5. The Judas of Islam
A. The Islamic View of Jesus's death
To be certain, there is no specific mention of Judas Iscariot in the Qur'an. However, as seen in the Syraic Infancy Gospel, there are apocryphal texts that seem to have been heavily influenced by the teachings of Islam and Muslim authors. One such text is the Gospel of Barnabas, which prominently features Judas Iscariot.
To understand the Gospel of Barnabas and the impact that Islamic teachings had on its text, you have to understand the Muslim view of Jesus Christ. In Islam, Jesus is understood to be the penultimate prophet of God and al-Masih or the Messiah, sent to guide the Children of Israel with a new relation. He is a significant figure, born of a virgin, performing many miracles, and coming again in a second coming to fight the false Messiah, but he is not God incarnate. The Qur'an does mention that he had disciples, identifies them as Muslim, but does not name them. Of particular importance, most Muslims believe that Jesus was never crucified but rather raised to heaven alive before he could be captured.
"That they said (in boast), "We killed Christ Jesus the son of Mary, the Messenger of Allah";- but they killed him not, nor crucified him, but so it was made to appear to them, and those who differ therein are full of doubts, with no (certain) knowledge, but only conjecture to follow, for of a surety they killed him not:-
Nay, Allah raised him up unto Himself; and Allah is Exalted in Power, Wise;-"
Qur'an, sura 4 (An-Nisa) ayat 157–158
Under Islamic teaching, someone else was made to appear like Christ and was crucified in his place. No atonement by substitution, no conquering death through resurrection. The whole basis, therefore, of Christianity is based on a lie, in the Islamic view, justifying the belief that only Islam holds the true teaching. This allows them to view Jesus with respect while denouncing his religion.
It is important to note that the Qu'ran do not specify who was substituted, though some traditions hold that Simon of Cyrene or Sergius were the replacement. The Gospel of Barnabas takes this Islamic view and offers a very specific suggestion.
B. The Gospel of Barnabas
The Gospel of Barnabas is a book depicting the life of Jesus, which claims to be by the biblical Barnabas who in this work is one of the twelve disciples. Only two manuscripts are know to have existed, both dated to the late 16th or early 17th centuries. Like the Syraic Infancy Gospel, the text in some respects conforms to the Islamic interpretation of Christian origins and contradicts the New Testament teachings of Christianity. The late dates of the manuscripts indicate that the text is pseudepigraphical, though some scholars believe it may contain remnants of an earlier work edited to bring it more in line with Islamic doctrine.
There are historical references to a Barnabas Gospel dating back to early Apocrypha works, including the Decretum Gelasiasum in the 6th century and the List of Sixty Books in the 7th century. It is unknown if these references relate specifically to this the known manuscripts. The earliest references to text corresponding with these manuscripts are in the Morisco manuscript BNM MS 9653, written about 1634 in Tunsia. The author Ibrahim al-Taybili, while describing how the Bible predicts Muhammed, wrote of the "Gospel of Saint Barnabas where one can find the light."
1. The Early Ministry of Jesus and the Disciples
The text highlights many of the same passages as found in the Synoptic Gospels, but purports to offer additional context or insight. For example, in the calling of the twelve, the writer offers additional information regarding Judas Iscariot.
14.3. Jesus, seeing that great was the multitude of them that returned to their heart for to walk in the Law of God, went up into the mountain, and abode all night in prayer, and when day was come he descended from the mountain, and chose twelve, whom he called apostles, among whom is Judas, who was slain upon the cross. Their names are: Andrew and Peter his brother, fishermen, Barnabas, who wrote this, with Matthew the publican, who sat at the receipt of custom; John and James, sons of Zebedee; Thaddaeus and Judas; Bartholomew and Philip James, and Judas Iscariot the traitor. To these he always revealed the divine secrets, but the Iscariot Judas he made his dispenser of that which was given in alms, but he stole the tenth part of everything.
