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. 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 Christianity. 

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 anyone 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.    In 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 lifetime was often heard to put a high value to this piece”. After his death, it came into 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.

  • Barnabas is also mentioned in the Stichometry of Nicephorus Serial No. 3, Epistle of Barnabas . . . Lines 1, 300.
  • Then again in the list of Sixty Books
  • Serial No. 17. Travels and teaching of the Apostles.
  • Serial No. 18. Epistle of Barnabas.
  • Serial No. 24. Gospel According to Barnabas.
  • A Greek version of the Gospel of Barnabas is also found in a solitary fragment. The rest is burnt.

The 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, Washington, DC.

Download MS Word Formatted Text of the entire Gospel of Barnabas

1: Introduction and Chapter 1
2: Joseph
3: Joseph Visits Bethlehem
4: The Angel and the Shepherds
5: Circumcision
6: Herod Affrighted
7: The Magi Warned
8: Herod Massacres Children
9: Jesus at 12
10: The Gospel to Jesus  at 30
11: A Leper Cured
12: First Sermon of Jesus
13: Gabriel Comforteth Jesus
14: Forty Days of Fasting & Twelve Apostles
15: Water into Wine
16: The Sermon on the Mount
17: The Doctrine Concerning God
18: Render Good for Evil
19: Betrayal Foretold & Lepers Healed
20: Miracle on the Sea
21: Swine Cast into the Sea
22: Uncircumcised As Dogs
23: Origin of Circumcision
24: Rich and Poor
25: Despise Flesh
26: Abraham’s Father
27: Abraham’s Prudence
28: Abraham Escapes Fire
29: Then Spake God
30: Eternal Life
31: Priests and a centurion
32: Statues of Flesh
33: The Greatest Sin
34: Be Humble
35: Satan Rebels
36: True Prayer and its Significance
37: A Prayer
38:Ablution Before Prayer
39:Adam Gets Life
40:Adam and Eve Fell in Temptation
41:They Leave Paradise
42: I am not the Messiah
43: Promise to Ishmael
44: Sacrifice Ishmael
45: Who is a Hypocrite
46: Laborers in the Vineyard
47: The Widow’s son of Nain
48: Tumult at Nain
49: Jesus Preacheth at Capernaum
50: Concerning Judgment
51: Jesus Hath Pity on Satan
52: Dreadful Day
53: Signs of the Judgment Day
54: Of the Judgment Day
55: Muhammad at the Judgment Day
56: The Book is Opened
57: The Reprobates at the Judgment Day
58: No Pity on Reprobates
59: Concerning Hell
60: Torment of Hell
61: A Parable
62: Example of the Merchant
63: Warning Against Vengeance
64: Against Vengeance
65: The Probatica
66: God alone is good
67: Corrupted Sacrifice
68: Reward or Punishment for Priests
69: On Priests Preferring This World
70: Peter Rebuked
71: Healings in Galilee
72: Prophecy When Gospel is Annulled
73: Four Ways by Satan
74: Sin in Thought
75: A Recipe For Clean Thoughts
76: Three Kinds of Husbandmen
77: Right Use of Knowledge
78: Value of Learning
79: Law Not For Love of Law
80: Learn to Work Well
81: A Woman of Samaria
82: Woman-a Truth Seeker
83: The Other Food
84: Purity in Prayer
85: True Friends
86:Qualities of Friends
87:Put Off Fleshly Prudence
88: Man is amended with mercy
89: Never cut off from mercy
90: Of Faith
91: Disturbance Regarding Jesus
92: Hailed as God near Jordan
93: Jesus: I’m like other men
94: Miracles of other Prophets
95: Attributes of God
96: Mercy to the World
97: Muhammad is his blessed name
98: Decree of Roman Senate
99: God is Jealous for His Honor
100: 82 Sent for Preaching
101: Penitence for pure love of God
102: Mourning for Sins
103: Weep for Sins only
104: Measure sorrow not tears
105: Universe before God is like a small grain
106: The Body, the Soul and the Sense
