Responses to Bismikaallahuma

Paul's Dependency on Talmudic Writings: A Refutation of the Muslim Claim

In the article, Paul's Dependency on Talmudic Writings, MENJ (Mohd Elfie Nieshaem Juferi) presents yet another attack on the Apostle Paul and the authority of the New Testament Scriptures. He begins his polemic:


While Christians would prefer to allude to the notion that Paul, the self-acclaimed "apostle" of Jesus, was "inspired" when he wrote his epistles, the evidences we have researched states otherwise. We have seen how Paul had cited a verse from the 'apocryphal books of Elijah' but claimed that he was citing from the book of Isaiah. Apparantly this citing of quotations from apocryphal or Rabbinic writings was not alien to Paul, for in the epistles of Paul, there are abundant signs that he was extremely familiar with Rabbanic material and constantly refers to them. This is not surprising since Paul himself had admitted to familiarity with Jewish traditions under the tutelage of Gamaliel (Acts 22:3).


While Muslims would choose to ignore the inspired Apostle of the Lord Jesus for a self-appointed prophet named Muhammad, we side with the truth and put our hope in the message that God spoke through his beloved servant Paul. Lord Jesus willing, we will be producing a response to MENJ’s erroneous assertion that Paul quoted from the apocalypse of Elijah. Here we want to focus on MENJ’s claim that Paul cited the rabbinic sources.

The first major problem with MENJ’s thesis is that most of the sources which he claims Paul borrowed from are actually post-NT writings.

TANHUMA A collection of aggadic midrashim. The Tanhuma contains many midrashim attributed to 4th century Rabbi Tanhuma bar Abba, but since it contains anti-Karaite material, the collection cannot be dated before the 9th Century. It is also known as Yelammedenu. (Lavinia and Dan Cohen-Sherbok, A Popular Dictionary of Judaism [Curzon Press, 1995], p. 175)

RASHI (Solomon ben Isaac) 1040-1105 AD.

TALMUD The record of the *amoraim on the *Mishnah. The Jerusalem Talmud was compiled in the late 5th Century CE and the Babylonian Talmud in the late 6th Century ... The Babylonian Talmud was recognized as the supreme authority by the 11th century ... Ibid. p. 174

... Genesis Rabbah is generally considered to be the earliest compilation (completed c. 5th cent. CE); from a slightly later date are Leviticus Rabbah and the midrashim to the Five Scrolls ... Originating from a later period are the midrashim to Exodus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy, which are related to - and at times identical with - the *Tanhuma’-Yelammedenu collection of midrashim; these were completely written in Hebrew. Several of the midrashim (those to Exodus, Numbers, and Esther) are, in their present form, a composite of two works from different periods. Viewed together, the midrashim in Midrash Rabbah present a compendium of rabbinic exegesis and lore on the books of the Bible that were most often read and studied in the synagogue and study hall throughout the Mishnaic, Talmudic, and late Byzantine periods ... (The Oxford Dictionary of the Jewish religion, R.J. Zwi Werblowsky and Geoffrey Wigoder, editors in chief [Oxford University Press, New York and Oxford, 1997], p. 464)

TALMUD (... Teaching), name applied to each of two great compilations, distinguished respectively as the Talmud Yerushalmi (Palestinian Talmud) and the Talmud Bavli (Babylonian Talmud), in which are collected the teachings of the major Jewish Scholars (amora’im) who flourished between 200 and 500 CE, the classic period of rabbinic Judaism.

After the Mishnah was edited in approximately 200 CE... The compilation of the Talmud Yerushalmi (c. 400 CE) preceded that of the Talmud Bavli by about one hundred years. As a result, the Yerushalmi often preserves more pristine and accurate versions of material ... (Ibid., pp. 668-669)

... Many passages are attributed to the homilist R. *Tanhuma’ ben Abba’ who was active during the second half of the fourth century in Palestine.

Earlier scholars made conflicting claims about the date and identity of the "early" Tanhuma’ or Yelammedenu, which was thought to be the original source of all the surviving works of this type. Recent research has allowed scholars to distinguish relatively early traditions and sources within early, middle, and late redactional strata running through the various works. Tanhuma’-Yelammedenu literature is best regarded as a particular Midrashim genre that began to crystallize toward the end of the Byzantine period in Palestine (5-7th cent.) but continued to evolve and spread throughout the Diaspora well into the Middle Ages. For example, Tanhuma’ (the first printed version was published in Constantinople [1520-522]) seems to have undergone final redaction in geonic Babylonia ... (Ibid., p. 674)

In one of his responses to a Christian "missionary" MENJ asked a retired university Professor and observant Jew named JosephG about the dates of the Talmud. MENJ then published his response in an article on the web:

First, we would need to understand the importance of the Talmud in Jewish belief. Dr. JosephG explains:

The Talmud represents the first effort in recording the 'Oral Law' or 'Oral Tradition' of Judaism, and there actually exist two Talmuds. These are not two versions of the same thing; rather, the Jerusalem Talmud deals more with agrarian issues of the Law, while the Babylonian Talmud deals with the rest of the Law. Of the two, the Babylonian Talmud is considered the 'senior statesman', i.e., the more 'authoritative'.
In general, the Talmud is made up of the "Mishnah" (~15-20%) and the "Gemara" (~80-85%) - it was started in the second half of the 2nd century CE and completed in the 6th century CE.

(Source:; bold emphasis ours)

In light of the foregoing it is very difficult to see how Paul could have borrowed from sources which were not even in existence during his time!!! If one wants to argue dependency at all, based on chronology one could make a much better case that the Jews borrowed from Paul’s writings. The burden of proof is upon MENJ to show that (a) these specific sources were circulating before or during the time of Paul whether orally or in writing and (b) that he would have been aware of them.