From this, we are informed about Judas being greedy and a thief far earlier and given the information that he essentially took a tithe for himself.
The writer then adds Judas in to the "render unto Caesar" encounter. Because Judas is the purse keeper, Jesus asks Judas for a coin to provide the illustration. So far the additions are benign.
31.1. Then drew near to Jesus the priests, and said: "Master, is it lawful to give tribute to Caesar?" Jesus turned round to Judas, and said: "Have you any money?" And taking a penny in his hand, Jesus turned himself to the priests, and said to them: "This penny has an image: tell me, whose image is it?" They answered: "Caesar"s". "Give therefore," said Jesus, "that which is Caesar's to Caesar, and that which is God's give it to God." Then they departed in confusion.
The next mention begins a series of entries where Judas is confirmed to be unbelieving. To be the traitor, the betrayer. It's a series of mentions where Judas is held out as the exception among the disciples.
43.1. Jesus went down to the eight disciples who were awaiting him below. And the four narrated to the eight all that they had seen: and so there departed that day from their heart all doubt of Jesus, save [from] Judas Iscariot, who believed nothing. Jesus seated himself at the foot of the mountain, and they ate of the wild fruits, because they had not bread. Then said Andrew: "You have told us many things of the Messiah, therefore of your kindness tell us clearly all." And in like manner the other disciples besought him.
This is confirmed again with the "don't you know Satan wishes to sift you" quote from the Gospels. Here, an addition is added like Jesus's priestly prayer in the Garden indicating none are in danger but "the one that lays snares for me." The writer notes that Jesus says this specifically because Gabriel tells him of Judas's plot. Whether Gabriel revealing the plot is intended to downplay Jesus's own divine omniscience is unclear.
72.1. At night Jesus spoke in secret with his disciples, saying: "Truly I say to you that Satan desires to sift you as wheat; but I have besought God for you, and there shall not perish of you save he that lays snares for me." And this he said of Judas, because the angel Gabriel said to him how that Judas had hand with the priests, and reported to them all that Jesus spoke.
2. The betrayal and Crucifixion
The story of the betrayal and the Crucifixion are where the Gospel of Barnabas starts to really diverge from Christianity and veer into Islamic views. For the betrayal, the writer of Barnabas gives a lot more context to Judas's decision to hand Jesus over to the chief priests, greatly fleshing out that encounter. Judas is revealed to be concerned with power. He wanted Jesus to be King so that Judas might be raised up in a position of power as well. Judas also uses a bit of circular logic to conclude that Jesus cannot be all he says himself to be. He theorizes that if Jesus were really prophetic, he would know that Judas was stealing and know that Judas did not believe in Jesus. This conclusion leads Judas to decide to go to the chief priests, who are written to be already plotting.
142.1. Judas, the traitor, when he saw that Jesus was fled, lost the hope of becoming powerful in the world, for he carried Jesus' purse, wherein was kept all that was given him for love of God. He hoped that Jesus would become king of Israel, and so he himself would be a powerful man. Wherefore, having lost this hope, he said within himself: 'If this man were a prophet, he would know that I steal his money; and so he would lose patience and cast me out of his service, knowing that I believe not in him. And if he were a wise man he would not flee from the honour that God wills to give him. Wherefore it will be better that I make arrangement with the chief priests and with the scribes and Pharisees, and see how to give him up into their hands, for so shall I be able to obtain something good.'
2. Whereupon, having made his resolution, he gave notice to the scribes and Pharisees how the matter had passed in Nain. And they took counsel with the high priest, saying: 'What shall we do if this man become king? Surely we shall fare badly; because he is fain to reform the worship of God after the ancient custom, for he cannot away with our traditions. Now how shall we fare under the sovereignty of such a man? Surely we shall all perish with our children: for being cast out of our office we shall have to beg our bread.
