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Gospel of Barnabas

Dear Jürgen,

let's talk about coincidences. I know you don't have much time so I will cut a long story short.

  • Just by coincidence you told us recently about the Gospel of Barnabas.
  • By another coincidence I discovered the book on the Internet.
  • Then by a third coincidence I bought the book and read it.

Well, I lied about two points. First there isn't a long story to cut it short and secondly the third point wasn't a coincidence and just followed out of the former two. But there is a third coincidence concerning this subject. In the year 1300 Pope Boniface VIII changed the period to celebrate the jubilee year from 50 to 100 years. This helps us to have a strong hint that the Gospel of Barnabas was written in the 14. century (see later). I don't think that this Pope meant to help us on this subject. And so, just to have a forth coincidence which joyfully comes out of the third one, you were certainly right to say, that this strange book is a Muslim medieval forgery.

When I bought the book I thought that I will perhaps be able to see that this is a Muslim forgery just using my knowledge about Islam. But when I started to read the book I ran through open doors, crashed against the wall, fell down a staircase... No, fortunately there were no walls to bump in. But it was too obvious, so I was a bit disappointed.

Studying the book I felt strangely offended. How can anybody dare to write such a comedy or parody on the Gospel! I think it's a bit like the "Satanic Verses" of Rushie (o.k., I must admit I didn't read that book). At least it's like a computer game, just "religio-fiction".

The strangest thing although was that especially the parts I thought to be most offending gave me a kind of deja-vu experience. Adam in paradise having the la-ilaha illa llahi, muhammadun rasulu llahi written on the nails of his thumbs, the secret discussion between Jesus and Barnabas where Jesus told him that he would have been able to enter paradise dircetly if the folk wouldn't have call him "God", Peter, who is not rebuked because he wanted to hinder Jesus to go to Jerusalem but because he called him "Christ, the Son of God", the grotesque scene nearly the end of the book when the appearence of Judas is changed so that he looks like Jesus and is crucified while Jesus is taken to heaven... I don't mean that I recognised those ideas from the Qur'an and got the deja-vu that way. Somehow I had the feeling I know about this strange book. Strange. Perhaps it's only a feeling.

As I discovered quickly there is some material about this book in the Internet. I have added some links for your information. I found it especially interesting that Dr. Christine Schirrmacher wrote an article about exact this German edition I read.


Comparison between the Gospel of Barnabas and the Qur'an

The Gospel of Barnabas is parted in 222 paragraphs. This numbering was added later. I will put the paragraphs in round braces ( ). The Qur'an is divided in 114 Suras. Each Sura is divided in paragraphs like the Bible. I will put them in square brackets [ ].


