Gospel of Barnabas

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Gospel of Barnabas is a non-canonical, pseudepigraphical gospel reportedly written by the early Christian disciple Barnabas, who (in this work) is one of the apostles of Jesus. It is about the same length as the four canonical gospels combined, largely harmonised from stories in the canonical gospels with Islamic elements such as the denial of Jesus' crucifixion. The gospel presents a detailed account of the life of Jesus. It begins with the nativity of Jesus, which includes the annunciation by the archangel Gabriel to Mary which precedes Jesus' birth. The gospel follows his ministry, ending with the message of Jesus to spread his teachings around the world. Judas Iscariot replaced Jesus at the crucifixion.

The gospel survives in two manuscripts (in Italian and Spanish), both dated to the Middle Ages. It is one of three works with Barnabas' name; the others are the Epistle of Barnabas and the Acts of Barnabas, although they are not related to each other. The earliest mention of the Gospel of Barnabas was in a 1634 manuscript by a Morisco which was found in Madrid, and the published reference to it may have been in the 1715 book Menagiana by the French poet Bernard de la Monnoye.

The gospel's origins and author have been debated; several theories are speculative, and none has general acceptance. The Gospel of Barnabas is dated to the 13th to 15th centuries,[1] much too late to have been written by Barnabas (fl. 1st century CE). Many of its teachings are synchronous with those in the Quran and oppose the Bible, especially the New Testament; some, however, contradict the Quran.

Contents[edit]

The Gospel of Barnabas, as long as the four canonical gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) combined, contains 222 chapters and about 75,000 words.[2]: 36 [3] Its original title, appearing on the cover of the Italian manuscript, is The True Gospel of Jesus, Called Christ, a New Prophet Sent by God to the World: According to the Description of Barnabas His Apostle;[2]: 36 [4]: 215  it follows a critique by the author, who claims to be the biblical Barnabas, of "all them that dwell upon the earth desireth peace and consolation" (including Paul the Apostle) who are "deceived by Satan into preaching a 'most impious doctrine' by 'calling Jesus son of God, repudiating the circumcision [...] and permitting every unclean meat'."[2]: 36 

It appears to be a gospel harmony, focusing on the ministry and passion of Jesus.[2]: 36  The gospel begins with combined elements of Matthew and Luke, such as the annunciation by the archangel Gabriel to Mary, the Adoration of the Magi, the massacre of the Innocents, the circumcision of Jesus, and his finding in the Temple.[2]: 36  It then jumps to Jesus at age 30, when he goes to the Mount of Olives with his mother to gather olives; while praying there, he received the gospel from Gabriel.[2]: 37  After this revelation, he tells his mother that he will no longer live with her. Jesus later goes to Jerusalem and begins preaching there. He appoints twelve apostles to accompany him during his ministry; the gospel mentions only ten, including Barnabas.[2]: 37 [5]: 34  The gospel follows teachings attributed to Jesus about the origins of circumcision, condemnation of the uncircumcised, and the life of Abraham (including his destruction of idols and the sacrifice of his son Ishmael).[2]: 37–38 

Chapter 39 contains the first of Jesus' nine mentions of Muhammad by name.[2]: 38  The gospel recounts the transfiguration of Jesus and his proclamation of the messiah, Muhammad, who will come after him.[2]: 38–39  After a number of his parables and teachings it describes his passion, beginning with his confrontations with the scribes and Pharisees about the woman taken in adultery.[2]: 43  Mary is told by Gabriel about her son's forthcoming crucifixion and his protection from it;[2]: 45  the high priest, Herod Antipas, and Pontius Pilate discuss what to do about him.[2]: 43  Jesus and his disciples hide in Nicodemus' house, where they have the Last Supper.[2]: 44  Judas Iscariot betrays him for thirty pieces of silver;[2]: 44  God then commands Gabriel, Michael, Raphael, and Uriel to save Jesus by taking him "out by the window that looketh toward the South" to the third heaven.[2]: 44 [5]: 11 

Judas, whose face and speech are changed to resemble those of Jesus, returns to the house while the other disciples are sleeping.[2]: 44  He is surprised to know that they think he is Jesus,[2]: 44  and he is arrested.[2]: 45  Pilate orders his crucifixion, and he is placed in Joseph of Arimathea's tomb.[2]: 45–46  Jesus prays for the ability to see his mother and disciples and tell them what actually happened.[2]: 46  He turns to Barnabas, whom he charges with writing about what occurred.[2]: 47  The gospel ends with the dispersion of the disciples and another criticism of Paul.[2]: 47–48 

Textual history[edit]

The complete silence of the Jewish, Christian, and Muslim traditions is bothersome. If it was only a secondary text of little importance, this silence could be understood. But a fundamental work, which claims to have been written on the direct orders of Jesus, would have to leave some traces in history.

