Channel: Jamal Badawi
Series: Jamal Badawi - Muhammad
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And welcome once again to a salmon focus, today's programming shala will be our 19th. In our series Mohammed, the last messenger of Allah May peace be upon him and our 13th on becoming of Muhammad peace be upon him as foretold by Jesus. And specifically we would like to discuss with continuation of the analysis of the Gospel of Barnabas, I'm your host, Shawnee Mission here once again from St. Mary's University is Dr. Jamal better we also like to make the journey.
Because we have a summary of last week's program, please Sure, we continue to discuss the various evidence derived from the Dead Sea Scrolls, which seems to indicate the antiquity of the Gospel of Barnabas, and that it actually goes back to the time of Christ peace be upon him, more specifically, the richness that we find in the Gospel of Barnabas in the scenic terminology, according to one study, the other issue which was quite striking, and relating to the coming of Prophet Muhammad, is that the scenes according to the Dead Sea Scrolls, were anticipating to messiahs and not one, an apparent reference to Jesus followed by Muhammad, peace be upon him. And we find again that this is
quite consistent with the Gospel of Barnabas that shows again, that it goes far back to the dates of Jesus peace be upon him.
And then we started to discuss the notion of the two messiahs as compared with what is mentioned in the New Testament in particularly in the Gospel of john the first chapter,
and noted that there's a great deal of similarity in the words that you find both in Barnabas and john, except that in one case, it is john the baptist, who say that he's preparing the way for one greater than him to come after him. Whereas in the Gospel of Barnabas, the identical or almost identical statement, is attributed to Jesus rather than to john the baptist to Jesus actually speaking about someone to come after him, which in that case, would be a reference to Prophet. I just like to add that, from reading the citations in the previous program. One is quite struck by the, the way in which Jesus speaks, as a prophet, with humidity, and with respect to a fellow
Prophet, Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, which is the character of all the prophets as brethren in the service of
mentioning that virtually identical
words have been attributed in one case to john the baptist. And the other case to Jesus May peace be upon him. Now, how do we know which version is may I say be more accurate, or the accurate? Okay, to begin with, we must keep in mind that both versions, at least agree in one central point. It speaks about a great person who is yet to come. But of course, the difference which is a major one, who is the speaker, Jesus or john the baptist? Now, to answer your question as to which version seem to be more accurate and authentic, which one might have been perhaps an interpretation, changing in the original, which, of course, is possible, at least theoretically, either way?
In order to answer that question, of course, it's not that very easy, but perhaps some analysis of both texts might shed some light
that might help answer that question. In other words, the main question here is, what is the degree of consistency of both virgins in the Gospel of john and the Gospel of Barnabas with respect to their particular references? Now, let me look now at the text in the Gospel of john the canonized gospel, chapter one.
Now, reading that particular chapter, especially verses 19 on there is a number of problems relating to consistency. At least there are three problems. First of all,
according to the New Testament,
there is more than one reference to john the baptist. The conclusion
Jesus that he recognized Jesus long time ago, as the long awaited person who was to come. Just examples, three examples of this.
In john 129, it says that john the baptist identify Jesus as the Lamb of God.
In Luke 322, we are told that at the time of baptism of Jesus, that the heavens were open in the the Holy Spirit, descended in the form of a dove, according to john 132. Also,
that means that john the baptist from the very beginning, should have recognized who Jesus was.
We are told even in the Gospel, according to Luke, that in chapter one, verses 41, through 44,
that john the baptist even recognized Jesus while he was still in the womb of his mother, and that he started to lead for joy when Mary came to visit Elizabeth.
So in other words, there's plenty of evidence that john the baptist has known and recognized Jesus from the very beginning, even in the form of his mother.
However, we are told in the Gospel, according to Luke, chapter seven, verse 19,
that in the very last days of the life of john the baptist, when he was in prison, before he was beheaded, that he sent emissaries to Jesus peace be upon him to ask him, Are you the one who is to come? Or shall we look for another? Now this is a measure of problem of consistency, in my humble understanding, how would john the baptist recognize who Jesus was a long time, even before Jesus started preaching,
or at least at the beginning of his ministry, at the time of baptism, and says about him that he ranks before him and was before him, got into the first chapter of john. And then towards the end of his life, he still doesn't know who Jesus was? And are you the one who was to come the waited a long awaited one, or not just like someone telling his wife after living with her for so many years, what is your name honey, for example, doesn't seem to click.
