Saw this pop up today on Facebook. Not sure how old the whole thing is but it often cracks me up even though I find it sad at the same time that people throw this around social media to discredit Christianity and in their eyes it’s always that one “smoking gun”.
I will have to say that this kind of nonsense really makes my blood boil. The tragedy is that some people actually give credence to this kind of utter nonsense. Here are the facts, at least the best I can tell from a quick bit of looking around. We should look at the actual facts before we even begin to discuss speculations. Apparently, there was an ancient manuscript found in the hands of antiquities smugglers in Turkey. The other apparent fact is that this manuscript is on what appears to be vellum or parchment (leather made from lamb or other skin), and that it is in gold-colored lettering, making it an unusual find. Also, the manuscript appears to be in Syriac. Unfortunately, the article you sent me says that it is in Aramaic, which is not true. It is in Syriac which is similar to Aramaic like Spanish is similar to French. This Syriac document is probably a translation of an earlier Greek document, but if that is the case, we will have to wait for legitimate scholars to get their hands on this manuscript. I will have to do some more research, but what was presented (and I cannot confirm yet) is that the Turkish government is in possession of this manuscript and has not yet released it to the general public for some reason. It is possible that certain Muslims are holding back the document in order to fuel speculation for cynical purposes, but we will see about that as well.
Now, let me get to the article you found, which is one of many out there. Someone somewhere speculated that this new manuscript might be related to the long-lost supposed “Gospel of Barnabas.” There you have it. This sheer speculation without even the slightest shred of evidence to support the speculation! The supposed Gospel of Barnabas was referred to in a list of gnostic texts in the seventh century. To date, no actual manuscripts of this document have been found. In fact, we do not even have supposed quotes from what has been called the Gospel of Barnabas. The evidence for this gnostic gospel is so thin that it is entirely possible that it literally never even existed. In any case, someone somewhere speculated that this new manuscript might be of this long-lost letter (which may in fact not even exist at all). There is not even the slightest evidence that it has anything to do with the Gnostic Gospel of Barnabas, yet certain people declare that this is the case, despite the fact that this is sheer, utter, absolute speculation. It is vastly more likely that this document will be something entirely different. In fact, Turkish authorities who have been privy to seeing the document have cautioned us to not speculate and that Muslims ought to not get their hopes up.
This is a non-story. Opponents of Christianity are using what is literally zero information as a pretext to criticize biblical Christianity. I am afraid that Muslim apologists, as a whole, are very susceptible to such conspiracy-theory-like factless speculations. They are an embarrassment to any thinking person, including any thinking Muslim person. Obviously, not all Muslim apologists stoop to such tactics. I urge legitimate Muslim apologists to publicly condemn such bogus attempts to undermine Christian belief.
Here are the facts about the Gospel of Barnabas. There is no evidence that this is an ancient document. The first mention of the document with the title the Gospel of Barnabas comes from a Muslim writer from present-day Tunisia, written about 1634. The manuscript was discovered in Madrid. There is no evidence whatsoever that this “gospel” was ever written in Greek. The evidence is that what is called the Gospel of Barnabas is a rewriting of the four gospels whose purpose was to create a version of the story of Jesus friendly to Islamic thinking. In other words, the Gospel of Barnabas is a revision, from well over a thousand years after the events, which was produced as a sort of Muslim apologetic. For example, it supports the false claim of Muslims that the prophecy of Jesus about the coming of the Holy Spirit in John 14 and John 16 is actually a prophecy of the coming of Mohammed. Clearly, any difference between the Gospel of Barnabas and the true biblical gospels was put there for the very purpose of supporting Islam. This document is of historical interest to understand how Muslims tried to fit the sayings in the Qu’ran into a biblical framework, but we cannot take it seriously as a Christian document, given that it was created in an attempt to convert people from Christianity or to prevent Muslims from converting to Christianity.
Thanks for sending me the article.