Rebuttal to Jochen's Article, "The Injil: A Greek Book for the Children of Israel?"


Bassam Zawadi, Mansur Ahmed & Sadat Anwar

Jochen wrote an article that can be found here. We encourage the reader to read Jochen's article before proceeding to our rebuttal.

The main thrust of Jochen's argument could be summarized as follows:

-        Jesus was sent to an Aramaic-speaking people.

-    This means that Jesus must have spoken Aramaic since the Qur'an claims that Messengers spoke in the language of the people they were sent to.

-       The Qur'an claims that the Injil was revealed to Jesus.

-        However, the word Injil is derived from Greek. This implies that the Injil itself must be in Greek.

-          All this cannot be harmonized, and the Quran is incorrect.

This issue is quite simple.  If the Arab society in which the Qur'an was revealed was referring to the Revelation given to Jesus (peace be upon him) as the "Injil," then it is only rational that Allah would continue to use that word, which is already familiar to the people.  It does not matter whether the word "Injil" is derived from the Greek word "Evangel" (which it most likely is) and whether Jesus (peace be upon him) ever used this word himself or not.  

If one speaks Urdu with villagers in Pakistan, he refers to "Amreeka," not "America." One doesn't do this out of ignorance; one does this for the convenience of the people he is talking to. To condemn that person for "historical inaccuracy" over this would be to miss the whole purpose of the use of language—the effective conveyance of meaning.

Let us imagine the two possible scenarios:


If one objects to using a "Greek" word in the Qur'an (on the basis that Jesus never used this word), then one should also reject the Greek statements attributed to Jesus in the Gospels.  Yet when it comes to all those Greek "I am" statements, Christians treat every word as significant and God-breathed. They refer to the lexicons of Koine Greek to get at the real meaning of Jesus' statements, and they tell us Muslims that we should study Greek to ascertain the text's authentic, original, and layered meanings!  Suppose Christians want to turn around now and say that there was historically no "Injil" or "Evangel" uttered by Jesus' lips. They must acknowledge and confess that there was also no "ego kai ho pater en hesmen" (The Father and I are one), "ere Abraham genesthai ego eimi" (Before Abraham was, I am), and so on.  We don't know WHAT Jesus ever said to those Pharisees in the Gospel of John, and we will never know.  It is like pouring over a Chinese dictionary to understand what the Chinese translation of Shakespeare means and ascertain the true and detailed meanings of Shakespeare's original words! That is an exercise in futility.

Furthermore, we see that the Gospels themselves attribute statements to Jesus saying the word "gospel" in Greek in several passages: 

Matthew 26:13

I tell you the truth, wherever this gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her."

Mark 8:35

For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it.

Mark 10:29

"I tell you the truth," Jesus replied, "no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel

Mark 13:10

And the gospel must first be preached to all nations.

Mark 14:9

I tell you the truth, wherever the gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her."

Luke 9:6

So they set out and went from village to village, preaching the gospel and healing people everywhere.

Luke 20:1

One day as he was teaching the people in the temple courts and preaching the

If Jochen were consistent in his methodology, he would ask the question, "How could Jesus be saying that he is preaching the Gospel, which is a Greek title, if he were speaking Aramaic?"


On the other hand, some Christians say that Jesus would have spoken Greek because that was the lingua franca of the day. If that is the case, then Jesus could very well have used the word "Evangel" to describe the Message/Revelation that he was commissioned to preach. Hence, the use of the word "Injil" (just an Arabized variation of the word "Evangel", right?) in the Qur'an is justified and not historically inaccurate.    

Refuting Possible Counter Claims By Jochen

Jochen might argue that the analogy between the Qur'an mentioning "Injil," which is derived from Greek, and the NT mentioning it is fallacious because the Qur'an is an Arabic book while the NT is in Greek. Hence, it's expected for the NT to mention the gospel in Greek, while the Qur'an, an Arabic book, shouldn't mention foreign words in an Arabic book.

Well, the response is quite simple. Who said that the Qur'an cannot include foreign words understood by its audience while the NT, a book in Greek, mentions Aramaic words in it (see here)?

Jochen might argue back that we are attacking strawman and that he said he argues that a book must either transliterate or translate the title of the book it is speaking about. So, he would claim that the Greek word for gospel found in the NT attributed to Jesus is simply a translation of the Aramaic word for gospel that Jesus spoke. However, the Qur'an uses the word "Injil," which is neither a translation nor transliteration of the Aramaic word that Jesus used for gospel.

If that is the case, then we would like Jochen to provide evidence that Jesus used a word in Aramaic that meant "good news" and that the New Testament is simply translating this word. He can't just assume that this is what the New Testament authors have done. He must prove it. Since we don't know what Jesus' original words in Aramaic are, there is no way for Jochen to achieve that task.

Secondly, what is Jochen's proof that a book must either translate or transliterate the title of another book when referring to that book? Why can't a book refer to another book using the name that the people it is communicating to are familiar with? Injil is an Arabized word that the Arabs understood. What's the problem with using that Arabized word?

In summary, we've seen that Jochen is simply creating his standards and rules regarding how authors of books must communicate and imposing them upon the Qur'an. Jochen's "standards" and "rules" are baseless, for they are not based on solid evidence.

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