TURKISH authorities have found a new biblical book called the Gospel of Barnabas which makes astonishing and controversial claims including the fact that Jesus ascended to heaven alive and Judas Iscariot was crucified in his place.
Recovered by customs officials from a gang of smugglers, the Gospel of Barnabas is said to be about 2000 years old and has been valued as at about $28m. Among its controversial claims are that Jesus was not the the son of God but a prophet and that Apostle Paul is an impostor.
Some experts and local religious authorities insist that the book is original as it is written with gold lettering, onto loosely-tied leather in Aramaic, the language Jesus Christ spoke. In the main, the Gospel of Barnabas maintains a vision similar to Islam, contradicting the New Testament’s teachings of Christianity and indicates that Jesus also foresees the coming of the Prophet Muhammad, who would found Islam 700 years later.
In 325 AD, the world’s first ecumenical council known as the Council of Nicea, held in modern day Turkey to reach a Christian consensus on what should be contained in the bible. At the event, the contents of the modern day bible were agreed and many books were discarded of which the Gospel of Barnabas is thought to be one of them.
Ever since then, many biblical texts have begun to surface over time, including those of the Dead Sea and Gnostic Gospels but this book especially, seems to worry the Vatican. Christianity is currently founded on the four gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John but the Vatican has asked Turkish authorities to let them examine the contents of the new book.
It is unlikely that the Catholic Church, however, will accept any new gospels or authorize the re-writing of the bible. Many Christian groups are also likely to regard the Gospel of Barnabas as a Muslim lie designed to discredit their faith.