3. 'We now, praised be God, have a king and a governor that are alien to our Law, who care not for our Law, even as we care not for theirs. And so we are able to do whatsoever we list; for, even though we sin, our God is so merciful that he is appeased with sacrifice and fasting. But if this man become king he will not be appeased unless he shall see the worship of God according as Moses wrote; and what is worse, he says that the Messiah shall not come of the seed of David (as one of his chief disciples has told us), but says that he shall come of the seed of Ishmael, and that the promise was made in Ishmael and not in Isaac.
4. 'What then shall the fruit be if this man be suffered to live? Assuredly the Ishmaelites shall come into repute with the Romans, and they shall give them our country in possession; and so shall Israel again be subjected to slavery as it was aforetime.' Wherefore, having heard the proposal, the high priest gave answer that he must needs treat with Herod and with the governor, 'because the people are so inclined towards him that without the soldiery we shall not be able to do anything; and may it please God that with the soldiery we may accomplish this business.' Wherefore, having taken counsel among themselves, they plotted to seize him by night, when the governor and Herod should agree thereto.
The writer then introduces an interesting moral lesson in the interim between Judas's betrayal plot and the events leading to the Crucifixion. Jduas makes a big fuss about Jesus's absence, to which Jesus replies, "Let every one beware of him who without occasion labours to give you tokens of love." Shades of "methink he doth protest too much," or the idea of being suspicious when a significant other gives you gifts just because. What are they making up for?
143. 1. Then all the disciples came to Damascus, by the will of God. And on that day Judas the traitor, more than any other, made show of having suffered grief at Jesus' absence, at which Jesus said: "Let every one beware of him who without occasion labours to give you tokens of love." And God took away our understanding, that we might not know to what end he said this. After the coming of all the disciples, Jesus said: "Let us return into Galilee, for the angel of God has said to me that I must go there."
In the events regarding Mary, the expensive nard, and Judas's response, the writer of Barnabas adds an interesting wrinkle that Judas would have received thirty pieces of money from the sale of such an expensive perfume. It would have sold for three hundred and with the previous indication that Judas took a tenth, this would neatly equal out to the amount Judas is to receive in the betrayal. The writer uses this as connective tissue to push Judas directly to the chief priest asking what he would receive for the betrayal.
205. 1. While Jesus was supping with his disciples in the house of Simon the leper, behold Mary the sister of Lazarus entered into the house, and having broken a vessel, poured ointment over the head and garment of Jesus. Seeing this, Judas the traitor was fain to hinder Mary from doing such a work, saying: "Go and sell the ointment and bring the money that I may give it to the poor.'
2. Jesus said: 'Why hinder you her? Let her be, for the poor you shall have always with you, but me you shall not have always.' Judas answered: 'O master, this ointment might be sold for three hundred pieces of money now see how many poor folk would be helped.' Jesus answered: 'O Judas, I know your heart: have patience, therefore, and I will give you all.'
3. Every one ate with fear, and the disciples were sorrowful, because they knew that Jesus must soon depart from them. But Judas was indignant, because he knew that he was losing thirty pieces of money for the ointment not sold, seeing he stole the tenth part of all that was given to Jesus. He went to find the high priest, who assembled in a council of priests, scribes, and Pharisees; to whom Judas spoke, saying: 'What will you give me, and I will betray into your hands Jesus, who would fain make himself king of Israel?'
It's interesting to note that here, the thirty pieces offered are pieces of gold.
4. They answered: 'Now how will you give him into our hand?' Said Judas: 'When I shall know that he goes outside the city to pray I will tell you, and will conduct you to the place where he shall be found; for to seize him in the city will be impossible without a sedition.' The high priest answered: 'If you will give him into our hand we will give the thirty pieces of gold and you shall see how well I will treat you.'
At the Last Supper, the writer of Barnabas brings all of the events from the Synoptic Gospels together and puts Judas seemingly in them all. There is another mention that Judas does not believe. A mention for Judas to hurry along and do his work quickly, to which Judas asks to eat before going. There is likewise the questioning of "Is it I?" regarding who will betray Jesus. Here when Judas asks and Jesus affirms, the writer makes it clear none of the other apostles heard. Finally, the mention of the devil entering Judas after the lamb is eaten is included.