The second problem is that john the baptist speaks, according to john, chapter one, verse 29, about the long awaited Messiah. And he said that he is going to come after me. Now we have indicated in a previous program that Jesus did not really come after john the baptist, they were contemporaries. According to the Gospels, the difference in age between them was perhaps between five to six months, that's all they were cousins, they knew each other. So they were contemporaries D level, rather than someone longer waited or someone will come afterwards. A third problem is that in the Gospel, according to Matthew chapter two, verses 19, through 23,
we are taught that, while in Egypt, the Lord appears to the husband of Mary Joseph
in the sleep, and he told him that you should take the child, notice here the expression, the child, ie Jesus, peace, be upon him, and return with him to Israel. And that Georgia complied and he came back to Israel and made his home in Nazareth, so that
so as to fulfill what was said by the Lord through the prophets, that he will be called an answering.
And then in the verse immediately after that, the first verse in chapter three, Matthew, it says, in these days, in these days, john the baptist came to preach. Now, this text, and the kind of sequence, it suggests, raises at least two major problems. One, the text seems to indicate that when john the baptist began to preach in those days, it was the time when the child Jesus returned back from Egypt. And that is very difficult to understand, in view of the fact that the difference in age between john the baptist and Jesus was only a few months.
On this, we assumed that john the baptist began to preach when he was a child. Of course, that doesn't,
doesn't seem to register silly.
And the other problem is that the text according to Matthew, chapter two, verse 23, indicates that Joseph and Mary lived in the Nazareth, so that so as to fulfill what was said by the Lord through the prophet that she would be called naturing. And as we indicated also in the previous program in the previous series, that some biblical scholars like john symptom, for example, in to and in his books, and Matthew
says that there is nothing like that in the Old Testament. There is no known prophecy at all in the Old Testament that speaks about someone who is going to be called in answering. So that's again, another problem has to be
The accuracy or the consistency in general of the Virgin as we find in the Gospel of john. We've mentioned
some called inconsistencies in the Gospel of john, how about the Barnabas version? Is it free of this type of problem on that particular issue? My answers as far as I know, yes. First of all, there is no problem of contradiction at all about john the baptist recognizing Jesus and then later on, asking him whether he's the long awaited one or not, because according to the Bible, verse version, the speaker here is not john the baptist is Jesus Himself, speaking about what to come after him, and he actually gave his name Muhammad, according to the Gospel of Barnabas.
Secondly, in the Gospel of Barnabas, also there is no problem of inconsistency with respect to the age of Jesus and john the baptist, as we have just noted, there's no problem there.
Thirdly, there is no problem in the Gospel of Barnabas pertaining to the ambiguous statements that Christ will be called measuring, according to the Old Testament prophecies, because it doesn't exist. So there is no, there is no difficulty in that respect. It's all
that kind of analysis or comparison between both versions
is bound to lead us to two conclusions. One is that the prophecy about the coming of another person, in fact, was the words of Jesus, not john the baptist, as john mentioned in the Gospel, and that makes the story consistent and free from internal
The second conclusion is that the writers of the canonized gospels
probably attributed that prophecy, which was mentioned by Jesus, but they attributed to john the baptist, probably in order to support the particular theological positions, which was coming in this time, that Jesus peace be upon him is the climax and basically of prophethood, according to God believes he is God in flesh, God incarnate and the fulfillment of all of what the prophets has predicted. And that would be useful here to again, make a cross reference to a statement made by the biblical scholar recited before john Fenton, that he says that Matthew in particular is very obsessed to see all prophecies in the Old Testament being fulfilled in Jesus, whether it's, you
know, correct, pipe of interpretation, forced interpretation, he keep repeating, according to fintan, at least 10 times, this was to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophets. So this is one of the problems actually with the Gospel of Matthew. Now, if these two conclusions are reasonable, and I think they are reasonable, who is then that person about whom Jesus said, he is going to come after me, in order to show the truth to the followers of Jesus and to the world at large? I could not think of any candidates, but Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him, and that's what abandoned was actually mentioned this morning.
Are you implying then that the Gospel of Barnabas is free from any problem or any criticism? Not necessarily. I think that would be a claim if it's made. That might be, I should say, less than projected.
It's true that in some previous programs, we did discuss some of the major objections raised about Barnabas and accusation that it is forged and so on.
And I believe that we have effectively responded to those criticism and indicated that these are not really well founded and sometimes they are erroneous, that the assumptions made in them are erroneous.
But again, to be objective, I suppose that the critics of Barnabas are not satisfied with some or all of those responses.
Suppose there may be some other areas of criticism of the Gospel of Barnabas, such as Stein, some form of exaggeration that might have existed or even possible inconsistency is somewhere else. Suppose these difficulties even can be proven? I'm not sure they are, we have tried to do what we can about it. But suppose even you can prove that it is a flaw. And there is a flaw in the Gospel of Barnabas. How would that affect the importance of that document?