Furthermore, MENJ’s argument seemingly presumes that there is nothing true in these sources. Otherwise if he doesn’t assume this then why should it be a problem for Paul, a Pharisee, to appeal to Jewish sources which may contain true anecdotes in them? MENJ himself alluded to the following citation:

"Then Paul said: ‘I am a Jew, born in Tarsus of Cilicia, but brought up in this city. Under Gamaliel I was thoroughly trained in the law of our fathers and was just as zealous for God as any of you are today.’" Acts 22:3 NIV

Other passages bring out this point more clearly:

"Then Paul, knowing that some of them were Sadducees and the others Pharisees, called out in the Sanhedrin, ‘My brothers, I am a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee. I stand on trial because of my hope in the resurrection of the dead.’ When he said this, a dispute broke out between the Pharisees and the Sadducees, and the assembly was divided. (The Sadducees say that there is no resurrection, and that there are neither angels nor spirits, but the Pharisees acknowledge them all.)" Acts 23:6-8 NIV

"though I myself have reasons for such confidence. If anyone else thinks he has reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more: circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee; as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for legalistic righteousness, faultless." Philippians 3:4-6 NIV

In other words, even if Paul were borrowing from Jewish source material in what way would that refute his apostleship or the inspiration of his writings? Since Paul was trained as a Pharisee we would expect him to be familiar with sources and stories not found in the Holy Bible, sources containing accurate information. Paul also quoted pagan poets and philosophers:

"‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’ As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’" Acts 17:28

"Do not be misled: ‘Bad company corrupts good character.’" 1 Corinthians 15:33 NIV

"Even one of their own prophets has said, ‘Cretans are always liars, evil brutes, lazy gluttons.’" Titus 1:12 NIV

The preceding citations all come from pagan sources. Does this mean that Paul believed they were inspired just because he quoted from them? Or does this somehow deny Paul’s legitimacy as Christ’s spokesperson? Of course not, since it doesn’t necessarily follow that if a pagan said something then it can’t be true. Even pagans can have something truthful to say. Just as Paul could appeal to truths known by pagans as a way of illustrating his point, he could also point out truths from uninspired Jewish writings without making them inspired or vice versa them discrediting the inspiration of Paul’s writings. More on this below.

MENJ turns his attention to the so-called evidence supposedly supporting his contention that Paul borrowed from Talmudic writings:

Paul's Dependency on the Talmudic Writings: The Evidence

In 2 Timothy 3:8, we see that Paul traditionally names two of the Egyptian magicians who withstood Moses as Jannes and Jambres, respectively. He compares the both of them with his enemies, as the following verse records:

"Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so do these men oppose the truth, corrupt thinkers as they are and counterfeits so far as faith is concerned."

The names of these two Egyptian magicians are nowhere to be found in the Old Testament. The Midrash Rabbah on Exodus, however, makes mention of these two names as "Yochani" and "Mamre" respectively, and states:

Yochani and Mamre said to Moshe "Would you carry straw to Afraim?" He [Moses] said to them: "carry herbs to herb-town."[1]

The names of these Egyptian magicians also appears in Midrash Tanchuma (Parshat Ki Tisa) 19:19 as a Commentary on Exodus 32:

Forty thousand people had assembled to leave Egypt with the Israelites, and among them were two Egyptians named Jannes and Jambres, who had performed magical feats for Pharaoh.[2]

Thus it is clear that these magicians' names came from the Rabbinic traditions and had no doubt influenced Paul considerably to include these names in his epistle.


Before we respond we first would like to expose MENJ’s inconsistency here. MENJ’s comments presume that Paul authored the Pastoral Epistles, i.e. Titus and 1 & 2 Timothy (specifically 2 Timothy). This is not the only time where MENJ claims that Paul wrote 2 Timothy (cf. Paul and The 'Inspiration' of Scripture).

Yet elsewhere on his site he has posted Usman Sheikh’s article where the latter goes out of his way to deny the Pauline authorship of the Pastoral letters:

Furthermore, Timothy is not recognized as genuine, it is the consensus of modern scholars that this document is spurious, and from the 2nd century. We read that

A number of considerations lead many exegetes to the conclusion that the entire letter is pseudepigraphical. Thus we ought not to think that the passage under consideration (3:10-17) is part of a personal letter from the apostle to Timothy, his close friend and trusted co-worker.[7]

Archibald Robertson also informs us that

...those (letters) to Timothy and Titus are regarded even by professional theologians as second-century concoctions.[8]

Finally, we read that

...all scholars except Catholics and Fundamentalists now agree that they (Timothy and Titus letters) are second century compositions dealing with a second century situation...these forgers probably drew on what they knew of Paul's life to lend their work an air of verisimilitude.[9]

Even the Catholics now believe that Timothy is a second century composition, as we have quoted from Collins above. In a while we will look at highly-respected sources such as The New Jerome Bible Commentary and others, which categorically admits this. Certainly, in Paul's time, there was no concept of any Christian "scripture", let alone a Canon. (Source)

Now it seems that MENJ wants to have his cake and eat it too. Either MENJ accepts Pauline authorship and therefore must reject the claims of Usman Sheikh, or he accepts Sheikh’s conclusions and thereby forfeits his claim that Paul borrowed from rabbinic sources since the Apostle didn’t author 2 Timothy. But we do thank MENJ for helping us refute Usman’s claims since we agree with MENJ that Paul did author 2 Timothy.

Returning to the issue at hand, as we have already noted, apart from the fact that these sources are later than Paul, MENJ seems to be operating under the assumption that there is nothing true in these Jewish sources. He seems to operate under an all or nothing mentality. But this would only provide further evidence for his inconsistency. In responding to Christian "missionary" Jameel, MENJ asks:

Several questions need to be raised for the missionaries:

  1. Is there 100% material evidence that the Jewish traditions which dealt with issue ARE JUST MYTHS WITHOUT ANY BASE OR SPACE FOR TRUTH IN THEM, considering that the authenticity of the Midrash Rabbah is not certain and that the Jews themselves do treat it as the truth?
  2. Does the non-mention of any event in the Old Testament or New Testament constitute a fact that it never took place?
(Source; underline and capital emphasis ours)

So we need to ask MENJ, does the fact that the names of the Egyptian magicians appear in a non-biblical source ipso facto prove that Paul was quoting from myths? Or is it possible that these non-biblical Jewish sources do contain factual statements which so happen to be mixed in with myths and allegories? We will have more to say about this in the second part of our response.

Interestingly, there is evidence that it is the Quran which has borrowed its information from the Jannes and Jambre story. Speaking of the similarity between the Quran’s account and the Jewish stories regarding the Egyptian magicians’ use of magic and their subsequent conversion, the authors at Freethought Mecca write:

So, if both the Jews and Christians interpreted the meeting of Moses and Pharaoh's magicians as being an incident where real power met false magic, it is easy to see how this same story would make its way into the Qur'an. We have already shown that the Rabbinic commentaries saw the act of turning a stick into a snake as something that any fool could do in Egypt, the home of sleight of hand, smoke, mirrors and illusion. Now, we would like to show what some Christians thought. Consider, for example, what Ambrosiaster (Pseudo-Ambrose) wrote in the fourth century:

Jannes and Jambres were two brothers, magicians and enchanters of the Egyptians, who through phony magic thought to resist God's mighty acts. But worsted by Moses they confessed in pain from their sores that God was active in Moses.
[Ambrosiaster on 2 Timothy 3:8, as cited in Albert Pietersma, The Apocryphon of Jannes and Jambres the Magicians, (E.J. Brill, 1994), p. 30]

So before the advent of Islam, there were Christians and Jews who understood the text as stating that Pharaoh's magicians worked through fraud. Also note that in the Qur'anic version Pharaoh's magicians convert to Moses' faith. In the Zohar (which is a post Islamic compilation of older traditions) Jannes and Jambres become Jews. Midrash Tanchuma (on Parshat Ki Tissa) states that Jannes and Jambres were among the mixed multitude that left Israel with the Jews. Shemot Rabbah 42:6 speaks of Moses accepting Egyptian proselytes into the mixed multitude. All this, combined with Ambrosiatser's treatment of the magician's recognition of Moses' true power coming from God, could point to pre-Islamic Christians and Jews being aware of this conversion. (Pharaoh's Magicians and the Hadeethu Moosa; bold emphasis ours)

The evidence strongly points in the direction of the Quran borrowing Jewish stories rather than Paul borrowing from them.

