Rebuttal to Geisler and Saleeb

The article to which this rebuttal is attributed to can be found here:

 

http://www.answering-islam.org/Barnabas/saleeb.html#24

 

The article says:

 

These are strange statements in view of the fact that reputable scholars have carefully examined The Gospel of Barnabas and find absolutely no basis for its authenticity. After reviewing the evidence in an article in Islamochristiana, J. Slomp concluded: “in my opinion scholarly research has proved absolutely that this ‘gospel’ is a fake.

 

Reputable scholars have denied this false claim.

 

http://www.latrobe.edu.au/arts/barnabas/marino.html

 

According to latest discovery, it was not the work of a Muslim and was not even written in 14th or the 16th century. Therefore, to say that the Muslims are biased is baseless. J. Slomp’s conclusions have been replied to here:

 

http://www.answering-christianity.com/answersamgreen.htm

 

The 16th century Muslim forgery theory has been busted, not by Muslims but by Christians (at least the name sounds Christian!). Muslims were deceived by this excessive lying. It was Hitler’s policy to lie so much that eventually people would start to believe in it. The bigger the lie, the greater confusion it is going to create. This policy of Hitler has been adopted by Islamophobes and few have been deceived due to their lack of knowledge.

 

One of the earliest references for the Gospel of Barnabas come from 5th century. It is surprising how the duo of Geisler and Saleeb even doubt this reference. If they doubt the one with the reference (the pope), then it is not necessarily a bad thing. Rejecting one part of truth to come close to another (rejecting the infallibility of the Church) is not that bad. At least polytheism is reduced. However, the doubting of this evidence shows the desperation of Christian missionaries to reject the Gospel of Barnabas.

 

The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church asserts:

Gospel of Barnabas was declared a rejected book in the Decretum Gelasianum by Pope Gelasius [Pope of Rome 492-96]. According to E. Von Dobschutz, it is a private compilation which was composed in Italy (but not at Rome) in the early sixth century.

 

Is the above the earliest evidence of the Gospel of Barnabas? If the answer is yes, then the Gospels must have been written much later than believed. The New Testament says about the Gospel of Barnabas that if he comes to you, accept him.

 

Geisler and Saleeb make the following comment:

 

However there is no original language manuscript evidence for its existence!

 

This is true but this is true for the Old and New Testament as well. The Old and New Testament present today in Greek are a translation from Hebrew with the Hebrew original missing. The Hebrew one present today is a translation from the translated Greek. All this confusion makes it a doubtful book. The Gospel of Barnabas has much less confusion and the only problem with it is that it has been translated too many times. The basic theme remains the same but translation errors arise.

 

Geisler and Saleeb (it is doubtful whether he is a real person!) boast about the 5,300 Greek manuscripts that verify the New Testament. What the duo must know is that no two manuscripts match!

 

The earliest form of Gospel of Barnabas is an Italian manuscript which, according to the duo, belongs to the 15th century. However, latest discovery has revealed that the Gospel used by Santorio in the 15th century was in fact taken from a rejected or banned book. Genuine researchers have not concluded on the exact date of the Gospel of Barnabas but they have dismissed the theory that it is a 14th or a 16th century forgery.

 

The duo make the following amusing statement:

 

Third, this gospel is widely used by Muslim apologists today, yet there is no reference to it by any Muslim writer before the fifteenth or sixteenth century. But surely they would have used it if it had been in existence.

 

The reason is quite simple and given before. The Gospel of Barnabas was a rejected book in the 5th century and it was not known to the world. It was kept secret by the Church but it came out to the world in the 16th century. Latest research by experts, in the second link above, state that it was due to politics in the Church that this Gospel came out to the world. Santorio’s papacy had been blocked by Marcantonio and to take revenge from him, Santorio leaked this book while associating Marcantonio with it. The discovery of a banned book with cardinal Marcantonio would have been disastrous for the Cardinal. The enmity of two Christians revealed many secrets. The period between the 5th century and the 16th century had the book hidden and it was due to this fact that Muslims were not aware of it till then.