107: Fast of Penitence
108: Sleep of Body and Soul
109: Never forget God
110: Desire for good
111: Weep, Fast and Watch
112: A Secret revealed to Barnabas
113: Parable of a barren fig tree
114: Man is born to work
115: Lust
116: The Lust of Eye may blind you
117: Elijah and the blind man
118: Guard the Eye
119: Prayer is the medicine of the soul
120: Vain talk weakens Intellect
121: Talk as necessary
122: Evils of Avarice
123: On the Composition of Man
124: The Faith is one
125: Give for love of God
126: Desciples preach throughout Judaea
127: Jesus Preaches at Jerusalem
128: Prayers of a pharisee and a publican
129: Jesus at Simon’s house
130: Simon and a public sinner
131: John at Herod’s table
132: Sower and the tares
133: Infidel fathers, faithful sons
134: Regarding preachers
135: Seven Centers of Hell
136: Every one shall see Hell
137:Faithful without Deeds
138:Miracle of the Harvest
139: Betrayal Foretold
140: Measure Life by Death
141: Contemplate on Death
142: Judas Confers with Priests
143:Disciples arrive at Damascus
144:Of The Origin of Pharisees
145:The Little Book of Elijah
146:The Prodigal Son
147:The Prodigal Son …
148: The Two Hermit-Pharisees
149: The Two Hermit-Pharisees…
150: The Two Hermit-Pharisees…
151: The Marks of a True Pharisee
152: Roman Soldiers
153: Miracle Wrought on Soldiers
154: Jesus and a Doctor
155: On the Forbidden Fruit
156: The Man Born Blind
157: The Man Born Blind…
158: The World of Three Kinds
159: Of the Nature of Sin
160: Ahab and Micaiah
161: Of Nature of Sin
162: Of Predestination
163: Muhammad-the White Cloud of Mercy
164: No Predestination unto Reprobation
165:The Elect
166: Predestination and Freedom
167: Predestination Inscrutable
168: The Clear Mirror
169: Of the Glory of Paradise
170: Wages Forever
171: Abundance of Rewards in Paradise
172: Grain of Sand to the Sea
173: Abundance in Paradise
174: Body without Putrefaction.
175:
176: No Envy in Paradise
177: Sun and Moon of Paradise
178: Flawed Logic of Peter
179: God thru Eye of Paradise
180: Man’s Merit
181: Shun: “I Merit”
182: Call me Brother not Lord
183: True Humility
184: Left with False Pharisees
185:Haggai and Obadiah
186:Haggai’s Prayer
187:Haggai and Hosea
188:Hosea in Jerusalem
189: The Sun Stands Still
190: Do not Offend God at all costs
191: Book of Moses on the Messiah
192:Lazarus is Sick
193:Jesus at the tomb of Lazarus
194:The Raising of Lazarus
195:Jesus in the house of Lazarus
196: and converts him not
197: The Similitude of a good Axe
198:On death and its teaching
199:Of Mercy and merit
200:Jesus Entereth Jerusalem
201:The Women taken in adultery
202:Of the Righteous Unrighteous
203:God’s Judgement on Jerusalem
204:Judgement on Jerusalem (cont)
205: House of Simon the Leper
206: Jesus Confronts the Priest
207: Jesus Confronts the Priest (contd)
208: Priests Try Stoning Jesus
209: Gabriel Comforts Mary
210: They Search for Jesus
211: Jesus Consoles his Disciples
212: Jesus Prays
213: Jesus Washes Disciples’ Feet
214: Judas Betrays
215: Divine Rescue of Jesus
216: Judas Transformed
217: Judas Scourged and Mocked
218: Judas Crucified
219: Jesus appeareth to his Friends
220: Jesus and the Four Angels
221: Jesus Chargeth Barnabas to Write
222: Jesus Carried Up to Heaven

‘Before that day shall come,’ said Jesus, ‘great destruction shall come upon the world, for there shall be war so cruel and pitiless that the father shall slay the son, and the son shall slay father by reason of the factions of peoples. Wherefore the cities shall be annihilated, and the country shall become desert. Such pestilences shall come that none shall be found to bear the dead to burial so that they shall be left as food for beasts.