212.6. Lord God, who by your providence provides all things necessary for your people Israel, be mindful of all the tribes of the earth, which you have promised to bless by your Messenger, for whom you did create the world. Have mercy on the world and send speedily your Messenger, that Satan your enemy may lose his empire.' And having said this, Jesus said three times: 'So be it, Lord, great and merciful!' And they answered, weeping: 'So be it," all save Judas, for he believed nothing.
213.1. The day having come for eating the lamb, Nicodemus sent the lamb secretly to the garden for Jesus and his disciples, announcing all that had been decreed by Herod ;with the governor and the high priest. Whereupon Jesus rejoiced in spirit, saying: 'Blessed be your holy name, O Lord, because you have not separated me from the number of your servants that have been persecuted by the world and slain. I thank you, my God, because I have fulfilled your work.' And turning to Judas, he said to him: 'Friend, wherefore do you tarry? My time is near, wherefore go and do that which you must do."
2. The disciples thought that Jesus was sending Judas ;to buy something for the day of the Passover: but Jesus knew that Judas was betraying him, wherefore, desiring to depart from the world, he so spoke. Judas answered: 'Lord, suffer me to eat, and I will go.' 'Let us eat,' said Jesus, 'for I have greatly desired to eat this lamb before I am parted from you.'
3. And having arisen, he took a towel and girded his loins, and having put water in a basin, he set himself to wash his disciples' feet. Beginning from Judas, Jesus came to Peter. Said Peter;: 'Lord, would you wash my feet?' Jesus answered: 'That which I do you know not now, but you shall know hereafter.' Peter answered: 'You shall never wash my feet. Then Jesus rose up, and said: 'Neither shall you come in my company on the day of judgment.'
4. Peter answered: 'Wash not only my feet, Lord, but my hands and my head.' When the disciples were washed and were seated at table to eat, Jesus said: 'I have washed you, yet are you not all clean, for as much as all the water of the sea will not wash him that believes me not.' This said Jesus, because he knew who was betraying him. The disciples were sad at these words, when Jesus said again: 'Truly I say to you, that one of you shall betray me, insomuch that I shall be sold like a sheep; but woe to him, for he shall fulfil all that our father David said of such an one, that "he shall fall into the pit which he had prepared for others." '
5. Whereupon the disciples looked one upon another, saying with sorrow: 'Who shall be the traitor?' Judas then said: 'Shall it be I, O Master?' Jesus answered: 'You have told me who it shall be that shall betray me.' And the eleven apostles heard it not. When the lamb was eaten, the devil came upon the back of Judas;, and he went forth from the house, Jesus saying to him again: 'Do quickly that which you must do.'
The confrontation goes largely the same as the Synoptic Gospels, until Chapter 215. Chapter 215 begins the Islamic view of Jesus's death, with Jesus being taken directly up to heaven by Gabriel, Michael, Rafael, and Uriel, the angels.
214.1. Having gone forth from the house, Jesus retired into the garden to pray, according as his custom was to pray, bowing his knees an hundred times and prostrating himself upon his face. Judas, accordingly, knowing the place where Jesus was with his disciples, went to the high priest, and said: "If you will give me what was promised, this night will I give into your hand Jesus whom you seek; for he is alone with eleven companions."
2. The high priest answered: "How much do you seek?" Said Judas, "Thirty pieces of gold." Then straightway the high priest counted to him the money, and sent a Pharisee to the governor to fetch soldiers, and to Herod, and they gave a legion of them, because they feared the people; wherefore they took their arms, and with torches and lanterns upon staves went out of Jerusalem.
