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personal disciple of Christ, even one of the Seventy
mentioned in Lk 10', and preached the gospel in
Rome during the lifetime of our Lord. Another
asserts that he was the founder and first bishop of
the Church of Milan, though Ambrose makes no
mention of him as one of his predecessors in that



see. A third makes him the missionary or apostle
to Cyprus, and states that he died by martyrdom
at Salamis in A.D. 61. From an early date also
the writing of an Epistle has been ascribed to him :
(1) the Epistle to the Hebrews, the authorship of
which was claimed for him by Tertullian ; and (2)
the Epistle to which his name has been attached
since the time of Clement of Alexandria (see
following article). In both cases the internal
evidence is strongly against the authorship of
Barnabas, such references, for instance, being
made to the Jewish Law as were not likely to
come from a member of the Jerusalem Church and
a sympathizer with Peter at Antioch. McGitfert
(Apostol. Age, Edinburgh, 1897, p. 598 f.) argues
very ingeniously in favour of Barnabas as the
author of 1 Peter ; but the reasons adduced by
him, though plausible, are scarcely sufficient to
establish his theory. There is nothing in the
Epistle to necessitate a Levite authorship, and
Barnabas need not have remained anonymous
(Moffat, LNT, 343 n., 437).

LITERATURE. In addition to references already given, see
works generally on Paul, Acts, Galatians, and the Apostolic
Age. D. FREW.

chief object of the author of this Epistle was to
impart to his readers a knowledge of w r hat pertains
to salvation that they might be saved in the Day
of Jesus Christ (ii. 10, iv. 1, 9). The two lessons
he impresses upon them are: (1) that the literal
observance of the Mosaic Law is useless for salva-
tion ; (2) the necessity and duty of a moral life.
This is the letter of a true Christian pastor of much
moral and spiritual earnestness ; he is deeply con-
cerned for the salvation of his flock and desirous
of imparting to them the best that he has.

2. Moral interest. It is only right to emphasize
our author's moral and spiritual aims because a
large part of what he says, consisting of allegorical
interpretations of the Mosaic Law, appears to
modern minds strangely unreal and fantastic. But
if his letter abounds in allegory, it is only because
he is deeply impressed with the idea that the Law,
if literally observed, will make shipwreck of men's
salvation (Hi. 6). His earnest advice is : ' Let us
flee from all vanity, let us entirely hate the works
of the evil way' (iv. 10 ; cf. 9). In his closing
chapters (xix.-xxi.) he forsakes the allegorical
method entirely, and devotes himself to a setting
forth of ' the two ways,' the way of light and the
way of darkness. The duties of loving, fearing,
praising, and obeying God are named first. Then
follows a series of injunctions, some negative and
some positive in form, concerned chiefly with one's
relations to others. A man's neighbour must be
loved more than his own soul. The way of the
' Black One ' is set forth in the form of a catalogue
of vices and evil actions. Only two Command-
ments are quoted from the Decalogue the third
and the seventh. There is no direct appeal to
either the teaching or the exam pie of our Lord.

3. Attitude towards Judaism. The main in-
terest which the Epistle has for us to-day lies in
the light which it throws upon the relations be-
tween Judaism and the Church. In order to
appreciate the position of this Epistle in early
Christian literature, it is necessary to make a brief
review of the transition from Judaism to Christi-
anity. Christianity did not come into the world
at a point where there was a religious vacuum. It
was founded by One who claimed to be the An-
ointed One of a definite national religion, which
had existed for many centuries. He and His
apostles believed in the Jewish religion, as the
only true religion, used the Jewish Scriptures as
the very word of God, and observed the national

forms of worship as the Divinely-appointed mode
of serving God. How then did His followers ever
come to abandon the Law ? Did they at any point,
make a complete break with all that was Jewish
and begin afresh on an entirely new basis? By
no means ; there was no break, but merely a re-
organization. The followers of Jesus believed that
He, as Messiah, had authority from God to insti-
tute a new Covenant between God and His people
Israel, and that He actually did so when He offered
Himself on the cross as a sacrifice for sin. The
logical consequences of this belief were not per-
ceived all at once, but were bound to come to light
as time went on.

(1) If the death of Jesus is sufficient to obtain
salvation, the observance of the Law cannot be
essential any longer. Hence, though believing
Jews may continue to observe the Law if they
will, there is not sufficient ground for compelling
Gentiles who turn to God and believe on Jesus to
do so also. This recognition of the Gentiles is the
first step in the process, and is the position reached
at the Council of Jerusalem (Ac 15). The next
step was to admit that it was not necessary for be-
lieving Jews to observe the Law, when such observ-
ance caused them to separate from their Gentile
brethren. This step was being taken during the
lifetime of St. Paul (Gal 2 14tr -, 1 Co 9 21 ). The last
step was to condemn all observance of the Law,
whether by Jewish or by Gentile believers.

