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BARNABAS


299


BARNABAS


writings. "But in vain tliey were sought for, for they were destroyed by an enemy." It is said that on the death of Dr. Bishop, the vicar Apostolic, he was consulted by the pope as to the best successor, and that he warmly recommended Dr. Smith, who was appointed, but later he opposed that prelate on the question of the extent of the vicar Apostolic's jurisdiction.

Weldon. Chronoloyural Xotes of the Erm. Benediclines, 1709 (London. 1881), XXXI; Snow, Necrology of the Eng. Bene- dictirifs (London. 1883); Giu-ow. Bihl. Diet. Eng. Cath. (Lon- don, 1885), I. 136.

Edwix Burton.

Barnabas, Epistle attributed to. — Authorities for the Text and Editions. — There is a triple tradition of the Greek text of this document. Up to 1843 eight manuscripts of the Epistle of Barnabas were known to be in Western libraries. These manu- scripts were all derived from a common source, and no one of them contained chapters i-v, 7a. Since then two complete manuscripts of the text have been discovered that are independent of each other and of the preceding group of texts, namely: the famous Codex Sinaiticus of the Bible (fourth centurj-), in which the Epistle of Barnabas and the "Pastor" follow the books of the New Testament, and the Jerusalem Codex (eleventh centurj'), which includes the Didache. There is also an old Latin version of the first seventeen chapters which is, perhaps, of the end of the fourth century (St. Petersburg, Q., I, 39). This version is a very free one and can hardly serve for the restoration of the text. The same is true of the citations from the epistle in the writings of Clement of Alexandria, of Origen, and others. The best authority for the text is the Codex Sinaiticus. The Epistle of Barnabas has been edited among the works of the Apostolic Fathers. The two chief editions are: Gebhard and Hamack, " Bamabs Epistula" in "Patruni Apostolicorum Opera" (Leipzig, 1878), I, II, and Funk, "Patres Apostolici" (Tiibingen, 1901), I. Use can also be made of the edition of Sharpe, " St. Barnabas' Epistle in Greek with Translation" (London, 1880), as well as that of Lightfoot, ed. Harmer, "The Apos- tolic Fathers" (London, 1898), and of Vizzini, "Patres Apostolici" (Rome, 1902), III.

Contents. — The Epistle of Barnabas contains no clue to its author nor to those for whom it was in- tended. Its aim is to impart to its readers the per- fect wisdom (gnosis), that is an exact knowledge of the economy of salvation. It is made up o: two parts, the subject of each being aimotmced 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-x\-ii) is more speculative, although it tends, owing to the nature of the argument, to estabUsh 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 oy a series of symbolical explanations, that are often singular, how the Old Testament prefigures Christ, His Pas- sion, His Church, etc. Before concluding (ch. xxi) the author repeats and enlarges the exhortations of the first part of the epistle by borrowing from an- other document (the Didache or its source) the de- scription of the two ways, the way of light and that of darkness (xviii-xx).

Use of Allegory. — The epistle is characterized by the use of exaggerated allegory. In this particular the writer goes far beyond St. Paul the autnor of the


Epistle to the Hebrews, and St. Ignatius. Not con- tent with regarding the history and institutions of the Jews as containing tj^pes of Christianity, he casts aside completely the transitory historical char- acter of the old religion. According to many scholars he teaches that it was never intended that the pre- cepts of the Law should be observed in their literal sense, that the Jews never had a covenant with God, that circumcision was the work of the Devil, etc.; thus he represents a unique point of ^^ew in the strug- gle against Judaism. It might be said more ex- actly that he condemns the exercise of .vorship among the Jews in its entirety because, in his opinion, the Jews did not know how to rise to the spiritual and tj-pical meaning which God had mainly had in view in giving them the Law. It is this purely material observance of the ceremonial ordinances, of which the literal fulfilment was not sufficient, that the author holds to be the work of the Devil, and, according to him, the Jews never received the Divine covenant because they never understood its nature (ch. vii, 3, 11; ix, 7; x, 10; xiv).

Intent. — The Epistle of Barnabas is not a polemic. The author takes no notice of paganism. Although he touches on difTerent points that had relations to the doctrines of the Gnostics, still he has no knowledge of these latter. The perfectly composed manner in which he expounds the wisdom he desires to im- part shows that another, heretical wisdom (gnosis) is not in his thoughts. Moreover, the way in which he speaks of the Old Testament would not be ex- pUcable if he had known the wrong use that a Basil- ides or a Marcion could make of it. Besides, there was nothing in the Judaizing theories to alarm his faith. He speaks of Judaism only in the abstract, and nothing in the letter excites the suspicion that the members of his flock hatl been exposed to the peril of falhng again imder the yoke of the Law. No clear situation is described in the letter. In short, it should be regarded rather as the peaceful specula- tions of a catechist and not as thecries of alarm of a pastor. Consequently, it cannot be admitted that the author may have wished to take part in the struggle against the Judaizers either at Jerusalem (Di Pauh) or at Rome (Volter).

Date. — This abstract discussion of Judaism is the sign of an epoch when the Judaizing controver- sies were already a tiling of the past in the main body of the Church. In settUng the date of the letter reference is often made to verses 3-5 of chapter four, where the writer, it is believed, finds the fulfilment of the prophecy of Daniel (Dan., vii, 7, sqq.) in the succession of the Roman Emperors of his time. Starting from this, some critics place the composition of the epistle in the reign of Vespasian (Weizsacker, Lightfoot), others in the reign of Domitian (Wieseler), and still others in the reign of Nerva (Bardenhewer, Funk). But there is nothing to prove that the author considers the prophecy to be already accomplished. Besides, he might have taken the words of the proph- ecy to mean a series of kingdoms instead of a line of kings. It is necessarj', therefore, to fall back, with Schurer and Hamack, on verses 3-5 of chapter xvi. Reference is here made to the command given by Adrian in a. d. 130 for the reconstruction, in honour of Jupiter, of the Temple at Jerusalem, which had been destroyed by Titus. Adrian had also forbidden the Jews to practise circumcision. The writer of the letter makes allusion to this (ch. ix, 4). The epistle must, consequently, have been written in a. d. 130-131.

General Characteristics. — In what befell Jerusalem and the Temple the author saw the refutation by events of the errors of the Jews, or rather of the Ebionites, for it is the latter that he has in mind whenever his language grows more definite (ch. iv, 4, 6; v, 5; xii, 10; xvi, 1). His flock are not in danger