Jacques Jomier [fr][5]: 51 

The Gospel of Barnabas is dated from the 14th[6] to the 17th centuries,[5]:57 too late to have been written by the biblical Barnabas (fl. 1st century CE).[7]:3 It is one of three extant works bearing his name, along with the Epistle of Barnabas and the Acts of Barnabas.[7]:53–60 A "Gospel according to Barnabas" was first mentioned in the sixth-century Gelasian Decree, and was condemned as apocryphal.[2]: 25  Another mention of a gospel using his name is in the seventh-century List of the Sixty Books,[8]: xxiv  or the Catalogue of the Sixty Canonical Books.[9]: 533  Historians are uncertain whether these refer to this Gospel of Barnabas, since no quotes have been preserved for confirmation.[2]: 25 

The earliest reference to the gospel may have been in a 1634 letter[5]: 50  in the Biblioteca Nacional de España written in Tunisia by Ibrahim al-Taybil (Juan Pérez in Spanish), an Arabic-Spanish translator and author.[3] He referred to the "Gospel of Saint Barnabas, where one can find the light".[a][3] The first published reference to the gospel was by the French poet Bernard de la Monnoye in his 1715 book, Menagiana.[2]: 26  Dutch orientalist Adriaan Reland referred to the gospel's Spanish version in his 1717 De religione Mohamedica (On the Mohammedan Religion).[10]: 17  The following year, a reference to the Italian version appeared in the Irish philosopher John Toland's Nazarenus (The Nazarenes).[6] British Orientalist George Sale cited the Italian and Spanish manuscripts in his 1734 The Preliminary Discourse to the Koran.[11]: 53 

Manuscripts[edit]

Italian[edit]

See caption
1835 painting of the Austrian National Library, where the Italian manuscript was kept

In Nazarenus, Toland said that he was shown the manuscript he called the "Mahometan Gospel" in 1709 in Amsterdam[6] through an ambassador in the city and the anti-Trinitarian scholar Jean Frederic Cramer (counsellor of Frederick I of Prussia).[12]: 125  His description is not detailed, and provides no information about the gospel's general contents. However, he quotes the opening of the gospel ("The true Gospel of Jesus called Christ, a new prophet sent by God to the world, according to the relation of Barnabas his apostle"); a fragment ("The Apostle Barnabas says, 'He gets the worst of it who overcomes in evil contentions; because he thus comes to have the more sin'"), and the ending:

Jesus being gone, the Disciples scattered themselves into many parts of Israel, and of the rest of the world; and the truth, being hated of Satan, was persecuted by fals[e]hood, as it ever happens. For certain wicked man, under pretence of being Disciples, preached that Jesus was dead, and not risen again: others preached that Jesus was truly dead, and risen again: others preached, and still continued to preach, that Jesus is the Son of God, among which persons Paul has been deceived. We therefore, according to the measure of our knowledge, do preach to those who fear God, to the end that they may be saved at the last day of divine judgment; Amen. The end of the Gospel.[13]

Dated to the end of the sixteenth century,[14] the manuscript was anonymous.[13] Toland observed that it was written on a "Turkish paper delicately gummed and polished", bound in the "Turkish manner", and the fine quality of its ink and orthography led him to assume that it was at least three hundred years old. In the appendix of his book, Toland wrote: "[I]t was an octavo volume six inches long, four broad, and one-and-a-half thick, and containing 229 leaves, each of about eighteen and nineteen lines."[13] The manuscript was obtained by Prince Eugene of Savoy in 1738 through Cramer, who wrote in a dedicatory preface that no Christian had ever been allowed to see it "although they strove with all means at their disposal to find it and take a look at it".[2]: 50  It is currently held by the Austrian National Library.[6][3]

The scholars Lonsdale and Laura Ragg published an English translation of the Italian manuscript by Oxford University Press in 1907.[3] An Arabic translation, at the initiative of the Egyptian scholar Rashid Rida, was published the following year[3] and became popular in the Muslim world; Saʿādeh, a Christian, translated it.[4]: 214  Rida began publishing promotional excerpts and information about the Arabic translation before its publication in July 1907 in his magazine, Al-Manār.[4]: 218  The Raggs' English translation (without their critical preface) became popular in 1973 in Pakistan,[15]: 80  when it was published by M. A. Rahim and promoted as the "true gospel of Jesus"[16] by local newspapers.[3] In Indonesia, it was translated in 1969, 1970, and 1980;[17]: 129  the 1970 translation, by Husein bin Abu Bakar Al-Habsyi [id] and Abubakar Basymeleh, was republished with additional footnotes in 1987.[18]: 91 [19] Translations in Dutch (1990), German (1994), modern Italian, Persian (1927), Spanish, Turkish, and Urdu (1916) have also been published.[3][20]

Spanish[edit]

Street view of a modern building
The University of Sydney's Fisher Library, where the Spanish manuscript was discovered

The Spanish manuscript was lost for more than a century;[2]: 25  Sale became the only source for a detailed description in his 1734 book, The Koran.[21]: xi  He wrote, "The book is a moderate quarto [...] written in a very legible hand, but a little damaged towards the latter end. It contains two hundred and twenty-two chapters of unequal length, and four hundred and twenty pages."[21]: xi  Sale saw the manuscript while it was still in the possession of rector George Holme.[22] It later passed to Thomas Monkhouse, a fellow of The Queen's College, Oxford, and was seen by the Reverend Joseph White. White quoted several extracts from the English translation in a 1784 lecture, before the gospel's whereabouts became unknown.[2]: 25 

