Thursday, August 19, 2010

Egypt Publisher: Christians Forged Their Version of the Bible

Original Story Here - An Islamic publishing house in Egypt has published what is says is a "forged" version of the Christian Bible, angering the local Coptic Church, independent daily al-Masry al-Youm reported Thursday.

The owner of the Islamic Enlightenment Publishing House, Abuislam Abdullah, wrote in the introduction that the reason behind the book's publication was to prove that there are several versions of the bible and that Christians had forged theirs.

Abdullah claims that the version he published was written before the Book of Genesis, the Christian Old Testament.

The Coptic Church says it is extremely offended by the publication of this book, and is considering filing a complaint with Egypt's Attorney General, al-Masry al-Youm reported.

Relations between Coptic Christians, who make up around 10 per cent of the population, and the Egyptian state and Muslim majority are often tense.

The head of the Coptic Church, Pope Shenouda III, told followers earlier this week that the state was wiretapping their calls and that they should not confess sins over the phone.

Violent clashes have taken place in several areas of the country between Muslims and Christians over the past year.

UPDATE another version of the story here -

Abu Islam Ahmed Abdallah, owner of the Islamic Enlightenment Publishing House, has printed a version of the Bible that he claims is “forged,” prompting Egypt’s Coptic Church to consider filing a complaint with the Attorney General against the book, which it considers an “insult to Christianity.”

In the book’s 65-page introduction, Abdallah wrote that the Bible version had been “written before the Genesis,” noting that the reason for its publication was to prove that Christians had themselves forged the books they hold sacred.

It was not uncommon to read in the margins of some Bible versions that certain words were not original and that certain phrases had been added by transcribers, or that certain figures were incorrect, the publisher wrote. This, he added, had prompted some Christian theologians admit that their holy book was not sacred in itself, but rather represented an account of sacred events.

Coptic Bishop Abdel Messih Bassit, for his part, said the Coptic Church was “extremely offended” by the perceived “act of contempt” for Christianity.

“Do Christians have the right to publish manuscripts of the Koran from our own point of view?” he asked. “Can Christians print the Koran and add their comments to it?”

Bassit added that Abdallah did not understand the essence of the Bible, its original Hebrew and Greek versions, or the rules of translation, contending that the publisher had used differences in translations and the evolution of language as a means of discrediting the Bible.

“The translation of this version was written in Levantine Arabic 400 years ago,” Bassit explained. “With the development of language from generation to generation, the meaning of certain words was changed.”

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