The Road to Truth:
“_the truth is always there.
It peeps out from behind hundreds of veils, and its gleam shines forth in all its resplendent luster _.”
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Republic of South Africa
Copyright © 2010 by Y.A. Khamissa
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form without prior written consent of the author, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews.
Dedicated with great reverence to my noble daughter, Ayesha
THE ROAD TO TRUTH: THE CASE FOR THE
GOSPEL OF BARNABAS.
“______the truth is always there. It peeps out from behind hundreds of veils, and its gleam shines forth in all its resplendent luster______.”----Alim Siddiqui al Qadiri.
Within the framework of reference of Professor Liervik’s article,
“History as a literary weapon: The Gospel of Barnabas in Muslim-Christian Polemics” is the conspicuous permutation of two contending forces. On the one side we have James the Just juxtaposed with Barnabas and the other Apostles and on the opposing side Paul juxtaposed with the Herodians and the Sanhedrin. There are materials in the New Testament, early church literature, Rabbinic literature and Josephus which point towards a connection between Paul and Herodians.Paul’s pro-Herodian philosophy is enunciated in Romans 13:
“Everyone must obey the state authorities, because no authority exists without God’s permission, and the existing authorities have been put there by God. Whoever opposes the existing authority opposes what God has ordered; _ _ _ _ _; pay them your personal and property taxes and show respect and honour for them all.”
Professor Liervik is aware of the prominence of the permutation when he says, “In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, historians of religion as well as liberal theologians claimed 1
access to historical truth about Jesus that ran contrary to Christological doctrines held by the churches.” He says the starting point is, “In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, _ _
_ _” when in fact it was with Paul himself, as he (Paul) spells it out in Romans: 7:1-4 by use of a nuptial analogy the distinction between Jesus and “Christ”.
In the GoB, normative values are employed as the basis for deconstructing the components of the opposing camp, namely the Prologue says: “_ _ _ _many, being deceived of Satan under pretence of piety, are preaching most impious doctrines, calling Jesus son of God, repudiating the circumcision ordained of God forever, and permitting every unclean meat, among whom also Paul hath been deceived_ _ _.” The doctrinal differences (from Paul’s side) between the two opposing forces may be highlighted from Paul’s letters and Acts. I believe many of Paul’s letters are unpublished. In his letter to the Galatians he says, “But when Peter came to Antioch, I opposed him in public because he was clearly wrong. Before some men who had been sent by James arrived there, Peter had been eating with the Gentile brothers. But after these men arrived, he drew back and would not eat with the Gentiles, because he was afraid of those who were in favour of circumcising them. The other Jewish brothers also started acting like cowards along with Peter, and even Barnabas was swept along by their cowardly action_ _ _ _
_ I said to Peter in front of them all, ‘_ _ _ _ How then can you try to force Gentiles to live like Jews?’ _ _ _” (Galatians 2:11-14). In his letter to the Corinthians with regards to Paul’s charge on the Jerusalem “super apostles”.
“_ _ _ _ For you gladly tolerate any one who comes to you and preaches a different Jesus, not the one we preached; and 2
you accept a spirit and gospel completely different from the spirit and gospel you received from us. I do not think that I am the least bit inferior to those very special so called “apostles of yours!” (2 Corinthians 11: 4-5).
In his denigrating of Jesus’s original Apostles Paul tells the Corinthians: “Those men (James, Peter, John and the other Jerusalem Apostles) are not true Apostles-they are false Apostles,who lie about their work and disguise themselves to look like real Apostles of Chirst.___”(2 Corinthians11:13).
In his letter to the Galatians Paul writes- “_ _ _ _ But those who seemed to be leaders – I say this because it makes no difference to me what they were; God does not judge by outward appearances – those leaders_ _ _ _ James, Peter and John, who seemed to be leaders_ _ _ _” (Galatians 2: 6&9).
Also, Paul says that: - “But I make known to you, brethren, that the Gospel which was preached by me is not according to man.
For I neither received it from man, nor did anyone teach it to me _ _ _ _” (Galatians 1:11). The words, “I neither received it from man----” indicate the Gospel used by the Apostles is different from the Gospel preached by Paul because Paul became a Christian after Christ was risen from the earth and he would therefore would have to accept the Gospel given to him by the Apostles but, as the Apostles of Jesus were men his words, “_ _
_ _ I neither received it from man _ _ _ _” indicate he did not assent to the Gospel used by the Apostles.
The Gospel used by the Apostles was GOB because Paul wrote this letter to the Galatians between 54-58 A.D and GOB was compiled in about 51 A.D. The Gospel of Mark was compiled between 68-70 A.D. and both the authors of Matthew and Luke 3
gospels obtained their information from Mark who most likely obtained his information from his uncle or elder cousin (Col.
4:10) Barnabas during his missionary sojourn with him and also from his(Mark) association with Peter as his interpreter. Of the 661 verses contained in the text of Mark, more than 600 are reproduced or represented in Matthew and about 350 in Luke.
The Johannine Gospel was produced post the synoptical Gospels. There are at least three other possibilities to this long accepted hypothesis:
1.Mark used Matthew and Luke, and John on all three Synoptic Gospels.
2.Canonical evangelists utilized the Aramaic Gospel of Barnabas
3.Existence of small written collections or fragments out of which the Evangelists composed their writing.
In space and time spectrum, I posit the above four hypotheses before the date the Nicene Council was held in 325 c.e.
