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The Anatomy of Pseudo Barnabas Mistakes: Part 1

The Curse of the Evangelists: Confusion and contradiction Masud Masihiyyen An unknown figure of the medieval period that had his peculiar reasons to betray his Christian faith decided to devise a new Gospel compatible with the Islamic creed and tradition and attributed his forgery to the Apostle Barnabas, naming his fake writing the Gospel of Barnabas. Although we cannot know with certainty the real name of the author, we know that he had never read the Islamic scripture in his lifetime, but based his partlyIslamic propaganda on the Islamic traditions concerning Christianity and Judaism. While penning a Gospel that would challenge and rival the canonical scriptures of Christianity and cast doubt upon the reliability of the Christian creed, fake Barnabas chose a strategy that would be both beneficial and detrimental to him: using the canonical Gospels and some other writings of the New Testament as his primary source and framework. Apart from the cultural and linguistic problems reflecting its anachronistic nature and medieval environment, some of the errors detected in this forgery are a result of the authors inevitable dependence on the material drawn from the canonical Christian scripture. We can liken the author of this forgery to a naughty kid that played with fire and burned himself. All of the errors that we shall analyze in this article stemmed from Pseudo-Barnabas reckless distortion of the canonical Gospels. While tampering with the original texts and narratives, he also tried to unite differing accounts by working them into one single volume, which caused him more trouble because reconciling some accounts necessitated the deletion or replacement of some others in accordance with his dream of creating a perfect and Islamic Gospel. The examination of Pseudo-Barnabas mistakes reveals that his eagerness to counter the canonical Gospels and make some corrections in them for the sake of his theory impelled him to make more mistakes. Thus, the very mistakes that stemmed from the correction and improvement of the supposedly fallacious and weak narratives in the four Gospels depict Pseudo-Barnabas as a person who was punished by God in return for his tampering with the original and inspired scriptures. In this respect, there will be nothing wrong with drawing a parallelism between Muhammad and Pseudo-Barnabas, both of whom not only plagiarized from Christian sources, but also modified the borrowed material during incorporation into their scripture. In Muhammads case, it was the apocryphal writings of Christianity that were changed and adapted whilst in Pseudo-Barnabas case the canonical scriptures of Christianity. Both these figures invented new and falsified accounts that aimed to repudiate and replace basic Christian doctrines while struggling to devise an error-free narrative through the removal of some parts that seemed troublesome and irreconcilable with their teachings. As we discussed at length in our article concerning the source and structure of Surah 19, the writers of the apocryphal Gospels, figuratively speaking, imposed a curse on Muhammad and his scripture, which compelled the new Islamic version of the narratives to contain absurdities

and errors. The same is valid for Pseudo-Barnabas work, which is replete with errors and anomalies due to the curse imposed on him by the four Evangelists. Betrayal of textual coherence: The contradiction concerning the route of Jesus mission While penning his forgery, fake Barnabas sometimes borrowed more than enough material from the canonical Gospels in an effort to convince his reader that his writing was the original text that the other Evangelists plagiarized from. He had the same motive for collecting differing accounts from the canonical Gospels and presenting them in a unified form through the elimination of the differences in details. These were natural things that a crafty writer would be expected to do while producing a fake copy of the scriptures in order to make his version seem original. However, this strategy became detrimental to PseudoBarnabas since he did not take into account the significance of textual coherence. The Evangelists were individually inspired to commit the Gospel to writing in a way peculiar to them. This is why they gave priority to the textual unity of their writings and tried to apply coherence within their respective texts before caring about the differences that would occur in the narration of an incident or worrying about the possibility that another Evangelist would record the same account in quite a different way. For example, in the Gospel of Luke the theme of traveling from Galilee to Judea with a religious motive is dominant even in the accounts of Jesus nativity and infancy. Right after the annunciation, Jesus mother departed from Nazareth and went to the hill country of Judea to visit her relative Elizabeth (1:39-40). Likewise, Joseph and Mary lived in Nazareth, but went to Jerusalem on two different occasions to observe religious rituals in the Temple (2:22 and 41-42). More, in the Gospel of Luke Jerusalem, which is in Judea, is highlighted as Jesus final destination more than in the other synoptic Gospels. It is most likely due to this reason that in Luke, unlike in Matthew, Jesus third and final temptation is said to have taken place in Jerusalem (4:1-13, compare this with Matthew 4:1-11). Similarly, only Luke records the detailed information that during Jesus transfiguration Moses and Elijah talked with Him about His Exodus that would occur in Jerusalem (9:3031). Again, it is not surprising to see that the pair of Galilee and Jerusalem occurs in Jesus warnings about the fate of sinners (13:1-4) and that this material is peculiar to Luke. Finally, Luke is the only Evangelist to lay emphasis on the stages of Jesus journey to Jerusalem, which binds the journey to the mission of salvation (13:31-33). In accordance with these data peculiar to Luke, we read in Lukes Gospel alone that the crowds provoked by the Jewish religious authorities were aware of the stages of Jesus journey and His route, for they said: He incites the people by teaching throughout all Judea. It started in Galilee and ended up here! (Luke 23:5)1 Although not present in the other canonical Gospels, this particular statement referring to the starting point of Jesus mission is true and in line with what all the other Evangelists recorded. Even John the Apostle, whose Gospel differs from the others because of the teaching that Jesus had been to Jerusalem a few times before His final entrance into the city

on the occasion of the Passover, confirmed that Jesus performed His first miracle in Galilee (2:1-11). Pseudo-Barnabas, on the other hand, disregarded all these consistent teachings and argued that Jesus prophetic ministry started and continued in Jerusalem until the time He returned to Galilee on the occasion of His first visit to Nazareth. This is in sharp contrast to the following data given in the canonical Gospels: 1. Jesus was baptized by John in the Jordan River and the Holy Spirit descended on Him in the form of a dove. (Matthew 3:13-17, Mark 1:9-11, Luke 3:1-18, John 1: 19-28) 2. Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, where He fasted for forty days and was tempted by Satan. (Matthew 4:1-11, Mark 1:12-13, Luke 4: 1-13) 3. Jesus left Judea and returned to Galilee when He found out that John the Baptist had been cast into prison. (Matthew 4:12, Mark 1:14) 4. Jesus performed His first miracle by turning water into wine during a wedding in Galilee. (John 2:1-11) The writer of the medieval forgery tried to replace the chronological data in the canonical Gospels with his concocted and faulty chronology: 1. Jesus went up to Mount Olives with His mother on the occasion of gathering some olives (what a trivial reason preparing the occasion of the divine manifestation!). (10) 2. The Book of Prophecy descended into Jesus heart in the form of a shining mirror. (10) 3. On His way back from the mount Jesus performed His first miracle by healing a leper. (11) 4. Right after healing a leper, Jesus went to the Temple to deliver His first sermon. (12) 5. Jesus was led to Mount Olives by Gabriel for another heavenly vision. (13) 6. Jesus left Jerusalem and went to the farther side of Jordan, where He fasted for forty days and was tempted in the wilderness. (14) 7. At the end of the temptation Jesus returned to Jerusalem and chose the twelve. (14) 8. Jesus turned water into wine in Jerusalem. (15) 9. Jesus gave His Sermon on the Mount in Jerusalem. (16-19) 10. Jesus went to Galilee and visited His hometown (Nazareth). (20) In short, in the work of Pseudo-Barnabas, Jesus delivered His first sermon and wrought His first miracle in Jerusalem rather than in Galilee. As a result of a curse imposed on him by Luke, while re-writing the canonical narratives of Jesus passion and plagiarizing from them for distortion, fake Barnabas forgot about the vital difference between his forgery and the teachings of the canonical Gospels with regard to the starting point and route of Jesus ministry and produced the following sentences: Judas answered: I have told you that I am Judas Iscariot, who promised to give into your hands Jesus the Nazarene; and ye, by what art I know not, are beside yourselves, for ye will have it by every means that I am Jesus. The high priest answered: O perverse seducer, thou hast deceived all Israel, beginning from Galilee even unto Jerusalem here, with thy doctrine and false miracles: and now thinkest thou to flee the merited punishment that befitteth thee by feigning to be mad? (GOB 217)2

Obviously, the statement uttered by the high priest in Pseudo-Barnabas is the slightly modified form of the following verse in Luke: He incites the people by teaching throughout all Judea. It started in Galilee and ended up here! (Luke 23:5) As a foolish and careless writer, spurious Barnabas borrowed a sentence recorded by Luke and incorporated it into his forgery without realizing that it would not be in line with his peculiar and contradictory teaching concerning the starting point of Jesus ministry. Since Pseudo-Barnabas asserted that Jesus began teaching His doctrines and making His miracles in Jerusalem instead of Galilee, the high priests statement in view seems awkward and makes no sense. Here we see fake Barnabas as a person who suffered from short memory and made a mistake due to borrowing too much from Luke, being unable to understand that Luke 23:5 would not be compatible with his earlier contention about the spatial peculiarities of Jesus ministry. Combination of different accounts and people: Simon the Pharisee replaced with Simon the Leper According to the accounts in the canonical Gospels, Jesus was anointed twice: a) An unnamed woman of bad reputation anointed Jesus feet in Simon the Pharisees house. (Luke 7:36-50) b) Lazarus sister Mary anointed Jesus head prior to the week of His passion and death in Simon the Lepers house. (Matthew 26:6-13, Mark 14:3-9, John 12:1-8) Some Christians, however, started to consider these two separate incidents identical or at least related (sequential) due to the apparent similarities of the elements they contained. In both cases Jesus was anointed by a woman and in the house of a man named Simon. Despite the fact that these two narratives employed a totally different theme (the theme of Jesus compassion in the former versus the theme of Jesus burial in the latter) and the implausibility of the allegation that a Pharisee would be called a leper, the Church tradition in the West, unlike that of the Greeks and the other Eastern Churches, tended to identify the unnamed woman in Luke 7:36-50 as Lazarus sister Mary from Bethany. This process of combination and assimilation later involved Mary Magdalene since her name appeared in the narrative following the story of the sinful woman in Luke: Some time afterward he went on through towns and villages, preaching and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God. The twelve were with him, and also some women who had been healed of evil spirits and disabilities: Mary (called Magdalene), from whom seven demons had gone out, and Joanna the wife of Cuza (Herods household manager), Susanna, and many others who provided for them out of their own resources. (Luke 8:1-3) As a result, the Roman Church jumped into the conclusion that Mary Magdalene was the same person as both Lazarus sister and the repentant sinful woman whose salvation is recorded by Luke in 7:36-50 (source). This tendency to work the three separate women in view into one single person naturally became so dominant in the medieval era that even Pseudo-Barnabas included it into his forgery, doing his best to convince the reader that the two incidents of Jesus anointing by a woman were sequential and carried out by Mary

