Online Encyclopedia

GOSPEL OP BARNABAS

Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V03, Page 409 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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GOSPEL OP BARNABAS.—We read in antiquity, e.g. in the Decretum Gelasii, of an apocryphal Gospel of Barnabas (see APOCRYPHAL LITERATURE), but we have no knowledge of its contents. There exists, however, in a single MS. in Italian a longish gospel with this title, written from a Mahommedan standpoint, but probably embodying materials partly Gnostic in character and origin. The Italian MS. was found by the Deist, John Toland, in a private collection at Amsterdam (see his Nazarenus, 1718) ; subsequently it came into the possession of Prince Eugene of Savoy, and finally was obtained with Eugene's library by the imperial library at Vienna. It has been edited, with an English translation (1907) by (Rev.) Lonsdale and Laura Ragg, who hold that it was the work of a Christian renegade to Mahommedanism about the 13th-16th century. See also preliminary notice in the Journal of Theol. Studies, vi. 424 if. The old view held by Toland and others that the Italian was a translation from the Arabic is demonstrably wrong. The Arabic marginal notes are apparently partly pious ejaculations, partly notes for the aid of Arabic students. The work is highly imaginative and often grotesque, but it is pervaded by an unusually high ethical enthusiasm. (J. V. B.)
End of Article: GOSPEL OP BARNABAS
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