Monday, July 9, 2012

Holy Scriptures: Bible

The guidance to human is an important constituent of the process of creation by God, trial, justice and reward. God guides the humanity through different means. Firstly; much earlier than the creation of humanity, God first created all the spirits of humanity, which testified Him to be their Lord, this was the 1st Covenant, and then they were put to sleep. He brings the humankind into this world in succession, each at appointed time, spirit is breathed in to him, and true nature (hanefa fitr’ah) part of human conscious (the 1st Covenant) is part of human consciousness. This is the reason that even some of African tribes cut off from the civilized world worship One God without images. However majority of human, under the influence of Satan, are caught in the webs of customs, superstitions, selfish desires, and false teachings, thus getting deflected from the true nature. Man is endowed with instincts, forms and faculties exactly suited to what is expected of him. Through these faculties and instincts man can know about existence of God by observing His signs, thus reverting to the true nature. Finally He gives guidance, through His messengers and scriptures, so that the people should have no excuse to plead against Allah for lack of guidance. The messengers convey the message, people are not coerced, they use their intellect for reason and exercise their will, such that may reach the higher destiny of man. Finally; the reward for those who made right choice and punishment for those who fell pray to evil.
God sent messengers to every community; some are mentioned by name in Bible and Qur’an. The message of all the massagers sent to different nations at different times had been same, to worship One God and follow His guidance for success in this life and hereafter. The messengers were required to convey the message only, they were not required to force the people: “Obey Allah and obey His messenger; but if ye turn away, then the duty of Our messenger is only to convey (the message) plainly.”(Qur’an;64:12). Among them Prophet Abraham, peace be upon him (flourished around1800 B.C) the great patriarch asserted the strict monotheism, God chose him as a leader of the mankind after success in trials, which was conditional to His obedience and not applicable to the evil doers among his progeny. His son Ishmael and Isaac were granted prophethood. After Abraham God continuously appointed messengers like Ishmael, Isaac his son Jacob (also known as Israel and his decedents as Israelites or Children of Israel), Joseph, Moses, Elisha, David, Solomon up to Prophet Jesus (peace be upon them all) being the last among Israelites. 
The sacred writings of religions, comprising a large portion of the religious literature of the world. The sacred scriptures containing the message of guidance are available to the people after the messengers are gone. Allah says: “He has spelled out His revelations for people who want to understand.”(Qur’an;10:5). Scriptures vary in form, volume, age, and degree of sacredness. Nearly all scriptures were originally oral and were passed down as memorized texts through several generations before being put in writing except Qur’an, the sacred scripture of Islam, which beside being memorized was also written down at the time of revelation. Qur’an, the latest  scripture mentions Torah, Zabur (Psalms) and Injeel (Gospel) by name, the scriptures revealed to Prophet Moses, David and Jesus Christ (peace be upon them all) respectively, however this does not preclude existence of other scriptures, like the one to Abraham (peace be upon him), now extinct. Allah says: “We have sent thee (O’ Muhammad) inspiration as We sent it to Noah and the prophets after him; We sent inspiration to Abraham Ishmael Isaac Jacob and the Tribes to Jesus Job Jonah Aaron and Solomon and to David We gave the Psalms. Of some Messengers We have already told thee the story; of others We have not; and to Moses Allah spoke direct.”(Qur’an;4:163-164). None of the present books of the Bible have reached through the manuscript of its author. The available manuscripts date from several centuries after the original books were written. The books of New Testament lack conformity, there are more than 5000 manuscripts, written during different periods by different authors mostly unknown. Hence the Muslims, while believing in all the previous prophets and ‘original scriptures’ adhere to Qur’an, the final preserved revelations available for the guidance of humanity which abrogated all the previous scriptures.
Testament of Abraham:
Qur’an mentions that the law of righteousness and godliness is not a new law, the spiritual truths have been renewed and reiterated again and again in the previous scriptures from Abraham to Moses: “And This is In the Books of the earliest (Revelation), The Books of Abraham and Moses.”(Qur’an;87:18-19); “Or has he not been notified about what was in the books of Moses and of Abraham who always kept his word:”(Qur’an;53:36-37). There is a book in Greek, which has been translated by Mr. G.H. Box, called the ‘Testament of Abraham’ (published by the Society for the Promotion of Christian Knowledge, London, 1927). It seems to be a Greek translation of a Hebrew original. The Greek Text was probably written in the second Christian century, in Egypt, but in its present form it probably goes back only to the 9th or 10th Century. It was popular among the Christians. Perhaps the Jewish Midrash also refers to a ‘Testament of Abraham’.
The Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) is the scripture of Judaism; the Bible (Old and New Testaments together) is the scripture of Christianity. Word ‘Bible’, is derived from Greekbiblos ("book") can be compared with byblos ("Papyrus": The writing material of ancient times and also the plant from which it was derived). In the fifth century after Christ, name ‘Bible’ began to be given to the entire collection of sacred books, the "Library of Divine Revelation." The name Bible was adopted by Wickliffe, and came gradually into use in the English language. Interestingly the word ‘Bible’ does not exist in the text of Bible. The order as well as the number of books differs between the Jewish Bible, the Protestant and Roman Catholic versions of the Bible. The sixty-six different books of the Bible were composed by many different writers, in three different languages, under different circumstances; writers of almost every social rank, statesmen and peasants, kings, herdsmen, fishermen, priests, tax-gatherers, tentmakers; educated and uneducated, Jews and Gentiles; most of them unknown to each other, and writing at various periods during the long period spread over 1600 years. No original manuscripts exist. There is probably not one book which survives in anything like its original form. There are hundreds of differences between the oldest manuscripts of any one book. These differences indicate that numerous additions and alterations were made to the originals by various copyists and editors. The earliest extant Greek translation of the Hebrew Scriptures from the original Hebrew is known as Septuagint. Presumably this translation was made for the use of the Jewish community in Egypt when Greek was the lingua franca. The Pentateuch was translated near the middle of the 3rd century BC; the rest of the Hebrew Scriptures were translated in the 2nd century BC. The name Septuagint was derived from a legend that 72 translators worked on the project. Its influence was far-reaching. The Septuagint rather than the original Hebrew Bible was the main basis for the Old Latin, Coptic, Ethiopic, Armenian, Georgian, Slavonic, and some Arabic translations of the Bible.
The Bible comprise of The Old Testament and The New TestamentThe word, ‘Testament’ comes fro the Latin ‘testamentum’, translating the Greek ‘diatheke’, the word chosen by Septuagint to translate the Hebrew word, ‘berith’, which strictly speaking means ‘Covenant’ or the covenant between human beings and God’. The Jewish Bible, which include the Hebrew scripture, the Pentateuch, the Prophets, and the Hagiographa, forming the covenant between God and the Jewish people that is the foundation and Bible of Judaism while for the Christians it constitute the Old Testament. Keep reading >>>>>>
More on Bible:  & The Bible 
·        Bible: A Short History:
·        Bible: Questionable Precepts:
·        Contradictions in Bible:
·        Bible Absurdities:
·        Intractable Errors in Bible:
·        Bible: Obscenities:
·        Violence and Atrocities in Bible:
·        The Bible and homosexuality
·        Incest in the Bible
·        Morality of Bible