Magdalene, the sister of Lazarus and Martha! To see how fake Barnabas presented a traditional and speculative teaching of the Roman Church as an indispensable and official doctrine of apostolic origin, the following passages should be read: And having said this, Jesus prayed, lifting up his hands to the Lord, and the people said: So be it! So be it! When he had finished his prayer he descended from the pinnacle. Whereupon there were brought unto him many sick folk whom he made whole, and he departed from the temple. Thereupon Simon, a leper whom Jesus had cleansed, invited him to eat bread. The priests and scribes, who hated Jesus, reported to the Roman soldiers that which Jesus had said against their gods. For indeed they were seeking how to kill him, but found it not, because they feared the people. Jesus, having entered the house of Simon, sat down to the table. And while he was eating, behold a woman named Mary, a public sinner, entered into the house, and flung herself upon the ground behind Jesus feet, and washed them with her tears, anointed them with precious ointment, and wiped them with the hairs of her head. (GOB 129) Whereupon, as they sat at meat, lo! Mary, who wept at the feet of Jesus, entered into the house of Nicodemus (for that was the name of the scribe), and weeping placed herself at the feet of Jesus, saying: Lord, thy servant, who through thee hath found mercy with God, hath a sister, and a brother who now lieth sick in peril of death. Jesus answered: Where is thy house? Tell me, for I will come to pray God for his health. Mary answered: Bethany is the home of my brother and my sister, for my own house is Magdala: my brother, therefore, is in Bethany. Said Jesus to the woman: Go thou straightway to thy brothers house, and there await me, for I will come to heal him. And fear thou not, for he shall not die. The woman departed, and having gone to Bethany found that her brother had died that day, wherefore they laid him in the sepulchre of their fathers. (GOB 192) While Jesus was supping with his disciples in the house of Simon the leper, behold Mary the sister of Lazarus entered into the house, and, having broken a vessel, poured ointment over the head and garment of Jesus. (GOB 205) Evidently, fake Barnabas produced a patchwork by drawing material from different canonical narratives in a foolish attempt to re-shape the Gospel in accordance with the traditional teachings of the Roman Church concerning Mary Magdalenes identity and to provide a more unified and consistent Gospel so as to replace the supposedly contradictory and divided evangelical accounts. This kind of a reconciliation of the canonical Christian scriptures compelled spurious Barnabas to claim that Jesus was anointed by the same woman twice in the same location (Simon the Lepers house). Thus, medieval Barnabas was crafty enough to replace Simon the Pharisee in the original account of Luke (7:36-50) with Simon the Leper, knowing that the two Evangelists (Matthew and Mark) referred to a leper named Simon, who was never mentioned by Luke. In his reasoning, Luke made a mistake and caused a discrepancy when he referred to Simon as a Pharisee rather than a leper, for the relation between the two incidents of anointing stipulated that they have taken place in the same persons house. Luke the Evangelist was definitely unaware of both fake Barnabas expectations and faulty reasoning and the assumptions of the Roman Church regarding the name of the repentant harlot anointing Jesus since he never intended to associate this particular account with the accounts of Jesus unction in Bethany recorded by the other Evangelists.3 More to the point, Simon was a very common name in Israel, but the most effective side of the narrative in Luke

7:36-50 was the set of contrasts stressed by Jesus Himself between Simon and the repentant harlot on the basis of their love towards Him. Simons being a leper would not make any contribution to the effectiveness of this story whilst his being a Pharisee would make the contrasts more meaningful. Pharisees were generally depicted in the canonical Gospels as religious authorities considering themselves righteous and criticizing Jesus for His merciful approach to the sinners. It was by no means a coincidence that Luke had highlighted the same contrast between Pharisees and sinners with regard to the notion of salvation through repentance while quoting Jesus discourse on John the Baptist and inserted this account right before that of the repentant harlots salvation in a Pharisees house: (Now all the people who heard this, even the tax collectors, acknowledged Gods justice, because they had been baptized with Johns baptism. However, the Pharisees and the experts in religious law rejected Gods purpose for themselves, because they had not been baptized by John.) (Luke 7:29) For John the Baptist has come eating no bread and drinking no wine, and you say, He has a demon! The Son of Man has come eating and drinking, and you say, Look at him, a glutton and a drunk, a friend of tax collectors and sinners! But wisdom is vindicated by all her children. (Luke 7:33-35) Now one of the Pharisees asked Jesus to have dinner with him, so he went into the Pharisees house and took his place at the table. Then when a woman of that town, who was a sinner, learned that Jesus was dining at the Pharisees house, she brought an alabaster jar of perfumed oil. (Luke 7:36-37) Similarly, the three parables emphasizing the significance of repentance and the salvation of sinners (the parable of the lost sheep, lost coin, and the prodigal son) are recorded only by Luke along with the Pharisees objection to Jesus eating with the tax collectors and sinners (Luke 15:1-31). The narrative of the repentant harlot and that of the repentant tax collector named Zacchaeus, which occur only in Lukes Gospel (19:1-10), may also be linked to Jesus parable recorded in Matthew 21:28-32, which was meant to rebuke the religious leaders of Israel for their lack of faith in John the Baptist and highlight the significance of repentant sinners salvation. Strikingly, this parable bears thematic similarities to Jesus discourse and teachings in Matthew 11:7-19 and Luke 7:24-35. One of the major differences is that in Matthew 21:28-32, Jesus talks particularly of the tax collectors and prostitutes while referring to two major groups of people that were considered foremost sinners in Israel although in the other instances He simply talks of the tax collectors and sinners. This kind of a usage is apparently linked to the repentant womans identification as a sinner in Luke 7:37, the narrative containing a few elements that implicitly associate her sins with prostitution. These points prove not only that the Gospels were textually coherent both within themselves and one with another, but also that Simons designation as a Pharisee in Luke 7 was crucial and meaningful for the integrity of the Gospel narratives. Pseudo-Barnabas, on the other hand, disregarded all these remarkable points and turned Simon the Pharisee into Simon the Leper in an irrational effort to reconcile and combine independent narratives, failing to maintain in his forgery the significant contrast between a religious leader and a repentant sinners attitude towards Jesus.

Finally, replacing Simon the Pharisee with Simon the Leper condemned fake Barnabas to another serious mistake that undermined his basic allegation concerning the historicity and apostolic origin of his Gospel. Mary Magdalenes traditional and speculative designation as the sinful woman in Luke 7:37 in the West dates back to the papal reign of St. Gregory the Dialogist. Orthodox Wiki provides the following information on Mary Magdalenes confusion with the other women of the New Testament and ascribes this traditional view to Pope Gregory the Great: Frederica Mathewes-Green writes: She is not Mary of Bethany (a city south of Jerusalem), the sister of Martha and Lazarus, who anointed Jesus head. She is not the prostitute who anointed Jesus feet and wiped them with her hair. These two understandably get confused, and historically in the West all three women are lumped together under Mary Magdalenes name, a confusion continued in the Last Temptation of Christ, The Da Vinci Code, and other works. Karen Rae Keck writes: St. Gregory the Dialogist (Pope Gregory the Great) is believed to have begun the tradition in the Western Church, not accepted in the Eastern Church, which identified St. Mary with the sinful woman in the seventh chapter of Luke. (Source) Pope Gregory the Great (aka Gregory the Dialogist) remained in the papal office from 590 till his death in 604 (*), and these dates suffice to rebut the basic allegation in the Gospel of Barnabas that it was penned by Barnabas the Apostle, who lived in the first century. True Barnabas would not have been aware of a speculative teaching that would come to existence five centuries after him! This gross example of anachronism is one of the several elements that cost Pseudo-Barnabas his credibility. Funnily enough, Pseudo-Barnabas walked in the footsteps of Muhammad, whom he mistakenly proclaimed the Messiah descended from Ishmael, when he attempted to correct and reconcile the Christian scriptures by assimilating one account to another on the basis of a few similarities between them. Muhammad, fake Barnabas false Messiah, had tried to do the same thing some centuries before the medieval forgery came into existence and struggled to replace Jesus true Gospel with his new version of the stories about Christ in his Quran. Although Muhammad and spurious Barnabas plagiarized from and distorted different kind of material (the former drew heavily from non-canonical Christian literature whilst the latter from canonical Christian writings!), they at the end invented a new version that contained many mistakes and was inferior to the original. In short, they ironically fell into error and burned their hands while endeavoring to correct and improve the writings of the Christian faith. Falling into error while struggling to reconcile and correct the supposedly inconsistent accounts: Judas Iscariots conferring with the Jewish leaders Pseudo-Barnabas thought that some Gospel narratives needed corrections and improvement and that his forgery would perfectly reconcile the differing accounts and clear all doubts and questions about them. This he did particularly while talking of Judas Iscariot and his betrayal. Unlike Matthew, Mark, and Luke, fake Barnabas taught that Judas conversed with the Jewish religious figures three times about betraying Jesus and handing Him over to them. The vital question that must be posed here is what drove Pseudo-Barnabas to make Judas Iscariot confer with the Jewish priests specifically three times in his medieval forgery and what kind of absurdities his new version of the story caused.

