Here is the weekly Readers’ Mailbag, three questions this time – one about my alleged “support of Islam against Christianity,” one about why we think the NT Gospels were originally written in Greek, and one about what I mean when I talk about the views held by the majority of “critical” scholars (as opposed to what other kind of scholar?)?
Feel free to ask questions you have; some I will not be able to get to (either because I don’t know the answer or because the answer is a one-liner instead of a two-paragrapher or for some other reason); and the list is always growing (making it harder and harder to answer them all). But give it a shot! I love to hear your questions.
COMMENT: [After pointing out that whoever said I was about ready to convert to Islam was obviously makin’ in up, or influenced by someone else who was makin’ it up, this Muslim reader commented as follows:] Anyways, that won’t stop us from using your awesome arguments against Christianity. You confirmed like 99% of Islamic belief about Jesus without even resorting to the Quran. That is pretty impressive and no wonder Muslims flock to your blog and FB.
RESPONSE: I’m completely happy for my work to be used by Muslims. Or by Mormons. Or by Jews. Or by Buddhists. Or by Methodists, Episcopalians, Baptists, Lutherans, Roman Catholics, Russian Orthodox, or anyone else. But I have to say that I do not see my scholarship as advancing the agenda of any of these groups. I’m simply engaged in historical scholarship. I do not think that the Qur’an has any particular insights about the historical Jesus that are to be taken as independent reports by historical scholars. Neither does any other historical scholar that I know (or anyone who works seriously on the historical Jesus).
And I doubt very much that my views coincide with 99% of Islamic belief about Jesus. For one thing, I am convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt that Jesus was physically crucified and died on the cross. That is rock-bottom certain in my books. And it stands completely odds with standard Islamic beliefs.
Finally, I do not, I decidedly do not, see my work as involving ANY …
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