To those who remain upon the earth, God shall send such scarcity that bread shall be valued above gold, and they shall eat a11 manner of unclean things. O miserable age, in which scarce anyone shall be heard to say: “I have sinned, have mercy on me, O God”; but with horrible voices, they shall blaspheme him who is glorious and blessed forever.

After this, as that day draweth nigh, for fifteen days, shall come every day a horrible sign over the inhabitants of the earth. The first day the sun shall run its course in heaven without light, but black as the dye of cloth; and it shall give groans, as a father who groaneth for a son nigh to death. On the second day, the moon shall be turned into blood, and blood shall come upon the earth like dew. On the third day, the stars shall be seen to fight among themselves like an army of enemies. On the fourth day the stones and rocks shall dash against each other as cruel enemies.

On the fifth day every plant and herb shall weep blood. On the sixth day, the sea shall rise without leaving its place to the height of one hundred and fifty cubits, and shall stand all day like a wall. On the seventh day, it shall on the contrary sink so low as scarcely to be seen. On the eighth day the birds and the animals of the earth and of the water shall gather themselves close together, and shall give forth roars and cries. On the ninth day, there shall be a hailstorm so horrible that it shall kill in such wise that scarcely the tenth part of the living shall escape.

The tenth day shall come such horrible lightning and thunder that the third part of the mountains shall be split and scorched. On the eleventh day, every river shall run backwards and shall run blood and not water. On the twelfth day, every created thing shall groan and cry. On the thirteenth day, heaven shall be rolled up like a book, and it shall rain fire so that every living thing shall die. On the fourteenth day, there shall be an earthquake so horrible that the tops of the mountains shall fly through the air like birds, and all the earth shall become a plain. On the fifteenth day, the holy angels shall die, and God alone shall remain alive; to whom be honour and glory.’

And having said this, Jesus smote his face with both his hands and then smote the ground with his head. And having raised his head, he said: ‘Cursed be everyone who shall insert into my sayings that I am the son of God.’ At these words, the disciples fell down as dead, whereupon Jesus lifted them up, saying: ‘Let us fear God now if we would not be affrighted in that day.’

An Islamic Perspective and Commentary
by
Ishaq Zahid

The following selection of verses from the Holy Quran describes the events of the Last Day. A lot more can be found in the Hadith books – collections of the sayings of Prophet Muhammad (peace be on him).

And the Day that the Trumpet will be sounded – then will be smitten with
terror those who are in the heavens, and those who are on earth, except such as God will please (to exempt): and all shall come to His (Presence) as beings conscious of their lowliness. Thou seest the mountains and thinkest them firmly fixed: but they shall pass away as the clouds pass away: (such is) the artistry of God, who disposes of all things in perfect order: for he is well acquainted with all that ye do. If any do good, good will (accrue) to them therefrom; and they will be secure from terror that Day. And if any do evil, their faces will be thrown headlong into the Fire: “Do ye receive a reward other than that which ye have earned by your deeds?” (The Quran, 27:87-90)

052.001 By the Mount (of Revelation);
052.002 By a Decree inscribed
052.003 In a Scroll unfolded;
052.004 By the much-frequented Fane;
052.005 By the Canopy Raised High;
052.006 And by the Ocean filled with Swell;-
052.007 Verily, the Doom of thy Lord will indeed come to pass;-
052.008 There is none can avert it;-
052.009 On the Day when the firmament will be in dreadful commotion.
052.010 And the mountains will fly hither and thither.
052.011 Then woe that Day to those that treat (Truth) as Falsehood;-
052.012 That play (and paddle) in shallow trifles.
052.013 That Day shall they be thrust down to the Fire of Hell, irresistibly.
052.014 “This:, it will be said, “Is the Fire,- which ye were wont to deny!
052.015 “Is this then a fake, or is it ye that do not see?
052.016 “Burn ye therein: the same is it to you whether ye bear it with patience, or not: Ye but receive the recompense of your (own) deeds.”
052.017 As to the Righteous, they will be in Gardens, and in Happiness,-