According to the Gospel of Barnabas, Judas Iscariot went to the Jewish religious figures for the first time when Jesus fled from Israel after a miracle (142). This particular account, which is missing from the canonical Gospels, is actually a fabrication devised by Pseudo-Barnabas in an effort to give information on the motives of Judas Iscariots betrayal with the help of the material drawn from Johns Gospel. It is noteworthy that medieval Barnabas mostly made use of the material about Judas Iscariot in Johns Gospel, who stressed Judas treacherous character more than the other Evangelists by recording Jesus harsh critique of Judas actions even prior to his treason. For instance, John recorded that Jesus had once identified Judas Iscariot as the devil: Jesus replied, Didnt I choose you, the twelve, and yet one of you is the devil? (Now he said this about Judas son of Simon Iscariot, for Judas, one of the twelve, was going to betray him.) (John 6:70-71) Judas Iscariots depiction as the devil by Jesus took place at the end of His discourse on the Bread of Life (John 6:25-70), which had been preceded by and thematically related to Jesus miraculously feeding a huge crowd (John 6:1-13). Pseudo-Barnabas plagiarized this account from John not without major modifications. To compare and contrast: In Johns Gospel:

A large crowd followed Jesus because they witnessed the miraculous signs He wrought on sick people. (6:2) Jesus fed the huge crowd miraculously.(6:5-13) Some people from the crowd wanted to appoint Jesus their king because of His latest miracle, as a result of which Jesus left even His disciples and withdrew to the mountain. People looked for Him. (6:15, 24) Jesus went to Capernaum and gave His Sermon on the Bread of Life. (6:26-59) Some of Jesus disciples left Him, but the twelve remained. Jesus implicitly predicted Judas Iscariots betrayal when He said one of the twelve was the devil. (6:60-71)

In the Gospel of Barnabas

A huge crowd sought and found Jesus because they had no bread after worms had eaten all the corns. (138) Jesus miraculously caused an abundant harvest through prayer and fasting. (138) The people, having seen the miracle of harvest, wanted to catch and make Jesus their King, as a result of which Jesus left even His disciples and fled to Damascus (!) (138) Jesus was re-united with some of His disciples in Damascus. He predicted Judas Iscariots betrayal. (He referred to a host of devils preparing for Him) (139) Judas Iscariot conferred with the Jewish priests to betray Jesus because he lost his hope of becoming powerful when Jesus fled and did not want to become a king. (142)

The amazing links between John (6:1-70) and the medieval Gospel (chapters 138-142) show that even fake Barnabas inventions lacked originality as he relied heavily on the texts of the Evangelists for supposedly correcting and improving them.4 According to Pseudo-Barnabas, Judas Iscariot conferred with the Jewish religious authorities two more times until his supposed substitution for Jesus through a miracle of transformation. The narrative of Judas Iscariots second visitation to the Jewish high priest for betraying Jesus is mostly plagiarized from the Gospel of John (12:1-7) and combined with the Synoptic accounts of Judas conferring with the Jewish leaders right after Jesus is anointed in the house of Simon the Leper (Matthew 26:14-15, Mark 14:10-11). Everyone ate with fear, and the disciples were sorrowful, because they knew that Jesus must soon depart from them. But Judas was indignant, because he knew that he was losing thirty pieces of money for the ointment not sold, seeing he stole the tenth part of all that was given to Jesus. He went to find the high priest, who assembled in council of priests, scribes, and Pharisees; to whom Judas spake saying: What will ye give me, and I will betray into your hands Jesus, who would fain make himself king of Israel? They answered: Now how wilt thou give him into our hand? Said Judas: When I shall know that he goeth outside the city to pray I will tell you, and will conduct you to the place where he shall be found; for to seize him in the city will be impossible without a sedition. The high priest answered: If thou wilt give him into our hand we will give thee thirty pieces of gold and thou shalt see how well I will treat thee. (GOB 205) Interestingly, Pseudo-Barnabas said that Judas Iscariot went to the high priest for the third and last time to get some soldiers and lead them to the place where Jesus was with the eleven apostles: Judas, accordingly, knowing the place where Jesus was with his disciples, went to the high priest, and said: If ye will give me what was promised, this night will I give into your hand Jesus whom ye seek: for he is alone with eleven companions. The high priest answered: How much seekest thou? Said Judas, Thirty pieces of gold. Then straightway the high priest counted unto him the money, and sent a Pharisee to the governor to fetch soldiers, and to Herod, and they gave a legion of them, because they feared the people; wherefore they took their arms, and with torches and lanterns upon staves went out of Jerusalem. (GOB 214) Although the canonical Gospels related Jesus arrest by the soldiers who were accompanied by Judas Iscariot, they did not record the final conversation that occurred between the betraying apostle and the Jewish leaders unlike fake Barnabas, who produced the account above by duplicating Matthew 26:14-15 in a careless manner and caused an inconsistency. Of the four Evangelists, only Matthew stated the precise amount of the money given to Judas Iscariot by the Jewish authorities in return for his betrayal (26:14-15). Fake Barnabas inserted this particular detail into his narrative of Judas second visitation to the high priest in 205, but claimed that the payment was made during Judas third and final conversation. The comparison of the two dialogs between Judas Iscariot and the Jewish high priest in the Gospel of Barnabas, however, gives the impression that the high priest suffered from short memory, for he asked Judas how much money he wanted in 214 although he had previously determined how much money would be given to Judas in 205! This inconsistency is a result of fake Barnabas desire to reconcile Matthew 26:14-15 with Luke 22:4-5 through the

invention of a third account that necessitated Lukes dependence on Matthews text. As usual, this forceful reconciliation through careless combination betrayed medieval Barnabas efforts to devise an alternative and supposedly improved Gospel. Omission of the canonical sections and awkward transfers: Circumcision in the Temple One of the most bizarre and blatant mistakes of fake Barnabas Gospel appears in Jesus infancy narrative, which, as usual, seems like an edited and suited version of the canonical accounts. In a quite baffling manner, medieval Barnabas claimed that Jesus was taken by His parents to the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem on the eighth day of His birth for the ritual of circumcision: When the eight days were fulfilled according to the law of the Lord, as it is written in the book of Moses, they took the child and carried him to the temple to circumcise him. (GOB 5) This teaching is erroneous as the Book of Moses does not have a precept that obligates the circumcision of infants in the Temple. The lack of such an obligation enables us to conclude that Pseudo-Barnabas fabricated a rule and inserted it into the Mosaic Law, trying to distort the Hebrew Bible with the help of his systematic perversion of the New Testament writings. A closer analysis of the Torah with regard to the ritual of circumcision reveals that fake Barnabas did not only invent a religious prescription alien to the Law of the Lord, but also disregarded the divine commandment that implicitly forbade the circumcision of an infant in the Temple: The Lord spoke to Moses: Tell the Israelites, When a woman produces offspring and bears a male child, she will be unclean seven days, as she is unclean during the days of her menstruation. On the eighth day the flesh of his foreskin must be circumcised. Then she will remain thirty-three days in blood purity. She must not touch anything holy and she must not enter the sanctuary until the days of her purification are fulfilled. (Leviticus 12:1-4) In sharp contrast to what fake Barnabas taught, the Law of the Lord considered a woman ritually unclean and did not allow her to enter the sanctuary until the days of her purification, which occurred on the 40th day of the babys birth. How would it be possible for an apostle of Jesus who was chosen and commissioned to write the true Gospel to be ignorant of the biblical verses above? How could Apostle Barnabas have made such a mistake? This simple example of ignorance proves that the author of the Gospel of Barnabas was not truly Apostle Barnabas, but someone who abused his name to mislead people. At this point, it is crucial to ask how come medieval Barnabas could make such a mistake. What compelled him to contradictorily argue that Mary could go to the Temple to get Jesus circumcised before the days of her purification? Since Jesus circumcision is related only by Luke, it is easy to understand that Pseudo-Barnabas followed Lukes Gospel while talking of the same event: And after eight days were accomplished, that the child should be circumcised, his name was called JESUS, which was called by the angel before he was conceived in the womb. (Luke 2:21)

Unlike Pseudo-Barnabas, Evangelist Luke did not say that Jesus was carried by Joseph and Mary to the Temple for circumcision on the eighth day of His birth, but, in accordance with the divine commandment in Leviticus 12, related Joseph and Marys journey with baby Jesus to the Temple in Jerusalem for the ritual of purification on the 40th day of the birth: And after the days of her purification, according to the law of Moses, were accomplished, they carried him to Jerusalem, to present him to the Lord: As it is written in the law of the Lord: Every male opening the womb shall be called holy to the Lord: And to offer a sacrifice, according as it is written in the law of the Lord, a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons. (Luke 2:22-24) Thus, According to Luke, Jesus was carried by His parents to the Temple on the occasion of His presentation rather than circumcision, and Lukes narrative is perfectly compatible with the ritual of purification prescribed in the Mosaic Law. Medieval Barnabas, however, awkwardly replaced the ritual of purification with Jesus alleged circumcision in the Temple because he chose to omit the narrative of Jesus presentation in Luke due to its heavily Christian content. Having been bothered by the overt Christian themes and elements employed in it (inspiration by the Holy Spirit, a female prophetess, salvation through Jesus the Messiah, the prediction of Jesus death and Marys sorrow), fake Barnabas simply decided to get rid of the whole account. Nevertheless, he also felt obliged to refer to the Temple TWICE in Jesus infancy since Luke the Evangelist, whom he tried to copy and correct, originally did so. The solution that spurious Barnabas could find necessitated the combination of the account of Jesus circumcision with that of His presentation and the transfer of the setting and some other elements of the second narrative to the first so that the circumcision could make up for the omission of the presentation. In addition to transferring the setting of the account of Jesus presentation in Luke (Temple) to that of His circumcision in his forgery, Pseudo-Barnabas copied some sentences from the same account in Luke and awkwardly attached them to his innovated version. To compare: And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother: Behold this child is set for the fall and for the resurrection of many in Israel and for a sign which shall be contradicted. (Luke 2:34) Mary and Joseph perceived that the child must needs be for the salvation and ruin of many. Wherefore they feared God, and kept the child with fear of God. (GOB 5) The superiority and originality of Lukes Gospel is evident through the comparison of the verses above since Pseudo-Barnabas weird version cannot explain how Joseph and Mary perceived with the help of Jesus circumcision in the Temple that He would be for the salvation and ruin of many. CONCLUSION The unknown writer of the medieval Gospel of Barnabas was an incompetent writer who wanted to replace the canonical Gospels of Christianity with his forgery. While producing his fake book, he fell into error quite often not only because he lived in the medieval era instead of first century, but also because he betrayed the original evangelical accounts and tampered with them recklessly. When coupled with his aims of perversion, his dependence on the

narrative style of the canonical Gospels caused him to blunder and undermine his basic allegations. Some examples of medieval Barnabas mistakes we chose for analysis in this first article resulted from his careless and hasty plagiarism from the canonical Gospel accounts, his disregarding the notion of textual coherence, his weird confusion and replacement of figures, his desire to combine and unify the narratives having similar themes and motifs, and his omission of certain evangelical accounts that bothered him. In our second article on the GOB we shall select the foremost geographical mistake of this medieval production along with a historical blunder and discuss the reasons underlying these major confusions.