215.1. When the soldiers with Judas drew near to the place where Jesus was, Jesus heard the approach of many people, wherefore in fear he withdrew into the house. And the eleven were sleeping. Then God, seeing the danger of his servant, commanded Gabriel, Michael, Rafael, and Uriel, his ministers, to take Jesus out of the world.
2. The holy angels came and took Jesus out by the window that looks toward the South;. They bare him and placed him in the third heaven in the company of angels blessing God for evermore.
In Chapter 216, the writer continues the Islamic view of a substituted person being crucified instead of Christ. In this text, Judas is the one crucified. Judas is altered to be so like Christ in look and in speech that even Jesus's own mother does not recognize the difference. This also makes Judas integral to the rest of the story.
216.1. Judas entered impetuously before all into the chamber whence Jesus had been taken up. And the disciples were sleeping. Whereupon the wonderful God acted wonderfully, insomuch that Judas was so changed in speech and in face to be like Jesus that we believed him to be Jesus. And he, having awakened us, was seeking where the Master was. Whereupon we marvelled, and answered: 'You, Lord, are our master; have you now forgotten us?' And he, smiling, said: 'Now are you foolish, that know not me to be Judas Iscariot!'
2. And as he was saying this the soldiery entered, and laid their hands upon Judas, because he was in every way like to Jesus. We having heard Judas' saying, and seeing the multitude of soldiers, fled as beside ourselves. And John, who was wrapped in a linen cloth, awoke and fled, and when a soldier seized him by the linen cloth he left the linen cloth and fled naked. For God heard the prayer of Jesus, and saved the eleven from evil.
217.1. The soldiers took Judas ;and bound him, not without derision. For he truthfully denied that he was Jesus; and the soldiers, mocking him, said: 'Sir, fear not, for we are come to make you king of Israel, and we have bound you because we know that you do refuse the kingdom.' Judas answered: 'Now have you lost your senses! You are come to take Jesus of Nazareth;, with arms and lanterns as [against] a robber; and you have bound me that have guided you, to make me king!'
2. Then the soldiers lost their patience, and with blows and kicks they began to flout Judas, and they led him with fury into Jerusalem. John ;and Peter ;followed the soldiers afar off; and they affirmed to him who writes that they saw all the examination that was made of Judas by the high priest, and by the council of the Pharisees, who were assembled to put Jesus to death. Whereupon Judas spoke many words of madness, insomuch that every one was filled with laughter, believing that he was really Jesus, and that for fear of death he was feigning madness. Whereupon the scribes bound his eyes with a bandage, and mocking him said: 'Jesus, prophet of the Nazarenes ;(for so they called them who believed in Jesus), 'tell us, who was it that smote you?' And they buffeted him and spat in his face.
3. When it was morning there assembled the great council of scribes and elders of the people; and the high priest with the Pharisees sought false witness against Judas, believing him to be Jesus: and they found not that which they sought. And why say I that the chief priests believed Judas to be Jesus? No all the disciples, with him who writes, believed it; and more, the poor Virgin mother of Jesus, with his kinsfolk and friends, believed it, insomuch that the sorrow of every one was incredible.
4. As God lives, he who writes forgot all that Jesus had said: how that he should be taken up from the world, and that he should suffer in a third person, and that he should not die until near the end of the world. Wherefore he went with the mother of Jesus and with John to the cross. The high priest caused Judas ;to be brought before him bound, and asked him of his disciples and his doctrine. Whereupon Judas, as though beside himself, answered nothing to the point. The high priest then adjured him by the living God of Israel that he would tell him the truth.
Despite Judas's continued pleas that he is not Jesus , he is not believed.
5. Judas answered: 'I have told you that I am Judas Iscariot, who promised to give into your hands Jesus the Nazarene; and you, by what are I know not, are beside yourselves, for you will have it by every means that I am Jesus.' The high priest answered: 'O perverse seducer, you have deceived all Israel, beginning from Galilee ;even to Jerusalem here, with your doctrine and false miracles: and now think you to flee the merited punishment that befits you by feigning to be mad?
