Barnabas

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Saint Barnabas
Apostle, Bishop of Milan and
Apostolic Father
San Barnaba.jpg
See Milan and Cyprus
Personal details
Bornunknown
Cyprus
Diedreputedly 61 AD
Salamis, Cyprus
Alma mater School of Gamaliel
Sainthood
Feast dayJune 11
Venerated in
Canonized Pre-Congregation
Attributes Red Martyr, Pilgrim's staff; olive branch; holding the Gospel of Matthew
PatronageCyprus, Antioch, against hailstorms, invoked as peacemaker
Shrines Monastery of St Barnabas in Famagusta, Cyprus

Barnabas ( /ˈbɑːrnəbəs/ ; Greek: Βαρνάβας), born Joseph, was according to tradition 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.

Greek language Language spoken in Greece, Cyprus and Southern Albania

Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages, native to Greece, Cyprus and other parts of the Eastern Mediterranean and the Black Sea. It has the longest documented history of any living Indo-European language, spanning more than 3000 years of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the major part of its history; other systems, such as Linear B and the Cypriot syllabary, were used previously. The alphabet arose from the Phoenician script and was in turn the basis of the Latin, Cyrillic, Armenian, Coptic, Gothic, and many other writing systems.

Christians people who adhere to Christianity

Christians are people who follow or adhere to Christianity, a monotheistic Abrahamic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus Christ. The words Christ and Christian derive from the Koine Greek title Christós (Χριστός), a translation of the Biblical Hebrew term mashiach (מָשִׁיחַ).

Disciple (Christianity) followers of Jesus, Christian perspective

In Christianity, disciple primarily refers to a dedicated follower of Jesus. This term is found in the New Testament only in the Gospels and Acts. In the ancient world a disciple is a follower or adherent of a teacher. It is not the same as being a student in the modern sense. A disciple in the ancient biblical world actively imitated both the life and teaching of the master. It was a deliberate apprenticeship which made the fully formed disciple a living copy of the master.

Contents

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.

Epistle The letters in the New Testament from Apostles to Christians are usually referred to as epistles

An epistle is a writing directed or sent to a person or group of people, usually an elegant and formal didactic letter. The epistle genre of letter-writing was common in ancient Egypt as part of the scribal-school writing curriculum. The letters in the New Testament from Apostles to Christians are usually referred to as epistles. Those traditionally attributed to Paul are known as Pauline epistles and the others as catholic epistles.

Tertullian Christian theologian

Tertullian was a prolific early Christian author from Carthage in the Roman province of Africa. Of Berber origin, he was the first Christian author to produce an extensive corpus of Latin Christian literature. He also was an early Christian apologist and a polemicist against heresy, including contemporary Christian Gnosticism. Tertullian has been called "the father of Latin Christianity" and "the founder of Western theology."

Epistle to the Hebrews book of the Bible

The Epistle to the Hebrews, or Letter to the Hebrews, or in the Greek manuscripts, simply To the Hebrews is one of the books of the New Testament.

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.

Martyr person who suffers persecution and death for advocating, refusing to renounce, and/or refusing to advocate a belief or cause, usually a religious one

A martyr is someone who suffers persecution and death for advocating, renouncing, refusing to renounce, or refusing to advocate a religious belief or cause as demanded by an external party. In the martyrdom narrative of the remembering community, this refusal to comply with the presented demands results in the punishment or execution of an actor by an alleged oppressor. Accordingly, the status of the 'martyr' can be considered a posthumous title as a reward for those who are considered worthy of the concept of martyrdom by the living, regardless of any attempts by the deceased to control how they will be remembered in advance. Originally applied only to those who suffered for their religious beliefs, the term has come to be used in connection with people killed for a political cause.

Salamis, Cyprus Historical state on Cyprus and archaeological site

Salamis is an ancient Greek city-state on the east coast of Cyprus, at the mouth of the river Pedieos, 6 km north of modern Famagusta. According to tradition, the founder of Salamis was Teucer, son of Telamon, who could not return home after the Trojan war because he had failed to avenge his brother Ajax.