This last step is reflected in the pages of our
Epistle. There is, however, this peculiarity about
its position : the main stream of Christian thought
believed that the Mosaic Law had been given by
God to the Jews to be literally fulfilled. Our
author, however, does not believe that the Law
ever was intended to be taken literally ; he says it
was uttered in a spiritual sense which the Jews
did not understand (x. 9). This error of the Jews
was the work of an evil angel (ix. 4; cf. viii. 7) ;
the true spiritual interpretation is known to
Christians because God circumcised their ears
(ix. 4). This spiritual interpretation of the Law is
nothing more or less than a series of allegories.
The scapegoat of the Day of Atonement is the
type of Jesus who was to suffer (ch. vii.). The
prescription that certain animals must not be eaten
is explained as meaning that one must have no
dealings with certain kinds of evil persons (ch. x.).
If Abraham is said to have circumcised 318 men,
the real meaning is Jesus and the Cross, because
'in the number 18, I stands for ten, H for eight.
Here thou hast Jesus (IHSOT2). And because the
cross in the T was to have grace, he saith also
three hundred. So he revealeth Jesus in the two
letters and in the remaining one the Cross ' (ix. 8 ;
cf. his treatment of the Red Heifer of Nu 19 in ch.

This position is supported by citing the prophetic
condemnation of the idea that sacrifice and ritual
can be made a substitute for a moral life (chs. ii.
and Hi.). In dealing with circumcision, our author
seizes on those passages which speak of a circum-
cision of the heart (Jer 4 4 , Dt 10 16 , Jer g 26 ), and
argues that the Jewish circumcision ' is abolished,
for he hath said that a circumcision not of the flesh
should be practised ' (ix. 4). The six days of
creation are in reality 6000 years ; hence the true
Sabbath cannot be observed until the coming of
the Son of God (ch. xv.). Similarly the building
of a material Temple was a mistake ; the true
Temple is a spiritual Temple the hearts of those
with whom God dwells (ch. xvi.) ; thus all that is
outwardly distinctive of the Jewish religion is
interpreted in a spiritual sense : distinctions of
clean and unclean, circumcision, the Sabbath and
the Temple.

(2) Another logical consequence of belief in Jesus



as Messiah will further illustrate the mind of our
writer. If the Messiah has indeed come in the per-
son of Jesus, then the national religion of the Jews
is not destroyed but proved to be the true service of
the Living God, and its claim that it had received a
direct Divine revelation is not exploded but vindi-
cated by God Himself. Every one who believed
in Jesus, believed that He came in fulfilment of
promises made by God to the Jewish fathers ;
hence a Christian believer could not but regard the
ancient Jewish Scriptures as the record of a unique
revelation and treat them as the very word of God.
This, too, is the position of our author ; for, though
he regards the literal observance of the Law as
having been from the very first a fatal mistake,
yet all his proofs of this are drawn from the
OT itself ann from what he believes to be its true
exegesis. ' The Lord has made known to us by
His prophets, things past and present.' The words
of Scripture he constantly quotes as words spoken
from the mouth of God (ii. 4, 5, 7, iii. 1, iv. 8, v.
5, 12, etc. ; cf. iv. 7, 11, v. 4, etc.). Moreover, he
uses the Scriptures to explain the mystery of the
suffering of the Son of God. ' How did He endure
to suffer at the hand of men? Understand ye.
The Prophets receiving grace from Him, prophesied
concerning Him' (v. 5, 6, 13, 14; cf. vi. 6, 7, x.,
xi. ). The OT was his only source of authority in
religion ; he does not appeal to any Christian writ-
ing, or even to the words of Jesus ; he feels he has
fully proved his point if he can show that his doc-
trine is grounded in the Jewish Scriptures.

(3) If Jesus was the Messiah, He was clothed
with full authority to mould the national religious
life according to the will of God. Those who re-
fused to believe and obey Him refused to obey
and believe God, and by this act of disobedience
cut themselves off from the Covenant and the
mercies of God. On the other hand, those who did
believe God and were obedient to His Messiah,
became the true people of God, the New Israel, the
present possessors of all the privileges that once be-
longed to the Jewish nation, and the recipients of
all the Messianic blessings. If the purpose of God
in creating the world and in calling Abraham had
been fulfilled in Jesus, then it was not for the sake
of unbelieving Jews but for the sake of the believers
in the Messiah that the world had been created and
Abraham called. They are the new People and yet
the old, for they have been latent in God's intention
since the Creation. Thus the Christians denied to
the Jews any share whatever in the glorious herit-
age of the Jewish nation, and claimed it entirely
for themselves.