6. As God lives,' you shall not escape it!' And having said this he commanded his servants to smite him with buffetings and kicks, so that his understanding might come back into his head. The derision which he then suffered at the hands of the high priest's servants is past belief. For they zealously devised new inventions to give pleasure to the council. So they attired him as a juggler, and so treated him with hands and feet that it would have moved the very Canaanites to compassion if they had beheld that sight. But the chief priests and Pharisees and elders of the people had their hearts so exasperated against Jesus that, believing Judas to be really Jesus, they took delight in seeing him so treated.
This also presents an very different but intriguing context for the encounter with Pilate, the governor. Pilate believes Judas's assertions that he is not the one called Jesus. This changes Pilate's "I find no fault with this man" to "either this man is innocent as he says or he's a madman, who should not be slain." Pilate is quickly shouted down.
7. Afterwards they led him bound to the governor, who secretly loved Jesus. Whereupon he, thinking that Judas was Jesus, made him enter into his chamber, and spoke to him, asking him for what cause the chief priests and the people had given him into his hands. Judas answered: 'If I tell you the truth, you will not believe me; for perhaps you are deceived as the (chief) priests and the Pharisees are deceived.'
8. The governor answered (thinking that he wished to speak concerning the Law): 'Now know you not that I am not a Jew? but the (chief) priests and the elders of your people have given you into my hand; wherefore tell us the truth, wherefore I may do what is just. For I have power to set you free and to put you to death.' Judas answered: 'Sir, believe me, if you put me to death, you shall do a great wrong, for you shall slay an innocent person; seeing that I am Judas ;Iscariot, and not Jesus, who is a magician, and by his are has so transformed me.'
9. When he heard this the governor marvelled greatly, so that he sought to set him at liberty. The governor therefore went out, and smiling said: 'In the one case, at least, this man is not worthy of death, but rather of compassion.' 'This man says,' said the governor, 'that he is not Jesus, but a certain Judas who guided the soldiery to take Jesus, and he says that Jesus the Galilean has by his art magic so transformed him. Wherefore, if this be true, it were a great wrong to kill him, seeing that he were innocent. But if he is Jesus and denies that he is, assuredly he has lost his understanding, and it were impious to slay a madman.'
10. Then the chief priests and elders of the people, with the scribes and Pharisees, cried out with shouts, saying: 'He is Jesus of Nazareth;, for we know him; for if he were not the malefactor we would not have given him into your hands. Nor is he mad; but rather malignant, for with this device he seeks to escape from our hands, and the sedition that he would stir up if he should escape would be worse than the former.' Pilate (of such was the governor's name), in order to rid himself of such a case, said: 'He is a Galilean, and Herod is king of Galilee: wherefore it pertains not to me to judge such a case, so take you him to Herod.'
11. Accordingly they led Judas to Herod, who of a long time had desired that Jesus should go to his house. But Jesus had never been willing to go to his house, because Herod was a Gentile, and adored the false and lying Gods, living after the manner of the unclean Gentiles. Now when Judas had been led thither, Herod asked him of many things, to which Judas gave answers not to the purpose, denying that he was Jesus. Then Herod mocked him, with all his court, and caused him to be clad in white as the fools are clad, and sent him back to Pilate, saying to him, 'Do not fail in justice to the people of Israel!' And this Herod wrote, because the chief priests and scribes and the Pharisees had given him a good quantity of money. The governor having heard that this was so from a servant of Herod, in order that he also might gain some money, feigned that he desired to set Judas at liberty.
Section 12 of Chapter 217 raises an interesting point. It refers to the poetic justice of Judas suffering this fate. That God had ordained that Judas would suffer the fate he sold another to. This is why Judas was to suffer through the whole ordeal and was preserved through the scourging, through carrying the cross beam, through being nailed to the cross, all the way through completion of the crucifixion.