Barnabas is usually identified as the cousin of Mark the Evangelist on the basis of the term "anepsios" used in Colossians 4, which carries the connotation of "cousin." Some traditions hold that Aristobulus of Britannia, one of the Seventy Disciples, was the brother of Barnabas.

Mark the Evangelist Author of the Gospel of Mark and Christian saint; traditionally identified with John Mark

Mark the Evangelist is the traditionally ascribed author of the Gospel of Mark. Mark is said to have founded the Church of Alexandria, one of the most important episcopal sees of early Christianity. His feast day is celebrated on April 25, and his symbol is the winged lion.

Colossians 4 Epistle to the Colossians, chapter 4

Colossians 4 is the fourth chapter of the Epistle to the Colossians in the New Testament of the Christian Bible. Traditionally, it is believed to be written for the church in Colossae by Apostle Paul, with Timothy as his co-author, while he was in prison in Ephesus, although there were debatable charges that it is the work of a secondary imitator or that it was written in Rome. This chapter contains the final exhortations and greetings.

Aristobulus of Britannia 1st-century Christian bishop in Britannia and saint

Aristobulus of Britannia is a Christian saint named by Hippolytus of Rome (170-235) and Dorotheus of Gaza (505-565) as one of the Seventy Disciples mentioned in Luke 10:1–24 and as the first bishop in Roman Britain.

Acts 11:24 describes Barnabas as "a good man, and full of the Holy Spirit and of faith".

Name and etymologies

His Hellenic Jewish parents called him Joseph (although the Byzantine text-type calls him Ἰωσῆς, Iōsēs, 'Joses', a Greek variant of 'Joseph'), but when recounting the story of how he sold all his goods and gave the money to the apostles in Jerusalem, the Book of Acts says the apostles called him Barnabas. (The "s" at the end is the Greek nominative case ending, and it is not present in the Aramaic form.) The Greek text of Acts 4:36 explains the name as υἱὸς παρακλήσεως, hyios paraklēseōs, meaning "son of encouragement" or "son of consolation". One theory is that this is from the Aramaic בר נחמה, bar neḥmā, meaning 'son (of) consolation'. Another is that it is related to the Hebrew word nabī (נביא, Aramaic nebī) meaning "prophet". [1] [2] In the Syriac Bible, the phrase "son of consolation" is translated bara dbuya'a. [3]

The Greeks or Hellenes are an ethnic group native to Greece, Cyprus, southern Albania, Italy, Turkey, Egypt and, to a lesser extent, other countries surrounding the Mediterranean Sea. They also form a significant diaspora, with Greek communities established around the world.

Byzantine text-type The largest of the three major groups of New Testament Greek texts

The Byzantine text-type is one of several text-types used in textual criticism to describe the textual character of Greek New Testament manuscripts. It is the form found in the largest number of surviving manuscripts, though not in the oldest. The New Testament text of the Orthodox Church, the Patriarchal Text, as well as those utilized in the lectionaries, is based on this text-type. While considerably varying, it also underlies the Textus Receptus Greek text used for most Reformation-era translations of the New Testament into vernacular languages. Modern translations mainly use Eclectic editions that conform more often to the Alexandrian text-type.

Jerusalem City in the Middle East

Jerusalem is a city in the Middle East, located on a plateau in the Judaean Mountains between the Mediterranean and the Dead Sea. It is one of the oldest cities in the world, and is considered holy to the three major Abrahamic religions—Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Both Israel and the Palestinian Authority claim Jerusalem as their capital, as Israel maintains its primary governmental institutions there and the State of Palestine ultimately foresees it as its seat of power; however, neither claim is widely recognized internationally.

Biblical narrative

Barnabas curing the sick by Paolo Veronese, Musee des Beaux-Arts de Rouen. St-barnabe-veronese-rouen.jpg
Barnabas curing the sick by Paolo Veronese, Musée des Beaux-Arts de Rouen.

