We shall not spend time in recapitulating the arguments which show conclusively that the "The Gospel of Barnabas" neither is apostolic nor originates within the earliest Christian centuries. This negative conclusion, however, is enough to throw suspicion upon its aim and content.
Who wrote this book, and where and when did he write it: While is impossible to give precise answers to these positive questions, yet we have already shown that approximate answers can be given. Almost certainly it was written in the Middle Ages, very possibly in the fourteenth century or later and originated in the West, in Europe, probably in Italy.(or Spain). Though we cannot name the anonymous forger, we can made a shrewd guess at some of his characteristics.
Our readers should know and will know, if they read this romance (and we hope they will read it), that the book is in the form of a Biography of Christ, like one of the four accounts in the true Gospel. It gives, in regular order, events, conversations and miracles from the birth of Christ to the end of His ministry.
Now a number of facts come to light as we study this book.
1. The writer shows close acquaintance with the Christian religion and book, and with the true fourfold record of Jesus within this Book. This is apparent in every line of the "The Gospel of Barnabas" the author of which, for the most part,, simply copies out the substance of Matthew and Luke, changing, altering and corrupting as his will leads him.
2. The writer shows less acquaintance with the Qur'an. The whole of his book is obviously designed to exalt the religion of Islam, and an Islamic flavour pervades the whole; but it is the work, not of a student of the Qur'an but of one who probably had acquired most of his knowledge about Islam from conversations - the Islam of the age of the commentators and the late traditions. He develops and annotates traditions about Quranic themes more than he reproduces these themes.
He declares unequivocally for Ishmael (as we saw), despite the fact that the Qur'an leaves this matter open thereby he shows that he is long after the earliest commentators and that he coincides with the time when the later commentators were pushed by controversial considerations to take this course.
While the "crucifixion of Jesus" is shrouded with obscurity within the Qur'an
(though the fact that He was crucified by the Jews is clearly denied), "Barnabas:" boldly provides the details of the vent and the person (Judas Iscariot) whom he portrays as crucified in the place of Jesus - and that in a manner which would probably embarrass some Muslims. In fact, as we have shown, well-meaning ally. For on occasions he contradicts the Qur'an and attributes to Muhammad designations which Muhammad would have rejected for himself.
Thus, we are driven to the conclusion that "Barnabas" was a medieval Christian who desired to injure Christianity and exalt Islam. He must have been a convert to Islam; perhaps at one time was a monk (for there are signs to show that the writer originally belonged to a religious order); perhaps was even the egregious Fra Marino himself, the hero of the theft from the Pope's library.
We regret to have to point out that this author, in his zeal, became a perverter and a corrupter of the Scriptures of God. He was guilty of the tahrif and the tabdil that Muslims correctly anathematise. Here this great sin has emanated from one who must have professed himself to be a Muslim.
Of course, we do not, and do not want to, accuse all Muslims of sharing in the guilt of "Barnabas". We recognize also that some Muslims who have only second-hand information about "Barnabas" that they have accepted on trust, may innocently use it in the interests of Islam. On the other hand, it is evidence that he who is aware of its contents, yet continues to maintain its integrity and to utilize it as a genuine Gospel account of Jesus at the expense of bible, must share in the guilt of the author.
Thus again we would encourage our readers, who have a concern for "Barnabas", to read this work carefully and to measure its evidence objectively. It is our hope that this work, in spite of itself, would serve as a stepping stone to their serious perusal of the genuine Gospel of Jesus.
For thus can God work: We praise Him who brings light out of darkness, turns evil into good, out of the stumbling blocks of deceit makes stepping stones unto truth. To Him be all glory, now and forever, Amen.