[quote=RyanL]I thought you believed it was a book from God (although not dictated like the Qur’an).
The Muslim view of the Old Testament is not black-and-white. This is the first and most important point to hammer home. Statements saying that the Old Testament is simply a book from God are too simplistic, and incredibly irresponsible on the part of Muslims, because things are much more complicated than that. Blanket statements such as these are unacceptable.
Could you please give me a list of verses/chapters from the Old Testament (or New) that are believed to have been corrupted, so that I won’t work from them?
No, I can’t, and not because I don’t want to. This is a complicated subject you simply cannot simplify as you’re trying to do. It just won’t work.
I can summarize by saying that Bible corruption, overall, in very general terms. happened because people were laying down to paper oral traditions, either of Jesus (PBUH), or ancient events (like the OT), which before this laying down had become mixed in with legends, other stories, or just plain evolved among people as is characteristic of oral tradition–as with a folktale that gets embellished over time. Thus, the Bible’s stories contain some truth, intertwined and mixed in with falsehood.
Thus, the Muslim view of the Bible (both the OT and the NT) is not black-and-white, but, to use a food analogy, more like a berry sundae, a swirl of dark parts and white parts, truth and falsehood all in the same container.
To give you an example, the Book of Exodus of the Bible relates the story of Moses’ exodus of the Jews out of Egypt. You want to know which parts of the Book of Exodus Muslims believe are corruptions, and which they can accept?
For instance, Exodus relates that in front of Pharoah, it was Aaron (PBUH), and not Moses (PBUH), who threw down his staff on the ground, upon which it seemed to transform into a snake. Muslims cannot accept this scenario, because the Qur’an states emphatically that it was Moses (PBUH), and not Aaron (PBUH) who threw down his staff and performed this miracle before Pharaoh. Therefore, Exodus 7:8-12 Muslims would call a corruption of the true story, and we cannot accept this episode as it is related in the Bible. From a Muslim standpoint, it is immaterial whether any ancient Exodus manuscript ever told the true story, and was merely corrupted (unintentionally or otherwise) by scribes, or if Exodus was written with this corrupt accounting of the story from the get-go.
The Exodus story goes on to relate that Moses (PBUH) ascended to Mount Sinai, upon which he spoke with God personally and was handed the stone tablets of the Law. Well guess what? The Qur’an also relates this story, and therefore Muslims can accept this account found in Exodus. This is no corruption.
But for instance, the Exodus narrative continues that Moses (PBUH), when he descended from the Mount, he smashed the tablets of the Law that God gave him in anger at seeing what the Israelites had done (fashioning the Golden Calf). This account Muslims would call a corruption of the true story, because the Qur’an relates that when Moses (PBUH) descended the Mount, he did so guarding the tablets carefully, and when he saw what the Israelites had done (worshipping the Golden Calf), he merely laid them down in a protected area and went off to condemn his people for their idolatry. After he was done, he picked them back up. But categorically Moses (PBUH) never smashed God’s tablets. This account in the Exodus, Muslims would call a corruption of the true story.
And while Muslims can accept that the Israelites worshipped the Golden Calf, they cannot accept that it was built by Aaron (PBUH), because the Qur’an says it was built by a wayward Samaritan.
Thus, this is what Muslims mean by Bible corruption. In the examples above, do you now see the intertwining swirl pattern (the “berry sundae”) that I described to you above? No Muslim will advocate throwing out the entire Book of Exodus, because it does contain some true accounting of the events it describes. But on the other hand, Muslims cannot accept it in full, or even chapter-by-chapter, because a corruption and a true accounting may be in the same chapter (and that is certainly the case in Exodus)!
Continued in Part II…