THE LETTER
of BARNABAS

(fl. c. 96)

Barnabas, Duccio, Maesta 1510


THE LETTER of BARNABAS. A letter of early Christian times ascribed by Clement of Alexandria to the Apostle Barnabas. Its Greek text was first discovered entire in the Codex Sinaiticus. It contains a strong attack on Judaism, explaining animal sacrifices, the distinctive enactments of the Mosaic Law, and the material Temple as mistakes due to Jewish blindness and denying that they were ever God’s will. The writer also maintains that the Hebrew Scriptures, so far from enjoining Judaic practices, had an esoteric sense, which he professes to reveal. In this way he succeeds in finding in the Old Testament convincing testimonies for Christianity and against Judaism. It is very improbable that the author was really the Apostle Barnabas. He was a Christian, perhaps of Alexandria, who wrote at some time between 70 and 150.

 

Adapted from The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, ed. F.L.Cross & E.L.Livingstone.


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