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Breaking the Codes of the Gospel of Barnabas - By Masud Masihiyyen

Breaking the Codes of the Gospel of Barnabas - By Masud Masihiyyen

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Published by Gilbert Hanz
The list of the apostles given in the Gospel of Barnabas is a remarkable example for the accounts that were misunderstood by Rodney Blackhirst, a scholar doing research on this medieval work. In this paper we shall examine the list of Jesus’ twelve apostles in fake Barnabas’ version and compare it with the lists in the synoptic Gospels to break a code of the Gospel of Barnabas by revealing the true motives causing the medieval author to reshape the list in its current form in his forgery.
The list of the apostles given in the Gospel of Barnabas is a remarkable example for the accounts that were misunderstood by Rodney Blackhirst, a scholar doing research on this medieval work. In this paper we shall examine the list of Jesus’ twelve apostles in fake Barnabas’ version and compare it with the lists in the synoptic Gospels to break a code of the Gospel of Barnabas by revealing the true motives causing the medieval author to reshape the list in its current form in his forgery.

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Published by: Gilbert Hanz on Jul 21, 2011
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05/22/2014

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Breaking the Codes of the Gospel of Barnabas
The Mystery of Pseudo-Barnabas¶ List of the Apostles
 
Masud Masihiyyen
 We have analyzed in two articles so far how Pseudo-Barnabas¶ various mistakes stemmedfrom his dependence on the canonical Gospels (
1
,
2
). This dependence sounds rather naturalwhen it is remembered that fake Barnabas wrote his forgery in the Middle Ages, aiming to prove ±through the systematic perversion of the canonical accounts ± his basic allegation thatthe New Testament writings were not authentic. Medieval Barnabas¶ dreams to produce anIslamic Gospel ended in failure and gave birth to a book full of errors and absurdities as hisdeceptive strategy compelled him to draw heavily from the canonical Christian scripture androughly reconcile the accounts in the four Gospels by disregarding the significance of theEvangelists¶ peculiar writing styles and the relevant textual coherence in each Gospel.In some cases spurious Barnabas encountered serious problems while trying to alter andcombine different canonical accounts. In order to overcome such problems, he worked outsimple and silly solutions that gained his forgery the flavor of mystery since it was not easyfor scholars to understand the source of these modifications. Particularly, people who werenot aware of Pseudo-Barnabas¶ dependence on the canonical Gospels and the curse imposedon him by the Evangelists rushed to make faulty conclusions about the origin of a seeminglyindependent and authentic account in the Gospel of Barnabas.The list of the apostles given in the Gospel of Barnabas is a remarkable example for theaccounts that were misunderstood by Rodney Blackhirst, a scholar doing research on thismedieval work. In this paper we shall examine the list of Jesus¶ twelve apostles in fakeBarnabas¶ version and compare it with the lists in the synoptic Gospels to break a code of theGospel of Barnabas by revealing the true motives causing the medieval author to reshape thelist in its current form in his forgery.Of the four Evangelists, Matthew, Mark, and Luke give the list of Jesus¶ twelve apostles(Matthew 10:1-4, Mark 3:13-19, Luke 6:12-16). Considering this list an indispensable part of Jesus¶ Gospel because of its occurrence in all the synoptic accounts, Pseudo-Barnabasdeemed it crucial to present a similar list in his peculiar Gospel version. Accordingly, heclaimed that Jesus went up to a mountain to pray and then chose His twelve disciples:
Jesus
, seeing that great was the multitude of them that returned to their heart for to walk inthe law of God, went up into the mountain, and abode all night in prayer, and when day wascome he descended from the mountain, and
chose twelve, whom he called apostles
, amongwhom is Judas, who was slain upon the cross. Their names are: Andrew and Peter his brother,fisherman; Barnabas, who wrote this, with Matthew 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. (GOB 14)
1
 
