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18. Bible and Qur'an Series
BOOKLET 6 - Origins and Sources of the Gospel of Barnabas
(An analysis of Ahmad Deedat's Booklet:The Gospel of Barnabas)
2. Evidence of its Medieval Origin

b) Quotations from Dante

Dante was an Italian who, significantly, also lived about the time of Pope Boniface and wrote his famous “Divina Comedia” in the fourteenth century. This was basically a fantasy about hell, purgatory and paradise according to the Roman Catholic beliefs of his times.

Now in the Gospel of Barnabas we read that Jesus allegedly said of the prophets of old:

‘Readily and with gladness they went to their death, so as not to offend against the law of God given by Moses his servant, and go and serve false and lying gods’. (The Gospel of Barnabas, page 27).

The expression “false and lying gods” (in Latin: dei falsi e lugiardi) is found elsewhere in the Gospel of Barnabas as well. On one occasion it is Jesus again who supposedly uses these words (page 99) and on another it is the author himself who describes Herod as serving “false and lying gods” (page 267). Nevertheless this expression is found in neither the Bible nor the Qur'an. What is interesting, however, is that it is a direct quote from Dante! (Inferno 1:72). Many of the descriptions of hell in the Gospel of Barnabas (pages 76-77) are reminiscent of those in the third canto of Dante's Inferno as well.

Likewise the expression “raging hunger” (Latin: rabbiosa fame) is also reminiscent of the first canto of Dante's Inferno. Both speak of the “circles of hell” and the author of the Gospel of Barnabas also makes Jesus say to Peter:

‘Know ye therefore that hell is one, yet hath seven centres one below another. Hence, even as sin is of seven kinds, for as seven gates of hell hath Satan generated it: so there are seven punishments therein’. (The Gospel of Barnabas, page 171).

This is precisely Dante's description found in the fifth and sixth cantos of his Inferno. We could go on and quote many more examples but space here demands that we press on to other evidences that the Gospel of Barnabas was written in the Middle Ages. One striking quote must be mentioned, however, because in this case the Gospel of Barnabas agrees with Dante while contradicting the Qur'an. We read in the Qur'an that there are seven heavens:

He it is who created for you all that is in the earth. Then turned He to the heaven, and fashioned it as seven heavens. (Surah al-Baqara 2:29)

On the contrary we read in the Gospel of Barnabas that there are nine heavens and that Paradise like Dante's Empyrean - is the tenth heaven above all the other nine. The author of the Gospel of Barnabas makes Jesus say:

‘Paradise is so great that no man can measure it. Verily I say unto thee that the heavens are nine ... I say to thee that paradise is greater than all the earth and all the heavens together’. (The Gospel of Barnabas, page 223)

Clearly the author of the Gospel of Barnabas knew Dante's work and had no scruples to quote from it. Accordingly we have further evidence that the Gospel of Barnabas could not have been written earlier than the fourteenth century - hundreds of years after the times of Jesus and Muhammad. It is accordingly a worthless forgery which should be disowned as such by every Muslim who believes in his heart that no lie can be of the truth.

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