Barnabas appears mainly in Acts, a history of the early Christian church. He also appears in several of Paul's epistles.

Barnabas, a native of Cyprus and a Levite, is first mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles as a member of the early Christian community in Jerusalem, who sold some land that he owned and gave the proceeds to the community (Acts 4:36-37). When the future Paul the Apostle returned to Jerusalem after his conversion, Barnabas introduced him to the apostles (9:27). Easton, in his Bible Dictionary, supposes that they had been fellow students in the school of Gamaliel. [4]

The successful preaching of Christianity at Antioch to non-Jews led the church at Jerusalem to send Barnabas there to oversee the movement (Acts 11:20–22). He found the work so extensive and weighty that he went to Tarsus in search of Paul (still referred to as Saul), "an admirable colleague", to assist him. Paul returned with him to Antioch and labored with him for a whole year (Acts 11:25–26). At the end of this period, the two were sent up to Jerusalem (44 AD) with contributions from the church at Antioch for the relief of the poorer Christians in Judea.

They returned to Antioch taking John Mark with them, the cousin or nephew of Barnabas. Later, they went to Cyprus and some of the principal cities of Pamphylia, Pisidia, and Lycaonia (Acts 13:14). After recounting what the governor of Cyprus Sergius Paulus believed, Acts 13:9 speaks of Barnabas's companion no longer as Saul, but as Paul, his Roman name, and generally refers to the two no longer as "Barnabas and Saul" as heretofore ( 11:30; 12:25; 13:2, 7 ), but as "Paul and Barnabas" ( 13:43, 46, 50; 14:20; 15:2, 22, 35 ). Only in 14:14 and 15:12-25 does Barnabas again occupy the first place, in the first passage with recollection of 14:12, in the last 2, because Barnabas stood in closer relation to the Jerusalem church than Paul. Paul appears as the more eloquent missionary ( 13:16; 14:8-9; 19-20 ), whence the Lystrans regarded him as Hermes and Barnabas as Zeus. The King James Version renders the Greek name "Zeus" by the Latin name "Jupiter" (14:12).

Saints Paul and Barnabas at Lystra (Sacrifice at Lystra) by Bartholomeus Breenberg, 1637, Princeton University Art Museum Breenbergh, Bartholomeus, Saints Paul and Barnabas at Lystra (Sacrifice at Lystra), 1637.jpg
Saints Paul and Barnabas at Lystra (Sacrifice at Lystra) by Bartholomeus Breenberg, 1637, Princeton University Art Museum

Returning from this first missionary journey to Antioch, they were again sent up to Jerusalem to consult with the church there regarding the relation of Gentiles to the church (Acts 15:2; Galatians 2:1). According to Galatians 2:9-10, Barnabas was included with Paul in the agreement made between them, on the one hand, and James, Peter, and John, on the other, that the two former should in the future preach to the pagans, not forgetting the poor at Jerusalem. This matter having been settled, they returned again to Antioch, bringing the agreement of the council that Gentiles were to be admitted into the church without having to adopt Jewish practices.

After they had returned to Antioch from the Jerusalem council, they spent some time there (15:35). Peter came and associated freely there with the Gentiles, eating with them, until criticized for this by some disciples of James, as against Mosaic law. Upon their remonstrances, Peter yielded apparently through fear of displeasing them, and refused to eat any longer with the Gentiles. Barnabas followed his example. Paul considered that they "walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel" and upbraided them before the whole church (Galatians 2:11-15).

Paul then asked Barnabas to accompany him on another journey (15:36). Barnabas wished to take John Mark along, but Paul did not, as he had left them on the earlier journey (15:37-38). The dispute ended by Paul and Barnabas taking separate routes. Paul took Silas as his companion, and journeyed through Syria and Cilicia; while Barnabas took John Mark to visit Cyprus (15:36-41). John Francis Fenlon suggests that Paul may have been somewhat influenced by the attitude recently taken by Barnabas, which might have proven prejudicial to their work.

