Barnabas: notes on a prohibited Gospel
Prologue This book first made its appearance when a Monk doing research came across it in the Vatican archives. He translated it to English & converted to Islam. The available Arabic version was translated from this book by an Eastern Christian Orthodox employed by a Muslim publisher. The latter did this intentionally to prove his neutrality. We have our reservations on the translated script. Furthermore, we believe that 2 Christians successively handling the book must have drifted it a little away from its original text in favor of current Church direction. The Church has discredited the book alleging that it was written by a Muslim on account of its concordance with Islamic beliefs. Barnabas Gospel emphasizes the fact that Jesus Christ is human, a prophet & servant of God. It prophesies the emergence of another final prophet following Jesus & that his message will be universal. Paul is not sainted, instead he is spoken of as someone who deviated away of the righteous path & disobeyed Jesus's preachings. To us, the book is as authentic as any of the other 4 accredited gospels (Mathew/Mark/Luke/John), if not more. Next we review some of the evidence that substantiate our claim.
Who is Barnabas? He was one of the earliest apostles of Jesus, chosen by Christ himself. His name has been deliberately omitted from many events in the 4 gospels (naturally as his writings question the authenticity of the other books). Still, he has been mentioned favorably in Acts.
" Joseph, a Levite from Cyprus whom the apostles called Barnabas (meaning son of encouragement), sold a land he owned & brought the money & laid it at the apostles' feet." Acts 4:36-27.
" Barnabas was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit & faith" Acts 11:24.
" When Barnabas & Saul fulfilled their mission in Jerusalem, they returned back to Antioch taking with them John whose surname is Mark." Acts 12:25. "
" In the church at Antioch there were prophets & teachers….. While they were worshipping the Lord & fasting, the Holy Spirit said " Set apart for me Barnabas & Saul for the work to which I have called them…. Being sent out by the Holy Spirit, the two of them went down to Seleucia & from there they sailed to Cyprus…when they arrived they preached the word of God in the synagogues….." Acts 13:1-52.
In Acts 14 both Barnabas & Saul (now called Paul) continue their preaching in Iconium, Lystra & Derbe. In Acts 15 they return to Jerusalem for consulting its Jewish council on circumcision to gentiles who embraced the new Christian faith. Then they return to Antioch with a message from the council. Act 16 mentions the disagreement between Barnabas & Paul & their parting. The story then follows Paul, Barnabas seems to be out of the picture & we hear no more of him.
What Barnabas says about his book Unlike all the other 4 gospel authors, Barnabas does not claim that his script is of divine heavenly origin but admits it to be his own words. He states that he may have forgotten to mention some events or stated some sayings in different wording than was originally said. He speaks of himself as an author of the autobiography of Jesus Christ narrated from the view of a close follower. The book states his acts & preachings as near/much as could be remembered. The book was written several years after the heavenly ascent of Jesus & only after Paul deviated & left Barnabas. Paul had remained for years a follower to Barnabas, but now that he drifted away of the right path & parted with Barnabas, it was time that the latter put down the preachings of the master in script so as to preserve them intact.
Flops of the Arabic translator In his introduction, he contradicted himself in claiming to have done his translation from the Spanish & Italian origins while he actually used the English translated version as his source. He admits that the Spanish script was incomplete having many missing chapters & unreadable paragraphs, the Italian one was totally missing (allegedly disappearing with the Monk who first found it). Another flop is that he, putting it in his own words, "changed the script in many parts to clarify vague meanings". In plain English, this means that the translator "fabricated" the script putting words of his own as though they were original text. On comparing the English & Arabic text, we found that many words were translated wrongly giving different meanings than was intended. Whether this was done intentionally (to favor the translator's own beliefs) or on account of his ignorance remains to be settled.
Evidence that Barnabas book is authentic & that it existed long before Islam has made its debut
1. The French encyclopedia is written by devoted Christians. It mentions the book & dates it to few hundred years before Islam.
