During the 1st century, the Christian community went through a time of rapid expansion, collection of first person accounts of the life and teachings of Jesus Christ, and, before the apostles themselves passed from the scene, committing those accounts to what was called "gospels" (the "good news" of what Jesus' life, death, and resurrection meant).
The quality of those gospels varied. Some -such as Matthew and John- were written by the apostles themselves. Others -the Gospel of Thomas, for example- possibly contain a small amount of genuine material. And others were out and out fraudulent works, created to "sell" a theological position (Gnosticism, for example) that were 180 degrees at variance with Christ's teachings, or (like stories of the Christ Child making clay birds fly) attempts to "fill in the blanks" of his childhood and youth.
The Church went through a winnowing process, separating the factual and spiritual from the fanciful and fraudulent. Surprisingly, though, the Gospel of Barnabas was not one of those gospels. The early Church seems totally unaware that Barnabas -a close associate of the Apostle Paul for many years- even wrote one. And for very good reason. Because the Gospel of Barnabas was written hundreds of years after (!) the eye-witnesses and apostles had all passed from the scene.
So where did the Gospel of Barnabas come from? Who wrote it? When? and, most important, why was it written?
Kerem Özyazıcıgil -the Turkish pen name of a British-born, Oxford-educated expert on Islam– answers those questions. He has looked at the Gospel of Barnabas inside and out, and through the eyes of the best scholars -Christian and Muslim- to understand it. The truth lies at the intersection of the Christian and Muslim worlds at the time of the infamous Spanish Inquisition (around 1590).
It's a mystery in monks' robes, wrapped in a startling spiritual conversion!!