The Gospel of Barnabas—Chps. 65–72

[Click HERE for the color coding scheme. Opens a separate tab.]         30. [Jesus] said, “The flesh attracts sin and sucks up iniquity even as a sponge sucks up water.”        [LXVI:68b, p. 155] • No parallel. COMMENT: Because ‘the flesh’ is irretrievably sinful, the implications of this logion are the way of asceticism: denial, renunciation of pleasure, and mortification of the flesh. This religious view is known as encratism (< Gk. egkrateia, continence). It had a profound effect on early Christianity, as witnessed not only by the many encratite logia found even in the canonical gospels (Mt 5:28 etc), but by works such as the apocryphal acts of the apostles (Acts of Thomas, Paul, etc) and the many encratite tractates from the Nag … Continue reading

The Gospel of Barnabas—Chps. 43–64

[Click HERE for the color coding scheme. Opens a separate tab.]         21. [His disciples asked Jesus] “Who is a hypocrite? Tell us plainly.”         “Truly I say to you that he who does good in order that men may see him, he is a hypocrite. For his deed does not proceed from the heart that men cannot see, where exist every unclean thought and filthy lust.         “And do you know who is a hypocrite? He who with his tongue serves God but with his heart serves man… As God lives, and in whose presence I stand, the hypocrite is a thief who commits sacrilege, inasmuch as he makes use of the law to appear good, but steals the honor of God to … Continue reading

The Gospel of Barnabas—Chp. 42

[Click HERE for the color coding scheme. Opens a separate tab.]         The Transfiguration 20.        And having said this, Jesus departed and went to a Mount Tabor, and there ascended with him Peter and James and John his brother, with him who writes this. Whereupon there shone a great light above him, and his garments became white like snow and his face glistened as the sun, and lo! there came Moses and Elijah speaking with Jesus b concerning all that needs must come upon our race and upon the holy city.         Peter spoke, saying “Lord, it is good to be here. Therefore, if you will, let us make here three booths, one for you and one for Moses and the other for Elijah.” And … Continue reading

The Gospel of Barnabas—Chps. 36–42

[Click HERE for the color coding scheme. Opens a separate tab.]         32.         Truly I say to you that very few make true prayer, and therefore Satan has power over them, because God does not seek those who honor him with their lips, who in the temple ask with their lips for mercy while their heart cries out for retribution. Even as He said to Isaiah the prophet, saying ‘Take away this people that is irksome to me, because with their lips they honor me, but their heart is far from me.’ Truly I say to you that he who goes to make prayer without consideration mocks God.”        [XXXVI:38b, p. 85] 33.         The disciples wept at the words of Jesus and besought … Continue reading

The Gospel of Barnabas—Chps. 33–35

29.         Then Jesus said, “Truly all that which a person loves, for which he leaves all else but that, is his god. And so the fornicator has for his image [of god] the harlot, the glutton and drunkard have for image their own flesh, the covetous person has for his image silver and gold, and so likewise every other sinner.”         [XXXIII:34a, p. 75] 30.         “Master, what is the greatest sin?”         Jesus answered, “What is the greatest ruin of a house?”         Everyone was silent, and Jesus pointed with his finger to the foundation and said, “If the foundation gives way, then the house will quickly fall into ruin, and it will be necessary to completely rebuild it. But if any other … Continue reading

The Gospel of Barnabas—Chps. 22–32

[Click HERE for the color coding scheme. Opens a separate tab.]         20.    Jesus answered, “Truly I say to you that a dog is better than an uncircumcised man.”         [XXII:21b, p. 45] 21. “And therefore if the flesh hinders the service of God it ought to be spurned like clay and trampled on, for he that hates his soul in this world will keep it to life eternal.”         [XXIII:23a, p. 49]         • Mk 9:43 & par.; Jn 12:25.                   COMMENT: Cf. Marcionite dualism. 22. Jesus answered, “Keep your flesh like a horse, and you will live securely. For food is given to a horse food by measure, yet labor without measure; and the bridle is put on a horse that … Continue reading

The Gospel of Barnabas—Chps. 17–21

11. Jesus said: “If the world will hate you, then you will truly be my disciples. For the world has always been an enemy of the servants of God.”        [XVIII:17a, p. 35]         • Cp. Jn 15:19. 12. “Is there any one among you who, perchance, cares more for his shoes than for his own son? Of course not! How much less should you think that God would abandon you even while he cares for the birds. But why speak of the birds? Even a leaf does not fall from the tree except by the will of God.”        [XVIII:17b p. 35]         • Mt 6:26; cp. Lk 12:24. [Click HERE for the color coding scheme. Opens a separate tab.]         13. “The world will greatly … Continue reading

The Gospel of Barnabas—Chps. 1–16

1. “Do you not know that the service of God ought to come before father and mother?”        [IX:9a, p.15]         • Mt 10:37   “He who loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me…”         • Cf. Bdst AN II.iv.2 “Even if one should carry about one’s mother on one shoulder and one’s father on the other… for a hundred years… one would not repay them… But anyone who rouses his ignorant mother and father, settles and establishes them in wisdom, to this extent one repays them and more than repays them for what they have done.” (Bhikkhu Bodhi translation.) [Click HERE for the color coding scheme. Opens a separate tab.]         2.“Even as a man cannot see with his eyes the heaven … Continue reading

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