A Spanish Gospel of Barnabas was found at the University of Sydney's Fisher Library, among the books of Australian politician Charles Nicholson, in 1976.[22] A copy of Sale's manuscript, made between 1736 and 1745,[5]: 50 [b] it is incomplete and has differences from the Italian manuscript;[22] the subheaders of chapters 1–27 are missing.[6] Only the first third of chapter 120 exists, ending on page 116 with a note: "Cap. 121 to 200 wanting".[22] The next page continues with chapter 200, chapter 199 in the Italian manuscript (a discrepancy which continues until chapter 222 in the Spanish manuscript, 221 in the Italian).[22] The Spanish 218th chapter has different lines, and the subheader "En que se cuenta la passion de Judas Traydor" ("In which the passion of Judas the Betrayer is recounted").[22] The Italian chapter 222 is missing from the Spanish manuscript. J. E. Fletcher, who discovered the latter, published his findings in the October 1976 issue of Novum Testamentum.[22]

Scholars note parallels in the manuscript to a series of Morisco forgeries (collectively known as the Lead Books of Sacromonte),[23]: 289 [3] which may date it to the 16th century.[6] Claiming to be a translation of an Italian manuscript – probably not the extant one – it opens with a prologue by Fra Marino (likely a pseudonym).[2]: 51  According to Fra Marino, he first encountered writings by the Church Father Irenaeus which criticized Paul and referred to the Gospel of Barnabas. While with his friend Pope Sixtus V at a Vatican City library, he then found a copy of the Gospel of Barnabas and converted to Islam after reading it.[2]: 9 [16] Mustafa de Aranda, an Aragonese Muslim who lived in Istanbul (then Constantinople), is identified in the translator's note as the translator of the Italian manuscript into Spanish.[6] Nothing further is known about this,[3] and none of Irenaeus' writings mentioned the gospel.[24] Through the University of Granada, Luis Bernabé Pons published the incomplete Spanish manuscript (with missing parts derived from the Italian manuscript) in a 1998 book entitled El texto morisco del Evangelio de San Bernabé (The Moorish Text of the Gospel of Saint Barnabas).[6]

Syriac[edit]

Exterior photo of a large building with a domed roof
The Ethnography Museum of Ankara, where an alleged Syriac copy was thought to have been held

In 1985, Turkish media reported that an alleged Syriac-language copy of the Gospel of Barnabas had been found in the city of Hakkâri. The find was later confirmed as a canonical Bible.[25]

In February 2012, the Turkish press reported that the Ministry of Culture and Tourism confirmed that a 52-page biblical manuscript thought to be the Gospel of Barnabas had been deposited at the Ethnography Museum of Ankara.[26] The manuscript was reportedly found in Cyprus in 2000 in a police anti-smuggling operation, and had been in a police repository since then.[27] Photographs of a cover page were widely published, on which can be read an inscription in a neo-Aramaic hand: "In the name of our Lord, this book is written on the hands of the monks of the high monastery in Nineveh, in the 1,500th year of our Lord."[28]

This finding was reported by the mass media as being a 1500-year-old manuscript of the Gospel of Barnabas with prophecies of the coming of Muhammad perhaps confusing the date inscription, which would be 1,500 AD with 1,500 years ago. No further report has been published.[28]

Authorship and origins[edit]

Painting of Dante Alighieri, looking at a book
Some researchers believe that phrases in Barnabas resemble those used by Dante Alighieri.

The Gospel of Barnabas is probably of late-medieval or later origin,[3] since its author is familiar with works during this period.[5]: 36  Nothing is known about its author, however; many hypotheses have been made, but none is conclusive.[6] Researchers who argue for an Italian origin[5]: 52–53  note its similarities to Dante Alighieri's early-14th-century Divine Comedy.[3] Barnabas says that God made nine heavens (in contrast to the Quran's seven, and uses Dante's catchphrase "Dei falsi e bugiardi" ("false and lying gods") three times.[16] Others also find textual similarities between passages in the gospel and late-medieval vernacular harmonies of the canonical gospels, speculated as deriving from a lost Vetus Latina version of the second-century Diatessaron.[6][3]

The gospel has been hypothesized as having Spanish origins or connections.[5]: 52–53 [3] Spanish academic Mikel de Epalza suggested that the Italian manuscript was created by a Spaniard, with elements of Tuscan and Venetian dialects. Epalza said that the author may have been a Spanish student at the University of Bologna (where the dialects were spoken), since Spaniards commonly studied there during the Middle Ages.[2]: 63–64  Analysis indicates linguistic errors in the manuscript, demonstrating the author's unfamiliarity with Italian.[2]: 64, 144 [c] Author David Fox wrote about Arabic gospel forgeries written in 1588 by two Moriscos in Granada, theorizing that the Gospel of Barnabas may have been another Morisco forgery.[2]: 64 [3]

This theory also leads other researchers to advocate a Spanish priority; they believe that the preface in the Spanish manuscript was a fabrication,[29] a "mere literary device".[30] According to Luis Bernabé Pons, the Lead Books of Sacromonte (found in Granada in 1595) were meant to begin the Gospel of Barnabas.[3] The books, written on round lead leaves, deal with the arrival of James the Great and his disciples in Spain.[3] The books say that James was tasked to hide them in Spain, where a priest (helped by Arabs) would discover them.[3] The "great conqueror king of the Arab kings" – probably referring to the Ottoman Empire – later summoned a council in Cyprus, the traditional site of Barnabas' martyrdom.[3] Pons said that Barnabus' name was used because the Lead Books were "suspected and scrutinized" for Islamic content, including the Shahada.[3] The plan failed when the Moriscos were expelled between 1609 and 1614.[3]

It was done by somebody, whether a priest, secular, monk or layman, who had an amazing knowledge of the Latin Bible  [...] And like Dante, he was particularly familiar with the Psalter. It was the work of somebody whose knowledge of the Christian Scriptures was exceeding his familiarity with the Islamic religious Scriptures. It was more probable; therefore, that he was a convert from Christianity.