Barnabas is not mentioned again in the Acts of the Apostles. However, Galatians 2:11-13 says, "And when Kephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face because he clearly was wrong. For, until some people came from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles; but when they came, he began to draw back and separated himself, because he was afraid of the circumcised. And the rest of the Jews (also) acted hypocritically along with him, with the result that even Barnabas was carried away by their hypocrisy." Barnabas is also mentioned in the First Epistle to the Corinthians, in which it is mentioned that he and Paul funded their missions by working side jobs and (it is implied) went without wives and other benefits other apostles received (1 Corinthians 9:6); Paul states that he and Barnabas forsook those benefits "that we may cause no hindrance to the Good News of Christ" (1 Corinthians 9:12).

Barnabas and Antioch

Antioch, the third-most important city of the Roman Empire, [5] then the capital city of Syria province, today Antakya, Turkey, was where Christians were first called thus. [6] Some of those who had been scattered by the persecution that arose because of Stephen went to Antioch, which became the site of an early Christian community. [7] A considerable minority of the Antioch church of Barnabas's time belonged to the merchant class, and they provided support to the poorer Jerusalem church. [8]

Council of Jerusalem

Barnabas participated in the Council of Jerusalem, which dealt with the admission of Gentiles into the Christian community, a crucial problem in early Christianity. [8] Paul and Barnabas proposed that Gentiles be allowed into the community without being circumcised.

Martyrdom

Saint Barnabas
San Bernabe o San Mateo (Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando).jpg
Prophet, Disciple, Apostle to Antioch and Cyprus, Missionary, and Martyr
Bornunknown
Cyprus
Diedreputedly 61 AD
Salamis, Cyprus
Venerated in Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodox Churches, Oriental Orthodox Churches, Anglican Communion, Lutheran Church
Canonized Pre-Congregation
Major shrine Monastery of St Barnabas in Famagusta, Cyprus
Feast June 11
Attributes Red Martyr, Pilgrim's staff; olive branch; holding the Gospel of Matthew
Patronage Cyprus, Antioch, against hailstorms, invoked as peacemaker

Church tradition developed outside of the canon of the New Testament describes the martyrdom of many saints, including the legend of the martyrdom of Barnabas. [9] It relates that certain Jews coming to Syria and Salamis, where Barnabas was then preaching the gospel, being highly exasperated at his extraordinary success, fell upon him as he was disputing in the synagogue, dragged him out, and, after the most inhumane tortures, stoned him to death. His kinsman, John Mark, who was a spectator of this barbarous action, privately interred his body. [10]

Although it is believed he was martyred by being stoned, the apocryphal Acts of Barnabas states that he was bound with a rope by the neck, and then being dragged only to the site where he would be burned to death.

According to the History of the Cyprus Church, [11] in 478 Barnabas appeared in a dream to the Archbishop of Constantia (Salamis, Cyprus) Anthemios and revealed to him the place of his sepulchre beneath a carob-tree. The following day Anthemios found the tomb and inside it the remains of Barnabas with a manuscript of Matthew's Gospel on his breast. Anthemios presented the Gospel to Emperor Zeno at Constantinople and received from him the privileges of the Greek Orthodox Church of Cyprus, that is, the purple cloak which the Greek Archbishop of Cyprus wears at festivals of the church, the imperial sceptre and the red ink with which he affixes his signature.

Anthemios then placed the venerable remains of Barnabas in a church which he founded near the tomb. Excavations near the site of a present-day church and monastery, have revealed an early church with two empty tombs, believed to be that of St. Barnabas and Anthemios. [12]

St. Barnabas is venerated as the Patron Saint of Cyprus.