APPENDIX Jesus infancy narrative in Matthew enabled Pseudo-Barnabas to claim that Jesus left Israel because some Jews considered Him their King and because this expectation prompted the religious authorities to get Jesus arrested and killed: Jesus was found by him who writeth, and by James with John. And they, weeping, said: O Master, wherefore didst thou flee from us? We have sought thee mourning; yea, all the disciples seek thee weeping. Jesus answered: I fled because I knew that a host of devils is preparing for me that which in a short time ye shall see. For, there shall rise against me the chief priests with the elders of the people, and shall wrest authority to kill me from the Roman governor, because they shall fear that I wish to usurp kingship over Israel. Moreover, I shall be sold and betrayed by one of my disciples, as Joseph was sold into Egypt. (GOB 139) This account, which is peculiar to fake Barnabas, is obviously derived from the repetition of the narrative in Matthew 2:1-23 with some modifications and replacements. The elements of Jesus consideration as a king by some visitors after His birth, Herods reaction to this designation, his convening with the elders and scribes, his plot to find and kill infant Jesus, Josephs taking Mary and Jesus with him and going to a distant country, Jesus staying in a distant country (Egypt) for some time and returning to Nazareth through an angels command can be found repeated in Pseudo-Barnabas account of Jesus fleeing to Damascus. While contending that Jesus consideration as a king by some Israelites caused Him to flee Israel in His adolescence in the same way as in His infancy, medieval Barnabas did not forget to suggest a different place of refuge than Egypt and stated that Jesus fled to Damascus the second time He was threatened by His enemies. Why specifically Damascus? The answer to this significant question can be linked to fake Barnabas habit of borrowing material from the Acts of the Apostles, which is the fifth book in the New Testament canon.5 Interestingly, Damascus appears in Acts as an important place of Jewish settlement that gains more Biblical significance with the help of its affiliation with Paul, whose conversion occurs on the way to Damascus (9:3), who spends some time with the disciples in Damascus (9:19), and who proves that Jesus is the Christ in Damascus (9:22). Despite the anti-Pauline tone and elements of his forgery, Pseudo-Barnabas does not shock us the least when he presents Damascus as an important destination in Jesus life rather than in Pauls, for he sometimes delights in replacing Paul with Jesus by copying material from Pauls writings and ascribing them to Jesus in his book. For example, fake Barnabas teaches

that Jesus was carried to the third place of heaven when Judas came with the soldiers to arrest Him: The holy angels came and took Jesus out by the window that looketh toward the South. They bare him and placed him in the third heaven in the company of angels blessing God for evermore. (GOB 215) Jesus assumption specifically to the third heaven is alien to the Islamic scripture, being a teaching about an unnamed man who was referred to in the New Testament only in one of Pauls letters: I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago (whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows) was caught up to the third heaven. (2 Corinthians 12:2). According to some scholars and a certain apocryphal text, this unnamed man who was carried up to the third heaven was no one else than Apostle Paul himself (source1, source2). This simple example proves that fake Barnabas ascribed to Jesus in his book what had been ascribed to Apostle Paul in Christian tradition in accordance with the interpretation of a verse in one of his epistles. Consequently, medieval Barnabas would see nothing wrong with transferring Damascus from Acts to his forgery as a destination related to Jesus although in the original text the same place was related to Paul and his conversion. The insertion of Damascus into Jesus life as a place of refuge displays fake Barnabas incompetence in distortion and fabrication, for the transfer of the Damascus motif from Acts to the Gospel seems awkward due to the lack of elements that would make Damascus a crucial place for Jesus temporary settlement. Ironically, all of the elements present in the account of Jesus fleeing Israel are thematically compatible with Egypt rather than with Damascus. The miracle of harvest, which prepares the way for Jesus departure, reminds one of the scarcity of food in Egypt during Josephs time. Likewise, it is by no means a coincidence that fake Barnabas made Jesus associate His betrayal and temporary settlement in a foreign country with Joseph, who was sold by his brothers and went to Egypt. Further, Jesus discourse on death, referring to the theme of exile, the disciples mourning all reflect the influence of the infancy narrative in Matthew, which depicts infant Jesus in exile, recounts the massacre of the infants, and the mourning of their parents. In short, PseudoBarnabas made a mistake when he asserted that Jesus fled to Damascus although he could never explain why specifically Damascus was chosen as the place of Jesus second exile and why in his innovated narrative all the thematic properties pointed at Egypt rather than Damascus.

Footnotes 1 All biblical references in this study come from the NET Bible. 2 For all the references to the Gospel of Barnabas, Lonsdale & Laura Raggs English translation (1907) is used. For online availability see Editions of the Gospel of Barnabas. 3 In the Gospel of Barnabas, Simon the Lepers house is located in Jerusalem rather than Bethany since Pseudo-Barnabas does not allow Jesus to leave Jerusalem after His final entry

on the occasion of the Feast of the Passover (Compare 127 and 129 with 200 and 202). This is most likely related to fake Barnabas attempt to reconcile Matthew 26:6-13 and Mark 14:39 with Johns peculiar chronology concerning the time of Jesus anointing and His entrance into Jerusalem. 4 The analysis of a similar and thematically relevant error can be found in the Appendix. 5 One of the best examples illustrating fake Barnabas borrowing some material peculiar to Acts and blending it with the Evangelical accounts can be found in the 156th chapter of his book. While recounting the story of the man born blind, Pseudo-Barnabas mostly followed the narrative in Johns Gospel (9:1-12), but additionally said that the man was blind from his mothers womb and that the people knew him as the man sitting at the Beautiful Gate of the Temple. These details were actually copied by fake Barnabas from Acts 3:1-10, where Luke narrated Peter and Johns healing a man who was lame from his mothers womb and recorded that the people witnessing this miracle recognized the healed man as the one sitting and begging at the Beautiful Gate of the Temple.

The Anatomy of Pseudo-Barnabas' Mistakes: Part 2

The Curse of the Evangelists: Historical and Geographical Errors Masud Masihiyyen As we discussed at length and illustrated with the help of a few examples in the first part of our analysis, Pseudo-Barnabas supposed that maintaining the style of the canonical Gospels and changing only their content through the insertion of some basic Islamic teachings would gain his forgery credibility, but this strategy became fatal to him and produced a patchwork full of mistakes. While penning his false Gospel, fake Barnabas mostly combined originally independent Gospel narratives in a careless manner along with the mistake of hasty generalization, avoided some accounts, and misplaced certain elements of such accounts, all of which gave testimony for his dependence on the canonical Gospels and his willingness to replace them through falsification. In short, his disregarding the peculiar writing style of the Evangelists imposed on Pseudo-Barnabas a curse that condemned his forgery to several mistakes and inconsistencies although his aim was to produce a supposedly corrected and improved version of the canonical accounts. Most of the mistakes in the Gospel of Barnabas, however, are a direct result of its authors medieval origin and the relevant negative effects of anachronism. The absurdities contained in this forgery are of different nature and generally categorized by scholars into thematic sections. Of these, historical and geographical anomalies take the lead as they depict fake Barnabas as a person who did not live with Christ in the same era and who lacked basic knowledge of the region where Jesus spent His life. Accordingly, Pseudo-Barnabas fallacious claims concerning the time of Pontius Pilates reign and the location of Nazareth are generally presented as hard evidence of his ignorance and prevalent examples of his historical and geographical confusions. Although both these mistakes suffice to expose fake Barnabas incompetence and send his work to the dustbin, their closer analysis reveals that they came into existence as a result of the reckless authors wish to rewrite the original narratives in the canonical Gospels so as to bring them in line with the Islamic teachings he obtained through hearsay. His aim to correct and improve the

canonical accounts ended in failure thanks to his confusion and hasty distortion, which gave birth to a forgery replete with gross mistakes. When the mysterious source of these errors is figured out, fake Barnabas is once more proven to be a man that was cursed by the Evangelists in return for tampering with Christs Gospel and striving to replace it with falsehood. Historical Mistake: The Time of Pilates Reign Walking in the footsteps of Luke the Evangelist, who provided detailed information on the historic settings of Jesus era, Pseudo-Barnabas wrote the following verses in the infancy narrative of his Gospel: There reigned at that time in Judaea Herod, by decree of Caesar Augustus, and Pilate was governor in the priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas. Wherefore, by decree of Augustus, all the world was enrolled; wherefore each one went to his own country, and they presented themselves by their own tribes to be enrolled. Joseph accordingly departed from Nazareth, a city of Galilee, with Mary his wife, great with child, to go to Bethlehem (for that it was his city, he being of the lineage of David), in order that he might be enrolled according to the decree of Caesar. (GOB 3)1 Despite the similarities with the material in Lukes Gospel, this particular section in the Gospel of Barnabas contains a gross historical mistake that contradicts both secular and religious data about the time of the Roman governor Pontius Pilates coming to power in Judea. For instance, in his comprehensive analysis on the Gospel of Barnabas, Dr. Campbell helps readers who are not knowledgeable about the political structure of Jesus era detect the gross mistake in the section quoted above: When we look at secular history we find that Pilate did not become governor until 26 AD and that he held this position from 26 to 36 AD. In other words he was governor when Jesus started preaching, as Luke says correctly in Chapter 3 of his Gospel; but not at time of Jesus birth in 4 BC, as Barnabas incorrectly says. (Source) Actually, this is a twofold mistake as it inaccurately implies that Herod and Pilate ruled at the same time in the same territory:2 In chapter 3 we are told that Herod and Pilate both ruled in Judea at the time of Jesus birth: There reigned at that time in Judaea Herod, by decree of Caesar Augustus, and Pilate was governor. This is historically wrong for Herod and Pilate never ruled Judea at the same time. Herod ruled Judea alone from 37-4 B.C., while Pilate ruled thirty years later from 26-36 A.D (source). Possible objections to this gross historical mistake in the Gospel of Barnabas should be evaluated before we can start questioning why Pseudo-Barnabas fell into such a manifest error. The only plausible solution that could be worked to evade or conceal this mistake may be based on the weak assumption that Pontius Pilate was a name used by different governors in exactly the same way as the name Herod.3 Secular history and the Evangelists testify to the fact that there were a few rulers who were named Herod as a result of their descent from the same royal line. For instance, Matthew makes it clear that Herod the King of Judea died when infant Jesus was in Egypt with His family (2:19) and that his son Archelaus came to power in his fathers place (2:22). Luke records in his Gospel (3:1) that at the time when John the