—Lonsdale and Laura Ragg, on the gospel's origins[4]: 23 

A comparison of the Italian and Spanish texts indicates several places where the Spanish reading appears secondary; words or phrases necessary for meaning are missing from the Spanish text, but appear in the Italian.[31]: 155  Biblical scholar Jan Joosten hypothesized a lost Italian original, which he dated to the mid-14th century and may have been used by both manuscripts. Joosten noted that the Spanish text adapts a number of "Italianisms". The Italian text uses the conjunction pero ("therefore"), and the Spanish text reads pero ("however"); the Italian word is the one required in the context. Only the Spanish reading makes sense in several passages, however, and many features of the Italian text are not found in the Spanish.[6]

Jan Slomp wrote in Islamochristiana that the names in the Spanish manuscript (Fra Marino and Mustafa de Aranda) may refer to the same person, since converts at the time often changed their names.[2]: 65  Slomp said that they may have been a Jew, with the name "Fra Marino" based on marrano: a derisive term for conversos (Jewish converts to Catholicism).[2]: 62  Other theories about an Arabic original are based on Sale's description of an Arabic gospel popular among Muslims, attributed to Barnabas, which he had never seen.[2]: 50–51  The Raggs assumed that Sale misunderstood Toland's challenge to Muslims in Nazarenus to produce a gospel similar to Barnabas'.[21]: xvi [d] No further proof for it exists, and Sale's conjecture has been generally dismissed by researchers.[2]: 50–51 

Analysis[edit]

Anachronisms[edit]

Map of the Holy Land
Map of the Decapolis

The Gospel of Barnabas contains geographic, historic, and linguistic anachronisms.[3][5]: 27, 43  According to the Raggs, they prove its medieval origins[21]: 433  and the author's ignorance of first-century Palestine.[5]: 24  Anachronisms include:[2]: 38–39 [5]: 19, 21–29 

  • In chapter three, Pontius Pilate was said to have governed Judea and Annas and Caiaphas were the high priests when Jesus was born (c. 4 BC). Pilate did not become governor until 26–27 AD; Annas became high priest in 6 AD, and his son-in-law Caiaphas succeeded him in 18 AD.
  • In chapter 15, during the first century of Jesus' ministry, it was said that the "feast of Tabernacles was near". In chapter 30, the author wrote of the Senofegia which would also take place that year; Tabernacles and Senofegia are synonymous.[clarification needed]
  • In chapters 20–21, it was said that Jesus and his disciples arrived in Nazareth after embarking on the Sea of Galilee and "went up to Capernaum"; Capernaum was on the shore, and Nazareth more than 15 miles inland.
  • In chapters 42 and 96, Jesus said: "I am not the Messiah". The authors appear to not realise that the Greek Christ and the Hebrew Messiah are synonymous; both mean "the anointed one".
  • In chapter 63, Nineveh was described as near the Mediterranean Sea; it was 400 miles away, in present-day Iraq.
  • In chapter 65, Jesus was said to go to the "Probatica" pool. According to the author, it was so called "because the angel of God every day troubled the water, and whosoever first entered the water after its movement was cured of every kind of infirmity"; probatica, Greek for the Aramaic bethesda, means "of the sheep".
  • In chapter 82, it was said that a jubilee occurs every hundred years; the Jewish jubilee is every fifty years. Pope Boniface VIII proclaimed 1300 as the first Christian jubilee, and the next jubilee would take place a hundred years later.
  • In chapter 99, Tyre was said to be near the Jordan River; in reality, it was more than 30 miles (48 km) away.
  • In chapter 144, the word pharisee was said to mean "seeking God"; derived from the Hebrew, it means "separated". In the next chapter, it was said that the Pharisees began when the Canaanites had power in Palestine; this was before 1000 BC, before David banned foreigners from ruling in Israel. The Pharisees, a Jewish religious movement, began no earlier than the second century BC.
  • In chapter 152, it was said that wine barrels were in use during Jesus' time; large jars were used then to store wine.
  • In chapters 214 and 217, the pagan Herod Antipas was said to rule Jerusalem and Judea; his authority was in Galilee, and he practiced Judaism.

Anti-Pauline tone[edit]

Scholarly analysis indicates that the Gospel of Barnabas had an anti-Pauline tone, most clearly shown in its prologue and epilogue; these depict Paul preaching a perverted version of Jesus' teachings, and as "deceived" in thinking that Jesus was God (or the Son of God).[2]: 12, 20–21 [32] In his Connecting with Muslims: A Guide to Communicating Effectively (2014), Lebanese author and Christian missionary Fouad Masri called the gospel anachronistic; in the Acts of the Apostles, Barnabus was Paul's best friend and not an enemy.[33]: 165–166  For the Journal of Higher Criticism, R. Blackhirst wrote that the Epistle to the Galatians account of conflict between Paul and Barnabas may have been why the gospel's author attributed it to Barnabas.[32]

Parallels with the Quran[edit]

Crucifixion of Jesus[edit]