12. Whereupon he caused him to be scourged by his slaves, who were paid by the scribes to slay him under the scourges. But God, who had decreed the issue, reserved Judas for the cross, in order that he might suffer that horrible death to which he had sold another. He did not suffer Judas to die under the scourges, notwithstanding that the soldiers scourged him so grievously that his body rained blood. Thereupon, in mockery they clad him in an old purple garment;, saying: 'It is fitting to our new king to clothe him and crown him': so they gathered thorns and made a crown, like those of gold and precious stones which kings wear on their heads. And this crown of thorns they placed upon Judas' head, putting in his hand a reed for sceptre;, and they made him sit in a high place.
13. And the soldiers came before him, bowing down in mockery, saluting him as King of the Jews. And they held out their hands to receive gifts, such as new kings are accustomed to give; and receiving nothing they smote Judas, saying: 'Now, how are you crowned, foolish king, if you will not pay your soldiers and servants?' The chief priests with the scribes and Pharisees, seeing that Judas died not by the scourges, and fearing lest Pilate should set him at liberty, made a gift of money to the governor, who having received it gave Judas to the scribes and Pharisees as guilty to death. Whereupon they condemned two robbers with him to the death of the cross.
Section 14 again inverts a key component of the Gospel accounts. With Judas on the cross, his use of "God, why have you forsaken me" becomes a bitter complaint for being punished unjustly in his mind. The writer also feels the need to remind the reader that the transformation of Judas was so complete, that no one suspected he was not Jesus, but also adds a new supposed saying of Jesus, that he had indicated he would not die until near the end of the world. This supposed crucifixion of Judas as Jesus and Jesus's ascension, are given as reasons why Jesus would have been disbelieved as a false prophet.
14. So they led him to Mount Calvary, where they used to hang malefactors, and there they crucified him naked;, for the greater ignominy. Judas truly did nothing else but cry out: 'God, why have you forsaken me, seeing the malefactor has escaped and I die unjustly?' Truly I say that the voice, the face, and the person of Judas were so like to Jesus, that his disciples and believers entirely believed that he was Jesus; wherefore some departed from the doctrine of Jesus, believing that Jesus had been a false prophet, and that by art magic he had done the miracles which he did: for Jesus had said that he should not die till near the end of the world; for that at that time he should be taken away from the world.
Judas is then buried by Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea.
15. But they that stood firm in the doctrine of Jesus were so encompassed with sorrow, seeing him die who was entirely like to Jesus, that they remembered not what Jesus had said. And so in company with the mother of Jesus they went to Mount Calvary, and were not only present at the death of Judas, weeping continually, but by means of Nicodemus and Joseph of Abarimathia; they obtained from the governor the body of Judas to bury it. Whereupon, they took him down from the cross with such weeping as assuredly no one would believe, and buried him in the new sepulchre of Joseph; having wrapped him up in an hundred pounds of precious ointments.
The "resurrection" of Judas as Jesus is then explained as disciples stealing the body of Judas away and hiding it.
218.1. Then returned each man to his house. He who writes, with John and James his brother, went with the mother of Jesus; to Nazareth. Those disciples who did not fear God went by night [and] stole the body of Judas and hid it, spreading a report that Jesus was risen again; whence great confusion arose. The high priest then commanded, under pain of anathema;, that no one should talk of Jesus of Nazareth;. And so there arose a great persecution, and many were stoned and many beaten, and many banished from the land, because they could not hold their peace on such a matter.
Because of the grief of those truly faithful to Jesus, God sends his four angels to speak to Mary and her companions (presumably the disciples) regarding the "truth" of Jesus's ascension and the transformation of Judas.
219.1. The Virgin returned to Jerusalem with him who writes, and James and John, on that day on which the decree of the high priest went forth. Whereupon, the Virgin, who feared God, albeit she knew the decree of the high priest to be unjust, commanded those who dwelt with her to forget her son. Then how each one was affected! God who discerns the heart of men knows that between grief at the death of Judas whom we believed to be Jesus our master, and the desire to see him risen again, we, with the mother of Jesus, were consumed.