2. The head of the Anglican Church in Egypt issued a book in 1988 in which he states that; "Barnabas gospel was present & in circulation before the year 325AC. We assume that in the beginning some of the followers of Christ took notes of his acts & sayings for their personal use & for future reference. These notes constituted the core of the many gospels (more than 100) that were in use later. The Church started scrutinizing these gospels & the consensus was to approve only 4 out of them. Among the discredited gospels were Thomas's gospel (written in Arabic & used in the Arab peninsula) & Barnabas gospel. The senior Churchmen at the time saw that such discredited books had many sayings that were erroneous, forged or untrue. All those books were saved in Nichia in the year 325 AC, still some of them are preserved to the day like the Egyptian & Hebrew gospels, & those of Mathaus & Bartholomew." This is very strange. First these books were treated as holy (despite being written by humans several years after the original events) & remained so for hundreds of years. Later, they were discredited (again by humans) & were banned from use. This is to say that in Christianity Patriarchs & Bishops (not God) decide holiness!
Evidence that Barnabas book qualifies as a gospel
1. Barnabas' book contains the information that all the other four approved gospels mentioned regarding Jesus Christ's life, acts & preaching. As a matter of fact, Barnabas narrates events in more detail & in clearer style. It abstains of raising Jesus Christ to the level of God & maintains his status as a prophet with a sublime message.
2. In the words of the Arabic translator (who is Christian), " the book is a source of wisdom, morality & high standard philosophy aiming at taking human emotions into a far high level of purity & sacrifice."
3. There are certain events mentioned in the original editions of the other gospels that were later corrected taking Barnabas version as the source of correction.
(a) In chapter 97, Barnabas mentioned 72 disciples of Jesus, Luke puts them at 70. In the new editions of the Holy Book (printed after 1982), the number is corrected to 72 (Luke 10)!
(b) In chapter 209 Barnabas refers to Saloma as the sister of Mary, the other gospels make her only her kin. In recent works by Christian researchers Barnabas statement stands corrected.
(c) In chapters 50/167 Jesus refers to some old Jewish tales that were omitted from the approved gospels in the 4th century. In 1972 Christian theologists admitted the authenticity of these tales & added them to the bible.
(d) In chapter 201, Barnabas states the story of the adulterer woman whom John mentions in his gospel. Christian historians have taken Barnabas version of the story as the right one & they depicted it (as he wrote it) in the movie "The life of Jesus".
4. Many of the vaguely stated sentences & events in the gospels are clarified in Barnabas book:
(a) " The Jews cheered infront of Jesus: save us to the son of David". In chapter 200, Barnabas said that they cheered saying, "Welcome son of David" which is far more plausible.
(b) "But you [Jews] say that whoever says to his father or mother 'Whatever profit you might have received from me is a gift devoted to God', then he not need to honor his father or mother" Mathew 15:6. In chapter 32, Barnabas gives the comprehendible version of this otherwise poorly understood verse "if the parents ask money from their siblings, the latters would say that this money is dedicated as an offering to God & may not give their parents of it".
(c) Jesus turned to them & said "If anyone comes to me & does not hate his father & mother, his wife & children, his brothers & sisters-yes, even his own self- he cannot be my disciple" Luke14: 26. In chapter 26 of his book, Barnabas gives a logic clarification to this absurd statement "If your father & mother stand in the way of your serving God, leave (abandon) them
5. Barnabas book gave the true accounts of events that were narrated differently in each of the gospels. The clearest example is that of the woman who poured perfume at Jesus' feet. Each gospel gave a different version of the same event. Christian clergymen could not contain the contradictions in these versions to come out with a single plausible narration.
Mathew's version 26: 6-12 " two days before Passover while Jesus was in Bethany in the home of Simon the leper a woman came to him with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume which she poured on his head as he was reclining. When the disciples saw this they were indignant "Why this waste? This perfume could have been sold at a high price & the money given to the poor." Jesus told them " Why are you bothering this woman? She has done a beautiful thing to me. The poor you will always have with you, but you will not always have me. "
Mark's version 14: 3-8 is almost identical to that of Mathew except for some minor differences.