MENJ continues:

Paul also adopted the current Jewish chronologies in Acts 13:20-21. He alludes to the notion that the Adam of Genesis 1 is the ideal or spiritual, the Adam of Gen 2 the concrete and sinful Adam (1 Corinthians 15:47, also found in Philo, De Opif. Mund i.32). The conception of the last trumpet (1 Corinthians 15:52; 1 Thessalonians 4:16) , of the giving of the Law at Sinai by Angels (Galatians 3:19), of Satan as the god of this world and the prince of the air (Ephesians 2:2) and of the celestial and infernal hierarchies (Ephesians 1:21, 3:10; 4:12; Colossians 1:16; 2:15) are all recurrent in Talmudic writings.


A careful examination of all these passages shows that there are no parallels with MENJ’s assumed sources. We begin with Acts:

"he overthrew seven nations in Canaan and gave their land to his people as their inheritance. All this took about 450 years. After this, God gave them judges until the time of Samuel the prophet. Then the people asked for a king, and he gave them Saul son of Kish, of the tribe of Benjamin, who ruled forty years." Acts 13:19-21 NIV

MENJ imagines Paul’s reference to 450 years is something he borrowed from contemporary Jewish chronologies. MENJ seems to have not realized that the Jews derived their chronology from a careful reading and analysis of the Hebrew Bible itself. The late N.T. scholar F.F. Bruce notes:

... The 450 years seem to cover the period of sojourning in Egypt (four hundred years, according to Gen. 15:13; cf. Acts 7:6), together with the forty years of wandering in the wilderness and the interval that elapsed between the crossing of the Jordan and the distribution of the land recorded in Josh. 14:1-5. (The wording of Josh. 14:1-2 has also left its mark on the language of verse 19.) (F.F. Bruce, The Book of the Acts (New International Commentary on the New Testament), Revised Edition [William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, MI 1988], p. 255)

Paul was therefore being thoroughly biblical in adopting a chronology which was consistent with the inspired revelation. We need to reiterate the point that not everything believed by the Jews of Paul’s day was inconsistent with the inspired revelation. Both the Lord Jesus and the Apostle confirmed many of the beliefs and practices of the Jews of their day since much of it was based on the inspired scriptures. Did Paul have to deny everything associated with Judaism in order for MENJ to accept him as a legitimate representative of Christ? Apparently so.

Turning our attention to 1 Corinthians 15:47, again nothing in the context even remotely suggests that Paul was borrowing from Jewish sources:

"So it is written: ‘The first man Adam became a living being’; the last Adam, a lifegiving spirit. The spiritual did not come first, but the natural, and after that the spiritual. The first man was of the dust of the earth, the second man from heaven. As was the earthly man, so are those who are of the earth; and as is the man from heaven, so also are those who are of heaven. And just as we have borne the likeness of the earthly man, so shall we bear the likeness of the man from heaven." 1 Corinthians 15:45-49 NIV

Where does Paul contrast the Adam of Genesis 1 with the Adam of Genesis 2? If anything, Paul’s sequence shows that the Adam of Genesis 1 is the concrete sinful one since Paul says that the natural, not the spiritual, came first! The contrast here is between Adam and the Lord Jesus, the man who came down from heaven. A careful reading of the context points this out:

"But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. But each in his own turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him." 1 Corinthians 15:20-23 NIV

The idea of a trumpet sounding to announce the Day of God’s judgment and visitation isn’t necessarily from rabbinic literature. We find precedence for this idea within the OT itself:

"Ah, land of whirring wings that is beyond the rivers of Cush, which sends ambassadors by the sea, in vessels of papyrus on the waters! Go, you swift messengers, to a nation, tall and smooth, to a people feared near and far, a nation mighty and conquering, Whose land the rivers divide. All you inhabitants of the world, you who dwell on the earth, when a signal is raised on the mountains, look! When a trumpet is blown, hear! For thus the LORD said to me: ‘I will quietly look from my dwelling like clear heat in sunshine, like a cloud of dew in the heat of harvest.’ For before the harvest, when the blossom is over, and the flower becomes a ripening grape, he cuts off the shoots with pruning hooks, and the spreading branches he lops off and clears away. They shall all of them be left to the birds of prey of the mountains and to the beasts of the earth. And the birds of prey will summer on them, and all the beasts of the earth will winter on them. At that time tribute will be brought to the LORD of hosts from a people tall and smooth, from a people feared near and far, a nation mighty and conquering, whose land the rivers divide, to Mount Zion, the place of the name of the LORD of hosts." Isaiah 18:1-7 ESV

"In that day the LORD will thresh from the flowing Euphrates to the Wadi of Egypt, and you, O Israelites, will be gathered up one by one. And in that day a great trumpet will sound. Those who were perishing in Assyria and those who were exiled in Egypt will come and worship the LORD on the holy mountain in Jerusalem." Isaiah 27:12-13 NIV

"Blow the trumpet in Zion; sound the alarm on my holy hill. Let all who live in the land tremble, for the day of the LORD is coming. It is close at hand... Blow the trumpet in Zion, declare a holy fast, call a sacred assembly." Joel 2:1, 15 NIV

This last one is pertinent to the issue since it directly ties in with the coming of the Messiah, the Lord Jesus:

"Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion! Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey. I will take away the chariots from Ephraim and the war-horses from Jerusalem, and the battle bow will be broken. He will proclaim peace to the nations. His rule will extend from sea to sea and from the River to the ends of the earth. As for you, because of the blood of my covenant with you, I will free your prisoners from the waterless pit. Return to your fortress, O prisoners of hope; even now I announce that I will restore twice as much to you. I will bend Judah as I bend my bow and fill it with Ephraim. I will rouse your sons, O Zion, against your sons, O Greece, and make you like a warrior's sword. Then the LORD will appear over them; his arrow will flash like lightning. The Sovereign LORD will sound the trumpet; he will march in the storms of the south, and the LORD Almighty will shield them. They will destroy and overcome with slingstones. They will drink and roar as with wine; they will be full like a bowl used for sprinkling the corners of the altar. The LORD their God will save them on that day as the flock of his people. They will sparkle in his land like jewels in a crown. How attractive and beautiful they will be! Grain will make the young men thrive, and new wine the young women." Zechariah 9:9-17 NIV

Furthermore, if Paul’s reference of a trumpet sounding on the Day of the Lord shows borrowing then what does this say about the Quran?