Paul had been under suspicion by the Jerusalem church because of the reports that he sat rather loosely by the Law in his relations with Jews in the Gentile world (Act xx1:21) teaching them “to forsake Moses, telling them not to circumcise or observe the customs.” To allay this suspicion he consented to observe a week of a ritual purification. This point marks the anti-climax of Paul’s missionary activity where he puts dirt (base hypocrisy) into his food (doctrines). I take the liberty to quote the revealing relevant verses from the Acts of the Apostles:-4
“They have been told that you have been teaching all the Jews who live in Gentile countries to abandon the Law of Moses, telling them not to circumcise their children or follow the Jewish customs. They are sure to hear that you have arrived. What should be done then? This is what we want you to do. There are four men here who have taken a vow. Go along with them and join them in the ceremony of purification and pay their expenses, then they will be able to shave their heads. In this way, everyone will know that there is no truth in any of the things that they have been told about you, but that you yourself live in accordance with the Law of Moses _ _ _ _ _. So Paul took the men and the next day performed the ceremony of purification with them. Then he went into the Temple and gave notice of how many days it would be until the end of the period of purification, when a sacrifice would be offered for each one of them”(Acts 21:21-26).
Three visits of Paul are described in the Acts,while Paul himself in Galatians says only two visits to Jerusalem were made.If the Council visit in Acts is to be identified with the second visit in Galatians (Gal.2,1-10)then it was a sine qua non for Paul to mention in Gal.2,1-5 the actual Council decision(Acts 15:28-29)which would be relevant to the point he was trying to make in Galatians,namely that in Christ the gentile Christians is freed from the Law, including the necessity of circumcision.
Paul was a participant in both the Roman intrigue to exterminate the pro-Torah sects opposing Roman rule and the high priests’ aim to exterminate the Nazarenes. Paul’s 5
fervor for this task was sustained and maintained by his relentless revenge as a rejected suitor for the high priest’s daughter. An Ebionate tradition conserved via Epuhanius tells us that Paul was a non Jew who came up to Jerusalem and converted to Judaism because he wanted to marry the high priest’s daughter. When disappointed in this desire he renounces the Torah and starts a new,anti-Torah,Jew hating Gentiles, semi pagan religion for spite. To think that his unrequited love for Poppea caused this deflection is not unfounded. An interesting example of this is contained in a book by Dr Bernard Hart on The Psychology of Insanity: “One of my patients, a former Sunday-school teacher, had become a convinced atheist.
He insisted that he had reached this standpoint after a long and careful study of the literature on the subject, and as a matter of fact, he really had acquired a remarkably wide knowledge of religious apologetics. He discoursed at length on the evidence of Genesis, marshalling his arguments with considerable skill, and producing a coherent and well reasoned case. Subsequent psychological analysis,however,revealed the real complex responsible for his atheism: the girl to whom he had been engaged had eloped with the most enthusiastic of his fellow Sunday-school teachers. We see that in this patient the causal complex-resentment against his successful rival-had expressed itself by a repudiation of the beliefs which had formerly constituted the bond between them.The arguments, the study, and quotations were merely an elaborate rationalization.”
Though this hypothesis about Paul’s cause for resentment and its ramifications is not capable of proof still no other explanations better explain the combinations of points raised on Paul’s obsession to inflict untold harm on the early Jewish Christians.
For Rome and the high priests appointed by Roman intervention to exterminate the early Jewish Christians was very difficult because their hidden colonies were far and widely interspersed. Not only that. Many for fear of execution kept their faith hidden. The best alternative for Paul was to convert to their faith and adopt the strategy of divide and rule. In this ruse he was very successful because Christians accepted his bona fide and came to believe that the coming of the kingdom of God was near at hand and coupled with Rome’s subtle mechanization led them to revolt against Rome in which -
because they were under informed and under equipped - they were utterly devastated ending in the suicide of Eleazar, kin of Manahem who directly started the war by killing Romans at Masada. However, those who were of the Nazarene party (i.e.
the successor to James the Just – probably, Simeon Cleophas his first cousin- ‘desposyni’(sic) - , the surviving Apostles and their followers) believed the coming of the Promised Messaih is still afar off (GoB, e.g. chapters 96 & 72) did not join the rebel forces against Rome and therefore emigrated eastward across the Jordan into the Arabian territory of Jordan called Decapolis toward a city called Pella and thereby saved from the miseries of the siege.
Looking through the spectacles of the Gospel of Barnabas at dramatis personae of the Dead Sea Scrolls we may deduce that the Teacher of Righteousness was James the Just, the Wicked Priest was Ananus ben Ananus,whom Josephus credits with lynching James on the day of atonement, and the Spouter of Lies was Paul, and the chronological provenance of the DSS to the first century(probably between mid and late 1st century).I go along with Professor Eisenman’s view that in the DSS the 7
Teacher of Righteousness was James the Just, the Wicked Priest was Ananus ben Ananus and the Spouter of Lies was Paul and I also agree with his dating of the DSS to the first century.
The question arises why the name of Jesus is not mentioned in the DSS,and for that matter no mention is made in the DSS
except obliquely of James the Just, Paul & Ananus ben Ananus. It is patent that the DSS were edited at the Council of Nicene in 325c.e. or subsequently and consequently on account of the policies formulated at the Council were subjected to the same fate as the Aramaic Gospels. Please note that there was no reason to edit the terminologies and conceptualities of the first century and therefore these were conserved in the DSS.
In pursuance of these facts a collory may be formulated---the GOB and the DSS have been written at more or less the same time since they use the same vocabulary, refer to the same dramatis personae and express basically the same concerns and orientations.
With regard to Professor Eisenman’s authoritative status accorded to Josephus (whose works in no way could have by passed Roman editorship), I cannot resist the temptation to ask why the learned Professor makes the turncoat Josephus to be put on the chair to judge the NT narratives and directives? There is no reason to agree to his(Eisenman’s) speculation that the NT
authors had overwrote,mutatis mutandis,Josephus’s parallel accounts—for instance the Gospel’s passion narrative to be an overwrite,mutatis mutandis, of a parallel account of Josephus’s Jesus ben Ananias.
From the pinnacle(raised platform) of the Temple James the Just made a confession about his faith in the Messiah as spelt out in the GoB and was thrown down at once and murdered or awarded death penalty in judicial judgment by Ananus ben Ananus the high priest. This happened before the siege. Paul died by (contrived) martyrdom (11 Timothy iv, 6-8) before the revolt and therefore many Christians must have died prior the revolt due to the question of successorship to Paul.
