basic basic documents-A, documents-A, B, B, CC and and e_represent Q-represent the the original original sourcn.s of the the Gospels Gospels (see (see general general diagram). diagram). page Page ?6. 76. sources of Document Document AA comes comes from from aa Judeo-christian Judeo-Christian source. source. Matthew Matthew and and Mark Mark were were inspired inspired by by it. it. Document Document BB isis aa reinterpretation reinterpretation of of document document A, A, for for use use inin Pagan-cum-Christian Pagan-cum-Christian churches: churches: all all the the evangelists evangelists were were inspired inspired by by itit except except Matthew. Matthew.


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DocumeutC inspired Mark, C inspired Mark, Luke and John. John. Document Luke and Document Q constitutes the Document the majority of sources soureescommon commonto to Q constitutes 'CommonDocument' 'Two and Luke; it is Matthew and is the the 'Common Matthew Document' in the the 'Two theory referred refened to earlier. Sources'theory Sources' earlier. these basic production of the None of these None basic documents documentsled led to the the production to the definitive texts know today. texts we we know boday.Between them and definitive Betweenthem and the final ververthe final the intermediate interrrediate versions: eionlay the sion versions: Intermediate Intermediate Matthew, Matthew, IntermediateMark, Intermediate Luke mediate Mark, Intermediate and Intermediate Intermediatc John. Luke and John. These These intermediste documents documentswere were to four intermediate to lead lead to the final final versions to the versionsof the four Gospels, as well well as as to inspire the Gospels,as final corresponding inspire the the final corresponding versionsof other other Gospels. versions Gospels.One Oneonly only has hasto consult consultthe diagram to the diagram seethe the intricate relationships relationshipsthe see the author revealed. author has has revealed. The results regultsof this scriptural research great importance. The researchare are of great importance. They show show how how the the Gospel Gospeltexts texts not only have They not only have aa history (to be be discussed alsoaa'pre-history', discussed later) but also 'pre-history', to to use useFather Father Boismard's Boismard's expression.What Whst is meant meant is that before expression. before the final versions versions apthe final appeared, they underwent alterations at the peared, underwent alterations the Intermediate Intermediate DocuDocument stage. possibleto explain, stage.Thus Thus it it is possible ment explain, for example, example,how how aa well-known story from Jesus's well-known the miracle Jesus's life, such such as as the miracle catch catch fish, is shown shownin Luke Luke to be of fish, be an an event eventthat happened happenedduring His Iife, and and in John John to be life, be one one of His appearances appearancesafter His Resurrection, Resurrection. The conclusion conclusionto be be drawn from the The the above above is that thst when rrhen we we read Gospel,we e&nno longer be read the Gospel, we can no longer we are readbe at all sure sure that we are reading Jesus's Jesus's word. word. Father Benoit addresses the readers readers addresseshimself to the Gospelby warning them and of the Gospel them the following and giving them compensation:"If compensation: the reader reader is obliged more than than one . case to obligedin more one.pase "ff the grve give up the notion notion of hearing hearing Jesus's Jesus's voice voice directly, directly, he he still hears hears the volce voice of the Church Church and and he he relies relies upon upon itit as as the the divinely appointed appointed interpreter of the Master Master who who long long ago ago spoke spoke to us us on earth and and who who notry now speaks speaks to us us in His glory". statement of the inautheninauthenHow can can one one reconcile reconcile this formal statement ticity ticity of certain texts with with the phrase phrase used used in the dogmatic dogmatic constitution Divine Revelation constitution on on Revelation by the Second Second Vatican Vatican Council Council assuring us to the contrary, contrary, i.e. Le. the faithful faithful transmission transmission of assuring Jesus's words: words: "These "These four Gospels, Gospels, which which itit (the (the Chureh) Church) ununJesus's hesitatingly confirrns confirms are historically historically authentic, authentic, faithfully faithfully transtranshesitatingly mit what Jesus, Jesus, Son Son of God, God, actually actually did and and taught during his mit


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life life among among men men for their their eternal salvation, until until the day when he he was taken up into the heavens"? heavens" ? It It is quite clear that the work of the Biblical School School of of Jerusalem declaration. salem flatly contradicts the Council's declaration. Council's M. M. E. E. BOISMARD BOISMARD SYNOPSIS SYffOPSISOF THE FOAN GOSPELSl THE FOUR @SPEf,S' GENERAL DIAGNAI|,il GENENAL DIAGRAM ( 1) Synapse quatre Evangiles (1) desquatre Synopsedes Evangiles

=

DocumentsA, B, B, C, Documents Basic documents documents used used in the compiling compiling C, Q A - Basic of the tâ&#x201A;¬xts. texts. := Intermediate Intermediate Intermediate Intermediate version version of the text


The Sowcer arad Tlw Four Fow Gcnpe&. Goqeh. Source, Hitl,otg atd Hiltory

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HI'$'TONY OF HISTORY TEXTS OF THE THE TEXTS

One One would be mistaken mistsken in thinking thinking that that once onee the Gospels Gospels were constituted the basic Scriptures written written they constituted Scriptures of the newly born people referred Christianity same way they that people referred to them the same Christisnity and that referred to the Old Testament. At referred that time, the foremost authorAt that authority ity was the oral tradition tradition as as a vehicle vehicle for Jesus's words and the for Jesus's teaehings of the apostles. teachings apostles. The first first writings writings to circulate were were Paul's letters and they occupied occupied a prevalent position long before They'were, the Gospels. were, after Gospels.They after all, written several decades written several decadesearlier. It It has already been been shown, that that contrary what certain contrary to what certain commentators are still still writing 140 A.D. there was was no no writing today, before 140 witness to the knowledge that that a collection of Gospel writings Gospel writings existed. existed. It It was not until until circa 170 1?0 A.D. A.D, that that the four Gospels acGospelsacquired the status of canonic canonic literature. literature. In Jesus writings on Jesus In the early days days of Christianity, Christianity, many writings were in circulation. They were not subsequently retained as subsequently retain~d as being worthy be worthy of authenticity authenticity and the Church ordered ordered them to be 'Apocrypha'. hidden, their name 'Apocrypha'. Some hidden, hence name these hence their Some of the texts of these works have been from been well preserved because because they "benefitted "benefitted from generally quote the fact that valued", to quote the EcumenEcumenthat they were ical Translation. Translation. The same same was true true for Barnabas, for the Letter Letter of Barnabas, thrust aside" and but unfortunately rvere "more brutally brutally thrust unfortunately others were be the only fragments considered to be fragments of them remain. They were considered messengers error and were removed from the sight removed from sisht of the messengers of error faithful. Nazarenes,the Gospels Gospels as the Gospels faithful. Works such such as Gospelsof the Nazarenes, of the Hebrews and the Gospels Gospelsof the Egyptians, known through neverthequotattons quotations taken from the Fathers of the Church, Church, were neverthesame holds less fairly closely related to the canonic Gospels. The same holds canonic Gospels. less fairly closely Barnabas's good good for Gospel. for Thomas's Thomas's Gospel Gospel and Barnabas's Gospel. details, Some imaginary details, these apocryphal apocryphal writings writings contain imaginary Some of these the product of popular fantasY. fantasy. Authors of works on the Apocpassageswhich are quote with rypha with obvious obvious satisfaction passages also quote rypha also be these are however to be literally such as as these Passages such literally ridiculous. Passages imaginary think of the imaginary found in all the Gospels. has only to think One has Gospels.One place at Jesus's Jesus's description of events trfiatthew claims took place events that :Matthew passageslacking seriousness seriousnessin all the death. possible to find find passages It is possible death. It adenough to adhonest enough early writings be honest One must be Christianity: One writings of Christianity: mit mit this.


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TlIE SCIENCE TIIE QUR'AN BIBLE THE fiIE BmLE, QUN'AN AND SCIENCE

The abundance Jesus led the Church abundance of of literature literature concerning Jesus process of of to make certain latter was in the process certain excisions while while the latter wers supsupbecoming organized. Perhaps a hundred Gospels Gospels were organized. Perhaps put on the official pressed. Only four list of of pressed. offieial list four were retained and put 'Canon'. neo-Testament writings writings making making up what what is called the 'Canon'. In Sinope In the middle of Seeondcentury A.D., Marcion of Sinope of the Second pressure on the ecclesiastic stsnd put heavy pressure ecclesiasticauthorities to take a stand time on this. He was an ardent that time ardent enemy of the Jews and at that rejected the whole of in everything in of the Old Testament and everything writings that seemed writings produced after seemed to him him too close after Jesus Jesus that close to the Old Testament or to come tradition. come from from the Judeo-Christian tradition. Marcion only acknowledged the value of Luke's Gospel Marcion because, Gospel because, believed Luke to be he believed writings. be the spokesman spokesman of Paul and his writings. put into The Church declared declared Marcion into its canon canon Marcion a heretic and put .Letters of Paul, all the ~Letters PauI, but but included the other other Gospels Gospels of Matthew, Matthew, Mark, Mark, Luke and John. They also also added added several other works such as as the Acts of the Apostles. The official list list never theless varies with of Christianity. theless time during the first centuries time during first with of Christianity. For a while, works that For later considered not to be valid that were later valid Apocrypha) figured in it, while other works contained in (i.e. Apocrypha) Testlment Canon were excluded from today's New Testament from it it at this this These hesitations lasted until time. These until the Councils of Hippo llippo Regius in 393 393 and Carthage in 397. in four Gospels 89?. The four figurrcd in it it Gospels always figured however. One join Father One may join Father Boismard Boismard in regretting the disappearin regretting quantity of ance of of a vast quantity litersture declared apocryphal by the ance of literature elthough it Church although it was of historical historical interest. interest. The above above author author indeed gives it it a place in his Synopsis Synopsis of of the Four Four Gospels Gospelt alongthat of that these side that of the official Gospels. these books still Gospels. He notes that books still existed in libraries existed libraries near the end of the Fourth Fourth century eentury A.D. put into This was the century that saw things things put into serious order. eentury that period. from this period. The oldest oldest manuscripts of the G6spels date from Gospels date prior to this, i.e. papyri from Documents Documents prior Third century A.D. i.e. papyri from the Third possibly dating from and one one possibly from the Second, transmit fragSecond, only transmit fragments to us. us. The two oldest oldest parchment manuscripts are Greek, Greek, preserved Fourth Vatieo,nus, preserved Fourth century A.D. They are the Codex Coden Vaticanus, place of discovery in the Vatican whose place discovery is unknown, Vatican Library Library and whose and the Codex discovered on Mount Sinai Sir:p;iti,an, which was discovered Coder Sinaiticus,


The Font Four Gupeh. Goapez,. Sourcer Source. and lind Hhtorg Hiatory Tlle

7g 79

and is is now now preserved preserved in in the the British British Museum, Museum, London. London. The The second second and contains two apocryphal works. contains two apocryphal works. According to to the the Ecumenical Ecumenical Translation, Translation, two two hundred hundred and and According world, the fifty other known parchments exist throughout the world, the the parchments exist throughout fifty other known the all A.D. last of these being from the Eleventh century A.D. "Not all the "Not last of these being from the Eleventh century idenare us to copies of the New Testament that have come to us down eome that copies of the New tical" however. "On "On the contr&ry, contrary, itit is possible possible to to distinguish distinguish tical" of varying varying degrees degrees of of importance importance between them, but but differences of important they may be, be, there is always a large number however important of them. Some Some of of these these only concern differences differences of of grammatical grammatical of or word word order. Elsewhere however, however, differences differences detail, vocabulary or seen which which afrect affect the the meaning meaning of of between manuscripts manuscripts can be seen between whole passages". passages". If If one one wishes to see see the extent of of textual textual differdifferwhole ences, one one only has to glance glance through through the iVounm Novum Testamentum Testamentum ences, 1 This work work contains a so-called so-called 'middle-of-the-road' 'middle-of-the-road' Greek Graece. This Graeee.r It is a text text of of synthesis synthesis with with notes notes containing containing all the variavariatext. It tions found in the different versions. different versions. The authenticity even the most venerable of even text, and of authenticity of a text, Vaticanus is a manuscript, is always open Coder Vaticanus debate. The Codex open to debate. edited by the good good example example of this. The facsimile reproductions edited edinote from its ediVatican accompanying note contains an accompanying 1965, contains Vatican City, 1965, copied was copied it was after it tors informing centuries after that "several centuries informing us us that century), (believed (believed to have have been been in circa the Tenth or Eleventh century), thought those he thought aa scribe inked over all the letters except those origqrere aa mistake". passagesin the text where the origwere mistske". There are passages visibly inalletters show through, contrasting light brown still show inal letters in light is no no There is with with the rest of the text which is in dark brown. There states note indication restoration. The note states faithful restoration. it was was aa faithful that it indication that annoand annomoreover corrected and hands that that corrected different hands that "the moreover that "the different yet definibeen defininot yet been tated have not centuries have the centuries over the manuscript over the manuscript teted the undoubtwere undoubttively corrections were number of of corrections certain number discerned; aa certain tively discerned; religious the religious all the In all edly over." In inked over." was inked text was the text made when when the edly made hss One has copy. One manuals century copy. presentedas Fourth century as aa Fourth is presented the text text is manuals the hands various hands that various to to discover diseover that go to Vaticsn to the Vatican to sources at the sources at to go may later. centuries later. text centuries have altered the text altered the may have comparison, for comparison, One may be be used usedfor texts may other texts that other reply that might reply Onemight the change the that change but variations that between variations one choose ehoose between does one how does but how comecscribds correcold scribe's very old that aa very meaning? fact that known fact is aa well well known It is meaning? It 1S?1' London, 1971. 1.1. Nestle-Aland Societies, London, Bible Societies, United Bible Pub. Unit.ed Nestla'Alend Pub.


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THE BIBI.4 THE THE BmLE, THE QUR'AN AND SCmNCE SCIENCE QUN'AN AND

tion can lead leed to tion can to the the definitive definitive reproduction reproduction of the corrected of the corrected text. text. We how a single word in a seefurther shall see further on passege from \il'e shall how on a single word in a passage from John concerning the John concerning the Paraclete Paraclete radically radically alters alters its its meaning meaning and and eompletely changes completely viewed from a changes its its sense sense when when viewed from a theological theological point of of view. view. point O. Culmann, Culmann, in O. in his his book, book, The New Testament, The New Testarnenf, writes writes the the folfolIowing on on the the subject subject of lowing of variations: variations: the latter latter are "Sometimes "Sometimes the are the result of the result inadvertant flaws: the of inadvertant copier misses missesaa word copier word out, out, or or conversely conversely writes it twice, twice, or aa whole whole section of of aa sentence sentenceis is carelessly. section carelessly.omitted omitted because becausein the manuto be be copied script to copied it script it appeared appeared between between two identical words. words. Sometimes it it is is aa matter of deliberate Sometimes deliberate corrections, correetions, either the 'correcting copier has has taken the liberty copier liberty of ¡correcting the text text according to ideas or he own ideas he has has tried to bring his own bring it it into line with with aa parallel more or less less skilful text in aa more skilful attempt to reduce reduce the number of discrepaneies. As, As, little little by little, the New Testament writings discrepancies. writings from the rest of early Christian broke away from literature, and came Christian literature, came be regarded as as Holy lloly Scripture, so to be so the copiers copiers became became more and more hesitant about taking as their their taking the same same liberties as predecessors: they thought thousht they were copying the authentic predecessors: variations. Finally, Finally, a copier text, but in fact wrote down the variations. sometimes wrote annotations in the margin margin to explain an obsometimes passage. The following scure passage. following copier, thinking scure thinking that that the sentence sentence margin had been he found in the margin been left left out of of the passage passage by his predecessor, necessary to include the margin margin notes in in predecessor, thought thought itit necessary the text. This This process process often made the new text text even more obscure." The scribes of of some some manuscripts manuscripts sometimes sometimes took exceedingly great liberties with great liberties with the texts. texts. This This is is the the case case of of one of of the the most most venerable manuscripts manuscripts after after the the two two referred referred to to above, above, the the sixth Sixth century century coden Codex Bezae Ca,nta,bri,giensis. Cantabrigiensis. The The scribe scribe probprobably the difference between between Luke's Luke's ancl and Matthew's Matthew's genegeneably noticed the alogy of put Matthew's Matthew's genealogy genealogy into into his his copy copy of of of Jesus, Jesus, so he put Luke, but but as the the second second contained contained fewer fewer names names than than the the first, first, he he padded padded itit out out with with extra extra names names (without (without balancing balancing them them up). up). Is Is itit possible possible to to say say that that the the Latin Latin translations, translations, such such as as Saint Saint Jerome's Jerome's sixth Sixth century century Vulgate, Vulgate, or or older older translations translations (V (Vetus etw Itala), Itala), or or Syriae Syriac and and Coptic Coptic translations translations are are any any more more faithful faithful than ? They than the the basic basic Greek Greek manuscripts manuscripts? They might might have have been been made made


The Fovt Four Gola,elr,. GoJpeIB. Sourcer Source, ond and Hhtwg Hiatory Tlaa

from manuscripts manuscripts older older than than the the ones ones referred referred to to above above and and subsubfrom sequently lost lost to to the the present present day. day. We We iust just do do not not know. know. sequently has been been possible possible to to group group the the bulk bulk of of these these versions versions into into ItIt has families all all bearing bearing Ia certain certain number number of of common common traits. traits. AccordAccordfamilies ing to to O. O. Culmann, Culmann, one one can can define: define: ing -a -a so-called so-called Syrian Syrian text, text, whose whose constitution constitution eould could have have led to to the majority majority of of the the oldest Greek manuscripts; manuscripts; this this text text was was the widely disseminated disseminated throughout throughout Europe from from the Sixteenth widety century A.D. A.D. onwards onwards thanks to to printing; printing; the specialists specialists say that that century probably the worst worst text. text. itit is probably -a -a so-called so-called Western text, with with old Latin Latin versions and the Coden Codex Bezae Cantabri,giensis Cantabrigiensis which is in in both Greek and Latin Latin;; accordaccordBezae ing to the Ecumenicel Ecumenical Translation, one one of of its its characteristics is ing explanations, paraphrases' paraphrases, inaccua definite tendency to provide explanations, 'harmonizations'. rate data and 'harmonizations'. and -the so-called -the so-called Neutral Neutral text, eontaining containing the Codex Coder Vaticanus and level of purity; the purity; fairly high level Si,nai,tinus,is said to have a fairly Coden Sinaiticus, the Codex modern editions of of the New Testament readily follow it, although it (Ecumenical Translation). Translation) . it too has its flaws' (Ecumenical too has respect is to do in this respect All can do criticism can All that that modern textual criticism likelihood try text which has the most likelihood of has text reconstitute "a snd reconstitute try and "a hope of be no hope coming can be case,there can negr to the original. In any case, coming near Translation) going back to the original itself." (Ecumenical Translation) original text itself."


IV IY The Go~pEI~ ThE Gospels and and ~odE ..n ~t::iEn(:E. Modcrrr ScierrcG, The GEnEilIOIiE~ Genealogies of Th~ of JE~US. Jesrrs. The Gospels passages which give rise to aa Gospels contain very few passages The modern scientific confrontation with modern scientific data. data. Firstly however, however, there are many descriptions Firstly descriptions referring referring to mirmiracles which hardly lend themselves themselves to scientific comment. acles comment. The miraeles concern people-the healing concern people-the miracles healing of the sick (the insane, insane, paralytic; the healing of lepers, blind, paralytic; blind, lepers,resurrection of Lazarus)Lazarus) as well as as the purely material phenomena that material phenomena as that lie outside the laws of nature (the description description of Jesus laws Jesus walking on water that that held him the up, changing held up, changing of the watOr wat~r into wine). sometimes Sometimes phenomenomis seen seenfrom an unusual unusual angle angle by virtue virtue of of aa natural phenomenom the fact that the time element element is very short: short: the immediate calming of the storm, the instantaneous instantaneous withering withering of of the fig tree, the miracle eatch catch of of fish, fish, as as ifif all the fish fish in the sea sea had come come together at exactly the place place where the nets were cast. cast. God His omnipotent Omnipotent Power in in all these these episodes. episodes. God intervenes intervenes in in His one One need need not be surprised by what what He is i~ able to achieve; achieve; by by human standards standards itit is stupendous, stupendous, but but for for Him Him itit is is not. not. This This does does not at all mean mean that that a believer should should forget forget science. science. A A belief belief in in divine miracles and in in science science is is quite quite compatible: compatible: one one is is on on aa divine scale, human one. one. scale, the other on a human Personally, very willing willing to to believe believe that that Jesus Jesus cured cured aa Personally, II am very leper, but II cannot accept accept the the fact fact that that aa text text is is declared declared authenauthenleper, but tic tic and and inspired inspired by by God God when when II read read that that only only twenty twenty generagenerations the first first man man and and Abraham. Abraham. Luke Luke says says this this tions existed existed between between the 82 82


Sclnrlao Modem Science Goapell tmd andMdnnr The Tlw GoWb

8ll 83

reasons the ressons mome nt the in a moment see in shall see We shall 23-28). we (3, 23-28). Gospel (8, his Gospel in his in on the the text text ent Testament Testam Old like the text, like Luke's text, why iuke's that show why that ation. imagination' imagin human of t product of produc simply a theme, is quite simply same theme, same of description of the same description give us thg Qur'an ) giu" the bo"'"tt) (like tn. Gospels t}te The Gosrcrr The al matern materngl the the in in Jesus of of Jesus ion format The formation origins. The biological origins. Jesus's biological Jesus's of of laws laws the outsiae outsiile lay lay which s which circumstance in circumstances occurred in uterus occurred uterus produced by the beings. The ovule produced all human beings. common to all nature common nature which tozoon, yhich join spermatozoon'sperma a with need to join with ovary did not need mothe r's ovary mother's hence and o embry embryo the form form to father , his father, from his should have come from indiindil normal norma of a of birth birth the of phenomenon of infant . The phenomenon a viable infant. 'parthe'parthe called caned is male of the fertiliz ing action withou t the fertilizing vidual without obbe can.be can esis nogen parthenogenesis kingdom, parthe anima l kingdom, In the animal nogenesis'. In nogenesis,. insects, variou s insects' for various true for This is true conditions. This served under certain conditions. served of of breed select select a nally, occasio very occasionally, and, very brates and, certain inverte invertebrates in in le, examp example, for e, possible, for possibl been ment, it it has been experirnent, By way of of experi bird. By bird. of ings beginnings beginn the rabbit s), to obtain (female rabbits), mammals if.*"le certain mammal* rudiely rudiextremely embryoo at an extrem into an embry pment of the ovule into a develo development It It . tozoon sperma ntion of spermatozoon' was intervention withoutt any interve ry stage menta stage withou mentary le of comexample however and an examp furtherr however le to go any furthe possible not possib l, is unnatural, natura or l menta er experi experimental whether nogenesis, wheth parthenog"enesis, plete parthe she r. She mother. mothe virgin virgin a was Mary ea$e.Mary known Jesus is an unique case. known.. Jesus from from apart apart n childre children any have ity and did not have virginity ved her virgin preserved preser l ion. except cal exception'l biologi a is biological a Jesus Jesus. Jesus l*to*. JESUS'. ALOG IES OF JESUS THE GENEALOGIES THE GENE Gogw's and Luke's GosMatthew's ned in Matthe contsined ogies contai genealogies The two geneal with with mity conformity ilitude, and confor verisimilitude, p"Jbl**,ms of verisim pels give rise to proble pels problems ms are aa proble These These ticity. authen authenticity. hence and hence data, fic scienti scientific e because rs entato becaus ian comm commentators Christian assme nt to Christ embarassment source sourceof great embar prodthe sly obviously what is very obviou see in them what the latter latter refuse to see otal text of Sacerd Sacerdotal the of s author The authors ation. imagin uct uet of human imagination. d by imagin.spired been inspire y been already had alread y B.C., 8.C., had s, Sixth cettlo"y Genesi Sixftr-centur Genesis, inspiredd It again inspire men' It ogies of the first men. genealogies ttreir geneal ination for their ination for 'brothers'and'sistâ&#x201A;Źrs' (Matthâ&#x201A;Źw w s' and 'sisters ' (Matthe Jesus'g'brother to Jesus's refer to es refer The Gospels sometimes 1. C*prls sometim i]Tt-u

3 and 2, 12). The Greek worda John i9rr17,?,.1 *rl* 6,e,1-6; 0 and 64-68; rl-68;Mark 13,46-6 ls,46-60 f+i T9,u'11]J *:S:::j:"* rir andai... s and brothers al brother biolosical biologic signify ""a sigsify indeed i, adelpho i and adelpha indeed used, ililr?"-r#J;;'irtpioi, originrll the origina of the of ion translation translat e defectiv a y detective a pioUtUty probabl most are *ori they ters; ters; they perbrpr were perhaps they were ""*which inctsncee they this instanc just mean in this 'kin'; in mesn'kin'; which just Semitic worde semitic words cousins. couging.


84 84

THE THEBmLE , THE BTBLE, N AND THEQUR'A CE ANDSCIEN SCTENCE QUn'AN

Matth Matthew ew and and Luke Luke for for the the data data they they did did not not take take from from the th.eOld ord Testament. Testam ent. One one must must straig str-aight ht away away note notethat that the the male genearogies ogies have maregeneal have absolutely absolu tely no norelevan relevanee ce to to Jesus. Jesus.Were were one give aa geneal oneto to give genealoHr ogy to to Mary's only Mary's only son, son,who who was was withou withoutt aa biologi cal father biologicat , it ratrrer, ii would wourd haveto to be have be the the geneal genealogy ogy of of his his mothe r Mary. mother Mary. Hereis Here is the the text text of of the the Revise d Standa Revised rd Versio standard n of version of the the Bible, Bibre, 1952:

1952:

genealogy Thegeneal The ogy accord according ing to to Matthe w is Matthew is at at the the beginn ing of his beginning his Gospel: Gospel : ,,THE BOOK "THE BOOK OF OF THE THE GENE ALOG Y OF GENEALOGY OF JESUS JESUS CHRIS T, CHRIST, THE SON THE SON OF OF DAVID DAVID,, THE THE SON SON OF HAM. OF ABRA ABRAHAM.

Abraham Abraha m fssac Isaac Jecob . Jacob Judah Judah Perez Perez Hezron Ram Amminadab Ammin adab Nehshon Nahsho n Salmon Boaz Obed Obed Jene J.esse David David Solomon Rehobosm Rehoboam Abijah Abijah Ate Asa Jehochaphat Jehosha phat Jorsm Joram Uzziah Uzziah Jotham Jotham Ahaz Ahaz Ilezekiah Hezekia h lflqnslreh Man&l8eh Amol Amos Jorirh Josiah

was the the father was father of of Isaac fsaac was the the father was father of of Jacob was the father fether of Judah and his brother brotherss wes the father perez and Zerah by Tamar was father of Perez Tamar was the father father of of Hezron Hezron was the father father of Ram Rarn was the father father of Ammin Amminadab adab was the father fsther of of Nahsho Nahshon n was the father father of of Salmon was the father father of of Boaz Boez by by Rahab Rahab was the father father of of Obed Obed ti, by n"tiRuth was the father father of of Jesse Jesse was the father father of of Devid David the king king was the father father of of solomon Solomon by by th-e the wife wife of of uriah Uriah was the father of the father of Rehoboam Rehoboam was the the father father of of etijatr Abijah was the father father of of Asa Asa was was the the father father of of Jehoshaphat J ehoshap hat was was the the father father of of Joram Joram was was the the father father of of Uzziah Uzziah was was the the father father of of jotnam Jotham was was the the father father of of Ahaz Ahaz was was the the fother father of of iezekiah Hezekia h war was the the father father oi of llarre"g"h Manass eh was was the the father father of of A-os Amos wes was the the father father of of iogiah Josiah wae was the the father father of of iechoniah Jechoni ah and and his his brothers brother s

at at the the time of of the the deportation deport ation to to Babylon: Babylon: After After the the deportation deport ation to to Babylon: Babylo n: Jeehonieh Jechoni ah Sherltiel Shealtie l

war was the the father father of of Shealtiel Shealtie l wal was the the father father of of Zerubbrbel Zerubba bel


lTu Gotrrrh ardModrirn Sclalrr

bel Zerubba Zcmbbabel Abilld Abtud EliaJdm Elilkin Azor Zadok Zrdok Achim Aehln Eliud Eliud Eleazar Elerzu Mattha Mrtthann Jacob Jscob

E 85

Abtud ol Abilld frther of the father ElieHn of EliaJdm fethsr of the t'lre father Alor fether of Azor the th€ father Zrdok ol Zadok fether of the father Achin fether of Achim was wer the father Eliud father of Eliud tbe father wer the was Eleazer father of Eleazar was *ar the father Metthann frther of Mattha *u the father was Jacob father of Jacob was war the father Maty hurband of Mary Jorcph the husband father of Joseph was wer the father Christ. whom JJesus of olwhom e ru rwwas e l b oborn, rn ,wwho h o w was a rc acalled l l e dC hri rt.

was wer was wrr was wrr was wer

en fourteen were fourte am to David were Abraham generations tions from Abrah So So all the genera four' fourn Babylo to Bsbylon ation deportation generations, and from David to the deport tions, and genera Babylon to the t9_pabylon ation to deportation from the deport and from tions, and generations, teen genera I*o 1-17) ew, I, t'17) (Matthew, tions". (Matth generatiolls". en genera fourtcen Christ fourte nt from different (3, 23-38) (8, 23-38) is differe Luke given genealogy ogy given by The Tlre geneal Stand StanRevise Revised the from is here here uced text reprod reproduced w. The The GJ Matthe Matt;ew. n of the Bible: Version dard Versio years of thirty years sbout thirty was about ry, was ministry, began his minist he began , when when he "Jesus "J€sus, Heli' , the son son of Heli, ed) of Joseph Jos€ph, (as was supposed) was suppos son (as being the son age, ege being of son son the , Melchi of Melchi, son the son Levi, of l*tti, son soo at, the Uattttot, oi Matth *o of tt son the of son the son hias, Mattat " of Mattathias, son the son , Joseph oi Joseph, son of annai, the son JJannei, Naggai, the eon of Naggai, eon of Esli, the son Nahum, the son son of Natrum, Atttog,the SOD Amos, , the son the son Semein of Semein, son the son hias, Mattat of son Mattathias, Maath,, the son oi Maath son soo of Rhesa, of Rhesa' son the son the oanan, J of Josnan, son the son oda, sf JJoda, son of oseeh, the SOD of JJoseeh, son of Neri, the iel, the the son Shealtiel, son of Shealt abel, the son Zembbabel, son of Zerubb the SOD son of , the son Cosam of cosam, son the son Addi, of son Melchi,, the son son son of Melchi r, Eliezer' Elieze of son the son , Joshua gon of Joshua, son the son am, the son of Er, Elmad Elmedam, of son son the Levi, of son the son at, Matth of son Matthat, the son son of Jorim, the son onam, son of JJonsm' , the son Joseph, son of Joseph ttre son Judatr, the son of Judah, n, the son Simeo simeon, son son the , Menna Menna, of son the son the Melea, son of Melea, Eliskim,, the son the son son of Eliakim of son son the David, David, of son n, the son Nathan, son of Natha ha, the son Mattatha, of Mattat son son the Sala, of Sala, son son the Boaz, son of Boaz, Obed,the son son of Obed, Jesse, Jesse,the son son Admin,, the son son of Admin the son nadab, Ammi of Amminad*b, son the son on, tihe of Nahsh Nsh8hon, Judah, Judah' of son son the Perez, gon of Hezron son of Perez, , the son Hezron, the son of Ami, Arni, the son of am, the son Abraham, of Abrah son the son the Isaac, of Isaac, son the son ttre J&Cob, of the son Jacob, sou the R-eu, Reu, of son son the serug, the eon of Serug, lr"nor,, the son son of Nahor Terah, Terah, the son , Csinan' Cainan of son son the , Shelah, sonof Shelah Eber, the son sonof Eber, son Peleg,the son sonof Peleg, son son the Noah, son of Noah, shem, the son son of Shem, xad, the son Arphaxad, the son son of Arpha son of Enoch,, the son of Enoch son son the selah, Methu Methuselah, of SOD the h, of Lamec lra,mech,th. Bon


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THE lUE BULE EIDI4 , THE AN AND THE QUI\' CE AND SCIEN $CTENCE QITnAN

Jared, Jarcd, the the son sonof of Xahala Mahalareel, lee), the the son son of of Cainan ceinen,, the the son son of Enos. Enos the the son sonof of Seth, seth the the son sonof of Adam, Adam, the the son sonof Gad." God." gpnealogies The geneal ogies appea rpp€srr more moro clearly clearly when presented when presen ted in two tables, tables, one one showin g the showing genealogy the geneal ogy before beiore David Devid and snd the the other rfter him. after him. GENE ALOGY OF GENEALOCY OF JESUS JESUS, , BEFO RE DAVID BEFORE DAVID Accord According ing to te Matthe Urtthsr w

Aceordi Aecordilg Dtr to Luke LuLo 1I Adam Adru 22 Seth SGth 8I Enos Enor

Urtthflr w does Matthe doe! not not mention mention rny name ntns before an)' bsfors Abraha Abrrhln" m.

11 2 8I I 65 86 7

" 8 90 10 10 11 11 12 12 l8 18 1l 14

Abnhrn m Abraha Inec Isaac Jecob Jacob Judeh Judah Pcr.sl Peru Eca;r.o,n Baron BrE Ram Ann'inrdab Ammin adab Nrhrhon Nahllhon Srhon Salmon Borr Boas Ob€d Obed Joso Jeaee Drvld Da-.fd

Celnrn "{ Caman 6 MahaJa trhrlrlcclleel 80 Jared Jurd 7 Enoch Euoch 8I Methu. elah Uethurelrh 90 Lamech Lrncch 10 10 Noah Noeh f 1 Shem 11 Shen 12 l2 Arphas Arphurdad 18 18 Cainan Crlnrn ghGtrh 14 1{ Shelah 16 ftr Ebsr Eber 16 16 Pclcg Pelel' 17 17 Beu Rea fB Serue 18 Settg 19 Nrhor 19 Neor 20 Terrh Terah 2l 21 Abrahe,m Abraha m AD 22 Inec Isaac 28 23 Jecob Jaeob 24 Judrb 21 Judah 25 Perez 26 26 Eezron Huron 27 Ami Ami ?fi 28 Adrnln Admin 29 29 Anmindrb Amminadab 30 Nrhrhon 80 Nah.ho n g1 31 Sdr Sala 82 32 Boer Bou 88 33 Obcd Obed 8{ 34 Jcue J.... gE 85 Drvld David


st 87

SdMee and ModernScftnot Coapela crdffiod.rn n. Gnrylah fTc

DAVID AFTE R DAYID JESUS, AFTER OF JESUS, GENEALOGY OF GENEAI.oGY Matthe w to lfiettber According to Accordlng ltI j 16 16 16 16 17 1? 18 18 19 19 20 20 21 2l 22 22 28 2g 24 21 26 26 26 28 27 27 28 28

David Drvid Solomon Solomon Rehoboam Rehoboa'n Abijab AbUah Au Are J ehoshap hat JehorhePhet Joram Joram Uzzlah Uzzith Jotham Jotfian Ahu Aher Hezekiah Eezekiah Manus eb tenarreh Amos Amor Josiah Joslch Jecboni ah Jechonleh tion to Babylon BebYlon Deporta DePortetion

29 29 g0 30 81 31 32 82 33 88 84 84

35 85 86 86 37 87 38 88 89 80 40 {0 41 41

Shealtie Shealtiell bel Zerubba Zerubbebel Abiud Eliakim Eliekim Azor Azor Zadok Zedok Achim Achiu Eliud Eliud Eleazar Eleazar Mattha Matthann Jacob Jrcob Josepb JorePb Jeaul Jerur

Luke to Luti According According to David 86 35 David Nathan 86 86 Nethen g? Mattath a 37 Mettsthr gB Menna 38 Mennc Melea Sg 89 lfielee Eliakim {0 40 Eliakim Jonam 4l 41 Jonem Joseph 12 42 Joreph Judah 48 43 Juilrb Simeon 41 44 Simeon Levi {6 46 Lâ&#x201A;Źvi Mattha t 46 Uatthat Jorim 1l 47 Jorlm 48 48 Eliezer JOlhua 49 49 Jorhua Er 60 Er 60 m Elmaden 51 61 Elmada Corem 62 Cosam 62 63 Addi 63 Melchi il Kelchi 54 66 Neri 66 Sheeltiell 66 66 Shealtie bel Zerubbebcl 67 Zerubba 67 Rheu 68 Rhesa 58 Josnan 69 Joanan 69 Joda 60 Joda 60 Jorech 61 JOleeh 61 Semein 62, Semein 62 ial Msttsthier 63 Kattath 63 Meeth 64 Maath 64 Neg8:ci 6E Naggai 66 Esli 66 Esli 66 Nehun 67 6? Nahum Amos 68 Amos 68 Mattsthiar ial 69 Mattath 69 JorePh ?0 Joseph 70 Jannai ?1 Jannai 71 Melchi 72 Kelchi 72 LeYi ?8 Levi 73 Matthatt 74 Mattha 74 Heli 76 Heli 75 JosePh 76 Joseph 76 Jeeus 77 Jesus 77


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THE TIrEBmLE DIBL4, THE N AND THEQUR'A CE at\tDSCIEN QUnaN $crENCE

VARIATIONS VARIA TIONS IN IN THE THE MANU SCRIPTS AND ITIANUSCRIPTS AND

IN RELA IN RELATION TION TO TO THE THE OLD MENT . OLD TESTA TESTAMNWT. Apart from Apart from variati variations ons in in spellin g, the spelling, ing must the follow following mugt be be mentioned: mentio ned: a) Matth Mattheut,a a) ew's Gospel Goepel genealogy The geneal The ogy has has disapp disappeared eared from from the theCodex cod,euBezae BezaeCantacanta_ brigiensis, brigien siB, aa very very impor impo"trt tantt- Six y manus six centur century cript in both manuscript in both Greekand and Latin. Greek Latin. It It has hagcomple completery tely disapp eared from air"pi*red the Greek from the Greek text and andalso arsoaa large text rargepart part of of the the Latin Latil text. td;. It It may quite simply may quite simpry bethat that the the first be first pages page, were were lost. lost. One must must note One note here here the great liberti the great es Matthe liberties w has Matthew has taken teken with the the Old old Testam with Tegtament. ent. He He has p*d down rr*r pared the geneal ;;; ogies for genearosies the the sake sakeof of aa strang the strange e numer numericai ical demon a**onstration ---stratio n (which (which,, in the the end,he he does doesnot end, give, as not give, as we we shall shall see). -*). b) Luke's Luke'eGospel b) Gospel l.-Before I.-Bef Abraham ore Abrah am:I Luke Luke mentio mentions ns 20 ; the Z0 names names; the Old Old TestaTests_ ment only only mentio ment mentions (eeetable ns 19 19 (see tableof Adam' s descen otaaam,s dants in descendants the Old ord Testam Testament the ent section section of this work) After iipr,"*"a **tl. . Af;; Arpha xad (No. la), (No. 12), Luke Luke has hasadded addedar p*"r* person ."ir*a called Cainan (No. 13), cainan (No. rB) , who is not mentio who mentioned ned in Genesi Genesis s as the ,o' son of Arphaxad. as trr* Arpha xad. Z'-Fromm Abrah 2.-Fro Abraham am to David: David : 14 14 to 16 names are found ac_ 16 names according cordin g to the manuscripts. manus cripts. B.-From S.-Fr om David to Jesus. Jesus. The The most most important impor tant variation variati on is the the cod,eu Codex Bezae Bezae cantabri.gCantabriuiewis which attributes iensia attribu tes to Luke a whimsical whimsical genealogy genealogy taken from from Matthew Matthe w and to which the seribe scribe rr"-laa-d has added five names. names. un_ Unfortunately, fortun ately, the genearoxgy genealogy of of Matthew,s Matthe w's co*p*r Gospel has has disappeared disapp eared from thie this manuscript, manus cript, sJlhat so that comparison comparison is is no no ronger longer possibre. possible. CruTICAL CRITI EXAilTINATION CAL EXAM INATI ON OF OF THE TEXTS . TEXTS, we We sr* are here here faeed faced with with two two different differe nt genearogies genealogies havin*i having one one essential essential point point in in common, common, i.e. Le. they they both;;;, both pass via via Abraham Abrah am and and David. David. To To make make this this examination exami nation easier,-we easier, we shail shall separate separa te the the whole whole into into three three critical critica l sections: section s: -From -From Adam Adam to to Abrahsm. Abrah am. -From -From Abraham Abrah am to to David. David. -From Dsvid -From David to to Jesus. Jesus.


Scisrrcc Modem don Scfncs andfuf T'M furr,r;h lind Thc eo.pela

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Jm to Abra1Ic Abtullwm Adam to Peadodfrom 1. The I. TIu Period frcm Mam so we are not Abrah am so with Abratram genealogy with began his genealogy Matthew began Matthew information provides infotmation alone provides here. Luke alone text here. with his text concerned with concerned 19 of names, 19 20 Ua'mes' Adam : 20 back to Adam: going back ancestors going Abrah am's ancestors on Abraham's has as ll), as has 5 and 11), 4, 6 (chapt ers 4' Genesis (chapterg found in Genesis be found are to be which sre stated. been ststed. alread y been elready generations of 20 generafionE 19 or 20 believe that only 19 possible to believe it possible Is it been has been m has problem proble The The Abrah am? before Abraham? existed before beings existed human beings human at looks one looks If one If ent. Testam discussion of the Old Testsment. examined examined in the discussion giving and s and Genesi on Genesis on based descendants, based Adam's descendants, table of Adam's the table one text, one Biblical tert' ed in the Biblieal t contain contained element figures for the time elemen figures man's n man's passed betwee between passed ies centuries nineteen centur roughly nineteen see that roughly can can see estiit is estiToday it Abraham. Today birth of Abraham. and the birth *a*tr and on earth ance on appear sppesrance been has has been it it and snd B.C. B'C' 1860 eirce 1850 alive in circa am was was alive Abraham mated *at*a that Abrah old ed by the Old provided provid ation inform information the that this from d from deduce deduced thirty' thirty· y roughly roughl on earth at ance on sppearanee placesman's man's appear ent places Testam Testament data for guidedby these thesedata sly guided obviously was obviou ies B.C. B.C. Luke was centuries eight centur copied eopied having untruthh for blatantt untrut ses aa blatan . He expres expresses his Gospel Gospel. argucal historical histori e decisive y seen seenthe decisiv alregdy have alread we have and we down and them them down ent. stetement. g to this statem leading ments ments leadin ptable in the unacceptable are unacce data are ent data Testam old Testament The idea that Old The idea 'obsolete' matete' mate'obsole the the to belong belong they they ed; admitted; t day day is duly admitt present presen er howev however fact, fact, The The l. Counci n Council' Vatica Vstican the Second Second d to by the rial referre refe""ea iial data data patible incom incompatible fically scienti scientifically same the same up the s take Lke up that the the Gospel Gospeh oppos€ used-to oppose be used msy be ation which may observation ely serious seriour observ is an extremely an extrem texts. t€xts. Gospel the c'ospel of the cy accura cal accuracy historical the histori defend the those who defend those who try to They try . They danger. quickly sensed sensedthis danger quickly have rs have entato Comm commentators genesgeneate i.onot aa comple complete it is saying that it lty by saying difficulty the difficu get g"i round round the They out' They out. names names missed missed has has list evange evangefis1 the that the tree, logical Iogical tree, sole sole his that and th*! ately, and quite deliber deliberately, done quite was done claim claim that this was ts elements elemen ial essential ,,intentior, lines or essent broad lines ihe broad sh the establish tion was *""toto establi "inten is g nothing nothin There is ."1 There reality."' cal reality historical on histori t based basedon of aa line descent line of descen the the In esis. hypothesis' to form this hypoth them to s them permits th;; permit in the texts that the texts the was the B was or B, B, of father father the the was was A : clearly quite quit. clearly: text it says says the particular, am in particular, the Abraham ing Abrah preceding the part preced son son of A. For the naire New Testam ent (Petit Dietion 1. l . A A. . T r Tricot, i c o t , L i tLittle t t e D i cDiction t i o n a t yary o | t hofe Nthe c w T c t t o m e n t ( P e t i t D i c t i o n nPcris) aire Pub' Paris) , Pub. Descl6e, Bible", Deselee ent in "La u Testam Testament "La Sainte Bible", du Nouvea Nouveau


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evange €vrngelist list draws draws moreo moreover ver on on the the Old old Testam Testament ent where where the the gBnealogi'E geneal ogies are &reset set out out in in the the follow following ing form: form: When TvhenX x had had lived lived n? years, years,he y ... hebecam beeame-the e the father fsther of of Y . . . When when Y had had lived Y lived n,0years, years, he he becam became e the ilre father father of of,Z.... z. . . . theru is is theref There therefore ore no no break. brealc. part of The part The of Jesus's genealogy Jesus'sgeneal ogy accord according ing to to Luke, Luke, which which preprecedesAbrah eedes Abraham, am, is is not not accept seceptabie able in in the the light rt"rrt of of modem modern knowlknowredgp edge.

2, The TIla Period Pedd from J. Ahralnm am to JoDaoid. Daold. frcm Abrah Eere the Here the two geneal genealogies ogies tally (or almos t), except almost), ing one excepting one

or two names name':: the the differe difference nce may may be be explain explained ed by copier s' errors copieis, errors.. Does this Does thig mean mean that thst the the evange evangehJts lists are are to be be consid ered considered accurate? accura te? Historyy situate Histor situetes s David at circa eircs 1000 1000 B.C. B.c. and and Abrah am at Abraham 1E00-1850 1800-1 860 B.C.: B.c.: 14 14 to 16 generations 16 genera tions for roughl y eight roughry eight centur ies. c;uries. one believe con one Can believe this? this ? One one might say say that trrat for ror this tnls period p*"ioa the trr" Gospoltexts t€rts are Gospel are at et the the very ve|ry limit li;it of or the ihe admiss ible. admissible.

$,TlrcPort 3. The Poat-D Drordpeid" Goid Period. great pity, but unfortunatery rt is a great It unfort unatel y the texts no no longer longer tally at ell when rrten it it comes aU comesto establi establishing shing .lo"pt;, Joseph 's iine line from David, David, and and figtrrrtlvely figurat epcakin& ively speaki ng, Jesus's, Jesus's , folr for th" the b"gp€I. Gospel. Leavin g aside aside the obvious obvious falsific falsification ation in the cod,en _ r-caving Codex Beza,e Bezae Canfahrigiewis Ca.'llttJ,brigienris concerning concer ning Luke, Luke, let us us now now compare compare what the two most most venerabre venera ble manurr"ipt.g manus cripts have;;tr*": have to offer: the the cod,en Codex Vativati_ ffinw eGn. and the Cod,eu Codez Sinaiti Sinaiitiarn. cus. In the genea_logy genealogy aceordins accord ing to Luke 42 42 nomes names are praced _ rn placed after after Devid David (No. sE) 35) down down to Je-sus Jesus (No. ??). 77). In the genearogy genealogy acaceording cordin g to Matthew Matth ew rI 27 are mentioned mentioned after David (No. 14) 14) down down to Jesus Jesus (No. 4l). 41). The The number numbe r of of (fictitious) (fictitious) ancestors ancest ors given given to JesuE Jesus after after David is therefore theref ore different differe nt in the two Gospels. Gospels. The namoE names themselves themselves are different differe nt as well. This is not all. Matthew Matth ew tellg tens us us that he discovered discovered how Jesus,s Jesus's genearogy genealogy rplit split up after after Abraham Abrah am into three three g,roups groups of of 14 14 nurir**; names ; n.rt first group from Abraham Abrah am to to David; David ; second second fro* from David to to the de_ deportstion portat ion to Babylon; Babylo n; third third from from the deportation deport ation to to Jesus. Jesus. His His


fir.Gplryrrbordilodrlruscftilcc

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text does does indeed indeed contain contain 14 14 names names in in the the first first two two groups' groups, but but tnrt 18 only are in the third-from the deportation to Jesus-there are only 13 to Jesus-there deportation the in the third-from 29 No' is that and not 14, as expected; the table shows that Shealthiel is No. 29 Sheatthiel shows the table expected; as 14, end not gives 14 that Matthew of and Jesus No. 41. There is no variation of Matthew that gives 14 variation no is There 41. and JesusNo. names for for this this group. group. nemes To enable himself to have have 14 14 nemes names in in his his second second group' group, to hims€lf To eneble text. Testament the Old Matthew takes very great liberties with the Old Testament text. great with liberties veIT takes Matthew (No. 20) to 15 David of The names of the first six descendants of David (No. to 20) descendants six first the The ns.mesof descendthree the tally but with the data in the Old Testament, but the three descendTestament, in the old data tally with the ants of of Ioram (No. 20), 20), giiven given in in chronicles Chronicles IIII of of the the Bible Bible as rnts ElseMatthew. by Ahaziah, Joash, Amaziah, suppressed Elsesuppressed are Amaziah, and Ahmislt, Joash, Josiah' of the son where, Jechoniah for son of Josiah, Matthew (No. is for 28) wherg Jechoniah II of of the Bible tells us thst that Eliakim Eliakim comes comes bebealthough Kings II although and J echoniah. tween Josiah Jechoniah. tween Josiah It mey may be be seen seen from this that Matthew has has altered altered the geneageneaIt group present artificial an logical lines in Old Testament present group to Testament the Old logical linee Babylon. to deportation the of 14 names between David and deportation Babylon. and Dsvid fn Damesbetween There missing in Matthew's Matthew's name is missing on€ name also the fact that one fitere is also eontains texts present-day Gospel third group, so that none of the present-day Gospel texts contains group, none so thiril the much so the 42 names mentioned. What is surprising is not so much the 4? namesmentioned. old perhaps very a (explained existence of the omission itself (explained perhaps by a very old omission the existence almost the perpetuated), aeribe's error that was subsequently perpetuated), but the almost was subsequently ecribe's miss one miss can ODe How can gileneeof commentators total silence subject.How on this subject. commentstorson silence pious conspiracy this omission? W. Trilling breaks this pious conspiracy of silence breaks this Trilling thie omission?W. (L'Evangile selon selon in According Matthew (L'Evangile to Matthew Aecordingto TheGospel Gospel, his book bookThe in his conof is whieh fact is a Katthieu) 1 by devoting one line to it. It is a fact which is of conIt to it. line one Matthieu)' by devoting Gospel, of this siderable importance because the commentators of this Gospel, the commentators because siderable importance Dani$lou Csrdinal Danielou including and Cardinal Translation and EeumenicslTranslation the Ecumenical lncluding the Matthof among others, stress the significance great symbolical significance of Matthgreat symbolical the among:oth*"r, stress ew's S x 14. This significance was so important for the evanew'ssx14'Thissignificaneewagsoimportantforthe evanto hesitation without gelist n&mes he suppressed Biblical names without hesitation to Biblical gelist that suppressed that he arrive at his numerical demonstration. demonstration. arrive at his numerical construct doubt,construct nodoubt, will, no To good,commentators commentatorswill, holdgood, this hold makethis Tomake justifying nature, some reassuring statements of an apologetic nature, justifying apologetic an of Eomereessuring stat€ments carefully andcarefully suppressedand the craftily suppressed beencraftily havebeen ttt*"t have that names fsct that the fact what point of what whole the that undermines the whole point of avoiding the omission undermines that avoiding the omission the evangelist was trying to show. show. to the evangelist wss trying tParole et Paril' 1.1. Pub. Pri&re', Paria. et Priere', coll. 'Parole Deecl6e,colI. Pub. Deael'e,


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COMMENTANIES OF COMMENTARIES OF MODERN MODENN EXPERTS EXPENTS IN IN EXEGESIS. EXEGESIS. In his bookThe rhe Gospels In his book (196?) Les Gospelsof of Childhood child,Iwod (1967) Les Evangiles Evangiles de de ,numerical I'Enfance) 1,1, Cardinal l'Enfance) Cardinal Danielou Danidlou invests invests Matthew's Matthew's 'numerical schematisation' with with aa symbolic schematisation' paramount importance symbolic value vslue of of paramount importance sinceit it is is this this that that establishes since establishesJesus's Jesus'sancestry, ancestry, which whieh is is asserted asserted 'historiang' who also by by Luke. Luke. For For him him Luke also Luke and and Matthew Matthew are are 'historians' who 'historicsl investigations', and the 'genehave completed completed their their 'historical have investigations', and the ,gene'taken down alogy' has has been been 'taken alogy' down from from the the archives arehives of of Jesus family'. Jesus family'. It must be added added here here that It must be that the the archives archives have have never never been been found.' found.r Cardinal Danielou Danidlou condemns Cardinal condemnsout out of of hand hand anyone anyone who who criticizes point of his point of view: view: ult his is the the Western "It is Western mentality, ignorance of of Judeo-Christianity and and the the absence Judeo-Christianity abseneeof aa Semitic outlook that that have have made so so many many experts experts in exegesis made exegesis loose loose their their way when interinterpreting the Gospels. Gospels.They have preting the have projected their their own categories categories onto them: (sic) Platonic, them: (sic) Platonie, Cartesian, onto cartesian, Hegelian and Heideggerian. is It easy to see seewhy everything ian. It is easy everything is mixed up in their their minds." minds." Plato, Descartes, Descartes, Hegel Hegel and Heidegger obviously have nothing Plato, nothing to do do with with the critical critieal attitude one to whimone may have have towards towsrds these these whimgenealogies. sical genealogies. sical search for for the meaning of In his search 3 x 14, author of Matthew's Matthew's B 14, the author expands on strange suppositions. suppositions. They are worth expands worth quoting quoting here: here: "what may be meant are the common uWhat common ten weeks weeks of of the the ]ewish Jewish Apocalypse. The first Apocalypse. first three, eorresponding corresponding to the time time from from Adam to of Adam to Abraham, would have been been subtracted; subtracted; seven seven weeke weeks of years years would then remain, the first first six six would correspond to to the the six times times seven seven representing the three groups of of fourteen fourteen and and leaving leaving the seventh, seventh, started started by by Christ Christ with with whom the seventh age age of of the the world world begins." Explanations Explanations like like this this are are beyond beyond comment comment!! The commentators commentators of of the the Ecumenieal gcumenical Trawtation-Neut Translation-New TestoTestavvvsnf,-a,lso ment-also give give us numerical numerical variations variations of of an an apologetic apologetic nature nature which are equally unexpected: unexpected: F orM atthew'sB 4: For Matthew's 3 XX 114: 11.. Pub. Pub. Editions Editions du du Seuil, Seuil, Parig. Paris. 2. 2. Although Although the the author author &ssures assures ue us that that he he knows knows of of the the existâ&#x201A;Źnce existence of of thecâ&#x201A;Ź thel:5e supposed supposed family family archives archives from from the the Ecclesiaetic Ecclesiastic rristory History by by Euaebiua Eusebius Pamphili Pamphili (about (about whose whose respectability respectability much much could could be be said), said), itit isis dificult difficult to to see see why why Jesus's Jesus's family family should should have have two two genealogical genealogical treer trees that that were were. necessarily necessarily different different just just because because each each of of the the two two so-called so-called .higtorienl' 'historians' g:ave gave aa genealogy genealogy substantially substantially difrerent different from from the the other other coneerning concerning the the names names of of those those who who figure figure among among Jesus's Jesus's encestors. ancestors.


The G,ocpeh Go8pez, ardffi&rnscterlw,e and Modem SciefICfI Tlw

03 93

a) 14 could could be be the the numerical numerical total total of the the B 3 consonants consonants in in the the (D:4, Hebrew name David (D=4, V=6) , hence 4+6+4=14. hence V:6), 4+6*4:14. Hebrewname Dsvid "Jesus came came at at the end end of of the sixth week week b) 38 xX 14 -= 6 xX 7 and "Jesus of Holy history beginning beginning with with Abraham." of For Luke, Luke, this translation translation gives gives 77 names names from Adam Adam to Jesus, Jesus, time dividing allowing the number 7 to come again, this up by again, number come allowing 77 by 7 (? (7 X 1l 11 := ??). 77). It It is quite quite apparent apparent that for Luke Luke the 77 is added or subtracted added subtracted number of variations where words are where words numher howIt does such artificial. that a list of 77 names is completely It does howtist af.7T names completely such ever have have the advantage advantage of adapting adapting itself to these these numerical numerical ever games. g8mes. The genealogies genealogies of of Jesus Jesus as they appear in the Gospels Gospels may commentators'to that has led Christian Christian commentators' to perhaps be the subject that acrobaties, perform their of dialectic acrobatics, their most characteristic perform characteristic feats of on par indeed imagination. with Luke's and Matthew's imagination. indeed with


Conl.. adi~lions and Contradiclions and l-probabilities Irnp..obabililies in in the the ()Es.:.. iplions. l)escriptiorrs. four Gospels Each of the four Gospels contains aa large number number of descripevents that may be be unique tions of events unique to one one single Gospel comGospel or comif not all of them. When they are unique to one mon to several if one problems. Thus, in the case Gospel, they sometimes sometimes raise serious Gospel, serious problems. case considerable importance, it of an event of considerable it is surprising surprising to find the event mentioned by only one one evangelist evangelist;; Jesus's Jesus's Ascension Ascension heaven on the day of Resurrection, for into heaven into for example. example. Elsewhere, Elsewhere, numerous events events are differently differently described-sometimes numerous described-sometimes very difdiffently indeed-by indeed-by two two or more evangelists. very fently evangelists. Christians Christians are very astonished at the existence often astonished between existence of of such such contradictions between the Gospels-if Gospels-if they they ever discover them. This This is because because they they have been been repeatedly told told in in tones tones of of the greatest assurance assurance that that the New New Testament Testament authors authors were the eyewitnesses eyewitnesses of of the events they they describe ! Some Some of of these these disturbing disturbing improbabilities improbabilities and contradictions contradictions have been been shown in in previous chapters. It It is however the later later events of of Jesus's Jesus's life life in in partieular, particular, along with with the events events followfollowing ing the Passion, Passion, that that form form the subject of of varying varying or or contradictory contradictory descriptions. descriptions. DESCN/?flOilS DESCRIPTIONS OF OF THE THE PASSIOff PASSION Father Father Roguet himself himself notes that that Passover Passover is is placed at at differdifferent ent times times in in relation relation to to Jesus's Jesus's Last Last Supper with with IIis His disciples disciples in in g4 94


ContTtJdictiona atdlmptob&ilttiu and Improbabilllie, intlp in the Dermiqtions DeacriptiOfll Conttdictlotrt

05 95

the Synoptic Synoptic Gospels Gospels and and John's John's Gospel. Gospel. John John places places the the Last Last the 'before Supper 'before the the Passover Passover celebrations' celebrations' and and the the other other three three Supper during the the celebrations celebrations themselves. themselves. Obvious Obvious evangelists place place itit during evangelists this divergence: divergence: aa certain certain episode episode improbabilities emerge emerge from from this improbabilities becomes impossible impossible because because of of the the position position of of Passover Passover in in relation relation becomes it. lVhen When one one knows knows the importance importance itit had in in the Jewish Jewish liturgy liturgy to it. importance of of the meal meal where where Jesus Jesus bids farewell to his and the importanee disciples, how is itit possible possible to believe believe that that the memory memory of of one one disciples, in relation to the other could could have have faded faded to such such an extent event in event tradition recorded recorded later by the evangelists? evangelists? in the trsdition more general general level, level, the descriptions descriptions of of the Passion Passion differ On a more one evangelist evangelist to another, another, and and more more partieularly particularly between between from one John and and the first three three Gospels. Gospels. The The Last Supper Supper and and the PasPasJohn sion in John's John's Gospel Gospel are are both both very long, long, twice twice as as long long as as in sion and Luke, Luke, and and roughly one one snd and a a half times times as as long long as as Mark and Matthew's text. John John records records a a very long long speech speech of Jesus Jesus to His Matthew's (14 to 17) Gospel. disciples 17) of his Gospel. chapters (14 up four chapters which takes takes up discipleswhich leave will leave During this erowning thst He will snnouneesthat Jesusannounces speeeh,Jesus erowning speech, testament. gives them His last last spiritual spiritual testament. and gives them His last instructionsand last instructions process sameprocess The same There Gospels.The the other other Gospels. this in the no trace trace of this There is no all Luke and and Mark all can however; Matthew, Matthew, Luke way however; other way the other can work the does John does relate but John prayer in the Gethsemane, the Garden Gardenof Gethsemane, relateJesus's Jesus'sprayer not mentionit. not mention THE JOHNS NOjr DESCRIBE DESCNIBE THE DOES NOT G;OSPELDOES TOHI\FSGOSPEL INSTITUTION EACHARIST. THE EUCHARIST. INSTITA?ION OF THE Passion the Passion The the reader readerof the strikesthe that strikes fact that important fact mostimportant The most the reference to the no that he makes absolutely no reference to in John's Gospel is makes absolutely he is that in John's Gospel of Jesus Last Supper institution of the Eucharist during the Last Supper of Jesus the during Eucharist institution of the with Apostles. His Apostles. with His iconthe iconknow the not know doesnot There who does Christian who single Christian is not not aa single There is time last is the for ography of the Last Supper, where Jesus is for the last time where Jesus ography of the Last Supper, painters greatest seated among His Apostles at table. The world's greatest painters world's The table. Apostles at seatedamongHis sitting gathering with John sitting with John have final gathering this final representedthis alwaysrepresented havealways the asthe to considering near Jesus, John whom we are accustomed to considering as accustomed are we near Jesus,John whom author of the Gospel bearing fuat name. name, fhat bearing author of the Gospel of majority of the majority rnany,the to many, However appearto may appear astonishingitit may Howeverastonishing the of author the been have specialists do not consider John to have been the author of the to specialistsdo not considerJohn


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fourth Gospel, bospel,nor nor does doesthe the latter fourth latter mention mention the the institution institution of of the the Eucharist. The consecrationof Eucharist. The consecration of the the bread bread and and wine, wine, which which bebethe body comethe body and and blood blood of of Jesus, come Jesus,is is the the most most essential essentialact act of of the Christian Christian liturgy. liturgy. The The other the other evangelists evsngelists refer refer to to it, it, even even if if they do doso soin in differing differing terms, terms, as they a$we we have have noted noted above. above.John John does does noLsay anything about about it. not say anything it. The The four four evangelists' evangelists'descriptions descriptionshave have peter's deonly points in two single points prediction of only two single in common: common: the the prediction of Peter's denial and and of of the the betrayal betrayal by (Judas Iscariot by one oneof nial of the the Apostles Aposiles (Judas Iscariot is is only actualIy actually named named in in Matthew only Matthew and and John). John). John's John's description description is the the only only one one which which refers refers to is to Jesus Jesus washing washing his his disciples' disciples' feet at the beginning of the feet at the beginning of the meal. meal. How can can this this omission omission in in John's How John's Gospel Gospel be be explained? explained? rf one one reasons reasonsobjectively, objectively, the If the hypothesis hypothesis that springs springs immediately to mind (always (always supposing ately supposing the story story as as told by the other other passage of John's Gospel three evangelists is exact) is that aa passage Gospel relatitg the said said episode episode was relating was lost. lost. This is not the conclusion conclusion arrived at by Christian Christian commentators. arrived us now examine examine some some of the positions positions they have Let us have adopted. adopted. Little Dictionary Di,cti,onara0/ In his Little of the New Neus Testament (petit DicTestament (Petit Dictionnaire du Nouveau Nouveau Testament) A. Tricot tionnaire Tricot makes makes the following following .,Last meal Jesus partook entry under Last Last Supper (C6ne) : "Last Supper (Cime): entry Jesus partook of of with with the Twelve Disciples Disciples during during which he instituted instituted the Eucharist. It in the synoptic It is described described in Synoptic Gospers" Gospels" (references (references to MatthMatthew, Mark Mark and Luke). Luke). ,.. "... fourth Gospel Gospel gives us further further . . and the fourth details" details" (references (references to John). John). In In his entry entry on the Eucharist Eucharist (Eueharistie), (Eucharistie), the same same author author writes writes the fottowing: following: ,,The "The instiinstitution tution of of the Eueharist Eucharist is briefly briefly related in in the first first three GosGospels: pels: itit was an extremely extremely important important part part of of the Apostolic system of of religious religious instruction. instruction. saint Saint John John has has added added an indispensable indispensable complement complement to to these these brief brief descriptions descriptions in in his his account account oi of Jesus's Jesus's speech speech on on the the bread bread of of life life (6, (6, 82-68)." 32-58)." The The commentator commentator conseconsequently that John John does does not not describe describe Jesus's Jesus's ininquently fails fails to to mention mention that titution of the the Eucharist. Eucharist. The The alrthor apthor speaks speaks of of .complementary 'complementary titution of details', details', but but they they are are not not complementary complementary to to the the inJtitution institution of of the the Eucharist Eucharist (he (he basically basically describes describes the the ceremony ceremony of of the the washwashing ing of of the the Apostles' Apostles' feet). feet). The The commentator commentator speaks speaks of of the the ,bread 'bread of of life', life', but but itit isis Jesus's Jesus's reference reference (quite (quite separate separate from from the the Last Last Suppe) Suppt!r) to to Godls God's daily daily gift gift of of manua manna in in the the wilderness wilderness at at the the time time of of the the Jews' Jews' exodus exodus led led by by Moses. Moses. John John isis the the only only one one of of


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the evangelists evangelists who who records records this this allusion. allusion. In In the the following following passpassthe of his his Gospel, Gospel, John John does, does, of of course, mention mention Jesus's reference age of to the the Eucharist Eucharist in in the the form form of of sa digression digression on the bread, but but no to other evangelist speaks speaks of of this this episode. episode. other is surprised surprised therefore therefore both both by by John's John's silence on what what the the One is other three evangelists evangelists relate and their their silence silence on what, accordaccordother ing to John, Jesus Jesus is said to have predicted. predicted. ing commentators of of the Eunnenical Ecumenical Translation Translation of of the Bible, The commentetors Testament, do actually acknowledge acknowledge this this omission omission in in John's New Teetament, Gospel. This This is the explanation they come come up with with to account account for for Gospel. fact that that the description of of the institution institution of of the Eucharist Eucharist the fgct missing: "fn HIn general, general, John is not very interested in the traditradiis missing: and institutions institutions of of a bygone bygone Israel. This may have have distions snd suaded him from Eucharist in establishment of the Eucharist from showing the establishment suaded him it was a Passover liturgy". Are we seriously to believe believe that that it liturglp". Are the Possover led John not liturgy that led lack Passover liturgy of interest in the Jewish Passover laek of to describe institution of the most fundamental act in the deseribe the institution Ii turgy of the new religion? religion ? liturgy prohlem -exegesis are so The experts in .exegesis so embarrassed embarrassed by the problem equivthat thst theologians theologians rack their their brains to find prefigurations or equivreeorded by life recorded alents Jesus's life Eucharist in episodes episodes of Jesus's alents of the Eucharist Testament I:'leu Testament John. The New book, The example, in his book, John. O. O. Culmann for example, (Lc Nouveau (Le states that "the changing of the water Nouveau Testament), states the into wine and the feeding five thousand thousand prefigure the feeding of the five (the'Eucharist')". rebe reIt is to be sacrament 'Eucharist')". It sacrament of the Last Supper Supper (the the membered because the changed into wine because was changed membered that the water was was Jesus's Jesus's first latter Cana. (This was had failed at aa wedding in Cana. latter had the only miracle, 2, 1-12. 1-12. He is the described by John in chapter 2, miracle, described thoufive thouof the the five evangelist feeding of of the the feeding the case so). In the caseof do so). evangelist to do peoBlewho fed on sand, on 55 barley who were were fed of people number of wss the number sand, this was these loaves describing these When describing multiplied. When miraculously multiplied. that were were miraculously loavesthat parallel exists exists events, the parallel and the comment, and no special special comment, makes no events, John John makes more no more can no only exegesis.One in exegesis. One can this expert mind of of this expert in the mind in the only in his parallel he than his he draws draws than understand the parallel behind the reasoning behind the reasoning understand the blind born blind man born paralized man view and of man and of aa man of aa paralized the curing curing of view that thst the 'the water 'predict the from issuing from blood issuing and blood 'predict water and that 'the and that baptism' and the baptism' to reference fact' a Jesus's side a after his d~th unite in a single fact' a reference to in single unite death Jegus'gside after his both baptism and the Eucharist. both baptism and the Eucharist.