And on that day we shall let some of them surge against others, and the Trumpet will be blown. Then We shall gather them together in one gathering. On that day we shall present hell to the disbelievers, plain to view, S. 18:99-100 Pickthall

The Day when the Trumpet will be sounded: that Day, We shall gather the sinful, blear-eyed (with terror). S. 20:102 Y. Ali

"In order that I may work righteousness in the things I neglected."- "By no means! It is but a word he says." - Before them is a Partition till the Day they are raised up. Then when the Trumpet is blown, there will be no more relationships between them that Day, nor will one ask after another! S. 23:100-101 Y. Ali

We wonder what will MENJ say about the Quran’s reference to the trumpet blowing on the day of resurrection? Will he be consistent and claim that Muhammad borrowed these truths from post-biblical Jewish sources as well?

As far as the giving of the law by angels is concerned, we find this stated in the Hebrew Scriptures:

"He said, ‘The LORD came from Sinai and dawned from Seir upon us; he shone forth from Mount Paran; he came from the ten thousands of holy ones, with flaming fire at his right hand." Deuteronomy 33:2 ESV

Note how the LXX renders this passage:

"And he said, The Lord is come from Sina, and has appeared from Seir to us, and has hasted out the mount of Pharan, with the ten THOUSANDS (muriasi) of Cades; on his right hand were ANGELS WITH HIM."

Lest MENJ complains about our use of the LXX, we only need to remind him of his own praise of it:

From the citation above, we can conclude that:

1) Septuagint is a Greek version of the Old Testament.

2) It (Septuagint) has already existed three centuries before Christ was born, and therefore IT IS AUTHENTIC. (Source; capital emphasis ours)

The teaching that Satan is the prince of this world, and that there is a hierarchy of angelic creatures, comes from both the OT and the Lord Jesus himself:

"At that time I, Daniel, mourned for three weeks. I ate no choice food; no meat or wine touched my lips; and I used no lotions at all until the three weeks were over. On the twenty-fourth day of the first month, as I was standing on the bank of the great river, the Tigris, I looked up and there before me was a man dressed in linen, with a belt of the finest gold around his waist. His body was like chrysolite, his face like lightning, his eyes like flaming torches, his arms and legs like the gleam of burnished bronze, and his voice like the sound of a multitude... Then I heard him speaking, and as I listened to him, I fell into a deep sleep, my face to the ground. A hand touched me and set me trembling on my hands and knees. He said, ‘Daniel, you who are highly esteemed, consider carefully the words I am about to speak to you, and stand up, for I have now been sent to you.’ And when he said this to me, I stood up trembling. Then he continued, ‘Do not be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to them. But the prince of the Persian kingdom resisted me twenty-one days. Then Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, because I was detained there with the king of Persia’... So he said, ‘Do you know why I have come to you? Soon I will return to fight against the prince of Persia, and when I go, the prince of Greece will come; but first I will tell you what is written in the Book of Truth. (No one supports me against them except Michael, your prince.’" Daniel 10:2-6, 9-13, 20-21 NIV

"At that time Michael, the great prince who protects your people, will arise. There will be a time of distress such as has not happened from the beginning of nations until then. But at that time your people-everyone whose name is found written in the book-will be delivered. Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt. Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever." Daniel 12:1-3 NIV

"The devil led him up to a high place and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. And he said to him, ‘I will give you all their authority and splendor, for it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to. So if you worship me, it will all be yours.’" Luke 4:5-7 NIV

"Now is the time for judgment on this world; now the prince of this world will be driven out." John 12:31 NIV

"I will not speak with you much longer, for the prince of this world is coming. He has no hold on me," John 14:30 NIV

"and in regard to judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned." John 16:11 NIV


When Paul says in 1 Corinthians 11:10 that a women ought to have a veil on her head because of the angel, as stated in the following:

"The woman, therefore, ought to have a token of authority on her head, because of the angels"

he demonstrates a very high familiarity with the Talmudic writings, as he is apparently referring to the Rabbinic interpretation of Genesis 6:2 as follows:

THE SONS OF GOD. The sons of princes and rulers. Another explanation of B'nei Elohim is that these were princely angels who came as messengers of God, and they intermingled with the daughters of men. Wherever the word "elohim" appears in the scriptures, it signifies authority, thus the following passages: "And you shall be his master (elohim)" [Exodus 4:16] and "see, I have made you a master (elohim)." [Exodus 7:1][3]

Paul obviously believed this Rabbinic tradition which states that angels have mingled with the daughters of men to have included this in his epistle. The Targum, as quoted in the epistle of Jude (2 Peter 2:4; Jude 6), clearly ascribe the Fall to the angels to their guilty love for earthly women.

The Jewish mind - a notion which is found over and over again in the Talmud, and which is still prevalent among Oriental Jews, is that they never let their women to be unveiled in the public lest the shedin, or evil spirits, should injure them or others. A headdress called khalbi is worn as a religious duty by Jewish women.

The reason why Solomon's bed was guarded by sixty valiant men with drawn swords was because of fear in the night. (Cant iii 7, 8). This is alluded to the following story in Pesachim 112b:

"Do not go out at night. Not on Wednesday night or on Sabbath night, because Igrath (Agrat) the daughter of Mahalath (Machalat) along with 180,000 destroying angels are out, each with permission to cause destruction independently."[4]

They are called ruchin, shedin, lilin, tiharim.


It is amazing that MENJ could assert that Paul was supposedly referring to the fallen angels of Gen. 6:2,4 and at the same time appeal to 2 Peter 2:4 which refutes his entire position! Here is what 2 Peter says:

"For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but sent them to hell, putting them into gloomy dungeons to be held for judgment"

How could Paul be referring to the angels of Gen. 6 when Peter explicitly says that they are locked away in chains till the judgment?!

