Headlines proclaimed: 

1500 Year Old Bible Confirms That Jesus Christ Was Not Crucified - Vatican in Awe. Note 1

1500 year-old 'Syriac' Bible found in Ankara, Turkey: Vatican in shock! Note 2

Pope resigns due to hidden Gospel of Barnabas? Note 3

So what is the truth regarding this so-called Bible or Gospel of Barnabas?  Is this a ground breaking find that shakes the very foundation of Christianity as these headlines infer?  The reality does not live up to the hype.

This manuscript, based on what can be seen in it, is not anywhere near 1500 years old (the style of writing, with vowel pointers, being post 8th century A.D.), plus a line in it stating "in the year 1500 of our Lord Jesus Christ," along where it was written.  This document, only about 500 years old, was written by monks in a monastery in Nineveh (today's Mosul, Iraq), likely related to the Assyrian Church of the East (written in Eastern Syriac).   The Syriac language, the language of Jesus, has continued to be used, with some modifications, by some branches of the church in the Middle East to this day - so the language of the document means nothing and is no indicator of age.

The Muslim (and very anti-Christian) Turkish government had a vested interest in the media coverage of the "find" of this so-called "Gospel of Barnabas."   Take note that it is not a Bible, nor is it part of a Bible, rather a separate work. If verified as authentic (and the document has not been) it is perhaps the oldest known copy of this work.   The first known copy of this document appeared in Holland in 1709 and was written in Italian and had foot notes in poor Arabic (and it still can be seen in the Imperial museum in Vienna).  Since that time, many Muslims have claimed it to be an authentic and original gospel.  The early translators into English (1907) compiled a list of reasons (internal and external evidence Note 4) that this document was a Medieval forgery (which they included in the introduction).  Later reprinting's and subsequent Arabic translations have omit this introduction, some of the latter adding an introduction from an Islamic point of view.  Muslims like to use this so-called gospel as proof that the Bible was corrupted and the true gospel was hidden away for almost two millennia. 

This "gospel" reveals:

    1. Jesus Christ is not the Son of God and not divine

    2. Jesus is a messenger preparing the way for a later Messiah, Mohammed. Note 5

    3. Jesus is not crucified, Judas dies in his place.

    4. Jesus was taken directly to heaven from a house in the Garden of Gethsemane, through the window, by four archangels into heaven.

Numerous historical errors are intertwined in this invented account. Note 6

Muslims claim that that this (1709 version) of the gospel of Barnabas must be an early document because Pope Gelasius (Circa 492-495 A.D.) issued a decree that ten apocryphal writings under the names of other Biblical figures (such as Thomas, Bartholomew, Andrew, etc.) along with one under the name of Barnabas were all to be rejected (as Gnostic and Pseudepigraphal works).   Some cite a view other possible references to an early book of Barnabas (none earlier than the 4th century A.D.), some of which are quite dubious. Note 7 These early references to a Book of Barnabas are said to be of a work originally composed in Greek. 

It is quite likely that there was a 4th century book of Barnabas composed in Greek.  By this time a number of Gnostic Pseudepigrapha were in circulation by people who had taken pagan ideas and blended them with Christianity and composed numerous forgeries in an effort to spread their ideas.  BUT, this (1709) Gospel of Barnabas, and if it is the same and authentic (still to be proven), this (1500) Gospel of Barnabas, show no evidence of having been translated out of the Greek language.  Basically someone in a later time frame made a new forgery with a purpose of having it accepted as an older work because an unknown document was said to have circulated under that name a millennium or so earlier.

Why a new forgery, whether in the 18th century or 16th century (even if this manuscript is found to be authentic)?  Muslims wanted a "gospel" to serve their purposes, even as the Gnostics did a millennia before. Note 8  This is why they would want people to gullibly believe that this new find is 1500 years old, rather than something from 1500 A.D.  Sadly, millions of Muslims believe the propaganda (and many non-Muslims too).