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parallel drawn Another parallel Another drawn by by the the same same expert expert in in exegesis exegesis conconconcerning the the Eucharist quoted by Eueharist isis quoted concerning Father Roguet by Father Roguet in in his his book book ,,SometheoInitintion to to the (Initiation ai l'Evangile). the Gospel Initiation Gospel (Initiation I'Evangile). "Some theologians, such such as as Oscar logians, in the description osear Culmann, Culmann, see see in the description of of the the washing of of the the feet feet before washing before the the Last Last Supper Supper aa symbolical symbolical equivaequivalent to to the the institution institution of lent of the the Eucharist Eucharist ..." . . ." It is is difficult difficult to to see seethe It the cogency parallels that cogency of of all all the the parallels that comcommentators have have invented invented to people accept mentators more readily to help help people accept more readily the the most disconcerting disconcerting omission omission in most in John's John's Gospel. Gospel. APPEANAIVCES OF APPEARANCES OF JESUS ftAISED FROM FnoM THE JESU$ RAISED THE DEAD. DEILD. prime example A prime example of imagination at work in aa description has A of imagination has already been given in the portrayal been given portrayal of the abnormal phenomena already phenomena said to to have have accompanied aecompaniedJesus's said Jesus's death death given in Matthew's Matfhew's GosGospel. The The events events that followed the Resurrection provided material pel. material contradictory and and even even absurd descriptions for contradictory descriptions on the part part of all evangelists. the evangelists. Boguet in his Initiation Ini.tiati,on to the Gospel Father Roguet (Initiation ea Gospel (Initiation page 182, provides examples 182, provides I'Evangile), page confusion, disdisexampres of the confusion, and contradiction reigning in these order and these writings: writings: list of of women "The list "The women who came came to the tomb is not exacfly exactly the the same in same in each each of of the three Synoptic Gospels. Gospels. In In John only only one woman came: Mary Mary Megdalene. M&gdalene. She speakb speak'S in in the plural plural howhowever, she were accompanied: accompanied: 'we 'we do not know where they ever, as as ifif she have laid him.' In Matthew Matthew the Angel Angel predicts to the women,that women. that him.' In they they will will see see Jesus Jesus in in Galilee. Galilee. A A few few moments moments later later however, however, Jesus Jesus joins joins them beside beside the the tomb. tomb. Luke Luke probably probably sensed sensed this this difficulty and altered the the source source aa litile. little. The The Angel Angel says: says: ,.Re"Remember how In how he he told told you, you, while while he he was was still still in in Galilee Galilee .. . .'.' rn faet, fact, Luke Luke only only actually actually refers refers to to three three appearances appearances ...."-"John . ."-..Jsfun plaees places two two appearances appearances at at an an interval interval of of one one week week in in the the upper upper room room at at Jerusalem Jerusalem and and the the third third beside beside the the lake, lake, in in Galilee Galilee theretherefore. fore. Matthew Matthew records records only only one one appearance appearance in in Galilee.,' Galilee." The The commentator commentator excludes excludes from from this this examination examination the the last last section section of of Mark's Mark's Gospel Gospel concerning concerning the the eppearances appearances because because he he believes believes 'probably this this was was 'probably written written by by another another hand'. hand'. AII All these these facts facts contradict contradict the the mention mention bf ¡of J"*u*'s Jesus's appearances, appearances, contained Paul's First First Letter Letter to to the the corinthians Corinthians (18, (15, b-?), 5-7), to to contained in in Paul's


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more than than five five hundred hundred people people at at once, once, to to James, James, to to all all the the more Apostles and' and, of ofcourse, course, to to Paul Paul himself. himself. Apostles Afterthis, this, ititisis surprising surprising therefore therefore to to find find that that Father Father Roguet Roguet After 'grandiloquent in the the same same book, book, the the 'grandiloquent and and puerile puerile stigmatizes, in stiematizes, phantasms of of certain certain Apocrypha' Apocrypha' when when talking talking of of the the BesurrecResurrecphantasms terms are are perfeotly perfectly appropriate appropriate to to Matthew Matthew tion. Surely Surely these these terms iion. contradiction and Paul Paul themselves: themselves: they they are are indeed indeed in in complete complete contradiction and with the the other other Apostles Apostles on on the the subiect subject of of the the appearances appearances of of with Jesus raised raised from from the the dead. dead. Jesus Apart from from this, this, there there is is aa contradiction contradiction between between Luke's Luke's dedeApart appearance scription, in in the the Acts Acts of of the the Apostles, Apostles, of of Jesus's Jesus's appearance to to seription, paui Paul and and what what Paul Paul himself himself suecinctly succinctly tells tells us us of of it. it. This This has has led led tft.e Resuryection, Faith in Father Kannengiesser Kannengiesser in in his his book, book, Faith in the Resurrection, Father Resurrection of Faith (Foi en la R6surrection, Resurrection, R{surrection Resurrection Faittt, (Foi Resu.ITecti,onof de la la Foi) Foi),, 1974, stress that that Paul, who was 'the 'the sole sole eyewitness eyewitness Lg'l4, to stress de of Christ's Christ's resurrection, whose whose voice comes comes directly directly to us from from of his writings', writings!, never speaks speaks of of his personal personal encounter encounter with with Him Him his except for for three extremely Who dead-'. . . except from the dead-'... Who was raised from deseribing from describing discreet refrains moreover from . . .'-'[s refrains references ...'-'he discreet references it.' it.' eyewitness sole eyewitness The contradiction was the sole between Paul, who was eontradiction between but obvious. Gospelsis quite obvious. dubious, and the Gospels but is dubious, (Le Nouveau Nouveau Testament (Le O. The New Testament book, The O. Culmann Culmsnn in his book, Matthew' and Matthew. Testament), between Luke and the contradictions between notes the Testament), notes in the second second in Judea, the in Judea, The appearances in Jesus's appearances situstes Jesus's first situates The first Galilee. Galilee. contradiction' Luke-John contradiction. One the Luke-John remember the also remember should also One should from raised from which Jesus Jesus raised John in which episodein (21, 1-14) relates an an episode 1-14) relates John (21, Tiberias; of the Sea $ea of Tiberias; the beside the fishermen beside the fishermen to the Bppears to dead appears the dead to unable to are unable they are that they they fish that many fish so many catch so they subsequently subsequently catch the of repetition of the than aa repetition bring other than nothing other is nothing This is all in. in. This them all bring them spot place at same spot the same at the miracle took place which took episodewhich fish episode of fish catch of miracle catch Jesus's of (6, 1-11)' as event of Jesus's asan an event and by Luke Luke (5,1-11), describedby was also alsodescribed and was life. life. assures Roguet assures Father Roguet When appearances, Father these appearances, of these talking of When talking 'their disordered and blurred and disordered us disjointed, blurred thst 'their disjointed, book that his book in his us in go to show to show facts go all these thesefacts character becauseall confidence'because inspires confidence' character inspires he notes. notes' distirrction" he .No other that distil.dion', 1.1. 'No can claim claim that author can Testament author New Testament other New


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that there there was was no no conniv ance betwee connivance between n the the evange evangelists', lists 1 , otherwise wise they would would definit definitely ely have have co-ord co-ordinated inated their stories stories. . This is indeed indeed aa strang strange e line of argum argument. ent. In actual actual fact, fact, they could could all have have record recorded, ed, with comple comprete te sinceri sincerity, ty, traditi tr.aditions ons of the the comcommuniti munities es which which (unkno (unknown wn to them) them) an all contain contained ed elemen elements ts of fantasy fantasy.. This hypoth hypothesis esis in unavoi unavoidable dable when when one one is faced faced with so so many contra contradictions diction s and and improb improbabilities abilitie s in the descrip description tion of of events events. .

ASCE ASC^ENSIOil NSION OF OF JESUS tEsus Contra contradictions diction s are presen present t until the very end end of the descrip descriptions becaus because e neithe neitherr John nor Matthe Matthew w refer to Jesus's Jesus's AscenAscen""i"" of it. sion. Mark sion. Mark and Luke are the only onry one one to speak speak For (16, Mark (16, 19), Jesus was Jesus was'tak.n 'taken up into heaven heaven, , and and sat down at the right risht hand of God' God' withou withoutt any precise p"".ise date being given in relatio "ny howev relationn to His Resurr Resurrection. ection. It rt must however er be be noted noted that the final passag passage e of Mark Mark contai containing ning this senten sentence ce is, for for 'invented' Father Rogue Father Roguet, t, an 'inven ted' text, althou althoug:h gh for for the Churc churchh it it is canoni csnonic c r! remainss Luke, the only There remain onry evange evangerist list to provid providee an undisputed text of the Ascens puted ,he parted from Ascension ion episod episode e iZl, (24, 51): 'he Of ), from 2 them2 them and was carried up into heaven heaven'. '. The Tire evange evangerist praces the list places event at the end of the descrip description tion of the Resurr ection and apResurrection pearance pearan ce to the eleven eleven Apostl Aposiles: es: the details of the Gospel Gospel dede_ scripti scription on imply imply that that the Ascens Ascension ion took place place on the day of the Resurrection. Resurr ection . In In the Acts of the Apostl Aposfles, es, Luke (whom everyevery_ body believe believes s to be be their their author author)) describ describes es in chapte chapterr 1, l, 3 B Jesus's Jesug,s appearance appear ance to the Apostl Apostles, es, betwee between n the Passion Passio n and the AscenAscension, sion, in the follow following ing terms: "To "To them he presented presen ted himself himsel f alive after after his passion passion by many proofs, proofs, appear appearing ing to them during during forty forty days, days, and speaki ng of ,p"rking of the lu'ngdom kingdo m of "rrd of God." The placing placin g of of the Christ christian ian festiva festivarl of of the Ascension Ascension at forty forty . days after after Easter, Easter , the Festival Festiv al of of the Resurrection, Resurr ection , originates origin ates from from this this passage pass,age in in the Acts Act$ of of the Apostles. Apostles. The date is theretherel. It 1. It is dificult difficult to sâ&#x201A;Źe see how bow there there could have been! 2. i'e. the i.e. eleVel:l eleverr Apostle s; Judos, Aposiles; J udos, the twerfth, twelfth , ras was already already dead. ?' dead.


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fore set set inin contradiction contradiction to to Luke's Luke's Gospel: Gospel: none none of of the the other other fore w&y' difrerent a Gospel texts say anything to justify this in in a different way. Gospel texts say anything to iustify this The Christian Christian who who isis awere aware of of this this situation situation isis highly highly disdisThe The the obviousness obviousness of of the the contradiction. contradiction. The Eeurn'enF Ecumenconcerted by by the concerted ical Translation Translation of of the the Bib|e, Bible, New Testa'ment, Testament, ackno'wledges acknowledges the the ieal facts but but does does not not expand expand on on the the contradiction. contradiction. ItIt limits limits itself itself to to fects noting the the relevsnce relevance the the forty forty days days may may have have had had to to Jesus's Jesus's noting mission. miggion. and reconcile reconcile the the Commentators wishing wishing to to explain explain everything everything and commentators strange interpretations interpretations on on this this irreconciliable provide provide some some strange irreconciliable subject. subject. The Sgnopsis Synopsis of of the Forr Four Gospels Gospels edited edited in in 19?2 1972 bv by the the Bibli' Bibli· The example, for page of page 451) for example, cal School (vol. contains, 461) 2, of Jerusalem cal School very strange strange commentaries. some very some The very word 'Ascension' 'Ascension' is criticized criticized as follows: follows: "In "In fact fact The very word God physieal because sense there was ascension in physical sense because God actual the in no ascension there 'below' 'on to (sic). difficult is It is no more 'on high' 'below'" (sic). It difficult he is than high' " is no more Luke one wonders how Luke grasp because one grgsp the sense of this comment beeause sense of could expressed himself. have expressed otherwise have eould otherwise 'literary sees as 'literary Elsewhere, the author of this commentary sees Elsewhere, said to Ascension is said artifice' "in the Acts, the Ascension artiftce' in the fact that "in 'artifice' resurrection"; have taken place forty days after the resurrection" ; this 'artifice' after place days forty have taken apJesus's ap· the period of Jesus's is stress the notion that the is "intended "intended to stress however, pearances on earth is at an end". He adds however, in relation to adds He end". at an Ilearances on earth is the during situated is the fact that in Luke's Gospel, "the event is situated during the event the fact that in Luke's Gospel, "the put not put does not the evangelist evangelist does evening becausethe Sunday, because Easter Sunday, of Easter evening of the following recorded any breaks between the various episodes recorded following the episodes various the any breaks between resurrecthe of morning discovery of the empty tomb on the morning of the resurrec· the on tomb discovery of the empty intended artifice, intended literary artifice, tion is also also aa literary this is ru"Lly this tion ..."-"... . . ."-... , . surely Jesus of Jesus appearance the to allow a certain lapse of time before the appearance of before time of to allow a certain lapse raised from the dead." (sic) (sic) raised from the dead." interpretatheseinterpreta. surrounds these The that surrounds of embarrassment embarrassmentthat The feeling feeling of discerns He book' Roguet's tions is even more obvious in Father Roguet's book. He discerns tions is even more obvious in Father not Ascensions! two Ascensions! but two not one, one,but coincides Ascensioncoincides view the the Ascension "Whereas from Jesus's point of of view Jesus'spoint from "Whereas does view point of with disciples'point of view itit does the disciples' from the Resurrection'from the Resurrection, with the to Himself present to not take place until Jesus ceases definitely to present Himself to not take place until Jesus ceasesdefinitely period the and them given to them, so that the Spirit may be given to them and the period them, so that the spirit may be of begin." may begin." Church may the Church of the


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To those thosereaders readerswho quite able who are not quite To are not grasp the ableto to grasp the theological theological subtlety of of his (which ha.s his argument argument (which subtlety ha.sabsolutely absolutely no no Scriptural Scriptural basiswhatsoever), whatsoever), the the author author issues basis issuesthe general warnthe following following general warning, which which is is aa model model of of apologetical apologetical verbiage: ing, verbiage: as in in many "Here, as many similar similar cases, "Here, cases,the probrem only the problem only appears appears insuperable if if one onetakes takes Biblical Biblical statements insuperable statements literally, riterally, and and forgets forgets their religious religious significance. significance.It their It is is not not aa matter matter of of breaking breaking down down the factual faetual reality reality into into aa symbolism syrnbolism which the which is is inconsistent, inconsistent, but but rather of of looking looking for for the the theological rather theological intentions intentions of of those those revealrevealing these these mysteries mysteries to providing us to us ing us by by providing us with with facts facts we we can can apprehend with with our our senses sensesand apprehend and signs signs appropriate appropriate to to our our incarincarnate spirit." spirit." nate

JESUS'S LAST DIALOGUES. JESUS'S LAST DIALOGUES. THE PARACLETE PARACLETE OF JOHNS THE IOHIVS GOSPEL. John is the only evangelist to report the episode episode of the last last dialogue with with the Apostles. Aposfles. It dialogue It takes place place at the end end of of the the supper and before Jesus's Last Supper Jesus's arrest. It It ends ends in a very long long speech: four chapters chapters in John's speech: John's Gospel Gospel (14 to 17) l?) are are devoted devoted to to this this narration narration which is not mentioned mentioned anywhere in the other other Gospels. Gospels. These These chapters of of John nevertheless nevertheless deal deal with with questions questions of of prime prime importance and fundamental significance to the future future outlook. outlook. They are set out with with ail all the grandeur grandeur and solemnity solemnity that that characterizes characterizes the farewell farewell scene scene between between the Master Master and and His His disciples. discipIes. This This very very touching farewell scene scene whieh which contains Jesus's Jesus's spirspiritual itual testament, testament, is is entirely entirely absent absent from from Matthew, Matthew, Mark Mark and Luke. Luke. How How can can the the absence absence of of this this description description be be explained explained?? one One might might ask ask the the followins: following: did did the the text text initiaily initially exist exist in in the the first first three three Gospels? Gospels? was Was itit subsequenily subsequently suppressed? suppressed? why? Why? ItIt must must be be stated stated immediately immediately that that no no answer answer can can be be found; found; the the mystery mystery surrounding surrounding this this huge huge gap gap in in the the narrations narrations of of the the first first three three evangelists evangelists remains remains as as obscure obscure as as ever. ever. The The dominating dominating feature feature of of this this narration-seen narration-seen in in the the crowncrowning ing speech-is speech-is the the view view of of man's man's future future that that Jesus Jesus describes, describes, His His care and through through them them the the whole whole of of care in in addressing addressing His His disciples, disciples, and humanity, Hirs recommendations humanity, His recommendations and and commandments commandments and and His His concern concern to to spe:ify spe~ify the the guide guide whom whom man man must must follow follow after after His His dede-


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design ate to desigRate only one to the o$y John's Gospel is the of John's text of The text perture. partur e. The 'Parae 'Parabecome becom has h Englis in English which in Greek, which in Greek, etos in as Parakl Parakletos him ** iri* passages: es: essential passag the essential following are the clete'. The following will And II will ,,If commandments. And my commandments. keep my will keep "If you love me, you will (14' (14, ete." Paracl r Paraclete." you anothe another give will and he will Father , *rrd the* r"*t*r, pray t-t pray 15-16) 16-16) Gosof John's Gospresentt text of 'Parac lete' mean? The presen does 'Paraclete' What does What s: follow meani ng as follows: its meaning explai ns its pel explains send will send Fathe r will .,But Spirit, whom the Father Holy spirit, Paracl ete, the Holy "But the Paraclete, your reyour to bring bring and , things you things, all will teach name, he will my name, in my in 26). (14, 26)' you" (14' have said to you" that I have memb rance all that *"*Lt*nce (15, 26) .' witnes s to me" (15' will bear witness "he will do not go .,it for ifif II do that II go away, for tage that advantage your advan "it is to your send go, will I will send I go, I I if you; if but to come tJ will not come Paracl ete will away, the Paraclete sin of world the ce convin will convince he will comes, he you. And when he comes, him to you. (16' ' 7-8) 7-8). (16, judgment ' ' '" usness and of judgm ent ..." tight"ousness and of righteo will will guide you into all the he comes, truth comes' Spirit of truth "When "When the Spirit ver whatever ity, but whate author own authority, his on speak will not speak truth; truth; for he will that that things the you to declare declare will he will speak, and wiit speak, he hears he will (16' 13-14) 13-14).' . . '" (16, glorify me me ..." will glorify come. He will are to come. L4-t7, rs 14-17, chapters es in John, chapte passages that the passag (It must be noted that (It meanl meangeneral no way alter the genera here, in no cited here, been cited have not been which have ions). quotations). quotat ing of these these Greek word ies the Greek identifies text which identif g, the text y readin reading, a On cursory on a cursor attenattenmuch much attractt ,paraclete'wiih ly to attrac unlikely Spirit is unlike lete' with the Holy Spirit 'Parac are are text es of the subtitles when the subtitl ally true when especially tion. This is especi ntacomme ology commentaterminology tions and the termin ttanslations ior transla lly used generally used for genera the reader todirect ation publication public mass for mass works in tors .*!loy [o"* employ lary orthoexemplary es that an exemp p"**"g"* these passag ng in these meaning the meani wards the st diffislightest have the slighte one have Should one have. Should doxy would like them to have. available' ations available, explanations are many explan there are ehension, there culty in compr compilt the ""*ion, nary of the DietionarA Littte Dictio Tricot in his Little those given such as those such as ;i".; by A. Tricot ent) Testament) to au Testam Nouveau du Nouve nnaire du (Petii Dictio Dictionnaire ent (Petit New Testa,meit New Testam ete this Paraclete on the Paracl t. In his entry on subject. ten one on this subjec enligh one on enlighten ing: following: the follow entato r writes writes the comm commentator used in only used is only Greek is the Greek ,,This name from the ted from translated or title transla "This name or account t accoun his in in four times it four usesit he uses ent by John: he the Testament New Testam the New


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of of Jesus's Jesus'sspeech speechafter after the the Last Last Suppe (14,16 r1 (14, supper' 16 and and 26; 26; 15, lE, 26; 26; 16, l8' 7) ?) and snd once oncein in his his First First Letter (2, 1). L,etter(2, L). In John's John'sGospel Gospelthe the word wgrd is is applie d to applied to the the Holy Holy Spirit spirit;; in the in Letter the it Letter refers to reiers 'Paraelete' Christ christ.. 'Parac lete' was was aa term term in curren currentt usage usageamong the among Helthe Hel-,defender, ,intereessor,, lenist lenist Jews, Jews,First First centur y A.D., century A.D",meani ng 'interc meaning essor', 'defen der' (. . . )) Jesus (... predicts Jesuspredic ts that that the the Spirit spirit will witt be be sent sent by by the the Father Father and and Son. son. Its rts missio mission n will be be to to take take the placeof the the place the Son son in the the playedduring role role he he played during his his mortal mortal life as a* helper helper for the the benefit benefit "rne and of of his his discipl disciples. es. The The Spirit will interve intervene and act act as as aa substit ute substitute for for Christ paracrete christ,, adopti adopting ng the the role rore of Paracl ete or omnip otent interomnipotent ceggor,tt cessor ." This comm commentary entary therefo therefore re makes makes the the Holy Hory Spirit spirit into the ultiguide of man mste guide mate man after Jesus's Jegus'sdepart departure. ure. How does does it it square square with John's John's text? It is aa necess It necessary question ary questio n becaus because e a pr"iori pTi01'i it seems seemsstrang e to strange ascribe the ascribe the last paragr paragraph quoted above aph quoted above to the Holy Spirit spirit: : "for he will "for he wilt not speak speak on on his own author authority, ity, but whatev rvhatever er he he hears he hears he will speak, speak,and and he he will declare declare to you ilre things that are vou the come." It to come." rt seems seems inconc inconceivabre eivable that one on! could could ascribe ascribe to the Holy Spirit spirit the ability a-birityto speak speak and and declare decrarewhatev whatever er he hears hears ... ... Logic deman demands ds that this questio question n be raised, but to my knowle be raised, knowledge, dge, it is is not usually it usually the subjec subjectt of comm commentaries. entaries. To gain an exact exact idea idea of the proble problem, m, one one has has to go back back to the basic Greek basic Greek text. This is especia especiarry lly impor important tant because because John is universally univer recognized sally recogn ized to have have writte writtenn in Greek Greek instead instead of of an_ another langua language. ge. The Greek Greek text consul consulted ted was the NNoattm ovum TestaTesta2 mentum mentu m Graece Graecez, â&#x20AC;˘ Any seriou serious Any textuall criticis s textua criticism m begins begins with with a search search for for variations. Here Here it tions. it would would seem seem that in all the known manuscripts manus cripts of of John's Gospel John's Gospel, , the only onry variation variati on rikery likely to change change the meaning meani ng sentenee of the senten ce is in pessage passag e 14, 14, 26 26 of of the famous famous palimpsest Palimp sest version written version writte n in Syriac: syriac'.l. Here it it is not the Holy spirit Spirit that that is mentioned, quite simply the spirit. mentio ned, but quite Spirit. Did ttre the scriue scribe merely lJ" In fact, f".tJ"rfor John 1. John it it was during during the Last Last supper Supper itserf itself that that Jesus Jesus delivered delivere d the long epeech speech that that mentions mention s the paraclete. Paracle te. 2' Nestld 2. Nestle and Aland. pub. Pub. united United Bibles Bibles societies, Societie s, London, London, lg?r. 1971. 3. 3. This This manuacript manusc ript was written written in the Fourttr Fourth or or ritth Fifth century century A.D. A.D. ItIt was discovered discove red in 1gl2 1812 on Mount sinai Sinai by Agnes s.-Lewis S.-Lewi s and and is is so so named named because because the first first text text had been been cove.*J covered ty by aa later later one one which, which, when obliterated, oblitera ted, revealed revealed the original. original .


Contradictiona and Improbabilities in tile Deacriptiotll t atdhmptobobilitbtlntlnDarc'rlptionr conttdtrctiot

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missout outaa\rord wordor, or,knowing knowingfull fullwell wellthat thatthe thetext texthe hewas wasto tocopy copy miss perhaps he did speak, claimed to to make make the the Holy HolySpirit Spirit hear hear and and speak, did he perhaps claimed lack the the audacity audacity to to write write something something thst that seemed seemed absurd absurd to to him? him? lack labour to need little Apart from from this this observation observation there there isis little need to labour the the .lp"* other variations, variations, they they &re are grammatical grammatical and and do do not not change change the the ot-h*" general meaning. meaning. The The impor'tant important thing thing is is that that what what has has been been general the of demonstrated here here with with regard regard to to the the exast exact meening meaning of the verbs verbs Iemonstrated .to 'to hesr' hear' and and 'to 'to speak' speak' should should apply apply to to all all the the other other manuscripts manuscripts of John's John's Gospel, Gospel, as as is is indeed indeed the the case. case. of 'ahou6' The verb verb 'to 'to hear, hear, in in the the translation translation is is the the Greek Greek verb verb 'akouo' The meaning to to perceive perceive sounds. sounds. ItIt has, has, for for example, example, given given us us the the meaning word 'acoustics', science of sounds. sounds. of science the word'acoustics', 'Ial'e6' The verb'to verb 'to speak' speak' in in the translstion translation is the Greek Greek verb 'laleo' 'to which has has the general general meaning meaning of of 'to emit sounds' sounds' and the spespe'to in very frequently cific meaning of 'to speak'. This occurs verb occurs speak'. cific meaning o1 declarstion solemn a the Greek text of the Gospels. It designates solemn declaration designates It bospels. the Greek It therefore made by Jesus Jesus during His preachings. preachings. It therefore becomes becomes clear clear made does proclaims here that the communication to man which He here proclaims does not communication man whieh egency hy in any way consist of a statement inspired by the agency of the inspired any way consist s statement moreover' character Holy Spirit. It has a very obvious material character moreover, material Holy spirit. It has a very obvious conveyed soundsconveyed emissionof sounds which the emission idea of the the idea comesfrom the which comes by the Greek word that defines it. defines by the Greek word 'lnleri' therefore 'akou6' and condefinecontherefore define The' and 'laZeD' verbs 'akouo' two Greek Greek verbs The two hesring with being with hearing to aa being crete applied to be applied only be can only which can sctions which crete actions to themto applythem to apply and impossible impossibleto consequently is consequently It is organs.It speechorgans. andspeech the Spirit. Holy Spirit. theHoly as Gospel,as passagefrom John'sGospel, from John's For this passage of this text of thetext reason,the For this this reason, quite incomprehensiis handed down to us in Greek manuscripts, is quite incomprehensimanuscripts, handeddown to us in Greek 'Holy Spirit' words'Holy the words ble Spirit' includingthe whole,including asaa whole, takesitit as if one onetakes bleif the whom Spirit, Holy the in passage 14, 26: "But the Paraclete, the Holy Spirit, whom the Paraclete, in passage14, 26: "But the passsge John's in only the Father will send in my name" etc. It is the only passage in John's is It etc. Father will sendin my name" $pirit' HolySpirit. theHoly Gospel with the Paracletewith theParaclete identifiesthe that identifies Gospelthat 'Holy Spirit' ommitted areommitted agion)are pneum,a If totoagion) (to pneuma Spirit' (to words'Holy thewords If the meanconveys then from the Johnthen conveys aameanofJohn textof passage, completetext thecomplete thepassage, fromthe snother by moreover,by another ing confirmedmoreover, p*"t*tly clear. elear.ItIt isisconfirmed whicttisi* perfectly ingwhich uses Johnuses whereJohn Letter, text by the same evangelist, the First Letter, where First the *t"ng"list, sam* uy the teit 'Paraclete' interce$sor the Jegus, the the intercessor meanJesus, simplytotomean word'Parac1ete' simply sameword thesame


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1 at God's God's side sider. â&#x20AC;˘ Accord Aeeording ing to John, John, when when Jesus (14, 16): Jesus says says (14, 16) : 'lAnd I will pray "And the the Father paraFather,, and give you and he he will give you anothe another r Paraclete", clete", what what He He is saying saying is that that'another'intercessor 'anoth er' interce ssor will be be sent sent to man, man, as as He He Himse Himself lf was was at God's God'sside side on on man's man's behalf behalf during His earthl egrthly y life. Accord According ing to the the rules rules of logic logic therefo therefore, re, one one is brough broughtt to see seein John's John's ParaeI Paraclete ete aa human human being being like Jesus, possessiig Jesus,posses sing the the faculties faculti es of hearin hearing g and and speech speechformal formally ly implie implied d in John's John's Greek Greek text. Jesus text. Jesustheref therefore ore predic predicts ts that God God will witi later send send aa human human being to Earth to take being take up up the the role role defined definedby John, John, Le. i.e. to to be be aa prophet prophe t who who hears hears God's God'sword word and and repeat repeats s his his messag message e to man. man. This is the the logical Iogical interp interpretation retatio n of John's iohn's texts texts arrive arrived d at if if one one attribu attributes tes to the the words words their proper proper meanin meaning. g. ,Holy Spirit' presence The The presen ce of the the term 'Holy spirit' in today' today's s text could could easily easily have have come comefrom aa later additio addition n made quite deliber made quite deliberately. ately. It rt may may have have been beenintend intended ed to change changethe the origina origin*ll meani m*"rring ng which which predicted predic ted the the adven advent t of aa prophe prophet t subseq subsequent uent to to Jesus Jesusand and was was therefore theref ore in contra contradiction diction with the the teachin teac-hings gs of the the Christ Christian ian church churches es at the the time of their forma formation; tion; these these teachin teachings gs mainmaintained that Jesus tained Jesuswas was the the last last of the prophets. the prophe ts.

1. l. Many M""y translat t"*slations ions and commen commentaries taries of the Gospel, Gospel, especial espeeially ly older 'Congoler' ones, oneB' use use the word 'Consol er' to transla translate te this, but but it it is is totally totally inaccur inaJcuratâ&#x201A;Ź. ate.


vr ~I Conâ&#x201A;Ź:lusions Conclusions recorded here here and and the commentaries commentaries quoted quoted from The facts recorded have several extremely eminent experts exegesis exegesis have in experts extremely eminent Christian several affirmations of orthodory orthodoxy supported supported by the line adopted adopted refuted affinnrations historical authenticity of the absolutehistoricsl by the last Council Council on the absolute Gospels. have faithfully Jesus fsithfully transmitted what Jesus fireee are said said to have Gospels.These actually did and taught. and taugbt. given. Several kinds of argument have been been given. argument have Several different kinds quotationsfrom the Gospels conFirstly, show flat conFirstln quotations Gospelsthemselves themselvesshow tradictions. contradict believe two facts facts that contradict tradictions. It It is impossible impossibleto believe each improbabilities and and other. Neither can can one one accept accept certain improbabilities each other. provided go affirmations modthat go against the cast-iron data provided by modagainst data the affirmations casLiron genealogiesof Jesus ern knowledge. Jesus knowledge. In this respect, respect, the the two genealogies quite given in the given and the are untruths implied in them are quite them and the implied the Gospels Gospels conclusive. conclusive. incompatibilities These and incompatibilities improbabilities and These contradictions, contradictions, improbabilities pass unnoticed when pass astonishedwhen They are are astonished many Christians. unnoticed by many Christisns. They influenced their they discover them because they have been influenced by been have discover they them beesusethey provide calcureading that provide subtle explanations calcuexplanations reading of commentaries subtle eommentaries lated apologeticlyrican apologetic reassurethem latcd to reassure and orchestrated orchestrated by an them and given emism. Some very typical examples have been given the skill emof the have been ism. Some examples they ployed experts in exegesis in camouflaging what they what camouflaglng ployedby certain exegesis certain experts 'difficulties'. There passagesindeed indeed modestly There are &re very few few passages modestly call call 'difficulties'. alin the Gospels that have been acknowledged as inauthentic alas inauthentic acknowledged have been the Gospels though the Church declares them canonic. declares them canonic" though the Church textual According modern textual Kannengiesser,works works of modern According to Father Kannengiesser, 'revolution criticism have revealed a data which constitute a 'revolution in which constitute data eriticism have revealed Jesus to facts relating of Biblical exegesis' so that the facts relating to Jesus methods the so methods Biblical exegesis' that they literally', they 'to be recorded longer'to be taken takenliterally', are no no longer the Gospels Gospelsare recordedin the 107


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'writings suited 'combatwritings'. are are 'writings suitedto to an an occasion' occasion'or or 'combat writings'. Modem Modern knowledge brought to light the history of Judeo-Christianity knowledgehas has brought to light the history of Judeo-Christianity and and the the rivalry rivalry between betweencommunities communities which which accounts accountsfor for the the existence existenceof of facts facts that today's readers that today's readers find find disconcerting. disconcerting.The The conceptof of eyewitness eyewitnessevangelists concept evangelistsis is no no longer. longer defensible, defensible,alalthough numerousChristians though numerous retain it Christians still still retain today. The it today. The work work done done at the the Biblical Biblical School (Fathers Benoit at Schoolof of Jerusalem Jerusalem (Fathers Benoit and and BoisBoiamard) showsvery very clearly mard) shows elearlythat that the the Gospels Gospelswere were written, revised revised andcorrected eorrectedseveral severaltimes. and times.They Theyalso alsowarn warn the readerthat he the reader is he is in more more than give up than one "obliged "obliged in onecase caseto to give up the notion of hearing the notion hearing Jesus'svoice voicedirectly". directly". Jesus's The historical historieal nature nature of the The the Gospels question. Gospels is is beyond beyond question. Through descriptions descriptions referring to Through to Jesus Jesus however, however, these these docudocuprovide us mentsprovide us above aboveall with information about ments about the the character character of their authors, authors, the the spokesmen of spokesmenfor the the tradition of the early Christian communities communitiesto which Christian they belonged, which they belonged,and and in particular paul: Carabout the the struggle struggle between betweenthe the Judeo-Christians about Judeo-Christiansand and Paul: Cardinal Danielou's Daniâ&#x201A;Źlou'swork is authoritative on dinal points. on these thesepoints. why be be surprised surprised by the fact that some Why some evangelists evangelists distort certain events eventsin Jesus's Jesus'slife with the object certain a perperobject of defending defending a point of view? sonalpoint view? Why be be surprised sonal omission of certain surprised by the omission events? Why be be surprised by the fictitious nature of events? of other events events described? described? This leads leadsus us to compare comparethe Gospels Gospels with with the narrative poems poems found in Medieval found Medieval literature. A vivid vivid comparison comparison could could be be msde made with the Song Song of Roland Rola,nd,(Chanson (Chanson de de Rotand), Roland), the most wellweIlknown aU poerns poetns of this kind, which relates relates a real event in in a known of all fictitious light. It It will will be be remembered remembered that itit describes describes an actual actual episode: episode: Roland Roland was was leading leading Charlemagne's Charlemagne's rear-guard rear-guard when when itit was ambushed on was ambushed on the pess pass at at Roncevaux. Roncevaux. The episode episode which wss was of minor importance, importance, is said said to have have taken taken place place on the the l6th 15th August, August, ?78 778 according according to historical historical records records (Eginhard). (Eginhard). ItIt was was raised to raised the stature of of a great feat of of arms, aa battle battle in in aa war war of of religion. rt It is a whimsical whimsical description, description, but but the the imaginary imaginary element element does does not obliterate one one of of the the real real battles battles that that Charlemagne Charlemagne hsd had proteet to fig:ht in order to fight in to protect his his frontiers frontiers against against the the attemptg attempts made made by by neighbouring neighbouring peoples peoples to to penetrate penetrate his his borders. borders. That That is is the element of truth and element of truth and the the epic epic style style of of nsrrative narrative does does not not r+ remove move it. it.


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The same same hotds holds tnre true for for the the Gospels: Gospels: Mattheq/s Matthew's phsntasms' phantasms, The the improbabilities, the flat contradictions between Gospels, the improbabilities, the the between Gospels, the flat contrsdictions dissuccessive the incompatibilities with modem scientific data, the successive disdata, scientific modern wittr iucompatibilities of the the text--all text-all these these things things add add up up to to the the fact fact that that the the tortions of tortions product sole passages the are that are the sole product Gospels contain chapters and passages that and GospelEcontein chapters of the the human human imagination. imagination. These These flaws flaws do do not not however however csst cast of consolely is doubt the doubt on the existence of Jesus's mission: the doubt is solely conmission: of Jesus's existence doubt on the fined to to the course course itit took.


II

fhe Qo..'an The -rnd Qrrr'arr and Dlodern ~ode ..n St:ient:e Scierrce lntroducliorr Inl.. odu~lion relationship between The relationship betweenthe The the Qur'an priori aa and science scienceis a priori eur'an and surprisg espeeiallywhen when it turns out to be surprise, especially be one one of harmony harmony and and diseord.A confrontation eonfrontation between not of discord. book and and the betweenaa religious religious book proclaimed by science secular ideas ideas proclaimed secular perhaps, in the eyes eyes of scieneeis perhaps, people many people today, today, something somethingof aa paradox. many paradox. The The majority majority of toscientists,with aa small day's scientists, small number day's number of exeeptions exceptions of course, course, are indeedbound bound up in materialist theories, indeed theories, and and have have only indifference indifference contempt for religious or contempt religious questions questions which they often consider consider to be be founded founded on on legend. legend. rn In the West West moreover, moreover, when when seience science snd and religion are discussed, discussed, people people are quite willing willing to mention mention Judaism and and Christianity Christianity among among the religions referred to, but but they hardly ever think think of Islam. So So many false judgements judgements based based on on inaccurate inaccurate ideas ideas have have indeed indeed been been made made about it, it, that that today today itit is is very difficult to form form an exact exact notion of of the the reality reality of of rslam. Islam. As sa prelude between the the Islamic Islamic RevelaRevelaprelude to any confrontation between tion and science, science, itit would would seem seem essential essential that that an an ou,iline outline be be given given of of a religion religion that that is is so so little little known known in in the the West. West. fire The totally totally erroneous erroneous statements statements made made about about Islam Islam in in the the West West are are sometimes sometimes the the result result of of ignorance, ignorance, and and sometimes sometimes of of systemsystematic atic denigration. denigration. The The most most serious serious of of all all the the untruths untruths told told about about itit are are however however those those dealing dealing with with facts; facts; for for while while mistaken mistaken opinopintt0 110


Ifllroducfion rffin

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ions are are excusable, excusable, the the presentation presentation of of facts facts running running contrarT contrary to to ions the reality reality is is not. not. ItIt is is disturbing disturbing to to read read blatant blatant untruths untruths in in the eminently respectable respectable works works written written by by authors authors who who aa Priori priori arc are eminently highly qualified. qualified. The The following: following is is an an example example taken taken from from the the hishly Universalis EncAclopeilia Encyclopedia (Eneyclopedia (Encyclopedia Universalis) Universalis) vol.6. vo1.6. UnUnuniaersatis der the the heading heading Gospels (Evangiles) the the author author alludes alludes to to the the Gospels (Evsngiles) der differences between between the the Istter latter and and the the Qur'an: Qur'an: "The "The evangelists evangelists differences (. .. .) not (. (. . .), as in in the the Qur'an, Qur'an, claim claim to to transmit transmit en an (. .), 8s .) do not autobiography that that God miraculously miraculously dictated dictated to to the the Prophet Prophet autobiogrsphy In fact, fact, the the Qur'an Qur'an has nothing nothing to to do with with an autobiograautobiogra. .". In ,...". phy: itit is is a preaching; preaching; a consultation consultation of of even the the worst worst trans' transphy: lation would would have made thet that clear clear to the the author. author. The statement statement iation we have quoted is as far far from from reality reality as ifif one were to to define we a Gospel Gospel as an account of of an evangelist's life. life. The person rea for this this untruth untruth about the the Qur'an Qur'an is a professor professor at at the sponsible for sponsible people such utter that Jesuit Faculty of Lyon! fact that people utter fact The ! Lyon Theology, of Fsculff Jesuit and the untruths helps give of Qur'an of impression false Qur'an a to helps untruths Islam. Islam. There is hope because religions are no longer howeyer because hope today however seeking ane seeking as inward-looking as they were and many of them are as inwardJooking as impressed be for mutual understanding. One must indeed be impressed by aa indeed One for on made knowledge 0: the fact that an attempt is being made on the knowledge oi' establish highest level of the hierarchy by Roman Catholics to establish Catholics Roman highest level incomprehension contact trying to fight incomprehension with Muslims; they are trying contact with on views on inaccurate and are doing their utmost to change the inaccurate views the change and Islam that are so widely held. held. so great change change the great In mentioned the to this this work, work, II mentioned Introduction to In the the Introduction quotedaa document document years and that and II quoted place in few years the last last few in the taken place has taken that has Vatican the Vatican at the Affairs at produced for Non-Christian Non-Christian Affairs produced by by the the Office Officefor Chrwtians between Christians under Di,aloguebetween title Orientations Ori,enta,tionsfor the title under the for aa Dialogue et pour un entre chretiens chr6tiens et and (orientations pour dialogue entre un dialogue Muslims (Orientations anil Muslims it shows in that that it shows musulmans). document in important document is aa very It is very important musulmans). It in the the third third read in we read the As we Islam. As position adopted towards Islam. adoptedtowards new position the new revifor'a position calls eallsfor 'a reviedition (f9?0), this new position this new study (1970), of this this study edition of our of examination of our sion critical examination and aa critical towards itit and attitude towards of our our attitude sion of ''We progressively changing changing prejudices' set about about progressively first set should first prejudices' ... . . . 'We should important most important the most This isis the the it. This seeit. brothers see Christian brothers *"y our our Christian ih" way 'out-dated image inherited image inherited of the 'out-dated sway the clear away must clear We must . . . We all.' ... of all.' and prejudice and slander' slander' .. .. .. ,, and from udice and past, or by prej or distorted distorted by from the the past,


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'recognize the past Crecognize the past injustice injustice towards towards the the Muslims Muslims for for which which the the west, with with its its Christian West, christian education, education, isis to to blame.'t blame." The The Vatican Vatican document is pages long. is nearly nearly 150 document tgo pages long. It It therefore therefore expands expands on on the the refutation of of classic classic views refutation on Islam and views held held by by Christians christians on Islam and sets sets out the the reality. reality. out Under the title title Emancipating Under the Emaneipa,ti,ng ourselves ourael,aesfrom our worst rnornt prejfrom our rrei(Nous ud;ices lib6rer de pr6jug6s les udices (Nous liberer de nos nos prejuges plus notables) les plus notables) the the i He"" authors address address the the following following suggestions authors suggestions to to Christians: christian*: "Here also,we we must must surrender surrender to also, purification of to aa deep deeppurification of our our attitude. attitude. In In .set judgements' particular, what is is meant particular, what meant by by this this are are certain certain cset that are are all all too too often often and that and too too lightly lighily made made about about Islam. Islam. It It is is essential not to to cultivate cultivate in essential not in the the secret secret of of our our hearts views such such as these, these, too too easily easily or or arbitrarily as arbitrarily arrived arrived at, 8t, and which which the the sincere Muslim Muslim finds finds confusing." confusing." sincere Oneextremely extremely important important view of this kind is the attitude One attitude which which .Allah' to mean people to repeatedly leads people repeatedly use leads use the term 'Allah' mean the the God God if the Muslims believed as if of the Muslims, as believed in a God God who was was .the difierent from from the God God of the Christians. Al ldh different Christians. At Inh means Cthe Divinity' in Arabic: Arabic: it it is a single God, Divinity' implying that a correct God, implying that transcription can only render render the exact meaning transcription meaning of of the word word with with 'God'. For of the expression expression 'God'. the help of For the Musllm, Muslim, al al lfr,h ldh is none than the God of of Moses Moses and Jesus. Jesus. other .than The document produced by the office Office for for Non-christian Non-Christian Affairs Affairs at the vatican Vatican stresses stresses this this fundamentar fundamental point point in in the following following terms: terms: "It "It would seem seem pointless to to maintain maintain that that Alleh Allah is is not not really really God, as do eertain certain people in in the the West West!! The The conciliar conciliar documents documents have put put the the above assertion in in its its proper proper place. place. There There is is no no better better way way of of illustrating illustrating Islamic Islamic faith faith in in God God than than by by quoting quoting 1. 1. At At aa certain certain priod period of of history, history, hostility hostility to to lalam, Islam, in in whatever whatever ehape shape or or form, form, even even coming coming from from declared declared enemies enemies of of the the church, church, wae was received received with with the the most most heartfelt heartfelt approbation approbation by by hish high dignitaries dignitaries of of the the Catholic Catholic chureh. Church. Thus Thus Pope Pope Benedict Benedict xrv, XIV, who who isis reputed reputed to to have have been been the the greatest greatest Pontifr Pontiff of of the the Eighteenth Eighteenth century, century, unhesitatingly unhesitatingly sent sent his his blearbleS&ing ing to to Voltsire. Voltaire. This This waE was inin thanks thanks for for the the dedication dedication to to him him of of the the tragpdy tragedy Mohamtncd Mohamm6d or or Fanaticrszr Fanaticism (Mahomet (Mahomet ou ou leIe Fanatisme) Fanatisme) 1?41, 1741, ea coar8e coarse satire satire that that any any clever clever scribbler scribbler ofof bad bad faith faith could could have have written written on on any any rubject. subject. rn In spite spite of of aa bad bad start, start, the the play play gained gained suffcient sufficient prespresti8e tige to to be be included included inin the the repertoire repertoire"olof the the comddie-Francaiae. Comedie-Francaise.


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Muslims 'The Muslims Gentium!: 'The from Lumen Gentium': extrac ts from following extracts the following sole the sole us with p with worshi worship and Abrah am of Abraham faith of profess profes s the iaith of of Day the on of of men judge future iudge God, who is the future mercif ul God, merciful Recko R e c k oning n i n .g . .. . '" "' the all too atthe protes t at Muslims' protest unders tand the Muslims' therefo re understand One can therefore One 'Allfih' instead 'Allah' of saying of langua ges Europ ean languages custom in European freque nt custom frequent Masson's French praise d D. Masson's Muslims have praised Cultivated Muslims . . . Cultivated 'God' ... of .dod' 'at 'Dieu'2 writte n 'Dieu'3 written 'at last' for having of the Qur'an for transla tion of translation 'Allah'. instead instead of 'Allah'. following: "Allah "Allih is the ent points out the following: document Vatica n docum The vatican God." God"' for for have have ians Christians Arabic -speak ing Christ that Arabic-speaking word that only word God. God' single worshi p a single ians worship Christians Muslims and Christ Muslims ation examination critica l examin undert akes a critieal document then undertakes vaticann document The Vatica Islam' made on Islam. judgem ents made of the other false iudgements ent document 'Islamic ice; the docum prejudice; -spread prejud widely-spread m' is a widely c fatalis fatalism' 'Islami puts in it it t, suppor support, for quoting g the Qur'an for es this and quotin examin examines who has, has, man sibility responsibility tion to this the notion of the respon opposi opposition t of an concept that the concep It shows shows that actions.. It be judged by his actions is to be ty sinceri sincerity the s oppose it opposes ry, it contrary, m is false; on the contra legalism Islami Islamicc legalis are that Qur'an the in s phrases g two quoting trvo phrase ttris by quotin of faith faith to this erstoo d in the West: misunderstood highly highly misund 256) ,,There is no compu verse 256) 2, verse (sura 2, n" religion" lsion in religio compulsion "There ip" ,,(God) hardship" n any hardsh religion you in religio upon you has not laid upon (God) has 78) (sura 22, verse verse 22, 'Islam, -spread notion of 'Islam, widely-spread s the widely opposes ent oppose document The docum 'is1am, or neighbor one's neighb ove of one's love'-l religionn of love'Jove to 'Islam, religio fear'to religio religionn of fear' that notion spread spread falsely refutess the It refute God. It faith in God. on faith based based on shared by notion,, shared and the other notion exists and ty hardly exists morality Muslim Muslim morali makes It makes It ism. fanatic c fanatieism. Islami Islamic ians, of christians, Jews and Christ so so many Jews any hardly hardly was Islam fact, "In this: "In nt on on this: ing comme comment the follow following of s bastions bastion sacred sacred the than al during during its history fanatical more fanatic were' were, it it as as on, on' took faith faith ian Christian ver the Christ whenever ianity whene Christ Christiantty sions quote expres expressions authorss quote At this point, the author al value." At political aa politic 'Holy 'Holy sion expres expression the West, the west, how, in show how, from from the Qur'an Qur'an that show U

Ystisecond Vatid by the Second produced nt produce document title of aa docume 1. Gcntium is the title L,umen Gentium 1. Lumen 965) (1962-1965) can Council (1962-1

I. ffi. 2. God.


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,.i' Arabic it is Ai War'l war" has has been beenmis-tr anslate d; "in mis-translated; it jihad Iift,sabil .4t iihnd sabtt ,,the effort to spread Allah, Alld"h,the tlre effort on on God's God's road", road", "the spread Islam and and defend defend it it agains against t its aggres sors." The aggressors." The Vatica vaticann docum ent condocument continues tinues as as follow follows: s: "The "The jihad iihad is not at all the Biblica l kherem Bibl ical kherem;; it does doesnot not lead lead to to exterm extermination, ination , but to the spread ing of God's sp,reading God,s and and man's man's rights to to new ner,vlands. lsnds."-"The "-"Th e past past violenc e of the violence jihad tn* iihad generally genera lly followe follorved d the the rules rttles of war; rvar; at the time of the the Crusad es Crusades moreo moreover, ver, it was rras not always alrvays the the l\fuslim s that perpet Il{uslims perpetrated rated the worst rvorst slaugh slanghters." ters." Finally Finally,, the the docum document ent deals deals with *'ith the prejudice the prejud ice accord ing to aceording which rvhich"Islam "Islam is is aa hide-b hide-bottnd ound religio religion n which rvhichkeeps keepsits follow followers ers in aa kind of supera superannuated nnuate d Middle Middle Ages, Ages, makin g them unfit to making adapt adapt to the the technic technical al conque sts of the moder conquests n age." modern age.', It It comcompares analog pares analogous ous situati situations ons observ observed ed in Christ ian countr christian ies and eountries states statesthe the follow follorving: ing: "we "11,efino, (. . .)) in the find, (... the traditi onal expans traditional ion expansion of Muslim Muslim though thought, principle t, aa princip le of possibl possible e evoluti on in civilia evolution n civilian society." society ." am certain I am certain that this defens defense e of Islam Isram by the Vatica vaticann wilr will surprise surpris many believe e many believers rs today. torla1..be be they the.yMuslim Muslims, s, Jews Jews or Chris_ Christians. It tians. It is aa demon demonstration stratio n of sinceri sincerity ty and and open-m open-mindedness indedn ess that is is singul singularly arly in contra contrast st with rvith the attitud ttre attitudes es inherit inherited ed from past. The the past. the The numbe numbe'r of people people in the the \Vest west who are aware aware of of the new new attitud the attitudes es aoopte adopted d by b.v the the highes highest t author authorities ities in the Catholic Cathol ic Churc Church is howev h is hourever er very small. small. Once once one one is is aware aware of this fact, faet, it comes comesas as less less of a surprise surpri se to learn learn of the to ttreaction actions s that sealed sealedthis reconciliation: reconc iliation : firsfly, firstly, ih*.. there was the official was offficialvisit made president made by the the Presid ent of the office Office for for Itlon-christian Non-C hristia n Affair Affairss at the Vatica vaticann to King King Faisal of of saudi Saudi 1' Transla 1. Translators tors of the Qur'an, even even famous ones, ones, have have not resisted resisted the secusecular habit of putting putting into their their translations translat ions things that that are not realiy really in in Arabic text the Arabic text at all. One one can ean indeed indeed add add titles to the text text that that are not not in the original original without without changin changing g the text text itself, but but this this addition addition changes changes the general meaning meaning.. R. Blacher Blachire, e, for for example, example , in his well-known well-kn own transtranslation (Pub. Maisonn Maisonneuve euve et Larose, Larose, paris, Paris, 1966, 1966, page rlb) 115) inserta inserts a that does title that does not figure in the eur'an Qur'an:: Duiics Duties of' 01 the-Hory the Holy war War touri(Obligations de de la Ia guerre sainte). This is at at the beginning beginni ng of of a passage passage that that is indispu indisputably tably a call to arms, but does does not have have the character charact er that that hac haH been aseribed to it. After been ascribed After reading this, how can the reader who only only har has accessto the Qur'an via access via translations translat ions fail fail to think think that that a Muslim's-duty Muslim 's duty is to wage holy war? war?


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Arabia; then then the the official official reception reception given given by by Pope Pope Peul Paul VI VI tn to the the Arabia; Henceforth, 19?4. of Grand Ulema of Saudi Arabia in the course of 1974. Henceforth, course Grand ulema of saudi Arabia in the oneunderstands understands more moreclearly clearly the the spiritual spiritual significance significance of ofthe the fact fact one at Ulema Grand the that His Grace Bishop EIchinger received the Grand Ulema at thst His Graee Biehop Elchinger received visit their during them his cathedral in Strasbourg and invited them during their visit his cathedral in Strasbourg and invited to pray pray in in the the choir. choir. This This they they did did before before the the altar, altar, turned turned to towards Ma,kka. Makka. towards the representatives representatives of of the the Muslim Muslim and and christian Christian worlds worlds Thus the Thus at their their highest highest level, level, who who share share aa faith faith in in the the same same God God and and aa at mutual respect respect for for their their differences differences of of opinion, opinion, have have agreed agreed to to mutual is surely surely quite quite natural natural for for other other open aa diatosue. dialogue. This This being being so, so, itit is open aspects of of each each respective respective Revelation Revelation to to be be confronted. The The sub subaspects ject of of this this confrontation confrontation is the the examination examination of of the the Scriptures Scriptures ject in the the light light of of scientific scientific data and knowledge eoncerning concerning the the in undertaken be is to authenticity of This examination This the texts. of authentieity for the the Qur'an Qur'an as as itit was for for the Judeo-Christian Revelation' Revelation. for has not always The relationship between science science and religions The relationship between that there is fact It been the same in place anyone or time. It is a fact that any one been the same condemns that no writing belonging to a monotheistic religion that condemns no writing scientists admitted science. be In practise however, it must be admitted that scientists it practise however, science.In have had great difficulties with the religious authorities of certain with have had scientific For many centuries, in the Christian world, scientific creeds. christian centuries, creeds. question,on on their development authorities in question, the authorities opposedby the was opposed developmentwas Scriptures. the authentic own initiative and without reference to the authentic Scriptures. reference own initiative and sought who sought those who We against those taken against measures taken the measures know the already know We already into scientists made to enlarge science, measures which often made scientists go into often Eo which to enlarge science,measures recanted, they exile to avoid being unless burnt at the stake, unless they recanted, stake, the at exile to avoid being burnt of Galileo Galileo pardon.The caseof The case changed for pardon. beggedfor andbegged attitude and their attitude changedtheir aceepted having for tried for having accepted isis always cited in this context: he was tried was he always cited in this context: Earth. the Earth. of the rotation of the rotation the on the by Copernicus copernicus on madeby discoveriesmade the discoveries interpretation mistaken a Galileo was condemned as the result of a mistaken interpretation of result the as Galileo was condemned be reasonablybe could reasonably of Scripture could single Scripture not aa single since not Bible, since the Bible, of the brought against him. brought against him. generally was' generally sciencewas, In towards science theattitude attitude towards Islam,the of Islam, caseof thecase In the the than the clearer be speaking', could be clearer than Nothing could quite different. different. Nothing speaking, quite in china", even for science, seience, famous even in China", Prophet: "Seek "seekfor theProphet: of the Hadith of famousHadith knowledgeisis for knowledge searchfor or the search that the saysthat which says hadith which other hadith or the the other we shall shall As we woman. and woman. As aa strict man and Muslim man for every every Muslim duty for strict duty the that is fact crucial fact is that the see another crucial this section, section,another in this on in further on seefurther


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inviting us while inviting Qur'an, Qur'an, while usto to cultivate cultivate science, scienee,itself itself contains contains many many observations on on natural phenomena and natural phenomena observations and includes includes explanatory explanatory details which which are are seen details seen to to be be in in total total agreement agreement with with modem modern scientific data. There There isis no scientific data. no equal equalto to this this in in the the Judea-Christian Judeo-christian Revelation. Revelation. would nevertheless neverthelessbe ItIt would be wrong wrong to to imagine imagine that, that, in in the the history history of Islam, Islam, certain certain believers believers had of had never never harboured harboured aa different different attiattitude towards towards science. science.It tude It is is aa fact fact that, that, at periods, the at certain eertain periods, the obligation to to educate educate oneself obligation oneself and and others others was was rather rathei neglected. neglected. It is is equally equally true true that that in It in the the Muslim Muslim world, world, as as elsewhere, elsewhlre, an an attempt was was sometimes sometimesmade attempt made to to stop stop scientific scientific development. development. AlI AII the same same it it will will be be remembered remembered that the that at at the the height heisht of of Islam, Islam, between the the Eighth Eighth and and Twelfth between Le. at rwelfth centuries centuries A.D., A.D., i.e. at aa time time when restrictions restrictions on on scientific scientific development when development were were in force force in in the the christian world, world, aa very large Christian large number of studies studies and discoveries discoveries were being being made made at Islamic universities. were nniversities. It It was was there that that the the remarkable cultural resources resourcesof the time were to be remarkable found. The be The califs library library at Cordoba cordoba contained Calif's contained 400,000 400,000 volumes. volumes. Averroes Averroâ&#x201A;Źs persian sciences was teaching there, and Greek, were Greek, Indian Indian and Persian sciences were scholars from from all over Europe went to taught. This is why scholars to study study Cordoba, just as today people at Cordoba, just as people go to the United States States to to perfect perfect their studies. studies. A A very great number of their of ancient manuscripts have have come down to us thanks to cultivated cultivated Arabs Arahs who acted as as the the come vehicle vehicle for for the culture culture of of conquered conquered countries. we Weare also greatly greaily are indebted indebted to Arabic Arabic culture culture for for mathematics (algebra *"s was an an Arabic Arabic invention), invention), astronohr, astronomy, physics physics (optics), g*logy, geology, botany, botany, medicine For the the very very first first time, time, science science toqk took on on medicine (Avicenna) (Avicenna) etc. etc. For an an international international character in in the the Islamic Islamic universities universities of of the the MidMiddle At this this time, time, men men rvere were more more steeped steeped in in the the religious religious dle Ages. Ages. At spirit spirit than than they they are are today; today; but but in in the the Islamic Islamic world, world, this this did did not not prevent and scientists. scientists. Science Science prevent them them from from being being both both believers believers and was should never never have have ceased ceased to to be be so. so. was the the twin twin of of religion religion and and itit shourd The The Medieval Medieval period period was, was, for for the the christian Christian world, world, aa time time of of stagnation stagnation and and absolute absolute conformity. conformity. ItIt must must be be stressed stressed that that scientific scientific research research was was not not srowed slowed down down by by the the Judeo-christian Judeo-Christian Revelation Revelation itself, itself, but but rather rather by by those those people people who who claimed claimed to to be be its its servants. servants. Following Following the the Renaissance, Renaissance, the the scientists' scientists' natural natural reaction reaction was was to to take take vengeance vengeance on on their their former former enemies; enemies; thiq thi& vengeance vengeance still still continues continues today, today, to to such such an an extent extent indeed indeed that that inin


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does really does circles really scientific cireles in scientific of God in talks of who talks West, anyone who the west, the young people young all of all Beople thinki ng of the thinking attitud e affects the This attitude out. Ttris stand out. d. included' include s Muslim Muslims ion, educat sity education, univer a university who receive who what itit is confrom what different from could hardly be different thinki ng could-hardly Their thinking Their emine nt most eminent the most by the adopte d by positions adopted extrem e positions the exireme siderin g the sidering last in tried in the last Medicine has tried for ltleaicine winne r tor prize winner A Nobel prize scienti sts. A scientists. publifor mass publiintend ed for in a book intended people, in persua de people, few years to perso*fl" few from by chance from itself itself to create able was matter living matter that living cation, that cstion, primitive ive primit this this with with says, says, g, he Startin nents. Starting, compo severa l basic .oriporr.nts. several circiral external extern s variou various of of ce influen influence the under matter , and living matter, living in resulti ng in formed, resulting living beings were formed, organi zed living cumstances, organized cumstanees, man. tutes consti constitutes that that being complex being formidable complex the formidable in knowledge in scientific knowledge contem porary scientific of contemporary marve ls of these marvels Surely these Surely te opposite opposi the person to person g thinkin a thinking lead life should of life should fietd of the field mainand birth birth the over presiding ing presid organi zation sion. The organization conclu conclusion. one as one complicated as s more and more complicated appears e of life surely appear tenanc of life tenance it it tion admira admiration more the , knows one knows, *or" details one it; the more studies studies it; lead surely must zation organization dge of this organi knowledge nds. A A knowle comma commands. has to part chance chance has le the part probable less probab er as less and less as less consider one one to consid along es advanc one advances r one furthe enon of life. The further phenomenon play in the phenom more the small, ly infinite infinitely the lly of dge, especia especially knowledge, the road to knowle r. Creato Creator' a of ce existen the existence favor of ents in favor *"go**rrts nt are the argum eloque eloquent man facts' facts, such of such face face the in ty humility with humili d of being filled with Instea Instead God, in the idea of God, sneers at any idea is filled with with arroga nce. He sneers pleasure re pleasu "l""ogrn.e. his from from ts detrac ng that detracts anything ao* anythi he runs down same same way he that society society alist materi ent. This is the image of the materialist and enjoym enjoyment. West' presentt in the West. hing at presen is flouris flourishing pollution on of oppose this polluti used be be used to oppose can can forces al forces spiritu What what spiritual sts? seientists? porary scienti contemporary ed by many contem practised though thoughtt practis ty to inability inabili their of secret no secret no make make ianity Christ m and and christianity Judais Judaism n of the West by invasion and invasio alism and materialism with the tide of materi cope cope with guard, and from oft guard, tely taken off comrlletely are comple atheism atheism.. Both of them are sly diminseriou seriously how how see see surely can surely one can next one the one decadeto the one decade sweep to sweep ns threate threatens that tide this to is to is nce resistance their resista ished ished their Chrisclassic classic in sees t sees atheis alist atheist materi materialist hing away. away. The everyt evenrthing over the men over ucted by men constructed system constr tianity nothingg more than aa system tianity nothin of aa ity author authority the the ensure to ensure ed design years nd years designed last two thousa thousand JudeoJudeain find find to to unable is is unable He He men. fellow **tt. their fellow ity over over their minor minority to similarr to y simila vaguely even vaguel is even ge that that is language gs any any langua ian writin writings Christ Christisu


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his his_own; own; they contai n so contain so many improb abilities, contra improbabilities, diction s eontradictions and and incom ineompatibilities patibilities with with modem modern scienti fic data, that scientific that he refuse refusess to take texts into consid eration that consideration that the vast major ity of theomajority logian Iogians s would like to see seeaccept ed as aceepted as an insepa rable whole. inseparable whote. When When one one mentio mentions ns Islam to the materi alist atheist materialist atheist,, he smiles smileg with with aa compla eomplaeency cency that that is only equal equal to his ignora nce of ignorance of the subjec stlb;gctt. In rn commo common n with with the major ity of maiority of wester n intelle western ctuals, intellectuals, of whate whatever ver religio religious persuasion, us persua sion, he has has an impres impressive sive collect ion collection of false false notion notions s about Islam. One one must, must, on on this point, allow him one one or two excuse s: Firstly excuses: Firsfly, , apart from the newlynewly-adopted adopted attitud es prevai prevailing attitudes ling among the highestt Cathol highes catholic ic author authorities, ities, Islam Isram has has always arways been beJn subjec subjectt in 'secular the West west to aa so-call so-called ed 'secula r slande slander'. r'. Anyon Anyonee in the West west who has acquir has aequired ed aa deep deep knowle knowledg.e dge of Islam rslam knows just just to whst what extent its history history,, dogma dogma, , and aims have have been been distort ed. One distorted. One must also also take into accoun accountt the fact that that docum documents ents pubrished published in Europ European ean langua Ianguages ges on this subjec (reaving subjeett (leavin g aside aside highly hishly speeialized special ized studie studies) s) do do not make make the work work of of a person wiling willing to learn learn any easier. easier. A knowledge knowle dge of the Islami Isramic c Revela tion is indeed Revelation indeed fundam fundamental _ ental from this point point of from of view. Unfort unatel y, passages unfortunatery, passag es from from the Qur'an espeeially Qur'an,, especia lly those those relatin relatingg to scienti seientinc fic data, are badly translated transla ted and interpr interpreted, eted, so so that that a scienti scientist st has every right right to make critici make critieisms-with sms-w ith appare apparent nt justification-that justifi cation -that the Book does not actuall does actuallyy deserv deserve e at all. This detail is worth worth rting )ting henceforth: hencef orth: inaccu inaccuracies racies in transla translation tion or errone ous commen_ erroneous commentaries (the one one is often associa associated ted with with the other), other) , which would have surpris not have surprised ed anybod anybody y one one or two centuries'ago, centur ies ago, offend today's scienti seientists. day's sts. When when faced faced with with a badly transrated transla ted phrase concontaining a scienti taining scientificalry fically unacce unaeceptable ptable statem statement, ent, the scientist scienti st is prevented preven from taking ted from taking the phrase phrase into into serious serious consideration. consideration. rn In the chapte chapterr on human reproduction, reproduction, a very typical typical example example will will be given of this kind of be of error. enor. why do Why do such such errors in transla translation tion exist? exist? They may be be explained explained by the fact that that modern modern translators transla tors often take up, rather rather uncritiuncriti cally, the interp cally, interpretations retatio ns given by older commentators. commentators. In In their their day, day, the latter latter had an excuse excuse for for having having given an inappropriate inappr opriate definit definition ion to an Arabic Arabic rvord word containins contai ning r.rr"""t several possiul possible *"rnmeanings; they could could not possibly possibly have have understood understood the real sense sense of of