This position throws light upon the mind of our
writer. He is sure that the patriarchs from Abra-
ham to Moses stood in a special relation to God
and received special promises from Him (v. 7, xiii.
7, xiv. 1). But, whereas St. Paul would say that
the physical descendants of Abraham were not cut
off from this special relationship until they cut
themselves off when they refused to believe in
Jesus (Ro 11), our author thinks that they were
cut off long before this, as long ago as the day of
Aaron's golden calf. A Covenant, he says, was
given to Moses to deliver to the Jews, but it was
never really received. 'He hath given it (the
Covenant), but they themselves were not found
worthy to receive it by reason of their sins ' (xiv.
1) ; for, when Moses perceived their idolatry, he
cast out of his hands the two tables which he had
received in the Mount, and they were broken in
pieces (xiv. 1-4, iv. 6-8). St. Paul and the Epistle
to the Hebrews know of two Covenants an old
and a new ; and the old was in force until the
coming of the Messiah (Ro 7 2u; , Gal 3 24f - 4 124 , He 8 13 ).
The Epistle of Barnabas says that only one Cove-
nant was ever in force the Covenant of Jesus.

Our author does not cut Christianity away from
all historic connexion with the Jewish past ; on
the contrary, he denies a place of privilege to the
Jews after Mount Sinai, in order to show that
that place really belonged to the Christians.
There are two peoples the Jews and the Chris-
tians. Of these, the Jews, the elder, are in the
position of Esau and of Manasseh, who, though
the first-born of their respective fathers, did not
inherit the blessing ; the Christians, like Jacob and
Ephraim, though in each case the younger, have
been made the recipients of the promises (ch. xiii.).
Accordingly, to our author, the Christians have
now come into what was always their own and had
never belonged to the nation of Israel. ' Do not
then say, "Our covenant remains to them also."
Ours it is, but they have lost it in this way for ever,
when Moses had just received it ' (iv. 6 ; cf. 8).
The Christians are 'the new people' of God (v. 7 f
vii. 5 ; cf. xiii. 6), a holy people (xiv. 6), who have
been cleansed, forgiven (vi. 11), whose hearts have
been redeemed out of darkness (xiv. 5), 'created
afresh from the beginning ' (xvi. 8), ' a new type '
(vi. 11) ; ' He Himself prophesying in us, He Him-
self dwelling in us, opening for us who had been in
bondage unto death. . . . This is the spiritual
temple built up to the Lord ' (xvi, 9, 10 ; cf. vi. 15).

It is not correct, then, to say with Kriiger (Hist,
of Early Christian Lit., New York, 1897, p. 21)
that to the writer of this Epistle 'Judaism was
an error with which Christianity could have noth-
ing to do, but which it must reject.' Our author
accepts the Jewish Scriptures, the patriarchs, the
promises, Moses, and the Law in its (to his mind)
correct spiritual interpretation. His animus is
against the Jews, not against the Jewish religion ;
from Sinai onwards they have in reality stood out-
side that religion ; its privileges were always the
peculiar property of the Christians, held in reserve
for them until the coming of the Messiah.

4. Christology. In the facts of the earthly life
of our Lord the Epistle of Barnabas has but little
interest. From incidental notices one gathers that
Jesus had performed wonders and miracles (v. 8) ;
that He had chosen twelve apostles to preach His
gospel (v. 9, viii. 3) ; that He was crucified, set at
naught and spit upon (vii. 9) ; that He was given
vinegar and gall to drink (vii. 3). It is evident that
the writer did not think that his readers stood in
need of instruction in the details of the life of

Nor does he aim at expounding a doctrine of
Christ's Person and work ; but when one gathers
together from different parts of his work the pas-
sages which refer to our Lord, one can see that his
teaching is in line with that of the Catholic
Church. Christ is ' the Beloved' of God (iii. 6, iv.
3, 8). He ' manifested Himself as the Son of God*
(v. 9, 11, vii. 9), who was pre-existent, being pre-
sent at and taking an active part in the Creation
(v. 5, 10, vi. 12) ; One who came among men in the
flesh (v. 6, 10, 11, vi. 7, 9, 14, xii. 10) ; who should
not be called Son of David but Son of God, for
David himself called him not son, but Lord (xii.
10, 11) ; who is about to come again, and that
quickly, to judge both the quick and the dead (v.
7, vii. 2, xxi. 3).