 

Geisler and Saleeb make the following statement:

 

Fourth, no father or teacher of the Christian church ever quoted it from the first to the fifteenth century. If The Gospel of Barnabas had been considered authentic, it more surely would have been cited many times by some Christian teacher during this long period of time, as were all the other canonical books of Scripture. What is more, had this gospel even been in existence, authentic or not, certainly it would have been cited by someone. But no father cited it during its supposed existence for over 1,500 years!

 

The politics behind this secret are better known to the Church but this claim is not entirely accurate. The recently discovered books have the mentioning of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) in them. Several Islamic concepts can be founding those books. All these match exactly with the Gospel of Barnabas.

 

The reason why the Church kept it a secret is not a mystery. Such a book would have destroyed their power. Their self-made concept of free salvation and forgiveness through the Church would have been thrown away. It was due to this evil that Prophet Daniel (peace be upon him) gave his famous prophecy:

 

http://islamicweb.com/bible/good5.htm

  

The duo, in their article, attempt to take advantage of some incorrect beliefs of Muslims such as mixing the Gospel of Barnabas with the Epistle of Barnabas. Such confusion has nothing to do with facts. The facts remain unchanged.

 

The article claims that eyewitnesses reject the claims of the Gospel of Barnabas. They base their conclusion from the New Testament. Such a conclusion is absolutely baseless.

The article sees the examples of the claim of Messiah and the crucifixion as the reasons to reject the Gospel of Barnabas. The Apocalypse of Peter rejects this false theory.

 

The Gospel of Barnabas calls Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) as a Messiah. The Qur’an says that Jesus is the Messiah. This part seems to contradict with the Qur’an, one proof of it being a true book of Barnabas.

However, when we read the Jewish books, we see that there is no problem with this claim as other Prophets have also been called by this title in 1 Samuel 15:17, 1 Kings 1:39, 1 Samuel 16:13, Leviticus 4. We see that this claim to reject the Gospel of Barnabas is not a valid excuse. The article has made the following comment: 

For example, it refers to the year of Jubilee coming every one hundred years, instead of fifty as it was practiced before this time (The Gospel of Barnabas, 82). The papal declaration to change it to every one hundred years was made by the church in A.D. 1343.

 

The year of Jubilee was debatable among the popes! The Old Testament is also a corrupted book (as mentioned above) and this corruption showed in the decisions of the popes. They themselves did not agree upon it! Church has books and documents that are not even known to outsiders. Their library is nothing less than treasure and it appears that they knew about these different Jubilee dates which means that they must have made these changes from some books or documents that they possessed. Was Gospel of Barnabas one of them? Again the source is the other way round, the reason being the paragraph from the Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church.

 

Another comment by the duo is as follows:

 

One significant anachronism is the fact that The Gospel of Barnabas uses the text from the Roman Catholic Latin Vulgate translation of the Bible (fourth century A.D.), even though Barnabas supposedly wrote it in the first century A.D.

 The date of the Vulgate translation mentioned above is simply wonderful. It brings to mind the following quotation: The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church asserts:

Gospel of Barnabas was declared a rejected book in the Decretum Gelasianum by Pope Gelasius [Pope of Rome 492-96]. According to E. Von Dobschutz, it is a private compilation which was composed in Italy (but not at Rome) in the early sixth century. The source is the other way round! 

It is claimed by Geisler and Saleeb that wooden crockery was not used at the time of Prophet Jesus (peace be upon him). The source of this claim is the Bible. The Bible itself is a debatable book and should not be taken as a source or evidence. However, the verse of the Bible shall be considered here as well.

 

Matthew 9:17

King James Bible
Neither do men put new wine into old bottles: else the bottles break, and the wine runneth out, and the bottles perish: but they put new wine into new bottles, and both are preserved.
 

Douay-Rheims Bible
Neither do they put new wine into old bottles. Otherwise the bottles break, and the wine runneth out, and the bottles perish. But new wine they put into new bottles: and both are preserved.

 

Tyndale New Testament
Neither do men put new wine, into old vessels: for then the vessels break, and the wine runneth out, and the vessels perish. But they pour new wine into new vessels, and so are both saved together.

