How the Gospel of Barnabas Survived
The Gospel of Barnabas was
accepted as a Canonical
Gospel in the Churches of
Alexandria till 325 C.E. In
325 C.E., the Nicene Council
was held, where it was
ordered that all original
Gospels in Hebrew script
should be destroyed. An
Edict was issued that any
one in possession of these
Gospels will be put to
death. The article,
How the Gospel Survived,
gives a brief narrative
on the text's survival.
An Islamic perspective
and commentary are added to
each chapter of the Gospel.
The commentary highlights
any differences or
commanlities which exist
between the Gospel and the
primary Islamic texts,
especially the Holy Quran.
It should be noted that
while presenting the Gospel,
chapter headings have been
added by us and are not part
of the Gospel's text.
The Gospel of
Barnabas was accepted as a Canonical
Gospel in the Churches of Alexandria
till 325 C.E. Iranaeus (130-200)
wrote in support of pure monotheism
and opposed Paul for injecting into
Christianity doctrines of the pagan
Roman religion and Platonic
philosophy. He had quoted
extensively from the Gospel of
Barnabas in support of his views.
This shows that the Gospel of
Barnabas was in circulation in the
first and second centuries of
325 C.E., the Nicene Council was
held, where it was ordered that all
original Gospels in Hebrew script
should be destroyed. An Edict was
issued that any one in possession of
these Gospels will be put to death.
In 383 C.E., the Pope secured a copy
of the Gospel of Barnabas and kept
it in his private library.
the fourth year of Emperor Zeno (478
C.E. ), the remains of Barnabas were
discovered and there was found on
his breast a copy of the Gospel of
Barnabas written by his own hand.
(Acia Sanctorum Boland Junii Tom II,
Pages 422 and 450. Antwerp 1698) .
The famous Vulgate Bible appears to
be based on this Gospel.
Pope Sixtus (1585-90) had a friend,
Fra Marino. He found the Gospel of
Barnabas in the private library of
the Pope. Fra Marino was interested
because he had read the writings of
Iranaeus where Barnabas had been
profusely quoted. The Italian
manuscript passed through different
hands till it reached "a person of
great name and authority" in
Amsterdam, "who during his life time
was often heard to put a high value
to this piece". After his death it
came in the possession of J. E.
Cramer, a Councillor of the King of
Prussia. In 1713 Cramer presented
this manuscript to the famous
connoisseur of books, Prince Eugene
of Savoy. In 1738 along with the
library of the Prince it found its
way into Hofbibliothek in Vienna.
There it now rests.
Toland, in his "Miscellaneous Works"
(published posthumously in 1747), in
Vol. I, page 380, mentions that the
Gospel of Barnabas was still extant.
In Chapter XV he refers to the
Glasian Decree of 496 C.E. where "Evangelium
Barnabe" is included in the list of
forbidden books. Prior to that it
had been forbidden by Pope Innocent
in 465 C.E. and by the Decree of the
Western Churches in 382 C.E.
Barnabas is also mentioned in the
Stichometry of Nicephorus Serial No.
3, Epistle of Barnabas . . . Lines
Then again in the list of Sixty
Serial No. 17. Travels and teaching
of the Apostles.
Serial No. 18. Epistle of Barnabas.
Serial No. 24. Gospel According to
A Greek version of the Gospel of
Barnabas is also found in a solitary
fragment. The rest is burnt.
Latin text was translated into
English by Mr. and Mrs. Ragg and was
printed at the Clarendon Press in
Oxford. It was published by the
Oxford University Press in 1907.
This English translation
mysteriously disappeared from the
market. Two copies of this
translation are known to exist, one
in the British Museum and the other
in the Library of the Congress,
Washington, DC. The first edition
was from a micro-film copy of the
book in the Library of the Congress,