Channel: Jamal Badawi
Series: Jamal Badawi - Muhammad
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AsSalamu Alaikum and welcome once again to Western focus. Today's programming shala will be our 17th in our series,
Mohamed May peace be upon him, that our messenger of Allah and our ms on the coming of Mohammed as foretold by Jesus and peace be upon him.
Today inshallah we want to cost you specifically on the discussion of the Gospel of Barnabas, which we started in our previous programs. I'm your host, Rashad munition here once again from St. Mary's University. is Dr. Jamal better as a writer?
Could we have a summary of last week's program for
everyone? Basically, last week was the beginning of the discussion of some of the objections raised about the Gospel of Barnabas, and the questions about its authenticity. And we discussed some of the issues such as the difference in teaching between Barnabas on the origin and meaning of the name Barnabas, and when it was given to the person who was called previously Joseph,
the use of the term Messiah in more than one meaning in the Gospel of Barnabas, the so called internet evidence in terms of the description of the growth of fruit trees in Palestine in the summer, and also the question of the web. And we discussed all of these objections in some, I hope, reasonable detail. And we seem to have concluded, at least in my humble understanding that all of these objections really are not substantiated. In some cases, they are not really based on any firm ground, which leaves us
with at least put it fairly, very strong, not possibility but even likelihood that the Gospel of Barnabas might have been very a genuine gospel. And it was perhaps written actually by the Barnabas who was a contemporary and a follower of Jesus.
Now, there are a number of critics to this gospel and, and they have their own views on his authorship. And I'd be interested to know what your response to them are? Well, it appears to me that in the absence of any viable evidence to dismiss the gospel, and
some of the critics try to theorize that this gospel must have been a forgery written by either a Muslim, or a convert to Islam from Christianity in the medieval times, and possibly spin as some theorize.
The basic ground they use for that is that they say, lots of the contents. or many of the basic concepts in that gospel are in fact, in agreement with Islam.
Because it describes Jesus as a prophet and messenger of God that doesn't speak about him as guardian flesh
does not speak about the crucifixion of Jesus, and indicate, as we have seen in a previous program, that it was Judas actually who was betrayed, who betrayed Jesus was crucified in his place. And because it also contained the prophesy about becoming of profit performance, quite clearly.
Well, if you're asking about my response, I feel that this kind of criticism is really questionable. It's not very fair. There are at least four reasons for that, number one,
the key contents in the Gospel of Barnabas, which are in agreement with Islam, at least some of which are also in agreement with what many Christian scholars in recent decades have arrived at. We have seen many Christian theologians and even clergy, who concluded from their research that Jesus in fact, was a human being and a prophet and the idea of deification came later at a later time. The idea of God incarnate and Trinity are not accepted uniformly or universally by or Christians now.
In fact, we have seen in some programs in the previous series, Jesus beloved messengers of Allah,
that they have been also many early Christian sects
who existed and thrived many centuries even before the birth of Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, who also
arrived at the same conclusion that many contemporary and recent scholars have arrived at. We have seen in one problem
How some early Christian sects even some believe that another person was crucified in the place of Jesus. The substitution in theory are various forms of that. But at least the idea did exist before Islam even.
In other words, what we're seeing here that the things that appeared in the Gospel of Barnabas, which are not really in line with the canonized gospels are not totally new, and not really something that emerged after the coming of Islam, but ideas that did exist before so the there might be perhaps, an older roots for the Gospel of Barnabas.
A second reason why that criticism is not really very strong. One
is that history tell us that they had been lots of Muslim scholars who studied comparative religion and who engaged in Muslim Christian dialogues in writing.
And none of them that we know of, has made any admit any reference to the Gospel of Barnabas if they were aware of the Gospel of Barnabas, if it were written by a Muslim, or a convert to stem from Christianity, as some theorize obviously, that would have been a big treasures for the site as we refer to it and given the what what would be more clear, more clear evidence than the the statements made on the tank of Jesus and the Gospel of Barnabas, but there was no difference. I want to be more specific on that because I did do some humble research on that and check it on my own in some of those old writings.