In the Gospel of Barnabas, Jesus was not crucified. Judas Iscariot (whose face was made to resemble his) replaced him on the cross, and Jesus was raised into heaven by God.[5]: 2 [21]: xxvii  This agrees with the mainstream interpretations of An-Nisa 157–158, affirming that Jesus was not crucified but instead his lookalike was:

"We killed Christ, Jesus the son of Mary, the messenger of God." And they did not kill him, and they did not crucify him, but it was made to appear so to them. And those who have differed about it are in doubt about it: they do not have knowledge about it, but only the following of supposition. They did not kill him for certain. God raised him up unto Himself; and God is Exalted in Power, Wise.[34]: 2, 42 

Like the Quran, in its narrative of Jesus' crucifixion the gospel is thought to be influenced by (or adopt) docetism: a heterodox doctrine that Jesus' human form was an illusion.[2]: 98 [21]: xlvii  David Sox wrote that the Gospel of Barnabus' portrayal of Judas Iscariot is more sympathetic than that in the canonical gospels, where he is cast as a villainous betrayer; in Christian tradition, his name is synonymous with one who deceives under the guise of friendship.[2]: 94–95  The Raggs said that since the alleged substitution in the Quran is unnamed and unexplained, the author of the gospel attempted to fill this void.[21]: xxvii 

Ghulam Murtaza Azad described the gospel as a medieval forgery in Islamic Studies, but found its narrative more reasonable than that of the canonical gospels: "A man who is not religious minded can hardly believe that a person who wrought such great miracles could not save himself from humiliation and cross. The Christians say that he was crucified in order to save mankind from their sins. This explanation of crucifixion is strange and difficult to understand. And stranger than that is that the traitor was saved and the master was hanged."[35] In his Understand My Muslim People (2004), Abraham Sarker wrote that the narrative is popular in Quranic exegesis.[36]: 129–130 

Prediction of Muhammad[edit]

In accordance with As-Saff 6, Muslims believe that Jesus was the forerunner of Muhammad and predicted Muhammad's coming:

And remember Jesus, the son of Mary, said: 'O Children of Israel! I am the apostle of God (sent) to you, confirming that which is between my hands from the Torah, and giving glad tidings of an apostle to come after me, whose name shall be Ahmad.' But, when he came to them with clear signs, they said, 'this is evident sorcery.'[5]: 2 

In Islam, the word ahmad (Arabic for "the praised one") refers to Muhammad.[3][37]: 157  The Gospel of Barnabas contains a number of sayings attributed to Jesus, who Muslims believe predicted the coming of Muhammad.[5]: 2  The gospel places Jesus in the role played by John the Baptist in the canonical gospels;[15]: 90  this appears to contradict the Quran, however, which says that Jesus was the promised messiah.[3]

Nontrinitarianism[edit]

According to the Nicene Creed, the concept of the Trinity means that God is one and also exists consubstantially as three persons (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit); Jesus is the Son.[38] Trinitarianism is rejected by Islam, which believes in the concept of tawhid (indivisible oneness) and considers the Trinity a shirk equating God with his creation.[37]: 46, 135–136  Muslims believe that, like other Islamic prophets, Jesus was human and never claimed to be God.[37]: 223  The Gospel of Barnabas contains statements, attributed to Jesus, in which he denies being the Son of God.[5]: 7  The gospel says that Jesus appeared to be crucified as punishment for people who claimed his divinity, and Muhammad was sent later to reveal the deception.[39]

Perspectives[edit]

Christian[edit]

The Gospel of Barnabas is not accepted by Christians,[25] who consider it inferior to the four canonical gospels and a forgery.[3][37]: 307  According to Togardo Siburian of the Technical Academy of Bandung [id], it is often used "by [Muslim] propagandists in a guerrilla manner to prey on Christians with weak theological commitments. This is what is said to be the efficacy of the book, as new material for the stealth 'Islamization' of Christian churches today."[40] Jan Joosten called it a "hotchpotch of Christian, Jewish, and Muslim materials".[6] J. N. J. Kritzinger wrote for Religion in Southern Africa that the gospel is an obstacle to Christian–Muslim interfaith dialogue, and neither side should use it to discredit the other's religion.[41] Christian theologian Norman Geisler criticised Muslims who use it to validate their arguments:

It is not surprising that Muslim apologists appeal to the Gospel of Barnabas in that it supports a central Islamic teaching in contrast to the New Testament. It claims that Jesus did not die on the cross [...] Rather, it argues that Judas Iscariot died in Jesus' stead [...] having been substituted for him at the last minute. This view has been adopted by many Muslims, since the vast majority of them believe that someone else was substituted on the cross for Jesus.[37]: 296 

Jan Slomp wrote that it was difficult to understand the absence of mentions of the gospel in early Islamic writings if it had existed since antiquity,[2]: 19  a view shared by A. H. Mathias Zahniser in his The Mission and Death of Jesus in Islam and Christianity (2017).[15]: 93–94  Slomp called it a "conscious attempt at imitating a Diatessaron".[2]:35 Egyptian Catholic philosopher Georges Chehata Anawati [arz] wrote for the 1971 Encyclopaedia of Islam, "The appearance of a forgery entitled the Gospel of Barnabas put into the hands of the Muslim polemicists [...] a new weapon whose effects on the ordinary public, and even on some insufficiently informed members of universities are felt even today."[2]: 32  A critical book, William F. Campbell's The Gospel of Barnabas: Its True Value, was published in 1989.[5]

Islamic[edit]