Paul obtained entry into the inner circle of the Apostles solely by the recommendation of Barnabas (Act 9: 26 - 28). Could a leopard change its spots? In order to promote his doctrines Paul denied this (i.e. his thanks to Barnabas for his induction) when he said to the Galatians (probably with regard to his separation with Barnabas), “_ _ _ _ I went to Jerusalem to obtain information from Peter, and I stayed with him for two weeks. I did not see any other Apostle except James, the Lord’s brother”
(Galatians 1: 8 - 19).
The Gentiles believed that the Gods visited the earth in human form. Thus they regarded Barnabas as Jupiter the Supreme God and Paul as Mercurius the message carrier of Jupiter. The Bible says: - “_ _ _ _ _the gods are come to us in likeness of men. And they called Barnabas, Jupiter and Paul Mercurius _ _ _ _ _” (Act 14: 12). In the “Journey through the Bible” by V. Gilbert (Th.D; Ph.D), Page 369 ,dishonestly, reads:
“Jupiter (Zeus), the chief of the Greek gods, for whom Paul was mistaken”
The Apostles selected Barnabas as the most suitable person to spread the truth and teachings of Jesus among the pagans of 9
Antioch (Act 11: 22) and thus Barnabas became the first missionary in Christian history. Due to his efforts “much people were added to the Lord” (Act 11: 24) for he was a good man, and full of the Holy Ghost and faith (Act 11:24). After a year, he decided the time had come to extend his activity beyond Antioch. He was sure that Paul would make a good helper and with this in view he went to Tarsus and brought Paul(Acts 11:25-26)
The cat is let out of the bag during the meeting among Barnabas, Paul and Mark on the one side with the Roman Consul Paulus and his sorcerer associate Bar Jesus on the other side.
Subsequently, from this point the name change from Saul (Paul’s former name) to the Roman name Paul(see namesake of the Roman Consul Paulus,above) takes place, separation between Barnabas and Paul takes place and Paul substitutes Barnabas as the leader of the team and Silas replaces Barnabas.
The separation(underestimated in Christian researches) was not due simply whether to take Mark with them. Otherwise, they would have continued bearing in mind the greater end in view they had, viz to spread the message.
I suggest the Asian Jews who stirred the whole crowd against Paul were an integral part of a Roman plot. Roman soldiers arrived in time to save him (Paul) from certain death by the mob. The Roman tribune ordered him to be bound with two chains. But, before taking him (Paul) away under military escort to Caesarea for judgment allowed him to speak to defend himself to the angry mob who few minutes ago would have killed him. At Caesarea he was first tried by the procurator Felix, then two years later by Felix’s successor or Festus, who 10
wishing to show fairness to the Jews, suggested that he might be tried in Jerusalem. Paul, knowing that certain death faced him if he accepted this proposal appealed instead to Caesar.
Accompanied by Luke and Aristarchus (Act xxvii, 2) he set sail for Rome. In 11 Timothy 4:16 – 17, “my first defense” and his
“rescued from being sentenced to death” suggest his trial and subsequent release.
My hypothesis is that the underpinnings of the doctrines of James the Just and the Apostles is the Gospel of Barnabas. But investigations do not attest the Christian claim that the underpinnings of the doctrines of Paul are the canonical Gospels and the Acts of the Apostles. Consequently this calls for a critical evaluation of the extant Gospel of Barnabas(attested by the Italian and Spanish manuscripts)using the comparative method, i.e. extant GoB vs. Canonical Gospels in gestalt perspective. In turn, this makes our starting point the comparing of the status of the GoB and the Canonical Gospels.
The extant GoB is a fourfold claimant. They are as follows:-1)
Barnabas himself is the author of the GoB. It is written in the first person. I quote in this connection an excerpt from the prologue of the GoB:- “_ _ _ _ for which cause I am writing that truth which I have seen and heard in the intercourse that I had with Jesus, _ _ _ _”
Barnabas was instructed by Jesus to write the Gospel.
I quote an excerpt from Chapter 221 of the GOB.
“And Jesus turned himself to him who writeth, and said:
‘See Barnabas, that by all means thou write my Gospel concerning all that hath happened through my dwelling in the world’”
He was an Apostle of Jesus during his (Jesus’) ministry. The proof text of the list of Apostles in the GOB(Chapter 14) is: “ Andrew and Peter his brother,fisherman;Barnabas who wrote this with Mathew the publican, who sat at the receipt of custom; John and James, sons of Zebedee;Thaddaeus and Judas; Bartholomew and Philip;James,and Judas Iscariot the traitor.” In comparing the list of Apostles in GOB with that of the synoptical Gospels and the Acts, I come to the conclusion that we have Simon the Zealot or Simon of Canaan in lieu of Barnabas. Judas (not Judas Iscariot) is Thomas. The other James(not James bar Zebedee) is James Alphaeus of the synoptic gospels who is James the Just. In the circle of the Apostles, Professor Eisenman replaces both James son of Alphaeus and James son of Zebedee with James the Just to suit his hypothesis of the putative “name game conspiracy” which he insists is played in the NT.(Sometimes I have a haunting suspicion
“game” has a psychological projection notation!).
4) He separates the Pharisees into true and false. In distinguishing between “true Pharisees” and “ false Pharisees” (GoB, chapters 144 et seq & 151) I would add that in terms of GoB “ false Pharisees” in the New Testament are those so identifiable because of an accommodating attitude towards Herodian rule and some of 12
its important ramifications such as Herodian appointments of high priests. In Act 23: 6, Paul says, “I am a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee. For Paul to approve of the murder of Stephen because he was Jesus’s witness and “taking care of the cloaks of his (Stephen’s) murderers (Acts 22: 19 - 20) and “to do everything he could against the cause of Jesus of Nazareth” (Acts 26: 9) and to go to Damascus “with authority and orders from the high priests” to persecute the followers of Jesus (Acts 26:12) identifies him in terms of GoB as a “false Pharisee.” He had committed all these atrocious deeds while in his capacity as a Pharisee. The question arises here, why should Jesus introduce radical changes in the religion he preached through the medium of a man who had a deep seated hatred for him (Jesus) and his followers and not use the agency of any of his beloved Apostles for that purpose ?! This question becomes more pertinent when we evaluate the doctrinaire differences on pages14et seq. below.
