We know how desperate Muslims are yet most of them haven't read the real Bible! -CD2000
By Peter BetBasoo and Ashur Giwargis
(AINA) -- Much has been made of the recent discovery in Turkey of a Bible purported to be written in the Aramaic language, 1,500 years ago. The Muslim media, as well as Western media outlets, quickly pounced on this, claiming this Bible contains verses attributed to Jesus Christ, in which Christ predicts the coming of Muhammad. No media outlet has published a facsimile of these verses.
This "Bible" is written on leather in gold letters. The picture of the front cover show inscriptions in Aramaic and a drawing of a cross.
For any native speaker of Modern Assyrian (also known as neo-Aramaic), and that would be your average Assyrian today, the inscription is easily read. The bottom inscription, which is the most clearly visible from the published photos, says the following:
Transliteration: b-shimmit maran paish kteewa aha ktawa al idateh d-rabbaneh d-dera illaya b-ninweh b'sheeta d-alpa w-khamshamma d-maran
Translation: In the name of our Lord, this book is written on the hands of the monks of the high monastery in Nineveh, in the 1,500th year of our Lord.
Nineveh is the ancient Assyrian capital and is located in present-day north Iraq, near Mosul.
There are spelling errors that are immediately noticeable.
The first word, b'shimmit maran ("in the name of our Lord"), is erroneously spelled with a 't' instead of a 'd'. The 'd' in Assyrian is the genitive, and it prefixes the word that follows. It should read b-shimma d-maran, not b-shimmit maran (note, the last word of the sentence is correctly spelled d-maran ("of our Lord")).
The first word also contains another spelling error. The correct spelling for "name" in Assyrian is ashma, with the initial 'a' being silent. Therefore, when correctly spelled, 'in the name of our Lord" should be written as b-ashma d-maran.
The word idateh is misspelled, it should end with an 'a', idata. Also the phrase al idateh ("on the hands") is incorrect, it should read b-idata ("by the hands").
The bottom sentence uses the word ktawa ("book") to refer to the book, but in Assyrian the Bible is never referred to as a "book." One says awreta (Old Testament), khdatta (New Testament), or ktawa qaddeesha (holy book). Given this, since no one has seen the inside of this "Bible," we cannot be sure if it is in fact a Bible.
Most significantly, this writing is in Modern Assyrian, which was standardized in the 1840s. The first bible in Modern Assyrian was produced in 1848. If this book were written in 1500 A.D. it should have been written in Classical Assyrian.
It is highly unlikely for monks to make such elementary mistakes. It remains to be seen whether this book is a forgery, or even what kind of book it is.
The bottom inscription also says the book was written in 1500 A.D.. If the book does contain verses predicting the coming of Muhammad, it is no great accomplishment to predict something 870 years after the fact, since Muhammad founded Islam in 630 A.D..
Most media outlets, as well as Muslim and Christian outlets, lead the story with headlines pronouncing "1500 year old Bible predicts the coming of Muhammad" -- without any evidence to support this.
For Muslims, the implications of the headlines are desirable, that Jesus Christ is a Prophet, just like Muhammad, and not the Son of God. According to Al Bawaba, the Turkish culture and tourism minister, Ertugrul Gunay, said "In line with Islamic belief, the Gospel [this Bible] treats Jesus as a human being and not a God. It rejects the ideas of the Holy Trinity and the Crucifixion and reveals that Jesus predicted the coming of the Prophet Mohammed."
Commenting on the errors in the book, Al Bawaba says in another article:
For example, the book says that there are nine heavens and that the tenth is paradise while in Quran they are seven only and claims that Virgin Mary gave birth to Jesus without any pain while the Quran story says she got labor pains.
According to the gospel, Jesus said to Jewish priests that he is not the Messiah and that the Messiah is Mohammed. This means a denial of the existence of a Messiah, who is in fact Jesus Christ, and makes Jesus and Mohammed seem like they are one and the same person.
The book also contains information that lack historical credibility like the presence of three armies, each made up of 200,000 soldiers, in Palestine whereas the entire population of Palestine 2,000 years ago did not even reach 200,000. In addition, Palestine was occupied by the Romans at the time and it is impossible that Palestine was allowed to have any army or armies of its own.
The last sentence in chapter 217 says that 100 pounds of stones were placed on Christ's body. This confirms that the gospel was written quite recently because the first to use the pound as a unit of weight was the Ottomans in their experiments with Italy and Spain and it was never known during the time of Jesus.
Chapter 20 also stated that the cities of Jerusalem and Nazareth are sea ports.
This same article ends with "According to many studies, the gospel attributed to St. Barnabas was written by a European Jew in the Middle Ages who was quite familiar with the Quran and the Gospels. He, thus, mixed facts from here and there and his intentions remain unknown."
