The ‘Gospel of Barnabas’- debunked

On my FaceBook wall I had this intereting post.


With the following link:

And the poster stated: “We will all be damned for reading this one.” Only if you believe! I still wonder why non-believers try so hard to disprove what it is they don’t believe in to start with. But let us start with a Bing search for Gospel of Barnabas and you get: 872,000 results. Then filter the search a little and try Gospel of Barnabas Hoax and you get: 871,000 results.   So only about 1,000 listings believe it might be true. Somewhat over whelming evidence there but some individuals would rather believe what they want to than the truth so let us explore some of the available information.

First was Barnabas ever a disciple or an apostle of Jesus Christ:

Question: “Who were the twelve (12) disciples / apostles of Jesus Christ?” Answer: The word “disciple” refers to a learner or follower. The word “apostle” means “one who is sent out.” While Jesus was on earth, His twelve followers were called disciples. The twelve disciples followed Jesus Christ, learned from Him, and were trained by Him. After His resurrection and ascension, Jesus sent the disciples out to be His witnesses (Matthew 28:18-20; Acts 1:8). They were then referred to as the twelve apostles. However, even when Jesus was still on earth, the terms “disciples” and “apostles” were used somewhat interchangeably. The original twelve disciples/apostles are listed in Matthew 10:2-4, “These are the names of the twelve apostles: first, Simon (who is called Peter) and his brother Andrew; James son of Zebedee, and his brother John; Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; Simon the Zealot and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed Him.” The Bible also lists the twelve disciples/apostles in Mark 3:16-19 and Luke 6:13-16. Not an original disciple but described in the Bible as an apostle according to these folks :

“Although not one of the original Twelve Apostles, Barnabas was referred to as an apostle by the early Christian Church (Acts 14:14.) There is also a Church tradition which says that Barnabas was “first of the Seventy disciples of our Lord,” however, this cannot be proven.

Having been ordained along with the apostle Paul for their first missionary journey by the church in Antioch, both Barnabas and Paul enjoyed the title and dignity of Apostles from that time forward. This took place around 45AD. Barnabas’ and Paul’s missionary journey was confined to Cyprus and Asia Minor. It is well documented in the New Testament book of Acts.

On Barnabas’ second missionary journey, he and his nephew John Mark returned to Cyprus, his native island; the Church of Cyprus had been founded by the apostles Barnabas and Paul on their first missionary journey”


One of the reasons people doubt the authenticity of this so called ‘gospel’ is taken from the context of the writing and related writings from the time frame of that era:

But alas, this extraordinary discovery is probably a hoax, the work of a forger who, according to some, could have been a European Jewish scholar from the Middle Ages. The most factual criticisms have come from the Syriacs. Indeed, anyone who speaks modern Assyrian (also known as neo-Aramaic) will find the inscription on the so-called ‘Gospel of Barnabas’ easy to read. However errors are just as easy to make out. Apparently, the main inscription, in a modern transliteration, reads: ‘b-shimmit maran paish kteewa aha ktawa al idateh d-rabbaneh d-dera illaya b-ninweh b’sheeta d-alpa w-khamshamma d-maran’. This apparently means: ‘In the name of the Lord, this book is written by monks of the high monastery in Nineveh in the 1500th year of our Lord.’ There is not enough space here to go through the grammatical and conceptual errors in detail, but experts in modern Assyrian assure us that they are obvious and quite significant. Apart from anything else, the inscription says ‘book’, but one never refers to a bible in Assyrian with the word ‘book’. The Bible is either referred to as New or Old Testament, or Holy Book. It is quite unlikely that monks could have made such obvious mistakes.

The above according to”

It seems that the “Gospel of Barnabas” is pushed mainly by proponents of Islam, probably because it takes the deity away from Jesus Christ, making him nothing more than a prophet of ‘god’ who prophesies about the prophet of ‘Allah’, Muhammad. has some interesting points:

Ever so often, Muslims mention the “Gospel of Barnabas”. What are the reasons that nearly everybody, who has studied it (including many Islamic scholars), believe that the is a forgery from the Middle ages? The below references should give you enough material to ponder if you don’t believe it.

