Ok, I decided to post here instead.
"I know you are not interested and sorry if this sounds like pushing facts down your throat: There are Christian scriptures in Arabic (not necessarily all canonical Bibles used by mainstream Christianity), primarily among which was the Infancy Gospel to the Arabs."
On what basis is this supposed Gospel a christian scripture? do christians teach from it? do you believe that this Gospel is true, as in, God-breathed?
**"*There are differing accounts of when the Infancy Gospel to the Arabs was written. Most non-Muslim scholars opine that it was the 5th century, meaning before Islam. Muslim scholars tend to conclude that it was translated into Arabic after Islam, so removed one possibility that Mohammad was influenced by an Arabic gospel. I am not sure whether any evidence has been presented to back up this assertion or is it another example of facts following conclusion (Mohammad couldn’t have been influenced by anyone else regarding the Quran and so the Arabic Gospel must have been translated after Mohammad).
The fact that the overwhelming majority of the people in Arabia at that time was illiterate cannot be a factor in whether an Arabic Bible exists… [shortened].*"**
Fair point, but that’s irrelevant. I never said that there couldn’t have been an arabic Bible on the basis that illiteracy was common in the 7th century. I said that even if there was one, the muslims could not have appealed to it. It was in the context of where I was asked, by MartinJordan, when muslims started reading the Bible.
"The influence of non-canonical Gospels on the Quran is very clear. The Quran contains two stories about Isa (Jesus to us) that are absent from our Bible (i) the baby Isa spoke in the cradle (sura 19:29-30) and (ii) the child Isa creating birds out of clay and breathed into them to make them fly (sura 5:110). Both these stories can be found in the Infancy Gospel to the Arabs - (i) v1 & (ii) v 46. The Infancy Gospel to the Arabs is a based on the Infancy Gospel of Thomas (different from the Gnostic Gospel of Thomas), probably written in late 2nd century, which was later translated into Syriac and from there into Arabic."
I have not done sufficient reading on Gnostic gospels and such, but I will say… so what? the Bible does not contain every single thing that Jesus said and did. I very much disagree that it’s clear that the Qur’an was influenced by these pseudo Gospels. I see you speaking in possibilities rather than anything concrete (i.e. It’s possible that Muhammad knew about this, or it’s possible that such-and-such was in circulation). The Infancy Gospel of Thomas contains statements where it is said that Jesus was worshiped. You really think Muhammad quoted from a source that he thought was true, but contained verses that contradicted his own theology? so he didn’t believe his own teachings?
May I suggest that that is a significantly less than academic approach? because I do not believe that history is something that’s merely possible.
"Add to it the role of Waraqa bin Neufal (uncle to Mohammad’s wife, to whom he turned after being confused after his first encounter with the angel Jibril), whose Ebionite (I assume that his is an Ebionite despite a minority & Muslim view that he was Nestorian)… [shortened]."
Waraqa [may Allah have mercy upon him] is someone we know almost nothing about. The references to him in Hadith literature are few and far between, so to say that he was an Ebionite, I don’t know where you’re getting that. This is pure guesswork on your part.
"Ebionite scriptures include the OT books plus only an amended Gospel of Matthew (minus the first 2 chapters), sometimes referred to as the Gospel to the Hebrews. If Waraqa was an Ebionite, Mohammad would have been sympathetic with the view that there is only one Gospel and that Christians have added/amended to that Gospel."
Well, that assumes that the Qur’an are the words that Muhammad came up with on his own. That is not the orthodox Islamic position. We believe that every single letter was revealed to him by Gabriel, who was speaking on behalf of God. I know christians don’t believe that, but I’m just telling you about it in case you didn’t know. Anyhow, what we know of the Ebionites [which isn’t very much], is largely taken from early Christian fathers, who may not have been the most unbiased persons.
I don’t know if you’re expecting me to defend the idea that Ebionites were orthodox or whatever. I won’t because they have no effect on anything I believe or do. Like I said before, you would need to prove that Waraqa [may Allah have mercy on him] was an Ebionite in order for any of this to have any relevance.
"Besides these, there were many Christian Arabs tribes during the time of Mohammad, including Catholic-Orthodox Christians (St Aretas was a Arab martyr)… [shortened]."
Yes, it is true that there were plenty of arab christians during Muhammad’s time. The Catholic Church had already decided on the Biblical canon hundreds of years before Muhammad’s birth, though. If these unorthodox Gospels were somehow relevant to understanding the Qur’anic text, it would speak higher of this theory if there was concrete evidence of anything at all that you’re proposing. I do not approach the texts of the Bible and pull theories out of thin air on what might have possibly happened if certain groups had had their own scriptures at a certain time that may have been the same time the New Testament writers were around.
You, however, do do that with the Qur’an. There are so many caveats there. That’s not how meaningful history, scholarship or exegesis is done. I am unimpressed by this guesswork and attempts to piece together Islamic history based upon unproven and questionable assumptions.