Other sources

Although many assume that the biblical Mark the cousin of Barnabas (Colossians 4:10) is the same as John Mark ( Acts 12:12, 25; 13:5, 13; 15:37 ) and Mark the Evangelist, the traditionally believed author of the Gospel of Mark, according to Hippolytus of Rome, [13] the three "Marks are distinct persons. They were all members of the Seventy Apostles of Christ, including Barnabas himself. There are two people named Barnabas among Hippolytus' list of Seventy Disciples, one (#13) became the bishop of Milan, the other (#25) the bishop of Heraclea. Most likely one of these two is the biblical Barnabas; the first one is more likely, because the numbering by Hippolytus seems to indicate a level of significance. Clement of Alexandria (Stromata, ii, 20) also makes Barnabas one of the Seventy Disciples that are mentioned in the Gospel of Luke 10:1ff.

Other sources bring Barnabas to Rome and Alexandria. In the "Clementine Recognitions" (i, 7) he is depicted as preaching in Rome even during Christ's lifetime.

Cypriots developed the tradition of his later activity and martyrdom no earlier than the 3rd century. The question whether Barnabas was an apostle was often discussed during the Middle Ages. [14]

Alleged writings

Tertullian and other Western writers regard Barnabas as the author of the Letter to the Hebrews. This may have been the Roman tradition—which Tertullian usually follows—and in Rome the epistle may have had its first readers. Modern biblical scholarship considers its authorship unknown, though Barnabas amongst others has been proposed as potential authors. [15]

Photius of the ninth century, refers to some in his day who were uncertain whether the Acts was written by Clement of Rome, Barnabas, or Luke. Yet Photius is certain that the work must be ascribed to Luke.” [16]

He is also traditionally associated with the Epistle of Barnabas, although some modern scholars think it more likely that the epistle was written in Alexandria in the 130s. John Dominic Crossan quotes Koester as stating that New Testament writings are used "neither explicitly nor tacitly" in the Epistle of Barnabas and that this "would argue for an early date, perhaps even before the end of the first century AD." Crossan continues (The Cross that Spoke, p. 121): Richardson and Shukster have also argued for a first-century date. Among several arguments they point to the detail of "a little king, who shall subdue three of the kings under one" and "a little crescent horn, and that it subdued under one three of the great horns" in Barnabas 4:4-5. They propose a composition "date during or immediately after the reign of Nerva (96-8 AD.) . . . viewed as bringing to an end the glorious Flavian dynasty of Vespasian, Titus, and Domitian . . . when a powerful, distinguished, and successful dynasty was brought low, humiliated by an assassin's knife" (33, 40). In 16:3-4, the Epistle of Barnabas says: "Furthermore he says again, 'Lo, they who destroyed this temple shall themselves build it.' That is happening now. For owing to the war it was destroyed by the enemy; at present even the servants of the enemy will build it up again." This clearly places Barnabas after the destruction of the temple in 70 AD. But it also places Barnabas before the Bar Kochba revolt in 132 AD, after which there could have been no hope that the Romans would help to rebuild the temple. This shows that the document comes from the period between these two revolts. Jay Curry Treat states on the dating of Barnabas (The Anchor Bible Dictionary, v. 1, pp. 613–614): Since Barnabas 16:3 refers to the destruction of the temple, Barnabas must be written after 70 C.E. It must be written before its first indisputable use in Clement of Alexandria, ca. 190. Since 16:4 expects the temple to be rebuilt, it was most likely written before Hadrian built a Roman temple on the site ca. 135. Attempts to use 4:4-5 and 16:1-5 to specify the time of origin more exactly have not won wide agreement. It is important to remember that traditions of varying ages have been incorporated into this work. Treat comments on the provenance of the Epistle of Barnabas (op. cit., p. 613): Barnabas does not give enough indications to permit confident identification of either the teacher's location or the location to which he writes. His thought, hermeneutical methods, and style have many parallels throughout the known Jewish and Christian worlds. Most scholars have located the work's origin in the area of Alexandria, on the grounds that it has many affinities with Alexandrian Jewish and Christian thought and because its first witnesses are Alexandrian. Recently, Prigent (Prigent and Kraft 1971: 20-24), Wengst (1971: 114-18), and Scorza Barcellona (1975: 62-65) have suggested other origins based on affinities in Palestine, Syria, and Asia Minor. The place of origin must remain an open question, although the Greek-speaking E. Mediterranean appears most probable. Concerning the relationship between Barnabas and the New Testament, Treat writes (op. cit., p. 614): Although Barnabas 4:14 appears to quote Matt 22:14, it must remain an open question whether the Barnabas circle knew written gospels. Based on Koester's analysis (1957: 125-27, 157), it appears more likely that Barnabas stood in the living oral tradition used by the written gospels. For example, the reference to gall and vinegar in Barnabas 7:3, 5 seems to preserve an early stage of tradition that influenced the formation of the passion narratives in the Gospel of Peter and the synoptic gospels.