(0)In the introduction Paul is rejected. This is typical for Muslim thinking about the New Testament.
(1)Jesus will not drink wine.
(9)Jesus, twelve years old in the temple. He says, that the service for God is more important than father and mother. In the Gospel of Luke Jesus says that he had to be at the place of his Father.
(10)Gabriel gives a book in the heart of Jesus.
(11)Jesus rejects requests and says that one should pray to God instead.
(12)Satan is condemned because he didn't honor Adam.
(13)Abraham sacrifices Ismael, not Isaac.
(14)Judas dies on the cross, not Jesus.
(17)God had no son, no companion. Jesus prophesies that someone will come after him.
(19)The tenth leprous man who returns to Jesus is a Ismaelit not a Samaritan.
(26)Abrahams father committed idolatry.
(29)Abraham was elected by Gabriel.
(38)Cleansing before prayer
(39)When man was created there was a scripture at the sky with the la illaha illa llahi, muhammadun rasulu llahi
(39)The world is created for Muhammad. His soul was created 60.000 years before the creation of the world.
(40)Satan seduces Eve, not the snake.
(42)Jesus denies to be the Messiah. Muhammad is the Messiah. Jesus takes here the role as John the baptist in the Bible.
(43)Each prophet is sent to his own people. The only exception is Muhammad, the "seal of prophets" who is sent to the whole world. The messenger comes from Ismael, not from Isaac.
(44)The promise to Isaac and his sacrifice is called a "forgery of the rabbis".
(47)Jesus says the world is crazy because they call him God.
(48)Jesus can't be the Son of God because God has no body to beget.
(53)Jesus curses everybody who will say that he is the Son of God.
(55)The opinion that Jesus is the Son of God is called a trick of Satan.
(69)The Roman soldiers stir up the folk by calling Jesus the God of Israel.
(70)Jesus rebukes Peter because he says that he is the Christ, the Son of God.
(71)When Jesus heals a paralysed man he says he can't forgive sins.
(72)Jesus fortolds a messenger. He says he (Jesus) is nothing more than a man.
(82)The woman at the well of Jacob. Jesus says he is not Messiah. Messiah will come after him.
(91)There is an uprising in Juda. The Roman army says through the influence of Satan that Jesus is the God who came to visit the world.
(92)Jesus is greeted as God. He says the people are crazy and their words are horrible.
(93)Jesus says that Jerusalem will be punished because the people called him God. He says that there were many prophets before him who performed great miracles. Although nobody doubts that they were anything more than humans.
(95)Jesus shows the people what properties God has in order to explain that he can't be God. He urges the people to repent.
(96)Jesus is questioned about the Messiah. He says again that it is not him. There will be again an uprising because the people will claim that he is the Son of God. Only 30 real believers will be left. Then God will have mercy with the world and will send the messenger who will come with power from the south.
(97)There will not be a real prophet after the messenger. But there will be false prophets. The name of the messenger will be Muhammad.
(112)Jesus has a talk with Barnabas alone. He tells him that he would have come after his life on earth directly into paradise if the people would not have him called "God". One of his disciples will betray him. But God will change the appearence of this disciple so that he will be crucified instead of Jesus.
(124)The Law of Moses was corrupted, so God gave David a book (the Psalms). But also this was corrupted so God gave Jesus the Gospel. This will also be corrupted. This will make it necessary that the messenger will come.
(127)Man was created out of clay, Satan out of fire.
(128)The Roman soldiers say that Jesus is God.
(129)The Jewish scribes stir the Roman soldiers against Jesus because he rejects the Roman idols.
(137)The believe in Muhammad saves even those who didn't do good deeds in their lifes. After 70.000 years they can leave hell.
(138)There was a bad harvest because people said that Jesus is the Son of God.
(168)There is a book in the heart of Jesus.
(191)Ismael is claimed to be the father of Messiah.
(198)Jesus confesses not to be neither God nor Messiah. For this reason God will not punish him but an evil-doer.
(206)Jesus says that he is neither the Son of God nor the Messiah.
(208)The son which Abraham wanted to sacrifice was Ismael.
(212)Here we find a prayer similar to Joh. 17. Jesus curses those who will claim that he is the Son of God.
(215)Jesus is taken to heaven by angles.
(216)The appearence of Judas is changed so that he looks like Jesus.
(217)Judas is crucified. Pilate wants to set him free after Judas told him how his appearance was changed.
(218)Some disciples steal the dead body of Judas. They tell everybody that Jesus is risen from the death.
(220)Four angles explain all what happened to Mary.
(221)Jesus goes back to heaven. He explains again that he did not die but Judas.
(222)It is explained here that the following is wrong teaching: that Jesus has died and is not risen, that Jesus has died and is risen, the teaching of Paul that Jesus is the Son of God.



[2,119]Alcohol forbidden.
[3,3]The sending of the Thora and the Gospel.
[3,144]Muhammad is the messenger.
[4,116]It is unforgivable sin if you put a companion beside God.
Jesus was not crucified.
[4,163]David gets the Pslams.
[4,163]Jesus is one of the prophets.
Jesus was only a messenger, a servant.
[5,6-7]Cleansing before prayer.
[5,17]He who calls Jesus God is an unbeliever.
Jesus got the Gospel.
[6,74]Abrahams father commited idolatry.
The fall of Satan. He refused to honour Adam because he was created out of fire and Adam out of clay.
[6,74]The fall of man.
God has no child. To claim that God has got a child is called something terrible so that the earth will split and the mountains will collapse.
[30,47]Each people has its own messenger.
[37,99-113]Ismael is sacrificed.
[96,1-5]Gabriel orders Muhammad to recite.

I don't know whether this small homework will help you. Perhaps we will need it some day.

Ma`a salama,