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the word word or or phrase phrase which which has has only only become become clear clear inin the the present present the problem the words, day thanks to scientific knowledge. In other words, the problem other In day thanks to scientific knowledge. raised of of the the nâ&#x201A;Źcessary necessary revision revision of of translations translations and and comcomisis raised period in a certain at mentaries. It was not possible to do this at a certain period in possible this do to mentaries. It was not to us enubles that the past, but nowadays we have knowledge that enables us to knowledge have the past, but nowadays we not are problems translation of render their true sense. These problems of translation are not render their true sense. These present for for the the texts texts of of the the Judeo-Christian Judeo-Christian Revelation: Revelation: the the case case preent to the Qur'an. described here is absolutely unique described here is absolutely unique to the Qur'an' are very very specific specific to to the the These scientific scientific considerations, considerations, which which sre These not had I then, Qur'an, greatly surprised me at first. Up until then, I had not until first. Up at me gfeatly surprised Qur'an, thought itit possible possible for for one one to to find find so so many many statements statements in in aa tnxt text thought extremely compiled more more than than thirteen thirteen centuries centuries ago referring referring to to extremely "o*piled diverse subjects subjects and and all all of of them them totally totally in in keeping keeping with with modern modem diverse scientific knowledge. knowledge. In In the beginning, II had no faith faith whatsoever scientific in Islam. Islam. II began began lhis this examination of of the texts with with a completely in "**mination there was any influence open mind mind and and a total total obiectivity. objectivity. IfIf there open acting upon from what what II had been been taught taught in in it was gained from me, it upon me, 'Muhamma".ting of but my youth; people did not speak of Muslims, of 'Muhammaspeak people youttr; my religion dans', what was meant was a religion that what it quite clear that mahe it to make dens" to any have founded by a man and which could not therefore have any could tttttt a, founded by could west, I could kind God. Like many in the West, vslue in terms of God. of value kind of so Islam; have retained the same false notions about Islam; they are so same hsve retained the come surprised when I come widely-spread indeed surprised am indeed that II am today, that widely-spread today, enlighL an in talk can who across anyone, other than a specialist, who can talk in an enlighta specialist, than other across &nyone, was before II was that before admit that ened therefore admit subject. II therefore on this this subject. manner on ened manner west' in the the West, receivedin given onereceived the one from the difrerent from Islam different glven aa view of Islam view of II was myself extremely ignorant. ignorant. was myself extremelY the of the nature of false nature the false II owe realize the to realize able to was able that II was fact that the fact owe the excepto Islam about judgements generally made in the West about Islam to excepWest in the judgements generally made inkling an inkling that an itself that tional Arabia itself wasin in Saudi It was saudi Arabia circumstances.It tional circumstances. West in the held was given to me of the extent to which opinions held in the West opinions which was given to me of the extent to are liable to error. on this subject on this subject are liable to error. whose Faisal, whose King Faisa!, late King The the late to the I owe to gratitude lowe of gratitude debt of The debt great: the very indeed is memory I salute with deepest respect, is indeed very great: the memory I salute with deepestrespect, on speak him of hearing fact honourof hearing him speak on signalhonour giventhe thesignal wasgiven that II was fact that concerning problems Is1am certainproblems concerning himcertain u'ithhim raisewith ubl.totoraise wasable andwas Islamand scienceisis modernscience the relationtotomodern theQur'an of the interpretationof Qur'aninin relation theinterpretation privilege great aa very extremelygreat privilege an extremely was an memory.ItIt was cherishedmemory. very cherished


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for me metotohave gathered so havegathered for preeiousinformation somuch much precious information from from him him personally and andthose thosearound personally around him. him. sinee Ir had had now now seen seenthe Since the wide gap separating wide gap separating the the reality reality of of Islsm from the the image image we Islam from we have have of of itit in in the the West, west, II experienced experienced great need needto to learn learn Arabic (rvhieh II did Arabie (which aagreat did not not speak) speak) to to be be suffisufficiently well-equipped to progress in to progress ciently well-equipped in the the study study of of such suchaa misundermisunderstood religion. religion. My My first goal was first goal stood was to to read read the the Qur'an and to to make make eur'an and a sentence-by-sentenee a sentence-by-sentence analysis analysis of of it it with with the the help help of of various various commentaries essential essential to commentaries to aa critical eritical study. study. My My approach approach was was to to pay special attention attention to to the the description pay special deseription of of numerous numerous natural natural phenomenagiven given in in the the Qur'an; phenomena the highly hishly accurate eur'an; the accurate nature nature of of certain details details referring referring to certain to them them in in the thJ Book, BLok, which which was was only only apparent in in the the original, original, struck apparent struek me me by by the the fact fact that that they they were were in keeping keeping with present-day ideas, with present-day in living ideas, although although aa man man living: at at the the time of of Muhammad Muhammad could could not have time have suspected *urp..t.d this at all. all. II subsub. sequently read read several several works written written by Muslim authors on sequently on the the scientific aspects aspectsof the Qur'anic scientific eur'anic text: they were \4rereextremely helpful helpful in my my appreciation of it, but I have far discovered a general in have not so sofar discovereda study of this subject subjeet made made in the West. study West. What initially initially strikes the reader confronted for What for the first first time time with a text with text of of this kind kind is the sheer sheer abundance abundance of of subjects disdiscussed: cussed: the the Creation, astronomy, the explanation of of .*"t*in certain maL matters ters concerning concerning the earth, and the animal animal and vegetable vegetable kingdoms, human human reproduction. reproduction. whereas Whereas monumental e*ors errors are are to to be be found found in in the the Bible, Bible, II could not not find a single single error error in in the the eur'an. Qur'an. II had had to to stop stop and and ask myself myself:: ifif aa man man was was the the author author of of the the eur'an, Qur'an, how that how could could he he have have written written facts facts in in the the Seventh Seventh century century A.D. A.D. that today today are are shown shown to to be be in in keeping keeping with with modern modern scientific scientific knowlknowledge? no doubt doubt about about it: it: the the text text of of the the edge? There There was was absolutely absolutely no Qur'an Qur'an we we have have today today is is most most definitely definitely aa text text of of the the period, period, ifif II may may be be allowed allowed to to put put itit in in these these terms terms (in (in the the next next cirapter chapter of of the the present present section section of of the the book book II shall shall be be dealins dealing with with this this probproblem). lem). lVhat What human human explanation explanation can can there there be be for for this this observation? observation? In In my my opinion opinion there there isis no no explanation; explanation; there there isis no no special special reason reason why why an an inhabitant inhabitant of of the the Arabian Arabian peninsula Peninsula shouid should,, at at aa time time when A.D.), when King King Dagobert Dagobert was was reigning reigning inin France France (629-689 (629-639 A.D.), have have had had scientific scientific knowledge knowledge on on certain certain subjects subjects that that was was ten ten centuries centuries ahead ahead ofof our our own. own.


clloa lfllrodu /rrrfrtdluc'drr;

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RevelaQur'an ic Revela' that at the time of the Qut'anic established fact that It It is an establistred stradd ling twenty years straddling roughly twenty within a period of roughly tion, i.e. within for progressed for knowledge had not progressed scientific knowledge (622 A.D.), scientific Hegira (622 witlh with ation, civiliz c civilization, Islami Isla,mic y in activit period of activity centuries and the eenturies of the close of a,fte:r the cloee came after upsurge, ci1lne scientific upsurgp' accompanying scientific its accompanying its r secula sâ&#x201A;Źculrr and us and religio religious such such of nce ignora ignorance Only Revelation. Qur'anic it"tr.t*t]on. eur'anic hesrd heard have I have tion sugges e suggestion bizarr bizarre ing follow following lead to the can lead data ean a"t" scientific nature of sa scientifie statem ents of surpri sing statements several times: ifif surprising several that fact t,hst for by the fact ted for accoun be accounted be may exist exigt in the Qur'an Qurran,, they mad Muham Muha'mmad and time their their of ahead fer shesd so far sts were so scientists Arab scienti Arab about sbout ng anythi anything knows knows who e Anyon Anyone their work. influenced by their was influenced was Ages which that the period of the Middle ASeB aware that history is aware Islami Islemicc history came came world world Arab Arab the in e upsurg fic upsurge scientific and scienti culturall and saw sew the cultura such such in e indulg indulge re therefo therefore would not and would mad, and Muhammad, after Muham mark the ofi off particula"lry larly particu are stions of this kind are Susgestions whims whims.. Sugge 8ugfacts which are either sugfic facts scientific major ity of scienti the-maiority e the becaus because boâ&#x201A;Źn been only have have Qur'an the in ed Qut'an recorded *t**itv record gested or very clearly gested n times. times. modern ed in moder confirm confirmed on entators on commetrtators ies comm centuries ore how how for centur therefore seetheref It e88yto see It is easy c Islamic Islami of writingg at the height (including ing those those writin the Qur'an Qurtan (includ csse ease the ilF" in n retatio interTretation madeerrors of interp bly made inevitably have inevita culture culture)) have have possibly ly have not possib could ng could meani meaning exact exact whose whose verses verses of certain certain far far period not period much later, at aa was not until much d. It It was been been graspe rasped. thert them ret interaret te and and interp possible translate le to transla was possib it was own, that it from our own, dge is not knowle tic lrnowledge linguis gh linguistic thorou a thorough that a s thal implie implies This tly. Thi; correc eorreetly. Qur'an the frtm Qurtan'. verses from these verses tand these understand ent to unders sufficient itseli suffici in itself dge knowle knowledge fied diversified hishly diversi abng with this is aa highly neeaeaalong What what is needed many many ces gs embraees t one one embra the presen such as the frresent study such . A study of science science. qrrestions ns the the questio As . As opedic encycl encyclopedic. sense that sense in is and ines discipl dise,iplinesand ial essent dge essential lrnowledgB fic knowle scientific the variety of scienti cussed, the raised are'discussed, raisedare-dis e become will becom will Qur'an the of verses verses Qur'an certain certain of g tandin to the understanding the unders clear. clear. gpverning ing lsws govern eertain laws ning certain explaining aim at explai not aim doesnot The The Qur'an Qur'an does objecobjecus religio religious basic tely bssic absolu an absolutely has an er; it has se, howev however; the Univer universe, sre what princiotence are Omnipotence Divine Omnip tions of Divine descriptions tive_ The descrip tive. The are They are on. They Creati of Creation' works works the on the reflect on *an to reflect pally incite man aobservlobserv human human to to ible access aceessible facts to ces fscts reference$ accompanied by referen zation organization the organi the over presides over es presid who "."i*p"nied defined by by God God who lawshefined tion or to laws man' s man. regard'r as regard and as nature and s of nature sciences the science se both both in the of the universe the univer


lll 10

1'IJE TF BmLE BIBLE, THE QUR'A N AND AND SCIEN SCTENGE CE QTTRAN

pert of One One part of these asserti assertions ons is easily eesily unders understood, tood, but but the meanmean_ ing of the other can only be ing grasped be graspe d if if one one has has the essent ial scienessential scienti{tc knowl tific knowledge edge it it require requires. s. This means means that that in forme formerr times, man eould only disting could distinguish uish an appare apparent nt meani meaning ng which which led him him to draw the wrong draw wrong conclu conclusions sions on accoun aecountt of the ttre inadeq inaa.qo**y uacy of his lnowledge knowle dge at the time time in questio guestion. n. possible It is possib It le that that the choice ehoiee of verses verses from from the Qur'an whieh eur'an which are to be be studie studied d for for their their scienti scientific fic conten plrhapss seem contentt may perhap seem too small for for certain certain Muslim llruslim writer writerss who have have- alread aireadyy drawn d""*r, attention atte.nti on to them before I have. have. In genera general, l, I believe I have r_etained retaine d aa slightl slighflyy smalle smallerr numbe numberr of verses vers"* than th*n they have. have. On on the other hand, hand, I have have singled singred out severa severall verses verses which until untir now have not, in my opinio opinion, n, been grantedd the import been grante importance ance they deserye deserv e from from-aa scientific point point of view. Where whereu"" ver I may **" have _scientific mistakenly mistak enly failed to take verses verses into consid eonsideration eration for for this study that were selecte that seleeted d by these these writer writers,s, I hope hope that that they will will not hold it agains againett me. it me. I have heve also found, on occasio oceasion, n, that that certain certain books contain contai n scienti scientific fic interp interpretations retatio ns which do do not appea appearr to me to be correc correct; t; it it is with with an open open mind and aa clear elear conscie eonscience nce that that I provided have provid personal ed person al interp interpretations retatio ns of such such verses verses. . By the same By same token, token, I have have tried tried to find referen references ces in the Qur'an eur'an phenomena to phenom ena access accessibre ible to human compr comprehension ehensi on but which have h^ave not been been confirm confirmed ed by moder modernn science science. In In this this contex context, t, I think think I may have found referen references ces in the Qur'an presence eur'an to the presen ce of planetss in the Unive planet universe rse that that are simila similarr to the Earth. Earttr. It tt must be added added that that many scienti scientists sts think think this is a perfectly perfec tly feasibl feasible e fact, althou gh moder although modern n data cannot provide provid e any rr,y hint hirrt of of certain certainty. ty. I though thoughtt lowed r owed it it to myself to mentio mention n this, whilst whilst retain retaining ing all atl the attend attendant ant reserv reservations ations that that might might be be applied appried.. Had this this study been been made made thirty thirty years ago, it would have been ago, it been necess necessary ary to add another anothe r fact predicted predic ted by the eur'an Qur'an to what what would have been been eited cited concerning concer ning astron astrotto*y; omy; this fact is the conquest of quest of space. space. At At that time, time, subseq subsequent uent to the first trials trials of of ballistic missiles, ballistic missiles, people people imagined imagin ed a day when when man rvould would perhaps perhap s have the material have materi al possibirity possib ility of reaving leavin g his earthly habitat habita t and explor ing space. exploring space. It It was then known ttrat that a verse verse existed existed in the Qur'an predicting predic ting how one one day man would make this conquest. conquest. This This statement statem ent has now been been verified. verified.


Introduction htfioilwfutt

12tl 123

The present present confrontation confrontation between between Holy Holy Scripture Scripture and and science science The the for the Bible and the Qur'an, which Bible brings ideas into play, both and Qur'an, which bringS id""s into play, both for the the valid' be to concern scientific truth. For this confrontation to be valid, the concern scientific truth. For this confrontation quite soundly be scientific arguments to be relied upon must must be quite soundly scientific arguments to be relied upon and must must leave leave no no room room for for doubt. doubt. Those Those who who balk balk established and established an in of at the the idea idea of of accepting accepting the the intervention intervention of science science in an appreciappreciat ation of of the the Scriptures Scriptures deny deny that that itit is is possible possible for for science science to to ation Bible' (whether the it be constitute a valid tenn of comparison (whether it be the Bible, constitute a valid term of comparison which does does not not escape escape the the comparison comparison unscathed-and unscathed-and we we have have which scifrom fear to why--or the Qur'an, which has nothing to fear from sciseen seen why-or the Qur'an, which has nothing fact a and the times ence). Science, Science, they they say, is changing with with fact ence). may be rejected later. later. accepted today today may aceepted This last comment calls for for the following following observation: a disThis tinction must be drawn drawn between between scientific theory and duly continetion trolled observed observed fact. Theory Theory is intended to explain a phenomenon phenomenon trolled or aa series series of of phenomena phenomena not readily readily undershandable. understandable. In In many or instances theory changes: modified or replaeed replaced it is liable to be modified changes: it instances theory it easier easier to makes it by another theory when scientific progress makes by another analyse analyse facts and invisage a more viable explanation. On the not experimentation is not other checked by experimentation observed fact checked other hand, an observed characterdefine its characterliable easier to define it becomes becomeseasier modification: it liable to modification: established that the been established istics, It has has been same. It it remains the same. istics, but it Earth' Moon around the Earth, Earth and the Moon Sun and revolves around the Sun Earth revolves done be done and be subject subjeet to revision; all that may be will not be this fact will and .this clearly. in more clearly. orbits more the orbits define the future is to define the future in the example, is, for for example, theorY is, of theory A nature of changlng nature the changing for the regard for A regard by aa thought by the Qur'an what from the verse from Qur'an thought reiect aa verse me reject what made made me theory anti-matter, a of Muslim physicist to predict the concept of anti-matter, a theory predict concept the physicist to Muslim the on the can, on debate' One One can, which of much much debate. present the the subject subject of which is is at at present verse great attention to aa verse attention to other devote great quite legitimately legitimately devote other hand, hand, quite phenolife, aa phenoof life, origins of from aquatic origins the aquatic describing the the Qur'an from the Qur'an describing argumany arguwhich has has many but which menon verify, but to verify, beable ableto never be we shall shall never menonwe the as such facts observed ments that speak in its favour. As for observed facts such as the for As its favour. in speak that ments possible confront to quite evolution of the human embryo, it is quite possible to confront is it embryo, human the of evolution modern of modern data of the data with the different in the the Qur'an describedin Qur'an with stagesdescribed different stages scimodern between embryology and find complete concordance between modern sciconcordance complete find and embryology this subject' to ence and the verses of the Qur'an referring to this subject. referring the of verses the and Qur'an ence been has been sciencehas and science This the Qur'an between the Qur'an and This confrontation confrontation between confrontation is the one completed by two other comparisons: one is the confrontation comparisons: other two completed by


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TIIE BmLE, THE THE BIBI.FO TIIE QUB'AN ANDSCIENCE SCIEN@ QIIN'AI{AND

of modern modernknowledge knowledgewith with Biblical of Biblieal data data on on the the same samesubjects; subjects; and the other thecomparison comparisonfrom and the other isis the from the point of thesame samescientific seientificpoint of view between betweenthe the data date in in the the Qur'an, view the Book Book of of Revelation eurran, the Bevelation transmitted by by God Godto to the the Prophet, Prophet,and transmitted andthe the data data in in the the Hadiths, Hadiths, booksnarrating narrating the the deeds deedsand books and sayings sayings of Muhammadthat of Muhammad that lie lie ouLgidethe the written written Revelation. Revelstion. out.CJide At the endof the end of this, this, the the third third section At presentwork, sectionof of the the present work, the the detailed results of the the comparison comparison between detailed results of between the the Biblical Biblical and and descriptionof Qur'anic description Qur'anic of aa single single event given, along event are are given, along with with an an aceount of passagefared how the the passage account of how fared when whensubjected subjectedto to the the scientific scientific criticism of of each eachdescription. description.An criticism An examination examination has, has, for for example, example, been made in the case caseof of the been made in the the Creation Creationand and of the Flood. In the Flood. In each eaeh instance,the incompatibilitieswith science the incompatibilities instance, sciencein the the Biblical Biblical descripdescription have havebeen beenmade madeclear. clear. Also Also to be seen to be is the seenis the complete completeagreeagreement betweenscience scienceand and the ment between the descriptions descriptionsin the the Qur'an referring eur'an referring to them. them. We preciselythose We shall note precisely shall note those differences differencesthat make make one one description seigntifically acceptable description sci~ntifically present day acceptablein the the present day and and the other unacceptable. unacceptable. other firis observation observationis of prime This prime importance, importanee,since since in the West, west, Jews, Christians and Atheists are unanimous unanimous in stating (without Jews, Christians and (without a scrap scrap of evidenee evidence however) however) that lvruhammad Muhammad wrote wrote the the eur'an Qur'an or had had itit written written as as an imitation imitation of the Bible. It It is claimed claimed thet that stories stories of religious religious history in the Qur'an Qur'an resume resume Biblical stories. stories. This attitude is as as thoughtless thoughtless as as saying that that Jesus Jesus Himself duped duped Iris His contemporaries contemporaries by drawing inspiration from the old Old Testament Testament during His preachings: preachings: the whole whole of of Matthew's Matthew's GosGospel of the the old Old restament, Testament, as we we pel is based based on this this continuation of have have indeed indeed seen seen already. already. What What expert expert in in exegesis exegesis would would dream dream of of depriving depriving Jesus Jesus of of his his status status ag as God's God's envoy envoy for for this this reason? reason? This This is is nevertheless nevertheless the the way way thst that Muhammad Muhammad is is judged judged more more often often than than not not in in the the West: West: "all "all he he did did was was to to copy copy ttre the Bible". Bible". rtIt is is aa summary summary judgement judgement that that does does not not take take account account of of the the faet fact that the that the Qur'an Qur'an and and the the Bible Bible provide provide different different versions versions of of aa single prefer not not to to talk talk about about the the difference difference in in the the single event. event. People People prefer descriptions. descriptions. They They are are pronounced pronounced to to be be the the same same and and thus thus sciepscieptific tific knowledge knowledge need need not not be be brought brought in. in. we We shall shall enlarge enlarge on on these these problems problems when when dealing dealing with with the the description description of of the the Creation Creation and and the the Flood. Flood.


IffiuLcro,l_

lgt 125

The collection collection of of hadiths hadiths are are to to Muhammad Muhammad what what the the Gospels Gospels The of sayings and actions are to Jesus: descriptions of the actions and sayings of the the the of descriptions are to JesUs: at (This applies Prophet. Their authors were not eyewitnesses. (This applies at not eyewitnesseswere Pnophet. Their authors said are which hadiths of least to the compilers of the collections of hadiths which are said collections of the leas,tto the compilers to be be the the moet most authentic authentic and and were were collected collected much much later later than than the the to conway in any not do time when Muhammad was alive). They do not in any way conThey was alive). time when Muhammad stitute books books containing containing the the written written Revelation. Revelation. They They are are not not the the stitute books, In these of God, but the sayings of the Prophet. In these books, word Prophet. the of word of God, but the sayings which are are very very widely widely read, read, statements statements are are to to be be found found containing containing which remedies' medical errors from a scientific point of view, especially medical remedies. point especially view, of errors from a scientific aa religproblems of to anything relating to problems of religWe naturally dis'count relating anything We nsturally discount the of context the in ious kind, since they here are not discussed here in the of the discussed not they ious kind, are they authenticity; are of doubtful authenticity; they hadiths. Many hadiths doubtful of hadiths. Many hadiths discussed by by Muslim Muslim scientists themselves. themselves. When the scientific discussed nature of one of the hadiths touched present work' work, upon in the present touehed is of nature of from them distinguishes it is essentially to put relief that from that put all into relief it is essentially the since point view, of the Qur'an itself when seen from this point of since this from seen the Qur'an itself unaethat latter does not contain a single scientific statement that is unaclatter does startling. see, is quite startling. ceptable. as we shall see, difference, as ceptable. The difference, those advanced The above observation makes the hypothesis advanced by those makes The above untenable. who see Muhammad as the author of the Qur'an quite untenable. as who see How becomethe most imporilliterate, become man, from being illiterate, eould aa man, How could Arabic tant author, in terms of literary merit, in the whole of Arabic merit, literary tant author, scientifie a pronounce truths literature? How could he then pronounce truths of a scientific could he literature? developed possibly have have developed nature being could could possibly human being other human no other that no nature that error slightest the making at the time, and all this without once making the slightest error once rvithout at the time, and all this in his pronouncements on the subject? in his pronouncements on the subject? purely scientific scientific from aa purely The developedfrom are developed this study study are in this ideas in The ideas inconceivable it is point of view. They lead to the conclusion that it is inconceivable conclusion.that point of view. They lead to the have to have A.D' to century A.D. for in the the Seventh' Seventh century living in being living human being io" a human " that of subjects great variety made statements in the Qur'an on a great variety of subjects that a on in inade statements the Qur'an with in keeping be to them do not belong to his period and for them to be in keeping with period for and do not belong to his be can be there can me, there Fdr me, what later- For centuries later. only centuries known only was to to be beknown what was no human explanation to the Qur'an. no human explanation to the Qur'an.


II il Authenticity 4.uthEntit:il}' of of the the Qo..'an. Qur'arr, How It Ho~ lt CaIRE Carrre To l3e To ..illen. Be W Wrillerr. Thanks to to its its undisputed undisputed authenticity, the text of the Thanks the Qur'an eur'an holds place among a unique among the books holds a unique place books of Revelation, Revelation, shared slared neither by the Old old nor the New Testament. neither Testament. In the first two two secsections of this work, aa review was rvas made tions made of the alterations underundergone by the Old old Testament restament and the Gospels gone they were were Gospels before they handed us in the form form we know today. The same handed down to us same is is not not true for for the Qur'an for for the simpre true simple reason reason that that itit was. was. written written down at at the time down time of of the prophet; Prophet; we shall see see how itit came came to to be be process written, i.e. written, Le. the process involved. involved. In In this this context, the differences differences separating separating the eur'an Qur'an from from the the Bible are in in no way way due to question* questions *sr.nlially essentially ioncerned concerned with with Bible are date. date. such Such questions questions are constanfly constantly put put forward forward by by certain certain people people without without regard regard to to the cireumstanees circumstances prevailing prevailing at at the the time time when when the and the the eur'anic Qur'anic Revetations Revelations were were written; written; the Judeo-christian Judeo-Christian and they they have have an an equal equal disregard disregard for for the the circumstances circumstances surrounding surrounding the the transmission transmission of of the the eur'an Qur'an to to the the prophet. Prophet. ItIt is is suggested suggested that that aa seventh Seventh century century text text had had more more rikelihood likelihood of of cominstown coming down to than other other texts texts that that are are as as many many as as fifteen fifteen cencento us us unaltered unaltered than turies turies older. older. This This comment, comment, although although correct, correct, does does not not constitute constitute aa sufficient sufficient reason; reason; itit is is made made more more to to excuse excuse the the alterations alterations made made in in the the Judeo-christian Judeo-Christian texts texts in in the the course course of of centuries centuries than than to to underline underline the the notion notion that that the the text text of of the the eur'an, Qur'an, which which was was more more recent, recent, had had less less to to fear fear from from being being' modified modified by by man. man.

rg0 126


Authenticity of tllo tM Qut'an. Came to to be be Written Autlrrlnffitg ol Qrdan. How ltIt CanP

L27 127

In the the case ease of of the the Old Old Testament, Testament, the the sheer sheer number number of of authors authors In who tell tell the the same story, story, plus plus all all the the revisions revisions carried carried out out on the the who as pre-Christian constitute era, text of certain from the pre-Christian constitute the books from of certain text many reasons for for inaccuracy inaccuracy and contradiction. contradiction. As As for for the the msny Gospels, nobody can claim that that they they invariably invariably contain faithful faithful Gospels, of Jesus's words words or or a description description of of his his actions strictly strictly accounts of versions in keeping with reality. seen how successive successive seen have with reality. We in of the texts texts showed a lack lack of of definite definite authenticity authenticity and moreover moreover of that their authors not eyewitnesses. not eyewitnesses. were that their authors distinction to be made between between Also to be underlined is the distinction the Qur'fln, Qur'an, a book of written written Revelation, Revelation, and the hadiths, colleetions of of statements concerning concerning the actions and sayings of of Muhammad. Some Some of of the Prophet's Prophet's companions started started to write write element of huthem down from death. As an element from the moment of his death. to be had man error could have slipped in, the collection be resumed resumed collection error the that so later and subjeeted to rigorous criticism so that greatest rigorous criticism subjected later after prsctise given came along that credit to documents after documents that came credit is in practise the Gospels. that of Muhammad. Their Gospels. Their authenticity authenticity varies, like that Jesus (they Not written down at the time of Jesus Gospel was written Not a single Gospel come to an were all written earthly mission had come written long after after his earthly during compiled was compiled during end), and not a single collection collection of hadiths was the time of the Prophet. Revelation The situation is very different for the Qur'an. As the Revelation progressed, the Prophet and following him recited progressed, and the believers believers following scribes in the scribes the text by heart and it was down by the also written written down was also his following. It authentherefore starts off with two elements of authenwith elements It possess. up ticity that the Gospels do not possess. This continued up to the continued ticity Gospels do could At a time when not everybody could write, but Prophet's death. lvhen not everybody a Prophet's death. a considerable everyone was able to recite, recitation afforded a considerable afforded everyone was able to reeite, r'ecitntion possible when when the the advantage double-checkingpossible because of the the double-checking advantage because definitive text was compiled. was compiled. definitive to Gabriel to Archangel Gabriel The by Archangel made by was made Revelation was The Qur'anic Qur'anic Revelation period than twenty place of more Muhammad. It took place over a period of more than twenty over a Muhammad. It took of verses of first verses n'ith the years the first beginning with life, beginning years of Prophet's life, the Prophet's of the period a long for break Sura 96, then resuming after a three-year break for a long period Sura 96, then resuming after a three-year i.e. in 632 A.D., Le. 632 A.D., Prophet in of the Prophet years up of the death of to the the death up to of twenty twenty years 1 years Hegira.l after Hegira. ten ten years after years before Hegira and and ten before Hegira ten years A'D' Madina,622 1. 622 A.D. to Marlina, Makka to from Makka departure from 1. Muhammad's Muhsmmad's departure


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TIlE AND TTIEBmLE, BIBI,4 THE MIE QUR'AN AIID SCIENCE SCIENCE QT'N'AN

fire following following was (sure96, wssthe ttrefirst first Revelation The Revelation(sura 96,verses verses1I to to 5) 6)1r: : In the the name narneof of thy thy Lord "Read: "Bead: In Inrd who whocreated, created, Slho erested man from something somethingwhich Who created man from whieh clings clings Read! Thy Thy Lord Iord is is the the most mostNoble Read! Noble pen TVhotaught taught by by the the pen Who Iilho taught taught man man what what he hedid Who did not not know." know." Professor Hamidullah notesin in the Professor Hamidullah notes Introduction to the Introduction his French to his French tranelstion of of the the Qur'an translation that one one of of the the themes themes of Qur'an that of this first this first 'praise of Revelation was wasrthe the 'praise pen as the pen Revelation of the as aa means means of of human human 'explain the prophet's concern knowledge'which which would would 'explain knowledge' the Prophet's concernfor for the the pnesenration the Qur'an preservation of the Qur'an in writing.' prophet left Makka Texts formally prove prove that long Texts long before before the the Prophet Msl*s (i.e. long Madina (i.e. long before before Hegira), for Madina text so rlegrra), the the Qur'anic so far eur'anie revealedhad had been been written down. revealed down. 'Ve lve shall shall see seehow how the the Qur'an eur'an authentic in this. this. We We know know that M:uhammad is authentic llluhammad and and the the Believers Believers who surrounded surrounded him were were accustomed who accustomedto reciting the revealed the revealed memory. It It is therefore text from memory. therefore inconceivable inconceivablefor the the Qur'an eur'an facts that did not square to refer to facts square with reality because becausethe prophet's Iattcr could could so so easily easily be latter be cheeked people in the Prophet's checkedwith people following, by asking asking the authors following, authors of the transcription. Four suras suras dating from a period period prior prior to Hegira refer to the urriting Qur'an before before the prophet Prophet left Mskka Makka in writing dourn down of the Qur'an 622 1l to 16) 16):: 622 (sura (sura 80, 80, verses verses 11 "By no means means!! Indeed Indeed itit is a message message of instruction "By Thenefore Therefore whoever whoever wills, should should remember remember On On leaves leaves held held in honor Exalted, purified In In the hands hands of of seribes scribes Noble pious." Noble and and pious." Yusuf Yusuf Ali, Ali, in in the the commentary commentary to to his his translation, translation, rg84, 1984, wrote wrote thst that when when the the Revelation Revelation of of this this sur& sura was was made, made, forty-two forty-two or or forty-five forty-five others others had had been been written written and and were were kept kept by by Muslims Muslims in in Mskka Maleka (out (out of of sa total total of of 114). 114). 1. 1. Muhemmad Muhammad wac was totslly totally overwhelmed overwhelmed by by these these words. words. We We shall shall retrrn return to to an an interpretation interpretation of of them, them, especially especially with with regard regard to to the the fect fact that that MuMuhrnmgd neither reed read nor nor writo, write. hammad could eould neither


'0

Au'henticityof of tle ,he Qufan. Qur'an. Hotp How" Came tobeWdtten be Written ItCamr* AuJheaticitg

129 129

-Sura -Sura 85, 85, verses verses 21 21 and and 22: 22: 1 "Nay, this is a glorious reading glorious readingr a "Nay, this is On aa Preserved preserved tablet" tablet" On -Sura -Sura 56, 56, verses verses 7? 77 to to 80: 80 : 1 "This is a glorious reading glorious reading' "This is a In aa book book well well kePt kept In Which none but the Purified purified teach. teach. \4lhich none but the This is a Revelation from the Lord of of the the Worlds'" Worlds." Lord the from Revelation This -Sura -Sura 26, 25, verse 5: 5: "They said: Tales of of the ancients ancients which he has caused caused to be "They evening." and morning written and they are dictated him morning evening." him to written by made Here we have a reference to accusations made by the accusations the to Here spread They imposter. Prophet's enemies him spread as an him treated who Prophet's enemies the rumour that that stories stories of of antiquity antiquity rvere were being dictated dictated to him and he was rvriting writing them down or having them transeribed transcribed (the (the and meaning of of the word is debatable, debatable, but one one must remember remember that that verse refers Muhammad be, the verse illiterate) . However this may be, Muhammad was illiterate). pointed to this act of making a written record. which is out by reeortl written making Muhammad's enemies themselves. enemies themselves. one last mention of the A sura that came makes one came after after Hegira makes written: were written: leaves on which these divine instructions were these Ieaveson -Sura 98, -Sura verses 2 and 3: 98, verses and "An leaves (apostle) from God recites leaves God recites "An (apostle) straight." Kept pure where are decrees right and right and straight." decrees where are the fact as to the provides The Qur'an itself therefore provides indications as Qur'an is It is Prophet. the of that it was set down in writing at the time of the Prophet. It time at the that it was set down in writing following, his in scribes fact that there were several scribes in his following, aa known several known fact that there were to name to his name has left left his the ThAbit, has Ibn Thabit, Zaid Ibn of whom, whom , Zaid most famous famous of the most posterity. posterity. (19?1) ' the Qur'an of the In translation of preface to French translation his French Qur'an (1971), to his In the the preface condithe of gives description Professor Hamidullah gives an excellent description of the condiexcellent an Professor Hamidullah written, was tions that prevailed when the text of the Qur'an was written, text of the prevailed the when Qur'an tions that death: lasting Prophet's death: the Prophet's of the time of the time up until until the lasting up of fragaent of rvheneveraa fragment that whenever "The stating that in stating agree in all agree sourcesall "The sources literate his of one called the Qur'an was revealed, the Prophet called one of his literate the Qurtan wag revealed, the Prophet time same time the same at the indicating at companions to him, him, indicating dictated itit to and dictated companions and what fabric of in the the exact position of the new fragment in the fabric of what fragment the exact position of the new Muhammad that Muhammad note that had Descriptions note . . . Descriptions received... beenreceived already been had already 1.l* In ci-n which 'reading'. meang'reading'' elsomeans which also tcxt: Qu,.' tn" text: fo the Qtlr'dln


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nskedthe thescribe scribetoto reread rereadto asked to him him what what had hadbeen beendictated dictated so sothat that hecould couldcorrect correctany any deficiencies he famous story deficiencies. .. . . . Another Another famous story tells tells how every year in every year prophet would in the how the month month of of Ramadan, Ramadan,the the Prophet would recite the rvhole of (so ilre recite the whole of the Qur'an far revealed) revealed)to eur'an (so far to Gabriel Ganriel . . ., that in in the theRamadan precedingMuhammad's Ramadanpreceding that Muhammad'sdeath, death,Gabriel Gabriel had had made him recite it twiee prophet's made him recite it twice ... . . .It It isis known known how horvsince sincethe the Prophet's time, Muslims Muslimsacquired aequiredthe time, the habit habit of of keeping keepingvigil vigil during during RamaB"*"dan, and of reciting the whole dan, and of reciting the whole of of the the Qur'an in addition addition to eur'an in to the th" praysl* expected usualprayers expectedof of them. usual them.Several severalsources sourcesadd add that that MuhamMuhammad's scribe scribe Zaid zaid was present at was present mad's at this this final final bringing-together bringing-together of of the texts' Elsewhere, nurnerousother the texts. Elsewhere, numerous personalitiesare other personalities are mentioned rnentioned aswell." well." as Extremely diverse materials materials were Extremely diverse were used used for for this this first first record: record: parchment, leather, leather, wooden wooden tablets, parchment, tablets, camels' camels' scapula, scapula, soft soft stone stone for inscriptions, inscriptions, etc. etc. for At the the same same time however, horvever, Muhammad At Muhammad recommended recommendedthat that the the faithful learn learn the the Qur'an faithful heart. They did this for aa part Qur'an by heart. part if if not all of the the text recited recited during prayers. prayers. Thus there were not were Hafi.zil,nwho rvho knew knerv the the whole whore of the Qur'an lJaf~zun eurian by heart and and spread spread it abroad. abroad.The method method of doubly doubry preserving it preserving the text both in in writwriting and and by memorization memorization proved ing proved to be extremely extremely precious. precious. Not long after Not long after the prophet's Prophet's death death (682), (632), his successor successor Abu Abu Bakr, of tsram, Islam, asked asked Muhammad's Muhammad's former former head head Bakr, the the first first caliph Caliph of scribe, zaid lbn scribe, Zaid Ibn Thdbit, Thtibit, to make make a copy; this he did. on On omar's Omar's initiative initiative (the (the future second second caliph), Caliph), zaid Zaid consulted consulted all the the ininformation formation he could could assemble assemble at at Madina: Madina: the the witness witness of of the the lfaf~zun, copies copies of of the the Book Book written written on on various various materials materials belongbelongVafizun, ing private individuals, individuals, all all with with the the object object of of avoiding avoiding possible possible ing to to private errors errors in in transcription. transcription. Thus Thus an an extremely extremely faithful faithful copy copy of of the the Book Book was was obtained. obtained. The The sources sources tell tell us us that that caliph Caliph omar, Omar, Abu Abu Bakr's Bakr's successor successor in in 634, 634, subsequently subsequently made made aa single single volume volume (mushnf) (mufllJaf) that that he he prepreserved served and and gave gave on on his his death death to to his his daughter daughter Harsa, Hafsa, the the prophet's Prophet's widow. widow. The The third third caliph Caliph of of Islam, Islam, uthman, Uthman, who who held held the the caliphate caliphate from 644 to 655, entrusted from 644 to 655, entrusted aa commission commission of of experts experts with with the the preparation preparationof ofthe thegreat greatrecension recensionthat thatbears bearshis hisname. name.ItItchecked checked the theauthenticity authenticityof ofthe thedocument documentproduced producedunder underAbu AbuBakr Bakrwhieh which had remained in Hafsa's had remained in Hafsa's possession possession until until that thattime. time. The Thecommiscommis0

0

0'


AutJumlicityol oftthe Qur'an. How ItCamc It Clime tobeWfitten to be Written E Qufan. Autlenticttg

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sion consulted consulted Muslims Muslims who who knerv knew the the text text by by heart. heart. The The critical critical sion analysis of of the the authentieity authenticity of of the the text text was was earried carried out out very very rigorrigoranalysis ously. The The agreement agreement of of the the witnesses witnesses was was deemed deemed necessary necessary bebeously. fore the the slightest slightest verse verse containing containing debatable debatable material material was was rerefore tained. ItIt is is indeed indeed known known how how some some verses verses of of the the Qur'an Qur'an correet correct tained. others in in the the case case of of prescriptions: prescriptions: this this may may be be readily readily explained explained others period when one one remâ&#x201A;Źmbers remembers that that the the Prophet's Prophet's period of of apostolic apostolic activactivwhen ity stretched stretched over twenty twenty years years (in (in round round figures). The result result is ity text containing containing an order order of of suras that that reflects the order order folfola text by the Prophet in in his complete complete recital of of the Qur'an during during lowed by lowed Ramadan, as mentioned above. above. Ramadan, might perhaps perhaps ponder ponder the motives motives that that led the first three One might One Caliphs, especially especially Uthman, to commission commission collections collections and recenrecenCaliphs, of the text. The reasons reasons are in fact very simple: Islam's sions of sions expansion in the very first decades decades following Muhammad's Muhammad's death death expansion was very rapid indeed indeed and and it it happened happened among among peoples peoples whose whose nawas necessary to tive language It was was absolutely absolutely necessary was not Arabic. It language was ensure purity: retained its original purity: spread of aa text that retained ensure the spread Uthman's recension objective. as its objective. had this as recensionhad centres recensionto the centres Uthman sent the recension the text of the copiesof the sent copies Professor of the why, according according to Professor and that is why, Islamic Empire and the Islamic and Tashkent and exist in Tashkent Hamidullah, copiesattributed to Uthman exist Hamidullah, copies the copying, the possiblemistakes mistakesin copying, Istanbul. oneor two possible Istanbul. Apart from one be found are to be found present day, day, that are oldest the present known to the documentsknown oldest documents for is true for sameis the same throughout identical; the are identical; world, are Islamic world, the Islamic throughout the Bibthe in (there are fragments in the Bibare fragments documents preservedin in Europe Europe (there documentspreserved date experts,date the experts, to the liotheque accordingto which, according in Paris Paris which, Nationale in lioth}que Nationale and Second the i'e. the Second and A.D., Le. from centuriesA.D., Ninth centuries and Ninth Eighth and the Eighth from the are that texts ancienttexts that are Third numerousancient The numerous centuries).The Hegirian centuries). Third Hegirian variaminor very minor variafor very known exceptfor agree except all agree existenceall in existence be in to be known to all' at all. text at the text of the generalmeaning tions meaningof the general changethe do not not change which do tions which it interpretation, one interpretation, it If than one more than allows more sometimesallows context sometimes If the the context rvas simwriting may ancientwriting was simthat ancient fact that the fact with the to do do with haveto well have may well pler day.' pler than of the thepresent that of than that Presentday.1 verb either either make aa verb could make 1.1. The for example, example, could marks, for diacritical marks, of diacritical absence of The absence More feminine, or masculine active or passive and in some instances, masculine or feminine. More in instances, some passive and active or sinee great cmsequence c'lnseguence since any great often hardly of of any was hardly this was however, this not however, thsn not often than instances' the context indicated the meaning in many instances. in many meaning the the context indicsted


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The 114 114 auras suras were The arranged in were arranged in decreasing decreasingorder of length; length; order of there were were nevertheless neverthelessexceptions. exceptions.The there The chronological chronologicalsequence sequence of the the Revelation Revelationwas wasnot not followed. followed.In of In the the majority majority of of cases howcaseshowever,this this sequence sequence is known. ever, is known.A A large large number numberof of descriptions descriptionsare are points in mentionedat at several severalpoints giving rise mentioned in the the text, text, sometimes sometimesgiving rise to to repetitions. Very passagewill Very frequently repetitions. frequently aa passage will add add details details to to aa dedescription that appears appearselsewhere elsewherein an scription an incomplete incompleteform. form. EveryEveryconneetedwith modem modernscience is, like thing connected scienceis, like many meny subjects subjectsdealt dealt the Qur'an, scatteredthroughout with in the throughout the the book book without any Qur'an, scattered any semblanceof classification. classification. semblance


ril III The Creation C..ealion of of the the The Hea.ens and and the the Earth. Earth. Heaverrs DIFFERENCES FROM FROM AND AND NESEMBLENCES RESEMBLENCES TO TO DIFFEREIVCES DESCNIPTION' THE BIBLICAL DESCRIPTION. THE BIBLICAL In contrast contrast to to the Otd Old Testament, the Qur'an Qur'an does does not not provide provide In continuous of a the Creation. Creation. Instead Instead of continuous narnara unified unified description description of of the a ration, there there are passages passages scattered all all over the Book which which dc'al d(¡:ll ration, with certain certain aspects aspects of of the Creation and provide information information on on with the with varying varying demarking its development with successive events marking the successive these events are prepregrees g1Iin a clear idea of how these gTeâ&#x201A;Źsof detail. To giin of detail. of number of sented, throughout a large number r.*ttered throughout fragm*nt* scattered the fragments sented, the suras togPther' brought together. have to be brought sur88 have same references to the same This Book of references dispersal throughout the Book This dispersal importsubject subject is not unique to the theme of the Creation. Many important same manner in the Qur'an: the same treated in the subjects are treated ant subjects that man that problems concerning concerning man earthly phenomena,or or problems celestial phenomena, or celestial earthly or same the same themes, the these themes, of these are For each each of to scientists. scientists. For interest to of interest are of together' verses bring all the verses together. effort has been made here to all the to bring here has made been efrort Crethe Creof the description of the description For commentators, the ma4y European European commentators, For many they and Bible in the one ation in the Qur'an is very similar to the the one in the Bible and they to is similar very in thC stion Qur'an side' II by side. side by present the descriptions side are two descriptions the two quite content to present content to are quite obvious very are there are very obvious believe this concept is mistaken because there because mistaken is believe this concept from unimportant from differences. no means meansunimportant by no are by that are subjects that On subjects difrerences.On whose in the aa scientific point of view, we find statements in the Qur'an whose statements point find rve Qur'an of view, scientific conlatter conThe latter Bible. The equivalents in the the Bible. in vain vain in for in search for we search eguivalents we in the tains descriptions that have no equivalent in the Qur'an. no have equiyalent Qur'an. that taing descriptions well are well texts are the two two texts The between the resemblaneesbetween obvious resemblances The obvious number glance, the first at that, that, at first glance, the number known; among them is the fact the is fact knowu; emong them 133 133


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grvento to the the successive successive given stages stagesof of the the Creation Creationis is identical: identical: the the sixdays in the daysin theBible Biblecorrespond six six days in the correspondto to the the six days in the Qur'an. rn eurran. In problemisis more fact however, however,the fact the problem more complex complexthan thsn this this and and it it is is pausingto worth pausing toexamine worth examineit. it. TheS& SlcPerioih of the tLeCreafion. The Periods of Cretfnn. There is is absolutely absolutelyno no ambiguity There ambiguity whatsoever whatsoeverin in the the Biblical! Biblical' descriptionof of the the Creation Creationin description in six six days daysfollowed followedby by aa day day of of rest, rest, the sabbath, sabbath,analogous analogouswith the with the the days days of of the the week. week. It rt has hss been been shownhow howthis this mode modeof practicedby of narration shown narration practiced priests of by the the priests the of the sixth century century B.C. B.c. served purposeof serrredthe Sixth people the purpose of encouraging people encouragingthe the to observe obserrrethe the sabbath. sabbath. All All Jews to Jews were were expected expeetedto rest' restr on the on the sabbathas as the the Lord rnrd had had done doneafter he sabbath he had had laboured labouredduring the the six days daysof of the the week. week. six 'day' means The way way the the Bible Bible interprets interprets it, the The the word word 'day' meansthe the intertime between val of time betweentwo successive val successivesunrises sunrises or sunsets sunsetsfor an an the Earth. When inhabitant of the When defined definedin this way, wey, the the day day is conconditionedby by the the rotation rotation of the ditioned the Earth on on its own own axis. axis. It It is obvious obvious ,days' as logically-speakingthere there can questionof 'days' that logically-speaking as dedecan be be no no question just now, fined just now, if if the the mechanism meehanismthat causes fined causesthem them to appear-i.e. appeal-i.g. the existence existenceof the the Earth and the around the Sun-has Sun-has and its itg rotation around already been beenfixed fixed in the early etages not already stages of the Crestion Creation sccordaccordthe Biblical Biblical description. description.This ifirpossibility ing to the itnpossibility has has slresdy already beenemphasized emphasizedin the first part of the present been present book. book. When we When we refer to the majority majority of translations translations of the-eur'an, th~Qur'an, we we read read that-analogous that-analogous with with the Bibliesl Biblical description-the description-the prr> proeess cess of the Creation Creation for for the Islamic Revelation Revelation also also took place place over a period period of six days. days. It It is difficult to hold against against the translators the fact that that they have have translated translated the Arabic word word by by its its most most common common meaning. meaning. This is how itit is usually usually expressed expressed in in translations translations so so that in the Qur'an, Qur'an, verse verse 84, 54, sura ?7 reads reads as as follows: follows: "Your uYour Iord Lord is is God God who Who created created the the heavens heavens and and the the earth earth in in six days," days." 1. The The Btblied Biblical description description mentioned mentioned here here isis taken taken from from the the so-cglled so-called SeSaeerdotal cerdotal vergion version discussed discussed in in the tbe first first part part of of this this rork; work; the the degcripdon description taken taken from from the the so-called so-called Yahvist Yahvist version version has bas been been comprecged compressed into into the the tpace space of of aa fer fe'w lines lines in in today'r today's vergion version of of the the Bible Bible and and isis too too ingubstaninsubstantial tial to to be be congidered conllidered her.e. here. 'Sabbstht 2. 'Sabbath' in in llebrew Hebrew means means ,to 'to rert'. rest'.


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Thereare arevery veryfew fewtranslations translationsand andcommentaries commentaries of ofthe theQur'an Qur'an There 'days' taken be that note note how how the the word word 'days' should should really really be taken to to mesn mean that 'periods'. 'periods'. ItIt has has moreover moreover been been maintained maintained that that ifif the the Qur'anie Qur'anic texts on on the the Creation Creation divided divided its its stages stages into into 'days', 'days', itit was was with with texts the all by the deliberate deliberate intention intention of of taking taking up up beliefs beliefs held held by all the Jews Jews the and Christians Christians at at the the dawn dawn of of Islam Islam and and of of avoiding avoiding aa head-on head-on and confrontation rvith with such such aa widely-held widely-held belief. belief. confrontation Without in in any any way way wishing wishing to to reject reject this this way way of of seeing seeing it, it, one one Without and elosely could perhaps perhaps examine examine the the problem problem aa little little more more closely and scruscrucould in the the Qur'an Qur'an itself, and more more generally generally in in the the lang:uage language of of tinize itself , and Li'nizein the time, time, the the possible possible meaning meaning of of the the word word that that many many translators translators the 'day'i themselves still still continue to to translate translate by by the the word word 'day': AQ,unL, yaum, themselves plural agyd,m ayyam in in Arabic.' Arabic. 1 plural Its most common common meaning is 'day' 'day' but but itit must be stressed stressed that that Its it tends tends more to mean mean the diurnal diurnal light light than the length of of time time it that lapses lapses between between one one day's day's sunset sunset and the next. The plural plural that 'days', ayyam *"r, can **tn, mean, not iust just 'days', but also also 'long 'long length of of time', aEgd,m 'pean ind.finite indefinite period of time (but always always long). The meaning meaning 'pe*tt in elsewhere in riod be found elsewhere contains is to be riod of time' time' that the word contains the Hence the following: the Qur'an. Qur'an. Hence -sura verse -Sura 32, 32, verSe5: is aa ,,. . . in aa period measure is the measure (aattm) whereof "... whereof the period of time (yaum) thousand years of your reckoning." reckoning." thousand years precisely periods is is precisely six periods (It the Creation Creation in six (It is noted that the be noted is to to be ' to) what the verse preceding verse 5 refers to). refers what the verse preceding verse 5 -sura -Sura 70, 4: verse 4: 70, verse is 50,000 50,000 measureis the measure ",,. ... (yattm) whereof whereofthe period of time (yaum) of time in aa period . . in years." years." 'yaum'could that period of time that of time meanaa period The could mean word 'yaum' the word that the fact that The fact word the word by the mean by period that we mean that we was the period from the quite different different from was quite .day' struck not did not course, did of course, who, of 'day' commentators who, early commentators very early struck very of length of the length concerning the have possesstoday today concerning we possess the ltnowledge have the hnowledgewe Sixteenth the Sixteenth In the the the Universe. Universe. In of the formation of the formation in the the stages stagesin had havehad not could who century A.D. for example, Abu al Sii'ud, who could not have Abu s['ud, al example, for A.D. century the of terms of the in terms any astronomically in definedastronomically as defined the day day as of the idea of any idea must divisionmust Earth's Creationaa division the Creation for the that for thought that rotation,thought Earth's rotation, Latin betweenLatin equivalencebetween for equivalence 1.1. See present work wolk for pageof of present last page on last table on Seetable and letters. andArabic Arabic letters.


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be considered consideredthat that was was not be not into into days days as we usually as we usually understand understand 'events' (in the word, word, but but into into 'events' (in Arabic the Arabie nauba). nauba) . Modern commentators commentators have gone back Modern have gone back to to this interrpretation. this interpretation. (1934), in Yusuf Ali Ali (1934), in his his commentary Yusuf commentaryon on each eaehof of the the verses versesthat that deals with with the the stages stagesin in the deals the Creation, insists on Creation, insists on the the importance importance 'days', to taking the of taking the word, word, elsewhere of elsewhereinterpreted interpreted as meaning 'days', as meaning to 'very in reality mean in reality 'very long long Periods, mean Periods, or or Ages, Ages, or or Aeons'. Aeons'. It is possibleto is therefore therefore possible It to say say that that in in the the case of the easeof the Creation Creation of the the world, world, the the Qur'an of allows for for long periods of long periods Qur'an allows of time time numbernumbering six. six. It It is is obvious obviousthat that modern ing modern science permitted man scieneehas has not not permitted man to establish establish the the fact fact that that the the complicated to complicated stages process stages in in the the process leading to to the the formation formation of leading the Universe of the Universe numbered numbered six, six, but it it has clearly clearly shown shown that long periods of time were long periods has were involved involved comcom'days' as pared to to which whieh 'days' as we we conceive pared conceivethem them would would be ridiculous. be ridiculous. one of the passagesof the the longest Iongest passages which deals One the Qur'an, deals with eur'an, the Creation, Creation, describes describesthe the account the latter by juxtaposing an an aeeount of events and and one one of celestial earthly events celestial events. events.The The verses question verses in question are verses verses9I to 12, 12, sura sura 41: are (God is speaking srreakingto the Prophet) (God you disbelieve disbelieve Him Who "say: Do you "Say: who created ereated the earth in two periods? you ascribe ascribe equals periods? Do you equals to Him. He is the Lord of the Worlds. Worlds. "He set set in the (earth) mountains mountains standing standing firm. He blessed blessed it. He measured measured therein its sustenance sustenance in four four periods, periods, in due due proportion, with the needs needs of of those those who ask proportion, in aceordance accordance with for for (sustenance? (sustenance? or information?). "Moreover (!umma) (!umma) He turned to heaven heaven when itit was smoke smoke and said said to itit and to the earth: come come willingly willingly or or unwillingly come in in willing willing obedience. obedience. ingly!! They said: we come "Then "Then He He ordained ordained them them seven seven heavens heavens in in two two periods, periods, and He He assigtred assigned to to each each heaven heaven its its mandate mandate by by Revelation. Revelation. And And we We adorned adorned the the lower lower heaven heaven with with luminaries luminaries and and provided provided itit aa guard. guard. such Such is is the the decree decree of of the the AII All Mighty, Mighty, the the Full Full of of Knowledge." Knowledge." These These four four verses verses of of sura sura 41 41 contain contain several several points points to to which which shall we return: the the initially initially gaseous gaseous state state of of celestial celestial matter matter we shall return: and and the the highly highly symbolic symbolic definition definition of of the the number number of of heavens heavens as as seven. seven. We We shall shall see see the the meaning meaning behind behind this this figure. figure. Also Also of of aa symbolic nature is is the the dialogue dialogue between between God God on on the the one one hand hand symbolic nature


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and the the primordial primordial sky sky and and earth earth on on the the other: other: here here however however itit and once Earth, and Hes'rens is only to express the submission of the Heavens and Earth, once the is only to express the submission of they were fanned, to divine orders. they were formed, to divine order$. Critics have have seen seen in in this this passage passage aa contradiction contradiction with with the the statestate.. Critics two the adding By ment of of the the six six periods periods of of the the Creation. Creation. By adding the two periperiment the Earth Earth to to the the four four periods periods of of the the ods of of the the formation formation of of the ods spreading of of its its sustenance sustenance to to the the inhabitants, inhabitants, plus plus the the two two periperispreading ods of of the the formation formation of of the the Heavens, Heavens, wâ&#x201A;Ź we arrive arrive at at eight eight periods. periods. ods six This would would then then be be in in contradiction contradiction with with the the six periods periods menmenThis tioned above. above. tioned In fact fact however, this this text, text, whieh which leads leads man to refleci reflect on divine divine In Earth and ending with with the Omnipotence, beginning beginning with with the Earth Omnipotence, Heavens, provides provides two two sections that that are expressed by by the the Arabie Arabic Heavens, 'moreover', 'tulntna', word 'tumma', translated by 'moreover', but but which which also means means word 'furth&more'or'then'. 'furthermore' or 'then'. The sense sense of a 'sequence' 'sequence' may therefore referring to a sequence sequence of events events or a series series of m&n's man's implied referring be implied reflections on the events events mentioned here. It It may equally be a reflections intention of simple reference without any intention events juxtaposed without reference to events bringing following the other. However one following bringing in the notion of the one this just Creation of the Heavens may just be, the periods of the Creation this may be, Earth's creation. A as with the two periods of the Earth's coincide with as easily coincide process of the formalittle basic process examine how the basic shall examine Iittle later we shall see shall see tion of the Universe is presented presented in the Qur'an and we shall Earth in jointly applied to the Heavens and the Earth how it can Heavens and can be be jointly realize how perfectly keeping ehall then realize ideas. We shall modern ideas. with modern keeping with reasonable the simultaneous simultaneous nature of conceiving the reasonablethis way is of conceiving the described. events here described. the events the between the There contradiction between any contradiction be any to be not appear appear to There does does not the of the formation of the formation of the passage concept of quoted here the concept and the passage quoted here and the Qur'an. in the other texts texts in world in other Qur'an' be found to be found in is to that is in six stagesthat world in six stages

SEQ_AENCE DOWN AA SEQUENCE THE LAv DOWN NOr LAY DOESNOT THE QUR'AN OUR'ANDOES IIEAvENS. AI\ID HEAVENS. EILRTHAND FOR THE EARTH OF THE CnEATION OF TEE CREATION FORTHE reference quoted above, above,reference In passagesfrom the Qur'an from the the two two passages Qur'an quoted In the and Heavens the of the verses to the Creation of the Heavens and was made in one of was made in one of the verses to the Creation the of the Creation to the elsewhereto the Creation of the (sura 7, and elsewhere 54), and verse54), ?,verse Earth (sura the Earth does The 12). to I Qur'an Earth and the Heavens (sura 41, verses 9 to 12). The Qur'an does Earth and the Heavens (sura 41, verses of the Creation creation of for the sequencefor not down aa sequence to lay lay down appear to therefore appear not therefore the Earth. the Earth. and the Heavens and the Heavens


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The number number of versesin The of verses in which which the the Earth Earth isis mentioned mentioned first first is is quite small, small, e.g. e.g.sura sura 2,2, verse quite 20, verse 4, where verse29 29 and and sura sura 20, verse 4, where aa reference isis made made to to "Him reference "Him Who who created created the the earth earth and and the the high high heavens". The The number number of heavens". the Heavens are of verses verses where where the Heavens are menmentioned before beforethe theEarth Earth is, tioned is,on onthe the other other hand, hand, much much larger: (sura larger: (sura verse54; 54;sura sura10, 10,verse 7,7,verse verse 7; sura verse3; 3; sura sura11, ll, verse ?; sura 25, zb, verse verse59; 6g; sura 32, 32,verse verse4; 4; sura sura 50, sura 50, verse verse38; 38; sura sura 57, F?, verse verse 4; 4; sura sura 79, ?g, gl, verses verses27 27 to to 33; 33; sura sura 91, verses verses5E to to 10). 10). In actual actual fact, fact, apart apart from from sura In sura 79, ?g,there there is is not passage not aa single single passage in the the Qur'an that lays in lays down Qur'an that down aa definite definite sequence; sequence;aa simple simple coco.and' links ordinating conjunction conjunction (wa) ordinating meaning 'and' haa) meaning links two two terms, terms, or or the word word lumma tummn which, which, as the as has has been been seen seen in in the passage, the above above passage, can indicate indicate either either aa simple simple juxtaposition or can or aa sequence. sequence. There appears appears to to me me to to be There be only passage in the onry one one passage the Qur'an eur'an where aa definite definite sequence sequenceis plainly established where between established between different events in the the Creation. Creation. It It is contained events contained in verses verses 27 z? to 33, BB,sura 79: ?g: you the harder to create "Are you "Are er.eateor is it the heaven heaven that (God) raised its canopy canopy and built? He raised and fashioned fashioned it with with harmony. He He made dark the night ~nd he made he brought out the forenoon. after forenoon. And after 4nd ( bu' da dn !1.alikn) spread it that (bu' he drerv drew out out its its it out. Therefrom daliln) He spread Therefr.om he water and and its pasture. water pasture. And the mountains mountains He has has fixed fixed firmly. firmly. for you Goods for you and your your catile." cattle." Goods This This list list of of earthly gifts gifts from from God God to man, which is expressed expressed in in a languag:e language suited to farmers farmers or or nomads nomads on the the Arabian-peninArabian Peninsula, sula, is is preceded preceded by by an invitation invitation to r.eflect reflect on the the creation creation of of the the heavens. heavens. The reference reference to the the stage stage rvhen when God God spreads spreads out out the the earth earth and and renders itit arable arable is is very very precisely precisely situated situated in in time time after after the the alternating alternating of of night night and and day day has has been been achieved. achieved. Two Two groups groups are are therefore therefore referred referred to to her.e, here, one one of of celestial celestial phenomena, phenomena, and and the the other other of of earthll' earthly phenomena phenomena articulated articulated in in time. time. The The referreferenee ence made made here here implies implies that that the the ear.th earth must must necessarily necessarily have have existed existed before before being being spread spread out out and and that that itit consequenily consequently existed existed when when God God ereated created the the Heavens. Heavens. The The idea idea of of aa concomitance concomitance theretheref,ore fore arises arises from from the the heavenly heavenly and and earthly earthly evolutions evolutions with with the the interlocking interlocking of of the the two two phenomena. phenomena. Hence, Hence, one one must must not not look look for for any any special special significance significance in in the the reference reference in in the the eur'anic Qur'anic text text to to the the creation Creation of of the the Earth Earth before before the the Heavens Heavens or or the the Heavens Heavens bebefore fore the the Earth: Earth: the the position position of of the the words words does does not not influence influence the the


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order in in which which the the Creation took took place, place, unless unless however however itit is spespeordâ&#x201A;Źr cifically statcd. stated. cifically THE BASIC PNOCESS PROCESS OF OF TEE THE FONMATION FOHMATION OF OF THE THE TNE BASIC UNIVERSE AIVD AND THE THE NESULTING RESULTING COMPOSITION COMPOSITIOIV UIVIT/EASE OF THE THE ITONLDS. WORLDS. OF The Qur'an presents presents in two verses verses a brief brief synthesis synthesis of of the Ttre process phenomena that that eonstituted constituted the basie basic process of of the formation formation phenomena of the Univense. Universe. of -â&#x201A;Źur:a --aura 21, 21, verse verse 80: Unbelievers see see that that the heavens heavens and the earth "Do not the Unbelievers "Do were joined together, together, then We clove clove them asunder asunder and and TVe We gpt got were Will they not then believe?" believe?" every living living thing out of the water. Will every --aura 41, 41, verse verse 11: C'od God orders orders the Prophet to speak speak after after inviL invit+ura ereation: ing him to reflect reflect on earth's creation: subiect of the earth's on the subject smoke it was (God) turned to the Heaven Heaven when when it was smoke "Moreover "Moreover (God) and it and earttr . . ." and to the earth and said said to it page on page There orders to submit, submit, referred to on then follow the orders There then 186. 186. examine and examine We shall aquatic origins of life and comeback back to the aquatic ehall come problems raised raised by the Qur'an. them biological problems Qut'an. them along along with other biological present are the following: are the The rememberat present fire important things to remember fine gaseousmass mass with with fine a) existence of aa gaseous s) The fire statement ststement of the existence 'smoke' (dukin, (dufiEn in Arabie) Arsbic) is particles, perticles, for this is how how the the word 'smoke' gaseous generally made to be up of aa gaseous made-up Smoke is generally be interpreted. interpreted. Smoke particles fine particles plus, in more substratum, suspensioil,fine stablesuspension, more or less lessstable substratum,plus, that may statesof matter at high and even evenliquid states solid and belongto solid msy belong or low temperature; tempereture; low process (fatq) (fatql of an an primary b) The separetionprocess referenceto aa separation T[e reference (rotql. together (ratq). fusedtogether single were initially fused elementswere whoseelements ma$t whose singlemass breaking' actionof breaking, the action It must 'fatq' is the in Arabic Arabie'fatq'is notedthat that in be noted must be 'rntq' is diffusing, is the action of fusing or the action and that 'ratq' separating,and diffusing, separating, whole. binding to make homogenouswhole. makeaa homogenous elementsto binding together togetherelements parts several parts into of the separation of a whole into several This concept a whole of separation of the This concept multiple to reference passeges with is noted in other passages of the Book with reference to multiple Book of the is noted in other proclaims, in the the Qur'an worlds. first sura sura in of the the first first verse verseof The first Qurtan proclaims, worlds. The name of of the after the opening invocation, the fonowing: "In the name following: the invoeation, "In after the opening Ltlrd of be to God, God, the Beneficent, the Merciful", "Praise be to God, Lord of God, ttte Beneficent,the Merciful", "Praise the Worlds." the lVorlds."