In the rating of the status of the canonical Gospels and Acts (author of Acts is Luke, Paul’s physician), neither Mark nor Luke are in the lists of Jesus’s Apostles as spelt out in the synoptical Gospels and Acts (Gospel of John does not contain the list of Apostles). With regard to the remaining two Gospel authors, Matthew and John. I would like to point out that: -
Matthew did not author the Gospel of Matthew. Proof: Matthew 9:9 reads:-
“And as Jesus passed forth from thence, he saw a man, named Matthew, sitting at the receipt of custom: and he saith unto him, Follow me. And he rose and followed him.” (Emphasis mine). The words “he” and “him”
(underlined) indicate that a third person wrote Matthew. If Matthew wrote the Gospel the words would be “I” and
“me” respectively thus: - “_ _ _ _ and he said unto me, Follow me. And I rose _ _ _ _” J.B. Phillips says: - “Early tradition ascribed this Gospel to the Apostle Matthew but scholars nowadays almost all reject this view.”
The Gospel of John is also not by John. John 19:35 reads: -
“And he that saw it bare record, _ _ _ _” John was not there during the Passion Play. Mark 14:50 says, “All his disciples forsook him and fled”
Next, let us consider the doctrinal differences. In its Prologue, the GoB says that Paul has waived the obligation of circumcision. Paul says:- “Now I, Paul say to you that if you receive circumcision, Christ will be of no advantage to you.” (Galatians 5:12). But the truth is that Christ himself was circumcised. The Bible says: -
“And at the end of eight days, when he was circumcised, he was called Jesus, _ _ _ _” (Luke 2:21). According to Genesis 17 :9 – 13, “circumcision in the flesh of your foreskin” is a perpetual pact with God and in the next verse (14), the uncircumcised to be “cut off”. In chapter 23 of the GoB the rationale of circumcision is provided. It is symbolical of eschewing being a servant of the flesh (evil desires which are rebellious against God’s laws) In Matthew 15: 25 -26 reads:-
“At this the woman came and fell at his feet. ‘Help me, Sir!’ she said. Jesus answered: ‘ It is not good to take the 14
bread from the children’s hands and give it to the dogs.’”
How can rational Jesus call a people dogs? The Bible stops short here, because to give the context in which the word dogs was used evinces the necessity for circumcision. In this regard, the GOB gives the context in which the word dogs was used. The corresponding excerpt from GOB, chapter 21, reads; “ ----O son of David have mercy on me’’ Jesus answered: It is not good to take the bread from the children’s hands and give it to the dogs’.
And this said Jesus by reason of their uncleanness, because they were of the uncircumcised people.”
Verse 13of the Gospel of Thomas reports Jesus as saying:
“No matter where you are, you are to go to James the Just for whose sake heaven and earth came into being.”—clearly, James the Just is substituted for Prophet Mohammed(Gospel of Barnabas—chapter 97).
James the Just is of the “pro-circumcision” group. Despite the favorable mention of James the Just (quoted above), the Gospel of Thomas dismisses circumcision:
“His disciples said to him, ‘Is circumcision useful or not?’ He said to them, ‘If it were useful, their father would produce children already circumcised from their mother.”----of course these irrational words is not possible for Jesus to utter especially in view of Genesis17:9—13, quoted above (page 14).
Another charge in the GoB against Paul is his demand for separation from the Laws of Moses. Paul, referring to Deuteronomy 21:23 where it is written that any man crucified on the cross is a cursed person (in ancient 15
language a wooden cross is a symbol of a tree),deemed the Laws of Moses to be a curse.
Thus Paul preached:-
“Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Laws by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: ‘Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree’”(Galatians 3: 15) But, the instruction Christ gave about the Law is clearly stated in Matthew 5:17 – 19:-
“Do not think that I have come to do away with the Law of Moses and the teaching of the Prophets, _ _ _ _
Remember that as long as heaven and earth last, not the least point nor the smallest detail of the Law will be done away with – not until the end of all things. So then, whoever disobeys even the least important of the commandments and teaches others to do the same, will be least in the kingdom of heaven, on the other- hand, whoever obeys the Law and teaches others to do the same will be great in the kingdom of heaven”
In Matthew 19: 16 – 17, Jesus also teaches, “to keep the commandments” to obtain salvation. The Christians say that they will obtain salvation without keeping the commandments because Jesus died for their sins. Was there a contract between Father and son for this redemptive sacrifice? From the “call to arms” in the upper-room, and the masterful deployment of forces at Gethsemane, and the blood-sweating prayer to God of Mercy for help, it appears that Jesus knew nothing about the contract for his redeeming blood to be shed to annul the sins of Christians for not keeping the commandments.
The third charge against Paul in the Prologue (and there are three charges mentioned in the Prologue) is that Paul preaches that Jesus is the Son of God. It is important to note that there are no capital letters in Hebrew or Greek language. The translators have been manipulating the usuage of the capital letters, for example as in Son, God and Man, to suit their ulterior ends in view. Of course, this calls for a lengthy discussion but the present is not the proper occasion. It was in the ethos of the era of Jesus to use biological words literally due to the pervasive influence of the Roman and Greek cultures. Consequently, in the GoB (chapter 70) when Jesus rebuked Peter for calling him Son of God, Peter did not excuse himself that he meant figuratively, not literally (mark this!).
In Matthew 16:13, when Peter responds to Jesus’s question saying he is the Son of God, Jesus becomes jubiliant that he says to Peter, “And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven,----.” On the contrary, the same scenario in the GoB (chapter 70) when Peter in responding to Jesus’s question about his (Jesus) identification says that he is the Son of God ,Jesus rebukes him with the greatest indignation. This is a very pertinent question not only in the GoB and the Bible but also to the Christian faith. Amazingly, the answer is in the Bible itself when Peter himself says:- “ Ye men of Israel hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God_
_ _ _” (Acts 2:22).
