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Last Update: Saturday September 25, 2021

Synoptic Sayings from All Holy Writings

Wikipedia rejects Synoptic Scripture

Reflections on publishing old concepts in new skins
by Bruce Camber

To attempt to open the dialogue about the shared scripture by the three faiths within Wikipedia, I started an entry. It seemed like an encyclopedic task. It seemed that many people could readily and easily participate and we would attempt to be scholars in front of the world.

That Wikipedia entry was deleted.   First, a seemingly-nice Wiki editor immediately moved the text under the "synoptic gospels" of the Christian faith.  Then a second-tier of experts said, "Delete it.  It is original research; it is not encyclopedic."  The text was deleted. 

Here is what was said:

"That the Judaic Bible, the Christian Bible and the Islamic Qur'an share common passages is well known. Those passages that are found in all three books are hereinafter referred to as synoptic scriptures

"Though there has been very little public discussion about this kind of synoptic scripture, the need for such an awareness is painfully self-evident.  In these times, the need to find common between the Christians, Jews and Muslims might be discovered within those shared scriptures, especially if there is a verse-by-verse analysis of that scripture within the public square.  Here we might find the core problems and also begin to find a common ground for dialogue. These kind of synoptic scripture  will lift that text to a higher standard for study and interpretation.

"These passages are possibly axiomatic. These could be a foundation for a mutual statement of faith. At the very least these passages will open more arguments, but also possibly more toleration, perhaps a little respect, and maybe even fellowship.   All other texts will not necessarily open doors to understanding. These texts will be the unique observations within a particular space and time that are historic yet probably not quite universal.

"There will be texts that are shared by two and, with a stretch of the metaphor, might possibly include the third. These should be noted and scrutinized carefully.

"There will undoubtedly be a wide range of texts that are shared by two and not by the third. These should noted to exegete the uniqueness of each expression.

"Let us begin. Your contributions are welcomed. Here is one of the early passages shared by all three - the story of Cain who killed his brother, Abel (Hebrew/Christian Bible, Genesis 4 and Qur'an 5:27-32).

A simple little concept, "The Synoptic Scriptures between Christians, Jews, and Muslims," is probably not a new idea, but I would like to have that book on my shelf. 

As of today, I am going to see if one of the world's best scholars will do it.

What writings are shared by most religions?

Let us find out what these are. Let us analyze them:

  • What is truly held in common?
  • Can we discern why it is important? 
  • What is that statement telling us?
  • Can we know how a statement becomes compelling?
  • Why would anyone follow its logic and live one's life accordingly?

Islamic terrorists and their "thought leaders" have often been quoted saying that they will not rest until Islam rules the world.

We all have  learned a little about the most visible Islamic terrorists and warriors, perhaps mostly about Osma Bin Laden and people like Ahmadinejad. Yet, to get a grasp of  their deepest understanding of their way of life under their Qur'an, we have to turn to their Islamic scholars -- clerics with such names as Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and Ayatollah Mohammad Emami-Kashani in Iran, Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani in Iraq, and Sheikh Abu Muhammad al-Maqdisi who is in a Jordanian prison.  Links go to Wikipedia  references.

Our new work assignments

We all should scrutinize the writings -- the logic and concepts -- that they use to guide their thinking. Their elitism can no longer continue to go unchallenged by the public, by moderate Muslims, and by learned scholars. Let us all see in what ways they are right and where they are wrong or incomplete or misguided. They are each human. Each sleeps at night and all will die within 120 years of their birth.

Why not start with a synopsis of commonality?

Among so many issues, it is important to look at a new synopsis between the Hebrew Torah and Bible, the Christian Bible and the Muslim Qur’an. What passages of scripture do the three books have in common? There are many synoptic books but to my knowledge there is no synopsis between the sacred texts that are at the foundations of Islam, Christianity and Judaism. For example, it would be good to see the best scholarly work to understand and interpret the story of Cain who killed his brother, Abel (Hebrew/Christian Bible, Genesis 4 and Qur’an at 5:27-32).

The precedent within history.

The idea of Synoptic Scriptures, some believe, originated in around 1776 within the work of the German biblical scholar, Johann Jakob Griesbach. His compilation and comparison (textual criticism) was of common passages found in the first three Gospels - Matthew, Mark and Luke - of the Christian New Testament. These passages are considered special.

The Synoptic Scriptures of the Christians, Jews and Muslims

So it was early in September 2006, to help understand the historic relation between Islam, Judaism, and Christianity,Bruce Camber went looking for a synoptic book based on the Judaic, Christian, and Islamic scriptures.

Of just 22 references in Google to "Synoptic Scriptures" that day (September 7, 2006), they all referred to the synoptic gospels of the Christians.

He began thinking, "The Synoptic Scriptures." And being a typical entrepreneur, he asked myself, "Why not?" (also assuming it hadn't been done). Within that moment he thought such a book could be done relatively quickly and that it should become part of mainstream discussions about "revealed text" and interpreted text. There are many great scholars who have done the work within their respective discipline. We would look for the best and look for some theologians within each religion to write some reflective overviews based on faith, science and the human future.

Elitism, fanaticism and extremism should not have such an easy ride.

These people need to be confronted on every corner, in every marketplace, in every religious meeting anywhere throughout our little world

The Synoptic Scriptures of the Christians, Jews and Muslim

Is it a good working title?

The book about the synoptic scriptures could inspire people to begin to stand up against limited interpretations of scripture.Such a book could embolden people to begin understanding of the universals and how they are expressed within the sciences and throughout all religions.

To get such a book into publication, Bruce Camber turned to the largest university press in the world, Oxford University Press. On September 7, 2006, he wrote to both the managing director of the press and their journals to suggest such a work. 

They were not sufficiently impressed to take it on themselves but might entertain publishing the piece if it were given to them turnkey.