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'worlds' reappears The The terms terms 'worlds' reappearsdozens dozensof of times times in in the the Qur'an. Qur'an. The Heavens Heavensare The are referred referred to to as multiple as well, not as multiple as well, not only only on on plural form, accountof of their account their plural form, but but also also because becauseof of their their symbolic symbolic quantity: 7. numericalquantity: numerical 7. This number number is This is used used24 24 times times throughout throughout the the Qur'an Qur'an for var'many' quantities.It iousnumerical numericalquantities. ious It often often carries carries the the meaning meaningof 'many' althoughwe we do not know although do not know exactly exactly why why this meaning meaning of the figure the figure was used. used.The The Greeks was Greeksand and Romans Romansalso also seem Beemto have have used used the the number7? to meanan to mean number an undefined undefinedidea idea of plurality. In the the Qur'an, eur'an, number 7? refers the number refers to the (aamd,utdt).It to the the Heavens Heavensthemselves themselves(samciwcit). It 'Heavens'. The is understood slone is understood to alone to mean mean 'Heavens'. The 7r roads roads of the the Heavensare are mentioned mentionedonce: Heavens once: -,gUfA 2, 2, verse VefSe 29 -sura 29:: is the the One one Who you all that is on "(God) who created erebtedfor you " (God) is on the the earth. earth. Moreover He He turned turned to the Moreover heavenand the heaven fashionedseven and fashioned sevenheavens heavens harmony.He He is is Full of Knowledge with harmony. Knowledgeof all things." things." -SUfa 23, 28, verse Verse17: 17: -sura you seven havecreated paths: We we have ereatedabove have never never "And We aboveyou sevenpaths: we have beenunmindful unmindful of the the Creation." been Creation." -sura 67, 6?, verse verse33:: -sura one Who who created "(God) heavens one one sbove above an" (God; is the One created seven sevenheavens other. Thou Thou canst eanst see no fault in the other. Beneficent. seeno the creation creation of the Beneficent. the vision vision again! again! Canst Turn the thou see rift?" Canstthou seeany rift?" -sura 71, 71,verse 15-16: veree15-16: -sura you see seehow God ereatedseven Godcreated heavens one one above above another another "Did you sevenheavens made the and made ?I" and the moon moon a light therein therein and and made made the sun sun a lamp lamp F" -sura 78, 78, verse 12: -sura verse 12: "We have built built above above you you seven seven strong (heavens) (heavens) and placed placed "we have a blazing blazing lamp," lamp." Here Here the the blazing blazing lamp lamp is the Sun. Sun. The commentators agreement on all these these commentators on the Qur'an are in agreement verses: no more more than plurality.t plurality.2 verses: the number number ? 7 means means no 1. ItIt is is to to be noted noted that that while while the the Bible Bible callr calls both both Sun Sun and and Moon Moon .ligbte', 'lights', here, here, as alwaya always in in the the Qur'an, Qur'an, they they are are difrerently differently named; named; the the firrt first tris called'Light' called 'Light' (nilrl (nur) and the the second second is is compared compared in in this this verre verse to to a.lamp a 'lamp (sird.i) (_ira;) producing producing light'. light'. We We shsll shall see see later later how how other other epithete epithets are are aDapplied plied to to the the Sun. Sun. 2. Apart Apart from from the the Qur'an, Qur'an, we we often often find find the the number number ?7 meaning meaning plurality pluralitJ in in texts texts from from Muhammad's Muhammad's time, time, or or from from the the ffrst first eenturier centuries folloring following him, him, which which record record hir his words words (hadithr). (hadiths).


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There are therefore therefore many Heavens Heavens and Earths, Earths, and itit comes comes as no small surprise to the reader of of the Qur'an to find that that earths such as our our own may be found in in the Universe, a fact fact that that has not been verified by man in in our time. yet been Verse 12 of of sura 65 does does however however predict the following: following: One Who created created seven seven heavens heavens and of of the earth "God is the One (ard) a similar similar number. The Command Command descends descends among them (ar{) so that that you know that that God God has has power over all things and eomcomso knowledge." prehends all things in His knou'ledge." prehends indefinite plurality plurality (as we have have seen), seen), itit Since ? 7 indicates indicates an indefinite Since is possible possible to conclude conclude that that the Qur'anic text text clearly clearly indicates indicates the existence of of more than than one single Earth, Earth, our our own Earth Earth (ard) it in the Universe. (ard); ; there are others like it Another observation cenTwentieth cenobservation which may surprise the Twentieth Another three to that refer tury of the Qur'an is fact that verses refer verses the reader tury groups of things created, Le. created, i.e. -things in the Heavens -things Heavens -things on the Earth -things Earth -things between -things Earth thg Heavens Heavensand the Earth between th~ Here are several verses: several of these these verses: -Sura 20, -sura verse 6; verse 20, be(God) belongs heavens,on earth, earth, be"To Him belongs what is in the heavens, Him (God) them and beneath the soiL" tween soil." beneath and tween -sura 25, -sura verse 59: 59: 25, verse and what is ct heavens, the earth and created the heavens, One Who created ".• •. •. the One periods." between them in six periods." between them -Sura 32, -sura verSe4: 32, verse and what is "God is the One heavens,the earth and created the heavens, is One Who created periods." between them in six periods." them between -sura 50, -sura verse 38: 50, verse 38: between them "We heavens, the earth and what is between "W'e created the heavens, periods, and in six periods, wearinesstouched touched US."1 IJs."' no weariness and no 'what is between Heavens The reference between the Heavens the Qur'an to 'what reference in the sura the following verses: verses: sura and be found found in the is again again to be the Earth' is and the stands at all weary stands not make make God all weary 1. did not God at the Creation Creation did that the statement that 1. This This statement in the the to in referred to out description, referred Biblical description, reply to to the the Biblical obvious reply an obvious out as as an have rested on the the reeted on present book, said to to have first is said part of where God God is book, where the present of the first part preceding days' seventh work! days'work! the preceding day from from the seventh day


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21, verse 37; sura 15, 16, 44, verses verses7 and 38; sura 78, 78, verse verse 16; sura 44, 21, verse verse 46, verse 85. 86; sura 46, verse 3; sura 43, 43, verse verse 85. verse 85; This Earth, menfiris Creation Crestion outside the Heavens and outside the Earth, priori difficult Jtioned difficult to imagine. To undertioned several times, is a pri,on stand these must be made to the most recent these verses, verses, reference must human observations on the existence existenee of cosmic extra-galactic extra-galagtic material material and one one must indeed go back to ideas established by contemporary starting science on the formation formation of of the Universe, starting contemporory science proceeding to the most complex. with These are complex. These with the simplest and proceeding paragraph. the subject of the following following paragraph. passing on to these Before passing matters however, however, these purely scientific matters it advisable to recapitulate the main points on which the it is advisable Qur'an According to information about the Creation. Aceording Qur'an gives us information quotations, they are as the preceding quotations, as follows: follows: general. 1) Existence of six periods for for the Creation in general. ¡2) 2) Interlocking Interlocking of stages stages in the Creation of the Heavens and the Creation of Earth. Earth. 3) unique mass mass the Universe 8 ) Creation Creetion of the initially unique Universe out of an an initially forming aa block up. forming block that subsequently subsequentlysplit up. 4) Plurality of the the Heavens and of the 4l Plurality Heavensand Esrths. the Earths. 'between the Heavens Existenceof an an intermediary creation 6) Existence 5) Heavens creation 'between and the the Earth'. and SOME MODERN MODENN SCIENTIFIC SCIENflFIC DATA DATA CONCERNING SOME CONCERIVIIVG TIIE FONUATION OF THE UNIVERSE. THE FORMATION UIVIYERSE. Tfu Solar SolanSyatem. The Sgilen. Earth and planets rotating rotating around the Sun The Earth sun constitute constitute an organized world of dimensions dimensions which, whieh, to our human scale, organized scale, appear gs million colossal. The Earth Earth is, after quite colossal. million miles after all, roughly roughly 93 from the Sun. Sun. This is a very great distance from distance for for a human being, it is very small in comparison comparison to the distance distance separating the but it from the furthermost furthermost planet from from it it in the solar system Sun from system (Pluto) ; in round numbers it it is 40 40 times the distance (Pluto) from the distance from Earth to the Sun, i.e. approximately Sun, i.e. approximately 3,672 3,672 minion Earth million miles away. distance, when doubled, doubled, represents represents the largest dimension of This distance, of system. The Sun's light takes nearly 6 hours to reaeh Sun's light our solar system. reach


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Pluto, and and yet yet the the journey journey is is made made at at the the terrifying terrifying speed speed of of over over Pluto, per second. second. The The light light coming coming from from stans stars on on the the 186,000 miles miles per 186,000 takes billions very confines of the known celestial world therefore takes billions therefore celestiel world the known of very eonfines of years years to to reach reach ug. us. of

The CaltJsie,. TlnfuI&t. The Sun, Sun, of of which we are & a satellite like the other planets planets fite surrounding it, it, is itself an infinitesmally small element element among among surrounding whole, called called a galaxy. galaxy. On a hundred billion stam stars. that form a whole, a hundred fine summer summer night, the whole whole of space space seems seems to be be filled with with stara stars fine that make make up what is known as as the Milky Milky Way. This group has has thst extremely large dimensions. dimensions. Whereas Whereas light light could could crosft cross the solar extremely system in units of one one hour, hour, itit would would require require something something like system 90,000 years years to go go from one one extreme extreme to the other of the most most 90,000 compact group group of stars stars that make make up up our galaxy. galaxy. compact so it is so though it The belong to however, even though galaxy that we however, even we belong The galaxy There are incredibly huge, Heavens.There small part of the Heavens. huge, is only aa small Way that lie giant Milky Way grsnt agglomerates stars similar to the Milky agglomeratesof stars year"s fifW years over fifty outside galaxy. They were discovered discoveredaa little over They were outsideour galaxy. optical instruan optical ago, make use use of an was able able to make when astronomy astronomywas agp, when possiblethe constructhe construcment madepossible onethat made the one as the sophistieatedas as sophisticated ment as Thus aI Statcs. Thus tion of the the United United States. telescopein the Wilson telescope Mount Wilson the Mount gnlgalaxiesand massesof galvery large and masses isolatedgalaxies indeedof isolated number indeed large number was away that it was axies are so so far away discoveredthat are have been been discovered axies have 'parsec' the 'parsec' necessary light-years, the special unit of light-years, to institute aa special necessaryto per miles per years at 186,000 186,000miles (the 8.26 years (the distance travels in 3.26 distancelight travels second). second). atd Stan and Formation ol CaltJsie" &Iarilrl4 Stars Eoohfion of ard Eooluticm F ormafu and PlanetatY Sgficmt. PIanenw Sf/stema.

the large space spscethe What immenselylarge the immensely in the originally in was there there originally What was ques' this quesgalaxies only answer answerthis canonly sciencecan galaxiesnow Modernscience now occupy? occupy?Modern it Universe; it of the the Universe; period in tion evolution of the evolution in the as of of ae certain eertsin period tion as this that separates separatesthis cannot time that the length of time put into length of into numbers numberst.he eannotput period period from from us. us. h88 sciencehas modernscience provideus At the earliest time with, modern uswith, canprovide time itit can earliest the At of formed every reason to maintain that the Universe was formed of as was Universe the that maintain to evely reason


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gaseousmass principally composed mas$ principally gaseous composedof of hydrogen hydrogen and and aa certain certain amount of of helium helium that amount that was was slowly slowly rotating. rotating. This This nebula nebula subsesubsequently split split up quently up into into multiple multiple fragments fragments with with very large dimenvery large dimensionsand andmasses, masses,so sions solarge indeed,that large indeed, that specialists specialistsin in astrophysics astrophysies are able able to to estimate estimate their are their mass mass from from 1r to to 100 100 billion billion times times the the present mass massof of the (the latter the Sun present Sun (the latter represents representsaa mass mass that that is is over over 300,000times times that that of 300,000 of the the Earth). Earth). These give an Thesefigures figures give an idea idea of of the large large size size of of the the the fragments fragments of primary gaseous gaseousmass of primary mass that that give birth were to to give galaxies. birth to were to the the galaxies. A new new fragmentation fragmentation was was to A to form form the the stars. stars. There There then followed the the intervention intervention of lowed of aa condensing eondensing process process where gravitawhere gravitational forces forces came play, (since (since these came into tional were into play, these bodies bodies were moving rotating more and rotating more and and and more more quickly), along pressuresand along with pressures and the influence influence of magnetic magnetic fields the fields and and of radiations. The stars became shiny as as they contracted became contracted and and transformed the gravitagravitaforces into thermal energy. tional forces energy. Thermonuclear reactions reactions came came play, and heavier atoms atoms were formed by fusion at the expense into play, expense others that were were lighter; lighter; this is how the transition was made of others made from hydrogen to helium, then to carbon ending with carbon and oxygen, oxygen, with metals and metalloids. metalloids.Thus the stars have metals have a life of their their own and classifiesthem according to their modern astronomy classifies their present stage stage evolution. The stars also of evolution. also have have a death; in the final stage stage of of their evolution, evolution, the violent implosion their implosion of of certain stars has has been been observed so so that observed that they become become veritable veritable ,corpses'. 'corpses'. The planets, planets, and in particular particular the Earth, Earth, originated in in a separseparation process process starting starting from from an initial initial constituent that that in in the beginning was the primary primary nebula. nebula. A A fact fact that that has no no longer been been contested contested for for over twenty-five twenty-five years is that that the the Sun Sun concondensed nebula and that that the the planets planets did did the the same same densed inside the single nebula inside the surrounding nebnlar. nebular disc. disc. one One must must stress-and stress-and this this is is of of prime prime importance for for the the subject subject in in hand-that hand-that there there was was no no sequence sequence in in the the formation formation of of the the celestial celestial elements elements such such as as the Sun nor in the the nor in the formatiou formation of of an an earthly earthly element. element. There There is is an an evolutionary evolutionary parallelism parallelism r,r'ith with the the identity identity of of origin. origin. Here, science Here, science can can give give us us information information on on the the period period during during which which the the events events just just mentioned mentioned took took place. place. Having Having estimated estimated the the age age of of our our galaxy galaxy at at roughll' roughly ten ten billion billion years, years, according according to to this hypothesis, this hypothesis, the the formation formation of of the the solal solar system system took took place place aa little little over over five five billion billion years years later'. later. The The stud.y study of of naturat natural radio radio


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activity makes makes itit possible possible to to place place the the age age of of the the Earth Earth and and the the activity time the the Sun Sun was was formed formed at at 4.5 4.5 billion billion years years ago, ago, to to within within aa: time present~day accuracy accuracy of of 100 100 million million years' years, according according to to some some present-day 100 since admired, is be This accuracy is to be admired, since 100 scientists' calculations. to This accuracy calculations. scientists' ratio the but to us years may represent a long time to us but the ratio million long time a years represent may million 'maximum 'maximum error/total time-to-be-measured' is is 0.1/4.5, 0.1/4.5, i.e. Le. 2.2%. 2.2%. error/total time-to-be-measured' high ^ attained in astrophysics have therefore attained a high Specialists therefore have in astrophysies Specialists in proeess involved general degree of knowledge concerning the general process involved in the concerning knowledge degree of the formation formation of of the the solar system. system. It It may may be be summarized summarized as follows: condensation condensation and contraction of of a rotating rotating gaseous gaseous mass' mass, planets in and Sun splitting up into that leave planets the leave that fragments splitting l science that knowledge their places, among them Earth. that science The the Earth.' places, their has gained gained on the primary primary nebula nebula and the way itit split up into has an incommensurable incommensurable quantity of of stArs st.ilrs grouped grouped into galaxies galaxies of concept a of legitimacy as of concept leaves absolutely no doubt to the as leaves provide kind any the plurality of worlds. It does kind however not does It the plurality of of certainty certainty concerning the existence existence in the Universe of of anything anything resemble that might, either closely or vaguely, resemble the Earth. vaguely, closely that

The Worlels. thcWorlds. Pluralitg of the th'e Plurality TIw Concept of the conastrophysics conIn spite modern specialists specialistsin astrophysics above, modern the above, spite of the present Earth planets sider it highly likely that planets similar to Earth are present similar highly nobody concerned,nobody in the Universe. system is concerned, as the solar system far as Universe. As far general conditions possibility entertains the possibility of finding general conditions seriously finding seriously entertains the We planet in this system. system. We similar on another another planet on Earth on those on similar to those likeThe system. must therefore seek for them outside the solar system. The likesolar the outside them for seek must therefore probable quite probable lihood is considered consideredquite it is outside it existing outside of their their existing lihood of for the following reasons: for the following reasons: stars billion stars galaxy half the 100 100 billion It of the half of in our our galaxy It is is thought thought that that in billion fifty planetary The must, like the Sun, have a planetary system. The fifty billion system. a must, like the Sun, have characteristic slowly; aa characteristic stars very slowly; rotate very Sun, rotate indeed,like do indeed, the Sun, stars do like the their planets are their that are which suggests that they are surrounded by planets that by surrounded are which suggeststhat they planets possible the satellites. These stars are so far away that the possible planets away that far so satellites. These stars are highly be highly to be are is thought thought to existence is their existence but their are unobservable, unobservable, but characteristies; of certain trajectory characteristics; aa probable account trajectory probable on of certain on account presence the indicates slight undulation of the star's trajectory indicates the presence trajeetory of star's the slight undulation following Earth following the Earth from the gradual separation 1.l. As separation from its gradual Moon, its the Moon, regards the As regards probability. the deceleration of its rotation is an acknowledged probability. acknowledged is an rotation its of the deceleration


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of aacompanion companionplanetary planetarysatellite. of satellite.Thus Thusthe the Barnard Barnard Star probStar probablyhas hasat planetarycompanion at least leastone oneplanetary ably with a mass companionwith a massgreater greater than that that of of Jupiter Jupiter and p. than and may may even evenhave havetwo two satellites. satellites.As As P. Gudrin writes: pointsto Guerin writes: "All points "AII the theevidence evidence planetary to the thefact fact that that planetary systemsare are scattered scatteredin profusion all systems in profusion all over over the the universe. universe.The The solar systemand andthe solar system the Earth Earth are arenot not unique." unique."And And as asaa corollary: corollary: planetsthat like the the planets "Life, "Life, like that harbour harbour it, it, is is scattered scatteredthroughout throughout the universe,in placeswhere in those thoseplaces the universe, condiphysico-chemical wherethe the physico-chemical conditions necessary necessaryfor its flowering for its tions flowering and and development developmentare are to to be be found." found." Interstelhr Material. Matwial. Interstellar The basic processin basieprocess in the The the formation formation of the the Universe Universe therefore therefore lay in in the the condensation condensationof material primary nebula lay in the material in the nebula followedby by its its division division into lowed into fragments fragments that originally constituted eonstituted galaetic masses. The latter in their turn split up galactic masses. The up into stars stars that provided the the sub-product sub-productof the process,Le. provided the process, planets. These i.e. the the planets. These successiveseparations separationsleft among successive groups of principle among the principle elethe groups ele'remains'.Their more ments what one one might perhaps perhapscall ments more sciensciencall 'remains'. 'interstellar galactic tific name nameis 'interstellar galacticmaterial'. material'. It has been been described described It has in various ways; there are are bright nebulae in various ways; there nebulae that reflect reflect the light receivedfrom other other stars received stars and and are are perhaps perhaps composed composed of .dusts' 'dusts' 'smokes',to use or or 'smokes', use the terminology terminology of experts experts in astrophysics, astrophysics, and and then then there there are are the the dark nebulae nebulae that are less less dense, dense, cott*isting consisting of interstellar of interstellar material material that is even even more more modest, modest, known for for its its tendency tendency to interfere with with photometric photometric measurements measurements in in astronastronomy. of ,bridges' 'bridges' of of omy. There There can can be be no doubt doubt about about the existence existence of material between galaxies material between the galaxies themserves. themselves. Although Although these these gases gases may may be be very very rarefied, rarefied, the the fact fact that that they they oecupy occupy such such aa colossal colossal space, in great distance distance separating separating the the galaxies, galaxies, could could space, in view of of the the great make make them them correspond correspond to to aa mass mass possibly possibly greater greater than than the the total total mass mass of of the the galaxies galaxies in in spite spite of of the the low low density density of of the the former. former. A. A. Boichot Boichot considers considers the the presence presence of of these these intergalactic intergalactic masses masses to alter ideas ideas to be be of of prime prime importance importance which which could could ',consider"uty "considerably alter on the evolution evolution of of the the ljniverse." Universe." on the We We must must now now go go back back to to the the basic basic ideas ideas on on the the creation Creation of of the the Universe Universe that that were were taken taken from from the the Qur'an Qur'an and and look look at at them them in in the the light light of of modern modern scientific scientific data. data.


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IN THE DATA IN THE DATA WITH THE RONTATION WITH CONF CONFNONTATION TION. CREA Cn^EAflON' THE G TEE ryNG ERNIN CONCEA QUR'A QUn'AilN CONC e the five main points on which the Qur'an examine We shall examin on. Creation. ation about the Creati information gives inform Esrth ns and the E'arlh the Heave Heavens of on of Creati periodss of of the Creation t) The six period 1) al celesti celestial the of ion of format formation the , Qur'an the ing to Qur'an, according d, accord covered, covere until until latter latter the of pment develo development the and Earth, bodies and the Earth, bodies 'sustenance;) man. In the table by man. inhabitable became inhabi it became ance') it (with its 'susten (with happen ed happened Qur'an the in ed describ described events Earth, the events of the Earth, case case of four the four them in see see s perhaps perhap could periods. s. One one could four period over four apman's with , with science n science, moder by modern ed periodss describ described geological ical period geolog era. nary quaternary quater the in plaee place taking y know, taking already pearance, ce, as as we alread pearan answerr to this has an answe nobody has sincc nobody hypoth esis since This is purely aa trypoihesis n. question. questio ly heavenly ion of the heaven formation that the format er, that however, noted howev be noted It must be It (see (see 41 41 sura 12, to 9 12, verses in ed verses as explain explained bodies bodiesand the Earth, as subsun and its subtake the Sun . If phases. If we take ed two phases required page 136) 136) requir page us), to us) ble accessi ' one accessible only one (the le example as an examp proauctt the Earth as tire Earth produc of s process proces a ed by occurr ion occurred formation us that their format informss us science scienceinform tion. separation' their separa nebula and then their ry nebula primary sation of the prima conden condensAtion it it when clearly elearly very ses expresses rvhat the Qur'an expres This is exactly what uent subseq subsequent and and fusion a fusion ed produced processes ses that produc refers to the proces 'smoke'. '. Hence Hence there is al 'smoke celestial startingg from a celesti tion startin separa separation Qur'an and the of facts betwee n the ondenc e between correspottd.tt.. te corresp complete comple . science. the facts of science stages in the forcking of the two stages d interlocking showe e 2) Scienceshowed the interlo Zl Scienc Earth)).' e (like the Earth satellite and its satellit sun) and mation of a star (like the Sun) evidentt in the text of the nnecti on is surely very eviden interconnection This interco ed. examined. Qur'an examin 'smoke'' se of the 'smoke Universe stage of the Univer ce at an early stage existence 3) The existen s gaseous inently gaseou predominently ng the predom me&ning d to in the Qur'an Qur'an,, meani referre referred to ponds corres sly corresponds obviously ses it, obviou composes al that compo material state state of the materi . n science science' d by moder modern forrvard primaryy nebula nebula put forwar t of the primar concept the concep the the Qur'an sed in the s, expres expressed Qur'an by the heavens, the heaven ty of the plurality 4) The plurali by ed confirm is confirmed ed, discuss fliscnssed, have we have lve ng meaning meani rvhose r 7, 7, whose numbe nUmber hysics astrop in s astrophysies expert experts ations observ the observations to due n science science due moder modern r. On number' and their very large numbe s a~d galactic c system systems on galacti made on have have made ours ours to r simila are similar that are earths earths of ty plurality plurali the hand the other hand the the other


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(from certain points of view at least) eertain points least) is an an idea idea that arises arises in the text of the the the Qur'an not Qur'an but has yet been has been demon demonstrated strated to be be true by scienc science; e; all the the same, samg specia speciaiists lists consid eonsider er this to be quite be quite feasible. feasibl e. 6) The The existen 5) .the Heavexistenee ce of an an interm intermediate ediate creatio creation n betwee between n 'the Heav'the Earth' expres ens' and ens' and 'the expressed sed in the the Qur'an may be be compa eur'Bn may compared red to the the discov discovery ery of those those bridge bridges s of materi present material al presen t outsid outside e organized organi zed astron astronomic omic system systems. s. Although Althou gh not not all all the questions the questio ns raised raised by the the descrip deseriptions tions in the Qur'an the have been Qur'an have been comple completely tely confirm confirmed ed by scienti scientifie fic data, data, there is in any there any case caseabsolu absorutely tely no no opposi opposition tion betwee between n the the data data in the the Qur'an on the the Creati Qur'an on creation on and and moder n knowle modern knowledge dge on on the the formation format ion of the Univer universe. se. This fact is worth stressi stressirig ng for the the Qur'an ic Revela Revelation, tion, where Qur'anic whereas as it is very very obviou obvious s indeed inaeedthat t~at the the present-day presen t-day text of the the Old ord Testam restament provides ent provid es data data on on the the same same eventsthat are events are unacce unacceptable ptable from aa scienti scientific point of view. fic point view. It It is hardly is hardly surpri surprising, sing, since sincethe the descrip description tion of the the Creati Creation on in the the Sacerd secerdotal otal versio version n of the the Bible Bible'1 was was writte written priests at the n by priests the time of the time the deport deportation ation to to Babylo Babylon n who who had had the the legalis legalist intentions t intenti ons alread already y describ described ed and and therefo therefore re compil compiled ed aa descrip deseription tion that fitted fitted their theolog theological ical views. views.The The existen existence ce of such suchan an enorm enorrnous ous differdifference encebetwee between n the the Biblica Biblicall descrip description tion and and the the data data in the the Qur'an eur'an concer concerning ning the the Creati on is creation is worth underl underlining ining once once again on on accoun aeeount t of the "g"i' the totally gratui gratuitous tous accusa aecusations tions leveled leveled agains asainstt Muham Muhammad mad since sineethe the beginn beginnings ings of Islam Islam to the the effect effect that tnat he ne eopiedthe copied the Biblica Biblical l descrip deseriptions. tions. As As far as as the the Creati creation on is is conconcerned, cerned , this this accusa aceusation tion is is totally unfoun unfound ded. ed.How How could eould,aa man mrrn living Iiaing fourteen fourtee n hundre hund,red, d years ago have hauemade mad,ecorrec uearsago eoryecti.ons tions to to the the existi.ng existin g descrip deseriyttion tion to to such snchan an extent ertent that that he he elimin el:i,mi,nated, ated scienti eeientifically inaccu innecurnte rate materi fieally material al and, and,,on on his his own own initiat initiattue, ive, made m,ad,e statestatements mentsthat that science seienee has hasbeen beenable ableto to verify uertfy only only in i,nthe the'present presen t day? dey? This This hypoth hypoth.esz's esis is comple eomTtretely tely untena untenable. ble. The Tie descrip d,eseiption tion of the the Creati Creation giaen in on given i,n the the Qur'an quite differe ew"an is quite d,iferent nt from the the one one in the the Bible. Bible.

1. 1' This This text text complet eompletely ely oversha overshadows dows the few lines contain yshvirt t eontained ed in the Yahvia version. version' The latter latter is too brief brief and too vague vagle for for the scientis scientistt to take talc account of of it.


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ANSWERS TO TO CENTAIN CERTAIN OBTECflOilS OBJECTIONS AIVSWENS Indisputably, reaemblances resemblances do do exist exist between between narrations narrations dealing dealing Indisputebly, history, with other other subiects, subjects, particularly particularly religious religious history, in in the the Bible Bible with and in in the the Qur'an. Qur'an. ItIt isis moreover moreover interesting interesting to to note note from from this this and point of of view view how how nobody nobody holds holds against against Jesus Jesus the the fact fact that that he he point takes up up the the same same sort sort of of facts facts and and Biblical Biblical teaehings. teachings. This This does does iat.r of course, course, stop stop people people in in the the West West from from accusing accusing Muhammad Muhammad not, of not, of referring referring to to such such facts facts in in his his teaehing teaching with with the the suggestion suggestion of that he he is is an an imposter imposter beeause because he he presents presents them them as as aa Revelation. Revelation. that for the the proof proof that that Muhammad Muhammad reproduced reproduced in in the the Qur'an Qur'an what what As for As no he had had been been told told or or dictated dictated by by the the rabbis, rabbis, itit has has no more more subsubhe than the the statement that that a Christian Christian monk monk gave gave him him aa stance than stance sound religious religious education. education. one One would do well well to to re-read what what sound R. BlachEre Blachere in in his hook, book, The Problem of Muhammad' Muhammad (Le (Le ProbProbletn of R. t, has to say about this this 'fable" 'fable'. Ierne de de Mahomet) Mahomet> r, llme A hint hint of of aa resemblance resemblance is also also advaneed advanced between between other stateA go back a very long w&Y' that way, ments in in the the Qur'an Qur'an and beliefs that ments probably much time than the Bible. probably further in time muctr further cosmogonic eertain cosmogonic More traces of certain f,he traces speaking, t.he More generally speaking, example myths sought in therHoly the4loly Scriptures; for example the been-sought have been myths have belief existeneeof primeval waters Polynesiansin the existence held by the Polynesians belief held light when light separated when that until they separated darkness until eovered in darkness were covered that were is myth This appeared; formed. were formed. Earth were and Earth Heaven and eppeared; thus Heaven where Bible, in compared the Bible, where Creation description of the Creation *olnp*t tl to the description be supersuperhowever be would however there It would resemblanee.It is undoubtedly undoubtedly aa resemblance. there is the from this copied this from the ficial having copied of having Bible of the Bible accuse the then accuse to then ficial to cosmogonie myth. cosmogonic myth. divithe diviof the conceptof It just as\superficial the Qur'anic seethe to see Qur'anic concept asisuperficial to irjust It is its at Universe the sion constituting the Universe at its primlval material material constituting the primeval of the sion of that one scienee-as initial modern science-as one that held by by modern concept held stage-a concept initial stage-a another or another form or one form in one comes myths in cosmogonic myths from various various cosmogonic comesfrom that it. resembling it. something resembling expresssomething that express descriptions and descriptions beliefs and It mythical beliefs thesemythical analysing these worth analysing It isis worth is which is them among more closely. Often an initial idea appears among them which more closely. Often an initial idea appears we what by out reasonable borne out by what we casâ&#x201A;Źsborne and isis in in some somecases itself, and in itself, reasonablein fantastic that fantastic exceptthat today true, except to be betrue, (or think weknow) know) to think we know (or today know of caseof the is This descriptions are attached to it in the myth. This is the case myth. the aescriptions are attached to it in 1962' Paris, 1952. 1.l. Pub. France, Paris. deFrance. Universitaries de PregserUniversitaries Pub. Presses


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the fairly fairly widesp widespreed read concep concept t of the the Heave Ireavens ns and and the Earth Eartr origina originally lly being being united united then then subseq subsequenily uently separa separated. ted. When. vfhen, &8 as in Japan, Japan, the the image image of the egg egg plus an an expres expression sion of chaos elraos ;8 ie attach attaehed ed to the the above abovewith the the idea idea of aa seed seedinside inside the (as ttre egg esg (as for all eggs), eggs), the the imagin imaginative ative additio addition n makes makes the concep cone.tit lose m. all sembla semblance nce of serious seriousness. ness. In other other countr countries, ies, the the idea idea of aa plant is plant is associa associated ted with it; plant grows it; the the plant growsand and in so so doing doingraises raises up up the sky and and separa separates tes the Heave Heavens ns from the Earth. Earth-. Here again, again, the the imagin imaginative ative quality of the the added addeddetail detail lends lendsthe myth its very distinc distinetive tive charac eharscter. ter. Nevert Nevertheless heless aI commo common n charac characterteristic remain remains, s, Le. i.e. the the notion notion of aa single single mass massat the beginn tresinning ing of the the evolut evolutionary process ionary proces s leadin leading g to the the format formation ion of the the Univer universe se ,worlds' which then which then divided divided to form the the variou various s 'world s' that we we know know today. today. The reason The reason these thesecosmog cosmogonic onic myths myths are are mentio mentioned ned here here is to underl underline ine the the way way they they have havebeen beenembro embroidered idered by man's man,simagin imagineation and and to show show the the basic basic differe differenee nce betwee between n them thern and and the the statements statem ents in the the Qur'an on the the same samesubjec Qur'an on subject. t. The The latter are are free free from any any of the the whims whimsical ical details details accom accompanying panying such such beliefs beliefs; ; on the on the contra contrary, ry, they they are are disting distinguished uished by uv the tr,L sober qualiW of *ob." quality the words the words in which which they they are are made made and and their agreem *gr"**"nt ent with scientific scienti fic data. data. Such sueh statem statements ents in the the Qur'an concerning ning the eur'an concer the Creatio creation, n, which which appeared appear ed nearly nearly fourtee fourteen n centur centuries ies ago, ag'o,obviou obviously sly do do not lend lend themse themselves lves to to aa human human explan explanation. ation.


IV rY ran thE Qu ln the Qut'arr l..ono Dl} ' In As Astrorrrrrrry preced-In the preced ns. In Heavens. ions on the Heave reflections full of reflect The Ttre Qur'an Qur'sn is full of the ty plurality plurali the how saw we n, creation, chapterr on the Creatio ing chapte Qur'an the what what as Qut'sn well as well to, d referred Earths was referre ns and Earths Heave neavens 'between ns and the Heavens en the Heave creationn 'betwe ediary creatio intermediary calls an interm referreferverses verses The latter. the latter. d verifie science has verified modern science Earth Earth':': modem is to what what of of idea a broad contain y on alread already Creation iins to the Creati ring earth. earth' the outside outside hing everyt of everything s, Le. i.e. heavens, be found in the heaven on, Creation, e the Creati describe cally describ specifically that specifi verses that from the verses Apart Apart from which which Qur'an the in verses verseg Qur'an fQrty anotherr fqrty roughlyy anothe there are roughl hss rvhat has ementing what complementing omy compl astronomy ation on astron providee inform infoniration provid than more much not are them of gi'ien. Some Some of been gi~en. y been alread atready izer of all the r, the Organ Organizer glory of the Creato Creator, ihe glory ions on the reflect reflections ed arranged be arrang to know we These s. These ary system planetary systems. stellar and planet exn Newto ty Newton stabili stability whose whose ns positions positio ing balancing ing to balanc accord aecording . bodies. ion of bodies attraetion mutuall attract tti* law of the mutua plained in his matermuch h furnis furnish hardly hardly here quoted quoted be verses to be first verses The first on attenti attention draw to draw simply is aim the is: fic analys analysis: for scienti scientific ial for give to er howev ned however mentio mentioned be be must otence. They Omnipotence to God's God's Omnip zorganized the organi deseribed ic text describ idea of the way the Qur'an Qur'anic ic idea realistic a realist ago. ies 8go' centur n fourteen centuries se fourtee Universe ation ation of the Univer tion. Revelation' tute a new fact of divine Revela constitute ces consti references These These referen s Gospel the r Gospels neithe neither in treated is world zation of the world The organi organization l general genera whose s whose notion notions few a (except for t ent (excep for Testament nor the Old Testam of tion descrip l description Biblica Biblical the in seen y already seen have alread racy we have inaccu inaccuracy subjectt in with this subjec er deals deals with however on). The Qur'an howev the Creati Creation). does does not it it what is so but so ant, import is es describes important, it describ what it depth. depth. What s theorie theories the of t accoun account an provide e provid does not in fact It does contain ,ont"irr.. It organi organithe with with deal deal that that tion Revela entt at the time of the Revelation prevalen preval 151 t5l


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zation zation of the celesti al world, theorie celestial theories s that science was later science was later to show show were were inaccu inaccurate. rate. An examp le of this will example will be be given later. This negati negative ve consid eration must howev consideration er be pointed however be pointe d out.! out.r A. GENE RAL REFL GENERAL ECTIO NS CONC NEFLECflONS ERNIN G THE CONCENNTNG THE SKY. SKT. -sura 50, -sura 50, verse verse 6. 6. The subjec t is man in genera subjeet general. l. "Do they not look look at the sky al10ve above them, them, how We have built we have built it and and adorne adorned d it, and and there there are no rifts rifts in it." it." -sura 31, -sura 31, verse verse 10: l0: "(God ) create " (God) ereated d the the heaven heavens s withou rvithoutt any pillars that you can can g g g . ..." see . .tt -sura 18, p: -sura 18, verse verse 2: "God is the One one Who who raised raisecl the heaven heavens s withou withoutt any pillars pillars you can that you ean see, see,then then He firmly firmly establi established shed Himse lf on the Himself throne and throne and He subjec subjected ted the sun sun and and moon moon ..." . . .,, Thesetwo verses These verses refute the belief that that the vault of the heavens heavens was held was held up pillars,, the up by pillars the only things preven preventing ting the forme formerr from from crushing crushi ng the the earth. earth. -sura 55, -sura 55, verse verse 7: ?: (God) raised "the sky (God) raised it it .. . . ."" -sura 22, -sura 22, verse verse 65: 6E: (God) holds "(God) holds back back the the sky from falHftg fallirlg on on the earth unless unless by His leave leave . . ." .,, It It is is known knorvn how horv the remote remoteness ness of celesti celestial al masses massesat-gre at*great at distanc distance proportion e and and in propor tion to the the magni magnitude tude of their mass mass itself itself constit constitutes utes the the founda foundation tion of their equilib equilibrium. rium. The more more remote remote the masses the massesare, ere, the the weake weaker r the force force is that attract attractss one one to the other. other. The The nearer nearer they they are, are, the the strong stronger er the the attract attraction ion is that one has one has to to the the other: this this is is true for the the Moon, Moon, which rvhich is near near to #I

1. lJ I have h"* often heard heard those those who go to great lengths lengths to find a human ex"f"n planation-and planati on-and no no other-t other-too all problems ail the problem raised by the Qur'an s raised eur,an say the the followin following: g: "if the Book Book contain "if the contains surprising s surprisi statements ng stateme nts on astronomy, omy, it is because becausethe Arabs were were very knowled knowledgeable geable on this subject. subject."" In so so doing they forget the the fact that, in general general,, science science in Isiamie Islamic countrie countries s is very much post-eur'an, much post-Qu r'an, and that the scientifi scientific c knowledge knowled ge of period would in any caSe this great period case not have have been been sufficien suffcientt for for a h.r-.r, human being to write some being some of the the verses verses to be be found in the Qur'an. eur'an. This wiil will be shown be shown in the the followin followingg paragra paragraphs. phs.


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the Earth Earth (astronomically (astronomically speaking) speaking) and and exercises exercises an an influence influence the of waters the by position occupied by laws of attraction on the position occupied by the waters of the on attraction by laws of bodies celestial two If the sea, hence the phenomenon of the tides. If two celestial bodies tides. phenomenon the of the the sea, hence come too too close close to to one one another, another, eollision collision isis inevitable. inevitable. fire The fact fact come thie for qua non is sine that they are subjected to an order is the sine qua non for the the order an to subjected that they are absence of disturbances. absenceof disturbances. of the the Heavens Heavens to to divine divine order order is is often often referred referred The subjection subjection of The to as as well: well: to -sura 23, 23, verse verse 86: 86: God God is is speaking speaking to to the the Prophet' Prophet. -sura and Lord heavens "Say: Who is Lord of the seven heavens Lord of of the the seven the of "Say: Who is Lord tremendous throne 1" tremendous throne?" We have have already already seen seen how how by 'seven 'seven heavens' what what is megnt meant We not ?, 7, but but an indefinite indefinite number number of of lfesvens. Heavens. is not is -sura 46, 45, verse verse 13: -sura 18: "For subjected all that that is in the heavens heavens and on "For you (God) subiected the In that that are signs for for Behold ! In Him. Behold! from Him. the earth, all from people people who reflect." reflect." -sura -sura 55, 6: verse 5: 66, verse "The sun and moon caleulations" subjected) to calculations" moon (are subjected) and sun "The -sura -sura 6, 96:: verse 96 6, verse moon and the moon sun and "(God) appointed the and the sun (God) the night for rest and appointed " for reckoning." for reckoning." -sura -sura 14, verse33 38:: 14,verse ,,For you dilboth dilmoon, both and the the moon, "For (God) subjected you (God) sun and the sun subjected the the you He subiected the He subjected for you igently And for pursuing their courses.And their courses. igently pursuing night the day." day." night and and the to referred to calculations referred Here the calculations another: the versecompletes completesanother: oneverse Here one heavenly the by result in the regularity of the course described by the heavenly described course of the result in the regularity present the present dd'ib, the bodies word da'ib, by the the word question,this this isis expressed expressedby in question, bodiesin 'to work eagerly work was meaning pa"rticiple of a verb whose original meaning was 'to eagerly whose original participle of a verb of given meaning the is and assiduously it at something'. Here it is given the meaning of Here snd assiduously at something'. ,toapply invariperseverant, in a with care in a perseverant, invari'to oneself to something care with something apply orr.**jf to able habits'. sethabits'. with set accordancewith in accordance manner,in ablemanner, -sura sPeaking: -sura 36, Godisis speaking: 39 : God verse39: 36,verse resheretill she mansionstill "And for the moon appointed mansions We have haveappointed "And for the moonWe palm branch'" turns like an old shriveled palm branch." turns like an old shriveled


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This isis aa reference reference to to the the curled This eurled form palm branch form of of the the palm branch which, as asitit shrivels shrivels up, up,takes which, crescent. takeson onthe the moon's moon's crescent.This This comeommentary will will be becompleted completed later. mentary later. -gura 16, 16,verse verse12: 12: --sura you (God) (God) subjected "For you subjectedthe "For the night night and and the the day, day, the the sun sun and and the moon; moon; the the stars stars are to His Command. the are in in subjection subjection to His command. verily in in this this are are signs peoplewho signs for Verily for people who are are wise." wise." practical The angle from from which which this The practical angle perfect celestial this perfect celestial order order is is seen is is underlined underlined on on account account of seen of its its value value as as an an aid aid to to man's man's travel on on earth earth and and by by sea, travel sea,and and to to his his calculation caleulation of of time. time. This This eomment beeomesclear clear when when one comment becomes one bears bears in in mind mind the the fact fact that that the Qur'an was originally originally aa preaching preaching addressed Qur'an was the adriressedto to men men who who only only understood the the simple simple language language of understood of their their everyday everyday lives. lives. This This explains the presenceof the the presence the following explains following reflections: reflections: -'sura 6, g7: 6, verse verse 97: ---sura " (God) is the One one Who who has has set "(God) you the stars, that set out for you that you guide yourselves yourselves by them through the darkness may guide darkness of of the the of the sea. sea. We land and of people we have have detailed detailed the signs for for people who know.t' know." -sura 16, verse -sura 16, verse 16: (God sets ""(God sets on the earth) randmarks landmarks and by the stars stars (men) guide guide themselves." themselves." -gura -sura 10, verse verse 5: "God "God is is the the one One who Who made made the the sun sun aa shining shining glory glory and and the the moon moon aa lig:ht light and and for for her her ordained ordained mansions, mansions, so so that that you you might might lcnow know the the number number of of years years and and the the reckoning reckoning (of (of the the time). time). God God ereated created this this in in truth. truth. He He explains explains the the signs signs in in detail detail for for people people who who know." know." This This calls calls for for some some comment. comment. whereas Whereas the the Bible Bible calls calls the the sun Sun 'lights', and and Moon Moon 'lights', and and merely merely adds adds to to one one the the adjeetive b.djective ,greater' 'greater' and and to to the the other other 'lesser', 'lesser', the the eur'an Qur'an aseribes ascribes differences differences other other than than that that of of dimension dimension to to each each respectively. respectively. Agreed, Agreed, this this isis nothing nothing more more than than aa verbal verbal distinetion, distinction, but but how how was was one one to to communicate communicate to to men men at at this this time time without without confusing confusing them, them, while while at at the the same same time time expressing expressing the the notion notion that that the the sun Sun and and Moon Moon were were not not absolutely absolutely identical identical .lights'? 'lights'?


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B. IVATUNE NATUM OF OF EEAVEIYLT HEAVENLY EODIES. BODIES. B.

TIae $wr SUfI arndtlrcilootu tmd IIae Moon. Ilra The Sun Sun is is ea thining shining glory glory ((iVill (tUri') and and the the Moon Moon ea tight light (nfrrl' (nur). Ilre correct This transletion translation would would appear appeAr to to be be more more correct than than those those Tfris given by by others, others, where where the the two two terms terms are are inverted. inverted. In In fact fact thert there given tl*'! little hifr.t di1ferenee in maning meaning since since Wil g,i1la' belongs belongs to to aa root-( root (~w') o* in iris Uttt" whieh, according aceording to to Kazimirski's Kazimirski's iuthoritative authoritative Arabic/French Arabie/Freneh *hirt, dictionary, meaos means 'to 'to bc be brigbt, bright, to to shine' (e'g. (e.g. like like sa fire). fire). fiie The dictionary, question the author attributes attributes to to the the substantive in in question the meaning meaning same autho" same of 'Ilght'. 'Ught'. of will bG be made made Clearer ~learer The OferensE difference between between Sun and Moon wiil tne by further further quotes quotes from from the Qurran. Qur'an. by -aura 96, 25, verse verse 61: ---sura ..Bless€d One lVho Who placed placed the constellations constellations in heeven heaven "Blessed is the One giving light'" moon and placed therein a lamp and a moon light." a and a and plaeed -sura ---sura 71, 16-16: ?1, 16-16: anabove anone above heavensone "Did seven heavens created seven· you see God created see how God "Did you sun the rnade the sun and made light therein and other and moon as light msde the moon and made as Iampr' lamp?' -sura -'Eura 78, 12-1$: verg€s12-18: ?8, verses placed 'Te have (heavens) and and placed "We you seven sevenstrong (heavens) aboveyou built above have built ae blazing lamp." blszing lamP." sun. The qulte obviously the sun. ohviously the ir quite lamp is blazing lamp The blazing (trrunhl grves light light (munir) Here thst gives body that ss aI body is defined definedas moon is the moon Here the The Moon). The b the the Moon). (the light *pplied to from light applied esnur nfrr (the root as the same sgmeroot from the (drd,il or blezing or aa blazing Sun torch (simi) to aa torch compared to is compared however is Sun however (wa1f,hili) lamp. (uohhfti) lemP. betwGor distinguish between easily distinguish A could easily time could of Muhammad's Mutrammad'stime A man nan of the inhabitants to known the Sun, a blazing heavenly body well known to the inhabitants well body heavenly blazing a !lun, the The night' The the night. of the coolof of the the cool of bodyof the body tneMoon, Moon,the anathe deeert,and thedesert, of the therdort are therefore subiectare this subject comparisons on this the Qur'an in the found in Qur'an on comparisonsfound qu1lity thesober soberquality hereisisthe quite notehere to note interesting to quit€normal. normsl. What Whatisisinteresting of of the the Qur'an text of in the the text of Qurrenof absencein theabsenee andthe comparisons,and tnecomparisons, of the prevailed at the have any elements of comparison that might have prevailed at the might thst comperison of elem€ot" any phantasmagorial. asphantasmagoriaI. time eppearas wouldappear dsywould our day in our which in rnd which fi-- and hest generatesintense intenseheat thst generates ItIt isi8known star that sun isisaastar theSun thst the knowuthat which Moon, the that and and light by its internal combustions, and that the Moon, which combustions, intemal b'y its light enit


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THE AND ITIE BIBLE, BBI,E' THE THEQUB'AN ANDSCIENCE SCIENCE QT'N'AN

giveoff doesnot notgive off light itself, and lisht itself, andisisan does (onits aninert inert bedy bedy (on its external exteraal layers at least) least) merely merely reft.ects reflectsthe layers at the light light received receivedfrom from the the Sun. Sun. There isis nothing nothing in in the the text There text of of the the Qur'an that contradicts eontradiets eur'an that what we we know know today todayabout aboutthese what thesetwo two celestial celestialbodies. bodies. Tln Stan, TheSttm. As we we know, know, the the stars As stars are heavenlybodies are heavenly bodieslike like the the Sun. sun. They firey are the the scene phyeicalphenomena sceneof of various variousphysical phenomenaof are which the of which the easiest easiest observeis generationof to observe is their their generation to of light. ligtt. They firey are are heavenly heavenlybodies bodies producetheir thst produce their own own light. light. that 'star' appears The word word 'star' appearsthirteen The thirteen times (naim, times in in the the Qur'an eur'an (naim, plural rniiil,m);; it comes comesfrom aa root plural nujum) root meaning meaningto to appear, appear,to come come sight. The word designates The word designatesaa visible into sight. visible heavenly heavenlybody body without sayrngof what what kind, kind, Le. i.e.either generetorof light saying either generator lisht or mere merereft.ector reflector received.To To make make it clear of light received. clear that the the object object so so designated designated qualifying phrase is ae star, phraseis star, aa qualifying is is added addedas ae in the following sura: the following sura: -sura 86, verses 1-8: -sura 86, verses 1-3: the sky and and the Night-Visitor, "By the NighLVisitor, who "By who will will tell thee thee what the Night-visitor is, is, the the Night-Visitor piercing brightness."1 the Star star of piereing brishtnesg."r qualified in the Qur'an evening star is qualified The evening tfihib eur'an by the word tikib meaning meaning 'that 'that whieh which pierces pierces through something, something' (here (here the night shadows). shadows) . The same same word is moreover moreover used used to designate designate shootiog shooting stars (sura (sura 37, 37, verse verse 10) : the latter latter are the result of combustion. combustion. Tlw Plarrrots. The Planeta. It It is di.fficult difficult to say whether these these are refemed referred to to in in the the eurrsn Qur'an with with the the same same exact exact meaning meaning that that is given to to the the heavenly heavenly noaiet bodies in in the the present present day. day. The The planets planets do do not not have have their their own own light. light. They They revolve revolve around around the the Sun, Sun, Earth Earth being being one one of of them. them. while While one one nray may presume presume thst that others others exist'elsewhere, exist- elsewhere, the the only only ones ones known known are are thosâ&#x201A;Ź those in in the the solar solar system. system. Five Five planets planets other other than than Earth Earth were were known known to to the the ancients: ancients: Mercury, Mercury, venus, Venus, Mars, Mars, Jupiter Jupiter and and saturn. Saturn. Three Three have have been been discovered discovered in in recent recent times: times: uranus, Uranus, Neptune Neptune and and pluto. Pluto. 1. 1. E9re, Here, the the rky sky and and ra star star are are uscd used to to beer bear witnert witness to to the the importancc importance of of whrt whatitisto tocome comeininthe thetort. text.


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The Qufan Qur'an would would seem to to designate designate these by by the the word word lm;ulm;b kaukab The (plursl (plural Inlu)Ahib) kawcikib) without without stating stating their their number. number. Joseph's dream dream (sura (sura 12) refers refers to to eleven of of them, them, but but the the description description is, by by definition, an irnaginary imaginary one. definition, of the the meaning meaning of of the word word kaulrub kaukab in in the the A epod good definition definition of A Qur'an seems seems to to have been given in in a very very famous verse. Tlte The Qurtan eminently spiritusl spiritual nature nature of of its its deeper meaning meaning stands forth, forth, eminently is morâ&#x201A;Źover moreover the the subiect subject of of much much debate among among experts experts in in and is exegesis. It of great great interest interest to offer offer an aecount account exegeais. It is nevertheless of of the comparison itit eontains contains on the subiect subject of of the word word that that of would seem seem to designate e a 'planet'. 'planet'. would text in in question: (sura 24, 24, verse 35) Here is the text similitude fire similitude earth. The "God is the light of the heavens and the earth. heavens lig:ht of "God lurninary' it of His light is as if there a and within it a luminary. within were niche as if cf His lisht glass gless. it were The luminary is in a glass. The glass is as if it a planet planet if in luminary pearl." glittering like aI pearl." glittering projeqtion of light that reHere light onto a body that Ifere the subject subject is the proje<;tion planet glitter of grves it like a planet flects it of a pearl, like it the glitter it (glass) and gives referring that is lit by the sun. This is the only explanatory detail referring e:rplanatory Ttis lit that to this this word word to be found in the Qur'an. it is diftL. diffi" The fn some some of them it word is quoted in other verses. fite word verses. In (sura 6, cult cult to distinguish distinguish which heavenly bodies are meant (sura verse 82, verses verses 1-2). l-2). verse 76; sura 82, science, In light of modern science, seenin the light one verse fn one verse however, when seen ean only be be the heavenly it these can that these mueh that it would seem seem very much see the 6, we see verse 6, bodies S?, verse be planets. In sura 37, bodies that that we know to be following: following: with an ornament, heaven with "We indeed adorned the lowest heaven "We have indeed the planets." 'lowest heaven' Is it possible that e:cpressionin the Qur'an 'lowest heaven' that the expression it possible 'solar system'? celestial means among the celestial is known that among It is system'? It means the 'solar elernents elements nearest to us, there are no other permanent elements no us, elements nearest system apart from the Sun is the only star in the system the planets: the Sun other see that bears its name. It is difficult to see what other heavenly name. It is diffieult bears given planets. The The translation translation given bodies if not the planets. be meant if bodies could could be to and therefore seem to be correct and the Qur'an to refer to would be correct Qur'an seem would modern times. in planets the existence of the planets as defined in modern times. as defined existence of


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TlnLow*EaloelrThe Lowed BetmefL The Qur'an The mmtions the the lowest lowest heaven Qur'an mentions heaven several seversl times times along along with the the heavenly heavenlybodies with bodiesof of which which it it is is composed. eomposed.The fire first first amonl' among thesewould would seem planeh, as these seemto to be be the the planets, we have eg we havb just seen. seen.WheD. slha however the the Qur'an however associst€smaterial material notions notions intelligible Qur'en associates intciligiHe to to enlightened as us, enlightened us, as we we are todsy by are today by modern modern science, science,with state*atepurely spiritual ments of of aa purely ments spiritual nature, nature, their meaning meaning becomes beeomcl obscure. obscure. quotedcould Ttrus the the verse verse quoted Thus could easily easily be be understood, undergtood,except except that thst 'guerd (?) of the the following following verse the verse (7) the same samesura Eura 37 B? speaks spealrsof aa 'guard 'guard' again against every every rebellious rebelliousevil against evil spirit', 'guard' agnin being being referred referued sura 21, 21, verse verse 32 to in sura 82 and and sura 41, verse sura 41, verse 12, 12, 80 eo that thst we we are confronted by quite aa different kind. by statements statementsof quite confronted 'projectiles for what meaning meaning can can one What one attach attach moreover moreover to the 'projectiles for gura 67 the stoning stoning of demons' demong'that according the aceorrlins to tfr verse verse 5, arc 6, sura 6? are 'luminaries' referred to in situated in the the lowest lowest heaven? heaven? Do situated Do the the 'luminaries' the same same verse verse have have something the something to do tlre shooting do with the shooting stars rtars mentioned above?t above?tr mentioned All these these observations observations seem seem to lie outside All of thir this outside the subject of firey have study. They been mentioned have been mentioned here study. the sake of completehere for for sske completepresent stage ness.At At the present stage however, however, it that rcientific scientific ness. it would seem seemthst dats are unable to cast are unable cast any light data on a subject subject thst that gioes goes beyond beyond light on humsn understanding. understanding. human C, CELESTIAL CELESTIAf, ORGANIZATION. ONGANIZATIOIV. C. fire infomation The information the Qur'an provides provides on this subject subject mainly deals with deals with the solar system. system. Reference$ References are however however made made to phenomena phenomena that go beyond beyond the solar system system itself: itself: they the7 have have been been discovered discovered in recent recent times. times. firere There are two very important verses verses on the orbits of of the Sun SUD and and Moon: Moon: -rsurg -sura 21, 21~ verse verse $3: 33: (God is) the One ""(God One Who created created the night, the day, day, thc the gun SUD and the moon. moon. Each Each one one is travelling travelling in in an ortit orbit with with itr ita own motion.o' motion." 1. It It ir is known thet that when when sa met€orite meteorite arrivel arrives et at thc the [pp€r upper lryerr layers of of th the etmorphere, atmosphere, itit may may produee produee the the lumlnour luminous phanoaenon phenomenon ol of r• .rbmfing 'moottna rtor'. star'.


1tr0 159

roodnn At'gronotw*nt

--€urr --sura 8O 86, verse verse 40: 40: "The sun sun mutt must not not catch catch up up the the moon, moon, nor nor does does the the night night "The outstrip the the day. day. Eaeh Each one one is is travelling travelling in in an an orbit orbit with with i|g its outstrip own motion." motion." own Here an an essential essential fact fact is is clearly clearly stated: the the existence existence of of the the Here travel' Sun's and Moon's Moon's orbits, plus a reference reference is made made to the travelSun's ling of of these these bodies bodies in in space space with with their their own motlon. motion. ling fact also also emerges emerges from from a fesding reading of, of these these vsrses verses:3 A negntive negative fact A shown thet that the Sun moves moves in in an orbit, orbit, but but no indication indication is Itit is shown given as to whst what this this orbit orbit misht might be be in relation to the Earth. Earth. At At glven the time time of of the Qut'enic Qur'anie Revelstion, Revelation, itit was tlrought thought that that the Sun thc moved while the Earth Earth stood stood still. still. This w88 was the Eyst€m system of of moved I'eoeentrism thtt that hsd had held Eway sway since since the time of of Ptolemn Ptolemy, Sec' Seegeocentrism ond century 8.C., B.C., and was was to continue continue to do do so so until until CopemicU Copernicus ond in thc the Sixteenth people supported supported thil this In Sixtcenth century A.D. Although people concept at the time of Muhammad, Muhammad, itit does does not appear appear anywhere anywhere concept in the here or elsewhere. elsewhere. thc Qur'an, Qur'an, either here

Or""'.

Tile Moon', mad file Sun', andtlp $nrr'l OrDftt t laffiorln't Er*stcnccof the Tfu Emterace

The Arabie been translated by the word has here here been Arabic word falak filIf,,h has 'orbit'; many it the the Qur'an attach to it 'orbit'; translators of the Frcnch translators Qur'an attach many French 'sphere'.This Hamidullah meaning initial sense. E€nge.Hamidullah indeedits initial firis is indeed ncening of aa 'sphere'. 'orbit'. translates it by the ttre word 'orbit'. tranrlates it The older translators of the Qur'an Qurtsn consern to older caused concern Thc word caused snd Moon and courseof the Moon who circu}rr course the circular imagine the werc unable unsble to imagine rho were course through the images of their course retained images thercfore retained end therefore thc Sun Sun and wnongl' hopelesslywrong. lP&Ce correct, or hopelessly lesscorrect, more or less cither more wcre either thrt were rprcc that citea the the Qur'an 8i in his Qut'an cites his translation of the Hrmn Boubekeur Boubekeur in Si Hamza like an an of axle, axle, like glven to sort of diversity A sort it: "A to it: intcrpretations given of interpretations divcnity of sigtr orbit' sign sphere,orbit, iroll celestialsphere, turns around; around; aa celestial mill turns ro4 that tnrt ar mill hu rod, obser' following obserthe following of he adds eddsthe but he .", but . . !', wav€ .. speed,wave zodilc, speed, the zodiac, of the commentator: century commentator: vation Tenth century famousTenth the famous by Tabari, madeby Tabari, the vrtion made (XVII, 15). 16). know." (XVII, not know." "It whenwe donot we do silentwhen keepsilent to keep ic our duty to our duty "ft is thir just how understanding this of understanding This were of men were incapablemen how incapable shot's just This shows the lf the that if obviousthat It is is obvious concept Moon'sorbit. orbit. It and Moon's Sun'sand the Sun's of the conceptof Muhamin Muhamcommonin word conceptcommon astronomicalconcept anastronomical hadexpressed expressedan word had thege inter?ret these to interpret mad's difficult to so difficult not have have been beenso would not dsy, it it would nrd's day, wae that was the Qur'an in the verses. ycruG!.A existedin therefore existed Qur'an that concepttherefore new concept A new not later. centurieslater. until centuries not to bc explained explrincd until to be II


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THE BrBLF.,THE rHE BIBLE, TrrE QUR'AN AND SCIENCE SSTENCE QItR'AIrtAND

l. The TrlpUlaonltoltblt. 1. 'Moon'. Orbit. Todan the the concept conceptis is widely Today, widely spread spreadthat that the the Moon is aa satellite Moonis satellit€ of the Earth around periods of around which which it of the Earth it revolves revolvesin in periods of twenty-nine twenty-nine days. A A correction correction must days. must however however be be made made to to the the absolutely absotutely circirgincemodem culer form fonn of of its its orbit, orbib since cular modernastronomy astronomyascribes ascribeEas certain certain eccentricityto to this, this, so so that eccentricity that the the distance distsncebetween Earth and betweenthe the Earth and (240,000miles) the.Moon (240,000 the.Moon miles) is is only only the the average averagedistance. distance. We have have seen seenabove abovehow We how the the Qur'an underlined the the usefulness usefulnesg Qur'an underlined of observing obsereing the the Moon's Moon's movements (sura movementsin calculating calculating time time (sura quotedat the 10,verse verse5, 5, quoted 10, the beginning beginningof this this chapter.) chapter.) fitis system systcrn has has often been This been criticized for being being arehaic, aretraic, impractieal and and unscientific unscientificin comparison practical eomparisonto to our system systembased basedon on the Earth's rotation around the around the the Sun, Sun, expressed expr€ssedt()day today in the calendar. JJulian uUan calendar. Thig criticism calls calls for the This the following two remarks: e) Nearly fourteen fourteen centuries a) centuries ago, ago, the Qur'an was directed direct€d at et the Qucsn was inhabitants of the Arabian Peninsula who were used to the lunar Peninsula who were used cslculation of time. It It was calculation them in the only was advisable advissble to address address them language they could could understand language the habits they understand and and not to upset upset end temporal reference-marks had of locating spatial and referenee-markswhich were were neverthelessquite efficient. efficient It nevertheless It is known lrnown how how well-versed well-versedmen men livdesert are in the observation ing in the desert navigated obsorvation of the sky; they navigated according to the stars and according the time aecording to the phases and told the aecordins the phases firose were the simplest and of the Moon. Moon. Those and most reliable meang means availrble available to them. them. b) Apart Apart from the speeislists specialists in this field, field, most most people people are unaunawarg ware of of the perfect correletion correlation between between the Julian Julian and the lunar lunar calendar: calendar: %95 235 lunar months months correspond correspond exactly exactly to 19 19 Julien Julian years years of 868/a 365JA, days. days. Then Then leneth length of our year of SGE 865 days days is not pedect perfect because because itit has has to be be rectified rectified every every four four years years (with (with a leap leap year). with With the lunar lunar calendar, calendar, the same same phenomen& phenomena occur occur every lg 19 yesrs (Julian). This is the Metonic Metonic cycle, cycle, named named after after the Greek Greek years (Julian). astronomer astronomer Meton, Meton, who discovered discovered this exact exact correlation between between soler solar and and lunar time in the Fifth Fifth century B.C. B.C. 2. TlESrpr. T1aeSun. ItIt is more more difficult to to conceive conceive of of the the Sun's Sun's orbit orbit because because we we are so so used used to to seeing seeing our our solar system system organized organized around around it. it. To


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understand the the verse verse from from the the Qur'an, Qur'an, the the position position of of the the Sun SUD understand eall tJrerefore must in our galaxy must be considered, and we must therefore calI in our galaxy must be considered,and we on modem scientific ideas. on modern seientific ideas. Our gAlaxy galaxy includes includes Ia very very large large number number of of stars stars spaced spaced so so Our the as to to form fonn aa disc disc that that is is denser denser at at the the centre centre than than at at the rim. rim. fire The as occupies aa position position in in itit which which is is far far removed removed from from the the Sun occupies of the the disc. disc. The The gala:ry galaxy revolves revolves on on its its own own axis axis whieh which is is centre of its centre with with the result that that the Sun revolves revolves around around the same same its centre in a circular orbit. Modern Modern astronomy astronomy has has worked worked out the centre details of of this. In In 191?, 1917, Shaptey Shapley estimated estimated the distance distance between between details Sun and and the centre centre of our galaxy galaxy at 10 10 kiloparsecs kiloparsecs i.e., Le., in the Sun followed by 1? 17 zeros. zeros. To complete complete one one miles, circa the figure 2 followed miles, its own axis, axis, the galaxy and Sun Sun tske take roughly 880 250 revolution on its years. The The Sun Sun travels at roughly 150 miles per second second 150 miles million yeers. completion of this. in the completion above is the orbital movement movement of the Sun was already already Sun that was The above demonThe demonago. The referred to by the Qur'an centuries ago. fourteen centuries Qur'an fourteen the achieveachieveone of the stration of the details of this is one and details existcnceand the existence ments astronomy. modern astronomy. ments of modern

Suln Reference the Mooement of the Moon and the Sun tlwMoonatdtlw Mooenulntof tatlw Refercrceto in Space With Their Own Motion. Motion Spe Wlth Tlwh the translations of the This concept those translations not appear appear in those concept does does not latter the letters. Since Sincethe Qur'an men of letters. by men beenmade madeby have been Qurtan that have Arabic the Arabic translatâ&#x201A;Źd the know havetranslated they have astronomy,they nothing about about astronomy, know nothing the meanings the meanings the of the word by one one of this movement movementby expressesthis that expresses word that 'to French the in both both the French word this in have done done this swim'. They They have has: 'to swim'. word has: translation English translation translations remarkable,English the, otherwise otherwiseremarkable, and the, translations and 1 by Ali.' Yusuf Ali. by Yusuf self-propellcd with as self-propelled. The to aa movement movementwith referring to word referring Arabic word TheArabic two the two of the text of the text (yasbaft,il.na in motion in the verb 8abaluz, tabaftn (ya8ba1}una is the the verb motion is is that movementthat is verses). imply aI movement the verb of the verb imply sensesof the senses All the verses).All question. in body associated with from the the body in question. comesfrom motionthat that comes with aa motion associated 'to 'to swim'; is 'to placein swim'; itit is If in water, water, it it isis 'to takes place movementtakes If the the movement placeon land. on land. takesplace move legs'ifif itit takes of one's one'sown own legs' actionof the action by the moveby how el8e sâ&#x201A;Źehow else to see difficultto For in space, spaee,itit isis difficult occursin that occurs For aamovement movementthat than other than renderedother be rendered this word could the word couldbe in the implied in meaningimplied this meaning (Pakistau) 1.l. Pub. Lahorc (Pakistan) A,shraf,Lahore MuhammadAshraf. Sh.Muhammad Pub.Sh.


