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Gospel of Barnabas

The Gospel of Barnabas purports to depict the life of Jesus. It existed in at least two manuscripts, the Italian and the Spanish. The Italian manuscript survives in a library in Austria, while the Spanish manuscript was lost in the eighteenth or nineteenth centuries; however an eighteenth century copy of the original Spanish manuscript was discovered in the 1970s in the University of Sydney's Fisher library. The Italian manuscript contains chapter rubrics and margin notes in Arabic; the margin notes form a rough Arabic translation of selected passages.

The Gospel of Barnabas was little known outside academic circles until recent times, when a number of Muslims have taken to publishing it in order to attempt to refute Christianity. It resonates better with existing Muslim views than with Christianity because it foretells the coming of Muhammad by name, and reports that Jesus was not the Messiah but rather a "prophet of salvation" whose mission was restricted to the "house of Israel". Rather than describing the crucifixion of Jesus, it describes him being raised up into heaven, similar to the description of Elijah in 2 Kings, Chapter 2. Furthermore, some Muslims claim that Barnabas himself wrote the Gospel, and that the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John were written by followers of Paul long after the events they describe, and that therefore the Gospel of Barnabas is more authentic than the other Gospels. There is some difficulty reconciling the Gospel of Barnabas (which asserts that Muhammad is the Messiah) with the Qur'an (which gives this title to Jesus).

Some Christians who have studied Barnabas believe it to be a Medieval Muslim forgery, made for the purposes of Muslim propaganda. They point to phrases in Barnabas which are very similar to phrases used by Dante, suggesting that the author of Barnabas borrowed from Dante's works. Also, there is reference to a jubilee which is to be held every hundred years, rather than every fifty years as described in Leviticus, Chapter 25. They believe this to be an anachronism, as it wasn't until around 1300 A.D. that Pope Boniface the Eighth decreed the jubilee was to be held every hundred years, rather than every fifty.

External Links: The Medieval Gospel of Barnabas (http://www.bendigo.latrobe.edu.au/sae/arts/barnabas/Entry)

Please visit this page: http://answering-islam.org/Green/barnabas.htm



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