Responses to Bismikaallahuma

Helms and the Prologue of Mark

Sam Shamoun

MENJ published today a short critique of the Gospels, claiming that Mark made a mistake in his prologue(*). Mark quotes Isaiah 40:3 and Malachi 3:1, "mistakenly" attributing them both to Isaiah. The Muslim author then claims that Matthew and Luke corrected the mistake, citing Randel Helms as his source.

Had MENJ's author simply done some historical investigation he would have found that Mark committed no error whatsoever. The ones making a gross blunder are Helms and the Muslim author copying his argument. It was a common practice amongst the Jews to take two separate biblical citations and attribute them to a single author, especially when the references touched on similar themes or ideas, even though the quotes didn't all come from that particular author.

A common method of interpretation used by the Jews was gezera shewa, an exegetical practice where passages that used identical words or phrases were used to explain one another.

Liberal NT scholar, John C. Fenton, while commenting on Matthew 2:5-6 where the inspired author combines Micah 5:2 with 2 Samuel 5:2, noted:

The prophecy is from Mic. 5.2, but it is not given in the LXX translation, nor is it an exact rendering of the Hebrew text, 2 Sam 5.2 MAY have been combined with the Micah prophecy; combining of similar Old Testament passages WAS A REGULAR FEATURE OF RABBINIC STUDY OF THE SCRIPTURES. (Fenton, Saint Matthew - The Penguin New Testament Commentaries, Penguin Books, 1963, p. 46; bold, capital and underline emphasis ours)

Hence, Mark was being very accurate and thoroughly consistent with common Jewish practices at that time. There is therefore no correction made by Matthew and Luke to Mark, since Mark didn't need to be corrected.

For more on this subject, and related subjects, please read the following:

Helms other claims are addressed here:

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