The Sacred Writings of Saint Barnabas – Barnabas
The Epistle of Barnabas contains no clue to its author nor to those for whom it was intended. Its aim is to impart to its readers the perfect wisdom (gnosis), that is an exact knowledge of the economy of salvation. It is made up of two parts, the subject of each being announced in verses 6 and 7 of the first chapter. The first part (ch. i-v, 4) is hortatory; in the evil days that are now at hand in which the end of the world and the Judgment shall appear, the faithful, freed from the bonds of the Jewish ceremonial law, are to practise the virtues and to flee from sin. The second part (ch. v, 5-xvii) is more speculative, although it tends, owing to the nature of the argument, to establish the freedom of Christians in respect to the Mosaic regulations. The author wishes to make his readers comprehend the real nature of the Old Testament. He shows how the ordinances of the Law should be understood as referring allegorically to the Christian virtues and institutions, and he pauses to make plain by a series of symbolical explanations, that are often singular, how the Old Testament prefigures Christ, His Passion, His Church, etc. Before concluding (ch. xxi) the author repeats and enlarges the exhortations of the first part of the epistle by borrowing from another document (the Didache or its source) the description of the two ways, the way of light and that of darkness (xviii-xx).
The Sacred Writings of Saint Barnabas
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Who was Barnabas? (from wikipedia)
Barnabas, born Joseph, was an early Christian, one of the prominent Christian disciples in Jerusalem. According to Acts 4:36, Barnabas was a Cypriot Jew. Named an apostle in Acts 14:14, he and Paul the Apostle undertook missionary journeys together and defended Gentile converts against the Judaizers. They traveled together making more converts (c 45–47), and participated in the Council of Jerusalem (c 50) Barnabas and Paul successfully evangelized among the „God-fearing“ Gentiles who attended synagogues in various Hellenized cities of Anatolia.
Barnabas‘ story appears in the Acts of the Apostles, and Paul mentions him in some of his epistles. Tertullian named him as the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews, but this and other attributions are conjecture. Clement of Alexandria and some scholars have ascribed the Epistle of Barnabas to him, but his authorship is disputed.
Although the date, place, and circumstances of his death are historically unverifiable, Christian tradition holds that Barnabas was martyred at Salamis, Cyprus, in 61 AD. He is traditionally identified as the founder of the Cypriot Orthodox Church. The feast day of Barnabas is celebrated on June 11.
Barnabas is usually identified as the cousin of Mark the Evangelist on the basis of Colossians 4. Infrequent occurrence in the Septuagint to its presence in Josephus and Philo, „anepsios“ consistently carries the connotation of „cousin“. Some traditions hold that Aristobulus of Britannia, one of the Seventy Disciples, was the brother of Barnabas.
(The text of the last section was taken from a Wikipedia entry and is available under the the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License.)
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