Nicaea, The Bible and the GOB ("Gospel of Barnabas")
Submitted by Lactantius Jr (United Kingdom), Dec 5, 2006 at 11:58
The Council of Nicaea AD 325 and the Bible
The New Testament we read today, is not the product of the Council of Nicea. By the time of the Council of Nicaea in AD 325 (which the Emperor Constantine convened, but at which the gathering of 318 bishops made the decisions), the issue of what would be included in the Bible was not even debated. The deliberations of the Council focused on the deity of Christ, and the authority of the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, was taken for granted by all the bishops present. The deliberations of the Council are available online, titled "Edicts of the Council of Nicaea," and may be referred to at, http://www.piar.hu/councils/ecum01.htm together with the article titled "The Council of Nicaea and the Bible" at:- http://www.tertullian.org/rpearse/nicaea.html
The final statements regarding formal recognition of the 27 books of the New Testament that we have today, (what we call the Canon), were made at African synods (at Hippo and Carthage) in AD 393 and 397.
The process of recognizing the true and separating it from the false gained momentum in the second century AD, when the heretic Marcion was born circa AD 85 at Sinope (modern Sinop on the Black Sea) in Pontus, and produced his own, very reduced, list of authorized books. Since the caricature always comes after the original, this implies that the main features of the NT collection were in place at that time.
It's important to note that the Canon was decided by God and merely recognized by man. Leading New Testament scholar F.F. Bruce put it well:
‘The New Testament books did not become authoritative for the Church because they were formally included in a canonical list; on the contrary, the Church included them in her canon because she already regarded them as divinely inspired, …. [Church] councils [did] not impose something new upon the Christian communities but codif[ied] what was already the general practice of those communities.'
Bruce, F.F., The New Testament Documents: Are they reliable? IVP, Downers Grove, Illinois, 1960.
One of the world's greatest authorities on the Greek New Testament, Bruce Metzger, pointed out:
‘You have to understand that the canon was not the result of a series of contests involving church politics. … . You see, the canon is a list of authoritative books more than it is an authoritative list of books. These documents didn't derive their authority from being selected; each one was authoritative before anyone gathered them together.'
Metzger, B., interviewed in Strobel, L., The Case for Christ, Zondervan, Grand Rapids, MI, 1998.
You say the Bible has been "rewritten approximately 100 to 140 times since the Council of Nicaea, until the present day. No it has not Raqib. It has been, and continues to be translated, many, many times, into the different languages of the world, the intention being to give each people group, the Word of God in their own language,
"2,403 languages have some or all of the Bible. Of these, 426 have an adequate Bible; 1,115 have an adequate New Testament; 862 have at least one book of the Bible."
Taken from the Wycliffe website at:-
The Gospel of Barnabas (GOB)The GOB overwhelmingly supports the teaching of Islam, but not always, as the following examples show.
Who is the Messiah?
The Qur'an teaches that Jesus is the Messiah, and it never teaches that Muhammad is the Messiah:
"Allah giveth thee glad tidings of a word from him, whose name is the Messiah, Jesus, son of Mary"
However, the GOB denies that Jesus is the Messiah, saying that Muhammad is the Messiah:
"Jesus confessed and said the truth, I am not the Messiah'".
GOB Chapter 42.
"Then said the priest: ‘How shall the Messiah be called?' ... (Jesus answered) ‘Muhammed is his blessed name' "
GOB chapter 97
Both these ideas contradict the Qur'an.
How many wives is a Muslim allowed?
Marriage in the Qur'an binds a woman to one man but it does not bind a man to one woman. Muslim men being free to have up to 4 wives Surah 4:3, and an unlimited number of concubines Surah 70:30. However, the GOB teaches the Biblical idea of marriage, that marriage binds a man and a woman equally together:
"Let a man content himself therefore with the wife whom his creator has given him, and let him forget every other woman."
GOB chapter 115
Did Mary experience pain during the Birth of Jesus?
The Qur'an clearly teaches that Mary had pain when she gave birth to Jesus:
"So she conceived him, and she retired with him to a remote place. And the pains of childbirth drove her to the trunk of a palm-tree: She cried (in her anguish): "Ah! would that I had died before this! would that I had been a thing forgotten and out of sight!"
However, the GOB teaches the opposite:
"The virgin was surrounded by a light exceeding bright, and brought forth her son without pain"
GOB chapter 3
How many Heavens?
The Qur'an teaches that there are seven heavens:
The seven heavens and the earth praise Him Surah 17:44
However the GOB teaches that there are nine heavens:
"Verily I say unto thee that the heavens are nine, among which are set the planets, that are distant one from another five hundred years journey for a man"
GOB chapter 178
In considering when the GOB was written, there is evidence for the idea of nine heavens elsewhere.
Dante was a famous and popular poet of the 14th and later centuries. Among Dante's work is a book of poetry called, The Divine Comedy (Dante Alighieri, The Divine Comedy, section: Paradiso.)
In this book he describes ascending through the heavens to reach paradise. Dante describes ascending through nine heavens, with paradise being the 10th.
The author of the GOB describes, in the same way as Dante, nine heavens before paradise:
"Paradise is so great that no man can measure it. Verily I say unto thee that the heavens are nine, among which are set the planets, that are distant one from another five hundred years journey for a man ... and Verily I say unto thee that paradise is greater than all the earth and heavens together"
GOB chapter 178
It thus appears that the author of the GOB could have taken the idea of the nine heavens from reading Dante.Does Man Have Free Will? Man is endowed with a free will. GOB chapter 164 Whilst the Qur'an says man only does what Allah wills him to do Surah's 76:30,17:13, &10:99-100 Retribution or not? The Quran follows the Mosaic law of "an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth," but the GOB teaches against it. "... ye shall not overcome evil with evil, but rather with good" GOB chapter 81, which sounds very much like Romans 12:20-21 which says:-
"To the contrary, ‘if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.' Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.""Woe unto them that call for vengeance ..." GOB chapter 63. "... kiss the hand of those who revile thee, and present gifts to those who persecute thee and strike thee much" GOB chapter 64. Abrogation or not? Despite claiming to be inscribed on "a tablet preserved" Surah 85:21-22 the Quran teaches abrogation Surah's 2:106 and 16:101. Think about this Raqib, "the tablet preserved" contains words which Allah is subsequently going to cancel, to nullify, to abolish etc. and compare/contrast this with the God of the Bible Who says, "The grass withers and the flowers fade, but the word of our God stands forever." Isaiah 40:8 and note that GOB opposes the Qur'an by condemning abrogation chapter 38 Eating Pork
The Quran condemns eating pork Surah 16:145, but sounding very much like words recorded in the New Testament, the GOB says "that which entereth into the man defileth not the man, but that which cometh out of the man defileth the man" chapter 32 which sounds very much like the Lord Jesus Christ's words recorded in Matthew 15:16-18 "Are you still so dull?" Jesus asked them. "Don't you see that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and then out of the body? But the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and these make a man 'unclean.'"
So Raqib, which is it to be, the Qur'an or the GOB, which is the word of Allah? Do please remember, when you quote the GOB to present the Islamic Isa, you are quoting a book which contradicts the Qur'an, and which is also demonstrably false, because of the numerous errors it contains, errors such as historical, geographical, climatic and internal inaccuracies, the GOB is thus best left well alone Raqib, since it can so easily shown to be fraudulent.
With kind regards
Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".
Reader comments (1084) on this item
Comment on this item
Support Daniel Pipes' work with a tax-deductible donation to the Middle East Forum. Daniel J. Pipes