Instead of trying to find parallels with the Post-NT Talmudic writings MENJ should have spent his time combing through the NT since this would have helped him better understand Paul’s angelology:

"See that you do not look down on one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven." Matthew 18:10

"‘You're out of your mind,’ they told her. When she kept insisting that it was so, they said, ‘It must be his angel.’" Acts 12:15

"I charge you, in the sight of God and Christ Jesus and the elect angels, to keep these instructions without partiality, and to do nothing out of favoritism." 1 Timothy 5:21

"Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?" Hebrews 1:14

"To the angel of the church in Ephesus write:" Revelation 2:1, 8, 12, 18; 3:1, 7, 14

The preceding passages show that according to the Lord Jesus and his holy Apostles God has assigned angels to protect and serve the Church. Paul was telling women that they needed to have their sign of authority in the presence of these elect angels whom God assigned to believers. It has nothing to do with fallen angels. Paul could have easily conveyed the idea that these were fallen angels by referring to them as demons, a word he uses elsewhere:

"No, but the sacrifices of pagans are offered to demons, not to God, and I do not want you to be participants with demons. You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons too; you cannot have a part in both the Lord's table and the table of demons." 1 Corinthians 10:20-21 NIV

"The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons." 1 Timothy 4:1

Keep in mind here that 1 Corinthians and 1 Timothy are epistles where Paul uses the phrase angels, which shows that if he had fallen angels in mind he would have probably used the term demons to indicate this as the above examples show.

"For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither ANGELS nor DEMONS, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 8:38-39 NIV

Notice that Paul distinguishes angels from demons.

Paul could have also indicated that the angels of 1 Cor. 11:10 were demons by adding some kind of qualifier, i.e. by calling them angels of Satan etc. as he does in the following citation:

To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, an angel of Satan, to torment me. 2 Corinthians 12:7

Finally, it is again shocking that MENJ would even bring up such an argument in light of what the Quran says:

And (also) those who spend their wealth in order to be seen of men, and believe not in Allah nor the Last Day. Whoso taketh Satan for a comrade (qareenan), a bad comrade (qareenan) hath he. S. 4:38

Thus have We appointed unto every prophet an adversary - devils of humankind and jinn who inspire in one another plausible discourse through guile. If thy Lord willed, they would not do so; so leave them alone with their devising; S. 6:112

Then they will turn to one another and question one another. One of them will say: "I had an intimate companion (qareenun) (on the earth), Who used to say: ‘Do you really believe? When we die and become dust and bones, shall we indeed receive rewards and punishments?’" He said: "Would ye like to look down?" He looked down and saw him in the midst of the Fire. He said: "By Allah! Thou wast little short of bringing me to perdition! Had it not been for the Grace of my Lord, I should certainly have been among those brought (there)!" S. 37:50-57

And We have destined for them intimate companions (quranaa), who made alluring to them what was before them and behind them; and the sentence among the previous generations of Jinns and men, who have passed away, is proved against them; for they are utterly lost. S. 41:25

If anyone withdraws himself from remembrance of the Most Gracious, We appoint for him a Satan, to be an intimate companion (qareenun) to him. Such (Satans) really hinder them from the Path, but they think that they are being guided aright! At length, when (such a one) comes to Us, he says (to his evil companion): "Would that between me and thee were the distance of East and West!" Ah! evil is the companion (indeed)! S. 43:36-38

(It will be said:) "Thou wast heedless of this; now have We removed thy veil, and sharp is thy sight this Day!" And his Companion (qareenuhu) will say: "Here is (his Record) ready with me!" (The sentence will be:) "Throw, both of you, into Hell every contumacious Rejecter (of Allah)!- Who forbade what was good, transgressed all bounds, cast doubts and suspicions; Who set up another god beside Allah: throw him into a severe chastisement." His Companion (qarina) will say: "Our Lord! I did not make him transgress, but he was (himself) far astray." He will say: "Dispute not with each other in My Presence: I had already in advance sent you Warning. The Word changes not with Me, and I do not the least injustice to My Servants." The Day We will ask Hell, "Art thou filled to the full?" It will say, "Are there any more (to come)?" S. 50:22-30

Allah is the one that assigns a qareen (i.e., devil/demon/satan) to believers and unbelievers, as well as assigning human and spiritual devils to test the prophets. The Quran even goes so far as to say that Solomon had demons working for him!

And to Solomon (we subjected) the wind blowing stormily, to run on at his bidding to the land which Ave have blessed, - for all things did we know,- and some devils (alshshayateen) to dive for him, and to do other works beside that; and we kept guard over them. S. 21:81-82 Palmer

Using MENJ’s logic, we must therefore conclude that the Talmudic stories of fallen angels have found its way into the Quranic text since it is indisputably a post-Talmudic document. [For more details on the qareen, see chapter VI. of Samuel Zwemer's, The Influence of Animism on Islam.]


Again, in Romans 4:5-12, Paul evidently accepts the tradition, also referred to by St. Stephen, that Abraham had been uncircumcised idolater when he first obeyed the call of God, and that he then received a promise - unknown to the text of the scripture - that he should be the heir of the world. (Romans 4:13, cf. Joshua 24:15). In Romans 9:9, whereby it states

"For this is the message of the promise, 'At about this time next year, I will come, and Sarah will have a son'"

it has been supposed, from the form of his quotation, that he is alluding to the Rabbinic notion that Isaac was created in the womb by a fiat of God.; In Galatians 4:29, whereby it says

"But just as then the one born in a fleshly way persecuted the one born in accord with the Spirit, so too at present"

this is in accordance to the Haggadah tradition that Ishmael had not only laughed, but also jeered, insulted, and mistreated Isaac. Thus we find the following in Sanhedrin 89b:

Rabbi Levi said: These are the words of Ishmael to Isaac. Ishmael said to Isaac: "I am greater than you in commandments, for you were circumcised at eight days old, and I when I was thirteen years old." He [Isaac] said to him: "You tease me over one organ? If the Holy One, blessed be He, says to me 'sacrifice yourself to me,' I will sacrifice myself." Immediately God tested Abraham.[5]


We invite readers to simply look over the Pauline passages and see if they are at all similar to what is found in the above Talmudic quote. In regard to Abraham inheriting the world, Paul was making an inference based on God’s promises to the Patriarch:

"When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the LORD appeared to him and said, ‘I am God Almighty; walk before me and be blameless. I will confirm my covenant between me and you and will greatly increase your numbers.’ Abram fell facedown, and God said to him, ‘As for me, this is my covenant with you: You will be the father of many nations. No longer will you be called Abram; your name will be Abraham, for I have made you a father of many nations. I will make you very fruitful; I will make nations of you, and kings will come from you. I will establish my covenant as an everlasting covenant between me and you and your descendants after you for the generations to come, to be your God and the God of your descendants after you. The whole land of Canaan, where you are now an alien, I will give as an everlasting possession to you and your descendants after you; and I will be their God.’" Genesis 17:1-8 NIV

"Abraham will surely become a great and powerful nation, and all nations on earth will be blessed through him. For I have chosen him, so that he will direct his children and his household after him to keep the way of the LORD by doing what is right and just, so that the LORD will bring about for Abraham what he has promised him." Genesis 18:18-19 NIV

"The angel of the LORD called to Abraham from heaven a second time and said, ‘I swear by myself, declares the LORD, that because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies, and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me.’" Genesis 22:15-18 NIV

God promises that Abraham would become the father of many nations and that all the families of the earth would receive God’s blessings through the Patriarch.