Acceptance[edit]

The Gospel of Barnabas is a bestseller in the Muslim world,[37]: 295  and popular in Islamic apologetics.[5]: 1  Some have identified it as the Injil, one of four Islamic holy books sent by God.[42][e] About the gospel's generally-positive reception in the Muslim world, Scottish orientalist W. Montgomery Watt said that it is not uncommon for Muslims to be persuaded to believe in it without question; some are unaware of the scholarly consensus that it is a forgery.[43]: 117–118  According to German scholar Christine Schirrmacher, Muslim positivity about the gospel is based on its claim of being written by an eyewitness and disagreement (favoured by Islam) with mainstream Christian doctrines.[25]

Among Muslims, the gospel was first cited by Pakistani scholar Rahmatullah Kairanawi in his Ijaz-i Isawi (1853).[20] It became more popular after the 1908 publication of Rashid Rida's Arabic translation.[4]: 214  According to Pakistani scholar Abul A'la Maududi, the Gospel of Barnabus is "more genuine than the four canonical gospels".[3] Rida agreed that it was "superior" to the canonical gospels in its "divine knowledge, glorification of the Creator, and knowledge of ethics, manners and values".[4]: 235  During a 1940 course at Al-Azhar University, Egyptian intellectual Muhammad Abu Zahra challenged Christians to study and refute the gospel: "The most significant service to the religions and to humanity would be that the church take the trouble to study the gospel according to Barnabas and refute it and to bring us the proofs on which this refutation is based."[5]: 2 

At a 1976 Christian–Muslim dialogue in Libya, each Muslim delegate first received copies of the Gospel of Barnabas and the Quran; the gospel was withdrawn after a protest by the Vatican.[2]: 11 [34]: 100  Rahim published Jesus: A Prophet of Islam, defending the gospel, in 1979.[2]: 12  M. A. Yusseff wrote in The Dead Sea Scrolls, The Gospel of Barnabas, and the New Testament (1985) that no other gospels can equal its authenticity.[37]: 295  A 2007 Iranian film, The Messiah, was apparently based on the gospel and was the first film to depict Jesus from Christian and Islamic perspectives.[44] It had a mixed critical response, praised for "generating interfaith dialogue"[44] but criticised for its controversial account of the crucifixion.[45] Director Nader Talebzadeh said, "I pray for Christians. They've been misled. They will realize one day the true story."[46]

Rejection[edit]

The Gospel of Barnabas is criticized by Muslim scholars,[37]: 298  who reject it partially[34]: 101  or completely.[47] According to American scholar Amina Inloes, the many differences between the gospel and the Quran dilute its importance.[16] In the January 1977 issue of the Islamic World League journal, Syrian writer Yahya al-Hashimi called it a polemic by a Jew to generate hostility between Christians and Muslims.[2]: 115 [3] Al-Hashimi said that there was no need to use apocryphal gospels to prove that Muhammad was a prophet, because he believed Muhammad had been foretold by Jesus as the Paraclete in the Gospel of John.[3] Egyptian literary critic Abbas Mahmoud al-Aqqad cited several reasons to reject the gospel, including the use of Andalusi Arabic phrases and teachings which conflict with the Quran.[5]: 34 [3]

See also[edit]