The Revised Standard Version (RSV) is the product of “
thirty two scholars of the highest eminence assisted by an advisory committee representing fifty co-operating 17
denominations”. It is interesting to note that in this revised version (RSV), the word, “begotten” which appeared in the Authorised Version (AV) has been removed from John 3:16, so it now reads:-
“_ _ _ _. That he gave his only son, _ _ _” in lieu of,
“_ _ _that he gave his only begotten son, _ _ _”.
John 11: 41 – 42 clearly indicates that Jesus is not “God”
nor “Son of God” (i.e. God incarnated himself into man to be the Son of God.) but a messenger of God (i.e. a Prophet). This quotation (i.e. John 11: 41-42 just now referred to above) relates to the episode of Jesus’s miracle of reviving Lazarus from dead, reads:-
“Jesus looked up towards heaven and said ‘Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me. And I know that thou hearest me always: but because of the people which stand by I said that they may believe that thou hast sent me’_ _
Professor Margaret Murray in her book entitled “The splendor that was Egypt’’, says:
“It (the pagan cult) is perhaps the most perfect example of that belief which_ _ _, viz that God is incarnate in man (son of God), which belief is usually accompanied by the rite of killing the Divine man_ _ _”.
This leaves us with an absurd theology, viz, that if the Son of God (who is God incarnate) died on the cross then God died. God the Holy Ghost makes an odd third.
The usage of figurative language was already in vogue by the medieval centuries – the period during which the opponents say the forgery of the GoB had taken place. If it was the forgery born in the medieval century then there 18
would be reason for the employment of the concept
“Father”, especially in view of the diatesseronic precedent, viz, it would be in consonance with the canonical Gospels – e.g. “Lord’s prayer” in GoB begins “
Lord God” in lieu of “O Father” as in the canonical Gospels. Living in the first century, Barnabas as author of the GoB during an era in which the ethos was permeated by Roman and Greek cultures where gods slept with humans and begot children was well motivated not to use the term “Father” because he (Barnabas) maintained that Jesus preached pure monotheism and was fully aware of the biological meaning the word “Father” would take in his (Barnabas) mythological cultural milieu. This is a clear tell sign that the GoB was a product of the first century when “son” had primarily a biological conatation and not in the medievial times (as the opponents wrongly say) when literal and figurative meanings were simultaneously admitted into the prevailing culture.
There were two sets of groups vying to subdue Jesus, namely the Roman soldiers and the high priests with their subordinate priests and scribes. The former representing rank idolatory and the latter representing people who use religion to obtain hegemony over others to secure their ulterior ends.
According to Roman belief Augustus Caesar(the first emperor of the Roman Empire and contemporary of Jesus) was a descendent of the Supreme God, Jupiter, through Aeneas. Anchises (a human being) slept with the goddess 19
Venus, the daughter of Jupiter, and begot Aeneas. To every Roman is inculculated the belief:-
“Thou, O Roman, remember to rule the nations beneath thy sway. These shall be thine arts, to impose the laws of peace, to spare the conquered and to chasten the proud in war.” (Aeneid, vi:853-854 ).
In the GoB, Jesus prevails over his enemies but on the contrary in the canonical version he is subdued by them.
In this connection in the GoB, amongst others, two scenarios which are absent in the Biblical version may be presented, viz, one is Jesus’s triumphant encounter with the Roman soldiers (chapter 152); the other is Jesus’s triumphant encounter with the priests(chapter 208).
To my mind, the mentioning in the GoB of these encounters and the strategy of defense used, and further noticing their absence in the Biblical version, constitutes one of the greatest proof for the authencity of the GoB. I believe that (intuitionally and logically)it is an historical reality and ought to be an historical reality. If the Romans overcame Jesus then it would mean to the Romans that their gods, which are mere statues, which cannot even help themselves or create a fly, are superior. It occurs that to the Romans the gods ,goddesses and greater gods are not merely punitive or angry but malevolent on a grand scale(Aeneid).
To the priests for Jesus to be crucified would mean that he (Jesus) is the cursed one in terms of Deuteronomy 21: 22- 23 – the wooden cross being a symbol in ancient 20
language a tree. See my emphasis on pages15 and 16.
Professor Blackhirst in this connection has said :-
“_ _ _ scenes in which Barnabas places a militant and an uncompromising ‘zealous’ Jesus in an atmosphere of violence and dissension which is, in fact, closer to the historical realities of the period than the benign and often pastoral atmosphere depicted in the canonical accounts_____”
I quote excerpts from the two chapters describing the two scenarios referred to above with regard to Jesus’s triumph.
Chapter 152 – GoB :- encounter with the Roman soldiers :-
“_ _ _ _ Jesus said: ‘assuredly, seeing they (i.e. gods of the Roman soldiers) make not a single fly afresh, I will not for them for sake that God who hath created everything with a single word: whose name alone affrighteth armies’.
The soldiers answered: ‘ Now let us see this for we a fain to take thee,’ and they were fain to stretch forth their hands against Jesus
Then said Jesus: ‘Adonia Sabaoth’! Whereupon straight away the soldiers were rolled out of the Temple as one rolleth casks of wood when they washed to refill them with wine; in so much that now their head and now their feet struck the ground, and that without anyone touching them.
And they were so affrighted and fled in such wise that they were never more seen in Judea.”
In chapter 208 – GoB, encounter with the priests: 21
“Then was the high priest wroth, hearing this, and cried out: ‘Let us stone this impious fellow (referring to Jesus –
God forbid), for he (Jesus) is an Ishmaelite and hath spoken blashphemy against Moses (an Isralelite) and against the law of God (i.e. referring to their unscrupulous observance of formalities rather than the spiritual).
Whereupon every scribe and Pharisee, with the elders of the people, took up stones to stone Jesus who vanished from their eyes and went out of the Temple.
