“The Gospel of Barnabas” seems to be a Christian Gospel foretelling the coming of Mohammad. Is it really a Christian Gospel? If it accurately foretells Mohammad, then what do we do with its numerous errors?
Title: The Gospel of Barnabas
Written: In Italy in the 16th century C.E.
Have you ever read the Gospel of Barnabas? It claims to foretell the coming of Mohammad by name. It is sometimes quoted to show that the Christian church purposely corrupted its scriptures by hiding this revelation of Allah about Mohammad.
Is the Gospel of Barnabas a book from Allah? Can it be quoted authoritatively by Muslims or Christians? Think carefully about how you should answer as you read the following.
There is not a single sect of the Christian church that has believed the Gospel of Barnabas to be inspired by Allah. In fact, no church father, no historian, and no church leader from the 1st through the 7th centuries (Mohammad’s time) ever quoted from, or made reference to any part of its text. The oldest copies of Barnabas are in Italian, dated from the 16th century, and contain many references to medieval life; which did not come to past until many centuries after Christ. Even the most lightly informed Christian will answer no, Barnabas is not an inspired book.
Should a Muslim cite the Gospel of Barnabas to make the case that Mohammad’s coming was foretold by Allah, and Christians hid that truth? Though many Muslims today hold that the Gospel of Barnabas is a genuine Gospel (written during the first century) providing evidence for the coming of Mohammad, there is not a single reference to it by Muslim scholars prior to the 16th century. If the book were genuine and survived through the centuries, then surely Islamic scholars would have used it to support the claim that Mohammad’s coming was foretold by prophecy.
Perhaps the question of its authenticity is best answered with another question.
Do you believe the Gospel of Barnabas is the word of Allah?Are you a Muslim? Did you know that Barnabas contains many factual errors and claims which contradict the Quran and the Bible? Here are a few examples:
The Year of Jubilee Occurs Every 100 Years
“The year of Jubilee, which now comes every 100 years, shall be reduced by the Messiah to every year in every place.” (Gospel of Barnabas 82)
In the Torah, Allah established the year of Jubilee (erasing of all debts and setting free of all slaves) to occur once every 50 years). However, in 1343 C.E., Pope Boniface ordered the event changed to every 100 years. Celebrating Jubilee every 100 years was completely unknown to Jews and Christians prior to that event.
Jesus is not the Messiah
“As Allah lives, before whom my soul stands, I am not the Messiah whom all the tribes of the Earth expect…” (Gospel of Barnabas 96)
Both the Bible and the Quran teach the Jesus is the Messiah. Though the Quran restricts His messiahship to the Jews, the Bible show him to be the Messiah for all. Can Barnabas be Allah’s word if it contradicts Him?
Other errors include Jesus’ being born when Pilate was governor, sailing to Nazareth (which is not on a coast), referring to wine being stored in wooden vats, which did not exist in the 1st or 2nd centuries, and many others.
According to the Quran, if a book contains error, its author cannot be Allah. But what if parts of Barnabas were corrupted, introducing error at a later date? Could the book be authoritative if it contains error? Consider this question very carefully. Some argue that the Bible is no longer authoritative because it was corrupted. Should that same logic apply to Barnabas?
An Important Consideration
Have you considered that no where in the Quran is the claim made that the Torah, Injeel, or any biblical writing foretells Mohammad? Yet, Isa claimed several times that certain Old Testament passages were in fact prophecies about His own coming:
“You search the scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life, when it is these that speak of me.” (John 5:39)
If Mohammad is greater than Isa, wouldn’t the Quran give direct evidence from the Bible in at least the same manner Isa gave?
According to Islamic tradition, only the Quran is the final unaltered book of Allah. If the case is made that Barnabas is also Allah’s word, then what will you do with this conflicting Islamic position?