TGI 18J

tHE AN AND SIDI.4 THE fHE BIBLE, TEEQUIr ANDSCIENCE SCTENCE QI'N'AN

by employing employing its its original by original sense. sense.Thus firus there there seems ssemsto to have have been beâ&#x201A;Źn no mistranslation, mietmnolation, for no the following reasons: for the following reasons: -The Moon Mooncompletes completesits -The its rotating rotsting motion motion on on its its own own axis axis at at the the sametime time as agitit revolves revolvesaround same around the (ap the Earth, Earth, i.e. i.e. 29~ zg+hdays days (apgothat prox.), so that it it always always has prox.), has the the same sameside side facing facing us. uE. -fi1s sun takes tslcesroughly -The Sun roughly 25 zE days days to to revolve revolve on on its its own own axis. axiE. There are are certain certain differences There difterencesin in its its rotation rotation at, at its its equator equator and and poles,(we (we shall go into shall not not go poles, into them them here) here) but but as as aa whole, whole, the the Sun sun is animated animatâ&#x201A;Źdby by aa rotating rotating motion. is motion. rt appears appearstherefore therefore that It thst aa verbal verbal nuance nuancein the the Qur'an nefers eur'an refers to the the Sun Sun and snd Moon's Moon's own to own motion. motion. These Thesemotions motions of the the two celestial bodies bodies are are confirmed confirmed by the celestial the data data of modern modern science, science, it is is inconceivable and it inconceivablethat aa man and man living in the the Seventh Seventhcentury century A.D.-however knowledgeable knowledgeablehe A.D.-however he might have have been been in his day day (and this this was was certainly certainly not (and not true in Muhammad's 1lruhammad'scase)--could cgse)--could hsve imagined imagined them. them, have This view is sometimes sometimes contested contested by examples examples from great thinkers of antiquity who who indisputably predicted certain data data indisputably predicted that modern modern science seieneehas has verified. could hardly have have relied verified. They They could on scientific scientific deduction deduetionhowever; on method of procedure procedure was was however; their method philosophical more one of more one philosophical reasoning. reasoning. Thus Thus the case case of the pythsPythagoreans is often often advanced. advanced.In the sixth goreans Sixth century 8.c., B.C., they dedefended the theory of the rotation of of the Earth Earth on its own aris axis fended snd and the movement movement of the planets planets around around the Sun. Sun. This theory was to be was be confirmed confirmed by modern modem science. science. By comparing comparing itit with with the case easy to put put for-lrrard forward the case of the Pythagoreans, Pythagoreans, itit is easy hlryothesis of Muhammad Muhammad as as being being a brilliant brilliant thinker, who who was was hypothesis of supposed to supposed have have imagined imagined all on his ov,'n own what modern modern science science was to discover In so so doing doing however, however, people people discover centuries centuries later. In quite simply forget to quite to mention mention the the other other aspeet aspect of of what what these these geniuses of philosophical philosophical reasoning reasoning produeed, produced, i.e. Le. the the colossal colossal geniuses of blunders that litter litter their their work. work. ItIt must must be be remembered remembered for for blunders that example, that the Pythagoreans Pythagoreans also also defended defended the the theory theory whereby whereby example, that the the fixed in in spaee; space; they they made made itit the the centre centre of of the the world world the Sun Sun was was fixed and only conceived that was was centered centered on on it. it. and only conceived of of aa celestial celestial order order that rt It is is quite quite eommon common in in the the works works of of the the great great philosophers philosophers of of antiquity antiquity to to find find aa mixture mixture of of valid valid and and invalid invalid ideas ideas about about the the Universe. Universe. The The brilliance brilliance of of these these human human works works comes comes from from the the advanced advanced ideas ideas they they contain, contain, but but they they should should not not make make us us overover-


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look the the mistaken mistaken concepts which which have have also also been been left left to to us. us. Fronr From look a strictly strictly scientifie scientific point point of of view, view, this this is is what what distinguished distinguished thenr them. to referred In the latter, many subjects are referred to are from the Qur'an. subjects from the Qut'an. In the latter, many then of one that have a bearing on modern knowledge without of them without modern bearing that containing a statement statement that that contradicts contradicts what what has been esbblishcd establisMd containing by present-day science. by present-day science.

The Sequence of of Dav Day and Night. arlldiligl*. Tlu Seqwrce At a time time when itit was held that that the Earth Earth was the the centre centre of of At world and that that the Sun moved in in relation relation to to it, it, how could the world anyone refer to the Sun's movement when talking talkin« one have failed to refer any of the sequence sequence of of night night and day day?? This is not however referred referred of Qur'an and the subject is dealt with with as as follows: to in the Qur'an -sura -sura 7, verse verse 54: U with the night night which is in haste haste to te covers the day with " (God) covers follow f o l l o w it i t ...." .." -sura 36, -sura verse 37: 36, verse strip nisht. We stri, "And a sign for beingp) is the night. for them (human beings) "And it of the day and they are in darkness." it -sura 31, -sura verse 29: 31, verse thc day dey night into the "Hast merges the night seen how God God merges "Hast thou not seen and merges night." merges the day into the night." -gura 39, -sura 6: 39, verse verse 5: dey eoils the day H and He coils upon the day and coils the night upon ".• •. •. He coils upon upon the night." night." sceond simply The first first verse cited requires no comment. The second provides image. provides an image. an quoted above thrt above that It fourth verses verses quoted third and and fourth It is mainly the third process of interpcnetratior provide interesting material on of interpenetratiMl the process on the dly thc day rnd the and niett upon the day and winding the night of winding and especially especially of (sura upon the night. (sura 39, verse 5) 6) vense 39, upon the 'to wind' 'To coil' by translation by French translation 'To in the the French as in or 'to wind' seems, seems,as coil' or vetf Arabic the R. Blachere, to be the best way of translating the Arabic ven translating R. BlachEre, to be the best way of 'coil' aa turbaa turter is to to 'coil' kawwara. verb is the verb of the original meaning meaning of The original lcawzuara.The preserved thr in all the is around the head; the notion of coiling is preserved in all around the head; the notion of coiling other the word. word. sensesof of the other senses astroneuts Amerir:an astronauts in space? What space?Ameriean horveverin happenshowever actually happens What actually speccship$' thrlir spaceahips, have photographed what from their happens from what happens and photographed seenand hrve seen


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great distance especiallyat at aa great especially distancefrom from Earth, Earth, e.g. e.g. from from the Moon. the Moon. Theysaw sawhow how the permanentlylights the Sun They (except in Sun permanently (except lights up up in the the case case an eclipse) of an eclipse) the the half of half of of the the Earth's Earth's surface surface that that is is facing facing it, it, while the the other other half globeis while half of of the the globe is in in darkness. darkness.The Earth turns The Earth turns its own on its own axis axis and on and the the lighting lighting remains remains the the same, same,so so that that an an area in in the the form form of half-sphere makes area revolution of aa half¡sphere makes one one revolution around around the Earth Earth in in twenty-four twenty-four hours the hours while while the the other other half-sphere, half-sphere,that that remainedin hasremained in darkness, darkness,makes has same revolution makesthe the same revolution in in the the same same perpetual rotation This perpetual time. This rotation of time. of night nisht and quite clearly and day day is is quite clearly describedin in the the Qur'an. It is easy for the human understanding described It is easy for the human understanding Qur'an. grasp this to grasp this notion notion nowadays nowadays because to becausewe we have have the the idea idea of the the (relative) immobility Sun's (relative) immobility and Sun's the Earth's rotation. and the Earth's rotation. This procThis procperpetual coiling, ess of of perpetual coiling, includ~ng ess including the the interpenetration interpenetration of one one sector by by another another is is expressed expressedin the sector Qur'an the eur'an just as as if if the the conconcept of of the the Earth's roundness roundnesshad cept had already already been been conceived eonceivedat the time-which was was obviously obviously not the time-which case. the case. to the the above above reflections reflections on Further to on the the sequence sequenceof day and and night, one one must must also also mention. mention, with aa quotation quotation of some verses some verses from the the Qur'an, the idea idea that there Orient ther.e is more Qur'an, the mor.e than one one orient and one Occident. This is of purely descriptive and one Occident. because descriptive interest because phenomena rely these phenomena rell' on on the most observations. these most commonplace commonplaceobservations. The idea idea is mentioned mentioned here here with with the aim of of reproducing reproducing as as faithfaithpossibleaU fully as as possible all that the Qur'an has has to say say on this subject. subject. fully The following are are examples: examples: -In sura 70 40, the expression -In 70 verse verse 40, expression 'Lord 'Lord of of orients Orients and Occidents'. accidents'. -In -In sura 55, 55, verse verse 17, 17, the expr.ession expression 'Lord 'Lord of of the two orients Orients and the two Occidents'. Occidents'. -In -In sura 43, 43, verse verse 88, 38, a reference reference to the 'distance 'distance between between the the two two orietrts', Orients', an image intended to to expre$s express the the immense immense size size of of the distance distance separating the the trvo two lroints. points. Anyone who sunrise aud and sunset sunset knows knows who carefully carefully watches watches the the sunrise that that the the Sun rises rises at at different different point point of of the the orient Orient and and sets sets at at different different points points of of the the occident, Occident, according according to to season. season. Bearings Bearings taken taken on on each each of of the the horizons horizons define define the the extreme extreme limits limits that that mark mark the the two two orie:nts Orients and and occidents, accidents, and and between between these these there there are are points points marke,l marked off off throughout throughout the the yeal.. year. The The phenomenon phenomenon dedescribed here is is rather rather commonplace, commonplace, but but rvhat what mainly mainly deserves deserves scribed here attention attention in in this this chapter chapter ar.e are the the other. other topics topics dealt dealt with, with, where where


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the description description of of astronomical astronomical phenomena phenomena referred referred to to in in the the the Qur'an is in keeping with modern data. Qur'an is in keeping with modern data.

D. EVOLUTION HEAVENS. ErOLATION OF THE I|EAVENS. D. Having called modern modern concepts concepts on the the formation formation of of the the UniUniHaving verse to mind, mind, reference was made to to the evolution that that took starting with with primary primary nebula through through to to the the formation formation place, starting plaee, (for appearance the of galaxies, (for system) appearance the systern) solar galaxies, stars and of of planets planets beginning rvith with the Sun at at a certain stage stage of of its its of system, solar that in the evolution. Modern data lead believe that system, believe to lead us evolution. and more gpnerally generally in in the Universe itself, this evolution evolution is still still continuing. continuing. How can anybody rvho who is arvare aware of of these these ideas ideas fail fail to make a How in which in comparison with certain statements Qur'an the found statements comparison with the manifestations manifestations of of divine divine Omnipotence are referred referred to. subjected The Qur'an times that: "(God) subjected reminds us several times us several Qur'an reminds appointed the sun and the moon: each one runs its course to an appointed course each one l'uns sun term." term.tt verse 31, verse sura 31, verse 2; sura This sentence 13, verse sura 13, be found found in sura sentenceis to be 29 ; sura 35, verse 13 and sura 39, verse 5. 5. 29; sura 35, verse 13 and sura 39, verse place is associated associated In addition settled place idea of aa settled addition to this, the idea verse with the concept of a destination place in sura 36, verse 38: "The 36, sura concept a destination lrlace with the place. the decree Sun runs its course to a settled place. This is the decree of the course a settled Sun All Mighty, the Full of Knowledge." Knowledge." the All 'settled place' and rvord 1nustaqarr mustaqarr and 'Settled place' is the word is the translation of the the translation place attached is there can attached exact place an exact idea of an no doubt doubt that the idea be no can be to it. to it. with data data rvhen compared How compared with fare when How do statements fare do these these statements estabIlshed science? modern science? by modern esteblished by and aa its evolution evolution and for its The gives an the Sun to the Sun for encl to an end The Qur'an Qur'an gives place. settled rvith a pt'ovidesthe destination place.It Moon with a settled place. the Moon It also also provides destinationplace. we possible meanings of these statements, we To these statements, meanings of the possible understand the To understand the about has to to say say about the must knowledge has what modern modern knowledge remember what must remember particular, and and general and in particular, evolution Sun in and the the Sun in general stars in the stars of the evolution of followed (by automatically followed that automatically bodiesthat celestialbodies (by extension) the celestial extension) the Moon. its the Moon. them the space,among among them through space, movementthrough its movement accordyeax'sold, old, accordThe bifiion years is roughly 4t/sbillion that is is aa stal' roughly 4lj2 star that Sun is The Sun possibleto clistinguishaa to distinguish ing It isis possible astrophysics.It in astrophysics. experts in to experts ing to


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in its stage in its evolution, evolution, as stage prercnt one can can for as one for all all the the stars. stars. At At present, is at the Sun at an the Sun is an early stage,characterized early stage, characterized by by the the transformation transformation of hydrogen hydrogen atoms of atoms into into helium helium atoms. atoms. Theoretically, present Theoretically, this this present 1h billion stage should should last last another years according stage another 5512 billion years aecording to to calculacalculathat allow tions that allow aa total total of tions of 10 years for 10 billion billion years for the the duration duration of of primary stage the primary stage in the in aa star star of of this this kind. kind. It It has has already atready been been in the shown, in the case caseof of these shown, these other other stars, gives way stars, that that this this stage stage gives period characterized to aa second secondperiod to characterized by by the the completion eompletion of the transof the formation of of hydrogen hydrogen into formation into helium, helium, with with the the resulting expansion expansion its external of its external layers layers and and the of the cooling cooling of of the the Sun. Sun. In the final its light greatly diminished and stage, its light is is greatly stage, and density considerably eonsiderably inereased; this this is is to to be be observed increased; observed in the the type type of star known as as 'white dwarf'. dwarf'. aa 'white The above above dates dates are are only of interest in as The as far far as as they give estimate of the time factor aa rough estimate faetor involved, involved, what is worth worth and is really the remembering and the main point of the above, above, is the evolution. Modern data allow notion of an evolution. prediet that, in ellorv us us to predict years, the conditions prevailing prevailing in the solar system ae few billion years, systcm will not be be the same same as as they are today. Like other stars rvhose whose will have been been recorded transformations have reached their their recorded until they reached possibleto predict final stage, stage,it is possible prediet an end final Sun. end to the Sun. quoted above second verse verse quoted above (sura 86, The second 36, verse verse Bg) 38) referred referred running its course sun running course towards a place to the Sun place of of its own. Modern astronomy astronomy has Modern has been been able able to locate locate itit exacily exactly and has has given it even given even it a name, name, the Solar Apex: Apex: the solar. solar system system is indeed indeed evolving in space space torvards towards a point situated situated in the Constellation Constellation evolving of of Hercules (alpha (alpha lurae) lyrae) whose whose exact location is firmly firmly estebestablished; it it is moving at a speed speed already ascertained ascertained at at sonrcthing something in the region of of 12 miles per. per second. second. All these these astronomical astronomical data deserve deserve to be mentioned mentioned in in relation relation to the two verses from the Qur'an, since since itit is possible possible to to state state verses from that they appeal'to appeal' to agree agree perfecily perfectly rvith with modern modern scientific scientific data. data. Tfu Tite E*pnsion EXptlMOR of of ttw the (Jnioerce. Universe. The expansion expansion of of the the Universe Universe is is ttre the most most imposing imposing discover.y discovery of of modern modern science. science. Today Today itit is is aa lirmly firmly establislred established concept concept and and the the only only debate debate centles centres around around the the wny way this this is is taking taking place. place. It It rvas was first first suggested suggested by by the the general general ilreor.y theory of of relativity relativity and and is is backed backed up up hy by physics physics in in the the examinatiorr examination of of ilre the galactic galactic specspec-


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trum; the the regular regular movement movement towards towards the the red red section section of of their their trum; galaxy of one spectrum may may be be explained explained by by the the distancing distancing of one galaxy from from spectrum another. Thus Thus the the size size of of the the Universe Universe is is probably probably constantly constantly another. increasing and and this this increase increase rvill will become become bigger bigger the the further further away away increasing the galaxies galaxies are are from from us. us. The The speeds speeds at at rvhich which these these celestial celestial the are moving moving may, may, in in the the course course of of this this perpetual perpetual expanexpanbodies are bodies from fractions fractions of of the the speed speed of of light light io to speeds speeds faster faster sion, go go from sion, than this. this. than The following following verse verse of of the the Qur'an (sura (sura 51, 51, verse verse 47) 47) where where The ideas: modern with may perhaps be compared with modern ideas: God is speaking, perhaps eompared be God is speaking, ffiay "The heaven, heaven, We have have built built itit rvith with power. power. Verily. We are ex"The panding it." it." panding 'Heaven' 'Heaven' is the translation translation of of the word sunt6" sama,' and this is is meant' that the extra-terrestrial world that meant. exactly world extra-terrestrial exactly 'We 'We aYe a'l'e expanding expanding it' it' is the translation of the plural plural present present 'to participlee musi'una ausa'a meaning 'to make make wider, of the verb ausa'1, participl musi,'fr,na more spacious, expand'. extend, to expand'. spacious,to extend, more grasp the meaning meaning of Some unable to grasp lvere unable who were Some translators who mistaken, to be me to the be mistaken, appear me provide translations translations that appear the latter provide meanthe sense (R. Others e.g. Blachdre). Others sense the meangenerously" (R. Blachere). give generously" "we give e.g,"we his in Hamidullah his ing, themselves: Hamidullah commit themselves: to commit are afraid to ing, but are heavens the rvidening translation of the Qur'an talks of the widening of the heavens the the Qur'an tallis translation are there are Finally, there question mark. mark. Finally, and includesaa question he includes space,but he and space, in opinion scientific those rvith authorized authorized scientific opinion in themselveswith arm themselves who arm those who is This here. stated here. This is give the their meaning stated the meaning and give commentariesand their commentaries edited of commentaries commentariesedited book of true aa book Mzmtafuab, the Munta]sab, of the caseof the case in the true in to refers to It refers Affairs, Cairo. Cairo. It by Islamic Affairs, for Islamic Council for the Supreme SupremeCouncil by the terms. unambiguotlsterms. totally unambiguous the in totally Universein of the the Universe expansionof the expansion SPACE. Or SPACE. E. CONQUEST OF THE CONQUEST E. THE shoUld of the the Qur'an From versesof vierr',thre¡e thre'everses Qur'an should point of of view, this point F rom this trace any without our full attention. One expresses, without any trace command command our full attention. One expresses' field. this in will achieve achievein this field. of and will shouldand man should rvhat man ambiguity, what of ambiguity, unbelievers of the sakeof the unbelievers the sake In for the refels for God refers tl.o, God other two, the other In the to ableto were able they were haveifif they in would have they would surprisethey to the the surprise Makka to in M:akka hypothesis to aa hypothesis alludesto He alludes raise Heavens;He the Heavens; to the up to themselvesup raisethemselves which latter. the latter. for the berealized realizedfor not be will not whichwill


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1) The The first first of of these theseverses 1) versesisis sura sura 55, bE,verse verse33: BB:"0 "o assembly assemblyof of you can penetrateregions Jinns and and Men, Men, if if you Jinns can penetrate regionsof of the the heavens heavensand and penetratethem! the earth, earth, then then penetrate the them ! You You will penetr.atethem n'ill not not penetrate them save save Power." with aa Power." with given here translation given The translation The here needs needssome someexplanatory explanatory comment: comment: 'if'expresses a) The The word word 'if' a) expresses in in English English aa condition conclitionthat that is is dependdependpossibility and ant upon upon aa possibility ant and either either an an achievable achievableor or an an unachievunachievable hypothesis. hypothesis.Arabic Arabie is able is aa language language\vhich rvhich is is able able to to introduce intr.otluee nuanceinto into the the condition eonditionwhich aa nuance which is is much much more mol'eexplicit. explicit. There Thele is is oneword word to to express possibilitv (idJi) expressthe the possibility , another for the one another the achievUdd), achiev(in ) and ablehypothesis hypothesis(in) and aa third thitd for able for the the unachievable unachievablehypothesis hypothesis expressedby (Iutt). The by the the word word (la'll). expressed The verse verse in question question has has it as as an an achievablehypothesis hypothesisexpressed expressedby achievable QUl"an (in.). The by the the word rvorcl (in). The eur''an therefore suggests stlggeststhe possibility of aa concrete the material possibility therefore concr.eterealizar.ealization. This This subtle subtlelinguistic linguistic distinction distinctionformally tion. folmally rules pur.ely rulesout out the the purely mystic interpretation interpretation that some peoplehave mystic (quite wrongly) somepeople have (quite rvrongly) put on this verse. verse. on b) God is addressing God is addressingthe (jinrt) and the spirits spirits (1'inl1) b) beings (ins), and human human beings and not not essentially essentiallyallegorical allegoriealfigures. and figures. 'To

penetl'ate'is the translation translation of the verb nafag,a c) 'To penetrate' followed nafad,afollowed prepositionmin. According the preposition According to Kazimirski's dictionar.y, dictionary, the by the phrase phrase means means 'to 'to pass pass right right through and and conre come out on the other side of a body' side body' (e.s. (e.g. an alrow arrow that comes comes out on the other. other sirte). side). It therefore suggests It suggests a deep deep penetration penetration and emergence emergence at the other end end into the r.egions regions in question. question. d) The Pon'er Power (sultiur) (sultan) these these men men rvill will have have to to achieve achieve this this enterenterpt'ise prise would would seem seem to come come from the All-Mighty.' All-Mighty.! There There cau can be be no doubt doubt that this this verse verse indicates indicates the the possibility possibility men what rve we today today call call (perharrs (perhaps r.ather rather men rvill will one one day achieve achieve r.vhat 'the improperly) improperly) 'the conquest conquest of of space'. space'. one One must must note no:e that that the the text text of of the the Qur'an Qur'an predicts predicts not not only only penetration penetration thlough through the the regions regions of of the the lleavens, Heavens, but but also also the the Ear.th, Earth, i.e. i.e. the the exploration exploration of of its its depths. depths. 1. n i invitation n v i t a t i o n tto o rrecognize e c o g n i z e GGod's 1. This This verse verse is is followed followed by by aan o d ' s bblessings. l e s s i n g s . I It t ,The forms h o l e oof f t the u r a t that h e ssura forms the the subject subject of of the the wwhole h a t bbears e a r s t the h e t title i t l e 'The Beneficent'. Beneficent'.


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2) The The other other two two verses verses are are taken taken from from Sura sura 15, 15, (verses (verses 14 14 and and Z') context thtr lVlakka, as 15). God is speaking of the unbelievers in IHakka, as the context in the of unbelievers lF). God is speaking of this this passage passage in in the the sura sura shows: shows: of "Even if We opened unto them gate to to Heaven Heaven and and they they were were "Even if We openedunto them aa gate is conour say: sight to continue ascending therein, they would say: our sight is conwould to continue ascendingtherein, they people bervitched." as in drunkenness. Nay, we are people bewitched." fused fused as in drunkenness.Nay, we are astonishment at at aa remarkable remarkable spectacle, spectacle, The above above expresses expresses astonishment The from anything man could imagine. different different from anything man could imagine. The conditional conditional sentence sentence is is introduced introduced here here by by the the word word lau lau The realized which expresses expresses aa hypothesis hypothesis that that eould could never never be be realized as far far which as itit concerned concerned the the people people mentioned mentioned in in these these verses. verses. as talking of of the conquest conquest of of space space therefore, therefore, we have two two When talking When passages in the text of the Qur'an: one one of of them refers to what passages will one one day beeome become a reality thanks to the powers powers of of intelligence intelligence rvill and ingenuity ingenuity God God will will give to man, man, and the other describes describes an and event that that the unbelievers unbelievers in Makka will will never never witness, witness, hence hence its event character of a condition condition never never to be be realized. realized. The event event will will howcharacter quoted verse quoted ever be seen as intimated in the first verse others, as seen by others, ever be specunexpectedspecabove. reactions to the unexpected human reactions It dpscribes dpscribesthe human above.It as in sight, as confusedsight, tacle rvill see: see: their confused spacewill travellers in space tacle that travellers .' . drunkenness, bewitched... being bewitched feeling of being the feeling rlrunkenness,the have experienced experiencedthis remarkThis astronauts have is exactly exactly how astronauts This is the world around the able spaceflightaround human spaceflight the first human sincethe adventuresince ableadventure the is above above the one is once one how once in 1961. fact how actual fact known in actual is known It is L961.It azure apapthe azure have the longer have Earth's no longer Heavens no the Heavens atmosphere,the Earth's atmosphere, phenomenaof of results from from phenomena pearance which results from Earth, which pearancewe we see seefrom atmosphere. of the the atmosphere. layers of absorption the layers into the tight into Sun's light of the the Sun's absorption of sees atmospheresees the Earth's Earth's atmosphere The abovethe in space spaceabove observerin human observer The human of halo of by aa halo be surrounded surroundedby aa black to be Earth seems seemsto the Earth and the sky and black sky light of light absorptionof phenomenaof of absorption bluish samephenomena the same to the due to colour due bluish colour howatmosphere,howno atmosphere, by has no Moon has The Moon atmosphere.The Earth's atmosphere. the Earth's by the black the black against the colors against ever, in its its true true colors appearsin therefore appears and therefore *u.r, and therefore ne$'spectacle spectacle therefore background is aa completely completelynew It is sky.It thesky. of the backgroundof this photographsof of this the photographs and the that in space, space'and to men men in presentsitself itself to that presents present-dayman. man' spectacle are to present-day known to well known are well spectacle comparing whencomparing Here again, it is difficult not to be impressed, when impressed, be not to is difficult it again, Here the Qur'an t h etext t e x t of o f tthe heQ u r ' a n ttoo tthe h e ddata a t a oof f mmodern o d e r n sscience, c i e n c e by , b ystatestateman of thought the to ments that .simply cannot be ascribed to the thought of aa man ascribed cannot be that ments .simply ago. who lived more than fourteen centuries ago. centuries fourteen than more lived who


Tht; The Earth farth As in in the the case caseof of the the subjects As subjects already already examined, examined, the the verses verses of of the Qur'an dealing with with the the throughout the Earth Earth are Qur'an dealing are dispersed dispersed throughout the the Book. It It is is difficult difficult to to classify classify them, Book. them, and and the the scheme schemeadopted adopted here here personal one. is aa personal one. is To explain explain them them more more clearly, clearly, one To one might begin begin by singling out out certain number number of of verses verses that deal aa certain more than one deal with with one subject subject st aa time. These verses time. These are largely general verses are general in their at their application and constitute an an invitation invitation extended extended to men and to reflect on divine men divine Beneficenceby pondering on on the examples Beneficence provided. examples other groups of verses verses may be with Other be singled singled out which deal deal with rnore specifie subjects, as follows: more specific subjects, as foIIows: -the water cycle and the seas. seas. -the -the Earth's relief. -the Earth's -the Earth's Earth's atmosphere. atmosphere. -the A. VERSES CONTAINING CONTAINING GENENAL GENERAL STATEMENTS STATEMENTS Although these these verses verses provide arguments intended to to lead lead man man to to meditate on the Benefieenee Beneficence of of God towards towards His His creatures, creatures, here here and there they they contain statements that that are are interesting interesting from from the point point of of view view of of modern modern science. science. They They are are perhaps perhaps especially especially revealing revealing by by virtue virtue of of the the fact fact that that they they do do not not express express the the varied varied beliefs natural phenomena phenomena that that were were current current at at the the beliefs concerning concerning natural time later to to be be time of of the the Qur'anic Qur'anic Revelation. Revelation. These These beliefs beliefs were were later shorvn shown by by scientific scientific knowledge knowledge to to be be mistaken, mistaken. on On the the one one hand, hand, these these verses verses express express simple simple ideas ideas readily readily ununderstood derstood by by to to those those people people to to rvhom, whom, for for geographical geographical reasons, reasons, the the Qur'an Qur'an was was first first directed: directed: the the inhabitants inhabitants of of Makka Makka and and MaMa-

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of the Arabian Arabian Peninsula. On the other other hand, dina, the Bedouins of nature from from which which a more they contain reflections of of a general nature time and place may may learn something inincultivated public public of of any time cultivated structive, once it starts to think them: this mark of a mark of them: this is it think about structive, once starts to the Qur'an's universality. the Qur'an's universality. As there there is apparently apparently no classification classification of of such verses in in the As Qur'an, they they ere are presented here in in the numerical numerical order order of of the Qur'an, suras: Suras: -sura -sura 2, verse vetse 22: (God) "(God) One who made made the earth earth a couch couch for for you and the is the One " heavens edifice, water from He brought brought from the sky. sent down water an edifice, and heavens join your not forth therewith fruits for your sustenance. Do join equals equals for sustenance. forttr therewith fruits you with God when know." know." with God -gura 2, verse -sura verse 164: "Behold! In the creation of heavens and the earth, of the heavens "Behold ! In In the disparity night and day, In disparity of night profit In sea for for the profit which runs upon the sea In the ship which of mankind, mankind, In from the sky thereby God sent down from water which which God In the water reviving its death, earth after after its reviving the earth In scatters therein, beasts of all kinds He scatters In the beasts clouds In the change subiected clouds change of the winds and the subjected between between the sky and earth, people who are wise." Here are Signs for people -.sura --sura 13, 18, verse verse 3: set therein ""(God) (God) is the One spread out the earth and set One who spread placed fruit He placed mountains standing For every fruit rivers. For firm and rivers. standing firm pair. He covers two of aa pair. Verily in this with the night. Verily covers the day with people who reflect!' there are Signs for reflect." for people -sura 15, --sura verses 19 to 21. God is speaking: speaking: 19 21. God 16, verses stand"The earth, We spread it out and set set thereon mountains standspread "The baldue ing firm. We caused all kind of things to grow therein in due balWe eaused you provided you do not supply ance. and those those you do have provided you and We have ance.Therein We stores with thing but its stores and there is not aa thing subsistenceand mesns of subsistence s'ith means measure." are with save in appointed appointed measure!' down save do not send send it down Us. We We do with Us. -sura 20, -sura 54: and 54: verses 53 53 and 20, verses you the cradle the earth earth like aa cradle "" (G<>d for you ( Godis) the One has made made for OneWho has you. He sent the and sent water down down from from the for you. roads into it for inserted roads and inserted


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pairs of plants, each and thereby sky and thereby We We brought brought forth sky forth pairs of plants, eaeh sepamte sepante from the other. other. Eat! Eat ! Pasture your cattle! from Verily in this are cattle ! Verily are Signs Signs people endued for people endued with intelligence." with intelligoence." for -sura 27, 27, verse verse 61: 6L: -sura made the earth an "He Who made an abode abode and set set rivers in its interplaced aa barrier stices and mountains standing firm. He placed stices barrier between between seas. Is there any divinity divinity besides the two seas. besides God? God? Nay, but most peopledo do not know." people general stability reference is made Here aa reference made to the general stability of the Earth's Earth's crust. It It is known that at the early stages stagesof the Earth's Earth's existence existenee before its crust cooled cooled down, latter was before dorvn, the latter lvas unstable. unstable. The stabilitf of the Earth's Earth's crust is not however ity however strictly strictly uniform, uniform, since sinee zones where earthquakes therp are zones tnel't earthquakes intermittently intermittently occur. occur. As to barrier between between the two seas, the barrier seas, it it is an image which signifies signifies great rivers and the waters of the sea rvaters of the great that the waters sea do do mix at the level level of of certain large estuaries. not mix estuaries. -sura 67, 67, verse verse 15: -sura (God is) the One you. So One Who made made the earth docile " (God docile to you. So walk shoulders ! Eat of His sustenance! upon its shoulders! upon sustenance! Unto Him Him will will be be the Resurrection." Resurrection." .11

+sura 79, ?9, verses verses 30-33: -'-sura 30-33: "After that (God) spread spread the earth out. Therefrom Therefrom He drew "After that drtw water and its pasture. And And the mountains He has firmly out i'ts its water firmly fixed. Goods for you and for Goods for for your cattle." fixed. cattle." In such verses, In many such verses, emphasis upon the importance emphasis is laid upon importanee of water and the practical practical consequences consequences of of its presence presence in the of water earth's soil, soil, i.e. Le. the fertility fertility of of the soil. soil. There can can be be no doubt that that in desert desert countries, n'ater water is the most important important element element governing man's survival. survival. The reference reference in the Qur'an Qur'an horvever however goes goes erning beyond beyond this this geographical detail. According According to to scientific knorvledge knowledge the character the Earth Earth has of of a planet that that is rich rich in water water is unique to the solar system, system, and this this is exactly what what is highlighted highlighted in in the Qur'an. Without Without water, water, the Earth Earth would be a dead dead planet like like the Moon. The Qur'an gives first first place place to water water among the natural natural phenomena phenomena of of the Earth Earth that that itit refers refers to. The water water cycle cycle is described described with with remarkable accuracy in in the Qur'an. Qttr'an.


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B. THE WATEN W ATEH CYCLE CYCLE AND THE SEAS. SEAS. B, verses of of the Qur'an Qur'an concerning the role of of water water in in When the verses existence are read in in suceession succession today, they all all appear to man's existence express ideas ideas that that are quite obvious. obvious. The reason reason for for this is us to express in our day and ag:e, age, we all, to a lesser lesser or gfeater greater extent, extent, simple: in know about the rvater water cycle cycle in in natut'e. nature. know If however, however, we consider consider the various concepts concepts the ancients ancients had If this subject, itit becomes becomes clear that that the data in in the Qur'an Qur'an do not on this concepts current current at the time of the RevelaRevelaembody the mythical eoncepts embody been developed developed more according according to philosophical philosophical tion which had been than observed observed phenomena. phenomena. Although Although itit was empiriempirispeculation than possible to acquire acquire on a modest modest scale, scale, the useful practical cally possible irrigation, the knowledge necessary necessary for for the improvement of the irrigation, knowledge acconcepts water cycle hardly be be accycle in general would hardly concepts held on the rvater ceptable ceptable today. Thus it have been been easy that underground easy to imagine that it would rvould have water could have come from the infiltration of precipitations in infiltration could have come the soil. In ancient times however, this idea, held by Vitruvius held Vitruvius idea, soil. ancient times hon'ever, cited excep1st century B.C., was cited as an excep¡ Polio Marcus in Rome, lst R.C., as Rome, (and tion. For many centuries therefore (and the Qur'anic Revelation Revelation centuries thelefore viervs is situated inaccurate views held totally inaccurate man held situated during this period) man on the water cycle. water cycle. Blavoux, in Two specialists and B. Blavoux, subject, G. specialistson this subject. Gastany and G. Gastany (Enc.yelopediaU11,itheir entry in the Universalis UniEncyclopedia (Encyclopedia Universalis Encyclopedia (Hydrog6ologie), vm'salis) heading Hyd1'ogeology Hgdrogeology (Hydrogeologie), under the heading aersalisl under problem. give an edifying history of this problenl. give HIn the Seventh century B.C., Thales l\{iletus held held the theory Seventh centut'y 8.C., Thales of :Miletus "In winds, were wel'e whereby the effect effect of winds, the oceans, oceans,under under the the waters watet's of the whereby the rvater thrust towards the interior of the continents; so the water fell continents; so torvards the interior these penetrated upon shared these soil. Plato shared and penetrated into the soil. upon the earth and was views the oceans oceanswas the waters retut'n of the waters to the the return views and and thought that the suppot'tvia aa great abyss, 'Tartarus'. This theory theoly had had many supportthe'Tartarus'. abyss,the Descartes. whom was was Descartes. ers one of whom century, one Eighteenth century, the Eighteenth els until the condensed soil condensed vapoul'flom Aristotle imagined from the the soil rvatel vapoUJ' the water imagined that the fetl lakes that fed in underground lakes and formed formed underground cavel'llsand mountain caverns cool mountain in cool many (lst Century and many A.D.) and springs. Century A.D.) by Seneca Seneca(1st follorvedby rvasfollowed He was springs.He first clear clear The first others, them O. O. Volgel' Volger .. .. .. The among them L877,among others, until 1877. attributed to Bernard formulation be attributed u'ater cycle cycle must must be of the the water folmulation of


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Palissy in in 1580: 1580: he he claimed claimed that Palissy that underground underground water water came eame from from rainwater infiltrating infiltrating into into the This theory rainwater the soil. soil. This theory was was confirmed confirmed by by E. Mariotte Mariotte and P. Perrault Perrault in and P. E. in the the Seventeenth Seventeenthcentury. century. passagesfrom following passages In the the following In from the the Qur'an, there is is no no trace trace Qur'an, there of the the mistaken mistaken ideas ideasthat werecurrent that were current at of the time at the time of of Muhammad: Muhammad : -sura 50, 50,verses verses9I to 11: to 11: -sura sent down down from from the the sky "Wet "'We' sent sky blessed blessedwater whereby whereby We We caused caused gardens, grains for palm-trees with for harvest, to grow gardens, harvestn tall palm-trees with their spathes, piled one one above (our) serabove the other-sustenance other*sustenance for spathes, for (Our) sergave (new) life vants. Therewith We We gave land. vants. Iife to aa dead dead land. So So will be be (from the the emergence emergence(from the tombs)." the -sura 23, 23, verses verses18 18 and and 19: 19: -sura sent down water from the sky in measure "we sent "We measure and lodged lodged it it in the ground. And We certainly are able able to withdraw withdraw it. Therewith Therewith gave rise to gardens gardens of palm-trees for you We gave palm-trees and vineyards for where for you are abundant fruits fruits and of them you eat." -sura 15, L5,verse verse22 22:: -sura sent forth the winds that fecundate. "We sent forth fecundate. We we cause cause the water descend from from the sky. We provide you with to descend with the water-you water-you (could) not be be the guardians of its reserves." reserves." possible interpretations interpretations of this last verse. There are two possible verse. The fecundating winds may be be taken to be the fertilizers fertilizers of plants because because they carry carry pollen. pollen. This rr18y, may, however, however, be be a figurative figurative expression pression referring referring by analogy to the role the wind wind plays in in the process process whereby a non-raincarrying non-raincarrying cloud is turned into into one one that that produces produces a shower of of rain. rain. This role is often referred referred to, as in in the following following verses: verses: -sura -sura 35, verse 9: forth the winds whieh which raised up One Who sends sends forth "God is the One the clouds. clouds. We drive drive them to a dead dead land. Therewith Therewith we We revive the ground after after its its death. So will will be the Resurrection." Resurrection." rt It should be noted how the style is descriptive in in the first first part part of of the verse, verse, then passes passes without without transition transition to a declaration from from God. God. Such sudden sudden changes changes in in the form form of of the narration narration are very very frequent frequent in in the Qur'an. 1. 1. Whenever Whenever the the pmnoun pronoun 'We' 'We' appearg appears in in the the verses verses of of the the tâ&#x201A;Źxt text quoted quoted here, refers to to God. God. here, itit refers


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-sura -sura 80, SO, verse verse 48: 48 : "God is the One One TVho Who sends sends forth forth the winds which raised up the clouds, clouds. He spreads spreads them in in the sky as He wills wills and breaks breaks from them into into fragments. fragments. Then thou seest seest raindrops issuing from as He of His senrants within them. He makes them reach such of servants as reach such makes within them. wills. And they are rejoicing." ----surg -sura 7, verse verse 5?: 57: U (God) (God) One Who Who sends sends forth forth the winds like heralds heralds of of is the One " Mercy. When When they have have carried the heavyJaden heavy-lad¡en clouds, clouds, We His Mercy. dead land. land. Then Then We cause cause water to descend descend and drive them to a dead thereby bring bring forth forth fruits fruits of every every kind. Thus We will will bring forth forth thereby dead. Maybe Maybe you you will will remem'ber," remember." the dead. -sura -sura 25, 25, verses verses 48 48 and and 49: 49 : (God) is the One One Who Who sends forth the winds like heralds heralds of sendsforth ""(God) Mercy. We We cause revive descendin order to revive Gausepure water to descend His Mercy. aa dead with it with drink the the multitude of it and supply with and to supply dead land with cattle and created." have created." beings We We have human beings and human -sura 45, -sura verse 5: 45, verse 6: and the ~ky sky and "... provision that God sendsdown down from the God sends the provision ". . . In the change ground death and thereby He revives the ground after its death and in the change revives the thereby peoplewho wise." are wise." who are (of direction) are Signs Signsfor people thereare winds,there direction) of winds, the the The provision made in this last verse is in the form of the water provision verse made The on The accent shows. sent down from the sky, as the context shows. The accent is on the context as sky, sent down cycle. the change of the winds that modify the rain cycle. the the change the winds -sure 13, ---sure 17: verse17: 13, verse flow the rivers flow cc the sky so that the sky so (God) sends down from the sendswater down " (God) increaSing an increasing a\tsy an according The torrent bears bearsaway measure.The to their measure. accordingto foam." foam.tt ---sura 67, Prophet: -sura the Prophet: cornmandsthe 80, God Godcommands verse30, 6?, verse ground, the ground, your be lost lost in the "Say: Do you see if your water were to be you were water if see "Say: Do who then can supply you with gushing you water!" water?" urith who then can supply Sushing -sura 39, -sura 21:: verse21 89, verse sky the sky from the water down down from "Hast sent water that God not seen seenthat God sent thou not "flast thou sown ground?Then He caused causedsown ThenHe and the ground? into the sourcesinto it through through sources ledit andled gTow." fields to grow." colorsto difierent colors of different fields of -sura -sura 36, 84: verse34: 86,verse and palm-treesand vineyerds and gardensof and vineyards "Therein plaeedgardens of palm-trees We placed "Therein We gttsh We forth." to gush forth." springs to causedwater water springs IlVecaused


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The importance irnportanceof of springs The springs and and the the way rvay they they are are fed fed by by rain~ rainrvater conducted into them water conducted into them isis stressed stressedin in the the last last three three verses. verses. pausing to worth pausing to examine IItt isis worth examine this this fact fact and and call call to to mind mind the the predominanee in the the Middle predominance in Middle Ages Age-sof of views viervssuch such as as those thoseheld held by by Aristotle, according according to Aristotle, whom springs to whom springs were wele fed fed by by underground underground lakes. In In his his entry entry on lakes. on Hyd1°ology Hydtology (Hydrologie) (Hydrologie) in in the the Univer. UniversalisEncyclopedia (EncycloTted,ia (Jniuersatis) M.R. Encyclopedia (Encyclopedia Universalis) salis M.R. Remenieras, Rdmeni€ras, teaeher at at the the French French National aa teacher National School School of of Agronomy Agronomy (Ecole ( Ecole nationaledu du Genie Gdnierural, rural, des nationale desEaux Eaux et et Forets), For6ts), describes describesthe the main main stages of of hydrology hydrology and stages refers to and refers to the the magnificent magnificent irrigation irrigation rvorksof of the the ancients, particularly in aneients,particularly works in the the Middle Middle East. East. He He notes notes however that that an an empirical empirical outlook however ouilook ruled ruled over over everything, since since the ideas ideas of proceededflOom of the the time time proceeded the from mistaken concepts. concepts.He He con· continues as as follows: follows: tinues was not until the Renaissance "It was (between circa 1400 "It Renaissance (between 1400 and and 1600) that purely philosophical philosophical concepts 1600) coileepts gave gave way to research research based on on the objective observation of hydrologic phenomena. based phenomena. (1452-1519) rebelled Leonardo da da Vinci (1452-1519) Leonardo rebelledagainst aglinst Aristotle's Aristoile's state· statements. Bernard Palissy, Palissy, in his WOl1de1'jul ments. nature wonderful discourse d,iscourseon the nature and, fou.ntains of waters and fountains both natuTal artificial (Discours nahn.nl and nnd, urtifieial de la Ia nature des des eaux et fontaines tant admirable de tant naturelles qu'artificielles (Paris, (Paris, 1570» 15?0) ) gives gives a correct interpretation interpretation of of qu'artificielles rvater cycle and especially of the water of the way way springs springs are are fed by by rainwater." rainwater." This This last statement is surely exacfly exactly what what is mentioned in in verse 2L, 21, sura 39 describing the way way rainwater rainwater is conducted conducted into into sources sources in the ground. ground. The of verse verse 48, 43, sura 24 is rain rain and and hail: hail: The subject of "Hast "Hast thou not not seen seen that that God God makes makes the the elouds clouds move move genily, gently, then joins joins them them together, together, then then makes makes them them aa heap. heap. And And thou thou seest the seest raindrops raindrops issuing issuing from from within within it, it. He He sends sends down down from from the sky sky mountains mountains of of hail, hail, He He strikes strikes therewith therewith whom whom He He wills wills and and He He turns turns itit away away from from whom whom He He wills. wills. The The flashing flashing of of its its lightlight· ning ning almost almost snatches snatches away away the the sight." sight." The The follou'ing following passage passage requires requires some some comment: comment: -sura 56, verses -sura 56, verses 68-70: 68·70: "Have "Have you you observed observed the the water water you you drink drink? Do you you bring bring itit ? Do down ? or down from from the the rainclouds rainclouds? Or do do we We? were our Our will, will, lye We ? IfIf itit were could salty. Then Then why why are are you you not not thankful thankful?" could make make itit salty. ?"


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This reference reference to to the the fact fact that that God God could could have have made made fresh fresh This water salty is a rvay way of of expressing expressing divine Omnipotence. Omnipotence. Another Another rvater means of of reminding reminding us of of the same same Omnipotence Omnipotence is the challenge challenge means rain fall fall from from the clouds. clouds. In In modern modern times horvhowto man to make rain possible rain artito create made it possible create rain artiever, technology it made surely technology has ever, one therefore oppose oppose the statement statement in the Qur'an to ficially. Can one man's ability ability to produce produce precipitations precipitations?? man's The answer is no, no, because because itit seems seems clear that that one one must take an expert Facy, account of man's limitations in this field. M.A. Facy, expert at field. account man's the French Meteorological Meteorological Office, Office, wrote the following following in in the the (Eneyclopedia under Encyclopedia (Encyclopedia Unit'('rsalis) Uniuusalis) Universalis Encyclopedia posnever be (Prdcipitations) will heading Precipitations "It will never be posPrecipitations (Precipitations):: "It heading make rain fall from a cloud cloud that does does not have have the sible to make sible suitable raincloud or one one that that has has not yet characteristics of a raincloud suitable characteristics (maturity) can ". Man can reached the appropriate evolution (maturity)". stageof evolution appropriate stage leached process precipitation by technical therefore hasten hasten the process technical never therefore never presettt.If If this means it are are not present. conrlitionsfor it natural conditions the natural when the meanswhen plactice-rvhich were occur in practice-which never occur droughts would would never the case, case,droughts were not the rveather fine weather and fine they obviously over rain and have control over do. To have obviously do. still remains therefore. remains aa dream dt'eam therefore. maintains cycle that maintains l\lan establishedcycle break the established tvilfulty break cannot wilfully l\{an cannot as outlined as be outlined may be the This cycle cycle may natUre.This rvater in nature. circulation of water the circulation follows, hydrology: ideas on on hydrology: modern ideas according to modern follorvs,according sea and and the sea The rays cause causethe the Sun's obtained from the Sun's rays caloriesobtained The calories soaked covet'edor soaked those are covered surface that are the Earth's surface those parts of the given off rises off rises is given in water vapour that is The water vapour evaporate.The rvater to evaporate. The into clouds. clottds.The forms into into condensation,forms by condensation, and, by the atmosphere atmosphereand, into the over fot'med over thus formed winds the clouds clottds thus move the and move intervene and then intervene rvinds then rvithout dispelse without varying distances. either disperse clouds can then either can then The clouds distances.The even to create create even rvith others producing mass with others to producing rain, or combinetheir mass or combine rain and produce greater can fragment fragment and or they they can greater condensation, ltroduce rain condensation,or the sea sea t'eachesthe rain reaches at Wherl rain their evolution. evolution. vVhen in their stages in some stages at some is cycle is the cycle by seas), seas), the (70% is covered coveredby surface is (70% of of the the Earth's Earth's surface by absorbedby be absorbed it may may be soon the land, rain falls falls on on the land,it repeated.\Vhen When rain soonrepeated. its in its grorl'th; the vegetationin the vegetation vegetation the latter's latter's growth; aid the thus aid and thus vegetationand atmoto the the atmorvatet'to turn returns some thus returns some water and thus gives off rvater and off water tut'n gives the into the greater extent, infiltrates into sphere. extent,infiltrates or greater lesseror to aa lesser rest,to The rest, sphere.The the sea, into the sea, channelsinto soil, through channels conductedthrough is either either conducted rvhenceit it is soil, whence


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or comes comesback back to to the the Earth's or Earth's surface surface network network through through springs springs or resurgences. resurgences. or onecompares when one compares the When the modern modern data data of of hydrology hydrology to to what what is is containedin in the the numerous numerous verses contained quoted in this versesof of the the Qur'an quoted in eur'an this paragraph, one one has has to paragraph, to admit admit that that there there is is aa remarkable remarkable degree degree of agreement agreement between betrveenthem. of them. The Seas. Sear,, The whereas the the above above verses Whereas verses from from the the Qur'an provided mahave provided eur'an have material for for comparison comparison between betweenmodern terial modern knowledge knowledge about about the the water water in nature, cycle in nature, this this is is not not the cycle the case casefor for the the seas. seas.There There is is not not aa single statement statement in in the the Qur'an single dealing with with the Qur'an dealing the seas seaswhich could could be used used for for comparison comparison with with scientific be scientific data per.se. data per se.This does does not not diminish the necessityof pointing out however the necessity diminish however that none none of of the the statementsin in the the Qur'an on the statements the seas seasrefers refers to the Qur'an on the beliefs, beliefs, myths prevalent at the or superstitions superstitions prevalent or the time of its Revelation. Revelation. celtain number number of verses verses deal A certain deal with the seas seasand and navigation. navigation. subjects for reflection, reflection, they provide indications As subjects indications of divine omnipotenee that arise arise from from the facts of common Omnipotence observation. common observation. The following follorving verses versesare examples examplesof this: The -sura 14, 14, verse verse32: -sura "(God) (God) has has made made the ship ship subject subject to you, you, so so that itit runs upon upon the sea sea at IIis His Command." Command." -Sul.a 16, verse -sura 16, verse 14: (God) is the one ""(God) One who Who subjected subjected the sea, sea, so that that you eat fresh meat from you it and extract from it from it from it ornaments which which you you wear. wear. Thou seest waves, so that that you you seek seek of of His His seest the ships plowing plowing the waves, Bounty. Bounty. Maybe, Maybe, you will will be be thankful." thankfuL" --sura s r l r a 331, 1 , vverse e r s e331: l: "Hast "Hast thou thou seen seen that that the the ship ship runs runs upon upon the the sea sea by by the the Grace Grace of of God, God, in in order order to to show show you you FIis His signs. signs. verily Verily in in this this are are Signs Signs for for all all u'ho who are are persevering persevering and and grateful." gratefu1." _srrl.a -sura bb, 55, verse verse 24: 24: "His .re "His are the the ships ships erected erected upon upon the the sea sea like like tokens." tokens." -sura -sura 36, 36, verse verse 4l-44: 41-44: "A sign "A'we sign for for them them is is that that we We bore bore their their offspring offspring in in the the loaded loaded Ark. Ark. We have have created created for for them them similar similar (vessels) (vessels) on on which which they they ride. ride. IfIf we We rvill, wiIJ, we We drown drown them them and and there there isis no no help help and and they they H


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will not not be be saved saved unless unless by by Mercy Mercy from from Us Us and and as as aa gratification gratification will for aa time." time." for The reference reference here here is is quite quite clearly clearly to'the to'the vessel vessel bearing bearing man man fire upon the the sea, sea, just just as, as, long long ago, ago, Noah Noah and and the the other other occupants occupants of of upon dry reach to them the vessel were carried in the enabled Ark that enabled them to reach dry that the Ark in carried were the vessel land. land. Another obsenred observed fact fact concerning concerning the the sea sea stands stands out, out, because because Another to devoted the of its unusual nature, from the verses of the Qur'an devoted to of verses the from Qur'an nsture, of its unusual great by shared it: three verses refer to characteristics shared by great characteristics to certain refer it: three verses rivers when when they they flow out into into the the ocean. ocean. rivers The phenomenon phenomenon is wetl well known and often seen seen whereby whereby the does riverwater fresh immediate mixing of seawater riverwater does and seawster salty of immediste mixing not occur. occur. The Qurtan Qur'an refers to this in the case case of what is thought to be be the estuary of the Tigris Tigris and Euphrates Euphrates where where they unite to to fotur form what one one might might call a 'sea' 'sea' over over 100 100 miles miles long, long, the Shatt gulf, of the tides the efrect parts Al Arab. At the effect tides is the of inner At Al water fresh phenomenon reflux to produce the welcome phenomenon of of fresh the produee welcome to irrigation. adequate to the interior of the dry land, ensuring adequate irrigation. thus ensuring land, interior to the Enknow that the To understand has to know one has correctly, one understand the text correctly, 'sea' conveys word the glish word 'sea' the general meaning of the Arabic word general meaning the conveys used equally and ba~r which designates a large mass of water and is equally used m&ss a large designates baft,r Euantl great Nile, for both the sea and the the great rivers: the Nile, Tigris and Eutor Uottrthe sea and the phrates for example. phrates example. phenomThe describethis phenomversesthat describe the three three verses are the The following are enon: enon: -sura -sura 25, verse53 63:: 26,verse is agreeagreeoneis seas'one the two two seas, free the let free haslet (God) is the One OneWho Whohas is the " (God) placed a barrier He able bitter. He placed a barrier and bitter. selty and other salty ttre other sweet,the and sweet, able and pass." to pass." between partition that forbidden to is forbidden that itit is them,aI partition betweenthem, --sura ---sura35, verse12 12:: 36,verse is agreeable, agreeable, of one one is "The two seas are The water water of alike. The not alike. are not two seas "The fresh Youeat eatfresh bitter. You sweet, andbitter. salty and othersalty Theother pleasantto drink. The to drink. sweet,pleasant you wear'" which meat from it and you extract from it ornaments which you wear." it ornaments you from extract and it from meat --sura --,sura55, 22: 20and and22: 19,20 verses19, 56,verses them Betweenthem together.Between "He has loosed the two seas. They meettogether. Theymeet seas. two the "He has loosed them out of there is a transg:ress' barrier which they do not transgress. Out of them not they do which there is a barrier come pearls and coral." pearls coral." and eome theseverses verses fact, these main fact, the main In of the descriptionof to the the description sddition to In addition seawater: and water fresh refer to what may be obtained from fresh water and seawater: from obtained refer to what msy be U


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personaladornment, fish,personal adornment,Le. fish, i.e.coral coraland pearls.With and pearls. regard to with regard to the the phenomenon whereby the river phenomenon whereby the river water water does doesnot not mix mix with with seawater seawater at the the estuary, estuary, one onemust must understand at understand that that this this isis not peculiar to not peculiar to the Tigris andEuphrates; Euphrates; they the Tigris and theyare are not not mentioned mentionedby by name lramein in the the text, but but itit isis thought thought to text, to refer refer to to them. them. Rivers Rivers with with aa very very large large yangtze, have outflorv, suchas as the the Mississippi outflow, such Mississippi and and the the Yangtze, have the the same same peculiarity: the the mixing mixing of peculiarity: their fresh of their fr.eshwater water with with the the salty salty water water of the the sea seadoes doesnot not often of often occur oceur until until very very far far out out at at sea. sea. C. THE c. THE

EARTH'S EANTH'S RELIEF. RELIEF.

The constitution constitution of The of the the Earth Earth is is highly highly complex. complex. Today, Today, it it is is possible to to imagine imagine it it very possible formed of a deep very roughly roughly as as being being formed of a deep layer, at at very very high high temperature, temperature, and layer, and especially especially of aa central area area where rocks rocks are are still still in in fusion, where fusion, and and of aa surface surface layer, layer, the the Earth's Earth's erust which which is is solid solid and and cold. crust cold. The The crust is very thin; thin; its thickness thickness is estimated estimated in units of miles miles or units of ten miles is miles at at the most. most. The Earth's radius is however however slightly The slishfly over 3,750 B,?80 miles, miles, so so that that does not not'epresent its crust does represent (on average) hundredth of of the the average) one one hnndredth sphere's radius. radius. It It is upon upon this skin, as of the sphere's as itit were, were, that that all all geological phenomena phenomena have taken place. geological place. At At the origin origin of of these these phenomena folds that that were to form form the mountain ranges; ranges; phenomena are folds their formation their formation is called called 'orogenesis' 'orogenesis' in in geology: geology: the process process is is of of considerable considerable importance because because with with the development development of of aa relief that was to constitute a mountain, the Earth's Earth's crust crust was was relief that driven far down: this driven in in proportionately proportionately far this process process ensures ensures aa founfoundation that underlies underlies it. it. dation in in the layer that The history of the the distribution distribution of of flre the sea sea and and land land on on the the sursurThe history of face face of of the the globe globe has has only only recently recently been been establisherl established and and is is still still vely very incomplete, incomplete, even even for for the the most most recent recent and and best best knorvn known periods, periods. It It is is likely likely that that the the oceans oceans appeared appeared and and fo'med formed the the hydrisphere hydrosphere circa half aa billion billion years years ago. ago. The The continents continents were were proba-bly probably aa circa half single single mass mass at at the the end end of of the the primary primary era, era, then then subsequenily subsequently broke broke apart. apart. some Some continents continents or or parts parts of of continents continents hav* have rnor*moreover over emerged emerged through through the the formation formation of of mountains mountains in in maritime maritime zones zones (e.g. (e.g. the the North North Atlantic Atlantic continent continent and and paft part of of Europe). Europe). According According to to modern modern ideas, ideas, the the dominating dominating factor factor inin the the forformation mation of of the the Iand land that that emerged emerged was was the the development development of of mounmountain tain ranges. ranges. The The evolution evolution of of the the land, land, from from the the primary primary to to the the


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quaternaryera, era, isis classed classed according accordingto'orogenic to 'orogenic phases'that phases' that are are quaternsry 'cycles' forthe name since same themselves grouped into 'cycles' of the same name since the forthe of grouped into themselves mation of of all all mountains mountains reliefs reliefs had had repercussions repercussions on on the the balance balance mation parts of some made It the sea and the continents. It made some parts of the the between continents. the and between the sea millions of hundreds for land disappear and others emerge, and for hundreds of millions and emerge' others land disappear and of years years itit tt"r has altered altered the the surface surface distribution distribution of of the the continents continents of tenths three occupying and oceans: the former at present only occupying three tenths present only at rni o.."ns: the former of the surface of this planet. of the surface of this Planet. In this this way way itit is is possible possible to to give give aa very very rough rough outline outline of of the the In of hundreds last place the over transformations that have taken place over the last hundreds of taken transformations that have millions of years. millions of years. When referring referring to to the Ea|th's Earth's relief, relief, the the Qur"an QUl"an only only desct'ibes' describes, When present the flom Seen as it were, the formation of the mountains. Seen from present mountains. formation of as it were, verses the about say can point of view, there is indeed little one verses one indeed little point of view, to the rvith legard man to that only express God's Beneficence ''lith regard the itt"t only expyess Gocl's Beneficence Earth's formation, as in the following verses: verses: follorving Earth's fot'mation, as -sura -sura 71, and 20: verses19 and ?1, verses ,,For you God along yott travel tt'avel along so that you "For made the earth a carpet so made God its roads and the paths of valleys." valleys." paths its loads and -sura -sura 51, 48: verse48: 51,verse did We did excellently We Holv excellently "The earth, \Ve have out. How sltread it out. have spread We earth, "The that." that," crust, aa Earth's crust, is the the Earth's The out is splead out been spread has been which has carpet which The carpet globe's sub-strata the globe's sub-strata solidified sincethe live, since we can can live, which we on which shell on solidifiedshell of life. life. are form of any form to any hostile to and hostile fluid and hot, fluid very hot, are very and mottntains and the mountains to the The refen'ing to the Qur'an in the Qut"an referring statementsin The statements phenomenon the phenomenon to the the sttbsequentto stability subsequent their stability to their references to the references of the folds are very important. imPortant. are very folds the of to unbelievet'sto invites unbelievers -sura context invites The context 20. The -sura 88, 19 & & 20. verses 19 88, verses them: natural phenomena, among them: consider certain among consider certain natural phenomena' (like aa tent). tent) ' ,,. . .the pitched (like u... beenpitched havebeen they have horvthey themountains, mountains,how The even"' madeeven." wasmade howitit was Earth how TheEarth the which the in which way in the way The give details about the detailsabout versesgive follc rving verses The follcwing groutttl: mountains ininthe theground: anchore<l wereanchored mountainswere

-sura : -sura 78, verses66&&77: 78,verses mottntains themountains ,,Have\Ve antlthe uHave not made expanseand auexpanse ea|th an theearth lVe not madethe stakes." stakes."


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The The stakes stakes referre referredd to to are are the the ones ones used used to ancho anchorr aa tent in the ground (autid ground (autffi,,, plural plural of watad of watad,). ). Moder geologists n geolog Modern ists describ e the deseribe the folds folds in the Earth Earth as giving as giving founda foundations tions to to the the mount mountains, ains, and their their dimens ions go roughl dimensions roughlyy one one mile mile to to roughl roughlyy 10 to miles. The stabili ty of the Earth' stability Earth'ss crust results results from from the phenomenon the phenom enon of these these folds. So it is So it is not not surpri surprising sing to find reflect ions on the mount refleetions ains in mountains certain passages certain passag es of the Qur'an sueh as eur'an,, such as the follow ing: following: -sura 79, -sura ?9, verse verse 32 SZ:: "And "And the the mount mountains ains (God) has has fixed fixed them firmly. firmly."" -sura 31, -sura 81, verse verse10: l0: "(God ) has " (God) has cast cast into the ground (moun (mountains) tains) standi ng firm, standing so that it does so doesnot shake shake with with you." phrase is repeat same phrase The same repeated ed in sura 16, 16, verse verse 15; lE; and the same same idea is expres idea expressed sed with with hardly hardly any change change in sura 21, 21, verse verse 31: Bl: have placed placed in the ground (moun "we have (mountains) tains) standi ._"We ng firm so standing so it does that it doesnot shake shake with with them." These verses These verses expres express s the idea idea that that the way the mountains mount ains are laid out ensure ensures stability s stabili ty and is in comple complete te agreem ent with agreement with geogeological data. logical data.

D. THE THE EART EANTH'S H'S ATMOSPHENE. ATMO SPHE RE. additionn to certain statem In additio statements ents specifically specifically relating relatin g to the sky, examin examined ed in the preceding preced ing chapter, chapte r, tt the* eur,an Qur'an contains contai ns sev_ sevpassages eral passag dealing es dealin with the phenomena g with phenomena that that occur in in the atmosphere. mosph fo1 the comparison ere. As for comparison between between them and the data of of modern modern science science, it is to be , it be noted noted here, here, as as elsewhere, elsewhere, that that there is absolutely absolu tely no contrad contradiction i.ction between between today's modern modern scientiflc scientific knowledge knowledge and the phenomena phenomena descrihed. described. Altitud,e. Altitud e. A A familiar famili ar feeling of of discomfort discom fort experienced experienced at at high altitude, altitud e, which increases increa ses the higher one one climns, climbs, is **pr**r*d expressed in in vers verse e 125, rz5, sura sura 6: "Those whom God God wills wins to guide, He opens opens their their breast breast to to Islam. Those Those whom He wills wills l,ose lose their their w^"y, way, He makes their their


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breast narrow narrow and and constricted, constricted, as as ifif they they were were climbing climbing in in the the breast sky." sky.' Some commentators commentators have have claimed claimed that that the the notion notion of of discomfort discomfort Some time. Muhammad's of at high altitude was unknown to the Arabs of Muhammad's time. the Arabs to at high altitude was unknown the on existence the all: It appears that this was not true at all: the existence on the at not true It appears that this was itit makes hish two miles Arabian Peninsula of peaks rising over two miles high makes peaks over rising ^lrauian Peninsula of the of known have not extremely implausible that they should not have known of the should they extremely implausible that difficulty of breathing breathing at at hlg:h high altitude.' altitude.! others Others have have seen seen in in this this difficulty-of apthat opinion an verse a prediction of space, the conquest of space, an opinion that apof verse a prediction of the pears to to require require categorical denial, at at least least for for this this Bassage. passage.

Electricity in the the Atmosphere. AtmotPherc, Etec/riaitg in Electricity in in the the atmosphere and the consequences consequences of of this, i'e' Le. Electrieity lightning and and hail, are referred referred to in in the following following verses: lightning -sura 13, verses 12-13 -sura 12-13:: 13, verses "( God) is the One lightning, with with fear fear and shows you the lightning, One Who shows " (God) glorithunder covetousness. He raised up the heavy clouds. The thunder gloriclouds. covetousness. sends He for fies awe. sends the angels for awe. do the angels so do fies His Praise and so wills thunder-bolt and strikes with them who He wills while they are with thunder-bolt disputing about God. He is All Mighty in His Power." Mighty disputing about God. quoted in this chapter): (already quoted -sura -sura 24, 48 (already verse 43 24, verse move gently, clouds move "Hast makes the clouds God makes seen that God "Hast thou not seen heap. And thou then makes them aa heap. then joins them together, then makes the from the down from He sends sendsdown seest within it. He from within issuing from raindrops issuing seestraindrops and wills and rvhom He He wills sky therewith whom hail, He He strikes strikes therewith of hail, mountains of sky mountains lightof its its lightflashing of The flashing He wills. The He wills. whom He from whom away from it away turns it He turns ning almost snatches away the sight." sight." the away snatches almost ning coueobviouscorreof an an obvious In the expression expressionof is the there is two verses versesthere In these thesetwo conclouds conor clouds rainclouds or lation heavy rainclouds of heavy formation of the formation betweenthe lation between the former, the taining hail and the occurrence of lightning: the former, the of lightning: the occurrence and taining hail represents it the benefit subject of covetousness on account of the benefit it represents of on aecount covetousness subject of is falls, itit is when it it falls, and becausewhen fear, because of fear, subject of the subject the latter, latter, the and the two the between at the will of the All-Mighty. The connection between the two connection The All-Mighty. of the at the will electricity of electricity present-day knowledge knowledge of phenomena by present-day is verified verified by phenomenais in the atmosphere. in the atmosphere. 1.l.

Muin Muinhabited in was inhabited Yemen,was 1.l. The of the the Yemen, capital of the capital Sanaa,the citYof of Sanaa, The city sea above 7,900 feet nearly of hammad's time. It lies at an altitude of nearly 7,900 feet above sea altitude an at lies It hammad's time. level. level.


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Shadow Shadowa. s. The phenom phenomenon enon of shadow shadows s and the fact fact that that they move is very simply explain explained ed today. today. It It forms the subjec subjectt of the following observ observations: ations: -sura --sura 16, 16, verse verse81: 8l: "Out "Out of the things He created created, , God God has has given you shade shade ..." . . .,, -sura -sura 16, L6, verse verse 48 48:: "Have (the Unbeli evers) not observ unbelievers) observed ed that that for for all the things God God created created, , how their their shadow shadow shifts shifts right right and left, prosta prostating ting themse themselves lves to God God while they are full full of humili humility." ty." -sura 25, --sura 26, verses verses 45 4b and 46: ICHast "Hast thou not seen seen how thy Lord has has spread spread the shade. shade. If If He willed, He could could have have made made it it station stationary. ary. Moreo Moreover ver We we made made the sun guide and sun its guide and We we withdr withdraw aw it it toward towards s Us us easily. easily.', " Apart Apart from from the phrase phrases s dealing with with the humili humitity ty before betore God God of aU all the things He created created, , includ including ing their their shadow shadow, , and the fact that that God God can can take back back all manife power,, as manifestations station s of His Power as He wills, the text of the Qur'an eur'an refers to the relatio relationship nship betwee between n the Sun sun and and the shadow shadows. s. One one must bear bear in mind at itris this point the fact that, in Muham Muhammad's mad's day, day, it it was believe believed d that the way aa shadow moved shadow moved was g:overned was govern ed by the movem movement ent of the sun sun from east to west. east west. This princip principre le was was applied applied in the the case caseof the sundia sundiall rneasure to measu re the time betwee between n sunris sunrise e and and sunset sunset. . In this instanc instance, e, the Qur'an speaks speaks of the phenom phenomenon enon withou withoutt referri referring ng to the explan explanation ation curren currentt at the time of the Revela Revelation. tion. It It would *outd have have been beenreadily accept accepted ed for many centur centuries ies by those those who came came after Muham Muhammad. mad. In the end end howev however, er, it it would would have have been been shown shown to be be inaccu inaecurate. rate. The Qur'an only talks moreo moreover ver of the the functio function n the sun sun has has as as an an indica indicato* tor of shadow shadow. . Eviden Evidenily tly there there is no no contra contradiction betwee between n the way the Qur'an describls es shadow eur'an describ shadow and and what we rve know of this phenom phenomenon enon in moder modern n times. times.