For example, in a previous program, we indicated that Eben is half of the famous biographer of Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him, as early as the eighth century, spoke about the advent of Prophet Mohammed in the Bible, but made no reference whatsoever to the Gospel of Barnabas. He was not aware of it in the ninth century, and Joshua, and I'm not talking about his particular convictions as a marker like that's another issue. But in the ninth century, and Josh has also brought in the Muslim Christian discussions and questions pertaining to the difference in understanding of both religious communities, but made no reference to that, in the 11th century, or
back in the Christian era. It hasn't, perhaps, is one of the most knowledgeable scholars about Christianity, and he wrote to volume which I checked myself. That's called the emphasis in our fundamental and
numerous, voluminous work. I tried to go through all of it, and if it hasn't, by the way, was engaged in those dialogues with Jews and Christians in Muslim Spain and the 11th century. So he had lots of exposure to this discussion. But again, I never found a single reference in his writing, detailed as it may be, to the Gospel of Barnabas, in the 14th century, entertainment.
And his students in this column wrote about this, again, no reference and they check that myself. In addition to this, there are people also who became Muslims who were previously Christians. A famous one is an a man by the name of incident. Tomita to our mid who's Muslim men that he adopted later on is Abdullah, German Spanish priest who became Muslim. And he wrote also on Muslim Christian religious discussions in the 15th century. Again, no difference was made to the Gospel of Barnabas. Now, there are many scholars also after them. Why is it, then that the greatest evidence for those ciders was never referred to, if it were indeed written by a Muslim or by a convert to Islam, so
that, perhaps is a very strong evidence to that. And a third reason is that the Gospel of Barnabas was discovered by Christians in a Christian Christian countries first in Holland and then in Austria, was written in a Christian language. It passed from one hand to the other old Christian hands as we have indicated before. I must add here that some scholars say that there have been some Arabic broken Arabic words on the margin of the Gospel of Barnabas, but that should not raise any doubt about it, because first of all, the text is an Italian, not an Arabic. And this could have been perhaps commentaries of later scholars, and we all know that after the advent of Islam, many
chessmen learned Arabic in order to use that for the missionary work among Muslims.
So there's no problem at all finding comments made by some scholars, Christian scholars on that property. And as we indicated before the there is, there are two copies one Italian one Spanish both are basically Christian languages.
Even though some say that the Spanish version might be based on the Italian one, the fourth and final reason is that
to deny that Barnabas St. Barnabas was the author of that gospel is not justified because that are written by Muslims in a later time. Because the name or the title The Gospel of Barnabas did appears in the list of forbidden books, which were issued by the church long time before Prophet Muhammad was even born. How could Muslim write it even if there is mentioned and condemnation of that gospel before the Prophet even was, was born? So I don't think this is something really that can be dismissed that easily. Now the last reason number two, to give that very fast,
considered amount of interest Lisa Marquardt, can you tell us more about the mention of the Gospel of Barnabas, but the mention of it in pre assignment. Okay. To begin with, it is well known for that because scholars and students theology, especially Christian theology, that in the history of the church, many times the church through its officiants.
Sometimes in cooperation with the Roman emperors, the secular powers,
excommunicated and condemned people and their books and the references they use. In many cases, they have been persecution of others.
Christians are those who claim to be Christians who did not agree with this specific Roman Church interpretation of who was Jesus and what his teachings are
the people who refer to as heretics
and part of the effort to respond to this Harris's quote unquote, as the church used it, was the suppression of their books and scriptures. For example, in the in the fourth century, during the, the Emperor Flavius theodosis. And also in the fifth century in the reign of Emperor
valentinian. The second, the third sorry, the third, we find lists of books that has been forbidden.
In fact, one of the biblical scholars well known one W, small measures, I know it's a long name. He mentioned in his book, The New Testament apocrypha, on Volume Two, at page 67.
describes the lists that were outside the so called 60 books, that is 60 books accepted by the church. And in that list, we find the Gospel of Barnabas and then he adds, he says, which baffles us? That's an interesting comment that comes with letters,
which baffles us. But he has mentioned, and he said that perhaps one of the most famous decrees
is the so called the Corinthian.
which is an ancient index of forbidden religious books. And in that list, there is evangelium Barnaby or the Gospel of Barnabas. And I know why there are some disputes about the exact date of that particular decree. It is definitely before even the birth of Prophet Muhammad. So the Gospels did exist and was condemned, why? Maybe the reasons are obvious because of the contents of the customer. To put this particular two three in in context, could you for the benefit of our viewers, give us an idea of what time period what are we talking about? Okay. There are a number of references that address that. So let me just give
some that would be easily available to many, in the Encyclopedia of religious knowledge,
edited by chef Hertzog or the new schaff Herzog Encyclopedia of religious knowledge, published in 1909, in volume four, page 446. We are told that there have been some disputes among scholars about the degree of glitches that I mentioned earlier, and whether it all renamed to the decree by Pope galicians himself or not, but the encyclopedia concludes, and the court but the matters is to be decided affirmatively. In other words, in the view of the scholars who wrote it,
they believe that indeed, that decree took place during classes.