The Muslim scholar Cyril Glassé states: As regards the “Gospel of Barnabas” itself, there is no question that it is a medieval forgery. A complete Italian manuscript exists which appears to be a translation from a Spanish original (which exists in part), written to curry favor with Muslims of the time. It contains anachronisms which can date only from the Middle Ages and not before, and shows a garbled comprehension of Islamic doctrines, calling the Prophet “the Messiah”, which Islam does not claim for him. Besides its farcical notion of sacred history, stylistically it is a mediocre parody of the Gospels, as the writings of Baha’Allah are of the Koran. The Concise Encyclopedia of Islam, Harper & Row, 1989, p. 64

The main issue in the Muslim-Christian controversy is the question whether the GoB is an authentic document from the first century by an actual disciple of Jesus. Since it is clearly not, we can learn little from the document about the actual person and teaching of Jesus and the GoB loses all propaganda value for Muslims. However, it is an interesting document about history of the Muslim-Christian interaction in the Middle Ages. Rodney Blackhirst’s studies The Medieval Gospel of Barnabas might be of interest to some in this regard.

And these folks: seem to believe otherwise: “Two manuscripts of this work have existed, but both date to the late 16th century and are written respectively in Italian and in Spanish, not in Syriac. I repeat, there is no version of the Gospel of Barnabas written in Syriac. Finally, there is not one source from any journal of Near Eastern Religions or History that makes any reference to such a find. Why? Because it’s all some giant conspiracy?

No. Sorry, but religious scholars are largely secular historians, not religious believers. We would delight at such a find, no matter how controversial it’s context. We certainly did with the Gospel of Judas. The reason why no one is talking about this “discovery” is because it was made up by bloggers. Plain and simply, it doesn’t exist.





  1. • Roy Marshall Well, the embryo is just that, a tiny developing entity, and I don’t think it is contradictory to state that as those that find the study of such things fascinating learn more about what goes on during that time of growth that old ideas will be cast aside by new information. That then in a nutshell is the difference between religious dogma and science, the want, no, the need to find the truth. The religious doctrine has always been, we have been told what is right, and therefore we will do what ever need be done to insure no other ideas, concepts, even truths, be given any credence as the bible is all that is needed.

    Roy Marshall And of course the Barnabas thing is not “debunked” It’s a document, an old document. What you are reporting is all conjecture and opinions. I just find it odd that some guy in the 1500’s took the time to write that extensive of a parody of Islam for some…… what? There are always going to be differing opinions about it, see above comment for fanaticism.

    1. The point of that posting was we know that science has advanced, dramatically, in the past 50 years, but we are still teaching the same thing in an attempt to indoctrinate the students into evolutionary concepts early on in life. We know the drawings are incorrect, but still present them as truth in high school biology texts today.
      I myself, once thought only science held the truth, and I thought I had chosen science over religion. I wrestled over the years with what seemed to be a conflict. Is modern science consistent with belief in God? After all these years of thinking, and now some nearly 5 years of extensive studying of philosophy, particle physics, cosmology, evolution, molecular biology, planetary formation, quantum physics, and more, I now believe that modern science is consistent with the Bible, with the three faiths of Abraham—Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. As strange as it may sound, science and mathematics are now the foundation of my faith in God.
      Get your head away from the concept of ‘religious dogma’ and ‘doctrine.’ It is preventing you from seeing all that you could see. You are the only one I know who constantly reiterates, “we will do what ever need be done to insure no other ideas, concepts, even truths, be given any credence as the bible is all that is needed.”
      What did I report that in your mind proves that the Barnabas thing is not “debunked.” Just statistically based on the word search ‘for Gospel of Barnabas and you get: 872,000 results. Then filter the search a little and try Gospel of Barnabas Hoax and you get: 871,000 results. So only about 1,000 listings believe it might be true.” This would indicate the probability of it being truthful is miniscule. Unless of course mathematical facts can be dismissed by you as easily as other truths when they run counter to your beliefs. The opinions expressed in my references were not based on conjecture but upon scientific facts and analysis of a wide realm of information derived from that time period. Once again, I ask that you not dismiss the information presented blindly, but to point out specific statements for which you can provide a qualified rebuttal of facts and not opinions.
      You cannot doubt the existence of God unless you have some faith in the belief that God does not exist. You may say you don’t care about God, or have no need for God. If so, you are betting your life that no God exists that could hold you accountable or provide meaning and hope in your life. That is fine, I’m sorry that it blinds you to the great good that is out there to be found if you looked for it without the blinders of agnosticism
      Do you think we live in a meaningless universe, and human beings were created by accident? Or do you think we live in a universe designed and created by a great intelligence, and human beings were designed? Accident or design—that is the question. It is the only viable question about the existence of God.
      Science is now so advanced that it sheds light, actually a great deal of light, on this ancient and profound question of the Creation event of the universe itself. I will continue to use reason and modern science, not blind faith, to make the case for God.

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