069.013 Then, when one blast is sounded on the Trumpet,
069.014 And the earth is moved, and its mountains, and they are crushed to powder at one stroke,-
069.015 On that Day shall the (Great) Event come to pass.
069.016 And the sky will be rent asunder, for it will that Day be flimsy,
069.017 And the angels will be on its sides, and eight will, that Day, bear the Throne of thy Lord above them.
069.018 That Day shall ye be brought to Judgment: not an act of yours that ye hide will be hidden.

The whole city of Jerusalem was moved by these words, wherefore they all ran together to the temple to see Jesus, who had entered therein to pray so that they could scarce be contained there. Therefore the priests besought Jesus, saying: ‘This person desireth to see thee and hear thee; therefore ascend to the pinnacle, and if God gives thee a word speak it in the name of the Lord.’

Then ascended Jesus to the place whence the scribes were wont to speak. And having beckoned with the hand for silence, he opened his mouth, saying: ‘Blessed be the holy name of God, who of his goodness and mercy willed to create his creatures that they might glorify him. Blessed be the holy name of God, who created the splendour of all the saints and prophets before all things to send him for the salvation of the world, as he spoke by his servant David, saying: “Before Lucifer in the brightness of the saints I created thee.” Blessed be the holy name of God, who created the angels that they might serve him. And blessed be God, who punished and reprobated Satan and his followers, who would not reverence him whom God willeth to be reverenced. Blessed be the holy name of God, who created man out of the clay of the earth, and set him over his works.

Blessed be the holy name of God, who drove the man out of paradise for having transgressed his holy precept. Blessed be the holy name of God, who with mercy looked upon the tears of Adam and Eve, the first parents of the human race. Blessed be the holy name of God who just punished Cain for the fratricide, and sent the deluge upon the earth. burned up three wicked cities, scourged Egypt, overwhelmed Pharaoh in the Red Sea, scattered the enemies of his people, chastised the unbelievers and punished the impenitent. Blessed be the holy name of God, who with mercy looked upon his creatures, and therefore sent them his holy prophets, that they might walk in truth and righteousness before him; who delivered his servants from every evil, and gave them this land, as he promised to our
father Abraham and to his son forever. Then by his servant Moses he gave us his holy law, that Satan should not deceive us: and he exalted us above all other peoples.

But, brethren, what do we do today, that we are not punished for our sins?

And then Jesus with the greatest vehemence rebuked the people for that they had forgotten the word of God, and gave themselves only to vanity; he rebuked the priests for their negligence in God’s service and for their worldly greed; he rebuked the scribes because they preached vain doctrine, and forsook the law of God; he rebuked the doctors because they made the law of God of none effect through their traditions. And in such wise did Jesus speak to the people, that all wept, from the least to the greatest, crying mercy, and beseeching Jesus that he would pray of them; save only their priests and leaders, who on that day conceived hatred against Jesus for having thus spoken against the priests, scribes, and doctors. And they meditated upon his death, but for fear of the people, who had received him as a prophet of God, they spoke no word.

Jesus raised his hands to the Lord God and prayed, and the people weeping said: ‘So be it, O Lord, so be it.’ The prayer being ended, Jesus descended from the temple; and that day he departed from Jerusalem, with many that followed him.

And the priests spoke evil of Jesus among themselves.

A Leper Cured

Jesus descending from the mountain to come into Jerusalem met a leper, who by divine inspiration knew Jesus to be a prophet. Therefore with tears, he prayed to him, saying; ‘Jesus, thou son of David, have mercy on me.’ Jesus answered: ‘What wilt thou, brother, that I should do unto thee?’

The leper answered: ‘Lord, give me health.’