And then we read also that it is true that some of the contents of that index list of the book
may go back to part two port Damascus
and some even War Z passed by probe. For me that's in the sixth century. But they say, however, the main portion of the decree was proclaimed by a pope delicious, possibly in 496. Then I did check a number of encyclopedias to get the exact dates of those books.
And what we found is that Damascus was put between 362 384. So we talk about first century,
per se, as the first
was, you know, was decree is that when we were discussing when it was put between 492 and 496, are still talk about the late fifth century.
For four meters of the sixth century, whoever was put between the US 514 and 523. So even those that extended to the sixth century were well before the birth of Prophet Muhammad, as you know, Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him was born in the year 570. So there's a difference of 37 years or so, before even the birth of Prophet Muhammad and find condemnation already of the Gospel of Barnabas, to conclude them the dispute about the decree of gracious
definitely seem to indicate that it belongs to the fifth century, it may have roots even before that recast even before the birth of Prophet Muhammad, all of which, definitely before the verse, let alone the beginning of the mission of the Prophet, which began, as you know, in the seventh century,
there are even additional indications to show that the Gospel of Barnabas native may go back even by way of roots, to the first four centuries. For example, 11 Jeremiah Jones, in his book, apocryphal New Testament, probably published in 1870, there's no indicated bid, but I could conclude from the information given, published probably 1870, on page 179, gives a list of apocryphal pieces.
And under table one, to table Roman one, he says, by way of identifying the list codes, and lists of all epic, apocryphal pieces, not now extent, notice this not now extends mentioned by writers in the first four centuries of Christ, with several artworks were in they are cited, or noticed.
And again, in the V portion of that table, which is the same table, he mentioned the name the Gospel of Barnabas, that's very interesting. So even trace it back into the first four centuries. But notice here that this book was published, for sure, before the first English translation was made available of the Gospel of Barnabas, which was in 1907. The strange thing is that the the gospel, which was discovered in Italian in 1709, which is almost 200 years before it was available, however, I'm not sure whether the lighter jevelin john 11, Jones was really aware of the existence of that gospel or not, I don't know. But it appears, however, that it was not circulated heavily before it
was translated into into English. And that shows that the writers perhaps even was not aware of it. So he says, yes, there was a Gospel of Barnabas, that goes back to the very early days of Christianity. But this has recently been on the mentioned in secondary sources, but it does not exist.
Maybe he was not aware that it was discovered already.
Now, are there other references other from the ones that you've mentioned, which tends to collaborate the integrity of the Gospel of Barnabas? Yes, there are a number of them. Let me give a couple of additional examples to this, first of all, and all of this, by the way, are Christian biblical scholars, I tried to focus on that to see even what has been accepted by a
community of scholars.
In a book written by Reverend Mr. James published in Oxford in 1924, page 21. The title of the book is The apocryphal New Testament on page 21 Records. In the Galician decree of books to be received and not to be received are titans of many apocryphal books. The date and source of this decree are matters of dispute, but it cannot be
no later than the sixth century. And as we indicated before, by the way, early sixth century, even before the rest of the Prophet, many of the titles that occurred in it, are derived from the words of church right as specially Jerome, and you know, your own lived in the latter part of the first century and early fifth century. And then on page 22, of the same reference.
It lists the name of various gospels, apocryphal gospels, and it says, Gospel of Matthew is Gospel of Barnabas, and then he says, quote, both of the above
that's gospels occurred in the Greek list of the 60 books. But the existence of the Gospel of Barnabas is most Dartford is most often, the extent book, under that name, edited by reg 1907 is an Italian, a forgery of the late 16th century or 16th century by a renegade, from Christianity to Islam. Notice that he is 1924 that is after the English translation of Barnabas was known to the scholarly world. Now he takes a different line from previous writer, he said, All right, that the gospel has some basis. It's an ancient, integrated, but it's lost. But when it's discovered, now he picks a different kind, I mean, that particular writer takes a different position. But I must note
here that first of all, the decree of Galician in which St. Barnabas was mentioned,
as he admitted, cannot be later than the sixth century. And the Prophet began to teach in the seventh century. Now many of the titles in the apocryphal works go back as he said, to Jerome, which is, again, late fourth century and early fifth century. So there's some acknowledgment that the Gospel of Barnabas was among the list of apocryphal gospels, but he simply deny that what we have today is the same.