The answer to that question is very much related to an answer to similar questions also objectively and impartially, Christian to the four canonized gospels, or the New Testament or the Bible in general. In other words,
are we prepared also to reach the same issue and questions of perfection and say, all right,
how many gospels actually work?
in existence before these four were selected, we know that there were in dozens, what criteria were used to choose this for and reject the others? How convincing are those criteria? and by whom? And why. There is a great deal of blank in history about how certain are we even about the authorship of each of these four gospels, the places and dates of their writing? how certain are we about the original texts in the languages of their authors? Because what you have today, just the Greek translations, we don't know much about how these translations
came about how accurate they are in representing the original text. But more importantly, even Can anyone really make a claim objectively, of course, not dogmatically that any or all of these books are totally perfect, that they are also free from any criticism, by way of restating exaggerations in consistencies. Well what has been said about Barnabas by way of possibility even that some of these might exist, should also be said about the four canonized Gospels. But in my humble understanding, even
keeping in mind the impossibility of imperfection in either Barnabas or the four gospels, it seems that Barnabas occupies a very, very important position despite the fact that it was rejected and condemned over the centuries,
especially in the issue of presenting the
two pictures of Christ and His teaching and the prophecy of the one who was to succeed in Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him,
even in the absence of perfection,
be it in diviners, version or other. How do they compare and I'm just, you know, speaking relatively competitive sensory. Well. First of all, I should say that any detailed comparisons between the canonized Gospels and the Gospel of Barnabas is beyond the scope of this particular series. It actually in my humble understanding is a is a good topic for a dissertation by a theological students who need to take these documents and analyze them in detail. But I might just suggest six general remarks that might be useful in making comparisons. First of all,
that these two documents to begin with Gospel of Barnabas visa V, the canonized gospels, are not really, totally different. in every respect, that's not true. In fact, the narration of the greater parts of the incidence of what happened in the life of Jesus and what he taught and so on, are very, very similar, if not almost identical in some places. So we're not talking about something that came out of the blues versus something that has been there. There's a great deal of
common area there. Secondly, that some of the points even of difference between the Gospel of Barnabas and the canonized gospels are not in the words themselves, or the statements we have seen that, for example, in the john one, for example. But the difference may be as to who is the speaker, the Jesus or john the baptist.
A third observation is that even the most important differences between Barnabas and others, the things that relate to such beliefs as the deification of Jesus peace be upon him, is not really a difference. In a sense that in the canonized Gospel, Jesus explicitly say, I am God, or I am God incarnate. But Barnabas speaks about Jesus as a prophet and messenger, the difference is not there. Because even in the canonized gospel, there is no such explicit statement. But the difference really is between the words of Jesus whichever it's quoted here or there, and the interpretation, the interpretation of later followers and their opinions, which was a were influenced by the media of
their times and the kind of theology that developed after Jesus but never taught by him.
first observation is that many of those basic differences between the Gospel of Barnabas and what is interpreted from the canonized gospels, deification or Trinity, were themselves a subject of questioning and dispute within Christianity itself from the very early days, and then especially of course, from the beginning of the Age of Enlightenment. The fifth observation is that the narrations in Barnabas
is likely to solve many of the difficult theological problems of apparent inconsistencies which many of the biblical scholars refer to with respect to the canonized Gospels. In other words, it's resolved some of those slidden that has been there for a long time.
The sixth and final observation is that the Gospel of Barnabas,
in addition to the fact that it has relatively sincere questions, competitive, relatively higher, much higher degree of consistency and, you know,
simple and ease flow is also easy to understand. It is less confusing. It is far less in containing any arithmetic or other rhythms that are very difficult to comprehend. because of these reasons combined and possibly others, I believe that the Gospel of Barnabas is indeed an important document that is really worth you have much more care and study by the scholarly community, rather than the attitude that has been shown by someone so far, by dismissing it offhand as a forgery and not even paying sufficient attention to its contents, analyzing it.
It appears that the main reason whites it has been dismissed that simplistically is that it contains the prophecy of the advent of Prophet Mohammed by name. Actually, this attitude was reflected by a Christian Egyptian scholar by the name of Colleen Shahada when he was making an introduction to the Arabic translation of the Gospel of Barnabas. And he said something to the effect that because the gospel mentioned the coming of Prophet Mohammed by name, it must be fortunately.
I mean, that's not a very scholarly way of doing it. Maybe it's true. Why dismiss it? Simply because if it happened to mention the name of Prophet Mohammed, why not dismiss also other prophecies in the Bible that spoke about the coming of Jesus? Because it mentioned Jesus, would you would you accept a Jewish statement to that effect? So I think it's worthy of more study. It's it's fascinating and very interesting
document that has not
been subjected to sufficient scholarly study?