The OT states:

"But the meek will inherit the land and enjoy great peace... the righteous will inherit the land and dwell in it forever." Psalm 37:11, 29 NIV- cf. Matthew 5:5

According to both the Lord Jesus and the Apostle Paul all who have the faith and righteousness of Abraham are his descendants:

"‘Abraham is our father,’ they answered. ‘If you were Abraham's children,’ said Jesus, ‘then you would do the things Abraham did. As it is, you are determined to kill me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God. Abraham did not do such things.’" John 8:39-40 NIV

"It was not through law that Abraham and his offspring received the promise that he would be heir of the world, but through the righteousness that comes by faith. For if those who live by law are heirs, faith has no value and the promise is worthless, because law brings wrath. And where there is no law there is no transgression. Therefore, the promise comes by faith, so that it may be by grace and may be guaranteed to all Abraham's offspring - not only to those who are of the law but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham. He is the father of us all. As it is written: ‘I have made you a father of many nations.’ He is our father in the sight of God, in whom he believed - the God who gives life to the dead and calls things that are not as though they were. Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, ‘So shall your offspring be.’" Romans 4:13-18 NIV

Therefore, since all the righteous faithful are Abraham’s seed, and since they are the ones that shall inherit the earth, Paul was completely correct regarding Abraham inheriting the world.

Astonishingly, MENJ claims that Paul’s statement in Romans 9:9 points to the rabbinic notion that God created Isaac by his word, EVEN THOUGH THAT PASSAGE ITSELF CITES GENESIS 18:8 and 10 AND THEREFORE SHOWS THAT PAUL WAS GETTING HIS INFO FROM THE OT SCRIPTURES!!! In fact, there are several citations from the OT in Romans 9, conclusively showing that Paul was deriving his understanding from the Hebrew Scriptures.

What is more amazing is that right after saying this MENJ quotes Galatians 4:29, which says:

"But just as at that time he who was born according to the flesh persecuted him who was born according to the Spirit, so also it is now." ESV

Paul says that Isaac was born by (according to) God’s Spirit, and says absolutely nothing about God’s word!

Finally, here is the source for Paul’s claim that Ishmael persecuted Isaac:

"The child grew and was weaned, and on the day Isaac was weaned Abraham held a great feast. But Sarah saw that THE SON whom Hagar the Egyptian had borne to Abraham WAS MOCKING, and she said to Abraham, ‘Get rid of that slave woman and her son, for that slave woman's son will never share in the inheritance with my son Isaac.’" Genesis 21:8-10

It is quite apparent that MENJ hasn’t even bothered to carefully read the NT passages he quotes in support of his erroneous claims. If he has, then he is deliberately being dishonest in asserting that Paul was getting his info from post-NT sources, or Jewish tradition, as opposed to the OT itself.


In 2 Corinthians 11:14, whereby we read that

"...and no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light"

Paul adhered to the notion that the angel who wrestled with Jacob was Satan assuming the semblance of an Angel of Light.


Where does Paul even mention Jacob and the angel? NOWHERE. MENJ is simply reading into the text things nowhere articulated in order to arrive at his erroneous conclusion that Paul copied from the rabbis!

Furthermore, instead of appealing to post-NT Jewish documents MENJ should have carefully examined the OT since it easily refutes his assertion that the angel was Satan:

"And Jacob was left alone. And a man wrestled with him until the breaking of the day. When the man saw that he did not prevail against Jacob, he touched his hip socket, and Jacob's hip was put out of joint as he wrestled with him. Then he said, ‘Let me go, for the day has broken.’ But Jacob said, ‘I will not let you go unless you bless me.’ And he said to him, ‘What is your name?’ And he said, ‘Jacob.’ Then he said, ‘Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel, for you have striven with God and with men, and have prevailed.’ Then Jacob asked him, ‘Please tell me your name.’ But he said, ‘Why is it that you ask my name?’ And there he blessed him. So Jacob called the name of the place Peniel, saying, ‘FOR I HAVE SEEN GOD FACE TO FACE, and yet my life has been delivered.’" Genesis 32:24-30 ESV

Note Jacob’s words carefully. Jacob claims to have seen and wrestled God, which MENJ claimed was Satan!!!! Here is what God’s inspired prophet Hosea wrote about this episode:

"The LORD has a charge to bring against Judah; he will punish Jacob according to his ways and repay him according to his deeds. In the womb he grasped his brother's heel; as a man he struggled with God. He struggled with the angel and overcame him; he wept and begged for his favor. He found him at Bethel and talked with him there- the LORD God Almighty, the LORD is his name of renown!" Hosea 12:2-5 NIV

The prophet Hosea says that the one wrestling Jacob wasn’t Satan, but the angel of God who happens to be God himself! How MENJ and the rabbis got Satan out of these passages is simply beyond us.

MENJ continues:

There is a remarkable resemblance to the smitten rock in the wilderness, which in 1 Corinthians 10:4 is called

"...a spiritual following rock."

To the Rabbis the rock, from which water flowed, was round and like a swarm of bees, and rolled itself up and went with them in their journeys. When the Tabernacle was pitched, the rock came and settled in its vestibule. Then Israel sang the following:

"Spring up, O well; sing ye to it!" (Numbers 21:17)

and it sprang up. Paul's instant addition of the words

"[...] which rock was Christ"

has Haggadistic elements which, in the national consciousness, had got mingled up with the great story of the wanderings in the Wilderness. Seven such current national traditions are alluded to in St. Stephen's speech.


Did it ever dawn on MENJ that Paul was referring to the OT citations which speak of God as the Rock that led Israel out of Egypt?