And then, through the great desire that they had to slay Jesus, blinded with fury and hatred they struck one another-----”
Now we come to the (main) pivotal issue around which revolve the other (subsidiary) issues, viz, Muhammed is the promised seed and the Promised Messiah. Towards an understanding of the issue in the correct perspective the following preamble is essential. Abraham’s wife Hajar bore him a child. In Genesis 16:15,
“_ _ _ called his (Abraham) son’s name, which Hajar bare, Ishmael.” About 14 years later Isaac was born. Isaac was born when Abraham was 100 years old (Genesis 20:50) while Ishmael was born to Abraham was 86 years old ( Genesis 16:16). Ishmael was therefore about 14
years older than Isaac. During this period of about 14
years Ishmael was the only son of Abraham; at no time was Isaac the only son of Abraham. To substitute “Isaac”
for Ishmael in order to extol the Jewish nation in Genesis 22:2, “Take your son,” God said, “ your only son, Isaac_____” is foul play because Ishmael according to 22
the Bible was the only son for about 14 years and Isaac was never the only son.
An excerpt from chapter 44 of GoB reads:-
“_ _ _ _How is Isaac first born if when Isaac was born Ishmael was seven years old? Then said the disciples:
‘Clear is the deception of our doctors. Therefore tell us thou the truth, because we know that thou art sent from God’. Then answered Jesus: ‘Verily I say unto you, _ _
_’” An excerpt from chapter 96 GoB reads: “_ _ _ God promised to our father Abraham, saying: ‘In thy seed will I bless all the tribes of the earth’ _ _ _”
In this connection the Bible says:- “Because you did this (i.e. offering Ishmael for sacrifice – first born) and did not keep back you only son from me” (Genesis 22:16) “In thy seed will I bless all the tribes of the earth” (Genesis 22:18) Another point to note is the descendants of Ishmael are Arabs and the descendents of Isaac are the Jews. The Holy Prophet Muhammed (God’s choicest blessing be upon him) is the direct descendent of Ishmael and therefore an Arab. The Arabs are the brothers (brethren) of the Jews as Ishmael is the brother of Isaac, both having Abraham as their biological father. The prophecy in Deuteronomy 18:18 says that the Prophet (The Promised Messiah) will be “from among their” (Jews) brethren (Ishmaelites) and not “from among themselves.” Clearly it is therefore the Holy Prophet Muhammed that is specifically referred to as the Promised Messiah. The prophecy in Deuteronomy 18:18 reads:-
“I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren like unto thee (i.e. Moses), and I will put my 23
words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I command him.”
It is common knowledge from Muslim history that 27
Ramadan in the cave of Hira that Prophet Muhammed received his first revealation when the Archangel Gabriel commanded him to read and he (Prophet Muhammed) responded : I am not learned and the angel commands a second time: “Read” and he says, I am not learned.” This scenario fulfils to the hilt the prophecy of the Promised Messiah in Isaiah, which reads:-
“And the Book is delivered to him that is not learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee: and he saith, I am not learned.” (Isaiah 29:12).
Also please allow me to mention here a prophecy about Prophet Muhammed enacted in history citied in the GoB, chapter 72. In his note 37, to the article, “Barnabas and the Gospels: Was there an early Gospel of Barnabas”, Professor Blackhirst has said that, “the author knew the Fourth Gospel well and the hadith of Muhammed not at all.” Therefore, is it too much to say that an historical incident predicted in the Gospel of Barnabas is a positive contribution toward the authencity of the Gospel. More so, when the learned Professor admits that redaction of Muslim inspiration is not possible citing for his contention the usage of the word “Messiah” for Muhammed and that no mention is made of John the Baptist. With regard to this a verse in chapter 72, page 78, reads: “_ _ _ and so he will send his messenger, over whose head will rest a white cloud whereby he shall be known of one elect of God, _ _
_ ”. It was the Monk Bahira who espied from afar from his cell in Bassra a cloud over the Prophet’s head when the Prophet aged 9 was on his way to Syria accompanying his uncle Abu Talib. Bahira was doubly certain when he saw the seal of prophecy between his shoulders – between the shoulders of the Prophet was a raised piece of flesh with the Arabic words naturally imprinted on it saying that there is only one God, Allah, and Muhammed is his messenger.
Coming back to our discussion on the “Promised Messiah.” In Luke, 20: 41-44, under the heading, “The question about the Messiah” (also appearing under the heading, “the question about the Messiah” in Matthew 22: 41-46; Mark 12: 35 – 37 ) there occur the following verses:-
“The Question about the Messiah
41 Jesus asked them, ‘How can it be said that the Messiah will be the descendent of David?
42 For David himself says in the Book of Psalms,
‘The Lord said to My Lord: sit here on my right 43
until I put your enemies as a footstool under your feet.’
4.4 David called him ‘Lord’ – how then, can the Messiah be David’s descendant?’”
All the synoptical gospel authors (passage does not occur in John’s Gospel) stop at this point abruptly!! What has frightened these gospel writers that they discontinue without finishing what is to be said and start to run similar to cowards in the battlefield? Let me now give you the corresponding portion in the GoB, which not only makes 25
the authencity of the Gospel of Barnabas all the more clear but also demonstrates that Prophet Muhammed (God’s choicest blessing be upon him) is the Promised Messiah.
Chapter 43 of the GoB reads:-
“_ _ _ James answered: ‘O Master, tell us in whom this promise was made; for the Jews say. ‘In Isaac’, and the Ishmaelites say, ‘in Ishmael’
Jesus answered: ‘David whose son was he, and of what lineage?’
James answered: ‘Of Isaac; for Isaac was the father of Jacob and Jacob was the father of Judah, of whose lineage is David.’
Then said Jesus: ‘And the messenger of God when he shall come, of what lineage will he be?’