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ Quoted in Spanish: " ... y asi mesmo en Elanjelio de San Barnabé donde de hallara luz."[3]
  2. ^ The transcriber (probably English), who identified themselves as "M. Hone", wrote: "Transcribed from ms [manuscript] in possession of Revd Mr. Edm. Callamy who bought it at the Decease of Mr. George Sale 17[36] and now gave me at the Decease of Mr. John Nickolls 1745."[5]: 50 
  3. ^ In chapters 3 and 4, for instance, the phrase "immense shine" were translated into three different spellings: "immenso splondere", "imenso splondere", and "inmenso splondere"; instead of anno (year), this manuscript uses hanno.[2]: 64 
  4. ^ Toland wrote, "You are particularly desired to enquire after the Gospel of Barnabas: for such a book is in the possession of his most serene Highness Prince Eugene of Savoy, and was undoubtedly written [...] by a profest Mahometan; as the Summaries of the Chapters, and the Arabic Notes on the margin of the Italian Translation, are the work of a zealous adversary to Christianity. And if you should happen to meet with this book, you are diligently to enquire, whether they acknowledge it as divine, whether it be the onely Gospel they admit? or, in case they have any more of this kind, whicli are Apocryphal, and which authentic, in their account?"[21]: lxix–lxx 
  5. ^ Nothing is known about the characteristics of the Injil.[42] While Muslim scholars in general consider it referring to the four canonical gospels,[5]: 1–2  some think that it should be a single gospel revealed by God to Jesus—not written by human authors—and fragments of it survive in these canonical gospels.[37]: 215–216  Cases have been made by several Muslim scholars, including Ahmed Deedat, for connecting the Injil with the Gospel of Barnabas.[42]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Joosten, Jan (2010). "The Date and Provenance of the "Gospel of Barnabas"". The Journal of Theological Studies. 61 (1): 200–215. doi:10.1093/jts/flq010. ISSN 0022-5185. JSTOR 43665026.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an ao ap aq ar as at au av aw Sox, David (1984). The Gospel of Barnabas. Allen & Unwin. ISBN 0-04-200044-0.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad Slomp, Jan. "The 'Gospel of Barnabas' in recent research". Christlich-Islamische Gesellschaft [de]. Archived from the original on 7 April 2022. Retrieved 22 May 2022.
  4. ^ a b c d e f Ryad, Umar (2009). Islamic Reformism and Christianity: A Critical Reading of the Works of Muḥammad Rashīd Riḍā and His Associates (1898–1935). ISBN 978-90-47-44146-5.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v Campbell, William F. (1989). Gospel of Barnabas: Its True Value. Christian Study Centre. ISBN 1-881085-02-3.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Joosten, Jan (April 2010). "The Date and Provenance of the 'Gospel of Barnabas'". The Journal of Theological Studies. 61 (1): 200–215. doi:10.1093/jts/flq010. JSTOR 43665026.
  7. ^ a b Kollmann, Bernd (2004). Joseph Barnabas: His Life and Legacy. Liturgical Press. ISBN 978-08-14651-70-4.
  8. ^ Elliott, J. K. (2005). The Apocryphal New Testament: A Collection of Apocryphal Christian Literature in an English Translation. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-01-91068-53-9.
  9. ^ Nickel, Gordon L. (2009). "Barnabas, Gospel of". In Furey, Constance M.; Matz, Brian; McKenzie, Steven L.; Römer, Thomas; Schröter, Jens; Walfish, Barry Dov; Ziolkowski, Eric (eds.). The Encyclopedia of the Bible and its Reception. De Gruyter. ISBN 978-31-10183-55-9.
  10. ^ Cirillo, Luigi; Frémaux, Michel (1999). Évangile de Barnabé : fac-similé, traduction et notes [Gospel of Barnabas: Facsimile, Translation, and Notes] (in French). Beauchesne. ISBN 978-27-01013-89-3.
  11. ^ Sale, George (1734). The Koran, Commonly Called the Alcoran of Mohammed: Translated into English Immediately from the Original Arabic with Explanatory Notes Taken from the Most Approved Commentators to which is Prefixed a Preliminary Discourse. J. W. Moore. OCLC 1135206.
  12. ^ Champion, J. A. I. (1992). The Pillars of Priestcraft Shaken: The Church of England and Its Enemies, 1660–1730. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-05-21405-36-2.
  13. ^ a b c Axon, William E. A. (April 1902). "On the Mohammedan Gospel of Barnabas". The Journal of Theological Studies. 3 (1): 441–451. doi:10.1093/jts/os-III.11.441. JSTOR 23949668.
  14. ^ Joosten, Jan (January 2002). "The 'Gospel of Barnabas' and the Diatessaron". The Harvard Theological Review. 95 (1): 73–96. doi:10.1017/S0017816002041056 (inactive 31 December 2022). JSTOR 4150739.{{cite journal}}: CS1 maint: DOI inactive as of December 2022 (link)
  15. ^ a b c Zahniser, A. H. Mathias (2017). The Mission and Death of Jesus in Islam and Christianity. Wipf and Stock Publishers. ISBN 978-17-25256-26-2.
  16. ^ a b c d Inloes, Amina (2016). "The Gospel of Barnabas: A Muslim Forgery?". Islamic Writings: The Student Journal of the Islamic College. 6 (1): 49–65. Archived from the original on 23 May 2022. Retrieved 23 May 2022.
  17. ^ Sairin, Weinata (2020). Menjadi Gereja di Tengah Dunia yang Terluka [The Church in a Damaged World]. Gramedia Pustaka Utama. ISBN 978-60-20648-13-2.
  18. ^ Noorsena, Bambang (2021). Telaah Kritis Atas Injil Barnabas: Asal-Usul, Historisitas dan Isinya [A Critical Analysis of the Gospel of Barnabas: Origins, Historicity, and its Contents]. Penerbit Andi.