"For I will proclaim the name of the LORD; ascribe greatness to our God! The Rock, his work is perfect, for all his ways are justice. A God of faithfulness and without iniquity, just and upright is he ... But the LORD's portion is his people, Jacob his allotted heritage. He found him in a desert land, and in the howling waste of the wilderness; he encircled him, he cared for him, he kept him as the apple of his eye. Like an eagle that stirs up its nest, that flutters over its young, spreading out its wings, catching them, bearing them on its pinions, the LORD alone guided him, no foreign god was with him. He made him ride on the high places of the land, and he ate the produce of the field, and he suckled him with honey out of the rock, and oil out of the flinty rock. Curds from the herd, and milk from the flock, with fat of lambs, rams of Bashan and goats, with the very finest of the wheat-and you drank foaming wine made from the blood of the grape. But Jeshurun grew fat, and kicked; you grew fat, stout, and sleek; then he forsook God who made him and scoffed at the Rock of his salvation. They stirred him to jealousy with strange gods; with abominations they provoked him to anger. They sacrificed to DEMONS that were no gods, to gods they had never known, to new gods that had come recently, whom your fathers had never dreaded. You were unmindful of the Rock that bore you, and you forgot the God who gave you birth. The LORD saw it and spurned them, because of the provocation of his sons and his daughters. And he said, ‘I will hide my face from them; I will see what their end will be, For they are a perverse generation, children in whom is no faithfulness. They have made me jealous with what is no god; they have provoked me to anger with their idols ... If they were wise, they would understand this; they would discern their latter end! How could one have chased a thousand, and two have put ten thousand to flight, unless their Rock had sold them, and the LORD had given them up? For their rock is not as our Rock; our enemies are by themselves ... For the LORD will vindicate his people and have compassion on his servants, when he sees that their power is gone and there is none remaining, bond or free. Then he will say, ‘Where are their gods, the rock in which they took refuge, who ate the fat of their sacrifices and drank the wine of their drink offering? Let them rise up and help you; let them be your protection! See now that I, even I, am he, and there is no god beside me; I kill and I make alive; I wound and I heal; and there is none that can deliver out of my hand.’" Deuteronomy 32:3-4, 9-21, 29-31, 36-39 ESV

To show that Paul was referring to Deuteronomy all we need to do is quote the context of 1 Corinthians 10:

"I want you to know, brothers, that our fathers were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea, and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, and all ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank from the spiritual Rock that followed them, and the Rock was Christ. Nevertheless, with most of them God was not pleased, for they were overthrown in the wilderness. Now these things took place as examples for us, that we might not desire evil as they did. Do not be idolaters as some of them were; AS IT IS WRITTEN, ‘The people sat down to eat and drink and rose up to play.’ We must not indulge in sexual immorality as some of them did, and twenty-three thousand fell in a single day. We must not put Christ[1] to the test, as some of them did and were destroyed by serpents, nor grumble, as some of them did and were destroyed by the Destroyer. Now these things happened to them as an example, but THEY WERE WRITTEN DOWN FOR OUR INSTRUCTION, on whom the end of the ages has come ... Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry. I speak as to sensible people; judge for yourselves what I say. The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ? Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread. Consider the people of Israel: are not those who eat the sacrifices participants in the altar? What do I imply then? That food offered to idols is anything, or that an idol is anything? No, I imply that what pagans sacrifice they offer to DEMONS and not to God. I do not want you to be participants with DEMONS. You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of DEMONS. You cannot partake of the table of the Lord and the table of DEMONS. Shall we provoke the Lord to jealousy? Are we stronger than he?" 1 Corinthians 10:1-11, 14-22

Note that after citing the example of Israel in the desert Paul warns Christians to shun immorality and idolatry, especially fellowship with demons, themes touched on and alluded to in the Pentateuch (specifically Deuteronomy 34). Paul also refers to that which was written, which is a fixed NT expression referring to the OT scriptures, not to any rabbinic literature.

What Paul is basically saying is that the same spiritual rock that fed Israel is the same One who feeds the Church today, namely the Lord Jesus Christ. In other words, Paul is identifying Jesus as Yahweh God of the OT! Hence, a careful reading of the context sufficiently puts to rest MENJ’s erroneous assertion that Paul was borrowing from Jewish speculation on the Rock.

MENJ concludes:


The Rabbinic teachings as recorded in the Talmudic writings was influential for Paul, and it is with these traditions in his mind that he had based his epistles on. Some of these stories have no basis in the Tanakh or the Old Testament, but only in the Talmud of the Jews. This clearly shows that Paul's claim of being an "apostle" of Jesus and was divinely "inspired" in his writings can certainly be cast into reasonable doubt. The evidences as shown above clearly shows that Paul had resorted to heavy borrowing from the Jewish traditions as recorded in the Talmudic writings.


The most ironic aspect of all this is that MENJ chides a Christian "missionary" for assuming that similarities between two accounts somehow prove that one borrowed from the other:

To be sure, we wonder how the author of the article could even ask this question when if by applying his "own" methodology to his Bible, it would immediately fall at the first blow? Essentially, the argument of the Christian missionary is simply that similarity implies borrowing. Because some of the stories in the Midrash and NT apocrypha match with the Qur'an; the conclusion is that Muhammad (pbuh) copied these stories from the above mentioned books into the Bible. In order for the theory of the missionaries' to work, then the Bible should be free from such "borrowing", which it is not, as evident in the similarities of the Story of Noah and the Epic of Gilgamesh, for example. (Source)

Yet MENJ tries to prove that Paul copied from rabbinic sources due to what he erroneously perceived were similarities between them. In light of the foregoing, the claim that the post-NT Talmudic stories are similar to Paul is simply erroneous to say the least.

We agree with MENJ that some superficial similarity does not immediately imply borrowing. However, while the similarities between the Jewish sources and the Quran are very strong — and each case has to be discussed on its own merits — the claims put forward by MENJ in this article suffer many problems: (a) as we have seen above, the alleged similarities between Paul and the Talmud are very tenuous in most cases. (b) Paul’s statements are much better explained through reference to passages from the Old Testament and (c) Paul wrote before the Talmud even was canonized. MENJ "forgot" to give evidence that the particular Talmudic story he wants to connect with a statement in Paul’s epistles predates or is at least contemporary with the time of Paul.

This concludes the first part of our response. In the second part, we will ask the same question regarding the Quran. Does the Quran exhibit a dependency on talmudic and other sources? If so, what are the implications for the Muslims who want to be consistent and intellectually honest in their approach to these two books, the Bible and the Quran? Continue to Part 2: Sources And Their Implications On the Inspiration Of the Bible and the Quran.