Jesus reproved him, saying: ‘Thou art foolish; pray to God who created thee, and he will give thee health; for I am a man, as thou art.’
The leper answered: ‘I know that thou, Lord, art a man, but a holy one of the Lord. Wherefore pray thou to God, and he will give me health.’

Then Jesus, sighing, said: ‘Lord God Almighty, for the love of thy holy prophets, give health to this sick man.’ Then, having said this, he said, touching the sick man with his hands in the name of God: ‘O brother, receive thy health!’

And when he had said this the leprosy was cleansed, insomuch that the flesh of the leper was left unto him like that of a child. Seeing which namely, that he was healed, the leper with a loud voice cried out: ‘Come hither, Israel, to receive the prophet whom God sendeth unto thee’. Jesus prayed to him, saying: ‘Brother, hold thy peace and say nothing,’ but the more he prayed to him the more he cried out, saying: ‘Behold the prophet! behold the holy one of God!’ At which words many that was going out of Jerusalem ran back, and entered with Jesus into Jerusalem, recounting that which God through Jesus had done unto the leper.

An Islamic Perspective and Commentary

by
Ishaq Zahid

The Holy Quran affirms the miracles of Jesus (peace be on him), as given below.    

005.112 One day will God gather the apostles together, and ask: “What was the response ye received (from men to your teaching)?” They will say: “We have no knowledge: it is Thou Who knowest in full all that is hidden.”

005.113 Then will God say: “O Jesus the son of Mary! Recount My favour to thee and to thy mother. Behold! I strengthened thee with the holy spirit so that thou didst speak to the people in childhood and in maturity. Behold! I taught thee the Book and Wisdom, the Law and the Gospel and behold! thou makest out of clay, as it were, the figure of a bird, by My leave, and thou breathest into it and it becometh a bird by My leave, and thou healest those born blind, and the lepers, by My leave. And behold! thou bringest forth the dead by My leave. And behold! I did restrain the Children of Israel from (violence to) thee when thou didst show them the clear Signs, and the unbelievers among them said: ‘This is nothing but evident magic.’

Jesus has come to the age of thirty years, as he himself said unto me, went up to Mount Olives with his mother to gather olives. Then at midday, as he was praying, when he came to these words: ‘Lord, with mercy . . . ,’ he was surrounded by an exceeding bright light and by an infinite multitude of angels, who were saying: ‘Blessed be God.’ The angel Gabriel presented to him as it were a shining mirror, a book, which descended into the heart of Jesus, in which he had knowledge of what God hath done and what hath said and what God willeth insomuch that everything was laid bare and open to him; as he said unto me: ‘Believe, Barnabas, that I know every prophet with every prophecy, insomuch that whatever I say the whole bath come forth from that book.’

Jesus, having received this vision, and knowing that he was a prophet sent to the house of Israel, revealed all to Mary his mother, telling her that he needs must suffer great persecution for the honour of God, and that he could not any longer abide with her to serve her. Whereupon, having heard this, Mary answered: ‘Son. ere thou west born all was announced to me; wherefore blessed be the holy name of God. Jesus departed therefore that day from his mother to attend to his prophetic office.

An Islamic Perspective and Commentary

by
Ishaq Zahid

Jesus (peace be on him) receives the book at age thirty brought to him by the angel Gabriel(peace be on him). In Islam, Gabriel is a highly honoured and trustworthy Messenger from God. It is Gabriel who brought revelations from God to the earlier Prophets and then finally brought the Holy Quran to Prophet Muhammad (peace be on him).

It is the first time we see that St. Barnabas mentions his direct communication with Jesus. Jesus’ midday prayer is also mentioned, which perhaps he was used to doing daily.

The text also delineates another fact, that Jesus was sent as a prophet to the house of Israel and not to the entire mankind. This is not to say that the non-Israelites can not benefit from his teachings and his life. It is just that his mission was special for the Israelites.