The 5th century Decretum Gelasianum includes a Gospel of Barnabas amongst works condemned as apocryphal; but no certain text or quotation from this work has been identified.

Another book using that same title, the Gospel of Barnabas, survives in two post-medieval manuscripts in Italian and Spanish. [17] Contrary to the canonical Christian Gospels, and in accordance with the Islamic view of Jesus, this later Gospel of Barnabas states that Jesus was not the son of God, but a prophet and messenger.

The Barnabites

In 1538, the Catholic religious order officially known as "Clerics Regular of St. Paul" (Clerici Regulares Sancti Pauli), gained the grand old Monastery of Saint Barnabas by the city wall of Milan as their main seat. The Order was thenceforth known by the popular name of Barnabites . [18]

See also

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References

  1. David H. Stern (1992). Jewish New Testament Commentary. pp. 235–6. ISBN   978-9653590113.
  2. "Barnabas". BibleHub. Gives Thayer's Greek Lexicon and Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible.
  3. "Acts 4". BibleHub.
  4. "Barnabas". eastonsbibledictionary.org.
  5. Cross, F. L., ed. The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church. New York: Oxford University Press. 2005, article Antioch
  6. Acts 11:26
  7. "CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Antioch". www.newadvent.org.
  8. 1 2 Durant, Will. Caesar and Christ. New York: Simon and Schuster. 1972
  9. "Barnabas." Cross, F. L., ed. The Oxford dictionary of the Christian church. New York: Oxford University Press. 2005
  10. "The Life of our Blessed Lord and Savior Jesus Christ: And the Lives and Sufferings of His Holy Evangelists and Apostles," p.455, 1857 AD, Miller, Orton & Co., 25 Park Row, New York.
  11. Church of Cyprus, History of Cyprus Church, The Autocephaly of the Cyprus Church churchofcyprus.org Archived 2011-07-23 at the Wayback Machine
  12. Cyprus Commemorative Stamp issue: 1900th Death Anniversary of Apostle Barnabas, philatelism.com
  13. Ante-Nicean Fathers, ed. Alexander Roberts, James Donaldson and A. Cleaveland Coxe, vol. 5 (Peabody MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 1999), 255-6
  14. Compare C. J. Hefele, Das Sendschreiben des Apostels Barnabas, Tübingen, 1840; Otto Braunsberger, "Der Apostel Barnabas," Mainz, 1876.
  15. Mitchell, Alan C. Hebrews (Liturgical Press, 2007) p. 6.
  16. Commentary on the Acts Edwin Wilbur Rice, 1900, p.7. Adolf Harnack mistakenly wrote that Photius believed Barnabas was the author in the 1908 Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge, Volume 1, p. 487
  17. Compare T. Zahn, Geschichte des neutestamentlichen Kanons, ii, 292, Leipsig, 1890.
  18. Schaff, Philip. "Barnabites", The New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge, Vol. I: Aachen - Basilians, p.488, Baker Book House, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1951

Sources

Further reading

Catholic Church titles
New creation Bishop of Cyprus
55>
Succeeded by
Gelasios of Cyprus (325)
New creation Bishop of Milan
50-55
Succeeded by
Anathalon