Baptist started his prophetic ministry, two of Herods three sons ruled in different regions of Israel. Luke mentions two of Herods sons whilst the third son, who was mentioned by name in Matthew 2:22, was sent into exile in 6 A.D. and died 12 years after his banishment. (Source) The argument that Pontius Pilate could be the name of different political figures is rather weak as it from the start ignores the fact that Herod is both explicitly and implicitly stated to be a name shared by the members of the same dynasty whereas nothing of the sort can be asserted about Pontius Pilate. No Evangelical or secular data refers to first or second Pilate or suggests that more than two rulers had the name Pilate around that period. Even PseudoBarnabas does not make any efforts to distinguish the Pilate we know from the supposed other rulers who were identically called Pontius Pilate, disappointing Muslims by depriving them of any support for their theories. People who approach Lukes Gospel with doubts in regard to the veracity of the historical claims contained in it can check Jewish historian Flavius Josephus writings and see with their own eyes how the information given in Luke about Pilate is compatible with what Josephus wrote concerning the Roman governor. Josephus work testifies to the fact that in first century Israel there was one single Roman governor who was named Pontius Pilate and that he was not in power at the time of Christs birth. Consequently, Pseudo-Barnabas teaching in view is proven to be historically inaccurate. It is likewise not at all reasonable to assert that fake Barnabas exclusively knew and revealed a historical fact about the name Pilate that had been kept hidden from the Evangelists as well as Jewish historians. In other words, we cannot presume that the Pilate mentioned in the infancy narrative of the medieval Gospel of Barnabas was a different ruler than the Pilate mentioned in the rest of the book. This is basically because the information given in the sentences below lacks originality due to the authors heavy and undeniable plagiarism from the Gospel of Luke: There reigned at that time in Judaea Herod, by decree of Caesar Augustus, and Pilate was governor in the priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas. Wherefore, by decree of Augustus, all the world was enrolled; wherefore each one went to his own country, and they presented themselves by their own tribes to be enrolled. (GOB 3) A person who is familiar with the Gospel of Luke may immediately figure out that PseudoBarnabas produced this section by simply putting together the data he collected from different sections of Lukes text. As we saw in the first part of our analysis, some of spurious Barnabas mistakes resulted from his hasty and careless combination of certain Evangelical accounts through basic thematic association. Pseudo-Barnabas reckoned six people while relating the political and religious structure at the time of Jesus nativity, but some of these people were mentioned by Luke in different places rather than in one single section primarily because they lived and reigned in different periods. To compare and contrast: Herod, King of Judea: His name appears in the first chapter of Lukes Gospel and his reign is referred to in association with the birth of John the Baptist: During the reign of Herod king of Judea, there lived a priest named Zechariah who belonged to the priestly division of Abijah, and he had a wife named Elizabeth, who was a descendant of Aaron. (1:5)4

Caesar Augustus: His name occurs in the second chapter of Lukes Gospel in the account of Christs nativity and related to the census taken at that time: Now in those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus to register all the empire for taxes. (2:1) Pilate the governor: His name first appears in the third chapter of Lukes Gospel, where John the Baptist and Christs prophetic ministries are introduced after a brief presentation of the political and religious figures of the time: In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, and Herod was tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip was tetrarch of the region of Iturea and Trachonitis, and Lysanias was tetrarch of Abilene (3:1) Priests Annas and Caiaphas: They are mentioned in the same section as Pilate as the foremost religious authorities in Israel: During the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John the son of Zechariah in the wilderness. (3:2) Obviously, there was a temporal gap of around 30 years between the period of John and Jesus infancy and that of their public ministry in their thirties, the former having been related in the first two and the latter from the third chapter onwards in Lukes Gospel. Strikingly enough, Pseudo-Barnabas followed Luke when he said that Jesus started His prophetic ministry at the age of 30 (compare GOB 10 with Luke 3:23), but devised an entirely different account that did not only change the place, instrument, and form of the divine manifestation through which Jesus started His mission, but also excluded all the references made by Luke to the political and religious figures in Israel at the time when Jesus was about thirty years old. (compare GOB 10 and Luke 3:1-23). Thus, instead of keeping faithful to the original account in Luke, spurious Barnabas distorted it and moved some of its components to his innovated version of Jesus nativity and infancy narrative, foolishly bridging the temporal gap between the time of Jesus infancy and the time when He was in His thirties, that is, in the period of post-baptism. The following comparative table illustrates the source of fake Barnabas gross historical mistake about the time of Pontius Pilates reign in Judea: Gospel of Luke Herod King of Judea Caesar Augustus Pontius Pilate Annas and Caiaphas John and Jesus nativity Jesus nativity Jesus in His thirties Jesus in His thirties Gospel of Barnabas Jesus nativity Jesus nativity Jesus nativity Jesus nativity

The question that must be posed now is what prompted fake Barnabas to combine two different periods and falsely appoint Pilate a governor in Judea at the time of Christs birth and at the same time when Herod ruled in Judea? To put it another way, what forced him to swim in dangerous waters and eventually drown in this gross historical mistake? In order to understand why Pseudo-Barnabas dissociated Pontius Pilate and the priests Annas and Caiaphas from the era of Jesus baptism in His thirties and abruptly inserted their names into the era of Jesus nativity, we must recall one of the major discrepancies between the canonical Gospels and the medieval Gospel of Barnabas references to John the Baptist. Unlike the four canonical Gospels, which designate John as a great prophet and Christs forerunner, the Gospel of Barnabas does not make a single reference either to John or his prophetic mission. This is why in contrast to all the Evangelists that narrate Johns mission in the wilderness, his call to repentance, and the ritual of baptism practiced by him for the manifestation of the Messiah to Israel, fake Barnabas ignores anything related to John and contends that at the time Jesus started His ministry, there was no other prophet who prepared His way by preaching a baptism of repentance. Since there is neither a forerunner nor baptizer in the Gospel of Barnabas, Jesus goes not to River Jordan to be baptized by John, but to the Mount Olives with His mother to gather olives, after which He receives the book of prophecy! (Compare GOB 10 with Matthew 3:13-17; Mark 1:9-11; Luke 3:21-22; John 1:2934.) The reason underlying the lack of a reference to John the forerunner in the entire Gospel of Barnabas is later understood to be the spurious authors aim to replace John the Baptist with Jesus in his forgery. This primary act of substitution serves the greater purpose of Jesus replacement with Muhammad, whom Pseudo-Barnabas considers the only true Messiah. In order to turn Muhammad into the Messiah, fake Barnabas identified Jesus as the Messiahs forerunner and ascribed to Jesus the role of John the Baptist through the reckless distortion of the following particular section in Johns Gospel. Compare and notice how Pseudo-Barnabas assimilated John the Baptist by making Jesus take his place and mission: Now this was Johns testimony when the Jewish leaders sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, Who are you? He confessed he did not deny but confessed I am not the Christ! So they asked him, Then who are you? Are you Elijah? He said, I am not! Are you the Prophet? He answered, No! Then they said to him, Who are you? Tell us so that we can give an answer to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself? John said, I am the voice of one shouting in the wilderness, Make straight the way for the Lord, as Isaiah the prophet said. (John 1:19-23) Then the disciples wept after this discourse, and Jesus was weeping, when they saw many who came to find him, for the chiefs of the priests took counsel among themselves to catch him in his talk. Wherefore they sent the Levites and some of the scribes to question him, saying: Who art thou? Jesus confessed, and said the truth: I am not the Messiah. They said: Art thou Elijah or Jeremiah, or any of the ancient prophets? Jesus answered: No. Then said they: Who art thou? Say, in order that we may give testimony to those who sent us. Then said Jesus: I am a voice that crieth through all Judea, and crieth: Prepare ye the way for the messenger of the Lord, even as it is written in Esaias. (GOB 42) Actually, most of the innovated and contradictory teachings in the Gospel of Barnabas are founded on the systematic replacement of people and tenets. In the first place, the book came

