Blogging through the Worst Book Ever (Part II)

Here are few more snippets from Jesus – Prophet of Islam by Muhammad Ata Ur-Rahim.

The third chapter of the book is on the Gospel of Barnabas. It starts off with this beauty:

The Gospel of Barnabas is the only known surviving Gospel written by a disciple of Jesus, that is, by a man who spent most of his time in the actual company of Jesus during the three years in which he was delivering his message. … The Gospel of Barnabas was accepted as a Canonical Gospel in the churches of Alexandria up until 325 A.D. (pg 39)

This is soon followed up by this piece of, uh, less than accurate history:

In 325 A.D., the famous Council of Nicea was held. The doctrine of the Trinity was declared to be the official doctrine of the Pauline Church, and one of the consequences of this decision was that out of the three hundred or so Gospels extant at that time, four were chosen as the official Gospels of the Church. The remaining Gospels, including the Gospel of Barnabas, were ordered to be destroyed completely. (pg 40)

The author then continues to dazzle the reader with this amazing display of his understanding of scholarship:

It is now generally accepted that the three earliest accepted Gospels, known as the Synoptic Gospels, were copied from an earlier unknown Gospel which today’s researchers refer to as “Q”, for want of a better name. The question arises as to whether the Apocryphal Gospel of Barnabas is, in fact, this missing Gospel. (pg 43)

It has been argued that Mark’s Gospel might be the “Q” Gospel and that Matthew and Luke used his Gospel when writing theirs. However, they record details which Mark does not, which implies that Mark’s Gospel could not have been their only source. Some have said that this is not important since it is known that Mark’s Gospel was written in Hebrew, was then translated into Greek, and re-translated again into Latin. (pp 43-44)

Wow. He erroneously states that Q is a source for all three Synoptic Gospels. Then he actually entertains the idea that the Gospel of Barnabas might be this Q source. Then he changes his mind and suggests that the Gospel of Mark might be Q. I’m not sure which is worse – to suggest that the Gospel of Barnabas or the Gospel of Mark is Q. And finally, the author then erroneously states that Mark was originally written in Hebrew.

The following chapter is a brief one on the The Shepherd of Hermas. Like the Gospel of Barnabas, the author believes The Shepherd confirms his belief about the real Jesus and what his earliest and true followers believed concerning him.

Stayed tuned for more egregious errors from the realm of fantasy land.

2 responses

  1. Your first quote makes me think he’s conflated the Gospel of Barnabas with the Letter of Barnabas. The gospel is late (16th century Spanish, likely); the epistle is early and even found in Codex Siniaticus (after Revelation, before the Shepherd of Hermas), which could actually help (just barely) his the claim of early pre-Nicene acceptance *of the letter* in Alexandria. But the gospel? Nope. Two docs, both very different.

    But the Gospel-of-Barnabas meme is apparently popular among Islam apologetics. Here’s a post of mine from 2008 interacting with a similar contention apparently made in an Iranian film about Jesus:

  2. He’s not getting his version history from Youtube, is he?. I just had sharp words with someone posting a series of videos there arguing that Mark was written as something like a modern novel, and the church was founded after 70 by rabid fans who took it all too seriously. He also told me he wouldn’t speak to me again in the comment until I educated myself–i just have a PhD in classics-after all, and until I sopped sighting primary sources and scholarly literature, which is the rhetorical error of appeal to authority.

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