 Webster’s Bible Translation
Neither do men put new wine into old bottles: else the bottles break, and the wine runneth out, and the bottles perish: but they put new wine into new bottles, and both are preserved.
   

The duo of Geisler and Saleeb have attempted to find faults in the Gospel of Barnabas and have quoted the following:

 

There are historical mistakes, such as, “Jesus was born when Pilate was governor, though he did not become governor until 26 or 27 A.D.”

 This is an inaccurate statement. According to the Encyclopedia “Pilate’s biographical details before and after his appointment to Judaea are unknown, but have been supplied by tradition…” The year of his governorship are also not facts. However, that is not debated here. The thing mentioned by Barnabas was that Pilate was referred to as the governor. This shall be explained with an example: A man became the President in the year 2000 and a book is written about him in 2010 when he is not the President any more. The book refers to him as “President” when it speaks of his early life and when it speaks of his life after presidency. The title “President” stays with the man no matter what he does. This does not mean that the man is still a President or was a President when the book speaks of the period before 2000.  

Another example can be used to furhter make it clear: When Mr. A was born in 1980, his mother saw President Bush in a hotel. Obviously George Bush was not the President back then but the sentence makes complete sense and no one would dismiss it as being incorrect. The title remains with the person throughout his/her life.

 

More alleged mistakes:

 

Chapter 20 “stated that Jesus sailed to Nazareth,” even though it is not on the seashore.

 

A passage from the Gospel of Barnabas is quoted here:

 Jesus went to the Sea of Galilee, and having embarked in a ship sailed to his city of Nazareth; 

Jesus (peace be upon him) going to the Sea of Galilee is not a problem at all. He went to his city is also not a problem but there is a problem if it is stated that Nazareth is right next to the sea of Galilee. However, such a thing has not been mentioned. First of all, it states that Jesus sailed to his city. This does not mean that his city was next to the sea. For example, it takes Mr. A train and then a bus to go to his home and it is stated that Mr. A took a train to go to his home. Such a statement is not incorrect. Secondly, the sentence posted is a translation which is not as good as the original. What if the most accurate translation read something like this?

 Jesus went to the Sea of Galilee, and having embarked in a ship sailed towards his city of Nazareth; 

This translation buries any kind of issue from this verse. Thirdly, maps were not drawn at that time and the outskirts of a city were considered a part of that city. Perhaps even land outside that city was considered a part of that city.

 

Likewise, The Gospel of Barnabas contains exaggerations, such as Chapter 17’s mention of 144,000 prophets and 10,000 prophets being slain by Jizebel (in Chapter 18).

 

How can one be sure if this is an exaggeration? The total number of Prophets does not appear to be an exaggeration. However, the 10,000 could be a figure of speech. For example, in the Old Testament, a large figure is referred to as 10,000. In the Hadith, a very large figure is referred to as seventy thousand even though the actual figure may be much higher or much lower.

 

The article sees some similarities between the Gospel of Barnabas and Islam and concludes that it was written by a Muslim. However, if we examine these similarities, we find them in the Bible as well.

 

Jomier notes that the word “pinnacle” of the temple, where Jesus is said to have preached – hardly a good place! – was translated into Arabic by dikka, a platform used in mosques

 

Jesus (peace be upon him) was truly a Muslim and what he did was Islamic. The Old Testament has an order of God Almighty to Moses (peace be upon him) to take off his shoes before entering a holy place. Neither Jews nor Christians take off their shoes before entering synagogues or Churches, only Muslims do that. More similarities between the Bible and Islam can be found here:

 

http://truthisproven.blogspot.com/2007/02/prophet-muhammad-s-prophecised-in-bible_26.html

  

Jesus is represented as coming only for Israel but Muhammad “for the salvation of the whole world”

 

http://www.answering-christianity.com/jesus_mankind.htm

 

From a little study and common sense we see that the claims of Islam, Gospel of Barnabas and the corrupted Bible are the same. The corrupted Bible makes several contradictory claims but one of them definitely match with the Islamic beliefs.

  

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