into existence because its author wanted to replace the canonical writings of Christianity with his so-called Islamic version of Christs Gospel and put Islamic tenets in place of Christian doctrines. Jesus the Messiahs replacement with Muhammad the supposed Messiah and John the Baptists replacement with Jesus the supposed forerunner are some of the many acts of distortions and substitutions worked out by Pseudo-Barnabas, such as Judas substitution for Jesus in the passion narrative, Thomas replacement with Barnabas in the list of the apostles, Simon the Pharisees replacement with Simon the Leper in the account of the sinful woman (see my first article on the mistakes of the Gospel of Barnabas). Of the four Evangelists, Luke was the only person to recount John the Baptists nativity and his relation to Jesus even prior to the days of Jesus mission in His thirties. While producing his false Gospel version, medieval Barnabas both copied and distorted the infancy narrative in Matthew and Luke, but, in particular, the distortion of the latter gave him a great opportunity to replace John son of Zechariah with Jesus even in the period preceding Jesus ministry. Fake Barnabas could achieve his goal by simply deleting John from the infancy narrative in Luke and attributing to Jesus what was originally said about John. To compare: And Zechariah, visibly shaken when he saw the angel, was seized with fear. But the angel said to him, Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son; you will name him John. Joy and gladness will come to you, and many will rejoice at his birth, for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He must never drink wine or strong drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even before his birth. He will turn many of the people of Israel to the Lord their God. And he will go as forerunner before the Lord in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers back to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready for the Lord a people prepared for him. (Luke 1:12-17) Joseph being a righteous man, when he perceived that Mary was great with child, was minded to put her away because he feared God. Behold, whilst he slept, he was rebuked by the angel of God saying, O Joseph, why art thou minded to put away Mary thy wife? Know that whatsoever hath been wrought in her hath all been done by the will of God. The virgin shall bring forth a son, whom thou shall call by the name Jesus; whom thou shalt keep from wine and strong drink and from every unclean meat, because he is an holy one of God from his mothers womb. He is a prophet of God sent unto the people of Israel, in order that he may convert Judah to his heart, and that Israel may walk in the law of the Lord, as it is written in the law of Moses. He shall come with great power, which God shall give him, and shall work great miracles, whereby many shall be saved. (GOB 2) After transforming the original account of the angelic annunciation to Zechariah about Johns nativity in Luke into that of the angelic annunciation to Joseph about Jesus nativity in his fake Gospel, Pseudo-Barnabas continued copying further material from the infancy narrative in Luke and made references to the rulers that were in power at the time of Jesus birth. This dependence on Luke marked the beginning of trouble for fake Barnabas as he naively believed that there would be nothing wrong with putting all the names of the major political and religious figures mentioned in Luke together in one section that was thematically relevant: Jesus nativity. The first result of this tendency was the transfer of Herods name from its original place in Luke 1:5 into the sentence having Caesar Augustus name in Luke 2:1 and the association of Herods rule with Emperor Augustus decree concerning the census. Pseudo-Barnabas next step was the selection of the names Pontius Pilate, Annas, and Caiaphas from Lukes third chapter for their inclusion into the account of Jesus nativity.

This selection, needless to say, made crucial the detachment of the names of the ruling figures in view from the period of Jesus baptism in His thirties and came to represent another example of medieval Barnabas addiction to substitutions. Of course, spurious Barnabas fundamental aversion to John the Baptist was also a major factor that contributed to this replacement. The names Pontius Pilate, Annas, and Caiaphas originally appear in the third chapter of Lukes Gospel and are thematically linked to the beginning of John the Baptists ministry, which was deliberately left out in the Gospel of Barnabas. Thinking that these names were too significant to be dismissed altogether, fake Barnabas determined the account of Jesus nativity as a better and safe section for their placement, which was unsurprisingly the same section where he had first replaced John the Baptist with Jesus. To sum up, Pseudo-Barnabas historical mistake concerning the time of Pontius Pilates administration stemmed from his will to both imitate and distort Luke. He walked in Lukes footsteps when he made a particular reference to the political and religious rulers of Jesus time, but deviated from Lukes account when he insisted that these figures were in power already at the time of Jesus nativity. This ridiculous contention, which gave birth to a prominent historical blunder, was linked to spurious Barnabas fundamental ideal of deleting John the Baptist from history by putting Jesus in his stead. Since he knew that referring to the governor of Judea and the high priests in the same context as the beginning of Jesus ministry would make his new and false Gospel version more similar to that of Lukes and highlight the absurd removal of John the Baptist from his forgery, he detached the names Pontius Pilate, Annas, and Caiaphas from the original account in Luke (that he chose to ignore because of John the Baptists occurrence) and attached them to the account of Jesus nativity and in the same context as the other rulers reigning at that time. This particular strategy of misplacing figures or events was not at all unusual for Pseudo-Barnabas, who followed the same course while erroneously claiming that Jesus was circumcised in the temple on the eighth day of His birth.5 Geographical Mistake: The Location of Nazareth The geographical mistake concerning the location of Nazareth in the Gospel of Barnabas is undoubtedly one of the most shocking claims of the author that destroys the texts alleged authenticity. Since this particular error is based on the basic geographical data that any disciple of Christ would be expected to be familiar with and never be expected to be mistaken about, it could also be considered second to none among Pseudo-Barnabas other several absurdities of the same or even similar nature. The problem arises from the medieval writers argument that Jesus sailed to Nazareth: Jesus went to the sea of Galilee, and having embarked in a ship sailed to his city of Nazareth; whereupon there was a great tempest in the sea, insomuch that the ship was nigh unto sinking. And Jesus was sleeping upon the prow of the ship. (GOB 20) The statement that Jesus got into a boat that went to Nazareth is equal to saying that at the time of the Hijrah (migration) Muhammad went to Medina in a boat. Scholars who expose the mistakes of the Gospel of Barnabas highlight the problems that arise from the account of Jesus calming a tempest in the sea: In chapters 20-21 of this book we are told about Jesus sailing to Nazareth and being welcomed by the seamen of that town. He then leaves Nazareth and goes up to Capernaum:

Jesus went to the sea of Galilee, and having embarked in a ship sailed to his city of Nazareth. ... Having arrived at the city of Nazareth the seamen spread through the city all that Jesus wrought (done) ... (then) Jesus went up to Capernaum (chaps. 20-21). There is a major error in this account. Nazareth was not a fishing village, in fact it was about 14 km from the sea of Galilee and situated in the hills of a mountain range! (Source) In his comprehensive analysis of the Gospel of Barnabas, Dr. Campbell notes how some Muslims try to cover this gross absurdity by changing the meaning of the verb in the original text through its loose translation into Arabic (*). This proves that Muslims who praise the medieval Gospel of Barnabas make every effort either to conceal or to solve this major problem. One of the remedies that could be tried in addition to inaccurate translations is the supposition that the phrase sailing to Nazareth does not necessarily mean Nazareths being on the shore of the Sea of Galilee, but its being the final destination that was accessed via a station at the sea. However, the order and chronology in the Gospel of Barnabas refutes this theory as Pseudo-Barnabas carefully noted all the stations of Jesus journey from the beginning of His prophetic ministry: 1. 2. 3. 4. Jesus went up to Mount Olives and started His mission (chapter 10). Jesus descended from Mount Olives and entered Jerusalem (chapter 11). Jesus once more went up to Mount Olives (chapter 13). Jesus passed to the farther side of Jordan and then returned to Jerusalem (chapters 14 and 15). 5. Jesus attended a wedding and then went up to a mountain to deliver a sermon (chapters 15-19).(Since it is not stated in these chapters that Jesus left Jerusalem, it will be right to infer that He attended the wedding and gave a sermon while staying in Jerusalem.) 6. Jesus went to the Sea of Galilee, embarked a ship, and sailed to Nazareth (chapter 20). Further, there is absolutely nothing in the 20th chapter of the Gospel of Barnabas that suggests Jesus passing through another town or place on His way to Nazareth. Actually, PseudoBarnabas seems convinced about Nazareths location on the shore of the Sea of Galilee as he makes Jesus journey to Nazareth both start and end on the sea: Jesus went to the sea of Galilee, and having embarked in a ship sailed to his city of Nazareth; whereupon there was a great tempest in the sea, insomuch that the ship was nigh unto sinking. And Jesus was sleeping upon the prow of the ship. Then drew near to him his disciples, and awoke him, saying: O master, save thyself, for we perish! They were encompassed with very great fear, by reason of the great wind that was contrary and the roaring of the sea. Jesus arose, and raising his eyes to heaven, said: O Elohim Sabaoth, have mercy upon thy servants. Then, when Jesus had said this, suddenly the wind ceased, and the sea became calm. Wherefore the seamen feared, saying: And who is this, that the sea and the wind obey him? Having arrived at the city of Nazareth the seamen spread through the city all that Jesus had wrought, whereupon the house where Jesus was, was surrounded by as many as dwelt in the city. (GOB 20) No matter how the defenders of the Gospel of Barnabas make efforts in their desperation to conceal this absurdity,6 we can proclaim with certainty that spurious Barnabas geographical mistake was derived from his misunderstandings coupled with the inept harmonization of the Evangelical accounts, being independent of the allegations or doubts about Nazareths exact

place in Israel. We owe this certainty to fake Barnabas apparent confusion of Capernaum with Nazareth, both of which were significant places in Jesus life and prophetic mission. As a natural result of this confusion, in the 21st chapter of the Gospel of Barnabas Capernaum is implied to be an inland city away from the sea when it is said that Jesus went up to it from Nazareth: Jesus went up to Capernaum, and as he drew near to the city behold there came out of the tombs one that was possessed of a devil, and in such wise that no chain could hold him, and he did great harm to the man. (GOB 21) In sharp contrast with the geographical information given in the Gospel of Barnabas, Jesus would in fact go to Capernaum by a boat and then up to Nazareth. The discovery of this confusion takes us to the source of Pseudo-Barnabas gross geographical mistake and explains why he foolishly depicted Nazareth as a coastal city. This confusion, as usual, came into existence through a curse imposed on medieval Barnabas by a certain Evangelist. In order to find out which Evangelist cursed the writer of the Gospel of Barnabas and in what particular way, it will suffice to read the verses below comparatively: Jesus went to the sea of Galilee, and having embarked in a ship sailed to his city of Nazareth; whereupon there was a great tempest in the sea, insomuch that the ship was nigh unto sinking. (GOB 20) After getting into a boat he crossed to the other side and came to his own town. (Matthew 9:1) Obviously, fake Barnabas copied Matthew 9:1, but added the word Nazareth to his version because he mistakenly thought that Jesus town referred to by Matthew in that particular verse was Nazareth! However, the phrase his own town in Matthew 9:1 pertained to Capernaum rather than Nazareth, which is supported by ample evidence. First, the Greek word used by Matthew in 9:1 is different from the Greek word used in 13:54, where Jesus visit to Nazareth is narrated: (New Testament in Greek) Then he came to his hometown and began to teach the people in their synagogue. (Matthew 13:54) . After getting into a boat he crossed to the other side and came to his own town. (Matthew 9:1) It should be noted that this distinction in vocabulary was reflected also in the Latin translation of the Bible (known as Vulgate), but Pseudo-Barnabas became pathetically unaware of it despite his use of that particular translation: Et ascendens in naviculam, transfretavit, et venit in civitatem suam. (Matthew 9:1)