  19. ^ Umam, Ahmad Jauhari (February 2019). "Melacak Sumber dan Keotentikan Penafsiran Muqātil bin Sulaymān tentang Ayat Kisah Penyaliban dan Pengangkatan Nabi ʿĪsā ke Langit" [Analysing the Sources and Authenticity of Muqātil bin Sulaymān's Interpretation of the Verses on the Crucifixion and Ascension of Jesus to the Heavens]. Al-Itqal: Jurnal Studi Al-Qur'an (in Indonesian). 5 (1): 115–140. doi:10.47454/itqan.v5i1.710. S2CID 241324498. Archived from the original on 27 May 2022. Retrieved 26 May 2022.
  20. ^ a b Schirrmacher, Christine (1997). "The influence of German Biblical criticism on Muslim apologetics in the 19th century". contra-mundum.org. Archived from the original on 8 November 2018. Retrieved 27 May 2022.
  21. ^ a b c d e f g h Ragg, Lonsdale; Ragg, Laura (1907). The Gospel of Barnabas: Edited and Translated from the Italian Ms. in the Imperial Library at Vienna. Oxford University Press. OCLC 1085610126.
  22. ^ a b c d e f g Fletcher, J. E. (October 1976). "The Spanish Gospel of Barnabas". Novum Testamentum. 8 (4): 314–320. doi:10.1163/156853676X00157. JSTOR 1560539.
  23. ^ Harvey, Leonard Patrick (15 September 2008). Muslims in Spain: 1500 to 1614. University of Chicago Press. ISBN 978-02-26319-65-0.
  24. ^ Ahmed, Chanfi (Summer 2008). "The 'Wahubiri wa Kislamu' (Preachers of Islam) in East Africa". Africa Today. 54 (4): 3–18. doi:10.2979/AFT.2008.54.4.2. JSTOR 27666928. S2CID 145192048.
  25. ^ a b c Schirrmacher, Christine. "The 'Gospel of Barnabas' – Has the True Gospel of Jesus Been Found?". IslamInstitut.de. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 27 May 2022.
  26. ^ "Turkish Authorities Claim to Have Seized Early Biblical Text". Biblical Archaeology Society. 27 February 2012. Archived from the original on 23 April 2021. Retrieved 27 May 2022.
  27. ^ Hibbard, Laura (23 February 2012). "Vatican Requests 1,500-Year-Old Bible Held In Turkey". Huffington Post. Archived from the original on 23 January 2018. Retrieved 27 May 2022.
  28. ^ a b "The Gospel of Barnabas 'hoax'". Vatican Insider. 5 March 2012. Archived from the original on 10 October 2018. Retrieved 27 May 2022.
  29. ^ Wiegers, G. A. (April–June 1995). "Muhammad as the Messiah: A comparison of the polemical works of Juan Alonso with the Gospel of Barnabas". Bibliotheca Orientalis. LII (3/4): 245–292. ISSN 0006-1913.
  30. ^ van Koningsveld, Pieter (1996). "The Islamic Image of Paul and the Origin of the Gospel of Barnabas". Jerusalem Studies in Arabic and Islam. 20: 200–228. ISSN 0334-4118. Archived from the original on 26 May 2022. Retrieved 26 May 2022.
  31. ^ Pons, Luis F. Bernabé (1998). El texto morisco del Evangelio de San Bernabé [The Moorish Text of the Gospel of Saint Barnabas] (in Spanish). University of Granada. ISBN 84-338-2418-X.
  32. ^ a b Blackhirst, R. (Spring 2000). "Barnabas and the Gospels: Was There an Early Gospel of Barnabas?". Journal of Higher Criticism. 7 (1): 1–22. ISSN 1075-7139. Archived from the original on 20 February 2020. Retrieved 3 June 2022.
  33. ^ Masri, Fouad (2014). Connecting with Muslims: A Guide to Communicating Effectively. InterVarsity Press. ISBN 978-08-30895-90-8.
  34. ^ a b c O'Brien, Jack (2020). The Qur'an and the Cross—A Study of Al-Nisa (4):157: 'and They Did Not Kill Him and Did Not Crucify Him, But It Was Made to Appear So to Them'. LIT Verlag. ISBN 978-36-43910-82-0.
  35. ^ Azad, Ghulam Murtaza (Winter 1982). "An Introduction to the Gospel of Barnabas". Islamic Studies. 21 (4): 71–96. JSTOR 20847219.
  36. ^ Sarker, Abraham (2004). Understand My Muslim People. Barclay Press. ISBN 978-15-94980-02-2.
  37. ^ a b c d e f g h i Geisler, Norman; Saleeb, Abdul (1993). Answering Islam: The Crescent in Light of the Cross. Baker Books. ISBN 0-8010-3859-6.
  38. ^ Catechism of the Catholic Church (2nd ed.). Libreria Editrice Vaticana. 2019. Paragraphs 232–267.
  39. ^ Licona, Michael R. (2009). "Using the Death of Jesus to Refute Islam" (PDF). Journal of the International Society of Christian Apologetics. 2 (1): 87–110. ISSN 2572-9322. Archived (PDF) from the original on 30 October 2015. Retrieved 30 May 2022.
  40. ^ Siburian, Togardo (July 2021). "Profil Kritis Buku yang Disebut 'Injil Barnabas'" [A Critical Profile of a Book Known as the 'Gospel of Barnabas'] (PDF). Stulos (in Indonesian). 19 (2): 248–272. ISSN 1858-4683. Archived (PDF) from the original on 27 May 2022. Retrieved 24 May 2022.
  41. ^ Kritzinger, J. N. J. (January 1980). "A Critical Study of the Gospel of Barnabas". Religion in South Africa. 1 (1): 49–65. JSTOR 24763798.
  42. ^ a b c Hewer, Chris (May 2008). "Theological Issues in Christian–Muslim Dialogue". New Blackfriars. 89 (1021): 311–323. doi:10.1111/j.1741-2005.2008.00223.x. JSTOR 43251232.
  43. ^ Watt, W. Montgomery (1991). Muslim–Christian Encounters: Perceptions and Misperceptions. Routledge. ISBN 0-415-05410-9.
  44. ^ a b Vu, Michelle A. (21 March 2008). "Muslim's Cross-Less Jesus Film Draws Mixed Reactions". The Christian Post. Archived from the original on 27 May 2022. Retrieved 27 May 2022.
  45. ^ Gallagher, Patrick; Lutz, Meris (16 August 2010). "Lebanon: Iranian director's Jesus film pulled". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on 6 May 2021. Retrieved 27 May 2022.
  46. ^ Fleishman, Jeffrey (29 April 2008). "Jesus through the lens of Islam". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on 21 July 2021. Retrieved 27 May 2022.
  47. ^ Reed, Annette Yoshiko (22 May 2014). "'Muslim Gospel' Revealing the 'Christian Truth' Excites The Da Vinci Code Set". Religion Dispatches. Archived from the original on 31 October 2020. Retrieved 27 May 2022.