YT VI Th~ Aninral 4nlIDai and and The V ~g~labl~ Kingdorrr$ KinldoDl~ Yegetable Numerous verses verses describing describing the the origins origins of of life life have been been Numerous the vege: of aspects in this chapter, along with certain aspects ofthe veg~ assembled with certain along ehapter, in this assembled table kingdom kingdom and general or or specific topics topics relating relating to to the the anianitable the throughout scattered of verses scattered throughout the mal kingdom. grouping grouping verses of The mal kingdo*. on containS the Book affords a view of Qur'an contains on the data general of Qur'an view a Book affords these subjects. these subjects. chapter' following chapter, In this and the following of this subiect of of the subject case of In the the case partieubeen has sometimes the examination of the Qur'anic text has sometimes been particutext of the examination Qur'anic larly delicate on account of certain difficulties inherent in the account on larly delicate that fact through vocabulary. These have only been overcome through the fact that overcome been have These uo."bul"ry. been have on scientific data which have a bearing on the subject have been a have data scientific living caseof living particularly so so in the case taken It is particularly consideration. It into consideration. taken into eonfrontation a where beings, i.e. animal, vegetable and human, where a confrontation human, and vegetable i.e. animal, heings, the in the indispensablein be indispensable to be with shown to is shown of science scienceis teachings of the teachings with the topics these on statements search for the meaning of certain statements on these topics of certain meaning the for search contained the Qur'an. in the contained in Qur'an. passthese passof these It translations of numeroustranslations that numerous clear that becomeclear It will will become indeemedinbe deemed must be letters, must ages of letters, men of by men made by the Qur'an, in the agesin Qur'an, made for commentaries commentaries true for holds true accurate sameholds The same scientist.The the scientist. by the accurateby necesknowledgenecespossessthe scientific knowledge made the scientific not possess do not who do thosewho by those madeby sary text. the text. of the an understanding understanding of for an sary for LIFE. A. OF LIFE. ORIGINS OF THE ORIGINS A, THE

This T h i squestion q u e s t i o nhas h a salways a l w a y spreoccupied p r e o c c u p i eman, d m aboth n ' b o tfor h f o himself rhimself here examinedhere beexamined It will will be him. It and around him. things around living things the living for the and for 185 r85


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g:eneralpoint point of from aageneral from of view. view. The The case easeof of man, man, whose whoseappearance eppearsnce on Earth Earth and and reproduction reproduction processes processesare on are the the subject subject of of lengthy lengthy exposds,will will be bedealt dealt with with in in the the next exposes, next chapter. chapter. when the the Qur'an describesthe When the origins origins of of life rife on Qur'an describes on aa very very broad broad basis,it it is is extremely extremely concise. concise.It basis, It does doesso soin in aa verse verse that that also also menmentions the the process of the the formation tions formation of of the the Universe, Universe, already already .process of quotedand and commented commentedon on:: quoted -sura 21,verse verse30 30:: --sura 21, not the the Unbelievers "Do not Unbelievers see "Do see that that the the heavens heavens and and the the earth earth joined together, were joined together, then then We were we clove clove them them asunder got asunder and and We we got every living living thing thing out out of of the the water. every water. Will will they they then then not not believe?" believe?" 'getting something The notion notion of of 'getting The something out out of of something' something' does does not not give rise phrase can to any any doubts. doubts. The phrase give rise to can equally equally mean mean that every every living tiring thing was (as its essential was made made of of water (as living essential component) eomponent) or or that every living living thing thing originated in water. The two possible possible meanings are strictly strictly in accordance accordanee with meanings with scientific data. data. Life Life is in fact of of aquatic origin origin and water is the major major component component of of living cells. all living cells. Without Without water, life life is not possible. possible. When When the the possibility of life on another planet is discussed, possibility tliscussed,the first question question is always: does does it it contain a sufficient quantity quantity of water to to supsupport life? port life? lvfodern Modern data lead lead us to think think that that the oldest oldest living living being must must have have belonged belonged to the vegetable vegetable kingdom: kingdom: algae have been been found found that that date from from the pre-cambrian pre-Cambrian period, i.e. Le. the time time of of the the oldest oldest known lands. organisms animal kingdom kingdom probknown Organisms belonging to the animal ably later: they too came came from from the sea. sea. ably appeared appeared slightly slightly later: What What has been been translated translated here by by ,water' 'water' is the word word nrd' mO.' which which means means both water water in in the sky sky and and water water in in the the sea, sea, plus plus any any kind kind of of liquid. liquid. In In the the first first meaning, meaning, water water is is the the element element necessary to necessary to all all vegetable vegetable life: life: -gura --sura 20, 20, verse verse FB. 53. (God is ""(God is the the one One who) Who) sent sent water water down down from from the the sky sky and and thereby thereby we We brousht brought forth forth pairs pairs of of plants plants each each separate separate rrom from ttre the other." other." This This is is the the first first reference reference to to the the notion notion of of aa pair pair in in the the veg.evegetable table kingdom. kingdom. We We shali shall return return to to this this later. later. rn In the the second second meaning, meaning, aa liquid liquid without without any any further further indication indication of of what what kind, kind, the the word word isis used used in in its its indeterminate indeterminate form form to to designate designate what what isis at at the the basis basis of of the the formation formation of of all aU animal animal life: life:


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-sura 24, 24, verse verse 45: 45 : -sura created every animal ft'om from water." water." "God "God created every animal We shall see further on how this word may may also also be be applied applied to to rvord this how on We shall see further seminal fluid!. seminal fluid'. Whether itit deals deals therefore therefore with with the the oligins origins of of life life in in general, general, Whether the seed or plants the soil, in or the element that gives birth to plants in the soil, or the seed gives to birth or the element that the on the in of animals, all the statements contained in the QUl"an on the contained Qur"an of animals, all the statements scientific modern t'ith origin of life are strictly in accordance with modern in accordanee strietly origin of life data. None of of the myths myths on the the origins origins of of life life that that abounded abounderl at at the time time the Qur'an Qur'an appeared appeared are mentioned in in the text. text.

B. THE KINGDOAf. VEGETABLE KINGDO]If. B, THE VEGETABLE It is not possible possible to quote in in their their entirety entirety all the numerous numerous It passages in in the Qur'an Qur'an in in which which divine Beneficence Beneficence is referred referred passages to concerning the salutary salutary effect of the rain rain which makes makes vegevegetation grow. Here are iust just three verseson this subject: thlee verses -sura 16, -sura 11 : and 11: 10 and 16, verses verses 10 sky. For the sky. fyom the dott'n from "(God) is the One sends water down One Who sends "(Crod) you let whieh shrubs you this is aa drink and out of it (grow) shrubs in which you it and drink fields, you He makes sown fields, makes sown (cattle) graze for you graze freely. =rrherewith Therewith for gl'ow." fluit olives, palm-trees, vineyards and all kinds of fruit grow." palm-trees, and Yineyards olives, -sura 6, -sura 99: 6, verse veree 99: Therefyonr the the sky. sk5. There"(God) is the dorvttfrom (God) sent water down lVho sent the One One 'Vho " the them ft'om plants anrl with We brought forth plants of all kinds and from them the kinds We glains, and the clu'steled verdure and \Ve brought forth from it the clustered g-rains, and it ft'om forth brought verdure and We (hanging) flates (hanging) of dates from palm-tree its with bunches bttnchesof its spathes spatheswith the palm-tree frnm the and pomegranates similal low, the gardens of grapes, olives and pomegranates similar and grapes, gardens and olives of low, the t'ipentheir it, and different. Look at their fruit, when they bear it, anrl their ripenbeat' they when different. Look at their ft'uit, l-relieve." peolllewho rvho believe." ing. for' people ale signs signs for there are in that that there ing. Verily, Verily, in -sura 9-11: -sura 50, vgrses9-11: 50, verses eattsed trVecaused rvatel 'whereby whet'eby\Ve "We sent blessedwater sky blessed the sky from the down from "We sentdown their rvith tall to grow gardens, grains for harvest, tall palm-trees with their lralm-tt'ees to grOw gardens, grains for harvest, (Our) serfor spathes, the other-sustenance piled one other-sustenance for (Our) serahve the one above spathes,piled be rvill (nerv) so deacl land. to aa dean land. So will be vants. give (new) life life to lve give Therewith \Ve vants. Therewith the (from the tombs)." the tombs)." emergence(from the emergence spermatozoons' glands and 1.1. It aud contains contains spermatozoons. reproductive g-lands the reproductive by the secretedby lt isis secreted


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The Qur'an general data adds to The to these thesegeneral data others Qur'an adds others that ttrat refer refer to to morespecialized specializedsubjects: subjects : more Balancein in the theVegetable VegetableKingdom Kingdom Balance ---sura15, 15,verse verse19: lg: --sura . . . We earth ... "The earth "The we caused causedall all kinds kinds of of things grow therein things to to grow therein in due duebalance." balance." in The Different Different Qualities of Various Vafiow Foods The Foods Qualitics of -sura 13, 13, verse verse 4: 4: -sura the earth "On the earth are are adjacent parts; vineyards, adjaeent parts; "On vineyards, sown sown fields, fields, palm-trees,similar similar and not similar, and not with the same palm-trees, similar, watered watered same water. water. we make make some some of of them them more We more excellent excellent than others others to eat eat and and verily in in this this are are signs signs for wise people." verily wise people." It is is interesting interesting to note note the existence It existence of these these verses verses because because they show the quality sober they show sober quality of the terms used, used, and the absence absence of lny bny description that that might might highlight highlig:ht the beliefs of of the the times, times, tbther than fundamental 'tAther truths. What our particularly attracts what particularly attracts our attention however, however, are the statements statements in the eur'an Qur'an eoncerning concerning reproduction in the vegetable vegetable kingdom. Reproduction in Vegetabl.e Kingdom Reproduction in the Vegetable Kingd,om one One must must bear in in mind mind that that there there are two two methods methods of of reprorepro¡ duction duction in in the vegetabtre vegetable kingdom: kingdom: one sexual, sexual, the the ot*rer other asexual. asexual. It It is is only only the first first which which in in fact fact deserves deserves the the term term ,rEproduc'r~produc­ tion', because tion', because this this defines defines aa biological biological process process whose whose purpose purpose is is the the appearance appearance of of aa new new individual individual identical identical to to the the one one ttrat that gave gave itit birth. birth. Asexual Asexual reproduction reproduction is is quite quite simply simply multiplication. multiplication. ItIt is is the the result result of of the the fragmentation fragmentation of of an an organism organism which which has has separated separated from from the the main main plant plant and and developed developed in in such such aa way way as as to to resemble resemble plant the the plant from from which which itit came. came. ItIt isis considered considered by by Guilliermond Guilliermond and of growth'. growth'. AA very very simple simple and Mangenot Mangenot to to be be aa 'special 'special case case of example example of of this this isis the the eutting: cutting: aa cutting cutting taken taken from from aa plant plant isis plaeed placed in in suitably suitably watered watered soil soil and and regenerated regenerated by by the the grlwth growth of of new new roots. roots. Some Some plants plants have have organs organs speeially specially designed designed for for this, this, while while others others give give off off spores spores that that behave behave like like seeds, seeds, as as itit were, were,


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(it should should be be remembered remembered that that seeds seeds are are the the results results of of aa process process (it of sexual sexual reproduction) reproduction).. of carried the vegetable vegetable kingdom kingdom carried out out Sexual reproduction reproduction in in the Sexual .. isis generic by the the coupling coupling of of the the male male and and female female parts parts of of the the generic forforby mations united united on & a same plant plant or or located located on separate plants. plants. mations This is is the the only only form form tha# that- is is mentioned mentioned in in the the Qur'an. This -sura 20, verse 63: 53: -sura ., " (God is the the one One who) Who) sent water water down from from the sky and thereby We brought brought forth forth pairs pairs of of plants each each separate separate from from the thereby other." other." 'One 'One of of a pair' pair' is the translation translation of of zaui zauj (plural (plural azut6,i) azwaj) whose whose is: 'that 'that which, in in the company of of another, original meaning is: original pair'; the word is used used just just as as readily for for a married forms a pair'; couple as for for a pair pair of of shoes. shoes. couple -sura 22, 22, verse verse 5: 5: -sura grounds lifeless. lifeless. When We send send down water "Thou seest the seest "Thou forth every magnificent thereon it it shakes shakes and grows and puts forth pair (of plants)." pair (of plants)." -sura 31, -sura 31, verse verse 10: *We caused noble pair (of "We caused to grow (on the earth) every noble plants) ." plants)." --sura 13, --sura 13, verse verse 3: 8: pair"' "Of all fruits (God) placed placed (on the the earth) two of aa pair." fruits (God) "Of We know that fruit is the end-product of the reproduction end-product that fruit developed process highly developed the most most highly processof superior plants which have have the flower, preceding is the fruit and complex organization. The stage preceding fruit is the flower, stage and complex The (stamens ovules). which has male and female organs (stamens and ovules). The and organs has male and female which fruit bear latter, once pollen has been carried to them, bear fruit which to them, pollen carried has been latter, once implies therefore implies in fruit therefore All fruit it seeds. seeds.All and frees frees it matures and in turn turn matures the meaning is This the existence of male and female organs. This is the meaning organs. female and the existence of male of in the the Qur'an. versein the verse of the Qur'an' from come from can come fruit can It must be noted that species,fruit that for for certain certain species, noted It must be cerbananas' â&#x201A;Ź.8. (parthenocarpic non-fertilized flowers (parthenocarpic fruit), e.g. bananas, cerfruit), flowers non-fertilized nevertheThey can vine. tain types of pineapple, fig, orange, and vine. 11hey can nevertheand pineapple, orange, fig, tain types of charactersexual characterdefinite sexual less plants that have definite that have from plants come from also come less also istics. istics. the with the process comes comes with The reproductive process of the the reproductive culmination of The culmination (someopened is germination of the seed once its outside casing is opened (somecasing outside its once germination of the seed allows opening allows This opening times fruit-stone). This into aa fruit-stone). it is is compacted compactedinto ti-". it


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roots to to emerge emergewhich roots which draw draw from from the soil all the soil all that that isis necessary neeessary plant's slowed-down for the the plant's for a seed while slowed-downlife life as as a seed while itit grows grows and and producesaa new plant. new plant. produces versein in the the Qur'an AA verse refers to processof germination: this process to this of germination: Qur'an refers -sura g5l 6, verse -sura 6, verse 95: grain and splits the "Verily, "Verily, God Godsplits the grain and the the fruit-stone." fruit-stone." The often restates restatesthe The Qur'an the existence existenceof Qur'an often of these thesecomponents componentsof of pair in in the the vegetable vegetable kingdom aa pair kingdom and and brings brings the the notion notion of of aa coupleinto into aa more general context, more general couple context, without without set set limits: limits: -sura 36, verse verse36: 36: -sura 36, be to to Him "Glory be Him Who "Glory who created created the the components components of of conples eouples of of every kind: kind: of of what ground caused what the every the ground grow, of caused to to grow, of themselves themselves (human beings) beings) and and of you do of what rvhat you (human do not not know." know." one could could fonn form many many hypotheses One hypotheses concerning concerning the meaning of of 'things men the 'things did not know' in Muhammad's day. the men did day. Today we we ean distinguish distinguish structures or coupled can coupled functions for for them, going infinitesimally small to the infinitely from the infinit~simally infinitely large, in the the livlivas well as as the non-living non-living world. The point ing as point is to remember' remember, these clearly expressed expressed ideas ideas and note, that they they these note, once once again, that perfect agreement agreement with are in perfect with modern science. science. C. THE THE ANIMAL AI,{IMAL KINCDOM KTNCDOM There There are several several questions questions in in the eur'an Qur'an concerning the the anianimal mal kingdom kingdom which which are the subjeet subject of of comments that that call for for aa eonfrontation confrontation with with modern scientific scientific knowledge. Here Here again, again, however, however, one would gain gain an incomplete incomplete view view of of all all that that the the Qur'an contains on this this subject subject ifif one one were were to to leave leave out out aa passage passage such as the the extract extract which which follows. follows. In In this this passage, passage, the the creation creation such as of of certain certain elements elements in in the the animal animal kingdom kingdom is is described described with with the the purpose purpose of of making making man man reflect reflect upon upon the the divine divine Beneficence Beneficence exextended to him. him. ItIt is is quoted quoted basically basically to to provide provide an an example example of of tended to w?y_in which the describes the way in which the Qur'an describes the harmonious adaptaQur'an the harmonious adaptalle tion tion of of creation Creation to to man's man's needs; needs; itit relates relates in in particular particular the the case case of of those those people people who who live live in in aa rurar rural setting, setting, since since there there isis nothing nothing that that could could be be examined examined from from aa different different point point of of view. view. -sura 16, verses 5 to 8: -sura 16, verses 5 to 8: " (God) (God) created created cattle cattle for for you you and and (you (you find) find) inin them them rvarmth, warmth, useful services and food, sense useful services and food, sense of of beauty beauty when when you you bring bring them them U


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home and and when when you you take take them them to to pasture. pasture. They They bear bear your your heary heavy home to lands lands you you could not not reach exeept except with with great great personal personal loads to effort. Verily, Verily, your your Lord Lord is is Compassionate Compassionate arrd and Merciful; Merciful; (He (He efrort. created) horses, mules and donkeys for for you to ride ride and for for ornaornacreated) what you you do not not know." know." ment. And And He He created what ment. Alongside these general general remarks, remarks, the the Qur'an Qur'atr sets out out certain certain Alongside data on highly highly diversified diversified subiects: subjects: data -reproduction -reproduction in in the the animal animal kingdom. kingdom. -referenees -references to the existence of of animal animal communities' communities. -statements -statements concerning concerning bees, bees, spiders and birds. birds. -remarks -remarks on the the source of of constituents constituents of of animal animal milk. milk.

1. Reproduction in the Animal Ringilom. Aninul Kingdom. 7. frepro&rction in in verses verses 45 and 46' 46, sura This very summarily with in summarily dealt with This is very

58: 6$:

pair, the male and the female, "* (God) fashioned the two two of of a pair, quantity of from out." it is poured out." of liquid liquid when it from a small quantity 'pairr is the same that we have already enThe same expression that fire 'pair' the countered in the verses reproduction in -the with reproduction which deal with verses which which vegetable sexes are sre given. The detail which vegptable kingdom. Here, the sexes which it it is stated is absolutely remarkable with which remarkable is the precision with quantity of liquid reproduction. The that for reproduction. required for liquid is required that aa small quantity 'sperm' is used. this reword itself relevance of this used. The relevance itself signifying signifying 'sperm' mark will be be commented commented upon in the next chapter. mark will

2. Communities. Anfunnl0ommunitbt. Erbtenr,e of Animal tlw Exiatence 2. References freferrrlnel to the -sura 6, -sura 6, Verse 38 that flies on wings, that no bird "There bird which flies on earth, earth, no "There is no animal on you. We have not neglected neglected (does communities like you. (does not belong to) communities will (of Decrees). anything Decrees). Then to their Lord they will anything in the Book (of be gathered." be gathered." comment. require comment. which require There points in verse which this verse in this several points ang several There are happens of what description it would seem that there is a description of what happens Firstly, is a that there seem it would Firstly, have any apparently, not to animals after their death: Islam does not apparently, have any does death: Islam after their to animals l general' predestination in doctrine on this point. Then there is predestination in general point. is Then there this doctrine on was one was book what what one part of of this this book 1. the third third part to the Introduction to the Introduction saw in in the l. We Tye saw man to man application to in its its application predestination in expected about predestination believe about to believe expected to himself. himself.


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whichwould wouldseem seemto tobe bementioned mentionedhere. which here.It It could couldbe beconceived conceivedas es predestination absolute or relativg absolute predestination or relative, i.e. i.e.limited timited to to structures structuresand and functional organization organizationthat that condition aa functional condition modes modesof of behaviour: behaviour: the animal acts uponvarious variousexterior the animal acts upon exterior impulses impulsesin in terms partermsof of aa particular conditioning. conditioning. ticular BlachBrestates statâ&#x201A;Źs that that an Blach~re an older older commentator, commentator, such such as as Razi, Razi, thought that this this verse verse only thought that only referred refened to to instinctive instinctive actions actions wherebyanimals animalsworship worship God. whereby God.Sheik Sheik Si Si Boubakeur BoubakeurHamza, Hamza,in in ,,the the commentaryto to his his translation translation of the commentary of the the Koran, Koran, speaks speaksof of "the instinct which, which,according aecordingto to Divine instinct Divine Wisdom, pushesall Wisdom,pushes all beings beingsto to group together, together,so sothat that they they demand group demandthat that the the work work of of each eachmemmember serve servethe group." the whole wholegroup." ber Animal behaviour behaviour has has been beenclosely closelyinvestigated investigated in recent recent dedecades,with the the result result that genuine genuine animal cades, animal communities communities have havc beenshown shownto exist. exist. Of of course, course,for aa long been long time time now now the the results resultsof group or community's community's work have a8 group have been beenexamined examinedand and this has has led to to the the acceptance aeceptanceof aa community cornmunity organization. led organization. It It has has only only beenrecently recently however, however,that thst the mechanisms been mechanismswhich preside over which preside over organizationhave havebeen this kind of organization beendiscovered discoveredfor certain sfecies. species. most studied The most studiedand and best bestknown known case The caseis undoubtedly undoubtedlythat of bees, b*r, to to whose whose behaviour behaviour the name name von von Frisch is linked. Von Frisch, linked. von Lorenz and Tinbergen Tinbergen received received the 1978 Nobel prize Prize for for their Lorenz and 1g?g Nobel work in this field. field. 3. Statcmenh otrcenringBee., Statements C Conceming and Bi,.dB. Bee4 Spidero. Spiilrrreend Bbds. When specialists When specialists on the nervous nervous system system wish to provide strikstriking ing examples examples of of the prodigious prodigious organization organization directing animsl animal behaviour, the animals animals referred referred to to most most frequenily frequently are behaviour, possibly possibly the bees, bees, spiders spiders and and birds birds (especially (especially migratory migratory birds). birds). wtt"t*u*" Whatever the the case, case, there there is is no no doubt doubt that that these these three three groups groups constitute constitute sa model of highly highly evolved evolved organization. organization. model of The that the the text text of of the the Qur'an Qur'an refers refers to to this this exemplary exemplary The fact fact that trio trio in in the the animal animal kingdom kingdom is is in in absolute absolute keeping keeping with with the the excepexceptionally that eaeh each of of these these animals animals has has from from tionally interesting interestingcharacter character that aa scientific ofview. view. scientific point pointof Bees Bees In In the the Qur'an, Qur'an, bees bees are are the the subject subject of of the the longest longest commentary: commentary :


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-Surs -Sura 16, 16, verses verses 68 68 and and 69:' 69: 1 "Thy Lord Lord inspired inspired the the bees: bees: Choose Choose your your dwelling dwelling in in the the hills' hills, "Thy in the the trees trees and and in in what what (man) (man) built. built. Eat Eat of of all all fruit fruit and and follow follow in the ways ways of of your your Lord Lord in in humility. humility. From From within within their their bodies bodies the of difrerent different colours colours where where is is a remedy remedy for for men." men." comes a liquor liquor of comes is difficult difficult to to know know what what exactly exactly is is meant meant by by the the order order to to ItIt is follow the the ways ways of of the the Lord Lord in in humility, humility, unless itit is to to be seen seen follow in general terms. All All that that may may be said, with with regard regard to to the knowlknowlin that has been gained gained of of their their behaviour, behaviour, is that that here-as here-as in in edge that each of of the the three three animal animal cases cases mentioned as examples in in the the Qur'an-there is a remarkable remarkable nervous nervo~s organization organization supporting supporting Qur'an-there pattern dance is a bee's their behaviour. It known that the pattern of bee's the of that known ft is their behaviour, a& means means of of communication communication to to other other bees; in in this this wBY, way, bees bees are able to convey to their their own species species the direction direction and distance of of flowers from from which which nectar nectar is to be gathered. The famous experiexperiment performed performed hy by von Frisch Frisch has shown the meaning meaning of of this this ment information beinsect's movement which transmit information intented to transmit which is intented tween worker bees. worker b@s.

Spidel'. Spdibrs flimsiness of Spiders stress the flimsiness Spiders are mentioned in the Qur'an to stress their fragile of all. They have aa dwelling which is the most fragile their dwelling as the refuge preearious, according to the Qur'an, as that is as as precarious, refuge that dwelling God. have chosen chosen masters other than God. those who have dwelling of those --sura 29, -sura verse 41 29, verse 41:: "Those God are like the spider then God ehoosemasters other than "Those who choose dwelling the flimsiest flimsiest dwelling when Verily, the it takes dwelling. Verily, for itself itself aa dwelling. when it takes for is knew." If they they but knew." dwelling of the spider. the dwelling of the is the spider. If secreted threads secreted A of silken silken threads constituted of A spider's spider's web web is is indeed indeed constituted frsIts frafine. Its infinitely fine. by calibre is is infinitely glands and their calibre and their animafs glands by the the animal's by intrigued are gility cannot be imitated by man. Naturalists are intrigued by Naturalists man. by imitated cannot be Sility neranimal's nerthe animal's recorded by by the the pattern of of work work recorded exhaordinary pattern the extraordinary perfect web. web. geometrically perfect produce aa geometrically vous it to to produce which allows allows it cells,which vous cells, in the the one in only one the only verse is is the 1. this last last verse paesing, that that this in passing, note in might note 1. One One might cen Honey can m&n- Honey for man. remedy for Qur'an pogsibility of of aa remedy the possibility that refers to the refers to Qur'an that is a* the Qur'an in the else in indeed Nowhere else Qur'an is diseases.Nowhere certain diseases. useful for for certain be useful inaeea be hsve been bâ&#x201A;Źen may have what may to what reference contrary to arts, contrary remedial arts, made to any remedial to any reference made

said thir subject. rubject. rbout this reid about


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Bbds Birds Birds are are frequently frequently mentioned Birds mentioned in the Qur'an. in the They appear appear in in Qurran. They in the episodesin life of episodes David, Solomon the life of Abraham, Abraham, Joseph, Joseph, David, solomon and and Thesereferences referencesdo Jesus.These Jesus. do not not however however have have any any bearing bearing on on the the subject in hand. subject in hand. The verse verse concerning concerning the The the existence existence of of animal animal communities communities on on ground the and bird communities communities in the ground and bil'd in the the sky sky has has been been noted noted above: above: -sura 66 verse verse38: 38: -sura is no no animal "There is animal on "There on the the earth, earth, no no bird bird which which flies flies on on wings, (does not not belong that (does belong to) that to) communities communities like you. We like you. We have have not not neglectedanything anything in (of Decrees). in the the Book neglected rrhen to their Book (of Decrees). lfhen their Lord gathered." they will will be be gathered." they . Two other other verses verseshighlight the birds' strict Two strict submission submissionto God's God's Power: Power: -sura 16, 16,verse verse79: -sura "Do they not look at the birds subjected uno of subjected in the atmosphere atmosphere of power) except sky? None the sky? None can can hold hold them up (in His Power) the God." except God." -sura 67, 67, verse verse 19: -sura "Have they not looked looked at the birds "Have birds above above them spreading their. their and folding folding them? None can hold them up iin wings out and (in ti, his Porver) except the Beneficent." Power) The translation of of one one single word in each each of of these these verses verses is a very very delicate matter. matter. The translation translation given here expresses expresses the the idea that that God God holds holds the birds birds up in in His His power. Power. The Arabic Arabic verb verb in amsaka, whose whose original original meaning meaning is is ,to 'to put put one's one's in question question is a,ntsaka, hand on, on, seize, seize, hold, hold someone someone back'. back'. An An illuminating illuminating eomparison comparison can can be be made made between between these these verses, verses, which which stress stress the the extremely extremely close close dependence dependence of of the the birds' birds' bebehavior to morlern modern data data showing showing the the degree degree of of havior on on divine divine order, order, to perfection attained by by certain certain species species of of bird bird with with regard regard to to the the perfection attained pl'ogramming programming of of their their movements. movements. ItIt is is only only the the existence existence of of aa migratory migratory progl'amme programme in in the the genetic genetic code code of of birds birds that that can can acaccount count for for the the extremely extremely long long and and complicated complicated journeys journeys which which very very young young birds, birds, rvithout without any any prior prior experience experience and and without without any any guide, are able to accomplish. This isis in in addition addition to to their their ability ability guide, are able to accomplish. This to to return return to to their their departure departure point point on on aa prescribed prescribed date. date. professor Professor puissance Hamburger in his book, Power (La Hamburger in his book, Power and and Fragilitu Fragility (La Puissance et et lala


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FragiIite)1, gives as an example the well-knou'n well-known case case of of the Fragilitd)', 'mutton-bird' 'mutton-bird' that that lives in in the Paeific, Pacific, with with its its journey journey of of over in the shape shape oI of the figure 8'. 82 â&#x20AC;˘ It It must be acknowl15,500 miles in 15,500 that the highly highly complicated instructions instructions for for a journey journey of of edged that edged bird's the nervous this kind simply in bird's in to be contained have simply kind this cells. They They are most definitely definitely programmed, but but rvho who is the cells. programmer? programmer?

of the Constituents of Animal Milk. Constituents of AnimalMilk. 4. The SOUTce Sowce af This is defined defined in in the Qur'an in in striet strict accordance accordance with with the data This of modern modern knorvledge knowledge (sura 16, verse 66). The translation and in16, verse of terpretation of of this this verse given given here is my my own because because even terpretation translations habitually habitually give it which is, in my it a meaning whieh modern translations hardly acceptable. opinion, hardly examples: acceptable.Here are two examples: -R. Blachbre's -R. Blachere's translation translation :3 :3 you ! We give you a your "Verily, in your cattle there is a lesson lesson for for you! "Verily, (it comes) from comes) from pure milk drinkers; (it excellent for milk to drink, drink, excellent for its drinkers; what, in their between digested digested food and blood." their bellies, bellies, is between -Profcssor Hamidullah's -Professor translation:' Hamidullah's translation:¡ From what is "Verily, there is food for thought thought in your cattle. From food for "Verily, in their their excrement and blood, blood, We make you bellies, among their their bellies, drink for drinkers easy for drinkers to imbibe." drink pure milk, easy physiologist, he would reply that If that If these these texts were shown to a physiologist, hardly they were extremely obscure, reason being that obscure, the reason that there hardly appears notions, be much agreement agreement between between them and modern notions, appears to be even These translations are the work level. These even on aa very elementary level. however, that of highly It is aa well known fact however, highly eminent Arabists. It mistakes aa translator, even an expert, is liable to make mistakes in the make even be aa translation of scientific statements, unless he happens to be he happens unless scientific statements, translation question. specialist in the discipline in question. discipline specialist The follorving: me to be the following: be the seemsto me most valid translation seems The most give you you to you. "Verily, in cattle there is a lesson for you. We give We a lesson there cattle "Verily, conjunction drink of what is inside coming from aa conjunction inside their bodies, bodies,coming 1. Paris. 1972,Paris. Flammarion, 1972, Pub. Flammarion, 1. Pub. period of to months, and and comes back to of six six months, comes back 2. over aa period It makes makes this this journey over 2. It week. its delay of of one one week. point with maximum delay with aa maximum departure point its departure 3. 1966,Paris, Paris, et Larose, Larose, 1966, Maisonneuveet Pub. G. G. P. P. Maisonneuve 3. Pub. 4. 19?1,Paris. Paris. du Livre, Livre, 1971, Pub. Club Frangais du 4. Pub. Club Fran~ais


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betweenthe between the contents contentsof of the the intestine intestine and pure and the the blood, blood,aa milk milk pure pleasantfor and pleasant and for those thosewho (sura 16, who drink drink it." it." (sura 16,verse verse66) 66) This interpretation interpretation isis very This given in very close closeto to the the one one given in the the MunMuw takgb, 1973, edited by tak!!b, 1973, edited by the the Supreme Supreme Council Council for for Islamic Islamic Affairs, Affairs, which relies relies for Cairo, which Cairo, for its its support support on physiology. on modern modern physiology. point of From the the point From of view view of its vocabulary, of its proposed transvocaburary, the the proposed transjustified as lation may may be be justified lation follows: as follows: 'inside their bodies' and not, as R. Blachere have translated translated 'inside II have their bodies' and not, as R. BlachEre ,inside their and Professor Professor Hamidullah Hamidullah have and have done, done,'inside their bellies'. bellies'. This This ,middle', ,interior of someis because becausethe the word word ba~n baln also also means is means 'middle', 'interior of some'belly'. The thing', as as well well as as 'belly'. thing', The word word does doesnot not here here have have aa meaning 'Inside their that is is anatomically anatomically precise. precise.'Inside that their bodies' bodies'seems seemsto concur eoneur perfeetly with the context. with the context. perfectly 'primary origin' of the constituents of milk is The notion notion of of aa 'primary The the constituents milk is ,from') and expressedby by the the word min mi,n (in English 'from') expressed and the idea idea of a conjunction by the word baini. conjunction bainL The latter latter not only signifies 'among" but 'between' in the other translations quoted. It is also 'between' 'among' also translations quotra- lt i, however also also used used to express however two express the idea that that two things things or two people are brought brought together. people From a scientific scientifie point point of of view, physiological notions must From must be be called upon to grasp the meaning of called of this this verse. verse. The substances substances that The that ensure ensure the general nutrition nutrition of of the the body body come from transformations which' which' occur along along the the come from chemical transformations length length of of the digestive digestive tract. These These substances substances come come from from the the contents contents of of the intestine. intestine. on On arrivar arrival in in the intestine at at the the apappropriate propriate stage stage of of chemical chemIcal transformation, transformation, they they pass pass through through its its wall and towards the systemic systemic circulation. This This passage passage is is effected in two two ways: ways: either either direcfly, directly, by by what what are are called called the the ,lym'lymeffected in phatic or indirectly, indirectly, by by the the portal portal circulation. circulation. This This conconphatic vessels', vessels', or ducts them them first first to to the the liver, liver, where where they they undergo undergo alterations, alterations, and and from from here here they they then then emerge emerge to to join join the the systemic systemic circulation. circulation. In In this this way way everything everything passes passes through through the the bloodstream. bloodstream. The The constituents constituents of of milk milk are are secreted secreted by by the the mammary mammary glands. glands. These are nourished, These are nourished, as as itit were, were, by by the the product product of of food food digestion digestion brought brought to to them thE~m via via the the bloodstream. bloodstream. Brood Blood therefore therefore plays plays the the role of collector and role of collector and conductor conductor of of what what has has been been extracted extracted from from food, food, and and itit brings brings nutrition nutrition to to the the mammary mammary glands, glands, the the propromilk, ducers of as itit does does to to any any other otherorgan. organ. ducers of milk, as


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Here the the initial initial proeess process which which sets sets everything everything else else in in motion motion Here blood the intestine and the contents of the intestine and blood is the bringing together of of the of contents is the bringing togpther precise concept very at the level of the intestinal wall itself. This very precise concept This itseH. intestinal wall et the level of the is the the result result of of the the discoveries discoveries msde made in in the the chemistry chemistry and and physiolphysiolis at the time unknown ogy of the digestive system. It was totally unknown at the time was totally It ogy of the disestive system. in reonly of the Prophet Muhammad and has been understood in hss understood been Muhammad snd of cent timcs. times. The discovery discovery of of the circulation of of the blood, blood, was was made by Harvey roughly ten centuries centuries after after the Qur'anic RevelaRevelamade tion. that the existence existence in in the Qur'an of the verse verse referconsider that II consider ring to these these concepts concepts can can have have no human human explanation explanation on account account ring in which they were formulated. of the period in


VII vrr Hrrrnarr Rep..oduÂŁlion Human R*productirrrr From the the moment moment ancient ancient human human writings From writings enter enter into into detail detail (honiever slight) slight) on on the (however the subject subject of reproduction, they of reproduction, they ineviinevitably make mskestatements statementsthat that are tably are inaccurate. inaceurate.In In the the Middle Middte AgesAgesand even evenin in more more recent recent time-reproduction time--reproduction was and was surrounded surroundedby by all sorts sorts of myths myths and and superstitions. superstitions. How all How could could it have have been been otherwise, considering considering the the fact that to understand otherwise, understand its complex complex mechanisms,man possessaa knowledge man first had had to possess mechanisms, knowledgeof anatomy, anatomy, the discovery discoveryof the the microscope microseopehad the had to be be made, made,and and the the so-called so-cslled basic sciences scienceshad hsd to be be founded founded which basic which were were to nurture physiphysiology, embryology, embryology,obstetrics, obstetrics, ete. ology, etc. The situation is quite different in the Qur'an. The Book Book eur'an. The precise mechanisms mentions precise mechanisms in many mentions places and many places and describes describes clearly-definedstages stagesin reproduetion, clearly-defined reproduction, without providing a single single statement statement marred by insccuracy. inaccuracy. Everything Everything in the eur'an Qur'an is explained explained in simple simple terms which are easily easily understandeble understandable to man man and and in strict strict aecordance accordance with with what was was to be be discovered discovered much much later on, on. Human reproduction reproduction is referred to in in several several dozen dozen verses verses of of the Qur'an, Qur'an, in in various contexts. contexts. rt It is explained explained through stetestatements ments which which deal deal with with one one or more more specific specific points. points. They must be be assembled assembled to to give a gbneral general idea of of the the verses verses as a whole, whole, and here, here, as as for for the the other other subjeets subjects already already examined, examined, the the commentary commentary is is in in this this way way made made easier. easier. REMIIVDER REMINDER OF OF CENTAIN CERTAIN BASIC CONCEJPTS. CONCEPTS. ItIt is is imperative imperative to to recall recall certain certain basic basic concepts concepts which which were were ununknown known at at the the time time of of the the Qur'anic Qur'anic Revelation Revelation and and the the centuries centuries that that followed. followed. 198 r98


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Human reproduction reproduction is is effected effected by by aa selies series of of processes processes which which Human in common common with with mammals. mammals. The starting starting point point is the we share in fertilization of of an an ovule which which has detached detached itself itself from from the ovary. fertilization It takes place place in in the the Fallopian Fallopian tubes half-way half-way through through the menIt strual ci-cle. cycle. The fertilizing fertilizing agent is the male sperm, sperm, or or more strual spermatozoon, a single fertilizing fertilizing cell being all that that exactly, the spermatozoon, exactly, needed. To ensure ensure fertilization fertilization therefore, therefore, an infinitely infinitely small is needed. quantity of of spermatic spermatic liquid liquid containing containing a large large number of of quantity spermatozoons (tens of of millions millions at at a time) time) is required. required. This spermatozoons liquid is produced produced by the testicles testicles and temporarily temporarily stored stored in a Iiquid of reservoirs and canals canals that that finally lead lead into the urinary urinary system of system tract; other glands glands are situated along the latter latter rvhich which contribute tract; their own additional secretions secretions to the sperm sperm itself. their implantation of the egg fertilized fertil~zed by this process process takes takes The implantation it system: it precise spot in the female reproductive system: place at a precise place female reproductive lodges in the descends descendsinto the uterus via a Fallopian tube and lodges body literally implants itself by init soon soon literally where it body of the uterus where once and of the muscie, muscie, once sertion into the thickness mucosa and thickness of the mucosa If the placenta placenta has with the aid of the latter. If has been been formed and with place, for example, example, the implantation of the fertilized egg takes place, egg takes pregnancy will will uterus, pregnancy in the Fallopian tubes instead of in the uterus, tubes instead be be interrupted. eye, it it naked eye, Once be observable obses'able to the naked begins to be Once the embryo begins rvhich appearlooks like a small mass of flesh at the centre of which the appearcentt'e the flesh mass a small looks grows indistinguishable. It grows ance being is at first indistinguishable. human being ance of aa human well there in progressive stages which are very well known today; are progressive stages there sy$nervous systhe nervous muscles, the they lead structure, the muscles, bone structure, lead to the bone etc. the circulation, and the viscerae, etc. tem, tem, the circulation, and the viscerae, leference against terms of reference These the terms as the serve as notions will serve These notions be to be ale to reproduction are which the on reproduction in the the Qur'an statements in Qur'an on the statements compared. compared.

rN THE THE QUR'AN. HUMAN IN nEPRODUCTTOII HAMAN REPRODUCTION QUn'AN. ou containson the Qur'an what the It gain an idea of of what Qur"an contains an idea to gain easyto not easy is not It is menalready the fact from this subject. The first difficulty arises from the fact already menarises difficulty first The this subject. are subject are this subject with this tioned, dealing with statements dealing the statements that the i.e. that tioned, Le. difmajor a however not is scattered throughout the Book. This is not however a major difThis Book. the scattered throughout


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ficulty. What What isis more morelikely likely to ficulty. to mislead misleadthe the inquiring inquiring reader readeris, is, onceagain, problemof again,the theproblem of vocabulary. vocabulary. once rn fact fact there thereare arestill still many In manytranslations translationsand andcommentaries commentariesin in circulation today today that give aa completely that can circulation can give completclyfalse false idea idea of of the the Revelationon on this Qur'anic Qur'anic Revelation this subject subjectto to the the scientist scientist who who reads reads them.The Themajority majority of of translations translationsdescribe, example, them. describe,for for example,man's man's 'bloodclot' ,adhesion'.A formation from from aa 'blood formation clot' or or an an 'adhesion'. A statement statementof of this kind kind isis totally totally unacceptable unaeceptable this to to scientists scientistsspecializing specializingin this in this field.In paragraphdealing In the the paragraph field. dealingwith with the the implantation implantationof the egg of the egg in the the maternal maternal uterus, uterus, we wGshall in reasons why shall see seethe reasons the why distindistinguishedArabists Arabists who who lack lack aa scientific guished scientificbackground backgroundhave have made made suchblunders. blunders. such This observation observationimplies implieshow great the This howgreat the importance importanceof of an an assoassociation between betweenlinguistic linguistic and when ciation and scientific scientific knowledge knowledgeis is when it it graspingthe comesto to grasping the meaning meaningof Qur'anic comes statementson eur'anic statements on reproreproduction. duction. The Qur'an sets out out by by stressing stressingthe Qur'an sets The the successive successivetransformatransformations the the embryo embryo undergoes undergoesbefore tions before reaching reaching its destination destination in in the maternal maternaluterus. uterus. the -sura 82, 82,verses verses6Gto 8: 8: -sura Man "O Who deceives you about deceivesyou "0 Man!! Who Noble, Who about your Lord the the Noble, Who created created you you and and fashioned fashioned you you in due due proportion proportion and and gave gave you you any any form He willed." -sura -sura ?1, 71, verse verse 14: "(God) "( God) fashioned fashioned you in in (different) (different) stages." stages." Along text of of the the Along with with this this very very general observation, observ¡ation, the text Qur'an Qur'an draws draws attention attention to to several points points concerning reproducreproduction tion which which might might be be listed listed as as follows: follows: 1) 1) fertilization fertilization is is performed performed by by only only aa very very small small volume volume of of liquid. liquid. 22)I the the constituents constituents of of the the fertilizing fertilizing liquid. liquid. 33)) the the implantation implantation of of the the fertilized fertilized egg. egg. 44)) the the evolution evolution of of the the embryo. embryo. 7. 1. Fefiilirntion FertilizationbisPefiotmedbg Performed by Onlg OnlyaVery a VefY Small Volume Volume of ofLiquid. Liquid. The The Qur'an Qur'an repeats repeats this this concept concept eleven eleven times times using using the the followfollowing ingexpression: expression:


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-sura 16, 16, verse verse 4: 4: -sura "(God) fashioned man from from aa small small quantity quantity (of (of sperm) sperm)." (God) fashionedman " the by The Arabic word nutfa has been translated by the "'words words been translated has rw[fa The Arabic word 'small tsmall quantity quantity (of (of sperm)' sperm)' because because we we do do not not have have the the terms terms signiverb a from comes that are strictly appropriate. This word comes from a verb signiword This that are strietly appropriate. 'to remains what describe fying 'to dribble, to trickle'; it is used to describe what remains to used is it dribble, to trickle'; fying at the the bottom bottom of of aa bucket bucket that that has has been been emptied emptied out. out. ItIt therefore therefore at indicates aa very very small small quantity quantity of of liguid. liquid. Here Here itit is is sperm sperm bebeword the with verse cause the word is associated in verse with the word another in associated cause sperm. sperm. -Sura -sura 75, 75, verSe verse 37: "Was (man) not a small quantity quantity of sperm sperm which has been been "Was poured out?" poured Arabic word mani mani signifies signifies sperm. sperm. Here the Arabic verse indicates indicates that the small quantity in question question is Another verse (qayd,t'J which obviously 'firmly established established lodging' (qarii1') obviously put in a 'firmly means the genital organs. organs. means -sura 23, -sura sPeaking: 13. God God is speaking: 23, verse verse 13. ,,Then We sperm) in aa "Then placed (man) as aa small placed small quantity (of sperm) as we safe lodging firmly established." established." safe It adjective which in this text refers to added that the adjective he added It must be 'firmly the 'firmly established lodging' makTn matiin is, is, I think, hardly translodging' the established respected and respected latable. It expresses the idea of a firmly established establishedand a idea the latable. It expresses man where this may be, it refers to the spot where man place. the refers spot place. However be, may However the stress to grows maternal organism. It is important to stress the is grows in the organism. the maternal the concept of a very small quantity of liquid needed in the fertilizaneeded small concept a know we know what we tion with what in agreement agreementwith process,which is strictly strictly in which is tion process, this subject today. on today. this subject on

2. Liquid. of the FertilizingLiquiil. The Constituents the Fertilizing 2, The Constituents of take to take fertilization to The liquid enabling enabling fertilization the liquid describesthe The Qur'an Qur'an describes place in terms which it is interesting to examine: examine: place in terms which it is interesting to 'sperm',as (sura 75, verse37) 3?) precisely(sura a) 75,verse statedprecisely beenstated hasbeen ashas a) 'sperm', 'a liquid from b) 'a liquid poured out': "Man was fashioned from aa liquid "Man was fashioned liquid poured out' : b) out" (sura 86, verse 6) poured (sura pouredout" 86, verse 6) ,adespised 20) verse20) 77,verse liquid' c) (sura32, sura77, andsura verse88and 32,verse despised liquid' (sura c) 'a 'despised'(mahin) interbe interseems'be The (mahfn) would, would' itit seems, The adjective adjective 'despised' itself, liquid itself, the liquid of the nature of preted the nature of the accountof on account much on preted not somuch not so


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THE THE BmLE, BIBI.q THE THE QUR'AN AND SCIENCE SCIENCE QUN'ANAND

as more more the the fact fact that that if it is is emitted as emitted through through the the outlet ouflet of of the the urinary tract, using using the channels that the channels urinary tract, that are pas.sing are employed employed for for passing urine. urine. 'Mixtures' or 'mingled d) 'Mixtures' (am#ail: "Verily, d) or 'mingled liquids' liquids' (amJaj): fashwâ&#x201A;Ź fash"verily, we ioned man man from quantity of from aa small small quantity ioned (sura of mingled mingled liquids" liquids" (sura verse2) 76,verse 2) 76, Many commentators, commentators, like professor Hamidullah, Iike professor Many Hamidullah, consider consider these these liquids to to be be the the male male and liquids and female female agents. agents. The The same same view view was was shared by by older older commentators, commentators, who shared who could eould not not have have had had any any idea idea physiolory of the physiology of the of fertilization, fertilization, especially of especially its its biological biological condiconditions in the case case of of the the woman. tions in the woman. They.tho.ught They thousht that that the the word word simply meant meant the the unification unification of of the simply the two two elements. elements. Modern authors however, like the commentator Modern commentator of the MuntaMuntaedited Supreme lfab edited by the Supreme Council for Council for Islamic Islamie Affairs, lcb Affairs, Cairo, cairo, .small quantity conected this view and note here have corrected here that the 'small quantity speru' is made up of various component parts. The commenof sperm' commentator in the MUff,tafpab Mu4talnb does does not go into detail, but in my opinion tator judicious observation. it is ie aa very very judicious it What are parts of sperm? What the components parts sperm ? liquid is formed by various secretions Spermatic liquid seeretions which come come from the following glands: following glands: from a) a) the testicles: the secretion of of the male genital genital gland contains contains spermatozoons, spermatozoons, which which are elongated cells with with aa long long flagelflagellurn; lum; they they are are bathed in in a sero-fluid liquid. liquid. b) b) the the seminal vesicles: these organs are reservoirs of of spermaspermatozoons tozoons and are placed placed near near the prostate prostate gland; gland; they they also ,*se"l*o crete crete their their own liquid liquid but but itit does does not not contain any any fertilizing fertilizing agents. agents. the c) c) the prostate prostate gland: gland: this this seeretes secretes aa liquid liquid which which gives gives the the sperm sperm its its creamy creamy texture texture and and characteristic characteristic odour. odour. d) d) the the glands glands annexed annexed to to the the urinary urinary tract: tract: cooper's Cooper's or or M6ry's Mery's glands glands secrete secrete aa stringy -stringy liquid liquid and and Littr6's Littre's glands glands give give off off mucous. mucous. These are the the origins origins of of the the ,mingled 'mingled liquids' liquids' which which the the eur'an Qur'an These are would would appear appear to to refer refer to. to. There There is, is, however, however, more more to to be be said said on on this this subjcct. subject. when When the the Qur'an talks talks of of aa fertilizing fertilizing liquid liquid composec composec of of different different comcomQur'an


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ponents, itit also also informs informs us us that that man's man's progeny progeny will will be be mainmainponents, this by something something which which m&y may be be extracted extracted from from this liquid. liquid. tained by tained the meaning meaning of of verse verse 8, 8, sura sura 82: 32: This is is the firis quintessence II (God) (God) made his progeny from the quintessence of of aa despised despised progeny the from his msde " liquid." liquid." here by by the the rvord word 'quintessetlce', 'quintessence', The Arabic Arabic word, word, translated translated here The is ffi\rt\fl^ auliila. ItIt signifies 'something 'something which which is extracted, the the issue issue of of is something else, else, the best psrt part of of a thing'. thing'. In In whatever way way itit is something translated, itit refers refers to to a part part of of a whole. translated, Fertilization of of the egg and reproduction reproduction are produced by a Fertilization that is very very elongated: its its dimensions are measured in in tencell that of a millimetre. millimetre. In In normal conditions', conditions I , only one one thousandths of single cell among several several tens of of millions millions produced produced by a man will will left actually penetrate the ovule; a large number of them are left actually behind and never complete complete the journey journey which leads leads from from the vagina to the ovule, ovule, passing passing through through the uterus and Fallopian extract tubes. It part of the extract infinitesimally small part It is therefore therefore an infinitesimally from a liquid whose composition is highly complex which actucomplex highly composition liquid whose from ally fulfills its function. fulfills agreement In be struck by the agreement it is difficult not to be consequence,it In consequence, we knowledge we between between the text of the Qur'an Glur'an and the scientific knowledge phenomena. possess possesstoday of these these phenomena.

3. The in the Female Organs. Genital0tgatw' Femol,e Genital Eg,g,in tllr- Egg lmplantatlon of the Tru Implantation deit detube it Once hes been been fertilized in the Fallopian tube egg has Once the egg 'implantation called the scends 'implantation lodge inside the uterus; this is called scendsto lodge egg fertilized egg the fertilized of of the lodging of names the the lodging The Qur'an eEd. The of the the eg~. Qut'an names womb: wornb:

-sura -sura 22, versc 56:: 22,verse appointed an appointed for an womb for "We whom rest in the womb to rest in the will to We'2 will whom We sBuEE "We cause term." term." million ?5 million are 25 sperm there there are 1. It of sperm cubic centimetre centimetre of one cubic that in in one It is estimatcd that is estimated of several sâ&#x201A;Źveral ejaeulation of au ejaculation spermatozoons conditionr, s.n normal conditions, under normal with, under rpermatozoons with, cubic eubiccentimetres. centimetres.

2. God speaking Godis is speaking


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The Theimplantation implantation of (womb) is of the the egg eggin in the the uterus uterus (womb) is the rethe rethedevelopment sultof of the developmentof sult of villosities, villosities,veritable veritableelongations elongrtionsof the of the egg, which, which, like Iike roots roots in egg, the soil, in the soil, draw draw nourishment nourishment from from the the thicknessof theuterus of the thickness uterusnecessary necessaryto growilr. These to the the egg's egg'sgrowth. Theseforformationsmake makethe the egg eggliterally mations literally cling cling to to the the uterus. uterus.This This is is â&#x20AC;˘r disdigcoveryof of modern moderntimes. times. cove1'Y The act act of of clinging clinging is The is described describedfive five different difrerent times times in in the the gG: Firstly in in verses Qur'an. : verses1I and and22of of sura Qur'an.Firstly sura96 in the the name narneof "Read, of thy thy Lord Iord Who "Bead, in Who fashioned, fashioned, Whofashioned fashionedman msnfrom from something Who somethingwhich which clings." clings." 'somethingwhich ,ah,q.It which clings' clings'is of 'Something is the the translation transration the the word word 'alaq. rt is the original meaning the original meaningof the is A meaning derived from it, the word. word. meaning derived 'bloodclot', clot', often often figures figures in translation; it is 'blood is aa mistake mistake against against guard : man which one oneshould shouldguard: which' passed through stage man has hasnever passed never through the the-stsge 'blood clot'. being aa 'blood clot'. The The same of being another translation sameis true f~r for another trsnEletion 'adhesion'which tenn, 'adhesion' this term, of this which is is equally equally inappropriate. inappropriate. TheorigThe orig_ 'something which inal sense sense of 'something which clings' clings' corresponds correspondsexactly exacfly to today'sfirmly established establishedreality. today's eonceptis recalled recalled in four other verses This concept which describe describe verses which successivetransformations transformations from the small successive quantity of Epenn spenn small guantity through to the end: the end: through -sure 22, -sura 22, verse verse 5: 5: have "We have fashioned fashioned you you from ... somethins something which which clings." clings." -sura 14:: -sura 28, 23, verse 14 "we "We have fashioned the the small small quantity quantity (of (of sperm) sperm) into into EomF something thing which clings.r' clings. t' --sura -sura 40, verse 67: 67 : "(God) "(God) fashioned you from from a small small quantity quantity (of (of sperm), sperm), finom from something which which clings." clings." -sur.a -sura ?5, 75, VerSe verse 37-38: 37-38 : (man) not "was "Was (man) not aa small small quantity quantity of of sperm sperm which which has has been been poured out After ? that poured out? After that he he was was something something which which clings clings;; then then God God fashioned him in in due due proportion." proportion." fashioned him The organ which which harbours harbours the the pregnancy pregnancy isis qudified qualified in in the the The organ Qur'an by by aa word word which, which, as as we we have have seen, seen, is is still still used used in in Arabic Arabic Qur'an to to signify signify the the uterus. uterus. In In some some suras, suras, itit isis called called aa .lodging 'lodging firmly firmly


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established'· (sure (sura 23, 28, verse verse 13, 18, quotcd quoted above above and and sura sura ??, 77, verse verse estrblished'. 21)1. 21)'.

4. Eoffionof EooIudon of tlre ,he Embryoksiire Embryo inside fllcUtzlnlr,. the Uteru.· 1, The Qur'anic Qur'anic description description of of certain certain stages stages in in the the development development Tlre of the the mbryo embryo corresponds corresponds exsctly exactly to to whgt what we we today today know know about about of it, and the Qur'an Qur'an does does not eontain contain a single statement statement thet that is is open open it, criticism from trom modern modern science. science. to criticism After 'the 'the thing thing which clings' (an expression expression s'hich which is wellAfter founded, ts as we have have seen) seen) the Qur'sn Qur'an informs informs us thst that the embryo founded, passes through the stage stage of of 'chewed 'chewed flesh', flesh', then osssous osseous tissue pass€s appears end and is clad in flesh flesh (defined (defined by a difrerent different word finm from the appeam preceding which signifies signifies 'intact 'intact flesh'). flesh'). prueding -+ure --aura L9, 28, verse verse 14 14:: "We fashioned thing which clings'into clings -into a a chewed chewed ltmrp lump of the thing fashioned "Tl'G and We flesh into bones flesh bones and chewed flesh the chewed fashioned the lVe fashioned flesh and end We clothed bones with flesh.' intaet flesh." with intact clothed the bones 'intact 'Clrewedflesh' mu$Ao" 'intact word muq,ga,; 'Chewed translation of the word the translation flesh' is the embryo The embryo stressed.The be stressed. flesh' needsto be bfun. This distinction needs fleh' is lGfm. it development'it is initially stage in its development, certein stage masg.At aa certain emall mass. initielly-aa small destructurt debonestructure The bone looks flesh. The chewedflesh. eye like chewed naked eye looks to the the naked The mesenchyma.The the mesenchyma. velops is called called the massin what is inside this mass velopcinside It is mentioned. mention€d' It rojourn is of sojoum 1. (sure 6, Yerse 98) 98) aa place of 6, verse Yerse (sura fn another enother verse 1. In alco preceding one would also and would one and i. thi preceding to the very similar similar to term very in aa term crpremed in lr expressed be to be thfu to beffieve this seem Perronally, Ir believe uterus. Personally, maternal uterus. the matemal signify the sGcn- to to signify involve would involve interpretation the would detailed interpretation but aa detailed verse, but the verse, of the ncrning of thc meaning boolL of th'is thTr book. seope of the scope mueh explanation beyond the is beyond which is explanation which len6[iet mucb lengthier tfte lr the intcrpretetion is delicgto interpretation Another requires extremely extremely delicate verse which which requires Another verse following: following: ~ra ---tEtt 89, 6: veree 6: 80,verse ..(H) your mothers, lormetlon mothers, formation of your "(God) fashions you inside bodies of the bodies inside the feshions you (4tl,lumdtl after formation, in three (veils of) darkness." (plunuit) (veils darkne*." of) in three rftar forrnetion, enrtothree anatothe three verle the this verse Modern ree in in this of the the Qur'an intrepreters of Qur'an see lfodcrn intrepreters gertation: rbdoninel thc during mieal layers that proteet the infant during gestation: the abdominal protcet infrnt the lryctr thlt mtcrt (plrccatr' foctur (plaeenta, of the thc foetua wall, of nrrroundinp end the thc surroundings itrelf, and wrll, the uterur itself, thr uterul embryonie fuid). rmniotic fluid). mcmbnner, amniotie embr?onlc membranes, the of eompleteness; conplctenere; the II am rr|re of verrc for lor the thc sake quotc this thir verse to quote obltsld to rrn oblipd an from an dilputeble from bc disputable to be terpretation to me nc to not Hem rccn to given here docr not herc does terpretrtion given really the Qur'an of the tert of the text anatomical vhet the Qur'an really thir what point of ir this but is vierr but of view anitomicsl point means? means?


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bonesthat that are arefOI'med formed are ale covered bones coveredin in muscle; muscle;the the word word 14hm Inhm apappliesto tothem. them. plies It isis known known how how certain parts appear certain parts It appear to to be becompletely eompletelyout out of of proportion during during embryonic embryonic development proportion with what is later development with rvhat is later to to beeomethe the individual, individual, while become others remain while others remain in proportion. in proportion. Tlris isis surely surely the the meaning meaningof This of the the word word muliallaq mttftaltaqwhich which signisigni'shaped in ploportion' fies'shaped as used in verse 5, sura 22 fies in proportion' as used in verse E, sura zz to to describe describe phenomenon. this phenomenon. this "w'e fashioned fashioned... . . . into into something somethingwhich "We which clings clings... into aa lump ., . into lump proportion and of flesh fleshin in proportion and out proportion." of out of proportion." of The Qur'an alsodescribes describesthe The the appearance Qur"an also appearanceof of the the senses sensesand the and the viscerae: viscerae: -sura 32, g: 32,verse verse9: -sura "(God) appointed appointecl you the for you "(God) for the sense senseof hearing, sight of hearing, sight and and the the viscet'ae." viscerae." It refers lefer.s to the the formation folmation of the It the sexual sexual organs: organs: -sula 53, verses verses45-46 4E-46: -sura 53, : (God) fashioned fashioned the two " (God) trvo of aa pair, the male male and and the female, female, ft'om a small quantity (of sperm) is poured out." from sperm) when when it poured it out." The formation of the sexual The sexuar organs organs is described described in two two sura sura of the Qur.'an: of the Qur'an: -sura 11 : -sura 35, 35, verse verse 11: "God created He created you from from dust, then from from a sperm-drop, then then He made made you you pairs pairs (the male and female)." female)." -sura -sura 75, verse verse 89: 39 : "And, "And, (God) (God) made made of of him him a pair, pair, the the male and female." As As has has already already been been noted, noted, alt all statements statements in in the the eur'an Qur'an must must be be compared compared with with today's today's firmly firmly established established concepts: concepts: the the ag:ree_ agreement ment between between them them is is very very clear. clear. ItIt is is however however very very important important to to compare compare them them with with the the general general beliefs beliefs on on this this subjeet subject that that were were held held at at the the time time of of the the eur'anic Qur'anic Revelation Revelation in in order order to to realize realize just just how how far far people people were were in in those those days days from from having having views here in in the the views on on these these problems problems similar similar to to those those expressed expressed here Qur'an. Qur'an. There There can can be be no no doubt doubt that that they they would would have have been been unable unable to interpret the the Revelation Revelation in in the the way way we we can can today today because because we we to interpret are are helped helped by by the the data data modern modern knowledge knowledge affords affords us. us. ItIt was, was, in in fact, fact, only only during during the the Nineteenth Nineteenth century century that that people people had had aa slightslightlylyclearer ofthis this question. question. clearer view viewof


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Throughout the Middle Middle Ages, the most diversified doetrines doctrines Throughout in unfounded unfounded myths and speculations: speculations: they persisted persisted originated in for several centuries after after this this period. The most fundamental fundamental for in the history history of of embryology was Harvey's Harvey's statement stage in (1651) that that "all "all life life initially initially comes comes from from an eg:g". egg". At At this time time (1651) however, when nascent nascent science science had nevertheless nevertheless benefited benefited greatly greatly however, (for the subject subject in in hand) from from the invention of of the microscope' microscope, (for still talking talking about the respective respective roles of of the egg people were still people spermatozoon. Buffon, Butron, the great naturalist, was one one of of and the spermatozoon. those in favor of of the egg egg theory, theory, but Bonnet supported supported the theory those seeds being 'packed 'packed together': the ovaries ovaries of of Eve, the of the seeds of the human race, race, were supposed supposed to have have contained contained the mother of other. seeds beings, packed packed together together one one inside inside the other. seedsof all human beings, This hypothesis hypothesis came Eighteenth century. favor in the Eighteenth came into into favor thousand years years before before our time, at a period period when when More than a thousand knowledge of the whimsical doctrines prevailed, men men had a knowledge whimsical still prevailed, doctrines still truths Qur'an. The statements it contains express express in simple terms truths statements it primordial importance has taken of primordial centuries to importance which man has taken centuries discover. discover.

THE EDUCATION. THE QUR'AN AND SEX EDUCATION. QUR'AN AND Our epoch epochbelieves it has has made made manifold discoveries discoveriesin all believesthat it possible fields. possible fields. It have been been It is thought innovations have thousht that great innovations knowledge of the facts facts made and the knowledge field of sex sex education, education,and made in the field people is regarded regarded as as of life which has has been been opened openedup to young people were an achievement Previous centuries centuries were modern world. Previous aehievementof the modern people and many people noted deliberateobscurity on this point and obscurity on noted for their deliberate religion-is cause say that religion-without stating which religion-is the cause say that religion-without of it. The however that fourteen set out above is proof however above is The information information set questions (as (as it were) on centuries¡ ago theoretical questions on human reprocenturies.ago as as far as was done done as duction man's attention. attention. This was were brought to man's duction were anatomical was possible, taking account the fact that the anatomical taking into account was possible, and explanations were needed for for further further explanations data needed and physiological data it was was understood, it lacking. remember that, to be be understood, also remember should also lacking. One One should compreof comprenecessary level of langu.agesuited the level suited to the simple language use simple necessary to use the Preaching. hension Preaching. listened to the who listened hension of of those those who


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Practical Practical considerations considerationshave have not not been beensilently silently ignored. There ignored. There are on the practical side of life are many many details details in in the practical the Qur'an on the side of life in in Qur'an general, and general, and the the way way man man should should behave behave in in the the many many situations situations of his his existence. existence.His of His sex sex life life is is no no exception. exeeption. Two verses verses in deal with sexual Two in the the Qur'an deal with sexual relations relations themthemQur'an selves. They They are are described selves. described in in terms terms which which unite unite the the need need for for precision with with that that of precision of decency. decency.When When translations translations and and explanaexplanatory commentaries commentariesare tory are consulted consulted however, however, one one is is struck struck by the the divergencesbetween pondered for divergences a between them. them. II have have pondered for a long long time on on the translation translation of of such the such verses, verses,and and am am indebted indebted to Doctor A. K. to Doctor Former Professor Giraud, Former Professorat Giraud, at the the Faculty Faculty of Medicine, Medicine,Beirut, for the following: following: the -sura 86, 86,verse verse66 and and 7?:: -sura was fashioned fashionedfrom aa liquid " (Man) was "(Man) liquid poured poured out. (as out. It It issued issued (as the conjunction conjunction of the sexual aa result) of the sexual area area of the man and the sexual sexual area area of the woman." the sexual area area of the man is indicated The sexual indicated in the text of the (singular). The sexual ser/b (singular). Qur'an Qur'an by the world ~ulb sexual areas areas of the woman are designated designated in the Qur'an by the word tard,,ib woman taril'ib (plural).. (plural) This is the translation which appears be most satisfactory. satisfactory. appears to be It is different from frorn the one one that that is often given hy It by English English and translators, i.e. French translators, Le. "(Man) has been been created created by a liquid "(Man) has poured out which issues issues from between poured between the vertebral column and the bones bones of the breast." This would seem seem more to be an interinterpretation It is hardly pretation than a translation. It hardly comprehensible. comprehensible. The behavior of a man in in his intimate intimate relationships relationships with with his wife wife is stated stated explicitly. There is the order concerning concerning the menstruation period period contained in in verses verses 222 222 and ZZB, 223, sura Z; 2; God God gives the the following following command command to the Prophet: -sura -sura 2, verses verses 222 and 223: 223 : "They "They (the (the Believers) Believers) question question thee thee concerning concerning menstruation. menstruation. Say: This is an evil. Keep Keep away away from from women women during during menstruamenstruation tion and and do not not approach approach them them until until they they are are clean. clean. when When they they have have purified purified themselves, themselves, go go to to them, them, as as God God ordered ordered itit to to you. you. "verily, the repentants repentants and and loves loves those those who who purified purified "Verily, God God loves loves the themselves. themselves.