The disciples answered: ‘Of David’
Whereupon Jesus said: ‘Ye deceive yourselves, for David in spirit calleth him lord; saying thus: ‘God said to my lord, sit thou on my right hand until I make thine enemies thy footstool. God shall send forth thy rod which shall have lordship in the midst of thine enemies?’ If the messenger of God whom ye call Messiah were son of David, how should David call him lord? Believe me, for verily I say to you, that the promise was made in Ishmael, not in Isaac.’” Prophet Mohammed was the descendent of Ishmael, and the Jewish prophets including Jesus were the descendents of Isaac – God’s choicest blessings be upon all these Prophets.
Is it not a miracle that the advent of the HolyProphetMuhammed (peace be upon him) is mentioned by name in ancient scriptures (even in the Hindu Scriptures)? It is significant to note that there was no namesake of Muhammed before his advent and no claimant to Prophet hood with the name Muhammed (calling himself
“ Prophet Mohammed”) before and after his advent.
In the “Song of Solomon” (5: 16) Muhammed is mentioned by name. The “Song of Solomon” (5:16) in the original Hebrew Bible reads:-
“Hikor mumey thakeem ‘Weykhoolo Muhammedim’
zeydodi weyzey rayee beynoth Yerushalayeem”
In the word, “Muhammedim”, in Hebrew language “im”
is the plural of respect. In the present Bible, “Yea he is called Muhammed” is translated as “Yea he is altogether lovely”
Consider the following excerpt from Gospel of John:-
“_ _ _ It is expedient for you that I go: for if I go not away the Comforter will not come _ _ _”.(John 16:7) Thus we see the coming of the Comforter was conditional on Jesus going away. But, that of the Holy Ghost was not because there are numerous instances in the Holy Bible about the coming and going away of the Holy Ghost before the going away of Jesus.
In John 14:26, the Greek word “pneuma” has been translated as “Holy Ghost” which correctly should read
“Holy Spirit.” However this has been corrected in the Revised Standard Version, which now reads:-27
“But the Comforter, which is the Holy Spirit _ _ _”
(Jn 14:26). But the same author of Gospel of John in which the concept “Comforter” occurs uses the word
“Spirit” synonymously with “Prophet” (1 John 4 : 1);therefore “Comforter” which is referred to as the Holy Spirit means “Holy Prophet” i.e. Holy Prophet Muhammed. At the Pentecost, there was only babbling as if “they were drunk” and not fulfillment of the prophecy that the “Comforter” would announce “many truths”. An absurd connection!
Furthermore, the word “Comforter” is the English translation of the Greek word “Periclytos” which in Arabic translates as Ahmad or Mohammed.
A central question related to the “Paraclete” must be raised here, namely, why did the Jews desire to kill Jesus and by what method and why this method? They wanted to kill Jesus because he said that the Messiah (in the Gospel of Barnabas, Paraclete = Messiah) will not be in the lineage of Isaac from whose lineage are the Jews. In this connection they changed their scriptures substituting, Isaac for Ishmael – “_ _ _ take thy only son, Isaac”
(Genesis 22:2), see pp22et seq. According to the Atharva Veda, Atharva (Ishmael) was offered for sacrifice.
Professor R H Eisenman is right when he concedes(first half portion of his hypothesis) that in the relationship of the DSS to Early Christianity “there were not two Messianisms at the end of the First Century/beginning of the Second Century in Palestine—only one.” Chapter 206
(GoB), reads:- “_ _ _ Jesus answered: what is that thing which thou seekest to know about the Messiah? Perchance it is a lie? Assuredly, I will not tell thee the lie. For if I had said the lie I had been adored by thee, and by thy scribes and Pharisees with all Israel: but because I tell you the truth ye hate me and seek to kill me.’ _ _ _” .The same reason is implied in the Canonical gospels.After Jesus was arrested, but before he was brought before Pilate, he was brought before the Sanhedrim tribunal of the Jews. In this regard, Luke 22:66 – 71 says:-
“When the day came, the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the Laws met together, and Jesus was brought before the Council. ‘Tell us’ they said, ‘are you the Messiah?’ (In the canonical Gospels, Messiah =
Paraclete). He answered, ‘If I tell you, you will not answer _ _ _” this is continued in chapter 23:1 – 2 which reads:-
“The whole group rose up and took Jesus before Pilate, where they began to (falsely) accuse him: ‘We caught this man misleading our people, telling them not to pay taxes to the Emperor and claiming that he himself is the Messiah, asking_ _ _’” It is important to note that in the Canonical Gospels and the DSS that the Promised Messiah is to fulfill both the functions of a spiritual leader and a temporal leader. And Prophet Mohammed (peace be upon him) fulfilled both these functions par excellence.
(Britannica – most successful of religious personalities). It is of no concern to the Romans from whose lineage the Messiah will be.
In all the synoptical Gospels Jesus clearly says that he is not the Promised Messiah because the Promised Messiah 29
will not be from the lineage of Isaac from whose lineage is David, - see pages 25et seq. “ The question about the Messiah.” In consonance with Deuteronomy 21: 22 – 23
the Jews wished to kill Jesus by means of crucifixion – see pages 20 and 21 and then pages 15 and 16.
Paraclete (Ahmad) reminds me of another point that I would like to bring out. In the Quran it says that Jesus prophecised the coming of Ahmad (61: 6). If the author of the extant GoB lived after the coming of the Prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him) and therefore the GoB a fabrication, the author would have placed the name
“Ahmad” at appropriate places in lieu of “Muhammed” or
“Messenger of God”.
Chapter 124 of the Gospel of Barnabas reads:-
“_ _ _verily I say unto you that if the truth had been erased from the book of Moses, God would not have given David our father the second. And if the Book of David had not been contaminated, God would not have committed the Gospel to me, seeing that the Lord our God is unchangeable, and hath spoken but one message to all men.
Wherefore, when the Messenger of God shall come, he shall come to cleanse away all wherewith the ungodly have contaminated my book,_ _ _”
Clearly, the above extract (and continued to the end of the chapter) indicates that the author of the Gospel is unware of the fact that the Quran is committed to memory from the time of its inception to the present time by millions of Muslims so that even a coma cannot be put out of its place.
