- An early Christian.
- A given name of biblical origin.
- Acts 4:36-37:
- And Joses, who by the apostles was surnamed Barnabas, (which is, being interpreted, The son of consolation, ) a Levite, and of the country of Cyprus, having land, sold it, and brought the money, and laid it at the apostles' feet.
- Acts 4:36-37:
- For other uses, see Barnabas (disambiguation)
His lifeSt. Barnabas is one of the first prophets and teachers of the church at Antioch (Acts 13:1). He was born of Jewish parents of the tribe of Levi. His aunt was the mother of John, surnamed Mark (Colossians 4:10), widely assumed to be the same Mark as the person traditionally believed to be the author of the Gospel of Mark. He was a native of Cyprus, where he possessed land (Acts 4:36, 37), which he sold, and gave the proceeds to the church in Jerusalem. When Paul returned to Jerusalem after his conversion, Barnabas took him and introduced him to the apostles (9:27); it is possible that they had been fellow students in the school of Gamaliel.
The prosperity of the church at Antioch led the apostles and brethren at Jerusalem to send Barnabas there to superintend the movement. He found the work so extensive and weighty that he went to Tarsus in search of Paul 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 (AD 44) with the contributions the church at Antioch had made for the poorer members of the Jerusalem church (11:28-30).
Shortly after they returned, bringing John Mark with them, they were appointed as missionaries to Asia Minor, and in this capacity visited Cyprus and some of the principal cities of Pamphylia, Pisidia, and Lycaonia (Acts 13:14). With the conversion of Sergius Paulus, Paul begins to gain prominence over Barnabas from the point where the name "Paul" is substituted for "Saul" (13:9); instead of "Barnabas and Saul" as heretofore (11:30; 12:25; 13:2, 7) we now read "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 two, because Barnabas stood in closer relation to the Jerusalem church than Paul. St. Paul appears as the preaching missionary (13:16; 14:8-9, 19-20), whence the Lystrans regarded him as Hermes, St. Barnabas as Zeus (14:12). 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 Gal. 2:9-10, Barnabas was included with Paul in the agreement made between them, on the one hand, and James, St. Peter, and St. 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.
Having returned to Antioch and spent some time there (15:35), St. Paul 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 former 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 his younger cousin, John Mark, to visit Cyprus (15:36-41).
St. Barnabas is not mentioned again by St. Luke in the Acts of the Apostles. However, in Gal. 2:13 a little more is learned about him, and his weakness under the taunts of the Jewish Christians is evident; and from 1 Corinthians 9:6 it may be gathered that he continued to labor as missionary.
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 in a cave, where it remained till the time of the Emperor Zeno, in the year 485 AD. A monastery built in his name at Salamis, Cyprus, is where a tomb reputed to hold his remains was found in 488.He is venerated as the Patron Saint of Cyprus.
Other sourcesOther sources bring St. Barnabas to Rome and Alexandria. In the "Clementine Recognitions" (i, 7) he is depicted as preaching in Rome even during Christ's lifetime, and Clement of Alexandria (Stromata, ii, 20) makes him one of the Seventy Disciples that are mentioned in the Gospel of Luke.
Not older than the 3rd century is the tradition of the later activity and martyrdom of St. Barnabas in Cyprus, where his remains are said to have been discovered under the Emperor Zeno. The Cypriot Church claimed St. Barnabas as its founder in order to rid itself of the supremacy of the Patriarch of Antioch, as it also did of the Archbishop of Milan afterward, to become more independent of Rome. In this connection, the question whether St. Barnabas was an apostle became important, and was often discussed during the Middle Ages. The statements as to the year of St. Barnabas's death are discrepant and untrustworthy.
Alleged writingsTertullian and other Western writers regard Barnabas as the author of the Epistle 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. But the tradition has weighty considerations against it.
According to Photius (Quaest. in Amphil., 123), Barnabas wrote the Acts of the Apostles. (Current consensus ascribes the book to the author of Luke.)
He is also traditionally associated with the Epistle of Barnabas, although modern scholars think it more likely that that epistle was written in Alexandria in the 130s. A book named the "Gospel of Barnabas" is listed in two early catalogs of apocryphal texts .
Another book using that same title, Gospel of Barnabas survives in two post-medieval manuscripts in Italian and Spanish. 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 calls Paul "the deceived." The book also says Jesus rose alive into heaven without having been crucified, and that Judas Iscariot was crucified in his place.
Literature: Epistle of Barnabas
- Die Apostolischen Väter. Griechisch-deutsche Parallelausgabe. J.C.B. Mohr Tübingen 1992. ISBN 3-16-145887-7
- Der Barnabasbrief. Übersetzt und erklärt von Ferdinand R. Prostmeier. Series: Kommentar zu den Apostolischen Vätern (KAV, Vol. 8). Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht: Göttingen 1999. ISBN 3-525-51683-5
- Attwater, Donald and Catherine Rachel John. The Penguin Dictionary of Saints. 3rd edition. New York: Penguin Books, 1993. ISBN 0140513124.
Barnabas in Arabic: برنابا
Barnabas in Catalan: Sant Bernabé apòstol
Barnabas in Welsh: Barnabas
Barnabas in Danish: Barnabas
Barnabas in German: Barnabas (Apostel)
Barnabas in Modern Greek (1453-): Απόστολος Βαρνάβας
Barnabas in Spanish: Bernabé apóstol
Barnabas in French: Barnabé
Barnabas in Korean: 바르나바
Barnabas in Italian: San Barnaba
Barnabas in Dutch: Barnabas
Barnabas in Japanese: バルナバ
Barnabas in Polish: Święty Barnaba
Barnabas in Portuguese: Barnabé (Bíblia)
Barnabas in Russian: Варнава (апостол от 70)
Barnabas in Serbian: Варнава
Barnabas in Finnish: Barnabas
Barnabas in Swedish: Barnabas
Barnabas in Turkish: Barnabas
Barnabas in Ukrainian: Святий Варнава
Barnabas in Chinese: 巴拿巴