But despite the availability of information on this "Bible," most media outlets, Muslims, liberal and secular organizations have portrayed this discovery as something that undermines Christianity, ignoring the many problems with this book and presenting it as virtual fact. In fact, in their zeal to support the anti-Christian narrative, they have withheld or suppressed information questioning the authenticity of this book. For these organizations and individuals, this is another tool in their arsenal for the attack on the foundations of Christian doctrine.
Related Very Helpful Articles:
- Answering Islam - "1500 Years Old Bible found in Turkey?"
- Catholic Answers - "Why the ‘Gospel of Barnabas’ is a Medieval Fake"
- Vatican Insider - "The Gospel of Barnabas ‘hoax’"
- Wikipedia - "The Gospel of Barnabas"
Anachronisms in the "Gospel of Barnabas"
Some readers have noted that the Gospel of Barnabas contains a number of apparent anachronisms and historical incongruities:
- It has Jesus sailing across the Sea of Galilee to Nazareth – which is actually inland; and thence going "up" to Capernaum – which is actually on the lakeside (chapters 20–21); though this is contested by Blackhirst, who says that the traditional location of Nazareth is itself questionable.
- Jesus is said to have been born during the rule of Pontius Pilate, which began after the year 26.
- Barnabas appears not to realize that "Christ" and "Messiah" are synonyms, "Christ" (khristos) being a Greek translation of the word messiah (mashiach), both having the meaning of "anointed". The Gospel of Barnabas thus errs in describing Jesus as "Jesus Christ" (lit. "Messiah Jesus" in Greek), yet claiming that 'Jesus confessed and said the truth, "I am not the Messiah"' (ch. 42).
- There is reference to a jubilee which is to be held every hundred years (Chapter 82), rather than every fifty years as described in Leviticus: 25. This anachronism appears to link the Gospel of Barnabas to the declaration of a Holy Year in 1300 by Pope Boniface VIII; a Jubilee which he then decreed should be repeated every hundred years. In 1343 the interval between Holy Years was reduced by Pope Clement VI to fifty years.
- Adam and Eve eat an apple (ch. 40); whereas the traditional association of the Fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil (Book of Genesis 2:9,17; 3:5) with the apple rests on the translation of the Hebrew Bible into Latin, where both 'apple' and 'evil' are rendered as 'malum'.
- The Gospel talks of wine being stored in wooden casks (chapter 152). Wooden casks were a characteristic of Gaul and Northern Italy, and were not commonly used for wine in the Roman empire until after 300 CE; whereas wine in 1st century Palestine was always stored in wineskins and jars (amphorae). The Pedunculate or English Oak Quercus robur does not grow in Palestine; and the wood of other species is not sufficiently airtight to be used in wine casks,
- In Chapter 91, the "Forty Days" is referred to as an annual fast. This corresponds to the Christian tradition of fasting for forty days in Lent; a practice that is not witnessed earlier than the Council of Nicaea (325). Nor is there a forty days' fast in Judaism of the period (see Mishnah Tractate Ta'anit, "Days of Fasting").
- Where the Gospel of Barnabas includes quotations from the Old Testament, these correspond to readings as found in the Latin Vulgate rather than as found in either the Greek Septuagint, or the Hebrew Masoretic Text. The Latin Vulgate translation was a work that St. Jerome began in 382 AD, centuries after the death of Barnabas.
- In Chapter 54 it says: "For he would get in change a piece of gold must have sixty mites" (Italian minuti). In the New Testament period, the only golden coin, the aureus, was worth approximately 3,200 of the smallest bronze coin, the lepton (translated into Latin as minuti); while the Roman standard silver coin, the denarius, was worth 128 leptons. The rate of exchange of 1:60 implied in the Gospel of Barnabas was, however, a commonplace of late medieval interpretation of the counterpart passage in the canonical Gospels (Mark 12:42), arising from the standard medieval understanding of minuti as meaning 'a sixtieth part'.
- Chapter 91 records three contending Jewish armies 200,000 strong at Mizpeh, totaling 600,000 men, at a time when the Roman army across the entire Empire had a total strength estimated as 300,000.
- In Chapter 119 Jesus instances sugar and gold as substances of equivalent rarity and value. Although the properties of sugar had been known in India in antiquity, it was not traded as a sweetener until industrial-scale production developed in the 6th century. From the 11th to 15th centuries, the sugar trade into Europe was an Arab monopoly, and its value was often compared with gold. From the mid-15th century, however, large-scale sugar estates were established in the Canary Islands and the Azores, and sugar, although still a luxury item, ceased to be exceptionally rare.