When we attend to the problem of the number of the copies 30
of the completed Qurans that existed during the Holy Prophet’s time and look into the statements contained in Bukhari’s Sahih,Muslim’s Sahih, Istiab,Usud al Ghabah,Tahdhib al Tahdib, Ibn Saad’s Tabaqat,etcetera we become sure of the existence of at least fifteen completed copies. After the demise of the Holy Prophet the number of copies multiplied by leaps and bounds so much so that before the commencement of the caliphate of Uthman thousands upon thousands of copies had come into existence, see Ibn Hazm’s Kitab al Fasi.Since then up to this day, the number of copies that have gone into circulation is beyond all possibility of counting. But the text of the Quran has not suffered even the slightest deviation and variation. Truly had it been proclaimed by God at the time of its revelation that He would be assuredly its guardian(15:9). Annually, the Quran is recited in mosques at mass gatherings all over the world by the huffaz (i.e. those who know the Quran by rote) to ensure that the memorization of the Quran is everfresh. In my own small town I would say for every 100 Muslims there is one Muslim who knows the whole Quran by heart (rote). It is therefore always said that if all the books of the world were burnt, the Quran would be reproduced exactly word for word, coma for coma, full stop for full stop as the original was. If the Gospel was a fabrication the author would have been obliged to point out naturally with advantage to his cause that the book given to the Messenger of God would never be liable to change because it would be committed to memory for all times and in that way preserved by God and no further Book will be given.
In chapter 118 of the GoB there occurs an excerpt where Jesus draws an analogy about smoking to his disciples. It reads:-
“_ _ _Tell me, then, if one had two pence to buy bread, would he spend it to buy smoke? Assuredly not, seeing that smoke doth hurt to the eyes and giveth no sustenance to the body_ _ _”
Clearly these words are spoken in an era where smoking as an exchange value was an anachronism. Many, many centuries after Jesus’ sojourn did we have the discovery of smoking cigarette, cigar, hookah etcetera and thereby command a value in exchange i.e. fetching a price due to its demand. Ponder, and you will see this as a clue for the authencity of the Gob. Consider notices on cigarette boxes such as, smoking causes cancer; smoking damages your lungs.
Jesus’ sojourn on earth was 33 years and the GOB tells that he(Jesus) underscored that God created the world for Muhammad. It is not an insignificant coincidence that the great Qasida Burda in verse 33 reads “-------,but for whom(Muhammad) ,the world would not be in existence”
With regard to the anachronism of Jubilee as being held once every century, it may be considered that the error was made by the transcriber who read “hundred” and wrote it by mistake. There are catchwords at the bottom of each page of the Italian version, a practice common in manuscript intended to be set up for printing. When we 32
take into consideration the immense knowledge of the compiler of the GoB has of ancient scriptures, it seems difficult to believe that such a scholar would make an error as to set the period of Jubilee as once in a century rather than every fifty years as described in Levitus 25:18 and 27 : 16 – 25.The Christian scholar Dr Sadaat (who is not a friend of the Muslims) says that such error is not possible even from a layman. This may also indicate that 100 years is historically correct as demonstrated from Israelite history by M.A. Youssef in his introduction to the Gospel of Barnabas. Personally, I am convinced that this prophecy refers empirically to the “Lai-la-tul-Qadar” night. GoB, chapter 83, reads:-
“_ _ _This night shall be in the time of the Messiah, messenger of God, the Jubilee every year that now cometh every hundred years. Therefore I will not that we sleep, but let us make prayer_ _ _’”. Chapter 97 of the Quran, verse 31 says: “_ _ _ This night of power (i.e. Lai-la-tul-Qadar) is better than a thousand months”.
1000 months when rounded off gives 100 years. Therefore, I feel convinced with further reading on “Lai-la-tul-Qadar”
that the reference of the Jubilee year is the “night of power”
(“Lai-la-tul-Qadar”) referred to Surah 97 of the Quran. It was introduced in the Prophet’s era as a sign of God’s Mercy to his (Prophet’s) community.
In chapter 20 we read: “Jesus went to the Sea of Galilee, and having embarked in a ship sailed to his city of Nazareth, _ _ _”. Apparently this is a geographical incongruity, but the Nazareth spoken here is not the city which today bears that name but of a community of 33
Nazarenes living near the lake Galilee. Nazareth is not mentioned in the Old Testament. Professor Blackhirst says the traditional location of Nazareth is itself questionable. In this same chapter, “city of Nazareth” is equated at two places very broadly to “ a country” (chapter 20).I feel the city of Nazareth in Jesus’ time was the city of Genessareth on the north western shores of the Sea of Galilee. The present day town of Nazareth is in lower Galilee in Israel on the border of the plain Esdraelon, 1600 ft above sea level. According to the 4th century theologian Epihanius, the Nazarenes was an Ebionite sect which consisted of Jewish Christians who left Jerusalem for Pella, on the other side of Jordan, just before the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D.70 . Bagatti,the principal archaeologist at the site in Nazareth ,provided evidence that there was no city of Nazareth during the time of Jesus.
According to GoB, Jesus was born during the rule of Pontius Pilate. This apparent anachronism may be explained by the fact Pontius Pilate ruling Judea from about 7 BC for the legate of Syria who was controlling Judea, and on 26 A.D. Pontius Pilate was officially appointed as ruler of Judea.
The metaphor, “as one rolleth casks of wood when they washed to refill them with wine” is so very apt and effective that if it was an anachronism then it is an interpolation(in good faith) by the translator. The onus is on the opponents to prove it to be an anachronism. From a reading of Vergil’s Aeneid one would not consider wine being stored in wooden casks in the 1st century as an 34
anachronism. Wine is put into casks when judged ready; and wine improves with age---in early times sophisticated wooden ships were built ,therefore I see no reason to doubt the existence of wooden casks in the 1st century.
Furthermore, there is no archaeological evidence that wooden casks were not in usuage in the 1st century.The