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"Your wives are a tilth. tilth. Go to your your tilth tilth as you will. will. Do (some (some "Your for your your souls souls beforehand." good act) for good of this passage passage is very clear in in meaning: itit The beginning of formally forbids forbids a man to have sexual sexual contact with with a woman who formally period. The second second part part describes describes the process process of of tilling tilling has her period. sower performs before sowing the seed seed which is to which the sower produce a new plant. Through this image theregerminate and produce stress is indirectly indirectly laicl laid on the importance importance of of bearing in in fore, stress purpose of of sexual sexual contact, contact, i.e. Le. reproduction. reproduction. The mind the final purpose phrase is by R. Blach0re: Blachere: it it contains contains an translation of the final phrase order which seems seems to refer to the preliminalies preliminaries before sexual sexual orcler contact. contact. general kind. The probThe orders here are of a very general orders given here has been been raised raised with with regard to these these verses: verses: lem of contraception contraception has subject. here, nor anywhere reference made made to this subject. anywhere else, else,is reference neither here, Nor is provoked provoked abortion numerous passages passages ahortion referred to. The numerous Nor quoted above embryo quoted successivetransformations of the embryo above on the successive be conconmake it quite clear, however, that man is considered considered to be clear, however, make it 'something stituted as existenceof 'something as of the stage stage described describedby the existence which clings'. respect of the indiclings'. This being absolute respect being so, so, the absolute vidual human human being, so often in the the Qur'an, being, which is referred to so Qur'an, provoked abortion. brings with it aa total condemnation abortion. This condemnationof provoked attitude religions. today shared monotheisticreligions. attitude is today shared by all monotheistic the Sexual relations are permitted at night during the Fast in the Sexual relations follows: month is as Ramadanis as follows: The verse verseconcerning concerningRamadan month of Ramadan. Ramadan.The -Sura 2, -sura 2, verse verse187: 187: you, on "Permitted is to break break chastity nisht of the the fast, fast, is on the night "Permitted to you, you you are aa garwith your wives. They are a garment for you and you are and They are a wives. God ment for them. So hold intercourse with them and seek what God and seek hold them intercourse them. So has ordained for you." has ordained is made made for pilIn contrast the rule is no exception this, no exception to the contrast to this, the Pilgrimage. grims in Makka during the celebration days of the Pilgrimage. the celebration days Makka -sura 2, -sura 197: 2, verse verse197: (the duty of) the the Pilgrimage Pilgrimage in its "For whom whom undertakes undertakes (the time, no license." license." no wooing and no wooing and time, no activities other activities This that other prohibition is as is is the the fact fact that is formal, formal, as This prohibition are etc. fighting, etc. hunting, fighting, forbidden, e.g. e.g. hunting, are forbidden, in connection connection in the Menstruation the Qur'an is again again mentioned mentioned in Menstruation is Qur'an in verse: following verse: with divorce. Book contains the following The Book contains the divorce.The


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-sura 65, 65,verse verse44:: -sura your wives wives who "For your "For who despair despair of you doubt of menstruation, menstruation, if if you doubt period of about them, them, their their period about of waiting waiting will be three will be three months. months. For For those who who never never have periods and have their their monthly those monthly periods and those are those who who are pregnant their period will their period pregnant will be until they be until they lay lay down down their their burden." burden." period referred The waiting waiting period referred to The to here here is is the the time time between between the the announcement of of the the divorce divoree and announcement and the the time it it comes comes into into effect. effect. 'they despair Those women women of of whom whom it Those it is is said said 'they despair of menstruation' of menstruation' have reached reached the the menopause. precautionary period have menopause.A precautionary period of three three months is is envisaged envisaged for them. period is months them. Once once this period is completed, eompleted, divorced women women who who have have reached divorced reachedthe the menopause menopausemay remarry. those who who have have not yet menstruated, For those menstruated, the pregnancy pregnancy period period has to be be awaited. awaited. For pregnant pregnant women, has women, divorce divorce only comes comesinto effect once the child once the child is born. effect born. All these these laws laws are in perfect agreement All agreement with physiological with physiological data. One one can, can, furthermore, find find in the Qur'an the same data. same judicious legal provision in the texts dealing legal dealing with with widowhood. widowhood. Thus, the theoretical theoretical statements statements dealing Thus, dealing with reproduction, reproduetion, and the practical instructions on and on the sex sex life of couples, couples, do do not placed in opposition and cannot cannot be contradict and be placed opposition to the data we have have modern knowledge, knowledg:e,nor with from modern with anything that can ean be be logically from it. derived from derived


I

Qu..'an.1: and and Qur'anic l3.blil:aI Bihlical ~a....ation~ Narratiorrs GEnE..al Outlines General OullinEs also with in the Bible are also A dealt with subjects dealt large number of subjects A large to referring narrations are in the Qur'an. Firstly, there are narrations referring to found found itt tft* Qur'an. Firstly, and Job Jonah, the Prophets; Noah, Abraham, Joseph, Elias, Jonah, Job and Joseph, the Prophets; Noah, just name just Solomon-to name Moses; David, Solomon-to Saul, David, Israel; Saul, of Israel; Kings of [tt. Kings Moses; the then There then common. There in common. some share in they share narrations they *"it narrations the main of the someof of course the in great events follow more specific accounts of great events in the course of of follow more specific accounts the of the Creation e.g. which the supernatural has intervened, e.g. the Creation of the which the supernatural has intervened, Exodus' the Exodus. Flood, the the Flood, Man, the Earth of Man, Creation of the Creation Heavens,the and Heavens, Earth and mother His and Jesus Finally, there is all that has to do with Jesus and His mother do with Finally, there is all that has to Mary as far as it concerns the New Testament. Testament' New Mary as far as it concerns the Scriptwo Scripin the the two with in dealt with What subiects dealt the subjects do the reflections do What reflections knowlmodern our of tures provoke when viewed in the light of our modern knowllisht the in tures provoke when viewed edge sources? extra-scriptural sources? from extra-Scriptural them from of them edgeof

Parallel: l(noul'e dge' M oder nKnowledge. and Modern P arallnl :Qur'an/Gospel Qur'an I G ospeland first must first onemust With parallel of of Qur'an/Gospels, the parallel to the Qur'an/Gospels, one regard to With regard which Gospels, the in to note that none of the subjects referred to in the Gospels, which referred note that none of the subjects gll 211


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werecriticized criticizedfrom par.tTwo from aa scientific point of were seientificpoint (seePart of view view (see Two of of this book), quotedin book),isisquoted this in the the Qur'an. eur'an. Jesusisis referred refer.ed to Jesus to many many times times in in the the Qur'an, e.g. Mary's Mary's eur'an, e.g. annunciationof of the thenativity nativity to annunciation tohis hisfather, father,the theannunciation annunciationof of the the miraculousnativity prophet of nativity to miraculous to Mary, Mary, Jesus~s Jesus'sstature stature as asaa Prophet of the the highestorder, older, His His role lole as highest as aa Messiah, Messiah,the the Revelation RevelationHe He directs directs to Man Man which which confirms confirms and to preachings, and modifies modifiesthe the Torah, Torah, His preachings, His IIis disciples disciplesand and apostles, apostles,the His the miracles, miracles, His His Ascension Ascen*io, to to God, God, His role rolein in the theLast Last Judgment, Judgment,etc. His etc. suras 33 and and 19 19 of of the Suras the Qur'an (the second secondof of which eur'an (the which bears bears Maly's name) name) devote de'ote long passagesto Mary's family. long passages to Jesus's Jesus's family. They They dedescribe His His mother mother Mary's scribe Mary's nativity, youth and nativity, her her youth and the the annunciaannuncia,son tion of of her her miraculous miraculous motherhood. motherhood.Jesus tion Jesus is is always always called called 'Son of Mary'. Mary'. His His ancestry ancestry is of to is exclusively given with regard exclusively given regard to His His mother'sside, side,which quite logical which is is quite mother's had logical since sinceJesus Jesus had no no biological biological father. Here Flere the the Qur'an father. differs from Matthew's and Qur'an differs and Luke's Luke's GosGospels: as as we we have have already already seen, pels: paternal genealogies seen,they they give the the genealogies of Jesus Jesus which are, are, moreover, moreover, different from each of each other. other. In the Qur'an, Jesus placed according Jesus is placed In to His maternal genegeneaccording alogy in the the line of Noah, Noah, Abraham, and Mary's father alogy father ( Imran Imran i n the t h e Qur'an) Q u r ' a n ):: in -sura verses33 3, verses BBand 84:: -sura 3, and 34 choseAdam, Noah, "God chose Noah, the family family of of Abraham Abraham and the fam_ family ily of of imrdn imran above above all His creatures, creatures, as as descendants descendants one one from from ananother." other." so So Jesus Jesus is descended descended from from Noah and Abraham Abraham on on His His mother mother Mary's Mary's side, side, and from from her her father father imrdn. Imnin. The The errors errors made made in in the the 'ancestors naming naming of of the 'ancestors of of Jesus' Jesus' found found in in the the Gospels Gospels are are not not present present in in the the Qur'an, Qur'an, nor nor are are the the impossibilities impossibilities in in ihe the genealogenealogies gies contained contained in in the the old Old Testament Testament of of Abraham's Abraham's ancestry, ancestry, both both of of whieh which were were examined examined in in the the first first and and second second parts parts or of tni* this book. book. once Once again, again, this this fact fact must must be be noted noted ifif one one is is to to be be objective, objective, and and yet yet again again its its great great importance impol¡tance appears appears very very clearly clearly in in the the face face of of the the unfounded unfounded statements statements which which are are made made claiming claiming that that -niute. Muhammad, Muhammad, the the author author of of the the eur'an, Qur'an, largely largely copied copied the the Bible. one One wonders wonders in in that that case case who who or or what what reason reason compelled compelled him him to to avoid avoid copying copying the the passages passages the the Bible Bible contains contains on on Jesus's Jesus's ancesancestry, try, and and to to insert insert at at this this point point in in the the eur'an Qur'an the the corrections corrections that that


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put his his text text above above any any criticism criticism from from modern modern knowledge. knowledge. The The put this from quite the opposite; Gospels and Old Testament texts are quite the opposite; from this are texts Testament bospels and Old are totally unacceptable. point of view they unaceeptable. are totally they point of view

Parallel: Qur'an Qur'an/Old Testament and andMoilpm Modem Knoulcilge, Knowledge. I OliI Tectament Parullel: In the the case case of of the the old Old Testament, Testament, certain certain aspects aspects of of this this paralparalIn world, the of lel have have already already been been dealt dealt with. with. The The Creation Creation of the world, for for Iel example, was was the the subjeet subject of of aa critical critical study study made made in in the the Old Old example, Testament section section of of this this book. book. The The same same subject subject was was examined examined Testament with regard regard to to the the Qur'anic Qur'anic Revelation. Revelation. comparisons Comparisons were were made made with and there there is is no no need need to to cover this this ground again' again. and It seems seems that that historical historical knowledge is too vagtre vague and archaeoarchaeoIt scarce for for parallels to be established established in in the light light logical data too scarce logical of modern modern knowledge knowledge on problems problems concerning concerning the Kings Kings of of of Israel, who who form form the subject of of narrations narrations in in both the Qur'an Qur'an and fsrael, the Bible. Bible. the Whether or not one one ean can taekle tackle the problem of the Prophets in in Whether the depends on the extent to which the modern data depends light of modern the light have may or may not have events traces which mayor left tra.ces have left described have events described come us. comedown to us. the Qur'an with in both the dealt with There subjects dealt however two subjects There are however and which and the Bible which should command our attention and command should the and are They are knowledge. need to be examined in modern the light of modern knowledge. They the to be examined need as follows: as follows: -the -the Flood, Flood, -the -the Exodus. Exodus. of history of in the the history traces in left traces -The not left has not -The first it has first because becauseit modwhereas narration, support the Biblical narration, whereas modcivilization which civilization which support the Biblical in contained in narration contained the narration ern criticize the permit us to criticize us to not permit do not data do ern data the theQur'an. Qur'an. evinarrations evi-The and Qur'anic Biblical and the Biblical Qur'anie narrations -The second becausethe secondbecause modern and outlines, dently complement each broad other in their broad outlines, and modern in their other eaeh dently complement historical remarkable historical with remarkable data them with of them both of provide both to provide seemto data seem support. support.


ll II Th TheE Flo flood od The Biblica Biblbal l Narrat Natration ion of of the Flood Flood and the Critici cfiticiutm sm Levele Leoeledd at It-A It - A Remin Remind,et deT. The exami nation of the Old Testam examination Testament ent descrip description tion of the Flood in the first part part of this book led to the follow follo*irg ing observ observations: ations : just one There is not just one descrip description tion of the Flood, Flood, but uut two, two, writte writtenn at differe different nt times; tirnes; -the Yahvi -the Yahvist st versio version n which dates dates from from the Ninth Ninth centur centuryy B.C. B.c. -the Sacerd -the otal versio sacerdotal version n dating from the Sixth sixth centur century y B.C., 8.c., so so called called becaus because e it it was the work work of priests of the time. These These two narrat narrations juxtaposed, ions are not juxtap osed, but interw interwoven oven so so part of one that that part one is fitted inbetw inbetween een parts of the other, Le. i.e. paragraphs from from one one source source alterna arternate te with passage with passag e from from the other. The comm commentary entary to the transla translation tion of Genesi Genesis s by Father Father de de Vaux, professor aa profes sor at the Biblica Biblieall School school of Jerusa Jerusalem, lem, shows .ho** very clearly how the paragr paragraphs aphs are distrib distributed uted betwee between n the the two source sources. s. The narration narrat yahvist ion begins begins and and ends ends with with aa Yahvi passage. st passag e. There are ten Yahvi Yahvist paragraphs st paragr aphs altoge altogether ther and and betwee between n each each one one aa SacerSacerpassage dotal dotal passag e has has been been inserte inserted d (there are aa total of nine nine SacerSaeerparagraphs). dotal dotal paragr aphs). This mosaic mosaic of texts is only cohere coherent nt when when read read from aa point of view which takes takes the succes succession sion of episod episodes es into accoun account, t, since since there are blatan blatantt contra contradictions diction s betwee between n the ..two accoun two source sources. s. Father de de Vaux vaux describ describes es them as as "two accounts ts of the the Flood, Flood, in which the catacly cataclysm sm is caused caused by differe different agents nt agents and and lasts lasts differe different nt length lengths s of time, time, and where where Noah receive rmeives s into the Ark Ark aa differe different nt numbe numberr of anima animals." ls." When when seen seen in the light light of moder modern n knowle knowledge, dge, the Biblica Biblicall dedescripti scription on of the Flood Flood as as aa whole whore is unacce unacceptable ptable for the follow follow-ing reason reasons: s: 214 2t4


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ascribes to itit the character of of a universal a) The Old Testament ascribes cataclysm. paragraphs from from the Yahvist Yahvist text text do not not date b) Whereas the paragraphs text situates itit at a point point in time time the Flood, the Sacerdotal Sacerdotal text this kind kind could not have occurred. occurred. where a cataclysm of this following are arguments supporting supporting this this opinion: opinion: The following narration states states quite precisely that that the Flood Sacerdotal narration The Sacerdotal 600 years old. According According to the geneageneaplace when Noah was 600 took place logies Sacerdotal logies in chapter ehapter 5 of Genesis Genesis (also taken from from the Sacerdotal quoted in the first part text and part of this book), we rve know that Noah and quoted years after is said been born 1,056 after Adam. Consequently, said to have have been 1,056 years Consequently, the Flood would have taken place place 1,655 after the creation 1,655 years after genealogical table of Adam. The genealogical moreover, taken table of Abraham moreover, (11, 10-32), given in Genesis from the same 10-32), allows allows us us same text and and given Genesis(11, to estimate that that Abraham Abraham was born 292 after the Flood. As 292 years after (according to the Bible) Abraham was we know that (according was alive alive in roughly 1850 the Flood 1850 B.C., Flood would be situated in the 8.C., the would therefore be Twenty-first B.C. This calculation Twenty-first or Twenty-second ealculation is Twenty-second century B.C. in strict rvith the old editions editions of the strict keeping keeping with the information information in old Bible which figures head of the Biblical text. figures prominently at the head This was knowledge on on the was at aa time when when the lack of human knowledge subject contained in the chronologieal data data contained subject was was such such that the chronological question by its readers-for Bible were readers-for want accepted without question were accepted of any arguments arguments to the contrary.1 contrary.l possible to conceive How is it possible today of aa universal universal cataclysm coneeivetoday cataclysm in the B.C. which dedethe Twenty-first or Twenty-second Twenty-second century B.C. (except for the people peopleand and stroyed surface (except the earth's stroyed life on al| the earth's surface on all animals Ark) ?? By this time, time, civilizations had flourished flourishedin the Ark) civilizations had animals in the globe, and several have now come come and their vestiges vestiges have several parts of the globe, to posterity. In Egypt at this time, for example, the Interdown posterity. example, time, down preKingdom and mediate end of the the Old and prethe end OId Kingdom follou'ed the mediate Period Period followed Kingdom. view the beginning of the Middle Kingdom. In view of our ceded Middle our the beginning ceded the ancient times times chronology of ancient 1. the chronology concerning the notions concerning certain notions l. Now that certain given by the the authors authors of dates given have the imaginary dates and the have been been established, established,and credible, those those no the text of the Old Testament are no longer credible, are Testament the the Sacerdotal Sacerdotal genethose genethe case caseof those dates Bibles. In the quickly been been suppressed suppressedin Bibles. have quickly dates have books incommentators of books alogies preserved, modern modern commentators have been been presel'ved, alogies that have the readers' attention attention to the tended publication fail to draw the the readers' tended for mass mass publication errors they contain. they contain.


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period, it knowledge of of the the history history of of this this period, knowledge it would be absurd would be absurd to to maintain that that the the Flood Flood had had destroyed maintain all civilization destroyed all civilization at at this this time. time. Thus it it may may be be affirmed affirmed from point of Thus from aa historical historical point of view that view that the narration presented of the the Flood the narration of Flood as as it it is is presented in in the the Bible Bible is is in in evident contradiction contradiction with with modern evident modern knowledge. knowledge. The The formal proof formal proof of man's man's manipulation manipulation of of of the the Scriptures Scriptures is is the the existence existence of of the the two texts. two texts. The NafTation Nanation of of the the Flood FloodContaineil The Contained in in the tlle Qu,'an. Qur'an, gives aa general general version version which is different from that The Qur'an gives contained in the Bible and contained and does does not give rise to any criticisms view. from aa historical point of view. It does does not provide aa continuous continuous narration It narration of the Flood. Flood. Numerous suras suras talk of the punishment inflicted upon merous upon Noah's Noah's people.The most most complete complete account people. account of this is in sura sura 11, 11, verses verses 25 to 49. 49. Sura 71, 71, which bears 25 bears Noah's Noah's name, name, describes describesabove above all preachings,as Noah's preachings, Noah's as do do verses verses105 105 to 115, 115, sura 26. 86. Before going actual course course taken by events, into the actual events, we must consider eonsider the Flood as as described described in the Qur'an by relating it Flood general it to the general context of the punishment context punishment God guilty God inflicted on communities communities suilty of of gravely gravely infringing infringing His Commandments. Commandments. Whereas Whereas the Bible describes describes a universal universal Flood intended intended to punish ungodly humanity humanity as as a whole, whole, the eur'an, Qur'an, in contrast, contrast, mentions several several punishments punishments inflicted on certain specifically specifically dedefined fined communities. communities. This may be be seen seen in verses verses 35 to 3g, 39, sura ZE: 25: "we "We gave gave Moses Moses the scripture Scripture and appointed appointed his brother Aaron Aaron with with him him as vizier. we We said: Go to the people people who have denied Our signs. signs. we We destroyed destroyed them completely. completely. when When the denied our people people of of Noah Noah denied denied the the Messengers, Messengers, we We drowned them them and we We made made of of them them a sign for for mankind. mankind. (We destroyed destroyed the the tribes) tribes) of of h'd Ad and and Tamfrd, !amud, the the companions companions of of Rass Rass and and many many generations generations between between them. them. We We warned warned each each of of them them by by examples examples and and We We annihilated annihilated them them completely." completely." Sura 7, 7, verses verses 59 59 to to 93 93 contains contains aa reminder reminder of of the the punishments punishments Sura brought brought upon upon Noah's Noah's people, people, the the hd, ~d, the the famrid, Tamiid, Lot Lot (Sodom) (Sodom) and and Madi6n Madian respectively. respectively.


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Thus the the Qur'an Qur'an presents the the cataclysm cataclysm of of the the Flood Flood as a punpunThus ishment specifically intended for for Noah's people: people: this this is the first first basic difrerence difference between the the two two narrations. narrations. The second second fundamental fundamental difrerence difference is is that that the Qur'an, Qur'an, in in conThe gives no in and trast to the Bible, does not date the Flood in time time does not trast indication as itself. to the duration of the cataclysm itself. to the duration of the cataclysm indication The causes causes of of the flooding are roughly roughly the same same in in both both n&rranarra(Genesis Sacerdotal description in in the Bible (Genesis 7, 11) tions. The Sacerdotal two causes causes which which occurred simultaneously: "On "On that that day cites two all the fountains of of the great decp deep burst burst forth, forth, and the windows of the heavens heavens were opened." opened." The Qur'an records records the following following of in verses verses 11 and 12, sura 54: 12, 11 "We Heaven with with pouring pouring water. And And We Gates of Heaven opened the Gates "We opened gush acforth caused so the waters met acforth springs, so caused the ground to cording which has beâ&#x201A;Źn been ordained." decree which eording to the decree The Qur'an very precise precise about the contents Ark.. The contents of the Ark.'The Qur'an is very gave to Noah was faithfully it was to do do order God executed and it faithfully executed God gave the following: following: -sura 11, -sura 40: 11, verse verse 40: pair of every "(In save this every kind, thy family, save Ark) load Ioad a pair "(fn the Ark) gone forth, and those those one has already gone one against whom the word has who believe. with him." him." believed with believe. But But only a few had believed person excluded The person Noah. from the family family is an outcast outcast son son of Noah. excluded from We learn (sura 11, verses 45 and 46) how Noah's supplications 46) Noah's supplications 11, verses 45 person's behalf to God on this person's unable to make Him Him alter God were unable His decision. outcast son), Noah's family (minus the outcast son), decision.Apart Apart from Noah's passengerson the Qur'an Ark on board the Ark Qur'an refers to the few other passengers who had believed who had believed in God. God. The oceupantsof mention the among the the occupants doesnot mention the latter among Bible does The Bible provides us the Ark. versions of with three different versions us with Ark. In fact, it provides the the Ark's contents: contents: -according to the bemade be-according distinction is made version, aa distinction the Yahvist version, 'impure' 'pure' t (sevenl tween 'pure' animals and birds, and 'impure' animals (seven animals animals and birds, and tween 'pure' species, pairs, each 'pure' species, and seven females, of each pairs, Le. sevenfemales, males and i.e. seven sevenmales 'impure' each 'impure' was one pair of each and only one the Ark Ark and taken into the was taken species) . species). 'many', as 'seven'here lanSemitic landoesin the Semitic it often often does in the 1. as it here indicates indicates'many', l. Surely Surely 'seven' guages guagesof time. of the the time.


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THE BIBI.E, THE THE BmLE, THE QUR'AN AND SCffiNCE SCIENCE QUHAN AND

-according to -according to aa modified (Genesis7, modified Yahvist verse (Genesis Yahvist verse 8) there there was T,8) was 'pure' or 'impure'. pair of only only one onepair of each eachspecies, species,whether whether 'pure' or 'impure'. -aceording to -according to the the Sacerdotal Saeerdotalversion, version, there there was Noah, his his family was Noah, family (with no pair taken no exceptions) (with exceptions) and and aa pair from each taken from eachspecies. species. The narration narration in The in the the Qur'an of the the flooding flooding itself itself is is contained contained Qur'an of in sura sura 11, 11, verses in to verses25 49 and 25 to to 49 and in in sura sura 23, 23, verses verses 23 zB to 30. The 80. The present any Biblical narrative narrative does Biblical doesnot not present any important important differences. differences. place where In the the Bible, Bible, the In the place where the the Ark Ark comes comesto to rest rest is is in in the the Ararat Mountains (Genesis 8, Mountains (Genesis Ararat for the Qur'an it is the 4) and 8, 4) and for the eur'an (sura 11, Jfrdt (sura 11,verse verse44.) Judt 44.) This This mountain mountain is is said said to to be be the highest the highest of the the Ararat Ararat range range in of in Armenia, Armenia, but nothing proves proves that the names were were not not changed changed by man to tally names tally with with the two narratives. namatives. This is is confirmed confirmed by R. This R. Blachere: BlaehBre: according according to him there is aa peak in in Arabia Arabia named named JUdl. The' agreement peak Judi. The' agreement of names names may well be artificial. artificial. be rn conclusion, conelusion, it possible to state categorically what major it is possible In major differences exist here here between between the Biblical differences Biblieal and Qur'anic narraeur'anic narraSome of them escape escape critical eritical examination because tions. Some because objective data are lacking. When, however, possible to check check the the When, however, it it is possible statements in the Scriptures scriptures in the light statements of the established established data, data, risht of incompatibility between the incompatibility between the Biblical Biblical narration-i.e. narration-Leo the the ininformation place in in time time and geoEraphical geographical extentextentformation given on its place and the discoveries discoveries that that have contributed contributed to modern knowledge is all too clear. In In contrast to this, the narration narration contained in in the from anything anything which which might might give rise to objective Qur'an is free from criticism. possible that, that, between the time time criticism. one One might might ask ifif itit is possible of the Biblieal narration and contained in in the eur'an, Qur'an, Biblical narration the one contained man could have acquired knowled ge that knowledge that shed light light on on this this event. event. The answer is no, because because from from the the time time of of the the old Old Testament Testament to to the Qur'an, the only document document man man possessed possessed on on this this ancient ancient story story was the the Bible Bible itself. itself. IfIf human human factors factors are are unable unable to to account account for the changes for the changes in in the the narrations narrations which which affeeted affected their their meaning meaning with regard to to modern modern knowledge, knowledge, another another explanation explanation has has to to be be with regard accepted, i.e. after the the one one contained contained accepted, i.e. aa Revelation Revelation which which came came after in in the the Bible. Bi hIe.


ilIII ThE Exodus Exodus The With the Exodus from from Egypt Egypt of of Moses Moses and his followers, (the (the With of an event to come first stage of their to come of we to Canaan), move their of first great importance. It It is an established established historical historical event which which apgreat in a known known context, in in spite of of occasional occasional allegations one one pears in finds which tend to attribute attribute to itit a largely largely legendary character. In the OId Old Testament, Testament, the Exodus forms the second second book of of In the Pentateuch Pentateuch or Torah, along with with a narration narration of of the journey journey wilderness and the alliance alliance (covenant) (covenant) concluded concluded through the wilderness devote a with It is natural for the Qur'an to devote with God Sinai. It God on Mount Sinai. Moses dealings great deal of space to it too: an account of the dealings Moses and account it deal space and of the exit from his brother Aaron had Pharaoh and had with with the Pharaoh descripEgypt suras containing long descripmore than ten suras Egypt is found in more more abridged tions, e.g. suras, 7, 10, 20 and 26, along with more abridged 26, along 10, and 20 ?, tions, e.g. suras, Pharaoh, the versions name of Pharaoh, reminders. The name simple reminders. even simple and even versions and best of the best main character repeated (to the side, is repeated the Egyptian Esyptian SIde, on the character on 27 suras. suras. my knowledge) the Qur'an in 27 times in the seventy-four times knowledge) seventy-four espeis espeA study of both and Biblical narrations is both the the Qur'anic Qur'anic and been has been cially interesting because, in contrast to what has here because, interesting here the main, the the main, noted example), in the Flood (for example), the Flood the case case of the noted in the certainly two points in are certainly There are in common. common.There many points narrations have have many two narrations historiconsiderable historidivergences, has considerable naration has Bihlical naration the Biblical but the divergences, but to identify identify cal it helps helps to is because becauseit This is see. This we shall value, as as we shall see. cal value, question. This hypoThis hypopharaohs in the in question. the two two pharaohs rather the or rather the Pharaoh, Pharaoh, or inthe by complemented thesis, which starts with the Bible, is complemented by the inis the Bible, with starts which thesis, to added data are formation contained in the Qur'an. Modern data are added to Modern in the contained formation Qur'an. possible,through through aa these thus possible. it is is thus and it sourcesand tu'o Scriptural Scriptural sources thesetwo knowltoday's knowland today's confrontation the Qur'an the Bible, Bible, the between the Qur'an and confrontation between hisin Scriptures edge, to situate this episode from the Holy Scriptures in aa hisHoly the from episode this situate to edge, torical context. context. torical gt9 219


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THE EXODUS EXODUSACCORDING THE ACCORDItrGTO TO THE THE BIBLE BIBLE The Biblical Biblical narration narration begins The begins with with aa reminder reminder of of the the Jews' Jews' joined Joseph into Egypt entry into Egypt with with Jacob, entry Jacob,who who joined Josephthere. there. Later Later on, on, accordingto to Exodus Exodus1,l, 8: 8: according there arose arose aa new "Now "Now there new king king over over Egypt, Egypt, who who did not know know did not Joseph." Joseph." pharaoh ordered period of The period of oppression oppression followed; The followed; the the Pharaoh ordered the the to build Jews to build the the cities cities of Jews of Pithom (to use Pithom and and Ramesses Ramesses(to the use the given to namesgiven to them them in in the (Exodus I,I, 11). names the Bible) Bible) (Exodus L1). To To avoid avoid aa population explosion pharaoh ordered explosionamong among the population the Hebrews, Hebrews, Pharaoh ordered each each new-born son to be son to be thrown thrown into into the river. Moses new-born the river. Moseswas was nevertheless nevertheless preserved by by his his mother mother for for the preserved the first first three three months months of of his his life life before she she finally finally decided decided to put him in before in aa rush basket basket on on the edge. The The Pharaoh's Pharaoh's daughter river's edge. daughter discovered discovered him, him, rescued rescued gave him to aa nurse, and gave nurse, none none other him and other than his own own mother. mother. was because becauseMoses's Moses'ssister This was sister had had watched watched to see see who would would pretended not to recognize baby, had had pretended find the baby, recognize him and then recommendedto the Princess Frineess aa nurse recommended nurse who was was really the child's child's pharaoh's sons was treated as as one mother. He was one of the Pharaoh's sons and given the name name'Moses'. the 'Moses'. As a young called Midian where left for young man, man, Moses Moses left for a country ealled he married and lived for he for a long time. We read read an important important dedetail in Exodus Exodus 2,23:. 2, 23: "rn HIn the course course of of those those many days days the king king of of Egypt Egypt died." God Moses to go and find the pharaoh Pharaoh and lead his God ordered Moses brothers out of of Esypt Egypt (the description of of this this order is is given in in the episode episode of of the Burning Burning Bush). Bush). Aaron, Moses's Moses's brother, helped helped him him in in this this task. task. This This is is why why Moses, Moses, once once he he had had returned returned to to Egypt, Egypt, went went with with his his brother brother to to visit visit the the pharaoh Pharaoh who who was was the the suceessor successor of of the the king king under under whose whose reign reign he he had had long long ago ago been been born. born. The The Pharaoh Pharaoh refused refused to to allow allow the the Jews Jews in in Moses's Moses's group group to to leave Egypt. God God revealed revealed Himself Himself to to Moses Moses once once again again and and ororleave Egypt. dered him to to repeat repeat his his request request to to pharaoh. Pharaoh. According According to to the the dered him Bible, Bible, Moses Moses was was eighty eighty years years old old at at this this time. time. Through Through magic, magic, Moses the Pharaoh Pharaoh that that he he had had supernatural supernatural powers. powers. Moses showed showed the This This was was not not enough enough however. however. God God sent sent the the famous famous plagues plagues down Egypt. The The rivers rivers were were changed changed into into blood, blood, there there down upon upon Egypt.


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were invasions invasions of of frogs, frogs, gnats gnats and and swarms swarms of of flies, flies, the the cattle cattle were hail and was there died, boils appeared on men and animals, there was hail and animals, men and on appeared boils died, plagues of of locusts, locusts, darkness darkness and and the the death death of of the the first-born. first-born. plagues the Pharaoh Pharaoh still still did did not not allow allow the the Hebrews Hebrews to to Nevertheless, the Nevertheless, leave. leave. They therefore therefore broke broke out out of of the the city city of of Rameses, Rameses, 600,000 600,000 of of They (Exodus At this 12, 3?). them! "besides women children" 37). At this and children" women "besides them' army ryith with point Pharaoh "made ready his chariot and took his army six hundred picked charioteers charioteers and all the other ~ther him, and took six chariots of of Egypt Egypt with with officers officers over all of of them .. . . Pharaoh, Pharaoh, forth went people as they king of Egypt, pursued people of as forth Israel pursued of the Egypt, of king with up caught defiantly." 14, 8). with (Exodus Egyptians 8) The and . 6 14, defianfly.,' sea the staff, raised his Moses's party beside sea. Moses sea party the sea. Moses beside Moses's before him him and his followers followers walked walked across across itit without without parted before wetting their their feet. "The "The Egyptians Egyptians pursued and rvent went in in after after wetting them into the midst of the sea, sea, all Pharaoh's Pharaoh's horses, horses, his chariots, chariots, and his horsemen." horsemen." (Exodus (Exodus 14, 23) "The waters returned and and 14, 28) Phacovered the chariots and the horsemen and all the host of Phaand horsemen and chariots covered much as one of as one so much raoh that had followed sea; not so followed them into the sea; people of Israel walked on dry ground them remained. remained. But But the people right on their right through the sea, them on being aa wall to them waters being sea, the waters (Exodus 14, 28'29'). hand L4, 28-29). and on on their left." (Exodus hand and head the head quite clear: Pharaoh Pharaoh was was at the The Exodus is quite The text of Exodus notes Exodus notes of the perished because the text of Exodus becausethe pursuers. He perished the pursuers. repeats Bible repeats The Bible remained." The that "not so them remained." one of them much as as one so much 11 and and 106, verse verse 11 this detail Psalm 106, the Psalms: Psalms: Psalm moreover in the detail moreover to God God thanks to act of thanks Psalm an act which are are an 15 which and 15 verses13 13 and 186 verses Psalm 136 2 Israel made Israel "Who in sunder . . . and and made sunder ... the sea Rushes' sea of Rushes divided the "Who divided his Pharaoh and and his pass but overthrew overthrew Pharaoh passthrough it ... . . . but midst of of it through the the midst that therefore, that host doubt therefore, can be be no no doubt There can Rushes." There in the seaof of Rushes." host in the sea perished in in Exodus perished according of the the Exodus Pharaoh of the Pharaoh Bible, the the Bible, to the aecording to of his his body. body. what became becameof the record what not record doesnot The Bible Bible does sea.The the sea. THE QUR'AN TO THE THE ACqORDING TO THE EXODUS EXODUS ACGORDING QUIfAN in contained in Exodus contained In of the the Exodus narration of the narration outlines, the its broad In its broad outlines, reconstihas to be It the is similar to that of the Bil1fe. It has to be reconstiBibfe. the that of to similar is the Qur'an Qur'an grossly exaggerated. exaggerated. 1. been grossly has been figure has the figure that the seethat later see \Meshall shall later 1 . We

2.2. In 'yam souf'. souf'. Hebrew'yam In Hebrew


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however, because tuted, however, tuted, becauseitit isis made passagesdispersed made up up of of passages dispersed throughout the theBook. Book. throughout The Qur'an provide aa name doesnot not provide The namewhich Qur'an does which enables enablesus usto idento identify who who the the reigning reigning Pharaoh tify Pharaoh was was at at the the time time of of Exodus, Exodus, any any more than than the the Bible Bible does. more does.An AII that that isis known known isis that that one one of of his his counsellorswas was called calledHaman. Hd,md,n.He counsellors referred to He is is referred to six six times times in in the the (sura 28, 28, verses Qur'an verses6,6, 88 and Qur'an (sura and 38, 38, sura sura 29, zg, verse verse39 Bgand and sura sura 40,verses verses24 24and and36). 36). 40, The Pharaoh Pharaoh is is the the Jews' Jews' oppressor: The oppressor: -sura 14, verse 6: -sura 14, verse 6 : "when Moses Mosessaid said to people:Remember to his his people: "When Rememberthe the favor favor of of God God you when pharaoh's folk to you when He you from He delivered delivered you to from Pharaoh's folk who who imposed imposed you aa dreadful upon you dreadful torment, torment, slaughtered upon slaughteredyour your sons sons and and spared spared your women." women.t' your The oppression oppression is is recalled recalled in the The the same same terms terms in verse verse 141, 141, sura The Qur'an does 7. does not however sura 7. The however mention the the names names of the cities built by the the Jews Jews in subjection, cities subjection, as as does doesthe Bible. Bible. The episode episodewhere where Moses Mosesis left by the riverside is recorded The recorded in in 20 verses verses 39-40 39-40 and sura 28, sura 20 to 13. In the version zg, verses verses 7 ? 18. version contained in the Qur'an, pharaoh's family. contained Moses is taken in by Pharaoh's Qur'an, Moses family. We find find this in verses verses 8g and g, 9, sura 2g: 28: "The family family of Pharaoh Pharaoh took him up. up. (It (It was was intended) intended) that that (Moses) (Moses) should should be be to them an adversary adversary and a cause cause of of sorrow. sorrow. Pharaoh, Pharaoh, H6mdn Haman and their their hosts hosts were sinners. sinners. pharaoh's Pharaoh's wife wife said: said: (He (He will will be) be) a joy joy to the eye eye for for me and you. you. Don't Don't kill kill him. him. He may be of of use use to to us or or \ile we may may take him him as a son. son. They They did did not not sense sense (what (what was was to to come)." Muslim Muslim tradition tradition has has itit that that itit was was pharaoh's Pharaoh's wife wife Asiya Asiya who who took took care care of of Moses. Moses. In In the the eur'an, Qur'an, itit was was not not the the pharaoh's Pharaoh's wife wife who who found found him, him, but but members members of of his his household. household. youth, Moses's Moses's youth, his his stay stay in in Midian Midian and and marriage marriage are are described described in in sura sura 28, 28, verses verses 13 13 to to ZB. 28. In In particular, particular, the the episode episode of of the the Burning Burning Bush Bush is is foirnd found in in the the flrst first part part of of sura sura 20, 20, and and in in sura sura zg, 28, verses verses B0 30 to to Bb. 35. 'The Qur'an does does not not describe describe the the ten ten plagues plagues sent sent down down upon upon "'The Qur'an Esypt Egypt as as aa divine divine chastisement chastisement (unlike (unlike the the long long description description in in the the Bible), Bible), but but simply simply mentions mentions five five plagues plagues very very briefly briefly (sura (sura 7, 7, verse verse 133) 133) :: flooding, flooding, Iocusts, locusts, Iice, lice, frogs, frogs, and and blood. blood.


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The the Qur'an, Esypt is described deseribedin the The flight from Egypt Qur'an, but without given in the geographicaldata incredany Bible, nor the increddata given the Bible, the geographical any of the peoplementioned It is difficult to ible the latter. It mentionedin the numbers of people ible numbers plus their families imagine have stayed stayed men plus could have families could imagine how how 600,000 600,000men have us us believe. believe. in the desert for aa long as the Bible would rrrrculdhave the desert long time, time, as the Bible pursuing the Hebrews is This is how the Hebrews how the death of Pharaoh the death Pharaoh pursuing described: descriH: --sura 20, --sura verse78 20, verse 78:: pursued them "Pharaoh hosts and and the the sea sea covered them with with his hosts covered "Pharaoh pursued them." them.tt perished, but his body was found: The Jews escaped. escaped.Pharaoh perished, narration. aI very very important important detail not mentioned in the Biblical Biblical narration. -sura 10, -sura 10, verses verses 90 90 to 92. 92. God God is speaking: "We Israel across across the sea. sea. Pharaoh with with Children of of Israel "We took the Children rebellion and hostility his hosts pursued them in rebellion till, when the hostility till, fact of his drowning drowning overtook him, he said: I believe believe there is no Israel believe. God believe. I am God except the God God in whom the Children Children of Israel of of those those who submit submit themselves themselves to Him. Him. 'What? Now! Thou has "God said: said:'What? rebelledand depravhas rebelled and caused causeddepravity: ity: This This day We save thee in in thy save thee thy body so so that that thou mayest be be a for those who come sign for verily, many among But verily, corne after after thee.' But mankind are heedless heedlessof Our signs." mankind sigtrs." passage This passage requires two This two points to be explained: be explained: spirit of rebellion and hostility a) The spirit hostility referred to is to be be underpersuade the Pharaoh. stood in in terms tems of Moses's stood Moses's attempt attempt to persuade reseue of the Pharaoh refers b) The rescue refers to his corpse it is iorpse because beeause it stated stated quite clearly in verse verse 98, 11, that 98, sura 11, that Pharaoh and his have been followers have been condemned condemned to damnation: -sura 11, --sura 11, verse verse 98 98 people on the Day of Resurrection "Pharaoh will go before his people Resurrection "Phsraoh will and will will lead them to the fire." fire." geoFor be checked ehecked with with historical, historical, geoFor those those facts which can be graphical and archaeological graphical it should be noted archaeslogical data therefore, therefore, it that Biblical narrations that the Qur'anic narrations differ difrer on the following following Qur'*nic and Biblical points: points: -the absence place names, -the names, both of the cities absence in the Qur'an of place built by the Hebrews in Moses's group, and on the route taken Moses's built by the Exodus. Exodns.


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.-the absence absenceof -the of any any reference reference to to the the death of aa Pharaoh Pharaoh during death of during in Midian. Moses'sstay stay in Midian. Moses's -the absence absencein in the -the the Qur'an details concerning of details concerning Moses's Moses's age age Qur'an of he addressed addressedhis when he his request request to the Pharaoh. when to the Pharaoh. -the absence absencein in the the Qur'an -the of the the numbering numbering of of Moses's Moges'sfollowfollowQur'an of These figures ers. These ers. figures are a,reopenly openly exaggerated exaggerated in in the Bible to the Bible ineredto incred(said to have ible proportions (said have been plus their 600,000 men been 600,000 men plus their families forming forming aa community of families of more more than two million million inhabitants.) -the absence abseneeof any mention in the Bible of the rescue -the rescue of the Pharaoh's body after after his death. Pharaoh's body death. purposes, the points to be For our present purposes, be noted because because they shared by both narrations are as are shared as follows: -the confirmation contained pharaoh's oppres-the contained in the Qur'an of Pharaoh's oppresof sion the Jews in Moses's Moses's group. -the absence absencefrom both narrations -the narrations of any mention of the King King name. of Egypt's name. *the confirmation pharaoh's eonfirmation contained -the contained in the Qur'an Qur'an of the Pharaoh's death during the Exodus. Exodus. death during COIVFNONTATION BETWEEN CONFRONTATION BETWEEN SCRIPTURAL SCNIPTANAL DATA DATA MODNNN KNOWLED{GE AND MODERN KNOWLEDGE AIVD The narrations narrations contained contained in in the Bible and the eur'an Qur'an on the time time spent by the sons sons of of rsrael Israel in in Egypt, Egypt, and the way way they they left, left, give rise to data whieh which may constitute matter matter for for a confrontation confrontation udth with modern knowledge. In In faet, fact, the balance is very very uneven because cause some some data pose pose many problems while others hardly hardly provide subject for for discussion. discussion. l,1. Examination Exnmhcr,tion of of Cefinin Cerlain Details Details Contained, Contained in in tlw the Nan'atWna Nanatiom Tlw The Hebreut Hebrews in in Egypt Eggpt It It is, apparently, apparently, quite quite possible possible to to say (and without without running running mueh much risk risk of of being wrong) wrong) that that the Hebrews remained in in Egypt Egypt for for 400 or or 430 years, years, according according to to the the Bible Bible (Genesis (Genesis lb, 15, 18 13 and and Exodus Exodus L2,40). 12, 40). In In spite spite of of this this discrepancy discrepancy between between Genesis Genesis and and Exodus, Exodus, which which is is of of minor minor importance, importance, the the period period may may be be said said to to


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have when Joseph, Joseph, son son of Jacob, Jacob, heve begun begun long after after Abraham, when moved exception of the with his brothers to Egypt. With With the exception moved with just quoted, quoted, and gives the data Bible, which gives data just and the Qur'an which as refers to the move move to Egypt, but does does not give any indication as possess any other document dates involved, we do to the document the dates involved, we do not possess on this point. which is able able to illuminate illuminate us us on Present*day commentators, Present-day commentators, ranging from P. P. Montet to DanielRops, Rops,think that, in all probability, the and his the arrival of Joseph Josephand brothers coincided coincided with with the movement movement of the Hyksos Hyksos towards Egypt Egypt in the Seventeenth Seventeenf,hcentury B.C. B.C. and that aa Hyksos Hyksos sovsovprobably received received them ereign probably ereign hospitably at Avaris in the Nile them hospitably Delta. Delta. guess is in obvious There can be be no doubt that this guess obvious contradicputs containedin the tion to what is contained the Bible Bible (Kings I, 6, which puts 6, 1) which years before Exodus from Egypt the Exodus Eeypt at 480 480 years before the construction construction of Solomon'sTemple Temple (circa 971 Solomon's 971 B.C.). B.C.) . This estimation would therethereestimation would roughly 1450 fore put the Exodus at roughly fore the Exodus 1450B.C. B.C. and and would would consequently consequently situate the the entry into Egypt at circa presituate circa 1880-1850 1880-1850B.C. B.C. This is precisely the the time, time, however, however, that Abraham is supposed to have lived, cisely lived, supposed have and other data data contained containeCin the Bible tell us and us that there were 250 250 there were years separating separating him from Joseph. passagefrom Kings I years Joseph. This passage the Bible is therefore unacceptable in the unacceptablefrom aa chronological chronological point view.'1 We shall see seehow the theory of view. We shall theory put forward here here has has only this objection, taken from from Kings I, f, to be be levelled levelled against it. The obvious inaccuracy inaccuracy of these very obvious these chronological chronological data effectively data effectively deprives this objection deprives objeetion of any value. value.

Aside from the Holy Scriptures, Scriptures, the traces traees left left by the Hebrews Hebrews Egypt are of their stay in Egypt are very faint. There There are however however several several hieroglyphic documents documentswhich refer to the existence existencein Egypt Egypt of 'Api,ru, Hapiru called the 'Apiru, a category eategory of workers called Habiru, who Hapiru or Habiru, (rightly or wrongly) with the Hebrews. have been identified have been identified (rightly Hebrews. In category were were construction construction workers, workers, agricultural agricultural labourers, labourers, this eategory harvesters, etc. etc. But But where did they come come from? It It is very diffieult difficult harvesters, answer to this. Father de de Vaux has has written written the follo'*followto find an answer about them: ing about 1. We shall shall return return to this this subject later, later, when we call upon Father Father de reference in Kings I. Vaux's help in examining this referenee


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"They population, they are not not members members of of the the local local population, "They are they do not do not identify themselves identify themselveswith with aa class in society, class in society, they they do do not not all all share share the same the sameoccupation occupationor or status." status." Tuthmosis III, Under Under Tuthmosis III, they they are referred to are referred in aa papyrus as to in &s 'workers in 'workers known how Amenophis in the the stables'. stables'.It It is is known how Amenophis II, in the FifFifteenth century century B.C., teenth 8.c., brought peopleas brought in in 3,600 3,600of of these these people as prisoners from Canaan, because, from Canaan, because,as as Father de de Vaux notes, notes, they consticonstipercentage of the tuted aa considerable considerable percentage tuted poputhe Syrio-Palestinian popu'Api.rz created lation. Under lation. Under Sethos Sethos I, f, in in circa circa 1300 1300 B.C., 8.C., the the 'Apiru created considerabledisturbances disturbances in the considerable the Beth-Shean Beth-Shean region region of Canaan, Canaan, and under under Rarnesses and RamessesII II some some of them them were employed in the were employed quarries or for transporting piles piles used quarries used in the works of the (e.g. the Pharaoh (e.g. the Great Pharaoh Great Pylon Pylon of Ramesses RamessesMiamon). We we know from the the Bible that the from the Hebrews, Hebrews, under under Ramesses RamessesII, II, were were to the northern capital, build the capital, the City city of Rarnesses. Ramesses.In Egyptian 'Api,ru are mentioned once again in the Twelfth writings the the 'Apiru writings a.re mentioned once Twelfth B.C. and and for the last time under Ramesses century B.C. RamessesIII. III. 'Apiru just mentioned The 'Apiru are are not just mentioned in Egypt Egypt however, however, so so did therefore apply solely the term therefore perhaps solely to the Hebrews? Hebrews? It It is perhaps wise to recall recall that the word could wise have been been used used to could initially initially have 'forced labourers', labourers', without signify 'forced their origins, and without regard to their it subsequently subsequently became became an adjective that it adjective indicating a person's person's profession. We we might perhaps profession. perhaps draw an analosy analogy with with the word 'suisse' (Swiss) has several which has meanings in in French. French. 'suisse' several different meanings It can can mean mean an inhabitant of It of Switzerland, Switzerland, a mercenary mercenary soldier of the old French monarchy monarchy who was of of Swiss Swiss extraction, a Vatican guard, or an employee employee of of a Christian church .. .. .. However, However, this may be, be, under Ramesses Ramesses II, II, the Hebrews (ac'Apiru (according the hieroglyphic cording to the Bible) or the 'Apiru to texts) took part part in the great works ordered ordered by the Pharaoh, Pharaoh, which were indeed that Ramesses Ramesses indeed 'forced 'forced labour'. labour'. There can be no doubt that II II was was the Jews' Jews' oppressor: oppressor: the cities of of Rarnesses Ramesses and Pithom, mentioned mentioned in in Exodus, Exodus, are situated at at the eastern eastern part part of of the the Nile Nile Delta. Today's Tanis and Qantir, which are roughly roughly lE 15 miles miles Delta. Today's apart, are in in the same same region as these these two two cities. cities. The The northern northern capital constructed constructed by Ramesses Ramesses IIII was was situated there. there. Ramesses Ramesses II II is the Pharaoh of of the oppression. oppression. Moses be born born in in this this environment. environment. The The circumstances circumstances Moses was to be pertaining pertaining to to his rescue rescue from from the the waters waters of of the the river river have have alal-


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ready been been outlined above. Egyptian name: P. Montet above. He has an Egyptian (L'Egypte et has clearly shown in his book Egypt and the Eible (L'Egypte book EgApt the Bible la Bible) 1 that the names Mesw or Mesy are on the list names list of perBible)' that sonal names hieroglyphic language by names in the dictionary dietionary of the hieroglyphic Ranke. transliteration used used in the Qur'an. MEBAis the transliteration Ranke. MUsa

The Plagues Eggpt Plagns of of Egypt Under this title title the Bible refers to ten punishments inflicted by God, each of these these God, and provides many details concerning each 'plagues'. Many have supernatural dimensions 'plagues'. dimensions or characteristics. plagues, which, for The Qur'an only lists five for the most part, are five plagues, phenomena: flooding, merely an exaggeration of natural natural phenomena: flooding, locusts, locusts, lice, frogs frogs and blood. The rapid multiplication locusts and frogs is described multiplication of locusts described in river water changed the Bible. It It speaks speaks of river blood which floods floods changed to blood giving all the land (sic) ; the Qur'an refers to blood, without giving blood, but without possible to invent all kinds of any complementary details. details. It It is possible hypotheses hypotheses on the subject of this reference reference to blood. blood. plagues described The other plagues described in the Bible (gnats, swarms of flies, boils, flies, boils, hail, darkness, darkness, death of the first-born and of cattle) have have various origins, as as was the case case of the Flood, and are passagesfrom constituted by the juxtaposition juxtaposition of passages from many different sources. sourees.

The Route by the Route Taken TakenbV tlr.eExodus Exodaa No indication whereas the Bible indication of of this is given in the Qur'an, whereas it in great detail. Father refers to it Father de de Vaux and P. Montet have reopened studies into it. The starting-point both reopened starting-point was probably Tanis-Qantir region, but the Tanis-Qantir but no traces have been been found of the confirm the Biblical narrarest of the route taken which could confirm Biblical narrataken which possible to say at exactly what point the waters tion; it possible tion; nor is it passageof Moses parted to allow the passage Moses and his followers.

The lfibrculorn Parting Wate;t tlw Water, Tlw Miraculous Partilng of the tide-rsce, due Some due perhaps to imagined a tide-race, Some commentators have imagined distant astronomic connected to the distant sstronomic causes causes or seismic conditions connected 1959. 1. Niestl6, Neufchatel, Neufchatel, 1959. 1. Pub. Delachaux and NiestIe,


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eruption of aa volcano. The Hebrews eruption of volcano.The Hebrews could have taken advantage could have taken advantage pursuit, receding sea, of sea,and of the and the the Egyptians, Egyptians, following following in in hot pursuit, the receding pure have been been wiped could the returning tide. could have wiped out out by the tide. All this is is pure hypothesis however. however. hypothesis 2. The Thc Point Point Occupied Occupiedhg Erodus in the History 2. by the Exodus History Plwraohs of the Pharaohs possibleto arrive at much positive evidence It is is possible It much more more positive evidencein the the case of the point the the Exodus Exodus occupies case oceupiesin time. time. long time Merneptah, Merneptah, the sU( For aa very long "'essor to Ramesses su('essor RamessesII, held to be was held was be the the Pharaoh of the Exodus. Maspero, Pharaoh Exodus. Maspero, the famous famous the beginning of this century did, Egyptologist of the did, after all, write all, write (Guide du in his Visitor's Guide the Cairo Guide to to the Museu,m (Guide Cairo Museum du visiteur du du Mus6e du Caire), 1900, probably, accordMerneptah "was probably, Musee L900, that Merneptah according to the the Alexandrian tradition, the Pharaoh Exodus who Pharaoh of the Exodus who perished in the Red is said said to have have perished Red Sea." have been Sea." I have been unable unable to find the documents documents on which Maspero Maspero based based this assertion, assertion, but eminence of this commentator requires us the eminence us to attach the greatest importance importanee to what he est he claims. claims. Apart fro:n fro:n P. Montet, there are very few Egyptologists Apart Egyptologists or specialists in Biblical exegesis specialists exegesis who have have researched researched into the arguments for for or against this hypothesis. arguments hypothesis. In the last few decades decades been a spate however, there has been spate of different different hypotheses hypotheses which whieh seem to have as their seem have as their sole purpose the justification justification of an agreesole purpose agreement with one single single detail in the Scriptural narrations, although with one the inventors of these these hypotheses hypotheses do not bother with with the other aspectsof the Scriptures. Scriptures. Thus it aspects possible for hypothesis to it is possible for a hypothesis suddenly appear which which seems seems to agree with with one one aspect aspect of of a narnarration, although its inventor inventor has not taken the trouble trouble to compare it it with with all the other data contained contained in the Scriptures (and consequently consequently not just just with with the Bible), Bible), plus all the data provided by history, history, arehaeology, archaeology, etc. One hypotheses yet to come come to light light is by J. One of of the strangest hypotheses de Miceli (1960) who claims claims to have pinpointed the date of of the Exodus to within within one one day, day, i.e. Le. the gth 9th of of April, April, 14gb 1495 B.C. He relies for for his his information information entirely entirely on calculations made from from calendars and claims that that Tuthmosis IIII was reigning reigning in in Egypt Egypt at at that that time, and was therefore therefore the Pharaoh of of the Exodus. The


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confirmation of of the hypothesis is supposed supposed to reside in in the fact fact confirmation that lesions of of the skin skin are to be observed observed on the mummy mummy of of that Tuthmosis II. II. This This eommentator commentator informs informs us (without (without explaining explaining Tuthmosis why) that that they they are due to leprosy, and that that one of of the plagues plagues why) of Eeffpt Egypt described described in in the Bible Bible eonsisted consisted in in skin skin boils. This This of staggering construction construction takes no account of of the other facts constaggering in the Biblical narration, especially especially the Bible's mention of of tained in City of of Ramesses Ramesses which which rules out any hypothesis dating dating the the City Exodus before a 'Ramesses' 'Ramesses' had reigned. lesions of of Tuthmosis II, II, these these do do not swing As to the skin lesions argument in in favour favour of of the theory theory which which designates designates this this King King the argument Egypt as the Pharaoh of of the Exodus. This This is beeause because his son, son, of Egypt III, and his grandson Amenophis II II also Tuthmosis III, also show signs suggested the of tumors I, so that some have suggested so that some commentators have of skin tumorsr, hypothesis of a disease which in family. The Tuthmosis ran the family. of disease II theory is not therefore tenable. II theory tenable. The same book. The for Daniel-Rops's Daniel-Rops's theory in his book. The same is true true for 2: He ascribes People ascribes the role de la Bible) Bible (Le Peuple Peuple de Bible) 2: Peopleof the Bible seem II. It does not seem of It does of the Pharaoh of the Exodus to Amenophis II. preceding hypothesis. to be hypothesis. Using be any better-founded better-founded than the preceding III) was very the pretext that Amenophis Amenophis II's II's father (Tuthmosis III) persecutor proclaims nationalistic, Daniel-Rops proclaims Amenophis II the persecutor nationalistic, Daniel-Rops Amenophis II of the Hebrews, while his step-mother, step-mother, the famous Queen Queen Hatperson who took Moses shepsut, Moses in (alshepsut, is cast east in the role of the person though we never discover discover why) why).. rests on Father II, rests that it it was was Ramesses Ramesses II, Father de de Vaux's theory, that slightly book, on them in his book, expands on sliehtly more solid solid foundations. foundations. He expands (Histoire ancienne The d'Israâ&#x201A;Źl)'. Israel (Histoire Th,e Ancient ancienne d'Israel)3. Ansi.ent History History of Israel Even on the Biblical Even if doesnot agree agree with the if his theory does Biblieal narration on putting forward forrvard one one every point, at least it it has has the advantage advantage of putting cities piece of evidence: very important piece the cities construction of the evidence: the the construction of Ramesses II referred to in under Ramesses RamessesII and Pithom built under Ramessesand possible therefore maintain that the Biblical text. It thelefore to maintain It is not possible place be/m'e RamessesII. This the Exodus accessionof Ramesses before the accession Exodus took took place and Vanis situated according to Drioton and 1301 B.C., situated in the the year 1301 8.C., according Pharaohs these Pharaohs 1. mummies of of these on the the mummies clearly visible visible on are clearly skin lesions 1. The The skin lesions are preserved Cairo. Museum, Cairo. preserved in Egyptian Museum, the Egyptian in the 2. l9?0, Paris. Paris. Brouwer, 1970, de Brouwer, Descldede 2. Pub. Pub. Desclee 3. 1971,Paris. Paris. and Co., Co.,1971, J. Gabalda 3. Pub. Pub. J. Gabaldaand


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TIlE AND mIE BULE. DBLq THE TIrE QUB'AN ANDSCIENCE SCIENCE QITRAT{

dier's chronology, ehrronology, and in in 1290 dier's and 1290B.C. B.c. according accordingto Rowton's.The to Rowton's. Ttre two other other hypotheses hypothesesoutlined above are untenable two outlined above are untenable because becsuseof of pharaoh of the following following imperative imperetive fact: the fact: Ramesses Ramessâ&#x201A;ŹsII II is is the the Pharaoh of the oppression oppresgionreferred refercd to to in the in the the Bible. Bible. Father de deVaux Vaux considers considersthe placedurFather the Exodus Exodusto to have havetaken taken place during the ffrEt half the first half or or towards towards the ing the middle middle of of Ramesses RamessesIrs II's reign. reign. Thus his his dating drting of of this this event Thus event is is imprecise: imprecise: he he suggests suggeststhis this pâ&#x201A;Źriod to to allow allow Moses l}Iosesand and his period his followers followers time, time, as as it it were, were,to to settle setfle in Canaan, and Ramesses Cana^an, Ramesses rl's successor, and II's Pharaoh in suceessor, Phsraoh Memaptah Mernaptehwho who pacified the is said Bsidto have hsve pacified the frontiers is frontiers after after his his father's father's death, death, to the Children Children of Israel Israel into line, bring the line, as as depicted depictedon on aa stele stele of year of his Fifth year the Fifth his reign. reign. the Two arguments argumentsmay may be be levelled Two levelledat st this theory: (Exodus The Bible Bible shows shows (Exodus 2, a) The 2, 23) zgl that the the King of Egypt died died period when the period when Moses during the Moseswas was in Midian. Midian. This King of Egypt Egvpt describedin the Book Book of Exodus Exodusas is described as the the King who who made madethe the HeHebrewg build the cities cities of Ramesses Ramesscsand brews and Pithom Pithom by forced forced labour. labour. was Ramesses BamessesII. II. The The Exodus This King was Exodus could could only only have have taken taken place under under the latter's lstter's successor. successor.Father de place de Vaux claims claims howhowever to doubt doubt the Biblical sources ever sources of verse verse 23, zg, chapter chapter 2 of Exodue. Exodus. b) what What is more more astounding astounding is that Father de de vaux, Vaux, as as director of the Biblical School Schoolof Jerusalem, Jerusalem, does does not refer in his theory of of the Exodug Exodus to two essential essential passsges passages in the Bible, Bible, both of whidr which bear bear witness witness to the fact that the King King died died during the pursuit pursuit of of the fleeing fleeing llebrews. Hebrews. This detsit detail makes makes itit impossible impossible for for the Exodus Exodus to have have taken taken place place at any other time than at the end of ea reign. end of rt It must be repeated repeated that that there csn can be be titile little doubt that that the Pheraoh Pharaoh lost his life life as as a result of of lt. it. Chapters Chapters lB 13 and 14 14 of of Exodus specific on this point: point: "so uSo he made made ready his Exodus are quite specific chariot and took his army with with him ...." (Exodus 14,6). 14,6). (pharaoh (Pharaoh . ." (Exodus king of Egypt) Egypt) "pursued upursued the the people people of of Israel Israel as as they they went went forth forth king of defiantly" defiantly" (Exodus (Exodus 14,8) 14,8) .... uThe waters waters returned returned and and covered covered . . "The the that the chariots chariots and and the the horsemen horsemen and and all all the the host host of of Pharaoh Pharaoh thst had had followed followed them them into into the the sea; sea; not not so so much much a,s as one one of of them them remained." 29). In In addition addition to to these these verses, verses, remained." (Exodus (Exodus 14,28 14,28 snd and 29). Psslm to Yahweh Yahweh who who Psalm 188 136 confirms confirms Pharaoh's Pharaoh's death death and and refers refers to


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"overthrew Pharaoh Pharaoh and and his his host host in in the the $ea Sea of of Rusheg" Rushes" (Psslms (Psalms "overthrew 136,15) • 196,16). Thus, d,uring during Moae{s Moses's l,ifetime, lifetime, onn one Plwro,oh Phara,01f, died died when when Moscs Moses Thue, W4B in Midien Mid:ia,n dnd, a.nd anntlwr a.nother dntri,ng during tlue the Erod'us. E~od'U8. There There were were not not wds in the during one of Moses: one, but two Pharaohs at the time of Moses: one during the time the at two but Pharaohs one, The Egypt. Exodus from oppression and the other during the Exodus from Egypt. The the during other and the oppression theory of of ea single Pheraoh Pharaoh (Ramesses (Ramesses II) II) put put forward forward by by Father Father ttreory de Vaux is unsstisfactory unsatisfactory because because itit does does not account account for for everyeveryagainst srguments thing. The following observations further arguments further are obsemations following thing, his theory. 3. RatneseB", Phaf'aoh of tthe Opptelrrfon .e Oppreaion RatmesetllrPlrulraoh 3, Memeptah, Phaf'tJOh of the Exodua tllmE*oihlr MeneptahrPlurrch

P. Montet has has very discerningly discerningly resumed resumed the originel original AlexenAlexant later much found is drian tradition mentioned Maspero. It found much It Mespero. by mentioned drisnl tradition clsssic in the Islamic tradition as well as in the classic Christian traChristien as ss tradition 2 the and, EgUpt dition. This theory is set out in Montet's book Egypt and the book Montet's set theory dition.z ! additional Bible (L'Egypte et Ie Bible) a and is supported by additional supported and (L'Egmte le Bible) Bible the containedin the arguments, particulsr on the narrative contained on the basedin particular arguments,based Before Qur'an, to which the famous archaeologist did not refer. Before archaeologist famous Qur'an, which the Bible. examining the Bible. shall first return to the \ilI€shall however,we them however, examining them 'Rameg' word the reference The Book of Exodus contains a reference to the word 'Rames" a The Book Exodus contsins Bible the Bible not mentioned. mentioned.In the ses' is not nameis the Pharaoh's Pharaoh'gname althoughthe ses'although 'Bamesses'is foreed the by cities the built 'Ramesses' the name of one of the cities buB t by the forced one is the name form thesecities cities form that these labour we know know that Todsy we the Hebrews. of the lfebrews. Today labour of the In Delta. Nile part of the Tanis-Qantir region, in the eastern Nile Delta. In the eastern of the Tanis-Qantir region, in the were there capital, area where Ramesses II built his northern capital, there were northern area where RamessesII built his who II who was Ramesses RamessesII it was other prior to but it his, but to his, other constructions constructionsprior excsvations archeologicalexcavations made the archeological as the site, as important site, an important into an it into madeit build To build shown'To amply shown. undertaken haveamply decadeshave few decades last few the last in the undertakenin it, Hebrews. Hebrews. enslaved of the theenslaved lsbourof thelabour heused usedthe it, he hisPtolemies, histhe Ptolemies, Age of of the 1. Golden Age the Golden in the that in doubt that no doubt be no can be 1 . There There can to only to at Alexandria, preserved at Alexandria, only torical were preserved Antiquity were on Antiquity documentson torical documents keenly is keenly which is loss which conquest; aa loss be Roman conquest; of the the Roman time of the time at the destroyed at be destroyed felt felt today. today. by Hiatory by the History as in in the 2.2 . In 20th century, century' as early 20th the early of the the Holy Ilistories of In the Holy Histories menis menExodus is the Exodus instruction, the Abbe religious instruction, for religious intendedfor H. Lesetre, Lesetre,intended Abbe H. EgypL in Egypt. reign in tioned Merneptah's reign during Merneptah's place during as having havin8 taken taken place tioned as 1969' 3.3. Pub. Neuchat€l' 1959. Niertl€, Neuchatel, and NiestIe, Delachaux and Pub.Delachaux


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'Ramesges'in when one onereads resds the the word word 'Rarnesses' When in the the Bible Bible today, today, one oneisis particularly not particularly struck struck by by it: it: the not the word has become word has becomevery very common common us since to us since Champollion champollion discovered to discovered the the key key to to hieroglyphics hieroglyphics years ago, 160 years ago, by by examining examining the 150 the characters characters that expressedthis that expressed this very word. word. We We are are therefore therefore used very usedto to reading pronouncing itit reading and and pronouncing today and and know know what what itit means. means. One today one has has to remember however to remember however that the the meaning meaning of of hieroglyphics hieroglyphics had that had been been lost lost in in circa circa the the Third century century B.C. B.c. and and that Third that Rarnesses' Ramesses'name name had had hardly hardly been been pnesen'ed anywhere anywhere except except in in the the Bible preserved Bible and and aa few few books books written written in Greek Greek and and Latin Latin which which had in had deformed deformed it it to to aa lesser lesseror greater or greater extent. It It is is for for this this reason rea$on that extent. his Annals talks that Tacitus Tacitus in in his Annals tattcs of of 'Rhamsis'. The Bible Bible had preserved the had however 'Rhamsis'. The however preserved the name name intact: intact: it it pentateuch or is referred referred to to four four times times in is in the the Pentateuch (Genesis or Torah Torah (Genesis 47,11;Exodus Exodus 1,11 1,11and and 12,37; 47,11; lZ,gT; Numbers Numbers 33,3 BB,Band and 33,5). 88,6). 'Ramesses' is written in two ways in the Ttre Hebrew word for for 'Rarnesses' The written ways in the 'R6.(e) mss' 'Rfie6mss'r. In the Greek version of the Bible: 'Ra(e)mss' Bible: or 'Raeamss'l. rn Greek of the 'R0messâ&#x201A;Ź'.In the Latin version Bible' called ealled the Septuagint, septuagint, it Bible, it is 'Rarnesse'. Latin version 'Ramesses'.In the Clementine version of (vulgate) it it is written written 'Ramesses'. (Vulgate) rn clementine of the Bible Bible in French Freneh (1st (lst edition, the the word is the same, edition, 1621) 162l) s&me, 'Rarnesse'q'. 'Ramesses'. The French edition was in circulation circulation at the time time of of work in this field. Champollion's work of the Hierofield. In In his Summary of Hibrogl'aphie glyphic system System of of the Aneient Ancient Egyptians Egyptians (pr0cis'du (Precis du systdme systeme hidroslyphique hieroglyphique des des anciens anciens Egyptiens) Egyptiens) (znd (2nd edition, 1828, lgzi, page 276), champollion 276), Champollion alludes aHudes to the Biblical spelling of of the the word. word. Thus Thus the Bible Bible had miraculously miraculously preserved R"*e.**s,s Rarnesses's name name in in its its Hebrew, Greek and Latin Latin versions.z versions. 2 The The preceding preceding data alone are enough to to establish the following: following: a) a) There There can can be be no no question question of of the the Exodus Exodus bef.lre befflre aa ,Ramesses' 'Rarnesses' had had eome come to to the the throne throne in in Egypt Egypt (11 (11 Kings Kings of of Egypt Egypt had had this this name). name). b) b) Moses Moses was was born born during during the the reign reign of of the the pharaoh Pharaoh who who built built the the cities cities of of Ramesses Ramesses and and Pithom, Pithorn, i.e. I.e. Ramesses Rarnesses II. II. 1. 1. The The letter letter 'e' 'e' ffgrres figures as as the the ayin ayin inin Hebrew. Hebrew. 2. strange to to note note moreover, moreover, that that inin old old editions editions of of the the Bible, Bible, comcom2. rtIt ieis strange mentatorr mentators did did not not understand understand the the meaning meaning of of the the word word at at all. all. In In the the French French edition edition of of the the clementine Clementine Bibre, Bible, l62l, 1621, for for example, example, an an interpreinterpretetion tation of of the the word'Ramesses'is word 'Ramesses' is given given which which makes makes total total nonsensâ&#x201A;Ź: nonsense: 'Thunder 'ThunderofofVermin' Vermin' (sic). (sic).