1. 1500 year Old Bible Confirms That Jesus Christ Was Not Crucified - Vatican In Awe.  Moorish Harem, April 28, 2014.  Excerpt:

1500-2000 year old bible was found in Turkey... the book contains the Gospel of Barnabas - a disciple of Christ - which shows that Jesus was not crucified, nor was he the son of God, but a Prophet.  The book also calls Apostle Paul "The Impostor".  The book also claims that Jesus ascended to heaven alive, and that Judas Iscariot was crucified in his place. ...  The text maintains a vision similar to Islam, contradicting the New Testament's teachings of Christianity.   Jesus also foresees the coming of the Prophet Muhammad, who would found Islam 700 years later.

Screen Grab

2. 1500 year-old 'Syriac' Bible found in Ankara, Turkey: Vatican in Shock!  National Turk, February 23, 2012.  Excerpt:

Turkish police testified in a court hearing they believe the manuscript in (sic) the bible could be about 1500 to 2000 years old.

Screen Grab

3. Pope resigns due to hidden Gospel of Barnabas?  The Washington Times Communities, February 24, 2013.   Excerpt:

... Nader Talebzadeh, an Iranian journalist and film director, told an audience at Imam Khomeini International University the real reason for the Pope's resignation. ...  Talebzadeh claims that the truth behind the Pope's surprise announcement is related to a book most of our readers have probably never heard of.   "A gospel named the Gospel of Barnabas, which recognizes the prophet of Islam, which Christianity claims to be fake, is the reason [for the Pope's resignation]. ...  It is a gospel in which the name of Islam's prophet has been mentioned many times."

4. Example 1: All quotations of Scriptures in this (1709) Gospel of Barnabas are from the Latin Vulgate (translated circa 380 A.D.), a few centuries after the time of Barnabas who they claim actually wrote this "gospel."

Example 2: In the "gospel" there is an account of a duel between two rival lovers, yet this type of chivalry was an invention of Medieval society.

Example 3: The text mentions a denarius as being made up of 60 minuti, yet these gold coins were used only in Spain under the Muslim Khalif Abdul Malik (circa 685 A.D.).

5. Mohammed is mentioned by name numerous times in the book, as though prophetically revealed 6 centuries in advance.

6. One example: It says that Jesus was born when Pilate was governor, but in fact Pilate only became governor between A.D. 26 and 27, shortly before Jesus was crucified, not born.

7.  One legend they cite is that a copy of the Gospel of Barnabas was found in the arms of Barnabas when his tomb was discovered in Cyprus (circa 478 A.D.).  The legend they offer says that Barnabas appeared in a vision to the Bishop of Salanus (Cyprus) and said: "You will find a cave and a coffin, because there my whole body has been preserved and a Gospel written in my own hand."  Muslims have actually dropped the ending of the legend, it ends with the words "Which I received from the Holy Apostle and Evangelist Matthew."  If the legend is true, it does not support the Muslim view of the Gospel of Barnabas as the legend references Barnabas being buried with a gospel he recorded on behalf of Matthew, which would be the Gospel of Matthew!"

The "Decretum Gelasianum" cites the following (excerpt, my comments in square parenthesis):

HERE BEGINS THE DECRETAL 'ON BOOKS TO BE RECEIVED AND NOT TO BE RECEIVED' WHICH WAS WRITTEN BY POPE GELASIUS AND SEVENTY MOST ERUDITE BISHOPS AT THE APOSTOLIC SEAT IN THE CITY OF ROME   [This begins in section III, first listing some books worthy of being read but not considered to be Scriptures, then continues...]

V. The remaining writings which have been compiled or been recognised by heretics or schismatics the Catholic and Apostolic Roman Church does not in any way receive; of these we have thought it right to cite below a few which have been handed down and which are to be avoided by catholics:


[Seven works listed here, then...]

the Gospel in the name of Barnabas                     apocryphum 

[55 more appearing in this chart, plus a few more in a sentence.  All noted as apocrypha, pseudepigrapha: "in the name of" or "prefixed with the name of", or "forged"]   

8. Numerous Muslim beliefs, lining up directly to the Qur'an (alt. Koran), are intertwined through the Gospel of Barnabas.  Three quick examples:

Example 1: The Muslim concept of "the Book": It has the angel Gabriel presenting to Jesus a book.  This corresponds very well with Surahs 5:49 and 2:97.

Example 2: It has Jesus praying five times a day in accordance with specific Muslim prayer times.

Example 3: God is said to be the God of Abraham, Ishmael and Isaac.


By Brent MacDonald/LTM 2014