Luke's version 7: 36-40 Luke claims that the event occurred in a Pharisee's house in Capernaum of Galilee long before Passover. "When a woman who had lived a sinful life in that town learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee's house, she brought an alabaster jar of perfume, & as she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. The she wiped them with her hair & poured perfume on them. When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself "if this man were indeed a prophet, he would know who is touching him & what kind of woman she is - that she is a sinner."
John's version 12: 1-8 "Six days before Passover, Jesus arrived at Bethany, where Lazarus (whom Jesus had raised from the dead) lived. Here a dinner was given in Jesus' honor. Martha (Lazarus' sister) served while he was among others reclining with Jesus at the table. Then Mary (the other sister of Lazarus) took a pint of pure nard (an expensive perfume) & poured it on Jesus' feet & wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. But one of the disciples, Judas Iscariot, who was later to betray them, objected "Why wasn't this perfume sold & the money given to the poor? It was worth a year's wages." He did not say this because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief; as keeper of the moneybag, he used to help himself to what was put into it. "Leave her alone" Jesus replied."
Barnabas version chapters 129/192/205 The sinner woman (prostitute) is Mary the sister of Lazarus. The event occurred twice in the house of Simon the Leper whom Jesus cured. In the first time she came to Jesus weeping & repenting her sin. Jesus told her "The Lord will forgive you here. Do not sin after that." When she sinned again, she came back & poured the perfume on Jesus' head & clothes. Judas Iscariot objected, as he was the keeper of the poor moneybag that he used to steal from.
6. Barnabas book mentioned many acts & instructions of Jesus that are not found in the other gospels. Examples include:
(a) In chapter 209 it is stated that Jesus used to wash before prayers & that he used to pray regularly in fixed times of the day (Dawn/Noon/Evening) together with his mother Mary & his disciples. Jesus also used to fast in fixed days & his disciples followed him in doing this. On the other hand, if we review the other gospels we find no mention of all this, sometimes even the reverse. The next verse clearly indicates that Jesus' disciples did not pray or fast: Mark 9: 28-29 " After Jesus healed a boy with evil spirit, he went indoors & his disciples asked him privately "why couldn't we drive this evil out?" He replied, " this kind can only come out by prayers & fasting." Again, in Mark 2:18-20 Jesus allegedly instructs his disciples not to fast "John's disciples & the Pharisees were fasting. Some people came & asked Jesus "Why do the disciples of John & of the Pharisees fast but your disciples do not fast?" Jesus said to them "Can the guests/friends of the bridegroom fast while the bridegroom is with them? They cannot as long as they have him with them."
(b) Barnabas stated several instructions & rituals that are not found in the other gospels including the values of circumcision (chapter 22), the uncleanness of pigs (chapter 32), forbidding praying to statues/pictures (chapter 33), instructions for praying (chapters 36/48), definition of the hypocrite (chapter 45), alms giving (chapter 125), heaven/hell & their grades (chapters 71/135) & the preach about death & burial (chapters 196-198). All such important topics are missing from the accredited gospels & stated only in Barnabas book. Could this book be logically disqualified from being a true gospel?
Conclusion Christians now believe in only 4 gospels. They have discredited more than 96 others (including that of Barnabas) without reading or knowing anything about their content. What makes a book "holy" & another a "forge" has nothing to do with God, it is human (senior churchmen) decided. Even if so, & we used pure logical analysis, we will find that Barnabas book is clearer, far more comprehendible & more detailed than the 4 approved "Holy" gospels. It was written by one of the earliest disciples of Jesus whom he chose himself. The book existed & was in circulation centuries before Islam. Using such earthly measures, it is qualified to be a "Gospel". We believe that it was disapproved only because much of its content goes along with the religion that followed (Islam) including Jesus' prophecy of Muhammad God's final messenger to mankind. We believe that it is the closest to the core of true Christianity (as preached by Jesus), but not today's Christianity (that was founded by Paul).