The Eroihn Exodua Ttu

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c) When When Moses Moses was was in in Midian, Midian, the the reigning reigning Pharaoh Pharaoh (i'e' (Le. c) plece took story Moses's II) died. The continuation of of Moses's story took place Ramesses Bamesses II) died. The continuation during the the reign reign of of Ramesses Ramesses II's II's successor, successor, Merneptah. Merneptah. during What is is more, more, the the Bible Bible adds adds other other highly highly important important dsta data What which help help to to situate situate the the Exodus Exodus in in the the history history of of the the Pharaohs. Pharaohs. which is the the statement statement that that Moses Moses was was eighty eighty years years old old when, when, under under ItIt is brothers: his free God's orders, he tried to persuade Pharaoh to free his brothers: persuade Pharaoh to to he tried orders, God's "Now Moses Moses was was eighty eighty years years old, old, and and Aaron Aaron eighty-three eighty-three years years "Now years old, when they they spoke spoke to to Pharaoh." Pharaoh." (Exodus (Exodus 7,71. 7,7). ElseElsePharaoh the (Exodus that where however, 2,23) the Bible tells us (Exodus that Bible where reigning at at the time time of of the birth birth of of Moses Moses died when the latter latter reigning was in in Midian, Midian, although although the Biblical Biblical narration narration continues without without ruas mentioning any change in in the sovereign's sovereign's name. name. These These two two paspasmentioning sages in in the Bible imply imply that that the total total number of of years spanning sages the reigns reigns of two Pharaohs ruling ruling at at the time time when Moses Moses of the two the years least. was living in Egypt have been eighty at least. eighty have been must Egypt was livins (1801-1235 6? years (1301-1235 for 67 It II reigned for RamessesII that Ramesses It is known knorvn that 1290-L224 B.C. according to Drioton and Vandier's chronology, 1290-1224 chronology, Drioton and B.C. successor, B.C. Merneptah, his successor, the according to Rowton). For Merneptah, B.C. according dates of exact dates Egyptologists however, to provide the exact unable, however, Egyptologists are unable, years becauge, his least ten years because, it lasted lasted for at least Nevertheless, it his reign. Nevertheless, witness to the tenth as bear witness documentsbear out, documents deVaux points out, as Father deVaux possibilities for for give two two possibilities year Vandier give year of and Vandier reign. Drioton Drioton and of his his reign. twentyor a l,.C., Merneptah: either a ten-year reign, 1234-1224 B.C., or a twentyreign, 1234-1224 a ten-year either Merneptah: precise indicaindicano precise have no year Egyptologists have B.C. Egyptologists year reign L224-1204B.C. reign 1224-1204 all end: to an came reign tions whatsoever on how Merneptah's reign came to an end: all tions whatsoever on how Merneptah's went through Egypt death, Egypt went through aa that his death, after his that after is that said is be said can be that can years' 26 years. period lssting nearly nearly 25 upheavalslasting internal upheavals period of seriousinternal of serious not are not reigns are on these these reigns Even data on chronological data the chronological though the Even though Kingdom New Kingdom the New period during very during the other period no other precise,there was no there was very precise, successive two when the Biblical narration when two successive concordant with narration Biblical the with concordant to or or sursuramountedto reigns II-Merneptah) ll-Merneptah) amounted (apart from Ramesses from Rarnesses reigns (apart Moses's age concerning data passed eighty years. The Biblical data concerning Moses's age Biblical years. The passed eishty ccme only can brothers his brothers can only come when he undertook the liberation of his of when he undertook the liberation srrd II alld of Ramesses RamessesII reigns of from successivereigns the successive during the time during from aa time


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l Merneptahr. All the theevidence pointstowards evideneepoints Merneptah â&#x20AC;˘ All towardsthe thefact fact that that Moses Moses was born at the beginningof was born at the beginning II's of Rarnesses Ramesses II's reign, reign, was wasliving living in in Midian when when Ramesses Ba,messes rr died Midian II died after after aa sixty-seven year reign, sixty-sevenyear reign, and subsequently subsequentlybecame becamethe and the spokesman spokesmanfor for the the cause causeof of the the Hebrews living in in Egypt Egypt to Hebrews living to Merneptah, Merneptah,Ramesses RamessesIrs II's son sonand and suecesson This episode episodemay mayhave successor. This havehappened happenedin in the thesecond secondhalf half of of Merneptah'sreign, reign, assuming assuminghe Merneptah's he reigned reignedtwenty yearsor twenty years or nearly nearly years.Rowton twentyyears. Rowtonbelieves believesthe twenty thesupposition suppositionto quitefeasible. to be bequite feasible. Moses would thenhave hsveled ledthe Moses would then the Exodus Exodui at at the the end endof of Merneptah's Merneptah's reign. It It could couldhardly hardly have havebeen reign. beenotherwise otherwisebecause becauseboth both the tne Bible niue pharaoh perished and the tell us us that that Pharaoh and the Qur'an Qur'an tell perishedduring during the pursuit the pursuit of the the Hebrews Hebrewsleaving leavingthe of thecountry. country. plan agrees firis agreesperfectly perfecfly with with the the account accountcontained containedin in the _ This plan the seriptures of of Moses's Moses'sinfancy infancy and Scriptures and of of the the way way he he was taken into was taken into the Pharaoh's Pharaoh'sfamily. It rt is is aa known known fact the faet that Ramesses RamessesII II was was very old old when when he he died: diedl it is is said said that he he was was ninety to aa hundred hundred years old. old. According According to this theory, years theory, he he would would have have been beentwentytwenty_ three to thirty-three years years old ordat the three the beginning beginning of his his reign which which lssted sixty-seven sixty-sevenyears. yegrs. He lasted He could could have havJ been beenmarried at that that age age and there there is nothing to contradict the discovery ,a and by 'a discovery of Moses Mosesby member Pharaoh's household' household' (eccording member of Pharaoh's (according to the eur'an), Qur'an), or or the fact that Pharaoh's Pharaoh's wife asked asked him ifif he wouli would keep keep the newly-born newly-born child she she had found on the bank bank of the Nile. ttre-Biute The Bible claims claims that that the ehild child was was found found by phersoh's Pharaoh's daughter. daughter. In In view view of of Ramesses Ramesses II's II's age age at the beginning beginning of his reign itit would would have have been been perfectly perfectly possible possible for for him to have have had a daughter old enough enough to to discover discover the abandoned abandoned child. The eur'anic Qur'anic and Biblical narrations tions do do not not contradict contradict each each other other in in eny any wsy way ou OD this this 1nint. point. The The theory theory grven given here here is is in in absolute absolute agieemdnt agreement with with ttre the eurso Qur'an and and is is moreover moreover at at odds odds with with only only one one single single statement statement in in the the Bible Bible which which occurs occurs (as (as we we have have seen) seen) in in Kings Kings rI 6,1 6,1 (N.B. (N.B. this this book book is is not not included included in in the the Torah). Torah). This This passage passage is is the the subject subject of of much debate much debate and and Father Father de de Vaux Vaux rejeets rejects the the historicsl historical data data eoncontained tained in in this this part part of of the the Old Old Testament, Testament, which which dates dates the the Exodus Exodus

11. The The period period spanning spanningthe the two two reigrrs reigns Sethos Sethos f-Ramesses I-Ramesses II, II, which which isis Baid said to to have have lasted lasted roughly roughly eighty eighty years, years, isis out out of of the the question: question: Sethos Sethos I's 1'8 reig'n-which reign-whichu'as wastoo too short shortfor for this*-does this--does not not sqnare squarewith with the the very verylong long stalr stayinin Midian Midian which which llloses Moses made made as as an an adult adult and and which which took tookplace placedurdurjng jngthe the reign reign ofofthe the first first ofofthe the two two pharaohs Pharaohshe he was was totoknow. know.


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in relatiorr relation to to the the construetion construction of of Solomon's Solomon's temple. temple. The The fact fact that that in conas a it retain to it is subject to doubt makes it impossible to retain it as a conit is subject to doubt makes it impossible argument against against the the theory theory outlined outlined here. here. clusive argument clusive

The Problem Problem of of thc the Stett Stele Dating Dating from from the the FifthTem Fifth Year of of Tlw M(mleptah's Reign MenwptuWcReiEfi In the the text text of of the the famous famous stele dating dating from from the the fifth fifth year year of of In to objection an found have reign critics think they have found objection to Merneptah's Merneptah's reign critics tirink they constipursuit the Jews of the theory theory set out out here, in in which which the pursuit of the the last act act of of his his reign. reign. tuted the the last tuted of great great interest interest because because itit represents the only only The stele stele is of The known document in in hieroglyphics hieroglyphics which which contains the word word known 'fsrael'.r 'Israel'.1 The The inscription inscription which which dates dates from from the first first part part of of MerMerneptah's reign reign was discovered discovered in in Thebes Thebes in in the Pharaoh's FuFuneptah's neral Temple, Temple. It It refers refers to a, a series series of victories victories he won over neral Egypt's neighbouring neighbouring states, states, in in partieular particular a victory victory mentioned Egypt's at document over a "devastated Israel which has af the end of the document exisL that the existbeen held that no more seed it has been fact it this fact From this . . "" From seed .. 'fsrael' Jews must already have ence that the Jews ence of the word 'Israel' implied that that settled fifth year of Merneptah's Mefneptah's reign, and that Canaan by the fifth settled in Canaan alhad Egypt from Egypt in consequence, Exodus of the Hebrews from consequence,the Exodus ready taken place. place. it implies that because it This objection does tenable because seem tenable does not seem the while there there could Canaan all the living in Canaan no Jews have been been no Jews living could have aecept. were Jews impossible to accept. it is impossible Egypt-a proposition it Jews in Egypt-a is suphe that he is aa supthe fact faet that Father of the in spite spite of however, in de Vaux Vaux however, Father de of Pharaoh the Pharaoh of II the porter RamessesII makes Ramesses which makes porter of theory which the theory of the 2 in of the Jews the settling of the Jews in the settling about the the following following about noteszthe Exodus, notes the Exodus, to related when communities communities related to Canaan: the time time when the South, South, the "fn the Canaan: "In dates and dates is unclear unclear and the region is the Kadesh Kadesh region in the settled in Israelites settled the Israelites possibility the possibility for the from allows for therefore allows Exodus," He He therefore the Exodus." before the from before from different from at aa time that time different Egypt at have left left Egypt groups may may have eertain groups that certain 'Apiru have who have Habi,rzrwho or Habiru that The 'Apiru or followers. The his followers. and his Mosesand of Moses that of in already in were already Israelites were sometimes the Israelites with the identified with been identified sometimesbeen we Exodus: we the Exodus: II and and the Syria-Palestine RamessesII before Ramesses long before Syria-Palestine long II proves that Amenophis II that Amenophis have which proves evidence which documentary evidence have documentary doubt no doubt leaves no which leaves generic determinative 1.1 . The determinative which by aa generic followed by The word word isis followed 'human community group" or community as to the fact that this term signifies a 'human or group'. a signifies this term that fact as to the .The Ancient (Histoire ancienne d'Israel) ancienne d'Israel) 2.2. In of Israel' lvaef (Histoire History of Ancient History book 'The his book In his


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brough broughtt back prisoners baek 3,600 s,600 prison ers to work work as as forced labour labourers ers in Egypt Eeypt.. Others others were to be found be in Canaa Canaan n under Sethos Sethos I where they caused p. Monte caused unrest in the Beth-S Beth-Shean hean region region:: P. Montett remind remindss us us of of this in his book book Egypt Egupt and the Bible (L'Esypte Eible (L'Egy pte et la Ia Bible) Bible) .. It plausible rt is quite plausib le to sUPPQs suppgse e theref therefore ore that that Merne Merneptah wes ptah was obliged to deal deal severe severely ly with with these these rebelli rebellious ous elemen elements ts on his border borderss while while inside them were those those who were later later to rally rally around Moses Moses to flee flee the countr country. y. The existen existence ce of the stele dating dating from from the fifth fifth year of Merne ptah's reign Merneptah's reign does does not in any way detrac detractt from presentt theory from the presen theory.. Moreo Moreover, ver, the fact fact that tlnt the word asord,Israel 'Israel' figures figures in i,n the history h,istory of of the Jewish Jewi.sh people people is totally toto,Ily unconn uncannected, ected with wi,th the notion notion that that M08es Moeesand a,nd'his his ffollowe ollnwers rs settled settled in in Canaa ca,naan. n. The origin origin of the word is as ss follow follows: s: Accord According ing to Genesi (gz,zgl-, s (32,29 Genesis ), Israel rsrael is the second second name given to Jacob, Jacob, son son of Isaac and grands grandson on of Abrah Abraham. am. The comme commentantators tors of the Ecume Ecwnenieal nical Transl rra,nsrntion ation of the Bible-O Bibte-otd, ld Testam Testament ent (Traduction (Tradu ction oecum oecumdnique enique de de la Bible-A Bible-Ancien ncien Testam Testament) ent),, 1975, Lg76, ,God shows think think that that its meani meaning probably ng is probab ly that that 'God shows Himse Himself lf in His Streng strength'. th'. Since since it it has has been been given to a single man, man, it it is not surpri surprising sing that that itit was given to a comm community unity or group of people people in memo memory ry of a disting distinguished uished ancest ancestor or. 'Israel', The name name 'Israel ', therefo therefore re appear appeared ed well before Moses Moses:: sevsev_ years before to be eral hundre hundred d years be exact. exact. It rt is not surpri surprising sing concon_ sequen sequently tly to see see it it cited in aa stele ph-araoh stele from from the reign of of the itre Pharao h Merne Merneptah' ptah. The fact that that it it is cited does does not at all constit constitute ute an argum arg'ument ent in favour favour of a theory theory which which dates dates the Exodu Exoduss before the fifth fifth year of Merne Merneptah's ptah's reign. .rsrael', What what it it does does do do is refer refer to a group which it it calls ealls 'Israel ', but Merne Merneptah's ptah's stele stele cannot be be alludin alludingg to a politic politically ally establi established shed collect collectivity ivity becaus because e the inscrip inscription tion dates dates from i"o* the end end of the Thirte enth centur Thirteenth centuryy B.C. B,c. and the Kingdo Kingdom m of Israel was 'not hot formed until until the Tenth centur centuryy B.C. B.c. It It must therefo therefore re refer refer to a human commu community nity of more modes proportions.r modestt propor tions. 1 'rsrael' 1. 1. "The "Tf;"m"name 'Israel' (in the stele) stere) is accomp aceompanied anied by the generic deter'people' instead minativ ,country',', as minstivee 'people' of the determi determinaiive native 'country as is the case case for for the other proper proper names names in the stele" writes writes Father Father B. Couroy couroyer, er, Profess or at the Biblical Professor Biblical School School of Jerusale Jerusalem, m, in his comme commentary ntary to the translat translation ion of of the Book of Exodus (Pub. (pub. Edition paris, 1968, Editionss du Cerf, cerf, Paris, 196g, page 12). page


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Nowadays, we we knorv know that that the the entry entry of of 'Israel' 'Israel' into into history history was was Nowadays, preceded by by aa long long formatory formatory period period of of eight eight or or nine nine centuries. centuries. preceded This period period was was distinguished distinguished by by the the settling settling of of many many semisemiThis Nomadic g:roups, groups, especially especially the the Amorites Amorites and and the the Arameans Arameans all all Nomadic over the the region. region. In In the the same same period, period, Patriarchs Patriarchs began began to to appear appear over in their their communities communities among whom whom were were Abraham, Abraham, Isaac Isaac and in Jacob-Israel. The second second name name of of this this last Patriarch Patriarch was was used used to to Jacob-Israel. designate the original original group, the nucleus nucleus of of a future future political designate entity which was to appear long after after Merneptah's reign, since since entity of Israel lasted lasted from from 931 931 or 930 930 to 721 721 B.C. the Kingdom of

4. The Description Contained in in the IIoIg I10lU SCf'iptures of thc the Sct'iptwes of Description Contained 4, Pharaoh's Death Death During During the Exodus. Exodus. PharaoVs event marks a very important important point in the narrations conconThis event in very elearly tained Qur'an. It stands forth clearly forth It stands the Bible and in the tained the texts. texts. It Bible, not only in the Pentateuch Pentateuch It is referred to in the Bible, have already already references have or Torah, but also Psalms: the references also in the Psalms: been given. given. been have It eommentators have that Christian Christian commentators It is very strange to find that completely de Vaux maintains the theory Thus, Father de ignored it. Thus, completelyignored place in the that the the first half or the took place the Exodus Exodus from Egypt took the no account account of the middle takes no theory takes reign. His theory middle of Ramesses RamessesII's reign. Exodus, aa fact which perished during the fact that the the Exodus, the Pharaoh Pharaoh perished should place the event the end end of aa reign. event at the hypothesesplace make all hypotheses should make (Histoire the In his ancienne d'Isra6l), the ancienned'Israel), Israel Aneient History of Israel his Ancient all at be at all doesnot not seem seemto be Head Jerusalemdoes the Biblical School Schoolof Jerusalem Head of the he maintains maintains troubled the theory theory he between the contradiction between the contradiction troubled by the Torah the Torah Bible: the and the Bible: Books of of the the two in the two Books data contained containedin the data and the and and Psalms. Psalms. (L'Egypte et P. Bible)' P. et 1a la Bible), In llible (L'Egypte the Bible EgUpt and und.the book, Egypt In his his book, says but reign, Montet places the Exodus during Merneptah's reign, but says Merneptah's during places Exodus the Montet of head of at the the head rvasat nothing who was the Pharaoh Pharaoh who death of of the the death nothing about about the the Hebrews. fleeingHebrews. the fleeing following the army following the army outJews' outthe Jews' with the This contrasts with attitude contrasts surprising attitude hiehly surprising This highly gives who to God God who "overthrew "overthrew look: thanks to 15 gives thanks verse 15 136, verse Psalm 136, look I Psalm recited often recited is often and i8 Pharaoh Rushes" and of Rushes" the Sea Seaof in the host in his host and his Pharaoh and verse this betweenthis verse in the agreement agreementbetween know of of the They know liturgy. They their liturgy. in their returned waters (14,28-29): "The and "The waters returned passagein Exodus (14,28-29): in Exodus the passage and the


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and covered coveredthe the chariots chariots and and and the the horsemen horsemen and and all all the the host host of of Pharaohthat that had had followed followed them them into into the Pharaoh the sea; sea;not not so much as somuch asone one of them them remained." remained." There There is is no no shadow of shadowof of aa doubt doubt for for them them that that the Pharaoh Pharaoh and and his troups were his troups the were wiped wiped out. out. These Thesesame sametexts texts are are presentin in Christian Christian Bibles. Bibles. present quite deliberately, Christian commentators commentators quite Christian deliberately, and in contradiccontradicand in tion to all the to all the evidence, evidence,brush tion brush aside asidethe Pharaoh'sdeath. the Pharaoh's death.What What is is more however, however, some someof them mention of them mention the more the reference reference made made to to it it in in the Qur'an and encourage encourag:etheir the their readers readers to Qur'an and to make make very very strange strange comparisons.In In the the translation translation of comparisons. of the the Bible Bible directed directedby by the the BibliBibli1 cal School Sehoolof of Jerusalem Jerusalem' we we find cal find the the following following commentary commentaryon on the the Pharaoh'sdeath death by by Father Father Couroyer: Pharaoh's Couroyer: Koran refers refers to (Pharaoh's death) "The Koran "The to this this (Pharaoh's (sura 10, death) (sura 10, verses verses pharaoh who popular tradition has 90-92), and and popular 90-92), has it it that the the Pharaoh was who was drowned with his his army (an event drowned event which whieh is is not not mentioned mentioned in the the 2 Text'?) beneath the ocean Holy Text ) lives beneath ocean where he he rules over the the men men the sea, sea,Le. i.e. the seals". seals". of the It is obvious obvious that the the uninformed reader It reader of the Qur'an bound eur'an is bound establishaa connection connectionbetween betweenaa statement to establish statement in it it which-for which-for the the commentator-contradicts the commentator-contradicts the Biblical text and and this absurd absurd legend which comes comesfrom a so-called legend popular tradition tradition mentioned mentioned so-calledpopurar in the commentary commentary after after the reference reference to the eur'an. Qur'an. The real meaning of the statement statement in the eur'an Qur'an on this has nothing nothing to do with with what this commentator commentator suggests: suggests: verses verses g0 90 to 92, 92, sura 10 inform inform us that that the chirdren Children of of Israel crossed crossed the sea sea while the Pharaoh and his troops were pursuing them and that that itit was was only when the Pharaoh was about to be drowned drowned that that he eried: cried: "I "I believe believe there is no God God exeept except the God God in which the Chilldren Chilldren of of Israel Israel believe. believe. II am am of of those those who who submit submit themselves themselves to to Him." Him." God God replied: replied : "what? "What ? Now! Now! Thou Thou hast hast rebelled rebelled and and caused caused depravity. depravity. This This day day We We save save thee thee in in thy thy body body so so that that thou thou mayest mayest be be aa sisn Sign for for those those who who will will come come after after thee." thee." This This is is all all that that the the sura sura contains contains on on the the pharaoh's Pharaoh's death. death. There There is is no no question question of of the the phantasms phantasms recorded recorded by by the the Biblical Biblical commen_ commentator tator either either here here or or anywhere anywhere else else in in the the eur'an. Qur'an. The The text text of of the the Qur'an merely merely states states very very clearly clearly that that the the pharaoh,s Pharaoh's body body will will Qur'an be be saved: saved: that that is is the the important important piece piece of of information. information. 11.. L'Exode L'Exode (Exodus), (Exodus), 1968. 1968, page page ?8, 73, pub. Pub. Les Les Editions Editions du du cerf, Cerf, paris. Paris. 2. 2. There There can can be be no no doubt doubt that that this this eorrnmentator commentator isis referring referring to to the the Bible. Bible.


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When the the Qur'an Qur'an was was transmitted transmitted to to man man by by the the Prophet, Prophet, the the When (rightly considered bodies of of all all the the Pharaohs Pharaohs who who are are today today considered (rightly or or bodies wrongly) to to have have something something to to do do with with the the Exodus Exodus were were in in their their wrongly) tombs of of the the Necropolis Necropolis of of Thebes, Thebes, on on the the opposite opposite side side of of the the tomhs nothing Nile from from Luxor. Luxor. At At the the time time however, however, absolutely absolutely nothing was was Nile of this this fact, fact, and and itit was was not not until until the the end end of of the the Nineteenth Nineteenth known of known century that that they they were were discovered discovered there. there. As As the the Qur'an Qur'an states, states, the the century body of of the the Pharaoh Pharaoh of of the the Exodus Exodus was was in in fact fact rescued: rescued: whichwhichbody ever of of the the Pharaohs Pharaohs itit was, was, visitors visitors may may see see him him in in the the Royal Royal eVer truth The Mummies Room Room of of the Egyptian Egyptian Museum, Museum, Cairo. Cail¡o. truth is is Mummies therefore very very different different from from the ludicrous legend legend that that Father Father therefore Couroyer has attached to the Qur'an. Qur'an. Couroyer

5. Pharaoh Memel'tah'sa MummY Mummy Plwraoh Merneptah' 5. The mummified body of Merneptah, son son of R.amesses Ramesses II II and points this-was Pharaoh of the Exodus-all the evidence to this-was disevidence Exodus-all whence Kings' Loret in 1898 at Thebes in the Kings' Valley whence covered by Thebes in 1898 Loret covered removed its wrappings it EIIiot Smith Smith removed was transported to Cairo. Elliot it was description of this gives on the 8th of July, 1907: he gives a detailed description detailed a he 190?: on Rogal TIt'eRoyal book The operation and the examination of the body in his book a was Mummies (1912). At that time the mummy was in a satisfactory (1912). the At Mummies several parts. state preservation, in spite of deterioration in several state of preservation, Since then, the mummy has been on show to visitors at the Cairo on show has been Since then, the body the and with his head and neck uncovered and the rest of body Museum, uncovered neck head and Museum, with indeed, hidden under a cloth. It is so well hidden indeed, that until concealed well It is so concealedunder a cloth. that mummy that photographs of the mummy general photographs of the very only general the only recently, the very recently, in 1912. Smith E. the Museum possessed were those taken by E. Smith in 1912. by those possessed taken were the Museum kindly alal' very kindly In authorities very high authorities Egyptian high the Egyptian 1975,the In June June 1975, had that body parts Pharaoh's the parts of the Pharaoh's body that had lowed me to examine of the the lowed me to examine phototo take take photoallowed me me to been They also also allowed then. They until then. covered until been covered the to the present \4'as compared graphs. When the mummy's present state was compared to state graphs. When the mummy's clear abundantly rvas years it condition it was in over sixty years ago, it was abundantly clear ago, condition it was in over sixty The disappeared.The had disappeared. that fragments had and fragments deteriorated and had deteriorated that itit had in man of greatly, hand the at at the hand of man in mummified tissues had suffered greatly, mummified tissues had suffered in time others. passage some places and through the passage of time in others. of some placesand through the in changesin the changes by the explainedby This is easily easilyexplained deteriorationis natural deterioration This natural Ninelate the in time thc the conditions of conservation from th\:l time in the late Ninethe conditions of conservation from place took place Its discovery discoverytook teenth discovered.Its was discovered. when itit was century when teenth century


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in the tomb of the Necrop Necropolis olis of Thebes Thebes where the mumm mummyy had lain for for over three thousa years. Today, nd years. thousand Today, the mumm mummy disy is displayed in a simple glass glass case case which does does not afford afrord herme hermetic tic insulation from outside,, nor does does it protection it offer ofrer protec tion from from pollglation from the outside hition lution by micromicro-organisms. organisms. The mumm mummyy is expose exposed d to fluctua fluetuations tions in tempe temperature rature and snd season seasonal al change changes s in humid humidity: ity: it it is very far far from from the condit conditions ions which whieh enable enabled d it it to remain protec protected ted from from any source source of deterio deteriorstion ration for for approx approximately imatel y three thousa thousand nd yesrs. It years. It has lost the protec protection tion afforde afforded d by its wrapp wrappings ings and the advant advantage age of remain remaining ing in the closed closed enviro environ*.nt nment of the tt * tomb where the tempe temperature rature was more consta constant nt and the air air less less humid than it it is in Cairo cairo at certain times of the year. Of of course course, , while it it was was in the Necrop Necropolis olis itself, the mumm mummy y had to withwithstand the visits of grave plunde plunderers (probably rers (proba bly very early on) and rodents: rodent s: they caused caused aa certain amoun atnountt of damag damage, e, but bui the coneon_ ditions were nevert nevertheless (it seems) heless (it seems) much more favour favourable able for it to stand the test of time than they are today. it At At my sugges suggestion, tion, special speeiarinvesti investigations gations were made made during during this examinstion examin ation of the mumm mummy y in June 1975. rg?8. An excelle excellent nt radiog_raphic graphi c study was ""aiowas made made by Doctor Doctors s EI El Meligy and Ramsi Ramsiys, ys, and and the exami examination nation of the interio interiorr of the thorax thoril, , throug throughh aa-gap gap in the thorac thoracic ic wall, was carried carried out by Doctor Musta Mustapha pha Mania la¡ Minialawiy wiy in additio addition n to an investi investigation gation of the abdom abdomen. en. This was the first examp example le of endosc endoscopy opy being applied to a mumm mummy. y. This techtech_ nique enable enabled d us us to see see and photog pho[ograph raph some some very impor important tant professor details inside the body. body. Profes sor Ceccal perfo"rn*a ceceardi di perfor med a genera generarl medico medico-legal -legal study which will will be comple completea ted by uv an *n examin ation under the micros "*"*fnation microscope cope of some somesmall fragm fratments ents that that sponta spontaneously neously fell from from the mumm mummy's y's body: body: this examin examination ation will will be be carried out by Profes sor Migno Professor Mignott and Doctor Durigo Durigon. n. I regret to say say that that dedepronouncements finitive finitive pronou ncements cannot cannot be be made made by the time this book book goesto print. print.r1 goes What what may alread already y be be derive derived d from from this examin examination ation is the discovery of multip multiple le lesions lesions of the bones bones with with broad lacuna lacunae, e, some some of which may have been been mortal. ...!-although it mortal*although it is not yet possibl possible e to ascerta in wheth ascertain whether er some some of them occurr occurred ed before before or after after the Pharao h's death. Pharaoh's death. He most probab probably ly died died either eifher from from drown drowning, ing, aecord ing to the Script aecording ural narrati Scriptural narrations, ons, or from very violent 1. 1. Novemb N"r"*b-rter, 1975 19?6 for for the First First French edition.


tft|ptu

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shocks preceding preceding the the moment moment when when he he was was drowned'+r drowned-or both both at at shoeks once. ollgE. The eonnection connection of of these these lesions lesions with with the the deterioration deterioration whosâ&#x201A;Ź whose The preserva' correct the sources have been mentioned above renders the correct preservarenders above mentioned been heve E{rurces tion of of the the murnmy mummy of of the the Pharaoh Pharaoh eomewhst somewhat problematieal, problematical, ununtion very not taken are less precautionary and restorative measures are not taken very measures restoretive precautionary and less soon. These These messures measures should should ensure ensure that that the the only only conerete concrete evievistxln, the of the death dence which still possess concerning of possess concerning today we still dence by God' wilted his body, Pharaoh of the Exodus rescue of body, willed God, of rescue the and Exodus Pharaohof does not disappear disapPear wittt with the passage passage of of time. does himself It is always desirable for apply himself to the preserpreserspply for man to It alwrys desirsble which have something we vation of relics of his history, but have something here vstion presenee mummified the of that: it is the material presence mummified goes beyond msterial gpesbeyondthat: it pless, pursued man who knew Moses, Moses, resisted resisted his pleas, pursued body of the man UoAV him ss as he he took flight, logt lost his life life in the the process. process. His eerthly earthly remains were were saved saved by the Will Will of God God from destruction destruction to become become msins 1 aa sign to man, as it is written in the Qur'an. man, as it written Qurran.r Those dsts for proof of the veracity modern data smong modern who seek seekamong Those who the of the Holy Scriptures magnificent illustration of the will find aa magnificent Scriptures will body verses of the Qur'an dealing with the Pharaoh's body by visiting the Pharsoh's venres the Qurran dealing Cairo ! Museum,Cairo! the the Egyptian Museum, Roomof the Mummies Room the Royal Boyal Mummies Moses's story, story, witness to Moses's 1. of Ramesses was another another witness II, who was Ranesses II, -g*y ft* mummy f. The carried one haa been the subject of a study comparable to the one carried out on the comperable a atudy cubjâ&#x201A;Źct her been it. for it. required for is required work is mummy restoration work same restoration tbe same of Memeptah; Merneptah; the mummy of T,.CluICltor,' ffotcl Ttatnlotort' Note: were 19?5, were in Cairo, Gairo, 1975, out in The carried out studies carried medical studies of these these medical rerultr of The results including societies, including learned societies, read French learned several French before several ruthor before the author read by by the ,Acadcmie Nationale Medeof Mede(National Academy Academy of the Mfdecine' (National de Medecine' Nationsle de the 'Academie led results led these results of these knowledge of cine), part of The knowledge 19?6. The of 1976. first part the first during the cine), during mummy the transport to the Egyptian Authorities to take the decision to transport the mummy decision the to take Authorities the Eryptian on the the in Paris Paris on for treatment treatment in of arrived for it arrived Thus it to France. France. Thus U to EamesEes11 of Ramesses 26th September 1976. 1976' 26th Septcmber


The Quran, ThE Qur'arD

]ladiths and Hadilhs and Floderrr ~odE ..n St::iEnt::E Scierrce The Qur'an does does not constitute eonstitute the sole sole source source of doctrine and and Iegislation in rslam. During Muhammad~s legislation Islam. During Muhammad's life and and after after his death, death, complementary information information of aa legislative nature was complementary was indeed indeed sought in the study of the words and prophet. and deeds deedsof the Prophet. Although writing writing was used used in the transmission of hadith Although n"aitn from from the very beginning, the a lot of this came came also also from from the oral tradition. tradition. Those who undertook to assemble assemble them in collections Those made the collections made kind of enquiries which are always very kind of very taxing taxing before recording accounts accounts of of past past events. events. They nevertheless nevertheless had a great regard for for accuracy in in their their arduous task of of collecting information. information. This This is illustrated illustrated by by the fact fact that that for for all all of of the prophet's Prophet's sayings, the most venerable venerable collections collections always bear the names names of of those those responsible sponsible for for the account, going goin~ right right back to the person who first first collected collected the information information from from members of of Muhammad's family family or or his his companions. companions. A large number number of of collections collections of of the the prophet's Prophet's words words and and A very very large deeds deeds thus thus appeared appeared under under the the title title of of Hadiths. Hadiths. The The exact exact meanmeaning ing of of the the word word is is 'utterances', 'utterances', but but itit is is also also customary customary to to use use itit to to mean mean the the narration narration of of his his deeds. deeds. Some of the the collections collections were were made made public public in in the the decades decades followfollowSome of ing ing Muhammad's Muhammad's death. death. Just Just over over two two hundred hundred years years were were to to pass of the the most most important important collections collections appeared. appeared. The The pass before before some some of most most authentic authentic record record of of the the facts facts is is in in the the collections collections of of Al Al BuhBu!fhari hari and and Muslim, Muslim, which which date date from from over. over two two hundred hundred years years after after 242 242


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wider trustworthy trustworthy account. account. In In Muhammad and which provide a wider bilingual Arabic/English Arabic/English edition edition has been been proprorecent years, a bilingual Muhammed Muhsin Shan, !):han, of of the Islamic UniUnivided by Doctor Muhammed versity of of Madina.' Madina. 1 Al Al Bukhari's Bu!!hari's work work is generally regarded regarded as versity after the Qur'an and 'was was translated translated into into the most authentic after French (1903-1914) (1903-1914) by Houdas Houdas and Marcais Marcais under under the title Les Freneh Traditions Islamiques Islamiques (Islamie (Islamic Traditions). Traditions). The Hadiths are Traditi.ons accessible to those those who do not not speak speak Arabic. Arabic. One One must' must, therefore accessible wary of of certain translations made made by Europeans, Europeans, inhowever, be be wary however, because they contain inaceuracies inaccuracies cluding the French translation, because interpretation than of and untruths which are often more of interpretation actual translation. Sometimes, Sometimes, they considerably considerably change change the real actual attribute meaning of a hadith, to such indeed that they attribute such an extent indeed meaning a sense does not contain. eontain. it which it it does senseto it and Gospels regards their their origins, some hadiths and have Gospelshave some of the hadiths As regards compiled was compiled one common which is that neither of them was one point in common he describes. describes. by an author who was events he was an eyewitness eyewitnessof the events recorded. Nor were events recorded. compiled until some sornetime after the events were they compiled as auauaccepted as The hadiths, been accepted Gospels,have have not all been hadiths, like the Gospels, quasi-unanithentic. receive the quasi-unanismall number of them receive thentic. Only a small that, except mous Muslim Tradition so so that, except specialistsin Muslim approval of specialists mous approval the finds in the one finds al-Muwatta, al-Bukhari, one Muslim and and Sahih Sahih al-Bukhari, Sahih Muslim al-Muwatta, Sahih with side with presumed to be same side by side authentic side hadiths presumed be authentic book, hadiths same book, be rejected outright. ones reiected outright. dubious,or should should be which are are either dubious, ones which questioned by In contrast Canonic Gospels Gospels which though though questioned contrast to Canonic by contested by been contested some never been have never modern scholars scholars but which have some modern most are most Christian high authorities, even those those hadiths hadiths that are authorities, even subject of worthy to be have been been the the subject consideredas be considered as authentic authentic have Islamic criticism. Very early in the history of Islam, masters in Islamic Islam, masters although the hadiths, hadiths, although thought thorough criticism of the thought exercised exercised aa thorough and (The Qur'an) book of reference referenceand the remainedthe the book book (The basic book the basic Qur'an) remained questioned. was be questioned. was not to be hadiths the hadiths I thought it of interest the literature of the delveinto the interest to delve himself, have expressed expressedhimself, to said to have is said Muhammad is how Muhammad find out how to find were subjects that were on subjects outside Revelation, on written Revelation, the context context of written outside the Alprogress in centuries. AIfollorving centuries. in following to be by scientific scientific progress explained by be explained (Conversion) Ltd Taleem-ul-Qur'an Ltd and and Taleem-ul-Qur'an 1. Mills (Conversion) Board Mills Straw Board 1. Pub. Pub. Sethi Sethi Straw sahih AI Al for Sahih 1977, for 1st edition edition 1971, Trust, Pakistrin. 1st cantt. Pakistan. Gujranwala, Cantt. Trust, Gujranwala, Bukhari. Bukhari.


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though Sahih Sahih Muslim Muslim isis also also an though an authentic authentic collection, collection, in in this this study I have strictly limited myself study I have strictly limited myself to the texts to the texts of of the the hadiths hadiths generally considered which are are generally consideredto which to be the most bethe most authentic, authentic, Le. i.e.those those of Al Bulhari. have always always tried of Al Bu15hari. II have tried to to bear bear in in mind mind the the fact fact that that thesetexts texts were were compiled eompiledby these by men men according according to to data data received receivedfrom from tradition which partially oral which was was partially aa tradition oral and and that that they they record record certain certain greater facts with a or lesser facts with a greater or degree of lesser degree of accuracy, accuricy, depending depending on on the individual individual errors errors made made by the those who by those who transmitted transmitted the the narranarrations. These These texts texts are are different different from tions. from other other hadiths hadiths which which were were transmitted by aa very very large large number transmitted by people and number of of people and are are unquesunquestionably authentic.r tionablyauthentic.! have compared compared the the findings findings made II have made during during an an examination examination of of the hadiths with with those thosealready already set the set out out in the the section section on on the the Qur'an eur'an and modern science. science. The results of this comparison and comparison speak speak for themselves. The The difference difference is in fact quite staggering between themselves. between the accuracy accuracy of the data contained the when compared contained in the Qur'an, when compared eur'an, with modern scientific knowledge, knowledge, and the highly with questionable highly questionable character of certain statements statements in the hadiths on character on subjects subjects whose whose tenor is essentially essentially scientific. scientific. These tenor These are the only hadiths to have have been dealt with with in this study. been study. Hadiths as their ~adiths which have have as their subject the interpretation interpretation of of cercertain tain verses verses of of the Qur'an sometimes sometimes lead lead to commentaries commentaries which which are hardly hardly acceptable acceptable today. we We have already seen seen the great great significance of of one verse (sura (sura 36, 36, verse verse 36) dealing with with the Sun which .,runs "runs its course course to to aa settled settled plaee". place". Here is the interpretation interpretation given of of itit in in aa hadith: hadith: "At . . prostrates "At sunset, sunset, the sun .... prostrates itself itself underneath the Throne, and and takes permission permission to rise rise again, again, and and itit is is permitted permitted and and then then (a (a time time will will come come when) when) itit wilr will be be about about to to prostrate prostrate itself itself .... . . itit will will ask ask permission permission to to go go on on its its course course .... will be be ordered ordered . . itit will to to return return whenee whence itit has has come come and and so so itit will will rise rise in in the the west West .... .,, ." (sahih (Sahih Al Al Bukhari). Bukhari). The The original original text text (The (The Book Book of of the the BeginBeginning ning of of the the creation, Cr~ation,vol. Vol. IV IV page page z8B, 283, part part 84, 54, chapter chapter IV, IV, numnumber ber 42Ll 421) is is obscure obscure and and difficult difficult to to translate. translate. This This passage passage nevernevertheless theless contains contains an an allegory allegory which which implies implies the the notion notion of of aa course course the the Sun Sun runs runs in in relation relation to to the the Earth: Earth: science science has has shown shown the the 1, 1. Muslim Muslim specialists specialists designate designate the the first first by by the the word word Zanni Zanniand and the the second second by by the the word word Qat'i. Qafi. â&#x20AC;˘


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contrary E) to be the the ca,se. ease. The The authenticity authenticity of of this this hadith ha'dith is doubtdoubtcontrsry (Qonnil. ful tul (Zanni). An¡other passage passage fitm from the same same work work (The (The Book of of the BeginBeginAnother ning of of the Creation, vol.IV vol.IV pege page 283, 283, part part 64, 54, chapter 6, 6, number ning (30) estimates the initial initial stages in in the development of of the em4il0) bryo verT very strangely strangely in in time: time: a forty-day forty-day period for for the grouping grouping bryo of the elements which which are to eonstitute constitute the human being, another another of forty days during during which which the embryo is represented Bs as 'Bomething 'something forty third forty-day forty-day period period when the embryo is which clings', and as third whieh clings', 'ehewed flesh'. Once designated by the term term 'chewed Once the angels have insoul is tervened to define what this individual's future be, a4 soul individual's future is to be, define br.eathed into does of embryonic evolution does breathed into him. This description of not agree with modern data. with data, Whereas practical advice on the lVhereas the Qur'an Qur'an gives absolutely no practical 16, verse remedial arts, except for verse 69) for a single comment (sura 16, (without on the possibility possibility of of using honey as a therapeutic therapeutic aid (without great indicating deal deal indicating the illness involved), involved), the hadiths devote devote a of space space to these these subjects. collecsubjects. A whole section section of Al Al Bu~hari's BuEhari's collec(part 76) is concerned tion (part concerned with with medicine. medicine. In the French transgoes from page 62 lation by Houdas and Marcais it 91 of volit goes from page 62 to 91 ume 4, Ara4, and in Doctor Muhammad Muhsin Khan's bilingual AraEhan's bilingual page 395 bic/English bic/Enslish edition from page VII. There 395 to 452, 462, ~f of volume VII. pages contain some can these pages csn be that _these be no doubt that whieh some hadiths which (Qanni), r+'holebebeare conjectural (~anni), but they are interesting interesting as as a whole cause csuse they provide an outline of the opinions medical opinions on various medical on various possibleto hold at the time. subjects it was add subjects that it was possible time. One One might add Bubhari's to them several several l)adiths tradiths inserted in other parts of Al Bu~hari's collection medical tenor. collection which have have aa medical This is how we come on the harms statements in them on eome to find statements exorcaused causedby the Evil witchcraft and and the possibility of exorEye, witchcraft Evil Eye, paid use use cism; although on the paid imposed on although aa certain restriction is imposed stresses purpose. of the for this purpose. There is a hadith which stresses There a the Qur'an Qur'an protection against efthe efagainst the that certain kinds of date serve as as protection date may serve poisonoussnakesnakefects against poisonous used against magic may be be used and magic fects of magic, magic, and bites. bites. when find that at aa time when We should however to find surprised however be surprised should not be drugs, of use there drugs, possibilities for the scientific scientific use there were were limited possibilities practices; natural treatpeople simple practices; people were on simple were advised advised to rely on headantl cauterization, cauterization, headments cupping, and blood-letting, cupping, as blood-letting, such as ments such


THE THE BIBLE, BIBLE, THE THE QUR'AN SCIENCE AND SCIENCE QUR'AN AND

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lice, the shaving shaving against against lice the use of earners use of camel's milk milk and and certain certain seeds seeds plants such suchas black cumin, asblack such It was also cumin, and and plants suchas as indian indian Qust. It was also Qust. recommendedto palm-tree leaves put the to burn burn aa mat recommended mat made madeof of palm-tree leavesand and put the from it it into ash from into aa wound wound to ash to stop stop bleeding. bleeding. In In emergencies J all emergencies, all genuinely be available means means that that might might genuinely available be of of use had to to be use had be ememployed. It priori,-to be It does doesnot not seem-a seem-a priori-to ployed. good idea, be aa very very good idea, howhowpeopledrink ever, to to suggest that people suggestthat ever, drink camel's eamel's urine. urine. It is is difficult diffHcult today today to It to subscribe subscribe to to certain eertain explanations explanations of of subjects related related to various illnesses. to various illnesses.Among subjects Among them, them, the the following following might be bementioned: mentioned: might -the origins origins of of aa fever: fever: there there are -the are four four statements statements bearing witwitnessto to the the fact fact that that "fever is from the heat ness is (Al Bukhari, from the heat of hell" "fever hell" (AI Bukhari, The Book Book of Medicine Medicine, vol. VII, chapter The page 416). chapter 28, 28, page 416) J vol. -the existence of a rernedy -the existence a remedy for every every illness: illness: liN diseaseGod God "No0 disease created,J but He He created created its treatment created treatment" (Ibid. chapter 1, page l, page 895). This concept conceptis illustrated by the 395). the ~adith the Fly: Fly: "If "rf aa $adith of the vesselof any of you you,J let him dip all of it (into fly falls into the vessel the vessel) vessel) and and then throw throw it it away, away, for in one one of its wings there is aa disease diseaseand and in the the other there is healing (antidote for it). healing (antidote it). i.e. the treatment for that disease" Le. pages disease" (Ibid. chapter chapter 15-16 lb-16,J pages 452-463, also also The Book of of the Beginning part 54, 452-453, Beginning of Creation part b4, chapters 15 16.) chapters 15 & 16.) -abortion -abortion provoked by the sight sight of of a snake snake (which (which can also also blind). blind). This is mentioned mentioned in The Book of the Beginning of creCreation, ation Vol. IV( IV ( chapter chapter 18 13 and and 14, 14, pages pages BB0 330 & & BB4). 334). -haemorrhages -haemorrhages between between periods. periods. The Book of of Menses Menses ((MenMenstrual Periods) Periods) vol. Vol. vI, VI J part part G, 6, pages pages 490 490 & 4gE 495 contains contains rwo two hadiths on the cause cause of of haemorrhages haemorrhages between between periods periods (chapters (chapters 27 21 &,28). & 28) . They refer refer to to two two women: women: in in the the case case of of the the first, there there is a description description (undetailed) (undetailed) of of the the symptoms, symptoms, with with a statement statement that that the the haemorrhage haemorrhage comes comes from from aa blood blood vessel; vessel; in in the the second, second, the the woman woman had had experienced experienced haemorrhages haemorrhages between between periods periods for for seven seven years, years, and and the the same same vascular vascular origin origin is is stated. stated. One One might might suggest suggest hypotheses hypotheses as as to to the the real real causes causes of of the the above, above, but but itit is is not not easy easy to to see see what what arguments arguments could could have have been been produced produced at at the the time time to support this this diagnosis. diagnosis. This This eould could nevertheless nevertheless have have been been quite quite to support accurate. accurate. -the -the statement statement that that diseases diseases are are not not contagious. contagious. Al Al Bubhari's Bu~harPs collection collection of of hadiths hadiths refers refers in in several several places places (chapters (chapters 19, 19, tb, 25, 80, 30, J

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31, 68 53 and and 64, 54, Vol. Vol. Vfl, VII, Ped part ?6, 76, of of the the Book Book of of Medicine) Medicine) to to 81, certain special special cas{es, cases, e,g. e.g. leprosy leprosy (page (page 408), 408), plague plague (pages (pages 418 418 certain " (22), camel's scabies scabies (page (page 447), and also also provides provides general general 447r, and 422'1,camel's & wittl placed side by side statements. The latter are however placed by with however latter sre The statements. glaringly contradietory contradictory remarks: remarks: itit is is recommended, recommended, for for exexglaringly stay plagUe, to and ample, areas plague, is go where there areas to not to ample, away from from lepere. lepers. awey possible to conclude conclude that that certain [radiths l}.adiths Consequently, Consequently,itit is possible scientifically unacceptable. unacceptable. There is a doubt surexist which are scientifrcally rounding their their authenticity. The purpose purpose of reference reference to them lies solely solely in in the comparison comparison that that they oecasion occasion with with the verses verses of the Qurtan Qur'an mentioned mentioned above: above: these these do do not contain contain a single single inhas considerable considerable accurate statement. statement. This observation observation clearly has accurate importance. importance. indeed remember remember thst that at the Prophet's Prophet's death, death, the One must indeed One g1oups: into two teachings that were received groups: this fell from were received teachings -firstly, aa large number -firstly, knew the Qur'an by heart Believers knew number of Believers many times; many, many it many, because, like the Prophet, they had recited it recited hsd Prophet, becsuse, moreover, transcriptions alreadyexisted existedmoreover, the Qur'an the text of the transcriptionsof the Qur'an already before even and even before which Prophet and the time of the Prophet were made made at the which were 1 the Hegira â&#x20AC;˘ the Hegira'. -secondly, the members were closest closestto him -secondly, who were merilbersof his following who had deedshad and deeds words and and his words witnessedhis had witnessed who had the Believers Believers who and the to addition to remembered support,in addition them for support, relied on on them them and and relied rememberedthem legislation. and legislation. the doetrineand nascentdoctrine definingaa nascent when defining the Qur'an, Qur'an,when texts death, texts Prophet's death, In the year3 that were the Prophet's werâ&#x201A;Ź to follow the the years groups teachings of were teachings the two groups recordedthe which recorded be compiled were to compiledwhich to be performed was performed gathering of hadiths he hadiths was first gathering left. The The first had left. he had of first collection collectionof roughly but aa first years after the Hegira, Hegira, but after the roughly forty forty years Abu under Caliph Caliph Abu Qur'anic made beforehand beforehandunder had been been made texts had Qur'anic texts whom of whom secondof the second Bakr, particular Caliph Caliph Uthman, Uthman, the and in in particular Bakr, and the i.e. between betweenthe published Caliphate,Le. his Caliphate, during his publishedaa definitive text during definitivetext death. yearsfollowing Muhammad'sdeath. twelfth following Mul,lammad's and twenty-fourth twenty-fourth years twelfth and these betweenthese disparity between What the disparity is the stressedis heavily stressed beheavily must be What must and as as point of view and of view two literary point groupsof from aa literary both from texts, both of texts, two groups to comcomunthinkableto be unthinkable regards indeedbe would indeed It would contents.It their contents. regardstheir what isis hadiths.What the hadiths. that of of the pare with that the Qur'an of the p* the styleof the style Qur'an with in the the colnparedin are cmnpared more, two texts texts are the two of the contentsof when the the contents *ot*, when death. Mubammad'rdeath. yearr before 1.1. The beforeMubammad's ten years 622,ten in 622, TaEin Hegirs was The Hegira


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light of of modern modernscientific scientificdata, light data,one oneisis struck struck by by the thp oppositi.ons oppositbns betweenthem. them.II hope hopeII have havesucceeded between in succeeded in showing showingwhat whatfollows: follows: --on the theone onehand, hand,statements statementsin -on in the theQur'an whichoften oftenappear appear Qur'anwhich to be becommonplace, commonplace, but which whichconceal to but concealdata datathat that science sciencewas later waslater bring to tobring tolight. light. to -{n the theother otherhand, hand,certain certainstatements -on statementsin in the thehadiths hadithswhich whichare are shownto to be bein in absolute absoluteagreement shown agreementwith with the the ideas ideasof of their their times times but which which contain containopinions opinionsthat but that are are deemed deemedscientifically scientificallyunacunaceeptabletoday. today. These Theseoccur ceptable occur in in an an aggregate aggregateof of statements statementsconconcerning Islamic Islamic doctrine doctrine and cerning and legislation, legislation,whose whoseauthenticity authenticity is is unquestioningly acknowledged. ged. acknowled unquestioningly Finally, it pointedout it must must be bepointed Finally, out that that Mu};1ammad's Mutrammad'sown own attitude attitude guitedifferent wasquite differenttowards towardsthe was the Qur'an from what what it it was wastowards eur'an from towards personalsayings. his personal sayings.The The Qur'an proclaimedby his was proclaimed eur'an was by him him to to be be aa divine Revelation. Revelation.Over prophet period of twenty Over aa period divine years, the twenty years, the Prophet classifiedits sections sectionswith the greatest of care, the greatest classified care, as as we we have have seen. seen. The Qur'an representedwhat The Qur'an represented what had had to be be written down down during during his his own lifetime and and learned learned by heart to become own becomepart of the the liturgy liturgy prayers.The The hadiths hadiths are principle, to provide of prayers. are said, said, in principle, provide an acan accountof his his deeds deedsand personalreflections, and personal count reflections,but he he left it to others others find an to find an example examplein them them for their own behaviour and own behaviour and to make make them them public public however however they they liked: he he did not give give any any instructions. instructions. In In view of the fact that only a limited nu*b*" number oi of paitts l}.adiths may may be be considered considered to express express the prophet's Prophet's thoughts thoughts with with certainty, the the others must contain contain the thoughts thoughts of of the men men of his time, time, in particular particular with with regard regard to the subjects subjects referred referred to here. here. when When these or inauthentic hadiths are compared compared to the text text of of these dubious dubious or the the Qur'an, Qur'an, wâ&#x201A;Ź we can can measure measure the the extent extent to to which which they they differ. differ. This This comparison comparison highlishts highlights (as (as ifif there there were were still still any any need need to) to) the the atriking striking difference difference between between the the writings writings of of this this period, period, which which are are riddled riddled with with scientific scientific inaccurate inaccurate statements, statements, and and ttthe Qur'an, * eur'an, the the Book Book of of written Written Revelation, Revelation, that that is is free free from from enors errors or of tnit this kind.t kind.1 1. 1. The The truth truth of of the the ladithc, 1)adiths, from from ea religiour religious point point of of view, view, iris beyond beyond que& question. they deal, deal, however, however, with with earthly earthly affairs affairs there there isis no no direrdiffertion. when When they ence the Prophet Prophet and and other other humans. humans. one One tradith \1adith givea gives an an acacence betneen between the count an utterence utterance ofof the the prophet: Prophet: ,,T[henever "Whenever rI iommand command you you toto do do count ofofan romething Religion do do obey, obey, and and ifif I I command command you you romething something somethingnrlatcd rl!lated toto Retigion according myown own opinion opinion (do (do remember remember this) this) I I am am aa human human beingf;. being". accordingtoto my (Continued (Continuedon onPage Page249) 249)


GEnE~al Gerreral Cont::lu~ion~ Conclusions At the end end of of this study, a fact fact that that stands stands forth forth very very elearly clearly At that the predominsnt predominant opinion held held in the West West on the texts of of is that We realistic. possess Scriptures we possess today is hardly very realistic. the Holy Scriptures conditions, times snd and ways in in which the elements elements have seâ&#x201A;Źn seen the conditions, have Old Testament, Testament, the Gospels Gospels snd and the Qut'an Qur'an constituting the Old attendant circumstances attendant were collected collected and and written written down: the circumstances were upon the birth birth of the Scriptures Scriptures for for tltese these three Revelations Revelations difdifupon which had had extremely ferred widely in each extremely important case,aa fact whieh eachcase, and certain consequences concerning authenticity of the texts and concerning the authenticity consequences aspects contents. aspectsof their contents. works literary works number of literary The vast number representsas vast Testamentrepresents The Old OId Testament years. It forms aa period of roughly nine written hundred years. It nine hundred over aa period written over cenpieces the course highly disparate have, in the courseof cenmosaicwhose whosepieces have, disparate mosaic pafts what to were added added turies, man. Some Some parts were been changed changedby man. turies, been already sometimesvery difficult init is sometimes todey it so that today existed, so already existed, deed came from originally. where they they came deedto identify where Gospels the Gospels Through words and and deeds, deeds,the Jesus'swords accountof Jesus's an account Through an wished to he wished teschingshe were the teachings known to men men the makeknown intendedto make were intended leave mission. Unfortunately, Unfortunately, on completion completionof his earthly mission. leavethem them on dats the data the eyewitnessesof the were not eyewitnesses the Gospels Gospelswere the authors authors of the data who expressed expresseddata that they were spokesmen spokesmenwho They were recorded.They they recorded. preservedby by had been been preserved were quite simply the information that had simply the were quite public life' Jesus'spublic life, on Jesus's the communitieson various Judeo-Christian Judeo-Christiancommunities the various exist longer exist no longer which no passed passeddown oral traditions or writings which down by by oral the between stagebetween the intermediate stage today, an intermediate eonstitutedan which constituted and which iod"y, and tent^s. oral definitivetexts. andthe the definitive tradition and oral tradition (Continued from 248) (Continued from Page Page248) 'Principles' (Al as (Cl UsUl) thic statement statement as Al transmitted this Ufrll transmitted in his his 'Principles' Al SaraksT Saraksi in according your act do you religion, follows: I bring something to you on your religion, do act aeeording to on something I bring follows: "If "If you have heve then you world, then this world, related to to this to you something something related bring you if II bring and if it, and to it, afiairs". aa better your own earthly affairs". own earthly of your knowledge of better knowledge

249


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This is is the in which This the light light in whieh the the Judeo-Christian Judeo-Christian Scriptures Scriptures viewed today, should be be viewed today, and-to should objective-one and-to be be objective-one should should abanabanthe classic don the classicconcepts coneeptsheld held by by experts don experts in exegesis. in exegesis. The inevitable inevitable result result of the multiplicity The of the multiplicity of of sources sourcesis is the existthe existence of contradictions and ence of contradictions and oppositions: oppositions: many many examples examples have have given of been given of these. these.The (when talkThe authors authors of been of the the Gospels had (when Gospelshad talking of of Jesus) Jesus) the the same same tendency ing tendency to to magnify magnify certain certain facts facts as as the the poets of of French French Medieval Medieval literature poets literature in poems. in their their narrative narrative poems. The consequence consequenceof of this this was presented from The was that that events events were were presented from each individual narrator's narrator's point point of each individual of view view and and the the authenticity authenticity of of the facts reported in facts reported proved to in many many cases the casesproved to be be extremely extremely dubious. dubious. In view of of this, the the few statements statements contained contained in the Judeo-ChrisJudeo-Christian Scriptures Scriptures which may have have something something to do with to do with modern modern knowledge should should always always be knowledge be examined examined with the the circumspection circumspection questionablenature of their authenticity demands. that the the questionable demands. Contradictions, improbabilities and Contradictions, and incompatibilities with modern scientific scientific data data may be be easily modern easily explained explained in terms of what just been has just been said above. above. Christians has Christians are nevertheless nevertheless very surprised when they realize this, so prised so great have have been been the continuous continuous far-reaching efforts made made until and far-reaching until now by many official comcomcamouflage the very obvious mentators to camouflage obvious results of of modern studies, under cunning dialectical dialectical acrobatics studies, acrobatics orchestrated orchestrated by apologetic apologetic lyricism. A A case case in point are the genealogies genealogies of Jesus Jesus g'iven contradictory and sciensciengiven in Matthew Matthew and Luke, which were eontradictory tifically tifically unacceptabie. unacceptabie. Examples have been been provided which which reveal this attitude very clearly. John's John's Gospel Gospel has has been been given special special attention attention because because there are very very important important differences differences between between itit and the other other three Gospels, Gospels, especially with with regard regard to the fact fact that that his Gospel Gospel does does not describe describe the institution institution of of the Eucharist: Eucharist: this this is not not generally known. The Qur'anic Revelation history which is fundamentally Revelation has a history different different from from the other other two. two. ItIt spanned spanned a period period of of some some twenty twenty years years and, as soon soon as itit was was transmitted transmitted to to Mul.rammad Mul}.ammad by by ArchArchangel Gabriel, Believers Believers learned itit by by heart. heart. ItIt was was also also written written down down during during Muhammad's Muhammad's life. life. The The last last recensions recensions of of the the eur'an Qur'an were were efrected effected under under Caliph Caliph Uthman Uthman starting starting some some twelve twelve years years after after the the Prophet's Prophet's death death and and finishins finishing twenty-four twenty-four years years after after it. it. They They had had the the advantage advantage of of being being checked checked by by people people who who already already knew knew the the text text by by heart, heart, for for they they had had learned learned itit at at the the


tulcorcl*'lon'

gltr 251

time of of the the Bevelstion Revelation itself itself snd and had had subsequently subsequently recited recited itit conCODtime scrupulously has been stantly. Since then, we know that the text has been scrupulously the text that know we then, stantly. Since preserved. ItIt does does not not give give rise rise to to any any problems problems of of authenticity. authenticity. preserved" that QUl"an follows on from the two Revelations that preceded preceded The Bevelations two the from on follows Ttre Qurtan the narrations, in its it and is not only free from contradictions in its narrations, the contradictions free from not only it and is Gosin the found be to be found in the Gossign of the various human manipulations to manipulstions human various the sign of pels, but but provides provides aa quality quality all all of of its its own own for for those those who who examine examine pe1s, agreecomplete its i.e. it objectively in the light of science its of light science the in and it objectively are ststements more, is ment with modern scientific data. What is more, statements are dsta. What scientifie modern with ment to be found in in itit (as has been been shown) that that are connected connected with with science: and yet yet itit is unthinkable unthinkable that that & a man of of Mu[rammad's Mu\1ammad's science: ecientific Modern time been the author of scientific them. of author been the have could time of the knowledge therefore therefore allows us to understand eertain certain verses verses of interpret. to Qur'an until it been impossible to interpret. impossible it has been now, until which, Qur'an Qur'anic narrations narrations of The comparison of of several several Biblical Biblical and Qur'snic the same same subject subject shows the existence of of fundamental fundamental differences between statements in the former, which are scientifically unbetween statements acceptable, latter which are in perfect declarations in the latter acceptable, and declarations case of the Creation agreement with modern data: this was the case with agreement complement and the Flood, important complement for example. Flood, for example. An extremely important subiect to the Bible wes was found in the text of the Qur'an on the subject \r'ere very of the history Exodus, where the two texts were history of the Exodus, findings, in the dating much with archaeological archaeological findings, much in agreement agreement with bedifferences beof the time of Moses. Besides, there are major differences there Besides, Moses. serve tween the Qur'an and the Bible on the other subjects: they serve on and tween Qur'an scrap of to disprove aa scrap has been maintained-without been maintained-without disprove all that has supposed is evidence--concerning the allegation that Mul)ammad is supposed Mu[rammad allegation that the evidence+oncerning produce the the Qur'an. to the text text of of the to produce Bible to the Bible to have have copied copied the Qur'an. statements the statements between the When made between is made study is comparative study When aa comparative hadiths' of collection the connected in the collection of hadiths, found in be found to be scienceto with science connectedwith dubious of are often but are often of dubious which Mubammad but to Mul).ammad attributed to are attributed which are period) the of the period),' beliefs of authenticity the beliefs (although they reflect the they reflect authenticity (although be' disparity bethe disparity and in the the Qur'an, kind in similar kind of aa similar Qur'an, the the data data of and the ruled out. is ruled out. origin is comes commonorigin notion of of aI common any notion that any soobvious obviousthat comesso is day, it it is Mu[rammad's day, In in Mul)ammad's knowledge in of knowledge level of the level of the In view view of which the Qur'an in the inconceivable statements in the statements Qur'an which of the many of that many inconeeivable that man. of aa man. work of the work are have been beenthe could have sciencecould with science connectedwith are connected the regard the to regard not only only to It perfectly legitimate, legitimate, not moreover, perfectly is, moreover, It is, it aa award to also but Qur'an as the expression of a Revelation, but also to award it s Revelation, of expression the ss Qur'an


?82

THE TIIE BIBLE, BIBIJ, THE THE QURtAN AND SCIENCE SCIENCE QUR'AN AND

place,on very special specialplace, guarantee of on account account of very of the the guarantee of authenticity authenticity it it provides presence in and the the presence in it provides and it of of scientific scientific statements statements which, which, when studied studied today, today, appear appear as when Bs aa challenge challenge to to explanation explanation in in human terms. terntg. human


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