Rebuttal to Gilchrist

Rebuttal: The Gospel of Barnabas

The Spurious Gospel in Islamic Apologetics

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


Mr. Gilchrist has written another article but the material in it the same as that of other articles by other writers on Answering-Islam such as Gerhard Nehls, Norman and Saleeb etc. Mr. Gilchrist seems to be the source with others copying from him. However, Mr. Gilchrist has not been refuted in his article directly but has been refuted in the copy/pasted articles as the copy/pasting writers have put up a few extra points in their articles.  There are more than six articles against the Gospel of Barnabas but not two of them are different from each other. Most of them are at least 70% similar while others are 90% plus similar. You will find each and every point covered on this site.


Christian: There were numerous apocryphal Gospels, Epistles and other forgeries similar in style to the authentic New Testament scriptures that were rejected by the Council of Nicaea in 325 AD and in the subsequent Decretum Gelasianum of which one was titled the Gospel of Barnabas. No historical record whatsoever exists to show what sort of book it was or what it taught. From a study of the contents of this Islamic Gospel so strongly promoted in the Muslim world, however, it soon becomes obvious that these two cannot possibly be the same works. There are many proofs that the latter is a 16th century forgery.

The Nicene Council rejected numerous books but they were not rejected for reasons other than that they were against accepted Christian beliefs decided by politics. Several books appear to confirm to current Christian beliefs but were still rejected. A closer look at those books indicates that they are against Christian beliefs. Although the differences are minor, their impact can be fundamental to the power of the Church. A Gospel of Barnabas existed at that time and the Christians have accepted this fact. This Gospel remained in the libraries of the Church until Cardinal Santorio revealed it to the outside world due to personal gains. His differences with Cardinal Marcantonio had widened significantly and it was due to this feud, he leaked this book. To say that the Gospel banned in the 5th century is different from the one discovered in the 16th century from the library of the Church is a big claim and needs clear evidence for this claim to stand authentic. However, history does not see two Gospels of Barnabas.


  1. The Centenary Year of Jubilee

 The year of Jubilee was debatable among the popes! The Old Testament is a corrupted book 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?   

  1. Quotations from Dante’s Inferno

 The point mentioned by the article here is that there are several similarities between the Gospel of Barnabas and the work of Dante (13th/14th century) and says that such similarities cannot be coincidences. However, if we examine these so-called similarities, we see that common sense material has been spoken which is mentioned in religious scriptures and from which Dante copies from.  

“…and go and serve false and lying gods. Gospel of Barnabas, para 23” is a statement that can be found in the work of Dante as well. However, if we examine this sentence we see that this is nothing but simple statement that could have been spoken by anyone. The Qur’an says that the polytheists worship false gods who lie to them and on the Day of Judgment, the worshippers of these false and lying gods would call their gods but none would come and those that exist (Jinn) would reject any association with them. Satan and his team of Jinn (fallen angels of the Bible) are referred to as liars and it is mentioned that those who are polytheists and worship idols, in fact worship these lying Jinn (false gods). The Qur’an mentions this statement but the wording is different in Arabic. Literal translations would bring forward the same statement as narrated by Barnabas.


Know ye therefore, that hell is one, yet hath seven centres one below another. Hence, even as sin is of seven kinds, for as seven gates of hell has Satan generated it: So are seven punishments therein.


Qur’an came much before Dante and mentions the same fact that hell has seven centres. The claim of the article is wrong and is correct the other way round. It is actually Dante who has copied from religious texts. Qur’an agrees with this fact and it is an accepted belief of the Muslims that the hypocrites and people like Pharaoh will be in the 7th or the lowest center of hell. 


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.

 Barnabas narrates the following statement of Jesus (peace be upon him): Truly I say to you that the heavens are nine, among which are set the planets; that are distant one from another five hundred years’ journey for a man: and the earth in like manner is distant from the first heaven five hundred years’ journey. From this we clearly see some sort of error in translation and understanding. What I understood by heaven here is the sky and the planets. The seven heavens in the Qur’an refer to some other fact whereas heaven spoken by Jesus (peace be upon) is referring to the nine planets. Dante must also have known this thing through knowledge of science at the time.      

  1. The Medieval Environment of the Gospel

 There are considerable differences in temperature in Palestine. For example Mount Hermon, with its white snowcaps all year-round, towers 9000 feet above sea level, while the Dead Sea is 1292 feet below sea level. The snow melts in summer and waters the dry land. The land of Palestine enjoys sunny blue skies from the beginning of May to the end of September, with little or no interruption. The world is beautiful, it seems, refers to the worship and remembrance of God. Pilgrims enter the land and it seems that this is what Jesus (peace be upon him) is happy about.  

The article says that storing wine in barrels was not practiced in Palestine as they used to store it is wine skins and for this, the article gives reference from the Bible. The Bible itself is not the source and is a debatable book. However, the verse shall still be examined.


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.

A passage from the Gospel of Barnabas has been alleged to contain errors.

 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 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.


Christian: There are numerous other evidences against the authenticity of the Gospel of Barnabas, some of which derive from the very passages where Jesus is said to have foretold the coming of Muhammad. It is very interesting to note that this Gospel makes no mention of John the Baptist


The position of John the Baptist (peace be upon him) is understood by Christians from the Nicene point of view. He has been limited to being only a man who came to tell the coming of Jesus (peace be upon him). The Gospel of Barnabas does not speak of many Prophets but that does not indicate anything. The Gospel of Barnabas speaks of some Prophets not known to Christians or the Bible but that does not indicate anything. If the Gospels are taken out of mind for a while and then the Gospel of Barnabas read, then one finds no problem with this. The problem is that Gospels have been taken as a source whereas the Gospels are doubtful according to Christian scholars themselves:

  The Messiah – Jesus or Muhammad? The Gospel of Barnabas calls Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) as a Messiah. The Qur’an says that Prophet Jesus (peace be upon him) is the Messiah. This part seems to contradict with the Qur’an but the explanation below will show otherwise and prove that it is a true book of Barnabas.