 
 Naturally, the major differences between the lists in the synoptic Gospels and the one in theGospel of Barnabas are the direct result of the medieval author¶s wish to sound authentic inorder to mark the canonical accounts as unreliable and corrupted. Before starting to comparethe names of the twelve apostles as given by spurious Barnabas and the three Evangelists, itis necessary to highlight the first significant detail that displays medieval writer¶s dependenceon Luke in regard to the time of twelve apostles¶ selection by Jesus. In both accounts Jesusselects the Twelve after He spends the whole night in prayer on a mountain. To compare:
Jesus
, seeing that great was the multitude of them that returned to their heart for to walk inthe Law of God,
went up into the mountain, and abode all night in prayer
, and when daywas come he descended from the mountain, and chose twelve, whom he called apostles.(GOB 14)And it came to pass in those days, that
he went out into a mountain to pray: and he passedthe whole night in the prayer of God
. And when day was come, he called unto him hisdisciples: and he chose twelve of them (whom also he named apostles). (Luke 6:12-13)This structural parallelism might give the impression that medieval Barnabas plagiarized thelist of the apostles from Luke¶s Gospel with no textual modifications. However, already thecomparison of the first name on Luke¶s list (Simon Peter) with the one on that of spuriousBarnabas¶ (Andrew) reveals the fallaciousness of this conclusion. The peculiar list in theGospel of Barnabas does not only omit Peter¶s original name, Simon, but also changes theorder of the names in Luke. As a result of this introductory modification, the Gospel of Barnabas contradicts all of the lists in the three synoptic Gospels, since Matthew, Mark, andLuke concur on the primacy of Peter among the apostles and place him first on the list.At this point, it will not be wrong or naïve to speculate that Pseudo-Barnabas moved Peter tothe second position because he insisted on referring to Andrew as the first chosen apostle. Inso doing, he imitated John the Evangelist, who designated Andrew as the first called of thetwelve apostles in the first chapter of his Gospel (John 1:40-41). This hypothesis is notaltogether unreasonable when it is realized that in the Gospel of Barnabas the list of thetwelve is immediately followed by the narrative of Jesus¶ miraculously turning water intowine at a wedding, which is related only in John¶s Gospel. Thus, medieval Barnabasmanaged to combine the synoptic Gospels with the Gospel of John by simply placing the listof the apostles in his Gospel right before the narrative of Jesus¶ miracle at a wedding after replacing John 1:35-51 with the synoptic accounts of Jesus¶ selecting the twelve. (CompareGOB 14-15 with John 1:35-2:11.) Nonetheless, the comparative study of Pseudo-Barnabas¶ full list with the lists of the synopticEvangelists reveals that he re-wrote almost all of the names in reverse order, systematizinghis first peculiar act of making Andrew the first apostle on his list:
Barnabas¶ list
 
Matthew¶s list
 
Luke¶s list
 
Mark¶s list
 Andrew Simon Peter Simon Peter Simon Peter Peter Andrew Andrew JamesBarnabas James James John
 
Matthew John John AndrewJohn Philip Philip PhilipJames Bartholomew Bartholomew BartholomewThaddeus Thomas Matthew MatthewJudas Matthew Thomas ThomasBartholomew James James JamesPhilip Thaddeus Simon the Zealot ThaddeusJames Simon Judas, son of James SimonJudas Iscariot Judas Iscariot Judas Iscariot Judas IscariotThis comparative table also makes it clear that spurious Barnabas mostly tended to copy andmodify the lists in Matthew and Luke, for the names of the first pair of apostles on Mark¶slist are Simon Peter and James rather than Simon Peter and Andrew. In short, fake Barnabasapparently maintained the pair of the apostles on Matthew and Luke¶s list although hechanged their order for the sake of pretending to be authentic.The prevalent distinctive feature of the list in the Gospel of Barnabas is undoubtedly theoccurrence of the name ³Barnabas´ in the third place and as the first person of the second pair of apostles. The uncanny insertion of Barnabas¶ name to the list of the twelve apostlesmirrors the medieval author¶s preoccupation about the supposed originality and reliability of his material. In order to convince the reader that his Gospel version was authentic and of apostolic origin, he felt obliged to identify Barnabas as one of the Twelve and overtly wrotehis name whenever he referred to the writer of the Gospel. For instance:
True Gospel of Jesus
, called Christ, a new prophet sent by God to the world:
according tothe
 
description of 
 
Barnabas his apostle
.
Barnabas, apostle of Jesus the Nazarene
, calledChrist, to all them that dwell upon the earth desireth peace and consolation. (Prologue to theItalian manuscript)Their names are: Andrew and Peter his brother, fishermen;
Barnabas, who wrote this
, withMatthew the publican ... (GOB 14)The disciples were sore grieved at this word; whereupon
he who writeth
secretly questionedJesus with tears, saying: µO master, will Satan deceive me, and shall I then becomereprobate?¶ Jesus answered: µBe not sore grieved,
Barnabas
; for those whom God hathchosen before the creation of the world shall not perish. Rejoice, for thy name is written inthe book of life.¶ (GOB 19)With tears drew near unto Jesus he
who writeth this
, saying: µO master, tell me, who is hethat should betray thee?¶ Jesus answered, saying:
µO Barnabas
, this is not the hour for thee

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