Et veniens in patriam suam, docebat eos in synagogis eorum, ita ut mirarentur, et dicerent: Unde huic sapientia hc, et virtutes? (Matthew 13:54) (Vulgate) Second, Evangelist Matthew did not deem it necessary to make an explicit reference to Capernaum in 9:1 since he had already related in his Gospel how and why Capernaum became Jesus own town at the beginning of His prophetic ministry: Now when Jesus heard that John had been imprisoned, he went into Galilee. While in Galilee, he moved from Nazareth to make his home in Capernaum by the sea, in the region of Zebulun and Naphtali, so that what was spoken by Isaiah the prophet would be fulfilled: Land of Zebulun and land of Naphtali, the way by the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles the people who sit in darkness have seen a great light, and on those who sit in the region and shadow of death a light has dawned. From that time Jesus began to preach this message: Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near. (Matthew 4:12-17) Fake Barnabas did not take this section into account and erroneously concluded that Jesus own town was still Nazareth.7 Third, a comparative reading of Matthew 9:1-8 with Mark 2:1-12 confirms that Evangelist Matthew had in mind Capernaum rather than Nazareth when he used the phrase Jesus own town, for Mark repeated the account of Jesus healing a paralytic in Matthew 9:1-8 only with slight variations and additionally said that this miraculous incident occurred in Capernaum. Thus, the implicit reference to Jesus own town Capernaum in Matthew 9:1 was made explicit in Mark 2:1. The interesting point here is that Pseudo-Barnabas narrated the same incident in his false Gospel, but unsurprisingly contended that the place where Jesus healed the paralytic man was His own town Nazareth rather than Capernaum. To compare and contrast: After getting into a boat he crossed to the other side and came to his own town. Just then some people brought to him a paralytic lying on a stretcher. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, Have courage, son! Your sins are forgiven. (Matthew 9:1-2) Now after some days, when he returned to Capernaum, the news spread that he was at home. So many gathered that there was no longer any room, not even by the door, and he preached the word to them. Some people came bringing to him a paralytic, carried by four of them. When they were not able to bring him in because of the crowd, they removed the roof above Jesus. Then, after tearing it out, they lowered the stretcher the paralytic was lying on. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, Son, your sins are forgiven. (Mark 2:15) Jesus having arrived in his own country, it was spread through all the region of Galilee how that Jesus the prophet was come to Nazareth. Whereupon with diligence sought they the sick and brought them to him, beseeching him that he would touch them with his hands. And so great was the multitude that a certain rich man sick of the palsy, not being able to get himself carried through the door, had himself carried up to the roof of the house in which Jesus was, and having caused the roof to be uncovered, and himself let down by sheets in front of Jesus. Jesus stood for a moment in hesitation, and then he said: Fear not, brother, for thy sins are forgiven thee. (GOB 71)

This comparison endorses fake Barnabas undeniable confusion and his silly eagerness to correct Marks text by replacing the word Capernaum with Nazareth, which consolidated his prevalent geographical mistake. It is without doubt that spurious Barnabas aim to work the four canonical Gospels into one single text through distortion and adaptation made him abandon the peculiar order of narratives in a Gospel and contributed to his confusion concerning the location of Nazareth and Capernaum. Below are the steps followed by medieval Barnabas in the forgery of the sections that falsely present Nazareth as a place on the shore of Galilee and Capernaum as a location away from the sea. Pseudo-Barnabas devised chapters 16-19 by following the outline in Matthews Gospel. He linked Jesus miracle of healing a leper to the narrative of the Sermon on the Mount in the same way as Matthew by teaching that Jesus wrought this particular miracle right after coming down from the Mount (in Matthew, Jesus sermon starts in 5:1 and ends in 7:28, and the healing of the leper is recounted in 8:1-4). Obviously, fake Barnabas had to replace the narrative of Jesus healing one single leper in Matthew 8:1-4 with the account of Jesus healing ten lepers in Luke 17:11-19 because he had already recounted the former as an incident occurring at the beginning of Jesus prophetic ministry and associated it with Jesus coming down from the Mount of Olives after receiving the book of prophecy (chapters 1011). This textual modification, which is based on Pseudo-Barnabas weird combination of the material in Matthew with the one in Luke, turns out to be one of the major factors that prompted the medieval author to interpret Jesus own town mentioned in Matthew 9:1 as Nazareth. He produced chapter 20 by drawing heavily from Matthew 8:23-27, but did not keep faithful to the order of the events given by the canonical author since his primary aim was to reconcile Matthew with Luke through hasty combination. As a result, he had to teach that Jesus calmed the storm (Matthew 8:23-27) on the way to His own town (Matthew 9:1) on the occasion of His first visit to Nazareth (Luke 4:16-30). In short, fake Barnabas new and twisted order of events that was born of his careless plagiarism from both Matthew and Luke convinced him that Jesus own town (Matthew 9:1) could not have referred to Capernaum, but to Nazareth in accordance with the material he copied from Luke (4:16-30). He devised chapter 21 by following the same strategy and reaching the same mistaken conclusion. All of the three Evangelists narrated the account of the demons and the swine (Matthew 8:28-34; Mark 5:1-20; Luke 8:26-39) right after that of Jesus calming the storm (Matthew 8:23-27; Mark 4:35-41; Luke 8:22-25) and agreed that Jesus miracle of casting out demons and sending them to a herd of swine occurred in a place other than Capernaum (Gadarenes in Matthew vs Gerasenes in Mark and Luke with a slight variation in the name of the same Gentile territory). However, Pseudo-Barnabas contradicted the three Evangelists by claiming that this same miracle happened in Capernaum (GOB 21) and right after Jesus rejection by the townsfolk in Nazareth (GOB 20). This discrepancy came into existence because fake Barnabas inserted the narrative of Jesus first visit to Nazareth (Luke 4:16-30) between that of Jesus calming the storm and that of His casting out the demons. In Lukes peculiar chronology, Jesus first went to Nazareth at the beginning of His ministry and was rejected by His folk (4:16-30), He then went down to Capernaum and healed a demoniac there (4:31-37). This peculiar chronology in Luke compelled medieval Barnabas to change the original place of this miracle from Gaderenes (Gesarenes) into Capernaum with the help

of the thematic association he noticed between the two miracles (on both occasions Jesus healed a demoniac). It is also noteworthy that some sentences uttered by Jesus to the demoniac healed in the Gentile territory and recorded in the canonical accounts seem out of place in the Gospel of Barnabas. As a result, Jesus words addressing the healed demoniac in the canonical Gospels are directed at one of the ten healed lepers in the medieval forgery. This textual modification is significant as it displays the degree of medieval Barnabas confusion that was caused by his unfaithfulness to the canonical Gospels and predicts his imminent mistakes that will be introduced in the coming chapter: As he was getting into the boat the man who had been demon-possessed asked if he could go with him. But Jesus did not permit him to do so. Instead, he said to him, Go to your home and to your people and tell them what the Lord has done for you, that he had mercy on you. So he went away and began to proclaim in the Decapolis what Jesus had done for him, and all were amazed. (Mark 5:18-20) Jesus answered: Ten have been cleansed; where are the nine? And he said to him that was cleansed: I am not come to be served, but to serve; wherefore go to thine home, and recount how much God hath done in thee, in order that they may know that the promises made to Abraham and his son, with the kingdom of God, are drawing nigh. The cleansed leper departed, and having arrived in his own neighbourhood recounted how much God through Jesus had wrought in him. (GOB 19) Strikingly, despite his systematic plagiarism from Lukes Gospel, Pseudo-Barnabas was so obstinate in his false presumptions and mistakes that he ignored Evangelist Lukes implicit depiction of Capernaum as a coastal town (Luke says Jesus went down to Capernaum from Nazareth) and corrected this supposed mistake by making Jesus go from Nazareth up to Capernaum. Further, he added a new absurdity to his Gospel by asserting that the expelled demons entered into the swine and cast them headlong into the sea in Capernaum (GOB 21), which, according to Barnabas, was an inland town far from the coastal town of Nazareth. To sum up, Pseudo-Barnabas prevalent geographical mistake stemmed from his misreading Matthew 9:1, which resulted in his confusion of Capernaum with Nazareth, and got a more complicated nature with the help of the chain of blunders he created while struggling to copy and distort the canonical Gospels. Associating Jesus first visit to Nazareth (Luke 4:16-30) with Matthew 9:1 was the first link of that chain whilst ascribing the place of the particular miracle in Luke 4:31-37 to the narrative of a similar miracle in all the synoptic Gospels (Matthew 8:28-34; Mark 5:1-20; Luke 8:26-39) became the last. CONCLUSION Of the various mistakes in the medieval Gospel of Barnabas, we have chosen only the most prevalent historical and geographical mistake for analysis in this second part of our study. Our textual examination and comparison of the medieval Gospel of Barnabas with the canonical Gospels of the first century A.D. reveals the source of spurious Barnabas mistaken presumption that the Roman governor Pontius Pilate was in power at the time of Jesus nativity and that Nazareth was on the shore of the Sea of Galilee. The cause of these blunders is proven to be Pseudo-Barnabas foundational mistake: betraying the canonical accounts and trying to replace them with his forgery. The outcome of this betrayal is a fake Gospel having

several absurdities and mistakes penned by a pathetic and confused writer cursed by the Evangelists.