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.   Contradictions between the Barnabas Gospel and the Qur’an? Pains of childbirth:

The Gospel of Barnabas speaks of the delivery as being painless.

The virgin was surrounded by a light exceeding bright, and brought forth her son without pain,

However, Lady Mary did observe pain before that.


[19.23] And the throes (of childbirth) compelled her to betake herself to the trunk of a palm tree. She said: Oh, would that I had died before this, and had been a thing quite forgotten!


[19.24] Then (the child) called out to her from beneath her: Grieve not, surely your Lord has made a stream to flow beneath you;
[19.25] And shake towards you the trunk of the palm tree, it will drop on you fresh ripe dates:


She observed pain but God helped it through the blessing. Her delivery then became painless. There is no problem with this story at all.


Death of angels:


The Qur’an also mentions that all the angels will die. Angel Israfil will blow the trumpet and everyone will die. God will then cause the angel of death and other angels to die as well. At that time, just like the beginning, only God would live and God would then bring the angels back to life.


Everything will die (3:185, 21:35, 29:57). The blowing of the trumpets has been mentioned several times and is a lengthy discussion. Please read it here:


Christian: Again the Gospel of Barnabas states that on the thirteenth day of the final period before the end, all mankind will die and every living thing on the earth shall perish (para 53) whereas the Qur’an states that men will be alive until the last day, the great Day of Judgment, when the trumpet shall sound and “every man will have enough concerns on that day to make him heedless of others” (Surah 80.37).


The Qur’an says the same thing. It should be remembered that the word for day in the Qur’an is “Yaum” and does not refer to a 24-hour period. Barnabas’ Gospel speaks of 13 days. Perhaps he has broken down that Yaum into human days. The basic fact is the same which is that each and everyone will die and then rise again.

   The Original Authorship of the Gospel It has been denied that Barnabas was one of the 12 disciples of Prophet Jesus (peace be upon him). There are numerous errors in the New Testament that indicate that some sort of manipulation has occurred. Barnabas is referred to as an Apostle in Acts 14:4,14 but other places reject him altogether. Contradictions prove that there is something fishy.  “rose … and returned to Jerusalem, and found the ELEVEN gathered together, and those who were with them” (HOLY BIBLE) Luke 24.33Which “eleven?” They “found the eleven.” Did they include themselves in the number they FOUND? Even then the disciples there (of the elected twelve of Jesus) could never be more than 10 altogether. Because on this first visit of Jesus to that upper-room. Judas and Thomas were definitely not present. But Luke was not an eyewitness to this scene. He is simply copying verbatim from Mark 16:14 who said. “he (Jesus) appeared unto the ELEVEN as they sat eating.”Now listen to Paul, the thirteenth self-appointed apostle of Jesus. He says that after three days of hibernation. “(Jesus) was seen of Cephas (meaning Simon Peter), then to the TWELVE”(1 Corinthians 15:5). Which “twelve?” The word “THEN” here, excludes Peter! But if you add him on, and with all good luck, you can still never get the “CHOSEN TWELVE” together to see Jesus, because the traitor Judas had committed suicide by hanging — (Matthew 27:5), long before Jesus alleged resurrection.”We are dealing here with a strange mentality, where “Eleven” does not mean ELEVEN — (Luke 24:33).”Twelve” does not mean TWELVE, and “Three and three” means TWO AND ONE!’ Jesus would truly sympathize with us:“it is hard for you to kick against the pricks”     (HOLY BIBLE) Acts 9:5

[By Ahmed Deedat]


Comparison with the New Testament is a blunder that should not be made especially of what Paul says. Paul is a hypocrite who should be completely rejected. He should be condemned and thrown out of all books. Barnabas was an apostle but not Paul. Paul never met Jesus (peace be upon him) and was faking all along:


Much more in section 1:


If the reality of Paul is kept in mind, then one finds no fault with the claim and position of Barnabas.

   The Probable Authorship of the Barnabas Gospel In this section, the article focuses only on guesses. However, latest research has dismissed these guesses as baseless and concluded that this Gospel was not a 16th century forgery by the Muslims. This Gospel existed before the 14th century and was brought to light by Cardinal Santorio to take revenge from Cardinal Marcantonio.


  1. The GB as we have it (in two vernacular manuscripts united by a Preface) was prepared by Cardinal Giulio Santorio, bishop of Sanseverina, a canon lawyer and Inquisitor. It is, however, clear that he did not compose the work but is using a pre-existing heretical text, adapting it to his purposes.


It was the politics, rivalry and enmity of Christians inside the Church that benefited the outside world. It was due to this reason, this Gospel, originally banned in the 5th century, was revealed to the world.


In the fourth year of Emperor Zeno (478 A.D.), the remains of Barnabas were discovered and there was found on his breast a copy of the Gospel of Barnabas written by his own hand. (Acia Sanctorum Boland Junii Tom II, Pages 422 and 450. Antwerp 1698).  The famous Vulgate Bible appears to be based on this Gospel.


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 article in the end discusses Paul and Barnabas. This discussion will not be touched upon, as these books are not accepted by scholars as reliable. Paul is also not a reliable person according to scholars. Only links will be provided that explain this reason in detail:


Much more in section 1:


If the reality of Paul is kept in mind, then one finds no fault with the claim and position of Barnabas.


The Gospel of Barnabas cannot be refuted with the four Gospels as the source. The problem is that Gospels have been taken as a source whereas the Gospels are doubtful according to Christian scholars themselves:



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