The Gospel of Barnabas—Introduction (cont.)

Is the Gospel of Barnabas early? While mainline Christian scholarship considers GBar as a medieval work, muslims generally date it to the first centuries CE. Yet, both views may be too general. GBar is a complex work, and I will be presenting the thesis that the gospel is a composite of numerous layers (see below), some of which do not fully agree with others. As regards the Islamic elements, for example, some passages show clear knowledge of the Koran (the name Muhammad appears several times). Primarily on this basis, some scholars quickly conclude that the entire gospel postdates the seventh century and is an Islamic forgery. However, that conclusion is hasty, for numerous passages also betray little understanding of Islam. … Continue reading

The Gospel of Barnabas—Introduction

For a long time I have been wanting to write a series of posts on the astonishing and virtually unknown Gospel of Barnabas. As is so frequent in early Christian studies, there is a reason for this seminal gospel’s obscurity—suppression. The enormously long, quite elaborate, and emphatically ‘Christian’ gospel came to my attention some five years ago. Though GBar has existed in two versions and in two languages (Italian and Spanish) since the Renaissance, it’s obscurity—half a millennium later—is still virtually total. Have you heard of it? I thought not. This is the introductory post to a series of what I imagine will extend to 20+ posts. My aim is not to give an extended assessment, or even description, of … Continue reading

This blog is now entering ‘sleep’ mode…

Well, it probably comes as no surprise—after all, my most recent post to Mythicist Papers was over one month ago. That post terminated a long, detailed commentary on Dr. Hermann Detering’s recent ground-breaking work linking Buddhism and early Christianity. It is understandable that both Detering’s work and my own have received no acknowledgment from traditionalist Christian circles. However, the present lack of any significant ‘Jesus mythicist’ community places engagement with these incisive views out of reach. Such engagement would have permitted the discussion to go forward. The original—and continuing—purposes of this website/blog are to provide reliable information and objective consideration of Christian origins. Those purposes are as valid today as they were yesterday, and they will continue to be valid … Continue reading

Before Jesus of Nazareth

The first half of the second century was a watershed time in Christian history. By mid-century all four canonical gospels had been written (below), and the bulk of the Pauline epistles were ‘collected’ and published. At the beginning of the second century, however, it seems that only some elements of Paul’s letters (short epistles) were known, and probably not to many people. It is difficult for us to imagine a Christianity without Jesus of Nazareth. But we must do so, for the colossal God-man arrived not before the second century. The Pauline epistles do not know such a Jesus. On the other hand, the gospels do. The period of greatest ferment in Christianity can be dated to the two centuries … Continue reading

The Hebrew Gospel—Pt. 6

This series of posts is an attempt to help resurrect the Hebrew Gospel from a very long and undeserved oblivion. Though little more than a name today, in the early Christian centuries the Hebrew Gospel (GHeb) was noted by many Church Fathers—sometimes positively, sometimes negatively, and sometimes simply with a neutral tone. Seventy-five references—a few with quotes—demonstrate that GHeb was significantly different from our canonical gospels. Its most critical difference was in christology, for in GHeb Jesus was a spirit: For since the apostles considered [Jesus] to be a spirit or, according to the gospel which is of the Hebrews and is read by the Nazoraeans, a demon without a body, he said to them… (Edwards 284, citing Jerome) It … Continue reading