Theological Implications of the Nazareth-Capernaum Pair in Matthew and Luke Nazareth and Capernaum, which were confused by Pseudo-Barnabas, are significant not only because they are places where Jesus spent some part of His life and which he repeatedly visited during His prophetic ministry, but also because they bear remarkable theological implications as a pair in the Gospel of Matthew and Luke. All of the four Evangelists, without exception, refer to the town of Nazareth as Jesus hometown (Matthew 13:53-58; Mark 6:1-6; Luke 4:16-30; John 1:46) and bind Jesus rejection to His being a Nazarene, an inhabitant of Nazareth. This connection is most dramatically manifested in Jesus passion narrative in John: His cross had an inscription that identified Him as Jesus the Nazarene (John 19:19). Of the four Evangelists, Matthew and Luke relate Jesus nativity and infancy and give different, but related reasons for Jesus settlement in Nazareth despite His birth in Bethlehem, the city of King David. According to Matthew, Jesus was brought up in Nazareth because His foster father Joseph chose it as a safer place after returning from Egypt (Matthew 2:19-23), where Joseph and Mary had previously taken refuge while escaping the massacre of the infants in Bethlehem (Matthew 2:13-18). Luke, on the other hand, implicitly binds Jesus identification as a Nazarene to His parents being inhabitants of Nazareth prior to His birth in Bethlehem (Luke 1:26; 2:39, 51). These reasons are obviously different, but it is possible to reconcile them by first posing a question about the account in Matthew and then answering it with the help of the information given in Luke. After returning from Egypt and deciding not to settle in Judea, why did Joseph choose particularly Nazareth of all the other Galilean towns? Most probably because Nazareth had been his hometown before going to Bethlehem on the occasion of the census and Christ's nativity (Luke 2:1-5). Interestingly, in Matthews infancy narrative the reason for Josephs settlement with Mary and infant Jesus in Nazareth finds a theological basis when it is linked to an Old Testament prophecy concerning the Messiahs identification as a Nazarene (2:23). This certain prophecy has been the subject of religious debates and accusations targeting the integrity of Matthews Gospel, for the Old Testament contains no prophecy that portrays the expected Messiah as a Nazarene or refers to a place named Nazareth. However, this difficulty is surmounted with the help of the unique way this certain prophecy is formulated by Matthew, who uses the word prophet in plural form only while talking of the Messianic prophecies in connection with Jesus settlement in Nazareth. Thus, Matthews reference to a group of prophets rather than a single prophet shows his awareness of the fact that there was no explicit prophecy associating the Messiah with Nazareth. Traditionally, two theories are presented to explain what Matthew might have meant when he referred to the word Nazarene in 2:23. The first theory is based on the phonological similarities between the consonants of the word Nazarene in Hebrew and the Hebrew word for bud in some Messianic prophecies of Isaiah (*) while the second theory is based on the

negative cultural/social implications of being an inhabitant of Nazareth in Israel in Jesus period. Thus, the word Nazarene is interpreted in association with the notion of scorn and rejection, which finds support also in the words of one of Jesus disciples in the Gospel of John: Can anything good come out of Nazareth? (1:46). This peculiar use of the word Nazarene as a derogatory term is thematically combined with the prophecies predicting the Messiahs rejection by His people in the Old Testament (*). As a consequence of these connections, we see Nazareth as a representative of the whole nation of Israel, which despised and objected to their promised Messiah. Further, Matthew is the only Evangelist to state that Jesus left Nazareth for Capernaum when He started His prophetic ministry after His forerunners (John the Baptist) imprisonment. The reason for this change in Jesus location is theologically linked by Matthew to a prophecy in Isaiahs book, which predicts the revelation of Gods word to the Gentiles: Land of Zebulun and land of Naphtali, the way by the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles the people who sit in darkness have seen a great light, and on those who sit in the region and shadow of death a light has dawned. (Matthew 4:15-16) This prophecy, when read along with the one in 2:23, manifests how Nazareth and Capernaum were made into a pair in Matthews Gospel due to the similarities drawn by the Evangelist. In both cases Jesus made a settlement in a certain place, which resulted in the fulfillment of some related Messianic prophecies. More, both Nazareth and Capernaum were towns in Galilee. However, as the prophecy quoted by Matthew indicates, Capernaum came to represent the Gentiles because of its population whereas Nazareth the nation of Israel, forming a contrast stressing the enmity between the Jews and the Gentiles. Amazingly, this contrastive pair of Nazareth and Capernaum and its theological implications were employed also by Evangelist Luke, who narrated Jesus first visit to Nazareth as an event occurring right at the beginning of His prophetic ministry (Luke 4:16-30) unlike Matthew and Mark, who located the same incident in the late period of Jesus mission (Matthew 13:53-58; Mark 6:1-6). This chronology peculiar to the Gospel of Luke stems from the Evangelist's wish to give primacy to Nazareth in the narration of Jesus mission. The narrative in Luke, unlike its parallels in Matthew and Mark, includes a Messianic prophecy uttered by Jesus Himself in a synagogue, which serves to strengthen the tie between Jesus hometown (Nazareth) and His rejection by His people in addition to the links between the Messianic prophecies and Jesus actions. While responding to the people of Nazareth who object to His Messianic claims and despise Him, Jesus makes an interesting reference to Capernaum: Then he began to tell them, Today this scripture has been fulfilled even as you heard it being read. All were speaking well of him, and were amazed at the gracious words coming out of his mouth. They said, Isnt this Josephs son? Jesus said to them, No doubt you will quote to me the proverb, Physician, heal yourself! and say, What we have heard that you did in Capernaum, do here in your hometown too. (Luke 4:21-23). This is where we can witness Jesus Himself highlight the pair of Nazareth and Capernaum right at the beginning of His ministry and make use of it for a significant theological lesson. In order to support His teaching that No prophet is acceptable in his hometown (Luke 2:24), Jesus talked of Elijah and Elisha's prophetic ministries and particularly laid emphasis on the non-Jewish identity of the two people on whom Gods grace was bestowed through

Elijah and Elisha. (The two examples given by Jesus also form a pair based on gender as Elisha healed a male officer in the Syrian army whereas Elijah helped a widow, that is, a female foreigner): But in truth I tell you, there were many widows in Israel in Elijahs days, when the sky was shut up three and a half years, and there was a great famine over all the land. Yet Elijah was sent to none of them, but only to a woman who was a widow at Zarephath in Sidon. And there were many lepers in Israel in the time of the prophet Elisha, yet none of them was cleansed except Naaman the Syrian. (Luke 4:25-27) The people in the synagogue considered these examples scandalous and felt resentful because of the contrast Jesus underlined between the Jews and Gentiles with regard to having faith and salvation. They were not pleased to hear Jesus praise the Gentiles for their faith and rebuke His own people for their disbelief. Having been fuelled by rage, they took Jesus out of their synagogue and attempted to turn their fury into violence: When they heard this, all the people in the synagogue were filled with rage. They got up, forced him out of the town, and brought him to the brow of the hill on which their town was built, so that they could throw him down the cliff. But he passed through the crowd and went on his way. (Luke 4:28-30) The comparative reading of this account with Matthew 4:12-17 clarifies the reason underlying Jesus particular reference to Capernaum while delivering a speech in a synagogue of Nazareth: in Jesus contrastive pair Nazareth, being His hometown, corresponded to Israel whilst Capernaum, being a territory where the population was mostly non-Jewish, to the Gentiles. The use of Nazareth as the representative of Israel and of Capernaum as the representative of the non-Jewish nations also answers the question why Luke related Jesus ministry in Capernaum after the account of His visit to Nazareth (4:3141) although Jesus words in the synagogue No doubt you will quote to me the proverb, Physician, heal yourself! and say, What we have heard that you did in Capernaum, do here in your hometown too implied that He had already performed some miracles in Capernaum before coming to His hometown (*). Unsurprisingly, according to the chronology in Luke, Jesus left Nazareth after His rejection by His people and then proceeded to Capernaum (4:29-31). This is in perfect harmony not only with Jesus moving from Nazareth to Capernaum after John's imprisonment in Matthew, but also with the major theological implication of Jesus making Capernaum His new home after Nazareth: He first went to the house of Israel, but His own people rejected Him. Then He went to the Gentiles and became source of life and salvation for them. This remarkable teaching, which is one of the basic facts of Jesus Gospel, is also beautifully expressed in the prologue to Johns Gospel: He came to what was his own, but his own people did not receive him. But to all who have received him those who believe in his name he has given the right to become Gods children. (John 1:11-12)

Further reading: Breaking the Codes of the Gospel of Barnabas

Footnotes 1 For all the references to the Gospel of Barnabas, Lonsdale & Laura Raggs English translation (1907) is used. For online availability see Editions of the Gospel of Barnabas. 2 Careless readers may mistakenly conclude that Luke 3:1 is equally erroneous as it refers to Pontius Pilate and Herod as rulers of the same period, but this faulty presumption is rebutted when it is realized that Herod in this verse is not the same person as the king of Judea mentioned in Luke 1:5. This is why Luke says that Herod was the tetrarch of Galilee when Pilate was in power in Judea. These were different territories. 3 A Turkish website dedicated to the defense and promotion of the Gospel of Barnabas raises this objection: Another charge of contradiction is brought up about the names of the two Roman governors (Pilate), but it is possible that two governors that came to power in two different periods had the same name, translation mine of the Turkish material. 4 All Biblical references in this study come from the NET Bible. 5 As we discussed in our first article, Pseudo-Barnabas aversion to the narrative of Jesus first visitation to the temple on the 40th day of His birth in Luke (2:25-38) caused him to designate the temple as the place of Jesus circumcision rather than presentation. Consequently, some major motifs that belonged to the account of Jesus presentation in Luke were forced into the account of His circumcision in the Gospel of Barnabas. 6 The other remedy that is tried by Muslims who strive to clear the Gospel of Barnabas of this major geographical mistake is founded on the lack of sufficient evidence that Nazareth was a town away from the Sea of Galilee. In order to cast doubt upon the validity of the charge that this is a mistake, a reference is made to Prof. Blackhirst, who is claimed to have said that the traditional location of Nazareth itself is questionable (Wikipedia, 28 October 2010). The link to the source of this challenging remark has been dead for a long time, since the article putting forward that argument was removed from the web already at the end of 2005. Although Prof. Blackhirst deleted that particular article of criticism from his website, it can still be accessed via the web archive (*). People who cling to this contention disregard the significant fact that nobody had heard of a Nazareth on the shore until Pseudo-Barnabas devised his story. 7 In the Gospel of Barnabas, Jesus never relocates anywhere else while the canonical Gospels are clear that Jesus relocates his ministry base after he is rejected in Nazareth. Answering Islam, 1999 - 2011. All rights reserved.