Jesus at 12

When Herod was dead, behold the angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph, saying: ‘Return into Judaea, for they are dead that willed the death of the child.’ Joseph, therefore, took the child with Mary (he having come to the age of seven years), and came to Judaea; whence, hearing that
Archelaus, son of Herod, was reigning in Judaea, he went into Galilee, fearing to remain in Judaea; and they went to dwell at Nazareth. The child grew in grace and wisdom before God and before men.

Jesus, having come to the age of twelve years, went up with Mary and Joseph to Jerusalem, to worship there according to the law of the Lord written in the book of Moses. When their prayers were ended they departed, having lost Jesus, because they thought that he was returned home with their kinsfolk. Mary, therefore, returned with Joseph to Jerusalem, seeking Jesus among kinsfolk and neighbours. On the third day, they found the child in the temple, in the midst of the doctors, disputing with them concerning the law. And everyone was amazed at his questions and answers, saying: “How can there be such doctrine in him, seeing he is so small and hath not learned to read?’

Mary reproved him, saying: ‘Son, what hast thou done to us? Behold I and thy father have sought thee for three days sorrowing.’ Jesus answered: ‘Know ye not that the service of God ought to come before father and mother?’ Jesus then went down with his mother and Joseph to Nazareth and was subject to them with humility and reverence.

An Islamic Perspective and Commentary

by
Ishaq Zahid

As we have commented earlier, it appears that Barnabas was not an eyewitness to the early life of Jesus (peace be on him). The words in the last paragraph, “Behold I and thy father have sought thee…,” are contradictory to the fact that Jesus was born without a father. Assuming only that Mary (peace be on her) got married after the birth of Jesus, the words become acceptable. That is, it is common to call a stepfather a father.

Herod seeing that the magi did not return, believed himself mocked of them; whereupon he determined to put to death the child that was born. But behold while Joseph was sleeping there appeared to him the angel of the Lord, saying: ‘Arise up quickly, and take the child with his mother and go into Egypt for Herod willeth to slay him’. Joseph arose with great fear and took Mary with the child, and they went into Egypt, and there they abode until the death of Herod: who, believing himself derided of the magi, sent his soldiers to slay all the new-born children in Bethlehem.

The soldiers therefore came and slew all the children that were there, as Herod had commanded them. Whereby were fulfilled the words of the prophet, saying:

‘Lamentation and great weeping are there in Ramah; Rachel lamenteth for her sons, but consolation is not given her because they are not.’

The magi, therefore, departed out of Jerusalem, and lo, the star which appeared to them in the east went before them. Seeing the star the magi were filled with gladness. And so having come to Bethlehem, outside the city, they saw the star standing still above the inn where Jesus was born.

The magi, therefore, went thither, and entering the dwelling found the child with his mother, and bending down they did obeisance to him. And the magi presented unto him spices, with silver and gold, recounting to the virgin all that they had seen. Whereupon, while sleeping, they were warned by the child not to go to Herod: so departing by another way they returned to their own home, announcing all that they had seen in Judaea.

In the reign of Herod, king of Judaea, when Jesus was born, three magi in the parts of the east were observing the stars of heaven. Whereupon appeared to them a star of great brightness, wherefore having concluded among themselves, they came to Judaea, guided by the star, which went before them and having arrived at Jerusalem they asked where was born the King of the Jews. And when Herod heard this he was affrighted, and all the city was troubled. Herod, therefore, called together the priests and the scribes, saying: ‘Where should Christ be born?’ They answered that he should be born in Bethlehem; for thus it is written by the prophet:

‘And thou, Bethlehem, art not little among the princes of Judah: for out
of thee shall come forth a leader, who shall lead my people Israel.’

Herod accordingly called together the magi and asked them concerning their coming: who answered that they had seen a star in the east, which had guided them thither, wherefore they wished with gifts to worship this new King manifested by his star.

Then said Herod: ‘Go to Bethlehem and search out with all diligence concerning the child; and when ye have found him, come and tell it to me, because I also would fain come and worship him.’ And this he spake deceitfully.