His teaching on the Atonement belongs to the
same early period of Christian teaching. He
knows that Christ suffered for us (v. 5, vii. 2) and
as a sacrifice for our sins (vii. 3, 5, v. 2), that we
might be forgiven, sanctified (v. 1), and saved (r.
10) ; and that we may reign with Him hereafter
when we have been made perfect (vi. 18, 19) ; that
He might annul death, show the resurrection (v. 6)
and give us life (vii. 2, xii. 5) ; that He might sum
up the tale of the sins of those who persecuted His
prophets (v. 11 ; cf. xiv. 5). He has no theory of



the Atonement and no definition of sacrifice ; he is
content to show that according to the Scriptures
Christ died for our sins and that we are thereby

5. Authorship. The Epistle is anonymous.
Tradition, however, has ascribed it to Barnabas the
fellow-worker of St. Paul. Clement of Alexandria
quotes it as the work of ' the Apostolic Barnabas,
who was one of the seventy and a fellow- worker of
Paul ' (Strom, ii. 20 ; cf. li. 6, 7, 15, 18, v. 8, 10).
Origen speaks of ' the Catholic Epistle of Barnabas '
(c. Gels. i. 63). Eusebius calls it ' the Epistle of
Barnabas,' i.e. the Apostle (HE vi. 14, iii. 25).
It seems to have been held in high esteem in Alex-
andria towards the end of the 2nd cent. ; and, since
it is found in Codex Sinaiticus beginning on the
leaf where Revelation ends, one may conclude that
it was once read in churches. In the West it was
never regarded as canonical. Eusebius objected to
it, and finally its connexion with the NT was
severed entirely.

The external evidence is thus wholly in favour
of the apostolic authorship. But, coming as it
does from a period as late as the closing years of
the 2nd cent., this testimony cannot overbalance
the weighty considerations drawn from internal
evidence which make it impossible to ascribe it to
the companion of St. Paul. What we know of the
apostolic Barnabas indicates that he took a view
of the Mosaic Law wholly different from that re-
flected in this Epistle. The ' Son of Consolation '
belonged to the earliest stage of the Jewish Chris-
tian controversy ; he was ready to give the Gen-
tiles liberty, but by no means ready to say that
the Jews might abandon the Law altogether (Gal
2 13 ). It is, of course, quite possible that, after the
incident of Gal 2, Barnabas might have come to
acknowledge the entire freedom of the Jews, but
even this would not bring him into the atmosphere
of our Epistle ; for here there is no question as to
whether a believing Jew may or may not abandon
the Law ; the main idea is that no Jew, believing
or unbelieving, ought ever to have observed the
Law at any time, even before Christ came. Such
an attitude as this lay altogether outside the pur-
view of the thoughts of St. Paul's companion, if
we may judge from what St. Paul tells us of him.
And it is difficult to think that any Jew, born
under the Law, and nurtured in the stirring tra-
ditions of its maintenance in the face of cruel per-
secution, could come to feel so little enthusiasm
for and interest in the national struggles and
heroisms that he could sweep them all away as
things which never ought to have been. A soul
so dead to patriotism was no true Jew. None but
an alien could be so unsympathetic to the national
history of the Jews.

Not very much more can be added to this. The
author was probably one of the class distinguished
by a charisma or ' gift ' of teaching. Though he
disclaims any intention of writing professionally,
yet he was conscious of possessing ' some claim to a
deferential hearing ' (Bartlet, EBr 11 iii. 409). Two
theories are advanced to account for the ascription
of the Epistle to Barnabas. It was the work of
a namesake of St. Paul's companion ; or, it was
known as coming from Alexandria, and hence
was ascribed to Barnabas as to one prominent
in the early history of that Church.

6. Place. There is a general agreement among
scholars that Alexandria is the probable scene of
its composition. The general style and the use of
the allegorical method are thoroughly Alexandrian.
At Alexandria, again, the Jews were particularly
strong, and in constant conflict with the Christians.
Hence the bitter opposition to the Jews as a nation,
and the anxiety to cut oft' all sympathy with Jew-
ish practices. It has been observed that there are

serious blunders in the descriptions of Jewish rites ;
our author agrees neither with the OT nor with
the Talmud. But possibly his knowledge is de-
rived from Alexandria rather than from Palestine.
Kohler, in JE ii. 537, remarks that the letter shows
an astonishing familiarity with Jewish rites.