220.2. Thereupon the angels manifested themselves like four shining suns, insomuch that through fear every one again fell down as dead. Then Jesus gave four linen cloths to the angels that they might cover themselves, in order that they might be seen and heard to speak by his mother and her companions. And having lifted up each one, he comforted them, saying: 'These are the ministers of God: Gabriel, who announces God's secrets; Michael, who fights against God's enemies; Rafael, who receives the souls of them that die; and Uriel, who will call every one to the judgment of God at the last day. Then the four angels narrated to the Virgin how God had sent for Jesus, and had transformed Judas, that he might suffer the punishment to which he had sold another.
The truth is then revealed to Barnabas by Jesus, in which the writer again brings the story much more in line with the Islamic view. In this text, Jesus points to the advent of "Muhammad, the Messenger of God." Very clearly tying the text to Islam as opposed to Christianity.
220.4. Jesus answered: 'Believe me, Barnabas, that every sin, however small it be, God punishes with great punishment, seeing that God is offended at sin. Wherefore, since my mother and my faithful disciples that were with me loved me a little with earthly love, the righteous God has willed to punish this love with the present grief, in order that it may not be punished in the flames of hell. And though I have been innocent in the world, since men have called me "God," and "Son of God," God, in order that I be not mocked of the demons on the day of judgment, has willed that I be mocked of men in this world by the death of Judas;, making all men to believe that I died upon the cross. And this mocking shall continue until the advent of Muhammad;, the Messenger ;of God, who, when he shall come, shall reveal this deception to those who believe in God's Law. Having thus spoken, Jesus said: 'You are just, O Lord our God, because to you only belongs honour and glory without end.'
The writer even makes this more clear in their closing chapter, by insisting that this text reveals the true account. That it is written that "the faithful may be undeceived" by the traditional Christian accounts.
221.1. Jesus turned himself to him who writes, and said: "Barnabas, see that by all means you write my gospel concerning all that has happened through my dwelling in the world. And write in a similar manner that which has befallen Judas, in order that the faithful may be undeceived, and every one may believe the truth." Then answered he who writes: "I will do so, if God wills, O Master; but I do not know what happened to Judas, for I did not see it."
221.4. And he reproved many who believed that he had died and risen again, saying: "Do you hold me and God for liars? I said to you that God has granted to me to live almost to the end of the world. Truly I say to you, I did not die; it was Judas the traitor. Beware, for Satan will make every effort to deceive you. Be my witnesses in Israel, and throughout the world, of all things that you have heard and seen."
The Gospel of Barnabas is an interesting read, but very clearly problematic. It shows clear evidence of alignment with Islamic theology and in doing so, undermines much of Christian theology. This text would have us believe that modern Christianity with the emphasis on the cross and the resurrection of Jesus, would be putting our faith in the death of the betrayer and a hoax in the theft of his body. Not to mention completing eschewing substitutionary atonement altogether. It is not a book that could be read in harmony with any portion of the New Testament.
The text also shows hallmarks of adaptation after the fact. The insertion of Judas in moments where he was previously not mentioned. The tying together of the expensive perfume being worth 30 coins and Judas receiving 30 coins for betrayal. The use of poetic justice in the encounter with Pilate and in Judas suffering the same fate he was plotting for another. It all reads as something that is too neatly tied up.
The account does provide a more in depth potential motivation for Judas's betrayal. Going beyond just greed (though greed definitely plays a part), it shows Judas having a lust for power. It shows Judas following Jesus because he believes Jesus will be King of Israel. Judas wants the power that would come from being a close associate. An example of Judas completely missing the point of Jesus's ministry.
This idea that Judas believed Jesus would be an earthly King and its potential implications is one that has been explored by scholars throughout history and provides a greater opportunity for further exploration.