Is it possible
that maybe the Gospel of Barnabas might have been absolutely original gospel containing the true teachings of Jesus May peace be upon him, again, to try as much as humanly to maintain objectivity and impartiality?
I can't make a definitive statement to that effect. However, there are some historical data and information that might give some clues to this particular issue.
Some Christian, early Christian historians
saying that in the year 478, so that's we talk about the fifth century, long time before the verse of Prophet Muhammad even
that the relics of the apostle Barnabas were discovered in Cyprus.
And they add that when the grave or the tomb of
St. Barnabas was discovered in Cyprus, they found laying on his breasts, a copy of the gospel, which Matthew wrote, by his hand.
The reference to that was made by Yusef in his study, and the reference is born and Bo n, a n d. Bolland. It's called ACTA sanctorum, published meant in 68 pages for 20 to 450.
The interesting question here is this,
that they say that this gospel discovered in the fifth century on the breast, or the budget of St. Barnabas?
Is that really? Or was that as they say, the gospel that Matthew wrote?
Or is it a gospel that you presented a joint work of Matthew and Barnabas? Or is it possibly the Gospel of Barnabas but was wrongly identified as one written by Matthew?
The difficulty here is is that the loss of that very important discovery? That gospel makes the answer to that question, any definitive answers? Impossible. But again, there are some helpful hints.
According to the famous Christian historian Eusebius, the Bishop of Syria in his very classic work, which is known to students of theology, ecclesiastical history, in
Book number three, page 39.
You see B is an early Christian historian, indicate that Matthew wrote his gospel to begin with in Hebrew, or Aramaic, and Hebrew, and not in Greek, and that later writers of that gospel, try to interpret that gospel, the original Hebrew, everyone according to his own ability. Now when you put this speech
pieces of information together, it seems to indicate
that or raise a number of extremely interesting questions. First of all,
is the Gospel of Matthew that was written in Hebrew,
the same one, if it is the same, or contains the same information as we find today, in the Greek versions of the Gospel of Matthew,
or are their contents different, and possibly their authors even different, even though both of them might have that might have been mercy on them.
Now, if they were exactly the same thing, it was same content, the Greek and Hebrew Gospel of Matthew are the same suppose Why, then, was Barnabas buried maybe according to His will, with a gospel on his own breast, which carries ideas different from his own ideas as a Unitarian Christian, as one who believed in absolute humanity of Jesus? And did not believe in the notion of God?
Why would he do that? And if the gospels are different,
or that gospel that was found on the breasts of Barnabas, was consistent with his ideas about Jesus as a human being and a great prophet and messenger of God. Why, and how was that document lost? In fact, anyone who would have been in religious position at that time would find that treasures, because now you get an original copy written in the original language in which Matthew spoke. And now, how could that disappeared all of a sudden, and the fifth century was that because the contents of that gospel might have represented a sort of threat
to the well established doctrines that the or dogmas of the church, and as such, it was necessary that its contents must be,
you know, hidden, must disappeared?
Actually, it indicates that if the Gospel of Matthew, indeed,
in Hebrew, was the basis of the Greek copies that we have in museums today, they would have kept it as a vindication of the accuracy of the content of the Gospel of Matthew. But after all, the main question, why should Barnabas when He is buried, carry on his breast? another gospel, even though we know that he has written a gospel on his own, why don't put his own gospel on his breast when he's very, especially if we know as we mentioned before that he says that Jesus actually peace be upon him, told him or asked him to write that gospel, that seems to lead us to the following conclusions. One is that this important relic that was discovered in Cyprus in the fifth century is not likely to
be the Hebrew original of the gospel, according to Matthew, which is now in our hand or his house disappeared, that one.
Secondly, that the relics probably is likely to be the work in which either Barnabas is a co author, or the sword author. Indeed, it could have been the Hebrew Bible, or the Hebrew Gospel of Barnabas, in the original language, it is likely also that before the death of Barnabas, many copies of his gospel were made for the use of the nazarenes. But historically, we know that many of them were killed in the year 64. They scattered all over the place. So during this chaotic time, of course, maybe some of the other copies might have been destroyed. And it is quite possible that the Italian version that was discovered in Holland first and then went to Austria, which is now still in the
Imperial library, in Vienna, was one of those early are based on one of those early copies of bandwidth. However, we cannot really say with 100% certitude that the Gospel of Barnabas was the original and true gospel, I would say, to be more cautious, it is very likely to be so thank you very much, Dr. Berry, and thank you all for joining us here in this time and focus. Our phone number and address will be appearing on your screen. We would appreciate any questions or any comments you may have from all of us. Assalamu alaikum. Hope to see you next week, inshallah.