7. Date. There is much less agreement on the
question of the date of the Epistle. It is plainly
later than the destruction of Jerusalem by Titus
in A.D. 70, for it alludes to that event (xvi. 4).
Again, it is earlier than the second destruction
under Hadrian in A.D. 132 ; otherwise, as Light-
foot remarks, some reference to this event would
have been found.

A closer determination of the date depends
mainly on the interpretation of a passage from ch.
iv. This chapter contains a warning that ' the
last offence ' is at hand ; for the Lord has shortened
the times and the days that His beloved may come
quickly. As a proof that the last offence, i.e. the
Antichrist, is at hand, the writer quotes a prophecy
from the Book of Daniel (Dn V- 24 ) to the effect
that ten kings shall reign, and after them shall
arise a little king who shall subdue three of the
kings in one (i><j> tv). It is evident that the writer
thinks that this prophecy has been, in part at
least, fulfilled ; he has seen something in recent
history which corresponds with this vision. Thus
much then seems clear ; when he wrote this, there
had been ten Caesars on the Imperial throne.
Unless we are to omit some of the Emperors from
the lista proceeding for which there seems no
justification the tenth Emperor brings us to the
reign of Vespasian. If the 'little horn' had al-
ready appeared when the Epistle was written,
then we must look for three Emperors subdued by
the successor of Vespasian. And this, of course,
Titus did not do. Hence it seems better to inter-
pret the little horn as Antichrist, who has not yet
been revealed, for this gets rid of the difficulty of
finding one Em peror who had already subdued three.
The writer found this reference to three kings in
his text of the prophecy, and meant to leave it to
the future to show who the three were and how
they would be overthrown. But no matter how
this point is settled, the tenth horn can scarcely
be other than Vespasian, and this fixes the date of
the Epistle at between A.D. 70 and 79. Another
chapter (xvi.) is sometimes referred to as having
a bearing on this question. This chapter speaks
of a building of the Temple of God. Many com-
mentators, including Harnack, take this as refer-
ring to the material Temple at Jerusalem, which
they say the Jews expected Hadrian to rebuild.
Hence they place this Epistle c. A.D. 120. But
this rests on a misinterpretation of ch. xvi It
seems certain that the writer has in view the
spiritual Temple built up in the hearts of believers,
and hence the passage has no bearing on the ques-
tion of date (cf. Lightfoot, Apostolic Fathers, 241).
Certain other considerations, such as the absence
of a reference to Gnosticism and the apparent
possibility of a relapse into Judaism, have also
been brought forward. Suffice it to say that none
of these is incompatible with the date given

8. Text. Until the discovery of the famous
Codex Sinaiticus (K) in 1862, this Epistle was
known only in a Latin translation and in eight
Greek MSS. The Latin Version is found in a
MS of the 8th cent., but the translation was made
from a text supposed by Miiller to be earlier than
K. It does not contain the last four chapters.
The Greek MSS all lacked exactly the same
portion of the Epistle the first five and a half
chapters and joined the remainder of Barnabas
on to the end of the Epistle of Polycarp as though
it were all one letter. Being thus plainly de-




scended from a common source, they are not in-
dependent witnesses for the text. With the
publication of Jt by Tischendorf in 1862 a complete
Greek text appeared for the first time. In this
Codex our Epistle follows Revelation, and is
followed by the Shepherd of Hernias. Another
complete Greek MS was discovered in Constan-
tinople by Bryennios in 1875. A good account of
the MSS will be found in Harnack's Altchrifttl.
Litteratur, i. 58-61, and in Gebhardt-Harnack's
Pat. Apost. Op. i. 2, pp. vii-xx.

9. Integrity. Attempts have been made by
Schenkel, Heydecke, J. Weiss, and others to
show that the Epistle contains many interpola-
tions. Hefele, Hilgenfeld, and Gebhardt-Harnack
have maintained the opposite. Of special interest
is the relation of our Epistle to the Didache (q.v.) ;
for both set forth much the same moral teaching
under the title of 'The Two Ways.' Kendel
Harris (Teaching of the Apostles, Cambridge, 1888,

Ep. 17-20) maintains that the writer of Barnabas
new the Didache and quoted it from memory.
Harnack, however, seems more successful in show-
ing that the writer of the Didache used and im-
proved upon our Epistle (cf. Die Lehre der zwolf
Apostel, Leipzig, 1884, pp. 81-87).

LITERATURE. English translations will be found in J. B.
Lightfoot, Apostolic Fathers, 1 vol., London, 1891 ; The Writ-

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