Sam Shamoun

POSTSCRIPT: On January 12, 2004 MENJ posted a response to my Jesus in The Rabbinic Traditions paper written by Mahmud Ali Abdal Chabir. The most interesting aspect about this "rebuttal" is that the author goes out of his way to undermine the veracity of the Talmud due to its fanciful nature. In the words of the author:

It is not my purpose here to refute the Talmud Jesus(P) stories - THEY ARE ACTUALLY THERE, though usually given far too much historical credence. If these "commentators" truly knew the Talmud, they would also know THAT IT IS NOT TO BE USED AS A COLLECTION OF HISTORICAL FACTS; the idea that anyone would consider that the Talmud stories about Jesus(P) are based on eye-witness or first-hand accounts, or even the New Testament, is ludicrous. Passages which refute the New Testament accounts are glided over without comment, such as the 40-day period between Jesus'(P) arrest and execution and the fact that Jesus(P) is stoned to death and only hung after he has died.[1]

How could the Talmud declare "Mary Megaddala" the mother of Jesus(P)[2] if the rabbis had even the New Testament before them? Are we to adjust our knowledge of Mary to include her occupation as a woman's hairdresser on the word of the Talmud?[3] The Jewish traditions were, before they were set into writing, oral traditions, and as any student of midrash and haggada knows, SUBJECT TO GREAT FLIGHTS OF FANCY. THE GROSS ANACHRONISMS in many of the tales in the Talmud bring them even further from first-hand history. (underline and capital emphasis ours)

If a Jewish text mentions that Jesus(P) was supposed to be, or claimed to be God, that information was certainly obtained by Jews via Christians and Christian traditions and dogma, which had had centuries to develop, and not directly through any historical events, nor as we have seen, even from the New Testament, which Jews would certainly not waste their time studying, unless arming themselves for polemical disputes. THERE IS ABSOLUTELY NO RELIABLE INDEPENDENT HISTORICAL EVIDENCE TO BE FOUND CONCERNING JESUS IN JEWISH TRADITION, AS IT IS ALL LATE MATERIAL, set down long after the Christians themselves had already decided to make Jesus(P) into their God. (underline and capital emphasis ours)

Apart from the gross misrepresentation of my purpose of consulting Jewish sources, it is quite interesting to see how this Muslim proceeds to discredit the Talmudic references to Jesus based on their late dating, as well as their "great flights of fancy" and "gross anachronisms." Apparently, MENJ failed to share his views with this author:

The missionaries however, are clearly quite obsessed with the charge of Qur'anic "plagiarisation" from the Midrash Rabbah, which they claim is false, without actually offering the viewpoint of the Jews. Since the missionaries' claim is based on the belief of the Jews regarding the Midrash Rabbah, in order to verify this charge against the Qur'an by the missionaries we would then need to have an understanding regarding its position and significance in Orthodox Judaism. We would also need to verify whether the Jews themselves too consider this story to be a total hoax, as the Christian missionaries would like us to believe, or authoritative to them, as well as comparing the story of the Midrash Rabbah with that of the Qur'anic one.


Several questions need to be raised for the missionaries:

1. Is there 100% material evidence that the Jewish traditions which dealt with issue are just myths without any base or space for truth in them, (; underline emphasis ours)

MENJ defends the authenticity of the story of Abraham smashing the idols and so on found in the Talmud and other Jewish writings since they appear in the Quran, despite the fact that these sources were compiled after the NT. Yet, Mr. Chabir discredits the Talmudic references to Jesus precisely because they post-date the NT documents and are not to be reckoned as "collections of historical facts"!!!! The contradiction between these two positions couldn't be any more glaring.

If a late dating of the Jewish material shows that the references to Jesus are not authentic and that they shouldn't be accepted as containers of historical facts, then the same applies to the Jewish stories regarding Abraham which have found their way into the Quran. But since MENJ rejects the assertion that these Jewish sources are not "collections of historical facts", then why does he publish the work of an author whose methodology he refuses to apply to the Quran?

The answer is quite obvious. It seems that MENJ is willing to publish anything, even material that contradict his own views, as long as it serves his agenda of trying to put to shame those bad Christian "missionaries."



[1] The NET online Bible has a comment regarding the word Christ in 1 Corinthians 10:9:

... Χριστον (Christon, "Christ") is attested in the majority of mss, including many important witnesses of the Alexandrian (P46 1739 1881) and Western (D F G) texttypes, and other mss and versions (Ψ latt sy co). On the other hand, some of the important Alexandrian witnesses have κυριον (kurion, "Lord"; aliph B C P 33 104 1175 al). A few mss (A 81 pc) have θεον (theon, "God"). The nomina sacra for these readings are quite similar (cMn, kMn, and qMn respectively), so one might be able to account for the different readings by way of confusion. On closer examination, the variants appear to be intentional changes. Alexandrian scribes replaced the highly specific term "Christ" with the less specific terms "Lord" and "God" because in the context it seems to be anachronistic to speak of the exodus generation putting Christ to the test. If the original had been "Lord," it seems unlikely that a scribe would have willingly created a difficulty by substituting the more specific "Christ." Moreover, even if not motivated by a tendency to overcorrect, a scribe might be likely to assimilate the word "Christ" to "Lord" in conformity with Deut 6:16 or other passages. The evidence from the early church regarding the reading of this verse is rather compelling in favor of "Christ." Marcion, a second-century, anti-Jewish heretic, would naturally have opposed any reference to Christ in historical involvement with Israel, because he thought of the Creator God of the OT as inherently evil. In spite of this strong prejudice, though, {Marcion} read a text with "Christ." Other early church writers attest to the presence of the word "Christ," including {Clement of Alexandria} and Origen. What is more, the synod of Antioch in a.d. 268 used the reading "Christ" as evidence of the preexistence of Christ when it condemned Paul of Samosata. (See G. Zuntz, The Text of the Epistles, 126-27; TCGNT 494; C. D. Osburn, "The Text of 1 Corinthians 10:9," New Testament Textual Criticism: Its Significance for Exegesis, 201-11; contra A. Robertson and A. Plummer, First Corinthians [ICC], 205-6.) Since "Christ" is the more difficult reading on all accounts, it is almost certainly original. In addition, "Christ" is consistent with Paul's style in this passage (cf. 10:4, a text in which {Marcion} also reads "Christ"). This text is also christologically significant, since the reading "Christ" makes an explicit claim to the preexistence of Christ. (The textual critic faces a similar dilemma in Jude 5. In a similar exodus context, some of the more important Alexandrian mss [A B 33 81 pc] and the Vulgate read "Jesus" in place of "Lord." Two of those mss [A 81] are the same mss that have "Christ" instead of "God" in 1 Cor 10:9. See the tc notes on Jude 5 for more information.) In sum, "Christ" has all the earmarks of authenticity here and should be considered the original reading. (Source)

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