But it must be noted also, that if we say that this gospel was written by, as he called a renegade of the 15th or 16th century, then he does not tell us who is that Renegade? Where did he live? What language did he speak? How did he forge it? On what basis? What document did he used to force that gospel? So he makes a statement, as a matter of fact, without the slightest evidence or substantiation as to why is that a forgery and why he gives those particular dates right.
But by comparison,
we find that Reverend
Jeremiah that you send to refer to before in his book, apocryphal New Testament writes, in the late 19th century, passively unaware of the discovery of the Gospel of Barnabas does not fall in that basic temptation and does not, for example, use the same term like this gospel was forgery.
Despite of this, we find that some writers after the English translation, the one I have here, has been made available of the Gospel of Barnabas where perhaps a little bit more cautious than that writers.
I made reference previously to see Melcher, for example, when he said, the existence of the list in the list of forbidden books of the Gospel of Barnabas benefits us seems a bit more scholarly and cautious because it doesn't have evidence to present in favor of a forgery backwards as does not mean first, it means it's changed. I mean, it's maybe that's part of history that was lost and just discovered that he doesn't take a commitment on that. He goes even beyond that. And in his book, also New Testament, apocrypha, Volume One on page 47 indicates that in the senate of any meaning,
that he says, quote, which was convened by the Emperor Constantine, as son of Constantine, then from then and now and forever, set to books, and of course, and he mentioned
the gospel under the name of Barnabas. The basic question in all of this discussion dealing with all of this documentation is why was that gospel condemned?
Why? Obviously, because it difference with the doctrines that has been established by the church, which they sought to reinforce, but not to say because it was written by renegades from Christianity to Islam, because many of those documents condemning the gospel took place before even the verse of Prophet Muhammad anybody knew about him as a prophet.
And that can really improve this program. You mentioned a new study, which was based on the Dead Sea Scrolls, which tends to authenticate the Gospel of Barnabas. Maybe you
I'd like to shed some light on this study. This is a very interesting one, I have a copy of that, again, I just tried to show it again. This is a study by ma usif,
published in 1985, by the American trust publication in Indianapolis, Indiana. And it's called the Dead Sea Scrolls the Gospel of Barnabas in the New Testament. And the researcher here
indicates that in 19, or as early as 1961, he was interested in the study of the scenes, a sect of Jews.
he tried to discover what exactly their attitudes or beliefs were. And he said that those people seem to fit best the description of the people of the Qumran in the Dead Sea area where the scrolls were discovered in 1947. And he says that through his study of a number of scholarly works on the Dead Sea Scrolls, he became familiar with the scenic terminology. And he says, One day, he happened to come across a copy of the Gospel of Barnabas, the one we have here. And he said, when he read it, he was struck by what he called the abundance of the cynic terminology in that gospel that led him to re evaluate the critique, or the criticism of the Gospel of Barnabas and those who tried to say
it's not authentic. And he says, and maybe I'll just conclude by reading directly from page five of his work, he says, quote,
when we read the Gospel of Barnabas with the Qumran scrolls, we find striking similarities between it and some of the beliefs expressed in the scrums. This fact alone forces want to say that integrity and authenticity, no other gospel can come close to the Gospel of Barnabas. If it were a forgery, as it is alleged, it would not be so rich in the cynic terminology of Jesus time. The Greek manuscripts are very poor in this area. The Qumran scrolls were not discovered until 1947. Therefore, no foragers, prior to the discovery and translation of the scrolls, could have known as cynic terminology in such abundance, when virtually nothing was known about them. The Gospel of
Barnabas, he says, can be easily traced back through tradition and historical documentation to the apostles Barnabas and Matthew, as this work will demonstrate. I think we'll have to pick up on this definitely a next week. Thank you very much for joining us you understand focus your questions and comments will be most appreciated. Our phone number and address will be appearing on your screen from all of us. Assalamu alaykum hope to see you next week, inshallah.